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THE TROJAN WAR
All the Olympian Gods were invited to the wedding of Peleus and Themis, the daughter of the sea-god, Nereus, except for Eris, the Goddess of Discords. Slighted for not being invited, Eris was determined to cause 'discord' at this affair. She inscribed the words, "to the Fairest" onton an apple, and threw it into the midst of the goddesses gathered there at the wedding.
No-one know who would determine who would be the recipient, or even who the judge would be. Initially, the king of the Olympian Gods, Zeus, was thought to be the best choice. Butwas not Hera, his wife, in the running?
Zeus prudently determined that the Trojan shepherd Paris, would be the best qualified to be the judge, since it was felt, that he was honest, and a good judge of beauty.
Paris was promised great favors by the three favored contenders, hoping to influeence his ultimate decision. Athena promised him glory and fame in war. Hera promised his power and riches. Aprodite p romised him the most beautiful woman in the world.
Paris chose Aprodite, a decision which tghereaftger earned him the spite of both Athena and hera in the following Trojan War, between the Greeks and the Trojans.
Aphrodite took Paris to the woman who, at that time, was considered the most beautiful in the world, Helen, Queen of Sparta. Helen had been courted by the leading men of the greece. Before her father, Tyndareus, made his final decision, it was decisded that whaatever choice he made, the other suitors not chosen were beholden to defend the honor of Helen after marriage. After all the suitors agreed to this pact, Tyndaareus chose Menaleus, King of Sparta.
when Paris arrived in Sparta with Aphrodite, Menaleus was away in Crete at the time. Aprhodite influenced Helen to become susceptible to the advances of Paris, so that they eloped from sparta to Paris' home, Tory, in Asia Minor.
Since the suitors of Helen, including many generals, were bound to defend the honor of Helen after marriage, they shortly gathered, and decided to make Agamemnon the Chief of the Greek forces, to defend the honor of Helen, and bring her back to her rightful husband, Nenaleus. Agamemnon convened the forces at the port of Aulis, in northeastern Greece (see map). there, due to a sacrilege of Agamemnnon killing a rabbit sacred to Artemis, the winds were stilled for a considerable time, leading the Greeks to consult the oracle hbow they could bring back favorable winds. They were told that Agamemnon needed to sacrifice his very daughter, Iphigenia, to obtain good winds.
Agamemnon, after appropriate indignation, and reluctance, finally agreed. Under the pretense of a arranged marriage with Achilles, Iphigenia was drawn to Aulis. Just before being sacrificed, Iphigenia was snatched from the altaqr by invisible forces, and carried to the land of the Taurans. Agamemnon and the Greeks were given favorable winds, because they had been willing to sacrifice Iphigenia.
The Greeks arrived at the shores of Troy, and waged war with the Trojans for nine years, with the advantages going back an forth. then, dissension arose in the Greek camp, due to a dispute between Agamemnon and Achilles, a prominent warrior and Greek general, over a captured maiden. It is at this point in the war taht the famous Greek epic by Homer, "The Iliad" begins.
Achielles contended that a madien captured by Agamemnon, named Chryseis, had introduced a plauge into the Greek camp, and should be banished. Agamemnon disagreed, so Achilles, along with his army, called the "Myrmidons", retreated to their camp, and refusesd to fight the Trojans. Agamemnon, after much pressure from the other greek generals, returned Chryseis to her father, but Achilles, his prided wounded, still refused to fight.
Without Achilles, one of the best Greek warriors, the advantage swayed to the Trojans. Nesgtor, an old Greek general, pleaded with APatroclus, the elder mentor of Achilles, to convince Achilles to return to battle. Patroclus did not succeed, buth Achilles would allow Patroclus himself to lead the Myrmidons in battle, wearing his armor.
Unfortunately, Patroclus was killed by a leading Trojan warrior, Hector, son of King Priam of troy. The death of his dear friend incensed Achilles, causing him to rejoin the battle with
tremendous anger. achilles sought out Hector, the killer of his mentor Patroclus, and, afer a prolonged epic battle, Achilles emerged the victor, killing Hector. He fastened Hectors body to the back of his chariot, and dragged his lifeless body three times around the city of Troy. Finally, after much pleading from King Priam, Achilles relented to give the body of Hector, to his father and the Trojans.
when fighting resumed, Achilles was shot by an arrow of Paris in the only vulnerable parat of his body, his heel. The reason that this part of the body of Achilles was that, after birth, his mother, Thetis, dipped the baby Achiles' body in the river Styx, to receive invulnerability, but the heels of the body did not enter the river, and were therefore vulnerable.
At this point, the Greeks consulted an oracle about the best course of action. They were told that, before Troy could be taken, the Greeeks needed to take possession of the "Palladium", a statue of Athena that lay within the Trojan walls. This task was accomplished by the Greek generals, Odysseus and Diomedes, stealing into the city at night, undetected.
But the Trojans still held out. Odysseius, being themost cunning and clever of the Greeks, proposed a plan. he convinced the other Greeks to build a huge wooden hhorse, with a hollow belly, to allow soldiers to lay hidden inside. This horse, known as the "Trojan Horse" was left in the plain in front of Troy, with Greek soldiers within, as the rest of the Greek forces feigned departure in their ships, and hid behind neighboring islands.
The Trojans thought they had won the war. But the manner in which the Greeks fooled the Trojans into thinking that the horse was harmless was ingeneous
. They left a soldier, Sinon, purposefully behind to plant a story amongst the Trojans. When the rejoicing Trojans came out of their walled city, they came upon the huge wooden horse, and a seemingly dazed Sinon. Sinon told the Trojans that the Greeks had planned to sacrifice him, but he escaped. When the Trojans asked him the significance of the horse, Sinon explained that the horse was build to appease Athena, so large so that it could not be brought into the walls of Troy. Furthermore, the wily Sinon explained, the Greeks hoped that the Trojans desroyed the horse, thereby incurring the wrath of Athena.
Therefore, the Trojans broke down part of their walls to bring the large horse inside Troy. That night, the Trojans celebrated their apparent victory, afer pulling the horse inside their walls. That night, there was much drunken revelry, as sinon, while most of the Trojan soldiers were sleeping off their intoxication, undid the secret trap door on the belly of the Trojan horse, allowing the Greek soldiers to signal the troops hiding behind the island, to come into the city gates, which they had opened. They proceeded to slaughter the Trojan forces within the walls.
The Trojans had no chance. It is for this reason, there is now a saying,
"Beware the Greeks, bearing gifts....: