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  • The Trojan War is one of the most famous conflicts in human history, but it resides somewhere

  • within the space between fact and fiction.

  • The myth is just as much a part of the tale as the actual history.

  • So keep watching as we dive deep into the truth behind the Trojan War.

  • The story of the Trojan War has been told and retold countless times, most famously

  • by Homer in The Iliad.

  • But its historical authenticity wasn't always accepted as fact.

  • In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal wrote,

  • "Homer produced a story, which he offered as such and was accepted as such: for no one

  • doubted that Troy and Agamemnon had existed any more than the golden apple.

  • He did not think he was making a history of it, merely an entertainment."

  • But it turns out that there's more truth to Homer's tale than initially thought.

  • In the 19th century, a Prussian businessman named Heinrich Schliemann went to what is

  • now Turkey in an attempt to find the location of the Trojan War.

  • In his excavations, he found numerous archaeological treasures that corresponded to the correct

  • location, if not necessarily the correct time period, of Troy.

  • Modern archaeologists later confirmed that these findings correlated with the existence

  • of a city as well as its destruction.

  • So despite Homer's embellishments, he knew his history.

  • In Greek mythology, the Trojan War essentially begins with a botched beauty contest.

  • All the Greek gods were attending a wedding, except for Eris, who hadn't been invited.

  • But she still showed up, and when she was turned away, she threw into the crowd of goddesses

  • a golden apple that was addressed "to the fairest."

  • Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena all wanted the apple.

  • But when they asked Zeus to mediate, he instead delegated the task to Paris of Troy and told

  • the messenger god Hermes to take the goddesses to him.

  • Hera promised Paris untold wealth and power, Athena promised him untold knowledge, and

  • Aphrodite promised marriage to the most beautiful mortal woman, Helen of Sparta.

  • That last bribe sealed it, and Paris chose Aphrodite as the recipient of the golden apple.

  • Surprisingly enough, the Judgement of Paris is only mentioned explicitly once in the Iliad,

  • in the final book of the poem.

  • The first nine years of the Trojan War were a constant siege against Troy, but the city

  • walls kept the Achaeans at bay.

  • Few sources talk specifically about the first nine years, preferring instead to focus on

  • the climactic events of the tenth and final year.

  • But during this time, the Trojans defended themselves while the Achaeans sacked the neighboring

  • cities.

  • Among the cities that were sacked were Thebeswhere Agamemnon captured a woman named

  • Chryseis - and Lyrnessus - where Achilles captured a woman named

  • Briseis.

  • Agamemnon wanted to keep Chryseis as a prize, but her father, a priest of Apollo, offered

  • Agamemnon a ransom for his daughter.

  • After Agamemnon denied his request, her father prayed to Apollo, who swiftly sent a plague

  • that decimated the Achaean army.

  • Agamemnon then begrudgingly gave up Chryseis, though he decided that if he couldn't find

  • a replacement, he would simply take another woman as his unwilling prize instead.

  • Greatly irritated by Agamemnon's threat, Achilles accused Agamemnon of being shameless.

  • Agamemnon responded in turn by taking Briseis to teach him a lesson in authority and power.

  • This act infuriated Achilles so much that he decided to withdraw himself and his troops

  • entirely from battle.

  • "Give me cause, and I'll give you war.

  • Can you?"

  • Despite this, Achilles was worried that the Achaeans might actually lose against the Trojans.

  • So when his friend Patroclus asked if he could borrow his armor, Achilles agreed.

  • Initially, Patroclus did remarkably well, but then Apollo once again attacked the Achaean

  • army, shattering Patroclus' spear and breaking the armor off of him.

  • While exposed like this, he was brought to his end by Hector.

  • Enraged at the news of his friend's death, Achilles decided to rejoin the war effort.

  • He immediately sought Hector out for vengeance.

  • Upon meeting Achilles, Hector tried to get him to agree that no matter who won, they

  • would not desecrate the defeated man's body, for this is what his mother warned would occur.

  • But Achilles' rage had given him tunnel vision, and he had no regard for fairness.

  • He promptly slayed Hector and then tied his body to his chariot and pulled it back to

  • the Achaean camp.

  • The Trojans then called upon their allies for support now that their best fighter was

  • dead.

  • But they were no match for Achilles.

  • So the gods decided that enough was enough.

  • At Aphrodite's behest, Apollo guided an arrow shot by Paris directly into Achilles' heel,

  • the only vulnerable part of his body.

  • Aphrodite held a special place for Paris in her heart, and having given him the most beautiful

  • woman in the world, she now gave him the gift of killing the greatest Greek warrior.

  • But Aphrodite decided that also she no longer owed anything to him.

  • So when he went to Helen that night, Aphrodite's spell over her had come to an end, and she

  • no longer felt any desire for him.

  • In the final phase of the war, Odysseus came up with the famous plan of the Trojan Horse.

  • The Achaeans made it seem as though they were leaving and sailing off as they left a giant

  • wooden horse behind.

  • But in fact, they hid themselves within the horse and waited for the curious Trojans to

  • bring it into the city walls.

  • They made sure that the warrior Sinon also stayed behind to tell the Trojans that the

  • Achaeans had decided to give up and leave the Trojans a present.

  • The Trojans fell for the ruse.

  • That night, as they celebrated their victory, the Achaeans climbed out of the horse and

  • sacked the city.

  • "Eat my bronze, you Trojan dogs!"

  • The Achaeans were cruel in their victory as they pillaged the city and committed sacrilegious

  • acts.

  • Out of all the Trojan heroes, only Aeneas was able to escape while everyone else was

  • killed or enslaved.

  • In response to the Achaeans' horrendous behavior, the gods sent down storms as punishment to

  • destroy their ships.

  • Those who were able to return faced a perilous path ahead, like Odysseus, whose 20-year journey

  • home is famously narrated in Homer's Odyssey.

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The Trojan War is one of the most famous conflicts in human history, but it resides somewhere

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The Trojan War Finally Explained

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    李哲 posted on 2021/07/08
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