A-Z: General definitions: Trojan War

Definition

A long struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans (from Troy, also known as Ilium in Asia Minor), following the elopement of Helen, the beautiful wife of king Menelaus of Sparta, with Prince Paris of Troy. It is recorded in Greek mythology but is almost certainly based on real events.

Menelaus's brother Agamemnon, raised an expedition to reclaim Helen. For ten years the Greeks besieged Troy. Achilles overcame the Trojan hero, Hector, before himself being killed by an arrow shot by Paris which hit him in the heel, the only part of him which was not immortal. Stalemate, however, continued until Odysseus advised the Greeks to pretend to sail for home, leaving behind a wooden horse as an offering to Athena. The Trojans pulled the horse into the city, not knowing that it contained a picked band of Greek warriors. These emerged from the horse, opened the gates to the main Greek force which had now returned, and Troy was sacked.

Related Topics

Paris; Apple of Discord and Judgement of Paris; Menelaus; Helen

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