The Trojan War as a National Epic
There are two players in this great drama, of a war that launched a thousand ships from the Aegean to the lands of Troy. Greece and Troy. Greece -- (Achaia) at that time was under control of Mycenae. The Greeks, or Hellenes, shared a double ancestry. First, Javan of Japeth took his family and migrated to the Peloponeseus and founded the lands of Achaia. His inhabitants spread through the land and worshiped first Chronos (Saturn), then Zeus (Jupiter) along with Aphrodite (Venus) and Ares (Mars). Along to join him were other indo-europeans also descendants of Japeth. They spoke proto-Greek.
Javan is identified as Hellen by the Greeks. But in time, others came. Cecrops had come, a descendant of Zarah -- son of Judah. He founded Athens, while his kinsman -- Cadmus -- founded Thebes, and several other cities were founded by other kinsmen (including Argos). Sparta itself was founded by Dan, and many of the Danites moved north, past the Danube. Cecrops and Cadmus brought laws instituting marriage, and cast down human sacrifice to pagan gods. They could not cast down paganism completely, but they instituted many reforms. By the time the Greeks had come to fight the Trojan War, they were a mixed people of Hebrew and Indo-European Descent and spoke Mycenaean Greek.
Troy was founded by Darda (Most likely Troy VI, but could be Troy V). Darda was also a descendant of Zarah, son of Judah. The first son of Judah, Zarah's bloodline was to become the Kings of Europe. He founded Troy, which soon became a great trading center.
- Paris -- Prince of Troy, son of King Priam. He falls in love with Helen and steals her away.
- King Menelaus -- King of Sparta, husband to Helen.
- King Agamemnon -- The King of Mycenae. Perhaps the true villain in the entire saga.
- Achilles -- King of Thebes, the best swordsman in all Greece.
- Odysseus -- King of Ithica. Someone who felt he shouldn't have gone in the first place, but Agamemnon needed his wisdom.
- King Priam -- King of Troy and pure descendant of Zarah of Judah.
- Hector -- Best fighter of the Trojans.
- Helen -- the face that launched a thousand ships.
Character Analysis of the Iliad
Protagonist -- King Menelaus, King of Sparta. His wife, his beautiful wife, was stolen from him by Paris, the Prince of Troy.
Antagonists -- Paris of Troy, Agamemnon of Mycenae
Contagonist -- Odysseus of Ithica
Guardian -- King Priam of Troy
Logic -- Hector, Briseis
Emotional -- Cassandra, Helen
Follower -- Patroclos
Skeptic -- Achilles
The Main Character in the Iliad is Achilles without a doubt. Although in further adaptations of the story, the Main Character switches from Achilles to Menelaus, to Helen, to Paris, and other characters in the story. There is a play where Agamemnon is treated heroically only to have his life end tragically.
Why was the Trojan War fought?
The War was fought over Trojan Wealth, Trojan control of the Bosporus or Dardanelles, and Troy's control of the Tin Oxide trade in the East. All roads led to Troy at that time, and the Hellenes, Danaan, or Achaeans were jealous to control that trade. What ever the reasons, the trigger is the most written about and the most commented upon in the myths.
As far as I understand it, the only Greek King that was truly in the right during the war was Menelaus. King Menelaus felt that Paris kidnapped his wife and took her to Troy. He eventually wins the war, and travels with Helen to Egypt. I agree with this assessment, because Menelaus was truly hurt by Paris stealing his wife, his property.
Who was in the wrong?
Both Paris and Agamemnon are actually to be blamed for wrong doing. Paris, because he stole another man's wife; and Agamemnon for going to war to Troy for reasons that aren't discussed. He needed an excuse and Helen was that excuse.
Who escalated the War?
Odysseus escalated the War. The Iliad begins with Achilles and Agamemnon fighting over who would possess Briseis. When Achilles lost, he sulked in his tent for all that time. Odysseus, getting reports of what was going on in Ithica, wanted to bring the Trojan War to an end. He wanted to return to Penelope and live out his life as King of Ithica. He escalated the war through trickery and deceit.
Which side suffered the most?
Both sides. The Greeks suffered because of Agamemnon's drive and obstinance. Thousands of lives were lost on the Greek side of the war. Similarly, many Trojans and Troy's allies also suffered. Many of the Amazons in the region died during battle. Patroclos was slain, which brought out Achilles. Eventually, the Trojans lost because of poor judgment. They allowed a gift of the Greeks to come in, the Trojan Horse, which contained many Greek Soldiers. During the night, the Greek Soldiers came out of the Horse and proceeded to sack the city.
What was the outcome?
The destruction and razing of Troy by Odysseus and his men and the scattering of the Trojans to the North and to the West. Achilles died because he wanted to protect Briseis. Hector died because he wanted to protect Troy and bring an end to the conflict. Priam died because he brought in the Trojan Horse.
A number of kingdoms were founded as the Trojans who left and was scattered to Scandinavia. Memnon eventually begat Thor who eventually begat Odin. These Trojans settled Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Eventually their descendants (who included members of many other Hebrew Tribes) came to settle England and Norway. One of them, William the Conquerer, would set about finally finishing what happened at Glastonbury after the reign of Arthur.
How does it end?
Menelaus wins his wife back, and they retire in Egypt. As they retired, Sparta suffered a decline in power and influence and eventually fell to a Doric (Indo-European) invasion like most of Greece.
Did the Trojan War actually happen?
The Trojan War does have a basis in Historical Fact. The Egyptians, largely a neutral power in the War, have records related to the War. According to the Egyptian perspective, Paris stops in Karnak (Thebes) Egypt and visits the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh recognized that Paris stole Helen from her real husband and sends him back to Troy without her. The Pharaoh keeps Helen until Menelaus comes to claim her. After Menelaus claims her, they stay in Egypt for the rest of their lives.
Hittite sources tell of a Wilusa kingdom in the area where Troy is. This source is the Tawagalawa letter. The letter accounts of an unnamed Hittite king's correspondence to the king of the Ahhiyawa, referring to an earlier "Wilusa episode" involving hostility on the part of the Ahhiyawa. This is based on a letter from the Hittite king to the king of the Ahhiyawa people. Sources independent of the Tawagalawa letter also mentions one Alaksandu, which could have been Paris since his birth name was Alexandros.
Note though, as Archaeology of the site progresses, a different picture than the one Homer wrote about arises. So what actually happened? Who knows? Archaeology is presenting a different picture based on what has been recovered.
So, is the Iliad truly history? Homer based much of his epic poem in fact, that much is clear. With Hittite sources and Egyptian sources mentioning Helen, Paris, and Menelaus it must have happened based on the testimony of two independent Kingdoms. However, some of Homer may have written what is fiction. Achilles and Hector's superhuman feats, and Achilles supposed invulnerability, is undoubtedly fiction. Homer may have recounted the War for an entirely different reason than to write a national historical epic.
But still, the story is a very popular subject in Hollywood in the U.S. Why this is, it's clear, the Trojan War -- more than any other Greek Myth -- is a National Epic of two nations: Greece -- which was the winners, and Israel, who was the loser. Of course, History is written by the winners, and there is no way to get the actual Trojan view of the war and what led to its defeat.
Historical and Literary
- Fagles, Robert, and Bernard Knox. The Iliad . New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1990. Print.
- Ancient Discoveries -- Siege of Troy. Dir. Ben Mole. Perf. Stephen Kemble. A&E Television Networks, 2007. DVD.
- The True Story of Troy (History Channel). Dir. Gary Glassman. Perf. Tom Bruno, Kevin Cirone, Allegra De Vita. A&E Home Video, 2004. DVD.
- In Search of the Trojan War. Dir. Bill Lyons. Perf. Michael Wood, John Chadwick, Peter Connolly. Bbc Warner, 2001. DVD.
- Frost, Frank J.. Greek society . Lexington, Mass.: Heath, 1971. Print.
- Fagles, Robert. The Odyssey . New York: Viking, 1996. Print.
Hunt, Keith. "The Trojan connection with Britain." Keith Hunt - Trojans - Jews - Israel - Britain. Version 1.0. Keith Hunt, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.
Freeborn, Leland. "Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships." Helen of Troy July 2001 Tribes # 9. Version 1.0. The Parowan Prophet dot com, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.