The Trojan War is essentially one of the most important events ever narrated in Greek mythology. It was a war waged against the city of Troy by Achaeans also called the Greeks. The war followed the abduction of Helen from her husband Menelaus who was the King of Sparta. The War has been narrated through a series of works of Greek literature and was even more emphasized through the Homer’s Iliad. The Iliad offers a relation between the parts of the later years of the siege of Troy, the Odysseys describing the journey home of Odysseus one of the significant heroes of the war. The other parts of the war are described through a cycle of epic Homes that have survived through fragments and it is the episodes of the war that provided material for the Greek tragedy and other works of Greek literature that existed as well as the Roman poets that include the Ovid and the Virgil (Latacz, 38).
Zeus being a firm believer that the number of humans in the world was too high had decided that it was time to have a plan to reduce it. As he had many affairs with mortal women and fathered many demi-god children, he thought that it was time to get rid of them. He, therefore, came up with a plan after learning of two prophecies of which one said that he would be dethroned by one of his sons just as he had done with his father, Cronus. The other prophecy stated that the sea nymph Thetis whom Zeus had fallen for would bear him a son that would pass his father’s glory, and therefore, Zeus decided to marry Thetis off to King Peleus (Strauss, 145).
Zeus organized a wedding for the Thetis and Peleus bringing together all the gods and famous figures except the goddess of strife, Eris. Having been stopped at the door, the goddess was infuriated and therefore before leaving she threw her gift amidst the gusts, the Apple of Discord, which was a golden apple on which the words, “the fairest” had been written (Strauss, 151). Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera began quarrelling over the apple on who should take it, but Zeus knew that it would cause trouble if he supports either of the three. Therefore, he appointed the young prince of Troy, Paris to be the judge and yet he could also not make the decisions even after seeing the three goddesses naked. They, therefore, started bribing him with Hera saying that he would get political power and be the ruler of the whole of Asia, Athena promised him wisdom and great skills in battle while Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world named Helen of Sparta. On hearing this, Paris was enticed by Aphrodite’s offer and gave her the apple and returned to Troy (Latacz, 40).
Peleus and Thetis had a son named Achilles whose prophecies had been made that he would either lead a long, uneventful life or a glorious one but would die at a young age on a battlefield. Te other prophecy made was that without his help, Troy would never fall. Afraid of losing her son, Thetis decided to choose immortality for Achilles while still an infant. She took him to River Styx one of the rivers that ran through the underworld and dipped him in the waters making him invulnerable. However, she was not aware of the fact that the heel of the boy that she held him from did not touch the water, and therefore, he remained mortal, and this marked the doom of Achilles (Strauss, 113).
The lost beautiful woman in the world Helen, who was the daughter of King Tyndareus of Sparta, had many suitors that claimed her, but the King was afraid of sparking political tension and hence feared to make a decision. Odysseus offered a solution with the promise of the hand of Penelope and Tyndareus agreed gladly. Odysseus asked all the suitors to swear an oath that they would protect the couple no matter whom the suitor would be, and they all agreed. The King then went ahead to choose Menelaus as the husband of his daughter making him the effective successor of Spartan throne. Menelaus caused the wrath of Aphrodite after failing to sacrifice one hundred oxen for her as he had promised and it is this that made her make the commitment to help Paris win the heart of Helen. The goddess hacked a plan dressing Paris as a diplomatic emissary (Castleden, 117). He went to Sparta where Helen welcomed him while her husband was away in Crete to bury his uncle. At the point, the god of love Eros shot an arrow to her, and it caused her to fall in love with the Trojan prince and the two lovers eloped leaving for Troy. On his return, Menelaus made attempts to get his wife back, and his diplomatic attempts failed to prompt him to invoke the oath by Tyndareus, and he called an Achaean leader who had previously been a suitor of Helen to fulfill their promise. They also sought for Achilles’ help as they knew that Troy would only fall with his help and therefore set out to for Skyros where he was disguised as a woman. The plan was to blow a war horn of which Achilles would be the only woman to react to it or appeared as merchants selling jewels and weapons of which he would be the only one interested in weapons (Castleden, 117).
Menelaus’ brother and the king of Mycenae led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy besieging the city for ten years of Paris’ insult. It was as was prophesied that Troy fell on the tenth year of the war. Following the deaths of many heroes such as Ajax and Achilles, Hector and Paris the city fell to the ruse of Trojan horse. The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans leaving the women and children that they sold to slavery or kept and further desecrated the temples earning the wrath of the gods. There were few Achaeans that returned safely back to their homeland with many founding colonies in the distant shores. Some kingdoms such as the Romans traced their origins to Aeneas one of the Trojan, who was said to have led the surviving Trojans ahead of the modern day Italy (Strauss, 280).