Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Trojan War

Troy was a mighty city in the country of Illios in what is now northwestern Turkey. It controlled trade routes to the Black Sea and became one of the richest cities in the world.

Ancient records show that the Trojans fought several wars against raiders from Mycenaean Greece. Archaeologists have found that the city was invaded and destroyed about 1180bc.

According to later Greek legends, Troy was destroyed after a war lasting 10 years. All the kings of Mycenaean Greece joined forces to attack Troy, sailing across the Aegean Sea in a fleet of 1,000 ships.

The Trojan War began when Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, fell in love with Queen Helen of Sparta. Helen's husband King Menelaus asked his brother, King Agamemnon of Mycenae for help.

King Agamemnon summoned all the kings of Greece to join him in the attack on Troy. Among those who came were Odysseus of Ithaca and the great hero Achilles.

When Achilles fought, the Greeks won victories, but after an argument with Agamemnon Achilles sulked in his tent. The Trojans then began to win victories.

When Achilles' friend Patroclus was killed by the Trojan Hector, Achilles left his tent. He killed Hector in single combat then rejoined the fighting. The Trojans fell back behind their city walls.

Odysseus suggested that the Greeks pretend to give up and to go home, leaving behind a large wooden horse as a gift to the gods. In fact the horse contained Greek warriors and the Greek army was only a short distance away.

The Trojans pulled the horse into Troy. That night the hidden warriors leapt out and opened the city gates. Troy was captured by the Greeks.

After the war, Helen went back to Sparta to live with Menelaus. Odysseus got lost and took ten years to get home.  Troy was later resettled, but was never again as rich and powerful as it had been.

This is an extract from 1000 Facts - Ancient Greece by Rupert Matthews

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