Between truth and myth, did the famous "Trojan War" take place?

 

Between truth and myth, did the famous "Trojan War" take place?

In the epic poem known as the Iliad, which along with the Odyssey is considered one of the most important epics and literary works in European history, the Greek poet Homer recounts the final weeks of the Trojan War, when the Greeks collectively faced the city of Troy.


That war in which the most famous heroes of that era participated, and the gods intervened in it after they were divided into two teams, and used the famous horse trick that the world later knew as the Trojan Horse.


But what is the story of Troy? Why did Greece unite against it? More importantly, did the Trojan War really happen?


When a beauty contest rings the bells of war!

The story of the Trojan War began in ancient sources when a beauty contest took place between Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, and Hera, the queen of Olympus and the wife of Zeus the great goddess.


The competition between them was over a golden apple made for the most beautiful goddess, and the ruler was supposed to be Zeus, the ruler of the greatest Olympia and the god of heaven.


However, Zeus decided that he would not choose between them, his choice might ignite sedition, so he decided to throw the burden of this choice on a mortal human, this human being Paris, Prince of Troy.


When a beauty contest rings the bells of war!

At that time Paris was tending the sheep of his father, King Priam, and he was known to have gained the wisdom to make decisions without succumbing to any influence or temptation. So Zeus chose him, and he began what is known as the "Judgment of Paris".


The goddesses of Olympia tried to influence Paris, so Hera offered him to enable him to rule Asia, Athena offered him to win all his battles and gain absolute wisdom, while Aphrodite offered him to make the most beautiful woman of the time fall in love with him, and this woman was Helen, Queen of Troy.


Paris gave the golden apple to Aphrodite, who kept her promise to him, and indeed arranged the kidnapping of Helen of Troy, one of Zeus' daughters, who was married to the Trojan king at the time, Menelaus.


Of course, Aphrodite's plan worked, and Paris was able to get Helen; This made her husband, Menelaus, persuade his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, to join him in recovering his wife from the Prince of Troy, Paris.


This was an unreserved opportunity for Agamemnon, who wanted to extend his influence and control more and more, so he agreed to help his brother and gather the famous Greek heroes of the time: Achilles, Odysseus, Nestor and Ajax.


A thousand ships set out for Helen's face, and the prophecy tells that the Trojan War will last 10 years, and sources tell that the Greek fleet attacked the wrong kingdom in the beginning; Which cost him an unexpected war, which lasted for years, and after it ended, the Greeks needed years for the fleet to be prepared again, but this time Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter to the gods so that the ten years would not turn into twenty years, which happened to be the actual Trojan War In the year of the tenth year.


It should be noted that some sources ignore this part and consider that the siege imposed on Troy lasted 10 years.


In the last weeks of this military campaign, Homer's Iliad began, and an important point must be clarified, which is that Homer in his poetic epic was not interested in documenting the ongoing war, but in human feelings, events, and interactions between the heroes of this war. The first word in the Iliad is "anger", anger of Achilles.


He told how Achilles, who was supposed to be the most famous hero to join this war, the immortal half-god - except for his heel - and the son of Zeus, felt that he was not receiving the respect he deserved from the Greeks, so he called on the Olympians to make the Greek army regret his lack of respect for him .



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On the Trojan side, Homer focused on the relationships, feelings and actions of the city's heroes.

Paris wanted to be a hero, to defend his love for Helen and to stand before her husband and in front of the thousand ships that crossed the Aegean, but he lacked the courage to do so.

His older brother Hector loved his wife and son, but he felt the duty to defend his younger brother and his city - Troy - against the Greeks.

The Olympian goddess also appeared as if she had human feelings, she felt jealousy and anger, plotted plots, and intervened in the war, to show everyone, whether gods or humans with flaws and errors, and also worthy of sympathy!

Returning to the existing war, Achilles decided to leave the battle due to lack of appreciation and respect, and Achilles called on Zeus to make the Greeks regret it, and indeed Zeus intervened in favor of Troy and sent a storm that halted the advance of the Greek army.

The gods began to intervene, one god after another. Poseidon, the god of the sea, was jealous of his brother Zeus, so he gave Ajax a supernatural power that made him break into the ranks of the Trojan army and kill many of them.

And so on; The divine interventions continued until Zeus decided that he must stop interfering in a war between humans.

At that time, Hector succeeded in advancing the Trojan army and achieving overwhelming victories that almost culminated in his burning of the ships of the Greeks.

At this time, the Greek kings begged Achilles to return to the battle to tip the scales in their favour, but Achilles refused. The real anger of Achilles.

After the death of his companion Achilles went crazy and decided to pour his revenge on Hector, so Achilles got into his chariot and headed to the walls of Troy to confront her prince.

Here Hector decided to ignore the warnings of the gods and announced that he was ready to confront Achilles, and in a legendary fight scene between Hector and Achilles, Achilles, who stabbed Hector in the neck, prevailed.

But Achilles was not satisfied with that, so he took Hector's corpse with him, refusing to give it to his father to bury him properly.

The prince's body was with him for days until he finally agreed to leave it, and Paris had set a trap for Achilles, and shot a poisoned arrow at his heel, the only part of his immortal body, to kill Achilles too.

Between truth and myth, did the famous "Trojan War" take place?

Blood swirled and heroes fell one by one, until Ajax, who had obtained superhuman strength, went mad and committed suicide after Achilles' death.

The Greeks realized that war was useless, and that in order for Troy to fall, there must be a deception.

Accordingly, the Greeks built a large wooden horse, and inside the horse hid the best warriors of Greece, led by the cunning Odysseus.

The Greeks declared that they had finished the Trojan War, that they had made this horse a "gift of peace" for the Trojans, and had already begun to prepare to depart.

The camp of Troy was divided between those who wanted to accept the gift to present it to the gods and those who doubted it, but Priam, the king of Troy, decided not to listen to his daughter and received the gift and entered the city.

At night, the Greek soldiers came out of the horse and opened the gates of the city for the whole army to enter Troy from its gates, and to kill all its men and children, and enslave its women, to fall in the end Troy.

As for Helen, whose face moved a thousand ships, her husband Menelaus had decided that he would cut off her neck when he laid his hand on her; But he weakened before her eyes and decided that he would not be able to execute her, so he exiled her to the island of Rhodes.

This is the story of the Trojan War that took place between the Greeks and Trojans, the war that is believed to have taken place in the late Bronze Age, which the Greeks considered the age of heroes in which the gods walked among humans, performing miracles, killing monsters, and telling legends

But does this mean that Troy is also a myth?

Trojan war between fact and fiction

In the nineteenth century, the German scholar and archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, considered - for some the founder of modern archeology, for others a swindler and thief - revealed the location of the historic city of Troy.

Schliemann was a lover of Greek civilization, and at some point in his life decided to devote his efforts to finding the legendary city mentioned in Homer's Iliad.

Thanks to his relations with an English diplomat residing in the Ottoman Empire, he succeeded in excavating in the Hisarlik region located within the province of Çanakkale on the western coast of Turkey.

At the time, Schliemann announced that he had found nine cities built on top of each other, and these archaeological layers were named after Troy one and even Troy nine, and Schliemann confirmed that the  Trojan 2 are the Troy mentioned in the Iliad.

However, the two Trojans identified by Schliemann date back to 2300 BC, which predates the supposed date of the Trojan Wars by a full thousand years!

But Schliemann's failure did not stop the excavation and research, as German Professor Wilhelm Dorpfeld took over.

Unlike Schliemann, he focused on the deeper cities, and Dorpfeld decided to focus on Troy Six, where he was able to uncover traces of a high fortress, which once had very high walls, stone towers, and large houses appearing as noble and lofty houses, and these were The antiquities date from 1700 to 1250 BC, which seems to fit the story.

However, this city did not appear to have been destroyed by an external invasion or war, but by an earthquake.

With this information, some theories began to spread that the famous horse, which was the cause of the destruction of the city, was only a metaphor and meant the wrath of the god Poseidon, who was on the side of the Greeks, and the horse was the sacred animal associated with it.

The ruins of what is said to be the city of Troy, in the Hisarlik region in Turkey - Image source: YouTube
The ruins of what is said to be the city of Troy, in the Hisarlik region in Turkey - Image source: YouTube

These theories continued until the thirties of the twentieth century, when an American archaeologist named Carl Blegen took over the task of excavating in Hisarlik, who was interested in Troy Seven, and he discovered that Troy Seven was not a new city, but rather a city built on the ruins of a city that preceded it - Troy Six - which collapsed due to war!

The spacious homes that once belonged to the nobles were divided up as if they had become shelters, and the pots that stored food were buried to preserve food for a longer time, and Blegen was able to find traces of fires and arrowheads probably made by the Greeks.

In 1988, archaeologist Manfred Korfman announced that all archaeologists who preceded him had explored only a small part of the real Troy, while all those who preceded Korfman were interested in research and excavations in the castle area, Korfman decided to focus on the city that was protected by this castle, so he and his team were able to uncover A large city with houses, walls, and an underground water system that the Trojans used for two thousand years.

Like the castle, this part was also destroyed, so evidence was found of fire damage, arrowheads were found piercing the walls of houses, unburied skeletons and rocks scattered in the streets of the city to be thrown by its people at the invaders if they tried to penetrate the high walls of the city.

Therefore, it became very likely - and highly - that this city announced by Manfred Korfmann, died due to war in the beginning of the twelfth century BC.

Although the scene of the fighting described by Homer between Achilles and Homer may not have been real, and that the gods of Mount Olympus did not intervene in a war between men, the existence of the city of Troy according to all the evidence has become almost certain, so perhaps a war between the Greeks did take place and the Trojans, but it was probably not Helen's face that moved the thousand ships and ignited the Trojan War.

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