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Summary of the Chapters of Barry Strauss' 'Trojan War: A New History'

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Chapter 2 - The Black Ships Sail
Summary of the Chapters of Barry Strauss' 'Trojan War: A New History'
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The black pitch-painted ships of the Greeks carried soldiers, diviners, priests, physicians, scribes, heralds, carpenters, wainwrights, and much more.

In the third chapter, Strauss explains the Greek hierarchy, giving Agamemnon the title of "anax" or "wanax". His kingdom was more of a household than a state and it produced luxury goods for trade and gifts, like bronze breastplates, arrowheads, and chariots. The rest of the area was run by local "basileis". Strauss says that since Linear B was only an administrative tool only the leaders like Agamemnon had no reason to learn to write in it. Then Strauss lists the leaders of a warrior band ("laos") who would join Agamemnon and their particular skills. He says "they shared a single dream: to set sail home from Troy in ships with timbers creaking from the weight of plunder." The story of the sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis comes next, with information on human sacrifice, and alternative explanations for how Agamemnon had offended Artemis. Once the goddess lifted the curse, the Greeks, "the first sea power on the continent of Europe," set sail in the new oared, wooden, ramless galley type of ship, generally, a penteconter or 50-oared ship about 90 feet long. Strauss thinks there were not 1,184 ships, but more like 300 carrying about 15,000 men. Although Troy was a sea port, it did not fight at sea.

The Trojan War: A New History, summary pages:
Introduction | 1. War for Helen | 2. The Black Ships Sail | 3. Operation Beachhead | 4. Assault on the Walls | 5. The Dirty War | 6. An Army in Trouble | 7. The Killing Fields | 8. Night Moves | 9. Hector's Charge | 10. Achilles Heel | 11. The Night of the Horse | Conclusion

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