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The Trojan War

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Most of you know that Troy lost the the Trojan War, a legendary ten-year battle fought between the Greeks, with their divine allies, and the Trojans, with theirs, in the early days of Greek history, when kings still ruled the cities. The Greeks won thanks to a ruse: They sneaked warriors inside the city of Troy by means of a giant, hollow, wooden horse. So much you probably already know, but did you know that the Trojan Horse doesn't appear in the Iliad? Did you know that Odysseus tried to dodge the draft on an insanity plea? Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions of people reading about the Trojan War stories or Homer's epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

1. Where in Homer is the Trojan Horse?

Trojan Horse
Clipart.com
At Mykonos is a large ceramic vase from the 7th century B.C. with the oldest graphic record of the Trojan Horse, but where in Homer's Iliad is this famous wooden creature that put an end to the 10 years of the Trojan War?

2. Greeks Bearing Gifts?

Odysseus
Clipart.com
The saying "Beware Greeks bearing gifts" comes from the actions of the Trojan War Greeks under the direction of Odysseus.

3. Was Achilles in the Trojan Horse?

Achilles tending Patroclus' wounds from a red-figure kylix by the Sosias Painter from about 500 B.C.
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia. In the Staatliche Museen, Antikenabteilung, Berlin.
The Trojan Horse was important for the winning of the Trojan War and Achilles was the greatest of the Greek heroes, so it would make sense to find Achilles in the wooden beast that won the war for the Greeks, but was he?

4. Who Created the Trojan Horse?

A "Replica" of the Trojan Horse in Troy, Turkey
CC Alaskan Dude at Flickr.com
Did an artist name Epeus build the Trojan Horse or was it the creation of the master strategist of the Greeks, Odysseus?

5. Where Does "Sword and Sandals" Come From?

Theseus and the Minotaur
Public Domain
"Sword and Sandals" is the name of our own special sub-genre of action/adventure movies. While it's a self-evident title, there's more to the name than the obvious.

6. Did Odysseus Really Go Mad?

Marble Head of Odysseus
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
It seems the Iliad is full of mad men. There's Achilles mad with rage at Agamemnon. There's Ajax who in his madness slaughters the cattle. And then there's Odysseus. Did such a clever man really go mad or was he faking?

7. Who Was Briseis?

Briseis and Phoinix
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Achilles gets bent out of shape when he loses Briseis. Find out more about her.

8. What Was the Sequence of Events in the Trojan War?

Judgement of Paris by Lucas Cranach.
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
You know about the Trojan Horse at the end of the story, and probably the apple that Paris awarded Aphrodite that started all the trouble. You may even know the Trojan War is said to have lasted 10 years. What happened during all this time?

9. Why Are the Greeks Hellenes and Not Helenes or Helens?

Helen of Troy at the Louvre. From an Attic red-figure krater from about 450-440 B.C.
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia
Homer doesn't call the Greeks Greeks. The ancient Greeks don't either. Instead they call themselves Hellenes. Most people who study the Trojan War are familiar with Helen of Troy, so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine the name Hellenes comes from Helen, but if that's the etymology, there shouldn't be a double "l".

10. The Night of the Horse

Trojan Horse
Clipart.com
Could the Greeks have destroyed Troy without the Trojan Horse? Barry Strauss says most scholars doubt the existence of the horse, but it wasn't necessary.

11. Warrior Deaths

Achilles Kills Trojan Prisoner Before Charun Armed With a Hammer.
PD Bibi Saint-Pol. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
This useful list tells which warrior did the killing, which side he fought for, his victim, and the method of inflicting death.

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