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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Troy & Iliad

"... For in confronting the cruel clouds of war, we gave away our years of lovely youth." [Simonides, c. 556-468 BC]
 
Watched the movie Troy yesterday.  Fantastic!  One should note that the movie is based on the ancient Greek epic poem, Iliad, which is a 24 volume epic.  Another great epic, Odyssey, follows the adventures of Odysseus, King of Ithaca, after the defeat of Troy.
 
There are many crucial differences between the movie and Iliad, which written by the blind poet, Homer, more than 2000 years ago.  The deliberations of the Gods, who were crucial in every part of Iliad were absent in Troy.  In Troy, Paris, as well as the baby son of Hector, survived the sack of Troy, and Menelaus, king of Sparta, was killed by Hector early in the siege of Troy.  In Iliad, Paris was killed midway in the story and the baby son of Hector was thrown off the walls of Troy.  Menelaus wasn't killed by Hector but instead died after the sack of Troy. Helen, after her death by hanging, went to the underworld and married, guess who, Achilles!
 
Anyway, I have here a summary of Iliad from http://www.iit.edu/~agunsal/truva/truva/truva1.html  For those of you who want the massive original, http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~joelja/iliad.html  A wonderful site on the Trojan wars: http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/TrojanWar.html
 
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The tale of Troy is told by Homer with the Iliad and the Odyssey. Homer was drawing on a vast cycle of stories about Trojan War. The Iliad includes a few weeks in the tenth year of the war.

According to Greek sources, Troy stood near the Dardanelles. There was no dispute about its location in the story were al familiar: the Dardanelles, the islands of Imbros, Samothrace and little Tenedos, Mount Ida to the south east, the plain and the river Scamander. It was an ancient city an its inhabitants were known as Teucrians or Dardanians but also as Trojans or Ilians which got this name from eponymous hereos, Tros and his uncle Ilus, the inventors of the city. In other source mentioned that Troy and Ilius were two seperate places but Homer insists on using these two names for Troy. there was no explanation about that.

The most famous tale in Homer epic about Trojan War and wodden horse. On the mainland of Greece in this time , the most powerful king was Agamemnon. His residance was at Mycenae. At this time, the inhibitants of Greece called themselves as Arhaians, Danaans, or Argiues not Greeks or Hellenes. Agamemnon had married Clytemnestra, dauther of Tyndareus of Sparta and sister to Helen. Helen was the most beautiful woman in the world. she had married with Agamemnon's brother Menelaos who became king in Lakonia. Two brothers had a great power in southern Greece.

On the other hand, in Troy Laomedon was the king of Ilios, the son of Ilus who ha given his name to Troy. Laemedon tried to cheat the gods of their rewards. He would not give up the immortal snow - white horses sent by Herakles (Hercules). But Herakles sailed to the Troad (Troy), attacked, and captured the city. leomedon and his sons were killed except the youngest, Podarces, survided. Podarces was released and took a new name, Priam as a young king of Troy and the city restored again.

Priam ruled over Troy successfully three generation. he had fifty sons and twelve dauthers. his eldes son was the great worrior Hector. And his one of the sons, Paris, was the important instrument in the Troy History.

The famous myth tells , Eris -strife- had thrown down a golden apple 'for the fairest' at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, and Zeus, king of gods, couldn't bring himself to adjudicate in the nesuing dispute between his queen, Hera, Athena (goddess of wishdom), and Aphrodite (goddess of love). The goddesses were led to the Trojan Mount Ida where Priam's most beautiful son Paris was living. Hera offered him lordship of all Asia; Athena, victory in war and wisdom beyond any other man; Aphrodite, the most beatiful woman in the world, helen of Sparta and as usual men being men, stories being stories, Paris gave the apple to her (Helen).

The tale is simple and quite realistic. Paris goes to Sparta to give the apple to Helen. Menelous, husband of Helen gives a feast for him. Whenever Menelous left from there to see the king of Knossos, Helen and Paris run away and sailed to Troy. But there is some controdiction in this part, some source says that Paris carried of Helen by force and plundered elsewhere in the Aegean sea before returning to Troy.

When Menelous heard what happened, he begged his brother Agamemnon to take revange. The king sends envoys to Troy to demand Helen's restitution but envoys come back with empty hands. Then Menelous collects an army. In the story, great hereos were Archilles, Odysseus (Ulysses) and Ajax. At Aulis, the army seers read the signs that Troy woul fall in the tenth year of the war. Then Menelous army sailed to Asia Minor and in error attacked Teuthrania in Mysia opposite of Lesbos, but they had mistaken according to Trojan territory and the army were beaten at the mouth of the Caicus river and driven back to their ship by Telephus, king of Mysia and ally of Troy.

The Greeks assembled again at Aulis but they were windbound and unable to sail. Wings, hunger, evil harbourage, crzing men, routing ships and cables stoped the Greek army, because Agamemnon had offended Artemis and his most beatiful douther had to be sacrificed to change the fortune.

After sacrification of Iphigenia, the army reached first Lesbos, then Tenedos which is an island that is visible from Troy. The islands were plundered. At the end, Greek army was at the bay of Troy. The Trojans also had allies from several places in Asia Minor and Thrace. The war took 10 tears. in the tenth year of the war, the Greeks stoped raiding Asia Minor and attacked Troy. In a part of Homer's Iliad, hector falls in a single combat with Archilles, the best Greek warrior, the figth was finished with the death of hector and Archilles' friend Patroclus. Archilles sacrificed twelve noble Trojan captives over hector's Funeral pyre. after death of Trojan ally memnon in battle at the Scaeon gate, Paris strikes Archilles in his heel (the famous 'Archilles heel' comes from here) ,the only place where Archilles was vulnerable. And the greatest of all Greek hereos was burned and his ashes burried on a headland overlooking the Helespond. Ajax commited suicide with the silver-studded sword whish had been given to him by Hector as a mark of respect. Somehow Priam's son Paris killed by Philoktetes, but the Trojans stil refused to give Helen up.

A wooden horse was built to gain acces to the city as a plan. well armed men among them Odysseus of Ithaca and Menelous himself hidden in it. The horse was left as a thank to Athena and the Greeks burned their camps and sailed as if they had given up. Trojan found the horse and the ashes of the camp and pulled the horse into the city. 'It was midnight', says a fragment from the epic known as the little Iliad, 'and full moon was raising'. The soldiers jumped down from horse and opened the gates by killing the sentries. the Greeks entered the city and killed all Trojans where ever they found them. After the Greek massacre, none of the male sex was left in the city. Neoptolemus killed old Priam on the threshold of his royal house. the male children of Trojam hereos were slaughtered. hector's little boy was thrown from the walls. Meneleos determined to kill Helen but in front of her beuty, he gave up to kill her. After the Greeks, plundered and burned Troy was left.

But this victory brought only more suffering to the Greeks. They were split up by storms and lost their ways to return. Aagamemnon, the king of Greeks was killed by his wife. Philoktetos was expelled from Thessaly by rebels.

 


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