Troy: the greatest epic –

I still remember the sensations that I felt when I was little when I heard about Troy, about his epic, the wooden horse, the strength and the pride of those invincible Greeks. Homerthrough its Iliad he introduced us to a fairytale world, to a story that borders on truth and legend. He wanted to feel that story as an Adventure in capital letters, which also combined as if it were a story, the magic of a forbidden love, the desire of a young boy, Paris, for a Spartan Helena, wife of the king, Menelaus. Let’s investigate and immerse ourselves in The greatest of the Epics, Troywhat was the reason, how it was produced and what consequences it would have.

Troy location

There are times when reality and fiction can get confused, not knowing how far history goes and where myth appears is complicated, especially when we talk about Classical Greece, many historical stories have come to us from the hand of their writers or rhapsodies.

Troy or Ilium is a legendary city, but also a historical one. Located on the northwest coast of Turkey and an obligatory stop to cross from the Aegean Sea to the Sea of ​​Marmara, through the Dardanelles Strait. Its strategic location for trade, should have given Troy the category of important city.

The commercial routes that intended to pass from the West to the East, reached Troy where, depending on the season of currents, they had to wait to cross safely the Dardanelles Strait, that communicates the Aegean Sea with the sea ​​of ​​marmaracrossing the Sea of ​​Marmara, you reach Istanbul, a city that unites East with West and therefore a commercial point of great importance, after passing the bosphorus, we arrived at Black Sea.

Troy was thought to be a myth and had never existed, in fact we know the story from the poems written by Homerwho describes Troy both in his work The Iliad, What in the odyssey. The entire history of a city called Troy was thought to be just that, a history.

Centuries of oblivion until Heinrich Schliemann, in 1871discovered some ruins that could coincide with the stories of Homer, the location, the archaeological remains, the ceramics, everything seemed to coincide, it had been discovered the ruins of the City of Troy.

Homer and the Iliad

We know little about Homer, we know that he was a reciter of poems who traveled through towns singing his epic stories. Scholars cannot attribute with certainty that the stories of the Iliad or the Odyssey were really works written entirely by Homer.

It may be that Homer took advantage of old stories to write his works. Even today it is questioned whether Homer ever existed. History to this day attributes to him the authorship of the greatest epics of the classical world.

  • The Iliad. Describes an episode that occurred in year 10 of the Trojan War
  • The odyssey. Recounts the journey home of Odysseus or Ulysses (Latinized version).

the epics they were poems that were recited while singing and recounted the legendary exploits of historical figures. The reason they were sung was possibly to facilitate the understanding of the story as well as to facilitate its dissemination.

Of the whole story of the Iliad, it seems that there are parts that were made later by Greek and Roman poets. The modern text of the Homeric poems was transmitted through medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, which in turn were copied from ancient manuscripts, now lost.

With the discovery of the city of Troy, the stories of the Iliad begin to have a different meaning than what was believed, now there is a historical foundation, a city that was believed to be fictitious, is real. Can Homer’s stories be true historical facts? We do not know, perhaps the new investigations shed light in this regard, but there is no doubt that the city existed, possibly the Iliad as an epic story, it was exaggerated, but with a real basis.

The Epic of the Iliad

The Iliad No tells us the entire Trojan War, it only concentrates on a single episode, perhaps the least warlike, but the one that involves the greatest concentration of drama, in which it squanders all the beauty in the descriptions treating them with softness and sweetness to pass without preamble to describe how the battlefield was laid out.

It is believed that it was written in the second half of the 8th century BC, although other scholars place it in the s. SAW. BC It consists of 24 songs or rhapsodies with a total of 15,693 verses. The Iliad recounts the events that occurred in the tenth and last year of the Trojan War, specifically narrating the events that occurred in a period of time of 51 days, with results as dramatic and important as the death of Paris or Hector. The songs in which the Iliad is divided are:

  • Canto I: The Plague and the Wrath
  • Canto II: The dream of Agamemnon and Boeotia
  • Canto III: The oaths and Helena on the wall
  • Canto IV: Violation of the oaths and review of the troops
  • Canto V: Principalia of Diomedes
  • Canto VI: Colloquy of Hector and Andromache
  • Canto VII: Single Combat of Hector and Ajax
  • Canto VIII: Battle Interrupted
  • Canto IX: Embassy to Achilles
  • Canto X: Gesta de Dolon
  • Canto XI: Deed of Agamemnon
  • Canto XII: Fight on the wall
  • Canto XIII: Battle alongside the ships
  • Canto XIV: Deception of Zeus
  • Canto XV: New offensive from the ships
  • Canto XVI: Deed of Patroclus
  • Canto XVII: Deed of Menelaus
  • Canto XVIII: Manufacture of weapons
  • Canto XIX: Achilles lays down his wrath
  • Canto XX: Battle of the Gods
  • Canto XXI: Battle by the River
  • Canto XXII: Death of Hector
  • Canto XXIII: Games in honor of Patroclus
  • Canto XXIV: Rescue of Hector

The Iliad is based on human anger, what causes it, how it is appeased and what consequences it has. According to the story, the Trojan War begins when Paris kidnaps Helena, Menelaus’s wife, and flees to Troy. Faced with such an affront, the Achaeans set out for Troy to avenge this outrage and rescue Helena. Troy at that time was defended by the brave Hector, son of the king of the Trojans, Priam and a prominent character in the war.

The Iliad begins with Achilles leaving the Achaean camp because of an offense that Agamemnon, head of the besieging army, had committed against him. agamemnon had taken as spoils of war a woman named Chryseis or Briseis, her father Chryses, priest of the temple of Apollo, begged Agamemnon to return his daughter to him. Agamemnon despised her with strong and aggressive words, giving her to Achilles as her slave. Apollo who had seen what Agemenon had done, decided to punish the Greeks sending him fire arrows. Calchas was the one who, consulting the gods, received divine indications about the only way to calming Apollo’s anger would be returning Chryseis to her father.

Agamemnon finally agreed, but Chryseis was now owned by Achilles, so he had to convince him to return her, but it was too late, Chryseis had become his favorite. When Chryseis turned to her father, Achilles was enraged, taking it as a provocation. for what he decides not help in the fight nor provide their myrmidons as aid to the Greek forces.

The battle began to be a disaster for the Greeks and voices like Nestor’s, accusing Agamemnon of being responsible for Achilles’ anger and therefore for the defeat that Greece was suffering. So Agamemnon decided to appease Achilles’ anger, sending Odysseus and other chiefs with the offer to return Criseis, his ex-slave, and even entertained him with gifts.

Achilles refused the gifts and asked the Greeks to return home, something he had already planned to do. Nevertheless, the Trojans, led by Hector, They drove the Greek army back to the very beaches, raiding and looting their ships.

The Greeks were on the verge of total defeat when Achilles allowed Patroclus, lead his army of myrmidons into battle, but only for them to stand there, not fighting. Patroclus and his army managed to repel the attacks of the Trojans, but fell down at the hands of Hector, before coming to storm the city of Troy.

Achilles received the news of the death of Patroclus and wept inconsolably over the inert body of his friend. Thetis, the mother of Achilles persuaded him to have Hephaestus make him a new armor, since his had been worn by Patroclus and it had been taken away by Hector.

After the death of Patroclus, Achilles decided to enter the battle In order to avenge the death of his friend, he allied himself with Agamemnon again and his anger led him to kill everyone he encountered, while searching the battlefield for his enemy and responsible for the death of Patroclus, Hector.

He even came to fight against Scamander, god of the rivers, who had become angry at the number of dead that obstructed his waters. Zeus himself, aware of Achilles’ anger and fury and fearing that he would destroy Troy too soon, sent the gods to stop him.

But Achilles had already located his enemy Hector, he chased him around the walls up to 3 times, until the tragic encounter took place. Achilles killed Hector of a spear to the neck, tying his body to a cart and dragging it around the battlefield for 9 days. To later join and preside over the funerary games in honor of Patroclus.

priamfather of the deceased Hector, convinced Achilles to allowed him to celebrate the funeral rites for his son, this fact is what manages to appease Achilles’ anger. The last story of the Iliad refers to Hector’s funeral. The story will continue but is not told in the Iliad.

The Trojan horse

The Trojan War was described by Homer in his poems for the first time, but this war has been narrated by other authors both in ancient and modern times, introducing different variations and modifying part of the story.

In year 10 of the Trojan War, Achilles already died in combat. The Greeks consult the oracles what they had to do in order to take the city. The oracle imposes to take Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, to the battlefield, to bring the bones of Pélope or to steal the Palladium. After fulfilling all the tasks,The city of Troy still did not fall.

the fortune teller calcant observed a pigeon being chased by a hawk. The dove took refuge in a hole to which the Falcon did not have access, in this situation, the falcon decides to hide away from the dove’s gaze. Believing that his enemy was gone, he decided to go out and this was the worst decision he could make, the falcon came out quickly catching its prey.

Calchas, I take this vision as a divine revelation, who gave him the way to take the city and it was not storming its walls, nor using force. Odysseus After hearing the story of Calchas, he began to develop a plan, to build a horse and hide a group of the best warriors inside, as the falcon did with the dove.

At this point there are different versions, for some writers it was Athena who devised the plan, for others it was Prilis, a fortune teller from Lesbos, who predicted that Troy could only be conquered through a huge wooden horse.

Whose idea was it is the least important in the…