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Check out the story of Troy, the great country that fell because of an illicit love affair

The Trojan war has achieved a lot of popularity, especially in the Western world that it has come to be used passively as an idiom.

The myth of Troy, the country that fought the war with Greece, began with Homer's Iliad of 750 B.C, subsequently after was Virgil's Aeneid, and Ovid's Metamorphoses, even Herodotus and Thucydides had thier says on it.

These scholar were all convinced of the existence of a city during the late Bronze age, existing over a hill, that overlooked the Hellespont (Now Dardanelles): the narrow straits between the Aegean and Black seas.

Homer began the story of Troy, with the very incident that was to lead to the Trojan war, which was the marriage celebration of King Peleus, an Argonauts and his wife Thetis, a seagoddess, who deliberately failed to invite Eris; the goddess of discord, to the wedding. Eris was later to gatecrash the banquet and in her anger, threw a golden apple onto the table inscribed "For the most beautiful." 

Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, all goddesses reached greedily for the apple at the same time. To resolve the conflict, Zeus assigned the decision to the most handsome man alive, who was Paris, the son of Priam, King of Troy. 

Hera promised Paris great power if he choose her, Athena offered him military glory, and Aphrodite promised him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. 

Paris gave Aphrodite the apple and in turn, she gave him Helen, the wife of Menelaus, whose search led Paris to Sparta. Paris was received honourably at Menelaus's palace in Sparta. And when Menelaus went for a funeral, Paris escaped to Troy with Helen, stealing with them about half of King Menelaus's wealth. Menelaus return to discover the betrayal, he was very outraged to find his wife abducted and his treasures stolen. He Immediately raised an army with Helen's previous suitors, who had at one time sworn an oath to protect his marriage with Helen and with them Menelaus sailed for Troy.  

After about more than two years of preparation, the Greek fleet (consisting of more than 1,000 ships under the command of Agamemnon, King of Mycenae) assembled at the port of Aulis in east central Greece, ready for Troy. However, there were unable to sail, because there was no wind to carry the ships, so Calchis, the Seer on crew with them, told Agamemnon that in order for the ships to sail he must sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis, which he did and after the barbaric act, the wind came as said, and the Greek fleet were able to sail for Troy. 

The Trojan war went on for 9 years, and left scores of great heroes dead on both sides, including Achilles, who was killed by Paris. And all through these, the great walls of Troy was impenetrable by the Greeks, that they were unable to gain entry into Troy. 

It was on the 10th year of the war, that the cunning Odysseus devised a plan of building a giant wooden horse, which was to have a false inside to conceal Greek warriors, including himself. The horse was placed at the gate of Troy as a gesture of armistice, then the Greek fleet retreated afterwards as if in defeat, leading the Trojans to believe they had triumph.

The Trojans were unsuspecting and joyous about their triumph that they dragged the wooden horse into Troy. 

After the Trojans had drunk themselves to stupor at celebrating their victory. The Greeks climbed down from the horse, that night and opened the gate, letting in the whole Greek army. 

The Trojans were caught completely by surprise, and were mercilessly slaughtered. Polyxena, Paris sister was sacrificed at the tomb of Achilles, and Astyanax, son of Hector, was also sacrificed. Menelaus had been keen on killing the disloyal Helen before, but mesmerized by her transcendental beauty, he spared her. 

Should we consider the story of Troy to be the imaginative product of Homer's mind or a real country that existed centuries ago, and had fell to the Greeks. Though controversial, but subsequent research, excavations and evidences thereof from these research and excavations had proven Homer to be more than near to the truth.

In 1873, Heinrich Schliemann a rich business man and Frank Calvert found at the lower levels of Hisarlik gold artifacts, proposed to have been of the 3rd millennium B.C. Hisarlik was a mile from Dardanelles. This evidences led Schliemann to proclaim to the world that he had found Homer's Troy.

Though later Schliemann golds were discovered to have existed prior to Homer's proposed existence of Troy, but Schliemann excavations brought Hilsarik some popularity that garnered it attention from the world, leading to further archeological operations at Hisarlik, especially that undertaken by Wilhelm Dorpfeld (1893-1894), American archaeologist Carl Blegen from 1932 to 1938, and from a team of the University of Tubingen and also from the University of Cincinnati, under the direction of the late Professor Manfred Korfmann, from 1988 to 2005.

Excavations at Hisarlik has shown that there were nine separate phases and cities at the site, with various sub-phases. These phases began in the third millennium B.C. (early Bronze Age) with Troy I and finish in the Hellenistic period (323 B.C.- c. 31 B.C.) with Troy IX. Then the Late Bronze Age phase Troy VII followed (c. 1300c. 1180 B.C.) the original phase of the existence of Troy.

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Dardanelles Greece Homer Thucydides Trojan


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