The Trojan Horse

By: Joshua D.

The Trojan Horse was an instrument of war used by the Greeks to gain access to the city of Troy.

The story behind the Trojan War involves myths; therefore you can choose to believe it, or choose not to believe it. The epics such as The Odyssey and The Illiad were written by a Greek writer named Homer after the Trojan War. I believe that it is safe to say that the chronicles of the the Trojan War through Homer's writings were at least a little distorted to make the Greeks look glorious and just.

Many scholars believe that the myth behind the Trojan War is simply an exaggeration of many smaller conflicts between Troy and the Greeks between the years of 1500 BC and 1200 BC. These smaller conflicts are not explained, but they play a major role in the beginning of the war if the epics are indeed true, or false.

The epics written about the war are said to contain both factual, and fictional information. This applies to all of the epics written and myths created.

Greek myth states that the conflict which started the war took place at the wedding feast of King Peleus (king of Pthia), and Thetis (the goddess of the sea). All gods and goddesses were invited except for one. Eris, the goddess of Discord was outraged because she was the only divine being not invited. Eris threw a golden apple into the midst of the party. The words "To the most beautiful" were inscribed on the apple. Naturally, more than one goddess claimed the apple. Hera, Athena and Aphrodite each wanted the apple. Then the problems started. A man named named Paris was to be the judge of who was the most beautiful.

Paris was the son of Priam, who was the king of Troy. The goddesses tempted him with many gifts such as power and love, but in the end he picked Aphrodite as the most beautiful ( His gift from Aphrodite was the most beautiful, mortal woman in the world). At this time Helen of Troy was the most beautiful woman in the world, but she was married to King Menelaus of Sparta. Aphrodite put a spell on Helen so that she would go with Paris. Paris would have the Queen of Troy to himself, and Aphrodite's obligation to give the most beautiful woman would be fulfilled.

When Paris came to visit, Helen left with him to return to Troy.

Enraged, the Greek king launched a fleet of one thousand ships to go to Troy and retrieve Helen. Helen's was "the face that launched a thousand ships."

Many main characters of the Greek epics and myths were involved in the seige of Troy. Achilles and Odysseus were only a couple.

For ten years , the Greeks had lain siege to the city of Troy without success of getting into the city, or with getting Helen back. The layout and build of the city walls made the ancient metropolis impenetrable. After Achilles left the war, the Greeks' progress slowed to almost a dead stop. Troy was not going to be taken by sheer numbers.

The Trojans, led by Hector, began to repel the Greeks. Eventually the Greeks were driven back to their own ships. Achilles rejoined the battle, and killed Hector to avenge a good friend's death. Greek morale shot through the roof!

The Greeks needed a war machine. The siege machines of the time weren't getting the Greeks anywhere. They needed something new. So the Greeks devised a plan and put it to work.

The Greeks built a giant, wooden horse with a hollow belly. A handful of armed Greeks climbed into the hollow opening, and sealed it up. Meanwhile, the rest of the Greek army piled into their ships and sailed away. Due to a convincing Greek spy , the Trojans came out of Troy to recive the huge horse as an offering of peace. The Trojans rejoiced at the thought of the Greek army running away like dogs!

The Trojans then decided to celebrate. By nightfall the whole city was in a drunken uproar. They celebrated far into the night. In the small hours of the morning, while everyone was drunk or asleep, the Greeks unsealed the belly of the horse, and climbed down from it. Silently, they killed the Trojan sentries at all the city gates. The gates were then opened to the bulk of the Greek army. In their drunkeness, the Trojans did not see the Greek fleet return to their shores.

Now, the Greeks were finally inside the city after ten years of useless battle. The Greeks finally had their chance at capturing victory. They slaughtered men and boys alike. The women, and girls were kept and later sold as slaves. By daylight, everyone in Troy was either dead, or in bondage.


1996 Microsoft Encarta
World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. "T"
"The Trojan War" by Gail Stewart

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