For the Fairest

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Trojan War
The goddess Eris was not popular in Olympus and was always the outcast. Since everyone else in Olympus was content, she decided to stir the pot. At the wedding reception (banquet) of King Peleus and the sea nymph, Thetis, Eris threw in a golden apple that read For the Fairest. Only three goddesses were worthy of the apple: Aphrodite, Hera, and Pallas Athena. Zeus told them to go to Mount Ida, near Troy, and have prince Paris (a.k.a. Alexander) choose because he was a good judge of beauty. Paris' father was Priam, the King of Troy. Paris was living with the sea nymph, Oenone, at the time. The three goddesses showed up and Paris was to select the fairest of the three not based on looks, but based on their bribes. Hera offered for him to be Lord of Europe and Asia. Athena would help him lead the Trojans to victory over the Greeks. Aphrodite offered him the fairest woman in all creation. He chose Aphrodite, and thus the reason for the Trojan War.
The fairest woman in all creation was Helen (her immortal parents were Zeus & Leda) of Troy. Her father, King Tyndareus, was swarmed with men that wanted to marry her. They all stood before him and he declared an oath that the man chosen to be Helen's husband would not be harmed by any other man. Tyndareus chose Menelaus (brother of Agamemnon) and made him the King of Sparta. Since Helen was in Sparta, Aphrodite led Paris to Menelaus' house. Menelaus and Paris were good friends until this day. Menelaus left Paris at his house while he went to Crete, and Paris took Helen away. When Menelaus got back to Sparta and found Helen gone, he called upon Greece to get her back. The chieftains were ready for battle, but Odysseus and Achilles (first rank soldiers) were missing. Odysseus, King of Ithaca Island, did not want to leave his house and family to fight for someone's faithless woman, so he pretended to go mad (crazy) when a messenger came for him. Odysseus plowed a field and sowed it with salt, showing that he was crazy, but when the messenger put his son in front of the plow, Odysseus quickly changed his attitude and joined the army.
Achilles, on the other hand, was kept back by his mother, because she knew that fate would take his life in Troy. She sent him to the court of Lycomedes (king that killed Theseus) to hide out. Achilles dressed up as a girl (maiden). Odysseus was disguised as a pedlar (someone who sells trinkets and weapons) and found Achilles because he was the only maiden that played with the swords. Odysseus took Achilles back to the Greek camp. 1,000 ships carried the Greeks, but Aulis (place) had strong north winds making it impossible to sail. So the soothsayer, Calchas, declared that the gods spoke to him and Artemis was angry because a hare was killed by the Greeks. She said the only way to stop the wind was to sacrifice Iphigenia, Agamemnon's (commander in chief) eldest daughter. He was not willing to sacrifice his daughter, but he knew he had to, so he wrote his wife explaining that Iphigenia was meant to marry Achilles and she needed to come quick. But when she came to the altar, she was killed. At that time the north wind stopped and the ships sailed freely; however, this evil deed would come back to haunt them. The Greeks reached Simois (a river in Troy) and the oracle said the first person to land here would die, and when Protesilaus set foot ashore a Trojan spear killed him. The Greeks and gods paid him respect. Hermes then brought him up from the dead to see his wife, Laodamia. She then killed herself and went to the underworld with him. The Trojan city was led by Hector (husband of Andromache), son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, who was noble and brave. There was only one warrior stronger than him, Achilles (champion of the Greeks).

The battle continued for 9 years and was evenly fought. Then two Greeks, Achilles and Agamemnon, had a falling out over Chryseis (daughter of Apollo's priest). Agamemnon and Chryseis were together, but when her father asked for her back, Agamemnon refused. So, the priest prayed to Apollo to get his daughter back, and Apollo responded to the priest by shooting fiery arrows at the Greeks which caused many deaths. Achilles called upon all the chieftains to do something or the Trojans would defeat them. Calchas (soothsayer) asked Achilles for protection of the words he was about to speak. Achilles granted him protection. Calchas explained that Apollo would only be satisfied if Chryseis was given back to his priest. Achilles and the other chiefs forced Agamemnon to give Chryseis back to the priest, and he did. In return Agamemnon vowed to take Briseis (Achilles' maiden) away from Achilles. At this time the Trojans took advantage of the war.

Agamemnon sent his two squires to Achilles' tent and they took Briseis away from him. Achilles explained to the squires that Agamemnon would pay a heavy price for this action. Achilles' mom Thetis was upset and told him to break all ties with the Greeks. She then asked Zeus to give the Trojans enough strength to overpower the Greeks. Zeus couldn't do that because the war had also caused animosity amongst the gods. Hera and Athena were against Paris; Aphrodite took Paris' side; Ares (god of war) always sided with Aphrodite; Poseidon favored the Greeks; while Apollo and his sister Artemis sided with Hector and the Trojans. Zeus stayed neutral because whenever he took a side Hera disagreed with him. But Zeus took Thetis' words to his heart and could not resist her request. Hera was disappointed and upset. Zeus told Hera to be silent, and she was; however, she plotted against Zeus and took the side of the Greeks. In order for Zeus to be successful he sent a lying dream to Agamemnon promising him victory if he attacked. Achilles did not leave his tent to do battle. King Priam sat on the wall of Troy and watched the events unfold. Then Helen arrived. As Helen preached about the gods, Priam saw both the Greeks and Trojans back away from each other on the battlefield. Then came Paris and Menelaus to battle each other.

Paris struck first and Menelaus blocked it with his shield. Menelaus dropped his sword and was unarmed. Menelaus then leaped upon Paris, took him by the helmet and threw him to the ground. He then dragged Paris' body towards the Greeks, but Aphrodite used her powers to free Paris from his helmet strap, leaving Menelaus with just the helmet. Aphrodite then took Paris up in a cloud back to Troy. Menelaus then went through the Trojan army looking for Paris, but he was nowhere to be found; therefore, Agamemnon declared Menelaus the winner and Helen should be given back. But Hera told Athena that the war could not end unless the city of Troy was ruined. So Athena made Pandarus (a Trojan) shoot an arrow at Menelaus, wounding him, and the battle started again. Since Achilles stopped battling, Ajax and Diomedes took over for him. Diomedes even came close to killing Prince Aeneas (son of Aphrodite), Hector's right-hand man, until Aphrodite tried to swoop him up. Diomedes then wounded Aphrodite's hand, and she left Aeneas to die. As Aphrodite made her way back to Olympus, Zeus told her to stay away from the war because she is the goddess of beauty not battle. But Apollo ended up saving Aeneas by picking him up and taking him to Pergamos (holy place of Troy) where Artemis healed him.
Then Diomedes worked through the Trojan ranks and battled Hector. Ares showed up to kill Hector as well. This angered Hera and she asked Zeus if she could drive Ares away from the battlefield and he allowed it. Hera gave Diomedes strength and confidence to drive a spear through Ares and Athena helped him. Ares cried harshly and complained Zeus about Athena's violence. Zeus told him to stop crying. Now that Ares was gone the Trojans had to fall back. Hector's brother told Hector to rush to the city and have his mom offer Athena a pretty robe and pray for mercy, but Athena denied the robe and prayer. Hector was on his way back to the battlefield and his wife (Andromache) and son (Astyanax) looked upon him. Andromache cried for him to stay. He did not want to be a coward to the Trojans. He hugged his son tight, said a prayer to Zeus, handed him to Andromache, told her not to cry and leave everything up to fate.
Back on the battlefield, Zeus carried out his promise to Thetis. He ordered all the immortals to stay in Olympus while he went down to earth. Hector was now stronger than any other man. He killed every Greek in his path with his bronze spear. Troy rejoiced that night as the Greeks were driven back close to their ships. Agamemnon wanted to give up. Nestor (eldest chieftain) told Agamemnon to make up with Achilles, and he did. Briseis was promised back to Achilles and Odysseus would take the offer to Achilles. Odysseus and two chieftains found Achilles with Patroclus, told him Agamemnon's offer, and Achilles denied it. Odysseus brought the answer back and battle continued. The Greeks got pushed farther back, but Hera stepped in to help. Hera saw Zeus on Mount Ida watching the battle. She knew she could fancy him by dressing up and looking beautiful for him. Once she fancied him, Hera would pour sweet sleep on him and take over the battle for the Greeks. It worked. Ajax hurled Hector to the ground, but Aeneas finally battled Hector to severe pain. The Greeks now drove the Trojans back. Then Zeus awakened and saw Hector close to death. He blamed Hera and became extremely upset. Hera told him it was Poseidon and Zeus took her excuse. He summoned Iris (rainbow messenger) to tell Poseidon to withdraw from the battle. Then the battle turned against the Greeks again.
Apollo revived Hector and the Trojans pushed the Greeks back so far that they could set their ships on fire. Patroclus saw the awful events and asked Achilles for his armor because the Trojans would recognize it and be afraid. Achilles said he wouldn't do battle unless it harmed his ship, but that Patroclus could use his armor to fight. Achilles felt dishonored by the other Greeks. Patroclus and Achilles men (Myrmidons) did well in battle. Then Patroclus met Hector and Hector killed him. Hector stripped him of Achilles' armor and put it on. That night Achilles awaited Patroclus, but he never came. Nestor's son (Antilochus) told Achilles what happened and he vowed revenge. Achilles told his mom (Thetis) and she calmed him down and made him wait until the morning to seek revenge. The Myrmidons could see the fire in Achilles' eyes as they headed to the other Greeks. When they got the other Greeks Diomedes was wounded and so were Odysseus and Agamemnon. Achilles admitted that a girl should not have been able to do this. Achilles was ready to lead them again. They had a feast in preparation for battle with food and wine.
As the Greeks were ready for battle, Zeus weighed the options of Hector's death and Achilles' death. His decision was that Hector had to die. The battle was fierce. Hector and the Trojans battled well and even Xanthus (river of Troy) tried to drown Achilles. The gods were in battle too. Zeus looked on and laughed at the immortals. Then the Scaean gates of Troy opened and the Trojans had fallen back into their town. Hector was the only warrior left. Priam and Hecuba cried for him to save himself, but he did not. He felt as if he started this battle for Troy and he needed to finish it. Athena and Achilles attacked Hector, but he ran. Athena finally stopped him by standing beside him as his brother (Deiphobus). Then Achilles threw a spear at Hector and missed. Hector then hit Achilles' shield with a spear of his own, but the power behind the shield would block any spear. As Hector looked next to him, at his brother, he was gone. Hector finally figured out it was Athena and he had been tricked. Hector drew his sword and ran upon Achilles to try to stab him, but Achilles' spear went straight through his throat and Hector died.
Achilles tied Hector's feet to the back of his chariot leaving his head trail behind him. Achilles and his horses went around and arouns the city of Troy with Hector's remaining body. Then Achilles went to Patroclus' body and said he got revenge.
Up in Olympus, every god besides Athena, Poseidon and Hera, were displeased with the events, especially Zeus. Zeus sent Iris to Priam to ensure him that he would get Hector's body back. Priam went to the Greek camp and Hermes, dressed as a Greek youth, took him to Achilles' tent. The two exchanged meaningful words of family and courage. Achilles had his men wash and anoint Hector's body, and cover it with a soft robe so Priam could not see it. Priam brought Hector home and wept with Helen. They lamented his body for 9 days and then set it on fire, then quenched the flame with wine, put his bones in an urn and put it in a hollow grave with stones over it. The Iliad ends.

Fall of Troy

Achilles knew that his own death was near, since Hector's death sealed his fate. Prince Memnon of Ethiopia assisted Troy. The Greeks then lost many warriors including Antilochus. Achilles, in his last battle, killed Memnon. When Achilles was born his mom dipped him in the river of Styx to make him invulnerable, but as she dipped him she covered his heel with her hand. Since it was the only part of his body that was vulnerable, Apollo guided an arrow that Paris shot straight to his heel. Achilles died and Ajax carried his body out of Troy. After his body was burned, they placed his bones in the same urn as his best friend Patroclus. When a warrior of Achilles caliber is killed his arms are given away to another deserving warrior. The two warriors deserving of his arms were Ajax and Odysseus. After a secret vote, Odysseus was chosen to receive the arms causing Ajax to feel dishonored and his anger led to the killing of Agamemnon and Menelaus (their votes went to Odysseus), but he slaughtered the Greek animals instead. Ajax felt shame and cowardly; therefore, he killed himself. The Greeks buried him instead of burning him because he committed suicide. The Greeks were dismayed by the deaths of Achilles and Ajax, and thought as though they were not victors of the war. The Greeks went to their prophet, Calchas, and he told them to find the Trojan, Helenus (a prophet) and capture him to find out how to win the war. Odysseus captured him and he told them that Troy wouldn't fall until someone fought against the Trojans with Hercules' bow and arrows.

They were given to Prince Philoctetes when Hercules died. He joined the Greek host when they sailed to Troy. Along the journey he was bitten by a serpent, and since he could not be healed, they left him on the island of Lemnos. Hercules' bow and arrows would help him hunt for food so he wouldn't die. Helenus knew it would be hard to persuade a man that they abandoned to give up his weapons, so they sent Odysseus to trick him. Diomedes and Pyrrhus (Achilles' son) went with Odysseus and were successful in stealing the weapons. They felt bad for the wretch and persuaded him to come with them. He was healed when he got to Troy and wounded Paris in his first battle. In pain and fear of dying, Paris asked to be taken to his nymph Oenone, who had a drug to cure any ailment. She refused to give him the drug because he left her. Then she watched him die and killed herself.

Paris' death did not cause the fall of Troy, but if the Greeks stole the Palladium (image of Pallas Athena), Troy would be vulnerable. Odysseus and Diomedes ventured out one night to steal the image, and it was Diomedes that took the image off the wall. Having this image, the Greeks devised a plan to end the war once and for all. They had to get their army into Troy and surprise the Trojans. They had to be secretive about getting into Troy, and the stratagem used was a wooden horse (Odysseus' idea). The hollow horse held numerous men and Odysseus came up with the bright idea to put all the chieftains in the horse. If anything went wrong, the other Greeks could just sail away. If this happened, the men in the wooden horse would die, so Odysseus left one Greek at the deserted camp to free the men from the wooden horse at night. Then they would open the city gates for the army.

On the last day of Troy there were two astonishing sights that the Trojan watchers observed. The huge wooden horse stood at the gates completely silent and the Greek ships sailed away. Troy thought the Greeks had given up and they exulted. The Trojans went to the Greek camp and observed the tents of the chieftains, and then they went back to the horse. Sinon, the Greek left behind, showed himself. He was dragged to Priam while he wept and protested to no longer be a Greek. Odysseus told him to do this. They discussed Pallas Athena's anger and the oracle said the only way to appease her was through human sacrifice. Sinon said he was the sacrifice and escaped from the Greeks, hid in the swamp, and watched the ships sail away.

The Trojans bought the story, pitied Sinon, and told him he could live as a Trojan. Then Sinon explained the second part of the story. The horse was left as an offering to Athena. The Greeks hoped that the Trojans would attack the horse and change Athena's attitude towards the Trojans and away from the Greeks. However, Poseidon was a bitter god and made priest Laocoon skeptical of the Greek gift. Priam's daughter mimicked the same message, but her message was ignored as usual, but when Laocoon and his two sons heard Sinon's story, they were suspicious. After Sinon's story two serpents swam to land from the sea, found Lacoon and his sons, coiled around them, crushed them, and then went into Athena's temple. Laocoon had been punished for opposing the entry of the horse; therefore, the Trojans no longer hesitated.

The Trojans dragged the horse into the city, went to their houses, and in the middle of the night the chieftains got out of the horse and opened the gates to let their army in. The Greek Army marched into the city, lit fires, and then butchered each Trojan one by one as they left their homes. Some Trojans were able to gather together and kill some of the Greeks. Then the Trojans stripped the dead Greeks of their armor, put it on, joined other Greek soldiers, and then killed them. Other Trojans stood atop their houses, tore of the roof and threw it down on the Greeks. Even the tower on top of Priam's palace was tipped over on a band of Greeks. All the women, children and Priam gathered in the courtyard, and that's where Achille's son killed Priam. The Greeks were now very close to a victory. All the Trojan leaders were dead before morning except one- Aeneas. Since nothing more could be done for Troy, he tried to do something for his family. Aphrodite helped him, but his wife was killed. He saved his father and son as Aphrodite got them past the gates and out into the country. Aphordite was the only god that helped a Trojan that day. She also helped Helen by taking her to Menelaus. All that was left of Troy were women with dead husbands, and the only thing they could hope for was to be carried overseas into slavery. The chief was now Hecuba and Adromache (her daughter-in-law), and Hecuba believed she was just a slave now. The only child left was Andromache's son Astyanax, and she had to let him die because the Greeks would not allow him to come. Soldiers carried him away. Before Astyanax's death, Hecuba's daughter, Polyxena was killed on Achille's grave. Once Astyanax (Hector's son) was killed, Troy's last sacrifice was accomplished and the city of Troy was left in ruins.

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