- Trojan War
Class. Myth.a ten-year war waged by the confederated Greeks under Agamemnon against the Trojans to avenge the abduction of Helen, wife of Menelaus, by Paris, son of the Trojan king Priam, and ending in the plundering and burning of Troy.
* * *Mostly legendary conflict between the Greeks and the people of Troy in western Asia Minor.It was dated by later Greeks to the 12th or 13th century BC. It is celebrated in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, in Greek tragedy, and in Roman literature. In Homer's account the Trojan prince Paris ran off with the beautiful Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta, whose brother Agamemnon then led a Greek expedition to retrieve her. The war lasted 10 years; its participants included Hector, Achilles, Priam, Odysseus, and Ajax. Its end resulted from a ruse: The Greeks built a large wooden horse in which a raiding party hid. When the Greeks pretended to leave, the Trojans brought the horse into the walled city and the Greeks swarmed out, opening the gates to their comrades and sacking Troy, killing the men and enslaving the women. The extent of the legend's actual historical content is not known; excavations have revealed human habitation from 3000 BC to AD 1200, and there is evidence of violent destruction about 1250 BC.
* * *legendary conflict between the early Greeks and the people of Troy in western Anatolia, dated by later Greek authors to the 12th or 13th century BC. (See Troy.) The war stirred the imagination of the ancient Greeks more than any other event in their history, and was celebrated in the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, as well as a number of other early works now lost, and frequently provided material for the great dramatists of the Classical Age. It also figures in the literature of the Romans (e.g., Virgil's Aeneid) and of later European peoples down to the 20th century.In the traditional accounts, Paris, son of the Trojan king, ran off with Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta, whose brother Agamemnon then led a Greek expedition against Troy. The ensuing war lasted 10 years, finally ending when the Greeks pretended to withdraw, leaving behind them a large wooden horse with a raiding party concealed inside. When the Trojans (Trojan horse) brought the horse into their city, the hidden Greeks opened the gates to their comrades, who then sacked Troy, massacred its men, and carried off its women. This version was recorded centuries later; the extent to which it reflects actual historical events is not known.
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