The Trojan War

Essay by hunter6817College, Undergraduate April 2004

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Most information that the world has today that deals with the history of ancient Greece is in the literature from the time. Great epics such as the Iliad and The Odyssey, from the unknown poet Homer, make up most of the literature that has even been found from this era. The problem with getting history from literary sources is that when Homer first recited his Iliad he was actually trying to entertain, so all of the information might not be accurate, although based on actual events. Also, in the Greek culture it was common to allow the credit for certain kinds of deeds to go to gods or goddesses, which today's historians just suppose to be allegorical references. But, if the gods or goddesses do not exist, then how did the Trojan War start in the first place? This paper will look at the events of the Trojan War and will describe how we can or cannot know what actually happened with the sources that we have.

The Trojan War was fought between the Greeks and the peoples of Troy. A blind poet named Homer wrote of this war in two of his epic poems, Iliad and the Odyssey. Most of what we know of the war comes from Iliad. The Odyssey talks about the return trip of Odysseus as he returns home after the Trojan War. The Greeks believed Homer's writings to be descriptions of historical events. They believed the war took place sometime in the 12th or 13th century BC.

When most people hear of the Trojan War they usually think of the Trojan Horse. According to Homer, the Greeks devised a new ploy - a giant wooden hollow horse. It was built by Epeius, a Greek soldier, and was filled with Greek warriors led my Odysseus, a...