Paris chose Aphrodite, and she assisted him in
abducting Helen from her home in Sparta.
The Trojan War
(9th century etching of
the Trojan Horse, artist unknown)
Trojan war is considered a mythical war. It centred around the
city of Troy. The founder of Troy was Ilus. Ilus was succeeded
by his son, Laomedon. Laomedon, however, was slain by Hercules
and succeeded by his son, Priam. The Trojan War happened during
According to tradition, the root of the war started with Eris,
who was the Goddess of Discord and one of the followers of
offering the 'golden apple of strife' for the fairest Goddess.
She did this to create trouble, in revenge for being the only
goddess not invited to the wedding of Peleus and the sea nymph
The beauty competition was between
and was to be held on the slopes of Mount Ida. When they got
there, they found Paris, prince of Troy, tending some sheep. His
father, the king, had been told by an oracle that Paris would
one day be the ruin of Troy and he had sent his son to a remote
mountain in an attempt to keep him out of trouble. However, when
the company of Gods reached Mount Ida they decided that Paris
should judge the beauty competition.
the goddesses offered Paris a bribe to make her the winner. Hera
offered him sovereignty over the entire earth, Athena offered
him invincibility in battle, while Aphrodite offered him Helen,
the most beautiful mortal. Paris chose Aphrodite, and she
assisted him in abducting Helen from her home in Sparta while
her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta, was away. Paris then
carried Helen back to Troy - it is not known whether she was a
willing captive or not.
Paris's deed was discovered, the Spartans declared war on Troy.
They were joined by many of the countries that made up what was
then Greece. A ten year war followed, with the Greeks laying
siege to Troy. Their hero,
was their greatest fighter and with his help the Greeks gained
the upper hand.
However, the Gods started taking sides and they too joined in
the battle, some being wounded by mortals but most of them
causing lots of damage. Apollo joined with the Trojans. It was
one of his lethal arrows which hit Achilles on the heel and
Greeks despaired, overwhelmed without their hero, until
had an idea - make a wooden horse. The Greeks built an immense
wooden horse and hid their best warriors inside it. They then
sent their spy, Sinon, into the city to convince the king that
the gift would mysteriously protect Troy. Despite warnings from
the gift was accepted
and wheeled into the city, where it stayed until nightfall when
the warriors burst out of it, opened the gates to the rest of
the Greek army, and ransacked the city.
himself started to fight with Menelaus and would have lost
miserably had not Aphrodite carried him off in a mist. However,
he had been severely wounded by the archer Philoctetes and died
before he could get help.
Judgment of Paris, Peter Paul Rubens, ca 1636)
1. Why did the Greeks
declare war on Troy?
2. How did Achilles die in
the Trojan War?
3. How did the Greeks win
the Trojan War?