The Trojan War was a decade long conflict between the city of Troy and the Greeks.
Marriage of Peleus and Thetis
There once was a mortal named Peleus. One day, he met the goddess Thetis, and he fell instantly in love. Thetis, although at first was digusted at a marrying a mortal man, soon grew fond of him. When Peleus and Thetis were going to be married, Zeus and Hera chose the guests and they decided not to invite Eris, due to her being the goddess of discord. In revenge, she planned on putting a golden apple in the room, marked "for the fairest" on it, leading to a quarrel between the goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite. Zeus didn't want them to get angry, so he sent Hermes to tell the first farmer he finds to judge them.invite
The Judgement of Paris
Hermes eventually found Paris of Troy, a son of the Trojan king. Zeus sent the goddesses Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite down to Paris, so he could judge which of the goddesses was the "fairest" and which of them could earn the golden apple dropped down by Eris, the goddess of strife and discord. Each of the goddesses tried to persuade Paris of Troy to pick them by saying that if he picked one of them, they would reward him with a gift:
- Hera offered him the ownership of Asia and Europe if she was chosen.
- Athena offered to give him, his family, and Troy many battle skills that would allow them to overcome their enemies in war if she was picked.
- Aphrodite offered to give him the most beautiful woman alive if she was picked.
Paris thought that both Hera and Athena's gifts to him weren't great because at the time his family and Troy were not at war. However, Aphrodite's promise of the most beautiful woman in the world appeared to him as the best gift he could ask for.
Result of Judgement
Paris refused both Hera and Athena's gifts. He chose that Aphrodite was the fairest and rewarded her with the apple. This however, made both Hera and Athena furious because they both disliked Aphrodite, thought that her gift was unfair, and that maybe a mortal such as Paris was a stupid choice to judge who the fairest was. Angrily, they transformed into their godly forms and ascended together to Olympus while leaving Aphrodite back with Paris on the earth. Paris said that he would've picked them to prevent them from becoming angry. However, Aphrodite rejoiced in the fact that she was the "fairest" goddess and told him that he should rejoice as well. She would definitely gave him the most beautiful woman on earth (which was Helen).
The seduction of Helen
Paris and Hector, his brother, went to Sparta on a diplomatic mission to speak with Menelaus, the king of Sparta, about some trade agreements. During Hector's talk with Menelaus, Paris noticed Helen, a beautiful woman in Menelaus's court and chatted with her secretly behind Menelaus's back, as Helen was Menelaus' wife.
By the time Hector and Paris were to leave Menelaus's court and Sparta, Paris somehow seduced Helen and got her on their ship without Menelaus knowing about this. This, backed by Aphrodite, made Helen fall in love with Paris, and the ship took them back to the city of Troy with Helen on board.
Paris' seduction of Helen without Menelaus's permission caused Menelaus to be deeply affected by the crime. So affected by the crime of his wife leaving him alone, Menelaus went to his brother, Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, to ask him for permission to take war to the grounds of Troy. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and the brother of Helen's husband Menelaus, agreed to Menelaus's pleas and led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years.
The Trojan War
For ten years, the Trojan war raged on. The Greeks, early in the war, made an enemy of Apollo by killing a favored son as well as kidnapping the daughter of a priest of his. Apollo shot arrows of plague into the Greek camp until the daughter, Chryseis, was returned to her father. Agamemnon, angry that he had to give up his slave took Briesis from Achilles. This angered the hero and for years afterward, he refused to fight in the war.
Patroclus, Achilles' companion, tired of not fighting after nine years, stole Achilles's armor and, disguised as the hero, lead the army into battle. Hector, thinking Patroclus was Achilles, confronted him in battle. Unaware that this was not Achilles, Hector easily defeated him. When he went to take Achilles's armor as a War Prize, the deception was discovered.
Achilles, mad with grief, vows vengeance on Hector, despite the prophecy that if Achilles killed Hector, it would insure his own death. Thetis, Achilles's mother, agreed to ask Hephaestus to make him new armor since Hector still had his as a prize.
When Achilles returns to the battle, he easily slaughters every Trojan warrior he finds until the Trojan army starts to retreat from the fury of Achilles. Apollo interferes once again, disguising himself as a Trojan and leads Achilles away, giving the real Trojans time to get back into their city walls. When Apollo reveals himself, the only Trojan left out is Hector who stayed to face Achilles's wrath.
Achilles threw his spear to Hector, who managed to dodge. Athena returned the spear to Achilles's hand. Hector turns the attack but his spear is blocked by Achilles's shield. Realizing he was going to die, Hector decided he would go down fighting. He drew his sword, asking that the victor return the other's body to their family for a respectful funeral. Achilles refuses and attacks.
They fought but Hector wore Achilles's old armor and Achilles knew the weakness of it. He stabbed Hector in the neck and, with his dying breath, Hector asks once again if Achilles's would return his body to his family. Achilles refuses and Hector promises Achilles will pay for it.
Achilles then begins to disrespect Hector's corpse, tying it to his chariot and dragging it around the city of Troy. For 12 days, Achilles mistreats Hector's body, much to the dismay of the Gods. It is only by Apollo and Aphrodite's efforts that preserved Hector's body from harm. Finally, accompanied by Hermes, Priam, King of Troy, begs Achilles to return his son's body to him. Moved to tears, Achilles's relents and Hector is returned to Troy.
Later into the war, Paris gives Aeneas the sword of Troy and he says "take, if it stills on Trojan hands Troy will last" then he shoots a poisoned arrow, guided by Apollo, at Achilles, striking him in the heel which lead to his death. Soon after, Paris is mortally wounded by Philoctetes. Either Helen or Paris himself goes to Paris's first lover, a mountain nymph called Oenone, to beg her for a cure to the poison that was killing Paris. Oenone refused, still heartbroken that Paris had left her. When she heard news of Paris's death, made with grief, Oenone threw herself into Paris's funeral pyre. Helen is forced to marry another Trojan prince, Deiphobus, until he too was murdered by Helen's first husband, Menelaus.
The end of the War
After the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans, Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris, the city fell to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. Laocoön tried to warn the Trojans meeting with the Greeks at the shore, but he and his sons were devoured by sea serpents (various sources said that the sea serpents were sent by either Apollo, Athena, or Poseidon). The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans (except for some of the women and children whom they kept or sold as slaves) and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods' wrath for each one. This was known as the Returns from Troy:
- Nestor (who had had the best conduct in Troy and did not take part in the looting) was the only hero who had a good, fast and safe return.
- Ajax the Lesser (who had endured more than the others the wrath of the Gods) never returned. His ship was wrecked by a storm sent by Athena, who borrowed one of Zeus' thunderbolts and tore it to pieces. The crew managed to land in a rock, but Poseidon struck it, and Ajax fell in the sea and drowned. He was buried by Thetis in Myconos or Delos.
- Teucer (son of Telamon and half-brother of Ajax) stood trial by his father for his half-brother's death. He was disowned and wasn't allowed to land. He was at sea near Phreattys in Peiraeus. He was acquitted of responsibility but found guilty of negligence because he did not return his dead body or his arms. He left with his army (who took their wives) and founded Salamis in Cyprus.
- Diomedes was first thrown by a storm on the coast of Lycia where he was to be sacrificed to Ares by King Lycus. But Callirrhoe (the king's daughter) took pity upon him and assisted him in escaping. Then he accidentally landed in Attica at Phalerum. The Athenians (unaware that they were allies) attacked them. Many were killed and the Palladium was taken by Demophon. He finally landed at Argos where his wife Aegialia was committing adultery. In disgust, Diomedes left for Aetolia. According to Roman traditions he had some adventures and founded a colony in Italy.
- Philoctetes (due to a sedition) was driven from his city and emigrated to Italy where he founded the cities of Petilia, Old Crimissa, and Chone, between Croton and Thurii.
- For Homer's depiction, Idomeneus reached his house safe and sound. Another tradition was formed later where after the war, Idomeneus' ship hit a horrible storm. He promised Poseidon that he would sacrifice the first living thing he saw when he returned home if the god would save his ship and crew. The first living thing was his son whom Idomeneus duly sacrificed. The gods were angry at his murder of his own son and they sent a plague to Crete. His people sent him into exile to Calabria in Italy, and then Colophon in Asia Minor where he died.
- Odysseus went through a lot of trials at sea before he could return home to Ithaca, called the Odyssey.
The princess Cassandra of Troy was raped, Príamo died on his own altar and Hector's son was thrown from the top of the city's walls. The few people that ran away would try to meet with Aeneas not far away from the beaches.
Troy was destroyed in the end and its famous harbor was also desecrated by the destruction of the Achaean ships that transported many Achaeans to the beaches of Troy. By the end of the war, the harbor was filled up with too many minerals that trade surrounding the area moved away.