The Story of Troy by David Malue
About 2,700 years ago, when Greece was one of the greatest civilizations in the world, the Greek writer Homer wrote two poems: The Iliad and The Odyssey. Both of these are very long, and they tell us about people who fought in a war between Greece and Troy.
This war was already history when Homer wrote about it. The material he used was from traditional stories that had been handed down from parents to children over more than 500 years. How much truth there was in them, we simply do not know.
Troy was a large, walled city in what is now Turkey, although this was a long time before the Turks came to live here. The people who lived on the western side of Turkey then were Greeks. So, we can talk of Greeks and Trojans, but this is simply convenient. The people on both sides spoke and wrote the same language, prayed to the same gods, and shared the same culture.
The men who attacked Troy came from Sparta and a number of other cities and areas that were allied to it. Troy also had its allies among nearby states. Homer tells how the war went on for ten years with neither side able to win. Then, the invaders thought of the clever plan of using a huge wooden horse to get some men inside the city. It is the wooden horse that people think about when Troy is mentioned. We do not know if it really was built, but the idea is still alive.
The story of Troy has even given us an idiom in English. A “Trojan horse” can be used to mean a way of defeating your opponents by first offering them a gift.
The ancient Greeks believed in many gods. They built temples for the gods and made offerings to them of fruit. When they felt it was necessary, they might sacrifice an animal, or even a person. In the poems, the most important gods help to start the war and interfere in the plan for the wooden horse.
The gods in this story include Zeus, who was king over all; his queen, Hera; and two of his daughters, Aphrodite and Athena. They are responsible for starting the war. They watch it closely from their home on Mount Olympus. They also use their powers to protect their favourite humans and destroy their enemies…