War conflict in which Achaean Greeks fought against Trojans. Causes and consequences of Trojan War
|Date||Middle of the XIII century a. C.|
|Place||Troy, in Asia Minor|
|Belligerents||Achaean Greeks vs. trojans|
|Outcome||Victory of the Achaean Greeks|
The Trojan War was a warlike conflict in which Achaean Greeks and Trojans clashed around the middle of the 13th century BC. C. for the control of the commercial routes that led to the Black Sea.
The tenth year of the Trojan War is described in the Iliad , an epic poem attributed to the Greek poet Homer, who would have compiled it during the 9th century BC. Homer also makes reference to Troy in the Odyssey , an epic poem that narrates the return to his home of Odysseus, one of the Achaean kings who fought in the war. There are archaeological excavations that prove the destruction of the city of Troy and its rivalry with the Greek societies of the time. Causes and consequences of Trojan War
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According to Homer, the trigger for the war was the abduction of Queen Helen of Sparta by Paris, prince of Troy. Menelaus, king of Sparta, asked his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, for help, who in turn summoned all the Achaean kings to participate in the war. A powerful Greek fleet crossed the Aegean Sea and laid siege to the city of Troy, located on the shores of Asia Minor. The goal of the Achaean Greeks was to win back Helen , to safeguard Menelaus’ honor and, in turn, destroy the city and plunder its riches .
Background to the Trojan War
Around 2000 a. C. the current Greek territory was inhabited by peoples of Mediterranean origin. In mainland Greece, inhabited the Pelasgians, Neolithic peasants who lived in villages and practiced agriculture and livestock. In insular Greece, the Minoan civilization developed , which had its epicenter on the island of Crete. Several independent kingdoms coexisted there, including that of Knossos, which would have been ruled by the mythical King Minos. The Cretans or Minoans had a powerful fleet with which they managed to control the trade routes of the Aegean Sea.
Around 1800 a. C. peoples of Indo-European origin invaded mainland Greece and imposed themselves by force on the Pelasgians. Those warrior peoples were Achaeans, Ionians, and Aeolians, speaking a primitive form of ancient Greek. Around 1600 a. C., the Achaeans developed an urban civilization known as Achaean or Mycenaean, in which there were small kingdoms that sometimes united and sometimes fought with each other. Among them, the most prominent were Pylos, Sparta and Mycenae. Causes and consequences of Trojan War
Each Achaean kingdom was ruled by a king and a warrior class who fought with bronze weapons and horse-drawn chariots. The king and his warriors lived in palaces located in high places and protected by thick stone walls, from where they dominated the inhabitants of the villages located in the lowlands.
Around 1450 a. C., the Achaean Greeks invaded the island of Crete and took control of the commercial routes of the Aegean Sea. They also wanted to dominate the grain trade and Slavs from the Black Sea , but access to that sea was in the hands of the city of Troy, which controlled the entrance to the Strait of Dardanelles.
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Causes and consequences of the Trojan War
In the Iliad , Homer presents the abduction of Helena by Paris as the cause of the outbreak of war. Paris was the guest of Menelaus, who had agreed to a peace treaty with Priam, king of Troy and father of Paris.
The abduction of Helena, if it really existed, would only have been the trigger for the conflict. The root cause of the war was the rivalry that existed between Achaean Greeks and Trojans for control of the Strait of Dardanelles , which connected the Aegean with the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.
Among the main consequences of the Trojan War are the following:
- The destruction of the city of Troy , which was taken and burned by the Achaean Greeks.
- A large number of dead, both Trojans and Achaeans.
- The looting of the riches of Troy , which were distributed among the Achaean kings who survived the war.
- The control by the Achaean Greeks of the trade routes that went from the Aegean to the Black Sea.
- The weakening of the Achaean kingdoms , due to the large number of warriors killed in combat. This weakness would have been one of the causes of the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, when towards 1200 a. Doria warriors carrying iron weapons stormed the Achaean palaces.
How did the Trojan War end?
The historical cause of the fall of Troy is not known. According to Homeric narratives, the siege of Troy lasted for 10 years.
As the Greeks failed to take the city, they devised an ingenious plan , attributed to Odysseus. They built a huge wooden horse, which they left as a gift on the beach and simulated a retreat. When the Trojans saw it, they decided to take it to the city to offer it as a tribute to their gods. That night they organized a party to celebrate the victory, during which they ate and drank until they fell asleep. Around midnight, an opening in the horse’s belly opened, and Achaean warriors hidden within began to emerge. They killed the sentries and opened the gates of the city. The Greek army, which had returned at nightfall, rushed in, killing everyone in its path.
Troy was sacked, burned and destroyed by the Greeks. The few Trojans who managed to survive were taken prisoner and enslaved. In this way, the Achaean Greeks won the war.
Protagonists of the Trojan War
The main protagonists of the Trojan War are presented below according to the literary tradition of Homeric narratives:
- Agamemnon : king of Mycenae and commander-in-chief of the Achaean army.
- Achilles : King of the Myrmidons, he was the best and bravest of the Achaean warriors. He died at the hands of Paris. Causes and consequences of Trojan War
- Hector : Priam’s eldest son, commander-in-chief of the Trojan army.
- Helen : wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta.
- Menelaus : husband of Helena and brother of Agamemnon.
- Paris : Prince of Troy, youngest son of King Priam.
- Priam : king of Troy, father of Hector and Paris.
- Odysseus or Odysseus : king of Ithaca, an island located in the Ionian Sea.