What caused the Trojan War (mythological)? Approximately thirty centuries ago, on a land known as Troy, a colossal war raged between Grecians and Trojans on behalf of three discrete reasons. As a result of this war, many lives were lost but the relentless Grecians eventually triumphed after ten tumultuous years. This grave war was fought because of the capture of Helen, the most beautiful and benevolent woman in all of Greece, she was also known as ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’. It is said that the apprehension of Helen was a result of the tragic curse on the House of Atreus.
However, others believe the Trojan War occurred on account of Hercules mercy. Some still think the second collapse of Troy happened because of Paris’s gluttonous ruling. There could be an ample amount of reasons that can determine why exactly the Trojan War started, but the three primary reasons were, the First Fall of Troy, the Judgement of Paris, and the solemn curse on the House of Atreus. First Fall of Troy Once freed from slavery to Omphale, Heracles gathered an army to capture Troy and was joined by the hero, Telamon, son of Aeacus. At this time, Telamon was expecting a baby from his wife, Eeriboea.
Heracles prayed to his father that Telamon’s son would be brave. Zeus sent an eagle, as a sign of accepting his prayer. Telamon named his son, Aias (Ajax), after the eagle (Aietos). Aias became one of the leading warriors who fought at the Trojan War. Laomedon had refused to pay him, when Heracles rescued Hesione from the sea monster. Heracles had vowed vengeance. Poseidon and Apollo having to build the wall around Troy, making it quite impregnable. The only weakness to the wall were section built by Aeacus, Telamon’ father. It was most likely that Telamon knew where the weakness is.
Landing in Troy with eighteen ships, they set about attacking Troy. It was Telamon who broke through wall (the part built by his father), leading the attack against Trojans. Heracles felt insulted and jealous, that Telamon would breach the wall before him. The hero would have killed his lieutenant, had Telamon not had the foresight to stop fighting and started piling stones. When the hero asked what Telamon was doing, Telamon replied that he was building an altar to Heracles. Heracles forgot his anger, since Telamon had flattered his vanity.
Laomedon and all his sons but the youngest, Podarces (Priam), were killed in the fighting. Heracles allowed Hesione to ransomed only one of the captives. Hesione ransomed Podarces by giving up one of her veil. Hesione was given to Telamon as a concubine, while Podarces stayed behind in Troy, succeeded his father, and changed his name to Priam. Priam, along with the villagers of the town, rebuilt Troy far better than it ever was before. Priam had many children with his new wife Hecuba. The most renowned child of Priam and Hecuba was Paris, the eventual assessor of the goddesses and captor of Helen.
Since Hercules allowed Priam to live, he unknowingly allowed Paris’s birth to take place; these births of Paris lead to another treacherous Trojan war. The curse of the House of Atreus Standing shoulder-to shoulder with the incestuous brood of Oedipus is the House of Atreus, the ancient royal family of Mycenae in Greece. Arguably the most important family in western literature, the descendants of Atreus suffered from an ancestral crime, variously described, that caused disastrous cycle of murder and revenge until finally Athena interceded and broke the cycle of murder and revenge.
Tantalus, the son of Zeus, wanted to prove that he was cleverer than the gods and attempted to trick them into eating the flesh of his own son Pelops. It is said that none of the gods succumbed to the ruse except Demeter, who was preoccupied with thoughts of her missing daughter Persephone. When Pelops was reassembled, the shoulder eaten by Demeter was replaced by one of ivory. Tantalus was cast into Tartarus, the pit beneath the underworld. There he was tortured by thirst, standing in water that reached only to his chin, and ravished by hunger, as the boughs of fruit dangling in front of him receded from his touch.
Once grown, Pelops decided to vie for the hand of the beautiful Hippodamia. According to rules set by her father, Oenomaus, proposals of marriage would only be expected if suitors staked their lives on beating him in a chariot race. With the help of Myrtilus, Oenomaus’ charioteer, Pelops replaced the wooden pin securing Oenomaus’ front wheel with one of wax. Several laps into the race, friction caused the wax to melt and the wheel fell off, causing a crash that killed Oenomaus. In exchange for “rigging” the race, Pelops had promised Myrtilus that he could sleep with Hippodamia, but Pelops refused to honor the agreement.
As a result, Myrtilus abduct Hippodamia. Pelops tracked down the pair and threw Myrtilus off a cliff, who levied a curse against Pelop’s house. Myrtilus’ curse fell Pelops’ sons, Atreus and Thyestes, who turned their murderous natures against one another. In addition to other disagreements, Thyestes had an affair with Atreus’ wife, Aerope. In response, Atreus summoned Thyestes to a reconciliation banquet, but cooked Thyestes’ children and served them to him. The Delphic Oracle revealed that Thyestes could only exact his vengeance on his brother through a son born of his own daughter.
Therefore, he disguised himself and raped his daughter Pelopia, who bore Aegisthus. Aegisthus killed Atreus and restored Thyestes to the throne of Mycenae. An alternative version relates that Thyestes escaped from Atreus’ feast with the infant Aegisthus tucked under his arm, and this infant grew up to avenge his father. Hustled out of Mycenae as children, Agamemnon and Menelaus, the sons of Atreus, returned when they were grown and, with the help of Tyndareus the King of Sparta, expelled Thyestes. Each married a daughter of Tyndareus (Agamemnon married Clytemnestra; Menelaus married Helen).
Agamemnon became King of Mycenae; Menelaus, King of Sparta. When the Trojan prince Paris abducted Helen, the unified Greek forces declared war against Troy. Menelaus was forced to go to Troy along with is brother Agamemnon following the cruel kidnapping of Helen. Prior to marrying Helen, Menelaus, his brother, and the entire Grecian nation promised to protect Helen at all costs. Thus, this promise, enticed Menelaus, Agamemnon, and the people of Greece to rescue Helen from the powerful city of Troy at any expense.
The price they had to pay for the security of Helen was far greater than they had expected. After all, the fight of her resulted in the devastating Trojan War. Judgement of Paris According to Homer’s Illiad, the cause of the Trojan War went back to the Judgement of Paris. One day, high on Mount Olympus, a wedding was taking place. A sea goddess, Thetis, was marrying a mortal king called Peleus. All of the gods and goddesses and mortals where invited to this wedding, except for Eris goddess of Discord, who was not invited.
Eris was furious at being excluded and in order to enact revenge, Eris hurled her golden apple into the blissful wedding and engraved on the apple had the words “For the Fairest”. The golden apple of Eris, however, was not a golden apple of love, like those of other goddesses, but one of discord. A fight or argument always broke out when it was thrown at a group of people. However, the weddings’ happiness quickly turned to anger and antipathy. The goddesses all yearned for the golden Apple but the choices were soon withered down to three: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite.
The goddesses pleaded with Zeus and asked him to judge but he sensibly declined. Instead Zeus appointed Paris, a Trojan shepherd who then became the Prince of Troy, who was the most handsome man in Greece to judge among three goddesses for who should be declared the most beautiful. Zeus’s advice was taken and the three jealous goddesses descended upon Paris. By descending on Paris, each of the goddesses offered Paris a bribe to get him to vote for her. Athena younger goddesses and the child of Zeus, offered Paris Wisdom. Hera, sister and wife of Zeus offered Paris power.
Finally Aphrodite, the Greek goddesses of Love offered Paris the most beautiful woman in the world. Although Paris was offered many different bribes, he gave the troublesome apple to Aphrodite. This act was known as the Judgement of Paris. As a reward for selecting Aphrodite, Paris was given the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Aphrodite flew Paris to Sparta in order to obtain Helen even though she was already married to King Menelaus, King of Sparta. At Sparta, Paris became guest of Menelaus and Helen. Aphrodite made Helen fall in love with the Trojan prince.
When Menelaus went to attend his grandfather’s funeral in Crete, Helen ran off to Troy with Paris with most of the treasures in Sparta, but leaving her daughter, named Hermione, behind. Menelaus certainly wasn’t pleased when he discovered Helen missing; in fact he was so furious, this was due to the curse of the House of Atreus, which was considered as revenge and murder as the curse. This curse made Menelaus gather numerous Grecian troops and set forth to attack the thriving and powerful city of Troy. After a stalemated ten-year siege, the Greeks devised a strategy.
They built a huge wooden horse, and at night filled it with soldiers, and then withdrew their armies. The Trojans saw that they had left, and took the horse to be a parting gift from the defeated enemy. They took the horse into the city, and at night the soldiers left the horse and opened the city gates, letting in the main army who destroyed the city with the usual rapine and pillage. Although the three primary reasons for the beginning of the Trojan War are all different, they all revolve around Paris and his decision. However, the cause of the war had little to do with Paris’s judgment.
If the three goddesses: Aphrodite, Athena and Hera had not fought over the apple the war may not have started which was a chaos towards the mortals. If the Olympians had resolved their issues without the assistance of a human then the immense war would have never started, Paris and his people would have lived happily, and Menelaus and Agamemnon would have been affected by the descending curse in a different way. Clearly the goddesses’ dispute on Mount Olympus played out between the insignificant humans on earth. By William Huang