Frequently Asked Questions

How did the Trojan War get started?

Well, let's see. First Helen of (then) Sparta ran away with Prince Paris of Troy, who had come on a "diplomatic visit" to Sparta. According to most versions, Helen was beguiled by the goddess Aphrodite, who caused her to love Paris. Why? Well, Paris had judged a beauty contest amongst the 3 top goddesses-- that's right, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. But, being the great, confident, and fair-playing goddesses they were, they decided it would be best to offer bribes. Helen was Aphrodite's bribe-- Paris would have Helen if he picked Aphrodite. Of course this was just what Paris wanted-- who cares about being the wisest and most talented man on earth (although that might be a good way to pick up chicks, which seemed to be pretty much all Paris cared about) or about ruling all of Asia, when you can have the Most Beautiful Woman in the World instead? So, Paris sped her off to Troy while Menelaus (not being the brightest bulb in the drawer) went on a hunting trip. When he got back he was naturally somewhat annoyed, and charged off with Odysseus to Troy demanding his wife back. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on whose side you're on) Paris had expected something like this to happen, and had bribed one of the people at the council to speak up and say they didn't want to give Helen back. This resulted in Menelaus and Odysseus going off in a huff, getting the rest of the Achaeans, and bringing them on over to Troy. The war had begun.

When did the Trojan War occur?

Although most people believe that the Trojan War was a real war, it is difficult to place an actual date on it. Most agree, however, that it occurred during a 10-year period (as the Iliad and Odyssey say) around 1250 BC.

What were some common weapons?

--sword (most everyone had one of these)
--spear (these were pretty long; a good 6 feet or a dozen, depending on which hero you're dealing with here)
--shield (not exactly a weapon, unless you're talking about Ajax's, which was made of 7 oxhides and probably could have been used as one)
--bow and arrow (probably the easiest to find; used mostly by people like myself, Paris, who weren't interested in hand-to-hand combat

Did the Trojan War really happen?

Well, there's no simple answer to that question. The simple answer is "probably, yes." The thing is, most myths and legends from any time period and culture have a kernel of truth in them somewhere. And when you get a myth as complex, detailed, and amusing as the Trojan War story, you have to assume that the kernel is pretty whomping big. Yes, the Trojan War really did happen. Did it happen the way Homer and the other Greek poets say it did? We don't know. We know that Troy existed-- thank the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann for that-- and we know, based on Homer, that the war probably took place during a 10-year period around 1250 BC. However, we can't say much more than that with any certainty.