The Apple of Discord
The gods had gathered at the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the parents of Achilles. However, Eris, the goddess of discord, was stopped at the door, since nobody wanted disharmony on the merry occasion. Eris was angered, and threw away her gift, which was an apple having the words Ti Kallisti (To The Fairest) inscribed on it. This apple became a source of conflict between three goddesses: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.
Each of them felt they deserved the apple and since Hera had been turned away, they had no way of finding out the intended recipient of the gift. None of the gods wanted to judge, because choosing one would invite the wrath of the ...view middle of the document...
Agamemnon then sent emissaries to several Achaean kings and princes to help retrieve Helen. The Achaean kings were former suitors of Helen, and had made a pact that all of them would honor Helen's choice of a husband without dissent, and go to her aid if anything were to happen to her.
Gathering of Achaean Forces
Many of these kings and princes tried to get out of their promise to avoid the ensuing war. Odysseus tried to feign insanity by plowing his fields with salt, but his plan was foiled when Palamedes, Agamemnon's emissary, put Odysseus' son Telemachus in the path of the plow, forcing Odysseus to reveal his sanity.
Achilles' mother Thetis disguised him as a woman so that he could not go for the war. But he too was identified and convinced to join Agamemnon's army, although he had not been one of Helen's suitors and thus was not honor-bound to hold up his end of the promise.
The army gathered at Aulis and after making a sacrifice to Apollo, they set sail for Troy. Not knowing the way, they landed on Mycea and ran into Telephus, the son of Heracles (Hercules). After having dealt with him, they began the journey again, only to be blocked and scattered by a storm.
Eight years after the storm, the thousand ships finally regrouped at Aulis. To prevent any further trouble, they sought help from the Oracles. Calchas, a prophet, told them that the goddess Artemis was angry with Agamemnon, since he had either killed a sacred deer or boasted that he was a better marksman than her. Calchas told him that the only way he could please Artemis was by sacrificing his daughter Iphiginea to her. Threatened with being replaced by Palamedes as the commander of the army, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to Artemis, and set sail for Troy once again.
Arrival in Troy
Calchas had also prophesized that the first Achaean to land in Troy would be the first one to die. Thus, everyone hesitated to land on Troy when they reached the shores. Odysseus appeared to disembark as he threw his shield from the ship and landed upon it, thus becoming the first to jump off the Greek ships, yet managing to not land upon Trojan soil. Seeing this, Protesilaus jumped off his ship as well, becoming the first to actually land in Troy. Protesilaus, Odysseus and Achilles killed several Trojans before Protesilaus was killed by Hector, the Prince of Troy.
The next nine years of the siege of Troy are poorly documented in Greek literature, which focuses mainly on the last year of the Trojan war.
As the siege progressed, the Greek forces busied themselves with looting nearby allies of Troy and collecting valuable resources from the Thracian peninsula. Achilles was the most aggressive of the Achaean commanders, conquering 11 cities and 12 islands. Ajax the Great also ran rampant in the Thracian peninsula, looting several towns.
A notable incident during this nine-year period was the death of Palamedes. Odysseus, who hadn't...