Trojan War is the main event in the epic written by Homer known as Iliad. It contains heroes, villains, damsels, gods, goddesses and various kingdoms. The style of writing and some acts of divine intervention have led the scholars to believe that this is a work of fiction with effective storytelling. Indeed most of the story of this great epic seems to be fiction. But there are some semblances of truth in the moulds of fiction. It is quite a tough ask to separate fiction from truth.
The story about Trojan War came from Homer’s epic poem Iliad. As the story goes Gods instigated war between the Greeks and Trojans who in turn were greedy and bloodthirsty. Entire war is portrayed heroically by the grand poet. There are many characters involved in the war whose existence has been subject for intense studies. Let us start off by dismissing all the supernatural interventions as myth and take a look at some human characters. The main characters in the Trojan War were Helen, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Achilles, Hector, Paris and Odysseus. Odysseus who is a Greek soldier is one of the creations of Homer. You will get an idea why Odysseus is a myth after reading Iliad and Odyssey. Helen is the wife of Spartan King Menelaus and she is taken away by Prince Paris to make her his wife.
Historical records from earliest times show nothing related to Troy so the kingdom might as well be deemed as a myth. So Hector and Paris are creations of Homer. But Sparta was definitely true and there are plenty of records to support such a claim. There is no reference of Helen, Menelaus or Agememnon is any other text than Iliad. There is no king in Spartan history by the name Menelaus. If we take a look at Achilles, he is a Greek hero and there are plenty of tales about his skills and bravery. So he did exist and was a true character. So as per the study all the characters except Achilles were creations of Homer.
The Trojan War is believed to have been fought sometime between 1194 BC and 1184 BC and it lasted for ten years. There is a possibility that Homer learned about these events from someone else and he filled in the blanks with his imagination. May be the history of those times was lost with time. It is learned from Iliad that Greeks set siege on Troy and tried to take the city in every possible manner, but they failed. At last Odysseus came up with a brilliant plan. He created a wooden horse and hid himself and other soldiers within this horse. The horse was discovered by the Trojans who took it into the city as a souvenir. At night the soldiers came out of the wooden horse and opened the gates leading the Greek army to capture Troy. Thus, the wooden horse was a major breakthrough in the war. But such an artefact has never been found till date. This may be due to the erosion with time. It is learned that Greek soldiers destroyed Troy by setting it on fire. Though there might be a city of troy that was destroyed due to fire but destruction due to fire seems to be a creation of Homer.
In the recent times archaeologists have found a site which they believe to be Troy. Such a city has been excavated modern day Turkey. There are no less than nine cities that have come out of the rubble. Archaeologists believe that the location and other descriptions of the city match with Homer’s description in Iliad. But the trouble is to decide which of these nine cities is Troy. Once detailed research of the site is carried out we hope fresh evidence would be found regarding the Trojan War.