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in search of the Trojan Horse

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  • Ellen N. Brundige
    Tsara asked for sources for the Trojan Horse story. Ooo boy, a chance to procrastinate... -=-=-=-= Oddly, the Iliad isn t about the Trojan War--it starts
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 27 3:43 PM
      Tsara asked for sources for the Trojan Horse story. Ooo boy, a chance to
      procrastinate...

      -=-=-=-=

      Oddly, the Iliad isn't about the Trojan War--it starts years after
      Helen is stolen and months, or at least weeks, before Troy is sacked.
      The Iliad focusses, like a play, on a few days' time (after all, the
      Greeks invented this and many western dramatic conventions) during the
      ninth year of the war, when two of the Greek warlords nearly lose the
      campaign due to an internal squabble.

      So where'd the horse tradition come from? Its use to win the city is
      summarized in the Odyssey (Book 8 around line 500, only ten lines or
      so) and there's one touching or creepy anecdote, depending on one's
      viewpoint, about Helen nearly giving away the warriors hidden inside
      (Odyssey book 4, around line 270). Those two chunks are enough for you
      to make up your own version of the story and tell it out of context.

      (URLS for these two passages:
      http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Hom.+Od.+4.265
      http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Hom.+Od.+8.469)

      If either of the above two pop up in Greek, find English under the
      "version" pulldown menu.

      Another place to look is Apollodorus, a first century BC? Greek writer
      who summarizes the story of the Trojan Horse here:
      http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Apollod.+E+5.13
      The scholarly notes below are a bit dense but tell what's known about
      the lost epics that recounted what Homer left out.

      Another place that's absolutely fabulous is old Edith Hamilton's
      Mythology; she's out of date, sure, but she was a good scholar, and her
      presentation of all the Greek myths is perfectly good unless you're a
      really nitpicking expert.

      But my favorite ancient retelling of the story of the Sack of Troy is
      book two of the Aeneid by Vergil. Not just because it's the most
      beautiful Latin ever written IMHO. Also because it's all the little
      bits Homer left out, all the myths and cool additions to the story that
      had slowly accrued to the original Iliad for the last seven hundred
      years, retold for the first time in poetic language and meter as good as
      the original. And it's only one chapter of the Aeneid. You can find
      several versions of John Dryden's rather old-fashion (and out of
      copyright) translation online, or again, here's the Perseus translation:

      http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Verg.+A.+2


      That should be more than you wanted. :)

      --Kithyra de amne avium
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