In Greek mythology the Trojan War pitted a coalition of Greek
principalities against Troy, a
city located on the coast of what is now Anatolia, just south of
the entrance to the Dardanelles. The war was the subject of
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.
According to Homer and other Greek epic poets, King Priam's son
Paris brought Helena, wife of
King Menelaus of Sparta, back to Troy with him. To
recover Helena, the Greeks sent an expedition to Troy under
Agamemnon, brother of
Menelaus. The war lasted 10 years, although the first 9 years
seem to have been indecisive. Only in the tenth year, after
Achilles had killed Hector, the greatest of the Trojan
warriors, were the Greeks assured of victory.
Using a stratagem devised by Odysseus, the Greeks feigned
retreat; the Greek fleet sailed out of sight, leaving behind
as a "gift" the Trojan Horse. Inside the large wooden horse
was concealed a squad of Greek soldiers who, after the horse had
been dragged into the unsuspecting city and under the cover of
darkness, emerged and opened the gates. After the Greek fleet
quietly returned, the soldiers entered Troy and great slaughter
followed. Many Trojan women, including members of the royal
family, were carried off into captivity.
The work of the 19th-century archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann
showed that the story of the war was probably based on historical
events of the early 12th century BC. Some scholars believe
that the Trojans were a Luwian-speaking people who came into
conflict with the Mycenaean Greeks.