The Iliad is an epic poem written by Homer. It details the story of the Trojan War which was fought over Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. The story itself covers everything from love and passion to betrayal and trickery.
The Judgment of Paris
The Death of Achilles
The Trojan Horse
Most of the Iliad takes place in and around the city of Troy. There are, however, scenes on Olympus as the gods watch what happens.
When the queen of Troy was pregnant, she had a dream that her son would bring ruin to Troy. In desperation, the king ordered a shepherd to leave the baby boy in the wilderness to die. When the child survived for 3 days, the shepherd took in the boy and raised it as his own, naming him Paris.
During a feast on Olympus, the goddess, Eris, came uninvited and threw a golden apple among the gods. On it was written "To the most beautiful". All the goddesses immediately claimed it as their own and began to fight. It finally came down to Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. They went to Zeus to make the decision, but he was afraid of angering them with his choice. He looked on the earth and saw Paris tending the sheep. He send the three goddesses to Paris.
Paris did not know which goddess to choose, so as an incentive, each offered him a prize if he chose them. Hera offered riches, Athena offered power and the ability to win any war, and Aphrodite offered the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris chose Aphrodite,and Hera and Athena left in a jealous rage. Aphrodite helped Paris win the heart of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. Helen was already married to Menelaus, king of Sparta, but she and Paris ran away to Troy.
Once in Troy, Aphrodite took Paris back to the royal house where the king forgot his wife's dream and welcomed Paris and Helen into the family.
To get his wife back, Menelaus gathered a huge army and sailed to Troy. There they battled for 10 years. During the battle, the champion of Menelaus's army, Achilles killed the champion of Troy, Hector. Achilles became proud because his body was invulnerable, and he had defeated Hector. He boasted of his ability and angered Ares in the process. Ares guided a poisoned arrow to strike Achilles in the heel, his only vulnerable spot. Achilles soon died.
It looked like Menelaus and the rest of the Greeks would loose the war. Then Odysseus had an idea. The Greeks built a giant horse with a hollow center from the wood of one of their ships. They put 30 men into the center of the horse and left. Once they had sailed behind an island where they could no longer be seen, they stopped. The Trojans were happy. They thought they had won the war. They took the great wooden horse into their city as a prize. During the night, the men crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greeks who had sailed back. Confused and dazed, the Trojan people did not stand a chance against the sudden attack of the Greeks. Troy was destroyed and Helen returned to Sparta with her husband.