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2006-02-28 00:00

  The Trojan War

  At a wedding party Eris, the goddess of discord, threw a golden apple bearing the words“For the fairest!” Hera,Athena and Aphrodite,each wanting to get it for herself,were sent to Paris for judgement. A shepherd on Mt Ida,Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite because she had promised to obtain for him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world.

  Paris was the son of Priam,the king of Troy.At his birth his mother Queen Hecuba dreamed of holding a piece of burning wood.So he was regarded as likely to bring destruction on the city,and was by chance exposed to the sun,wind and rain on MtIda. He was finally saved and brought up by the herdsmen there.Now acting on the instruction of Aphrodite,he went down the mountain to take part in the game held in Troy,and there so famous did he become that King Priam and Queen Hecuba received him joyfully back into the royal palace.

  Soon he was sent to Greece at the head of a great team of boats.he went to Sparta,where,as Aphrodite had told him,the most beautiful woman of the time,Helen,lived.King Menelaus,Helen's husband,generously received him but Paris returned his host's kindness with no thanks.In the king's absence he persuaded Helen to elope with him to Troy.To payback,Greek took up arms.The Trojan war broke out.

  As the Greek ships gathered at the port of Aulis,no favouring wind blew up . A prophet told the comander of the expedition, Agamemnon,that he had to offer his daughter Iphigenia as a sacrifice to Artemis.Iphigenia was placed before the goddess' altar but Artemis took her away at the last minute,putting a red deer(赤鹿) in her place.Agamemnon' s wife Clytemnestra was greatly enraged at her husband' s cruelty.

  The war lasted ten years,during which both sides suffered the misfortunes of war. Agamemnon fought with Achilles over a captive princess, and in anger,Achilles refused to fight.His friend, Patroclus,borrowed his armour and went out to change the situation of war,but was killed by Hector,the eldest son of Priam.Bent on revenge , Achilles no longer fought with Agamemnon,and putting on his new armour made by Hephaestus,went out to avenge his friend.He killed Hector and dragged his dead body three times around the walls of Troy. But soon after,Achilles was wounded in the heel by Paris and died in battle. Paris had not long to live either,for he was killed by a friend of Achilles' . As Achilles left his armour to the bravest of the Greeks,a bitter struggle happened between its two worthy contestants;and when the weapons were given to Odysseus by judge, Ajax took his own life for grief and shame.

  At the end of nine years a prophet predicted that Troy would not fall as long as the Palladium stayed within its walls.Odysseus and Diomedes went into the city in disguise and stole it out of the temple of the city. Then the Greeks designed a great wooden horse,in which some Greek soldiers hid themselves,and made believe to withdraw. Taken in by rumour that the horse had been sent by Athena, the overjoyed Trojans hauled it into their capital. At night the hidden Greeks crawled out and threwthe whole city into confusion . Tory was robbed. King Priam was killed.Queen Hecuba,her daughter Cassandra and her daughter in law Andromache were all carried into slavery. Helen and Menelaus were on good terms again and disappeared in the west. Agamemnon went back to Mycenae, only to be murdered by his own wife. His son Orestes killed his mother and was pursued by the Furies. Odysseus went through untold hardships,struggling with wind and wave,before he reached his home island Ithaca to reunite with  his faithful wife Penelope.Aeneas,one of the Trojan princes,after narrowly escaping death at Troy,wandered from land to land for a long time and became,in the end,the founder of the Roman race.







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