Summary of the Beginning of the Trojan War: The Cause of the War Between Greeks and Trojans

Judgement of Paris

The Trojan War, according to Greek Myth, pitted the Greeks against the Trojans. The war was at first fought over Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman on Earth.

The Trojan War is arguably the most notable tale from Greek mythology. The war saw the involvement of the Greek gods and goddesses, who took sides as the Greeks battled the Trojans at Troy. Following is a summary of the cause of the Trojan War, and how the conflict began, according to ancient Greek poets, such as Homer and Euripides.

Background and Cause of the Trojan War

At a wedding dinner that the Greek gods and goddesses were attending, which was between a nymph and a king, the goddess Eris, who was associated with discord, was not invited, and decided to instigated conflict because of her own anger. She threw an apple onto the table, and on the fruit she had written that it was to be given to the fairest of the goddesses. This caused the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite to debate which one of them was to receive the apple, and hold the designation as the fairest of goddesses.

The Judgement of Paris and the Cause of the Trojan War

Paris was the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, the rulers of Troy. Because Priam had been informed by way of a prophecy that this son would cause the downfall of Troy, he brought Paris out of the city when he was young and abandoned him in the wilderness. Paris grew up a shepherd and cowherd as he lived with a nymph, and he became to be known for his fairness and judgement abilities. Paris had fairly judged a contest among prize bulls that the god Ares had won, and this prompted Zeus, who refused to decide which of the three goddesses was fairest, to enlist Paris of Troy as judge.

Paris was in the land of Phrygia when the goddesses appeared before him and asked him to decide which one was the fairest. Hera offered him sovereignty over Europe and Asia if he chose her, and Athena offered him wisdom, strategy, and skill at war. But it was the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, that Paris selected, for she offered him the most beautiful woman in the world. His selection was the cause of the Trojan War.

Helen of Troy and the Beginning of the Trojan War

Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, was married to King Menelaus of Sparta at the time of Paris’ decision. Following Aphrodite’s advice, Paris went to the house of Menelaus in the night and abducted Helen, and he brought her to Troy. Helen was renowned throughout Greece for her beauty, and was admired by almost every man. Menelaus was able to convince the majority of her male admirers to join him on his quest to retrieve Helen from Troy. The Greek fleet then set sail for Troy, with the object of returning Helen to Menelaus.

After the Greeks reached Tory, the War began. Although many ancient authors and historians had different accounts of the war, the basic summary of the Trojan War is consistent in all versions. The culmination of the war (the Iliad) and the events that followed (the Odyssey) are mostly known by epic poems written by Homer.