April 27, 2011

And They Got Their Wheat

The Burning of Troy
In the history of Ancient Greece, there is a legend regarding a large wooden horse. During the reign of King Menelaus, there arose a serious social problem – a shortage of wheat. Because of this, the king decided to take some ships and sail to nearby Troy, in what is now modern Turkey. Troy was located in Asia, near the Aegean and Black seas.

King Priam of Troy imposed a toll upon the Spartans, angering Menelaus. This disagreement erupted into a war, which was exacerbated, when Priam captured the king of Sparta’s wife, Helen.

When this happened, the Spartans were even more firm in their resolve to conquer Troy. For ten long and grueling years, the two city-states battled one another. But all for naught. A stalemate was the result.

Odysseus, faithful friend of Menelaus, suggested what he thought could break the stalemate. When the king heard his plan, it was decided that a large wooden horse be constructed in such a way as to house several Greek soldiers inside. The Greeks would roll it up to the gates of Troy, and the hope was that curious Trojans would want to investigate the horse, and even bring it inside the city walls.

A fellow of the Greeks named Sinon, was put in charge of this task. And so it happened at sundown of the day the enormous horse was finished, the Greek ships sailed out of Troy’s harbor.

To the Trojans, this was a sure sign of surrender and retreat on the Greeks’ part. Happiness filled the air as the citizens of Troy celebrated their freedom from embattlement after a decade of war. And to their cautious surprise, there on the hillside, not far from the city’s main gate, stood a mammoth of a horse.

Sinon, dressed as a beggar, humbly approached the general in charge, saying he had heard that the horse was a “gift of the god Athena.” When they heard this, it was decided that they bring the large horse into the city to be placed in front of the temple of Athena.

Interestingly, the Trojans held a large party in honor of the Trojan horse, gift of Athena. Yet were unaware of the danger lurking beneath its wooden mass. Those of Troy celebrated into the small hours of the morning. After every citizen had returned to his respective dwelling, Sinon alerted the Greek soldiers of the all-clear.

Once outside of the massive structure, the daring soldiers used torches to signal the Greek ships, located just out of Troy’s view. Sailing rapidly, their surprise attack was so swift and decisive as to completely overpower any Trojan resistance.

Finally after ten years of separation, Menelaus and his beloved Helen were reunited and the strife between Sparta Greece, and Troy ceased.

Sparta was victorious, and they got their wheat!

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