The story of the Trojan War is one of the world’s greatest stories. For more than 3,000 years, it has forged an extraordinary narrative tradition — told and retold from Homer to Shakespeare to Hollywood.
It is a story epic in scale, and tragic in its chain of effects. From the first seeds of conflict to the eventual return of the surviving Greeks, it spans nearly half a century of turmoil and loss. Its account of Greek kings and warriors united in battle against Troy reflects a nascent Greek identity, yet the message of the Trojan tale is more than patriotic. It tells us how a relatively minor cause can have catastrophic consequences, that there is no such thing as victory in war, and that suffering and trauma are universally felt.
But are there any facts behind this foundational tale? Was there a Trojan truth, as much as a Troy of multiple imaginings through art, and writing, and theatre? And what about the mythological characters? Warrior Achilles, kidnapped Helen, cunning Odysseus.