Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn April 24, 1184 BCE, the city of Troy fell to invading Greek armies, ending the Trojan War. The Trojan War is an important story in Geek mythology and literature. The ancient Greek poet Homer wrote about the final days of the Trojan War in his epic The Iliad. (Troy’s ancient name was Ilion or Wilion.)The Trojan War began when a Trojan prince ran off with the wife of a Greek king. The woman, Helen of Troy, became “the face that launched a thousand ships,” when her husband, Menelaus, assembled a fleet of ships to retrieve her from Troy. The war between the Greeks (who actually called themselves Achaeans) and the Trojans lasted ten years.The Trojan War ended when the Greek commander Odysseus devised a plan to invade the walled city. The Greeks pretended to give up. Before leaving the Trojan beaches, they gave the Trojans a present—a giant wooden horse. The Trojans opened the gates to accept the horse. Inside the hollow horse were armed Greek troops, who sacked the city.Of course, all dates surrounding the Trojan War are total guesses. Many historians didn’t believe Troy existed at all until the 19th century, when archaeologists found evidence of the legendary city on a hill near the modern town of Hisarlik, Turkey. Even that evidence is disputed—and there is no evidence of a giant wooden horse!
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry archaeologist Noun
person who studies artifacts and lifestyles of ancient cultures.
to put together.
large settlement with a high population density.
long story of a hero and his or her adventures.
data that can be measured, observed, examined, and analyzed to support a conclusion.
group of ships, usually organized for military purposes.
to enter and attack.
famous, heroic, or celebrated.
written material, including novels, poetry, drama and history.
legend or traditional story.
short, popular saying usually conveying wisdom or truth.
to bring back, restore, or recover.
to capture, loot, and largely destroy a city or other targeted area.
person who serves in a military.
large-scale armed conflict.