Monday, 4 June 2012

Tales of the Trojan War

Date of Reading : 17/07/2007
Retold by : Kamini Khanduri
Publisher : Usborne Publishing Ltd
Place : London
Year : 2002

           This is an excellent prose for beginners interested in Greek myths, covers almost all parts of 'Iliad' and the pictures provide an enjoyable reading. No worries on forgetting the stories or mixing it up after reading.
           The wedding of Thetis, the daughter of Nereus the sea god with King Peleus is about to take place and Eris, the unpopular goddess of spite is not invited. Enraged goddess throws a golden apple engraved "for the fairest" among the guests. Queen Hera, Athene and Aphrodite make their claim and Zeus leaves the decision to the shepherd Paris. Hera offers power and wealth, Athene victory in war and Aphrodite (Venus) the most beautiful woman in the world as bribe; after a moment of hesitation Paris passes the apple to Aphrodite.
             One day he goes down to the nearby city of Troy for the contests and wins almost everything. King Priam and Queen Hecuba recognise him as their son who is left to die on the mountain as it was foretold that he would bring about the destruction of the city. Priam has another son Hector and a daughter Cassandra.
          Paris is welcomed home and is sent to a mission to Greece to recover Priam's sister, Hesione who is captured by the Greeks. Aphrodite alters the wind to Sparta where Helen lives as the life of Menelaus. They fall in love and Helen runs away with Paris to Troy.
            Menelaus summons his brother Agamemnon and the Greeks prepare for battle; Ulysses and Achilles also join. Achilles is the son of Thetis and the prophesy was that Greeks could not capture Troy without him and he will be killed in the battle. Hector dies fighting alone with Achilles and Paris in turn kills Achilles with the help of Apollo.
             Then Ulysses comes up with the idea of the huge Trojan horse inside which they all hide. Other ships sail away. Trojans, thinking that they are gone for sure, takes the horse inside the city gates and start their celebrations. At night Ulysses and his companions come out and open the gate for others. They burn Troy down, Paris is killed and Menelaus accepts Helen.
            'Iliad' is much like 'Mahabharata'; but while in the Indian epic there is a good distinction between good and evil, here we don't know which part to take. Fate of Troy is too painful; do they really deserve that?
--- There is a film 'Troy' starring Brad Pitt as Achilles which almost gives a good version of the story.

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