Review of Strauss’ the Trojan War (2007)
In Barry Strauss’ book called, “The Trojan War: A New History”, the author talks about a matter that has been discussed for over thousands of years, nevertheless Strauss is able to bring new arguments and interpretations about it. Despite the fact Strauss displays that numerous of the acknowledged ideas in regards to the Trojan War can be refuted, he also nose-dives when it comes to supporting his claims with passable historical references and analyzes.
So as to seashore their boats at Troy the Greeks knew that they had to fight their way through to win their spot. The Greeks did not win their first fight for a spot though, because Hector of Troy was able to stop them from establishing camp. In order to be able to land the ships, Achilles forces his way into Trojan terrain and has Cygnus, Son of Poseidon killed. The Greeks were soldiers who fought with spears and swords at close range while Trojans had nothing but their many chariots to fight the Greeks.
Menelaus and Paris concur to dual for the wealth of Sparta and Helen, on the other hand when they are waging war Paris is snatched away by the goddess so he could be saved, however then Pandarus breaks the ceasefire and injuries Menelaus. Since the treaty is broken, conflict can no longer be evaded and a lot of deaths happen. Priam and Paris propose the return of the treasure in hopes of a negotiating period to lie to rest the dead; the Greeks discard the idea but permit the ceasefire, which they use to construct a trench and palisade. When the ceasefire was over, Hector sets out to meet the Greeks and they manage to push them all the way behind their palisade. The Greeks starts to go into panic and then turn to Nestor who makes the point to them that they need Myrmidons and Achilles. Achilles allows Patroclus to put on his protective clothing and lead the Myrmidons however tells him not to trail the Trojans back to their town; but Patroclus does chooses not to pay attention and is slayed by Hector who wounds him in the stomach. Achilles goes back to the war and challenges Hector in person piercing him in the neck and slaying the Trojan Prince.
Achilles encounters his demise when he coerces himself within the hedges of Troy. To even the score about Achilles’ murder Philoctetes slays Paris with the bow of Hercules. Then, Odysseus discovers a way to sneaks inside the city of Troy and while he is there, he steals the palladium, and Helen helps him, because he was not Troy defeated, however Strauss has this notion that it might have been a palladium that was not real. Strauss displays that obliteration of Troy does not rest on the exact reality of the Trojan horse; the Trojans in their drunken festivities could have attacked by the Greeks. Indication from an archaeological agreement displays that Troy underwent obliteration by means of fire, in the middle of 1210 and 1180 BC which is the time era of the Trojan War if it did happen.
Even though the topic of Strauss’ book is fairly old, he is able to present new interpretations and arguments in regards to the story of the Trojan War. Strauss makes the argument that the Trojan War was driven by personal quarrel, not just one that was supposed to be political. Although the story that Strauss offers is interesting and flows pleasantly, regrettably when giving the historical information in regards to the Trojan War it is difficult to single out what is historical fact and what the author has taken the liberty to expand and interpret upon utilizing his imagination.
When clarifying Helen of Troy Strauss mixes the image that Homer grants but then carry on with going on and on about her beauty, adding particulars that are not assumed but somewhat a part of his creation and imagination of Helen, “Helen is robed in a flowing, knitted gown, skillfully interlaced by slave women, in black taupe, and pink stripes, and soft sparkling from treated oil.Her stylish coiffure comprised of tendrils and pin curls about her brow, and long, sleek curls that fall below her stomach”(Strauss p. 14). This freedom in giving a vivid description of Helen causes the reader to marvel when Strauss is utilizing historical evidence and when he is injecting his own principles into the story so it can be much more pacifying for the reader. Awkwardly this causes the legitimacy of his reasons to go down, because Strauss is not giving facts but introducing his own thoughts.
When Strauss is utilizing historical references that support his entitlements, he fails to explain and analyze the importance of the findings and how they back the perceptive. When telling how the Greeks completed a sacrifice to Apollo, the author asserts that there is proof that supports this ceremonial but then does not give an explanation why, “Archaeology authorizes Homer’s account, displaying that Bronze Age Greeks for instance the soldiers in the Iliad massacred bulls as a sacrifice to the gods and then, when they got through cooking the men ate most of the ceremonial banquet” (Strauss p.107). Despite the fact the statement begins to show legitimacy of the ritual, it does not clarify how this is known and in turn does a poor job in proving why the reader should needs to believe the account.
Whereas Strauss did find a way to present the history of the Trojan War in a story that is pleasant, he was unsuccessful when it comes to utilizing satisfactory historical references to demonstrate his claims. Even though the story does not permit us to consent to the claims of Strauss right away, it does permit the reader to search for new ideas and thinking for the Trojan War instead of receiving the story as historical evidence. The book is recommended to read because Strauss’ story is positive at petitioning new ideas and offering different reasoning for the poem. Whereas reading the “The Trojan War: A New History”, the reader that picks up the book will have to remember that it is not a specific historical testimonial, but somewhat one person’s explanations or point of view.
Strauss, Barry. "The Trojan War: A New History." New York: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (, 2007. 1-288.