The author of the Iliad is either Homer or, if not Homer, somebody else of the same name.

ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894-1963)

Trojan War

HOMER, THE ILIAD

There is the heat of Love, the pulsing rush of Longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible - magic to make the sanest man go mad.

Troy in England?


According to Dutch-born writer Iman Wilkens, the Trojan War actually took place in England. He suggests that Homer based his story on an earlier oral tale from Northern Europe in which an area of Southern England was attacked by Celts who wanted control of the tin mines there.

Wilkens suggests that Troy was located in the Gog Magog Hills near Cambridge. Furthermore, the area Homer called ‘Crete’ was Scandinavia, ‘Sparta’ was in Spain and ‘Lesbos’ was actually the Isle of Wight.

The Iliad’s warriors use horses in battle but the Greeks always fought on foot until around the 3rd century ad. The Celts, on the other hand, were famed for their horsemanship.

The Iliad doesn’t mention ‘Greeks’ anywhere.
 

Rivers mentioned in The Iliad include the Temese, the Scamander and the Simois which Wilkens thinks are the Thames, the Cam and the Ouse. The weather also sounds distinctly British rather than Mediterranean – there are ceaseless descriptions of rain and Troy is referred to as the city ‘whipped by the winds’. Homer also makes references to the tides – in the Mediterranean the difference in tide is very small whereas in the Atlantic Ocean the changes are much more dramatic.

The Iliad doesn’t mention ‘Greeks’ anywhere. Mentions of ‘Barbarians’ (what the Greeks called foreigners) are also absent. Troy’s attackers are referred to as Danaans and Achaeans who respectively could be the Danes and people from Argos, a Kingdom of Northern France.

This theory is of course 'Jubious'. Çanakkale in Turkey is widely accepted as the archaeological site of Troy. Archaeologists discovered nine separate periods of settlement – found one on top of the other. There is evidence of widespread fire and slaughter
around 1,250 bc, when the seventh Troy settlement
came to an end.

 

Helen of Troy



Helen of Troy is a misty figure found in the writings of many classical authors.  The stories of her life, while following the general tale, vary wildly in their detail.  Regardless of whether Helen actually existed, people have believed in her since time immemorable.  She was the archetype of womanhood, beauty and sex - and was worshipped as a demi-god across the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to legend, Helen was born on the Cycladic island of Thera.  Her conception resulted from Zeus turning himself into a swan and raping the beautiful Leda who was bathing by the banks of the Eurotas.  According to Pausanian, writing in the second century ad, when Helen hatched, her birth-egg was suspended from the roof of the Spartan Acropolis.

The earliest stories about Helen show her as a conspirator to the ‘kidnapping’ and in one version she actually asks Paris to abduct her.


When Helen grew up there was a contest among the men who longed for her hand in marriage. Legends differ on Helen’s popularity – some have as few as 29 men chasing her whilst others have just short of 100. The men did not deign to fight themselves but instead showed their wealth by allowing their greatest heroes to compete in their place.  The winner was Agamemnon who donated the princess to his younger brother Menelaus.

Helen and Menelaus married but trouble struck when the Trojan prince, Paris, came to visit and was left in Helen’s care when her husband was called away to Crete. Next came the kidnapping which triggered the Trojan War. There are arguments that the ‘kidnapping’ was not as straightforward as first appeared. The earliest stories about Helen show her as a conspirator to the ‘kidnapping’ and in one version she actually asks Paris to abduct her. Paris claimed he was merely taking what was his; he thought he had won the contest to marry Helen but Menelaus had stolen his prize. Herodotus (c. 484-425 bc, Greek historian widely regarded as the Father of History) makes a case for Helen never making it to Troy but most stories have Helen, Paris and Troy under siege for the next 10 years.

HOMER, THE ILIAD

Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.

To Launch 1,000 Ships


A millihelen is a humorous unit of measurement for beauty. If Helen of Troy had ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’, then the amount of beauty needed to launch a single ship is a millihelen.

In reality, it would have been impossible for any Bronze Age city to withstand a 10-year siege.
The Elecampane plant (Inula helenium) was believed (by Pliny) to have sprung from the tears of Helen of Troy.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria's 2nd city, is one of the oldest in the world, older than Rome, Athens and Carthage and as old as Troy.

A ‘Trojan Horse’ is also the name of a virus that can cause internal damage to a computer.