Coolidge, Olivia. The Trojan War. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1980.

On the exam, there will be questions about the main characters and about the important events in the Trojan War. One question will be an essay (long-answer) question describing a character's traits and giving evidence for what you say. Main characters include Achilles, Agamemnon, Hector, Paris, Helen, Odysseus, Clytemnestra, and Menelaus. An on-line review (Trojan War Names and Places) is at http://www.quia.com/jg/431540.html and a challenge game (It All Started With a Golden Apple) is at http://www.quia.com/cb/51884.html

Summary of Events

As you review for the exam, you may find this summary useful. Click here for a list of the events that the sixth graders consider most important.

Part 1: Prologue

Chapter 1 - The Golden Apple

Zeus, father of the gods, desired the nymph Thetis. However, a prophecy said she would have a son who was greater than his father. Zeus decided to marry her to Peleus, king of the Myrmidons. At the wedding dinner, the goddess Discord, angry she was not invited, threw an apple on the table. On it was written, "For the Fairest." The goddesses Hera, Athene, and Aphrodite fought over who was most beautiful, and chose the young shepherd Paris as the judge.

Paris was actually the son of the king and queen of Troy. A prophecy said he would cause Troy's destruction, so his parents Priam and Hecuba abandoned him in the wilds of Mount Ida, where he lived with the nymph Oenone. Paris chose Aphrodite as the fairest goddess and she promised him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife.

Chapter 2 - Helen

The most beautiful woman in the world was Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. Paris came to visit and fell in love with Helen when he saw her. She left with him in the middle of the night, and they returned to Troy.

Chapter 3 - The Madness of Odysseus

Menelaus was the overlord of Greece. When the Trojans would not return Helen, Agamemnon, the brother of Menelaus and king of Mycenae, told him to call all the kings of Greece to Aulis to get ready for war against Troy. Many kings did not want to come, including Odysseus.

Agamemnon sent Palamedes to bring Odysseus to Aulis. Odysseus pretended to be insane, driving his oxen on the seashore, plowing the sand, and throwing salt on the ground. Palamedes threw Odysseus's son under the feet of the oxen and Odysseus had to stop.

Chapter 4 - The Discovery of Achilles

Achilles was the son of Thetis and Peleus. His mother tried to protect him from a prophecy of early death by dipping him into the River Styx, which would make him invulnerable. However, she held him by the heel so his heel was unprotected. She sent him to hide in the court of the king of Scyros, where he was disguised as a girl and married the princess Deidamia. Odysseus disguised himself as a traveling merchant, and tempted Achilles into revealing himself using a beautiful sword.

Chapter 5 - Iphigenia

In Aulis, the wind was coming from the wrong direction. The prophet Calchas told Agamemnon the gods wanted him to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order to get a fair wind. When Agamemnon ordered Iphigenia killed, his wife Clytemnestra swore vengeance.

Part 2: Opening

Chapter 1 - The Trojan Princes

The Trojan princes argued over what they should do. Priam's son Hector said war was inevitable. Antenor thought Hector just wanted revenge against the Greeks. Aeneas thought Troy would win because a prophecy foretold success for him. Priam said there was no choice.

Cassandra, Priam's daughter, was a priestess of Apollo with a gift of prophecy. She was cursed by Apollo so that no one would ever believe what she said. She predicted that Hector would die and Troy would burn.

Chapter 2 - The Foremost Man

The Greeks Laodamia and Protesilaus were married. Protesilaus joined the war against Troy but left a sculpture of himself to keep his wife company. One night she dreamed that she was with him as they approached Troy. He was the "foremost man" to leap from his ship onto the shore, and was killed. Laodamia knew this was a vision of the future. She prayed to Zeus, and he granted her three hours with her husband before he died, by making the statue come to life. Then Laodamia herself died.

Chapter 3 - The Host Musters

Agamemnon walked through his forces on the shore of Troy. He argued with Achilles and accused Achilles of holding back a prisoner. Achilles said he had captured the boy, Priam's son Lykaon, the night before behind Troy. The gods too watched the war.

The battle began. Achilles fought with Cycnus, the son of Poseidon. No weapon could pierce him. However, Achilles strangled Cycnus by the straps of his helmet.

Chapter 4 - Troilus and Cressida

Cressida was the daughter of Calchas, the Trojan prophet who joined the Greeks. He left his daughter behind with her uncle Pandarus. Troilus, a prince of Troy, fell in love with her and gave her his shield. The Greeks exchanged a captive for Cressida and though she swore to return to Troilus, she gave the shield to the Greek hero Diomede instead.

Chapter 5 - The Time of Discouragement

After many years, the war was still not over. Palamedes seized power over the Greeks while Agamemnon was away. Odysseus told Agamemnon he would spread a rumor and plant evidence that Palamedes had sold out to the Trojans, and Agamemnon agreed to the plan.

Part 3: The Wrath of Achilles

Chapter 1 - The Quarrel

The god Apollo made the Greeks sick. Calchas said it was because Agamemnon refused to release a captive girl (Chryseis) who was the daughter of a priest of Apollo (Chryses). Agamemnon said if he had to give up his captive, he would take Achilles' favorite captive Briseis. Achilles said if that happened, he would refuse to fight for Troy.

Chapter 2 - The Combat

Paris challenged Menelaus in single combat for Helen. They fought, and Menelaus was winning, but Aphrodite saved him.

Chapter 3 - Hector and Andromache

The mighty Hector rallied the Trojans and they fought off the Greeks. Hector and his wife Andromache talked. She asked him if he could say, but he told her he was fated to be killed, and she was fated to end her days as a slave. He returned to the battle.

Chapter 4 - A Night Adventure

Odysseus and Diomede set off by night to do something to encourage the Greeks. Meanwhile, the Trojans sent Dolon the Wolf as a scout to find out what the Greeks were planning. Odysseus and Diomede captured Dolon, got information about the Trojans (including their password) and killed him. Then they killed the Thracian king, who was coming to help the Trojans, and stole the king's horses.

Chapter 5 - The Death of Patroclus

Agamemnon, Diomede, and other Trojans were wounded in battle, but Achilles still refused to fight. He sent his friend Patroclus, wearing the armor of Achilles, to lead the Myrmidons in battle. Patroclus killed Sarpedon and then chased after the Trojans. Hector killed Patroclus and took his armor.

Chapter 6 - The Death of Hector

Achilles mourned the death of Patroclus, and rejoined the battle. He confronted Hector, and chased him around the walls of Troy. Hector asked him to return his body to the Trojans if he were killed, but Achilles refused and killed him. Then he dragged Hector's body behind his chariot, and decided to give Patroclus a great funeral.

Chapter 7 - Funeral Games

After the funeral pyre of Patroclus, the Greeks held funeral games. In the chariot race, Diomede won and Antilochus edged out Menelaus with reckless driving. Menelaus refused to take last place because he said it was unfair, and Antilochus let him have second prize. In the wrestling, Odysseus defeated Ajax by hitting him behind the knee. Odysseus also beat Ajax in the foot-race. Achilles was still mourning the death of Patroclus.

Chapter 8 - The Ransom

Achilles still refused to release the body of Hector. Priam drove out by himself in a chariot and threw himself in front of Achilles in his tent, asking Achilles to think of his own father. Achilles gave Priam the body and finally was at peace.

Part 4: The Close of the War

Chapter 1 - The Queen of the Amazons

Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, joined the Trojans with her army of women warriors. She killed the men of Protesilaus and pushed the Greeks back to their camp. Achilles killed her with a spear. He realized that he could have loved her.

Chapter 2 - The Last Fight of Achilles

Memnon, king of the Ethiopians, killed Nestor's son Antilochus. Achilles fought and killed Memnon. Then he chased the Trojans back to the gates of Troy. Apollo tells Paris to shoot a poisoned arrow at Achilles. It would have fallen short, but Achilles turned and the point of the arrow entered his heel. He fell and his body was trampled.

Chapter 3 - The Armor of Achilles

Thetis commanded the Greeks to burn her son's body, and she gave his possessions as prizes in the funeral games for Achilles. The Greeks awarded Achilles' armor to Odysseus because the Trojans said they feared Odysseus more than Ajax. Ajax plotted to kill Odysseus and Agamemnon, but Athene made him go insane instead, and he attacked the sheep and captured the rams. When dawn arrived, he regained his sanity and killed himself.

Chapter 4 - Pyrrhus

Calchas told the Greeks a prophecy said they must be led by the son of Achilles, Pyrrhus. Odysseus went to Scyros to get Pyrrhus, and recognized him by his speed and strength. Pyrrhus returned with Odysseus despite Deidamia's pleas.

Chapter 5 - The Bow of Heracles

Calchas says the Greeks still needed the Bow of Heracles. It was in the possession of Philoctetes, who was abandoned by Odysseus on a deserted island. Odysseus and Pyrrhus went to get the bow. Odysseus told Pyrrhus to lie to Philoctetes and say he had fought with Odysseus. When Odysseus appeared, Pyrrhus felt sorry for Philoctetes, but the dead hero Heracles appeared himself and told Philoctetes to go along with the Greeks.

Chapter 6 - Oenone

Paris was wounded, and had himself carried up to Mount Ida to ask the nymph Oenone to heal him. Oenone was still angry with him for leaving her for Helen, but even as he was dying he could not tell her she was more beautiful than Helen. She sent him away, and he died on the way back to Troy, even though she changed her mind and followed him.

Chapter 7 - The Taking of the Palladium

A prophecy said that Troy could not be taken as long as the Palladium stood in the citadel. Odysseus entered Troy disguised as a beggar, and Helen took him in. She told him how the Palladium was guarded, and he escaped out the Skaian Gate. On the first dark night, Odysseus and Diomede approached Troy. Odysseus gave Diomede a boost up the wall but Diomede refused to pull Odysseus after him, going on by himself to get the Palladium. Odysseus was angry with Diomede.

Part 5: The Fall of Troy

Chapter 1 - The Trojan Horse

The Greeks built a wooden horse, which they filled with warriors. Then they sailed away and hid. The Trojans came out and argued whether to take it inside the city. The Greek spy Sinon told them it was a gift from the Greeks, and would make the Trojans rulers of all Greece. Laocoon, the priest of Poseidon, warned them not to take it in, but Poseidon sent serpents to kill Laocoon's sons and Laocoon himself. The Trojans took the horse into the city.

Chapter 2 - The Sack of Troy

At night, Sinon lit the signal and released the heroes from the horse. Priam and Hecuba took refuge on the altar, but Pyrrhus killed Priam's son and then Priam himself. Aeneas and most of his family managed to escape and left to become the founder of a great city.

Chapter 3 - The Women

The Trojan women were divided up as prizes. Hecuba was to be the slave of Odysseus. Hecuba's youngest son was killed by the King of Thrace, who was supposed to be keeping him safe. Hecuba would kill the Thracian king herself later on. Agamemnon took Cassandra, who didn't mind because she could see his future. Troy was demolished, but the Trojan Antenor (who had helped the Greeks) was allowed to move to a nearby city.

Part 6: The Return of the Heroes

Chapter 1 - Agamemnon's Death

In Mycenae, Clytemnestra had taken a lover, Agamemnon's cousin Aegisthus. When Agamemnon returned with Cassandra, Clytemnestra made a big fuss over him. She had him walk on a red carpet, and invited him in for a bath. She took his sword, threw a net over him, and killed him with an axe. Then she set off with the axe to Cassandra, who knew what was going to happen and was happy because she had her revenge on Agamemnon.

Chapter 2 - The Adventures of Menelaus

Menelaus took Helen and headed for home. His ships were scattered by a storm and he ended up in Egypt, but could not get any further. A sea nymph told him to ask the god Proteus for help, but he had to catch and hold the god in order to get his aid. Menelaus grabbed Proteus, who turned into a snake, a leopard, a board, water, and finally a tree while Menelaus held on. Proteus told him to return to Egypt and make offerings to the gods for a fair wind, and told him of the deaths of Ajax Oileus and Agamemnon. Menelaus returned home and lived happily ever after with Helen.

Chapter 3 - Nestor at Home

Odysseus's son Nestor visited Nestor of Pylos, accompanied by the mysterious Mentor. Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, was being pestered by suitors who want to marry her because they believed Odysseus was dead, but she was stalling them by pretending to weave a shroud for her father. Nestor gave Telemachus news of the Greek heroes. After this, Mentor rose into the air, turning into a black eagle, and Nestor and Telemachus realized he had been a god (it was actually Athene).

Chapter 4 - In the House of the Swineherd

A mysterious old beggar visited the house of Eumaeus, the swineherd of Odysseus. The beggar told the swineherd about the wanderings of Odysseus, and said Odysseus will take revenge on the suitors. Eumaeus did not believe him but gave him a bed for the night. The next day Telemachus came to the swineherd's house and the beggar reveals himself as Odysseus.

Chapter 5 - The Bow Is Bent

Penelope said she would marry the man who could string the bow of Odysseus and send an arrow through the holes of twelve axes set in a row. The suitors tried but failed, and the beggar asked if he could try. He did easily, and then shot Antinous, and then he and Telemachus killed the rest of the suitors. Penelope did not believe it was her husband, and tried to trick him by asking that the marriage bed be brought out, but Odysseus knew it had been built around a living tree.

Now that Odysseus had returned home, the Trojan War was truly over.