The Iliad is a great epic poem full of warrior furor. The facts maintain a linear chronology. Digressions deviate from the central theme of the siege of Troy by the Achaeans and their allies.
According to the Iliad, Prince Paris of Troy elopes with Helena, the most beautiful woman in the world. Menelaus, her husband, summoned the Greeks to wage war against the Trojans. This war was the meeting of many of the great heroes of antiquity, such as Achilles, Hector, and Ajax.
We find the story of the war to recover the queen also in another classic, the Ramayana. The epic poem of Rama or Ramayana has got attributed to Valmiki. Rama siege Lanka to bring back Sita, who plays Elena's role.
Both Elena and Sita get considered "unfaithful" women. While Menelaus and Rama are Indo-European Solar Heroes, called to lead the end of a cycle.
Menelaus was the Greek King of Sparta, son of Aerope and Atreus of Mycenae. Thyestes and his son Aegisthus killed Atreus and took over the rule over Mycenae. Then he flees with his older brother Agamemnon from Mycenae to Sparta.
Tyndareus went out against Mycenae, conquered it and banished Thyestes. Agamemnon and Menelaus were able to return to their homeland. Tyndareus daughter Helena was very beautiful and was thus courted by many suitors. Theseus had once abducted her. That is why Tyndareus was very worried. Odysseus advised him to invite all the suitors and to take an oath before the choice of the bridegroom.
The suitors swore to accept the pair and protect them from rivals. Now Helena could choose her future husband and chose Menelaus. They had a daughter Hermione. Others are Nikostratos and Megapenthes, the son of Menelaus with Pieris or Tereis. Another son with the nymph Knossia was Xenodamos. After Tyndareus sons, the Dioscuri, had died, Menelaus became king of Sparta.
Paris encounters Helena, whom Aphrodite has promised him as a wife. Helena falls in love with him, and with this flees with him.
When Menelaus learn of the incident, he immediately goes home. Together with Palamedes and Odysseus, he went to Troy to get his wife back. Menelaus returned empty handed. Now he gathered a great army and went to Troy.
Menelaus proved to be a brave fighter. He won the upper hand during the duel with Paris. Despite a slight wound, Menelaus followed Paris. The battle did not end deadly for Paris.
Philoctetes had the bow and arrows of Heracles, poisoned with the lethal poison of the snake. With two of these arrows, the archer wounded Paris.
Helena chooses to be as a wife of his next younger brother, Deiphobus. Menelaos while plundering Troy made a decision to kill her. He dropped his sword at the sight of her beauty and took her to Sparta.
Eight years after the fall of Troy, Menelaus returned to his home. After Menelaus's death, Orestes became his successor. The sons of Menelaus were not regarded as worthy. Menelaus, who had gained immortality from Hera, rose into the Elysian plains. His body got buried in Therapne in Menelaion.
Iliad is one of the oldest written poems dating to the 8th century BC, several centuries after the wars. We know the Mediterranean and the Indo-Iranian migration and the two main directions. On his arrival in India, Alexander the Great brought with him the Greek works, including the Iliad.
For many, the details refer to a Nordic landscape, the mysterious Indo-European homeland. By the prehistoric origin of the Trojan Myth, the places adapt to the Homeric narrative. The Indo-Europeans brought them everywhere they migrated. They rename the various places with well-known and rooted names in their tradition.
There is no doubt that many character attributes and mystical interventions are unreal. But others like the conflict itself, as well as some of the characters and places could be true. Some scholars argue that it is possible that the events reported are not due to a single conflict. But that they compose and mitigate various facts.
Iliad counts the war between Achaeans and Trojans in the plains of Troy in their horse carriages. The clash between Achilles and his solar counterpart Hector symbolizes the war. Mahabharata tells of the battle in Kurukshetra, also aboard horse carriages. This is one of the great similarities that for centuries have caught the attention.
The myth of Achilles is comparable to that of the Indian hero Arjuna. It belongs to an original caucasian archetype. Priam with Hecuba and concubines had 50 children. In the royal palace of Troy, there were 50 rooms, where the 50 children of Priam slept with their brides.
The poems narrate the Trojan war with an exaltation of the heroes to build a nice story for the audience. The Mycenaean references get mixed with details specific to the epic narrative. Thus, alongside the epic war appear the fascinating adventures of Odysseus.
The epic poetry spread by a recitation of the bards through the long oral tradition. The tone of the Odyssey is less warlike than that of the Iliad. The differences extend to a presence of the domestic world and diverse social strata. Even the attitude of the mortals is very different. The cruel and capricious actions of the gods in the war sometimes seemed to seek mere amusement. In Odyssey, interventions get guided by ethical motivations and the search for justice.
Homer added certain characteristics that gave personality to his work. He introduced more intensity and drama into action. He made a conscious selection of the material that had reached him by oral tradition. Homer "humanized" his heroes, endowing them with virtues such as love of country, friend, and so on.
There are two main protagonists of the poems: the gods and the heroes, the divine world, and the human. The Homeric gods resemble men by their appearance, passions, vices, and virtues. They differ only by their immortality. They are superior to mortal men in strength, beauty or intelligence. They lead a happy and carefree life on Olympus. The Trojan war itself, in which they sometimes intervene, is for them of no importance.
Above the gods, there is an absolute, irrational power that escapes its control. It is destiny. This is a certain order of events known by oracles and predictions. But which no one can alter, not even the gods themselves. The Homeric gods, who come to be an incarnation of the forces of nature, act as guarantors of destiny. And, as the balance of the world, and so punish the transgressions of that order carried out by men.
As for the human world, the heroes are beings who count among their ancestors with some god. They get endowed with great strength, beauty or intelligence, superior to that of a man. But smaller than that of a god, and deprived of course of immortality. As opposed to other epics, the Homeric epic presents heroes that are very "human". They hardly intervene monsters or magical elements. They suffer and die and embody virtues such as patriotism, friendship, and fidelity.
In his performance, the Homeric hero gets subjected to a double conditioning. Destiny and the divine intervention itself. Against the first, he can do nothing, for he is inexorable. It is usual to see the gods intervene in the actions of men. For example, by giving or taking away the force of a warrior in full combat.
There are also times when it is the man alone who must decide and seek an outlet for himself. All this leads us to pose the problem of freedom in Homer. In reality, although the gods intervene in the lives of men, it is the man who decides, so there is a margin of freedom.
Ramayana got written during the third century BC. It is possible that the beginning and the end got added later. The Ramayana narrates the life of Rama and his adventures to get the hand of Sita. He gets displaced by one of his brothers as heir to the throne of his father by King Bharata. Rama goes into exile in the company of his wife and his other brother, Lakshmana. Fragments of this great epic get staged throughout India and Southeast Asia.