Later Mycenean and Trojan War I/26a: 1250BC- 1190BC
1x LCh//4Bd (General): King Menelaus
2x 4Sp or 4Wb or 4Pk
Note: The double slash means that the troops may dismount as the second type.
Agamemnon (meaning "very resolute") was the son of King Atreus of Mycenae and Queen Aerope, and brother of Menelaus, the husband of "Helen of Troy". He led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years. The Iliad tells the story of the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles in the final year of the war. Agamemnon took an attractive slave and spoil of war Briseis from Achilles. Achilles, the greatest warrior of the age, withdrew from battle in revenge and nearly cost the Greek armies the war. After the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris, the city fell to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans and desecrated their temples, thus earning the wrath of the gods. Few of the Achaeans returned to their homes and many founded colonies in distant lands. According to the account given by Pindar and the tragedians, Agamemnon upon his return home was slain by his wife while alone in a bath, a piece of cloth or a net having first been thrown over him to prevent resistance.
The Romans later traced their origin to Aeneas, one of the Trojans, who was said to have led the surviving Trojans to Italy.
The Achean forces are described in some detail in the second book of the Iliad in the "Catalogue of Ships". They consisted of 28 contingents from mainland Greece, the Peloponnese, the Dodecanese islands, Crete and Ithaca, comprising 1178 pentekontoroi, ships with 50 rowers. Thucydides says that according to tradition there were about 1200 ships, the Boeotian ships had 120 men while Philoctetes' ships only had fifty rowers, these probably being maximum and minimum. These numbers would mean a total force of 70,000 to 130,000. Another catalogue of ships is given by Apollodorus that differs somewhat but agrees in numbers. Some scholars have claimed that Homer's catalogue is an original Bronze age document, possibly the Achaean commander's order of operations.
In 1870, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated a site in Turkey which he believed to be the site of Troy, and at least some archaeologists agree. The city that Homer describes was believed to be Troy VI by many twentieth century authors. It was destroyed in 1275 BC, probably by earthquake. Its follower Troy VIIa, destroyed by fire at some point during the 1180s BC, was long considered a poorer city, but since the excavation campaign of 1988 it has risen to the most likely candidate.
The chariot was the main weapon in battles of the time, like the battle of Kadesh. There is evidence from the Dendra armor and paintings at the palace of Pylus that the Acheans used two men chariots, with the principal rider armed with a long spear, unlike the Hittite three-men chariots whose riders were armed with shorter spears or the two men chariots armed with arrows used by Egyptians and Syrians. Homer is aware of the use of chariots as a main weapon.
The story of Troy is the "stuff of legends". Did Homer re-tell stories handed down through the generations or did he create it himself? Archaeologic evidence for a sacked Troy has not definitively been found. Incriptions of diplomatic messages of the time period do suggest an important region near the site where Troy is suspected to lie. The place is called (W)ilusa (very similar to the Roman Ilios) and a ruler named Alexandros is mentioned. Paris was also named Alexander...coincidence?
This is the Lion's Gate entrance to Mycenae.
Click here to see the army pictures.