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Old April 28th, 2017, 08:31 AM   #1

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I do not understand the timeline of the Trojan War


It was at the wedding of Tethys and Peleus that Eris threw the apple, in the same day the three goddesses went to Paris, so that he would choose the most beautiful.

9 or 10 years later, because this is the age given to Hermione when Helen went away, Paris went to Sparta and kidnapped Helen, or she ran away with him, whatever

So how old was Achilles, son of Peleus and Tethys, when he went to fight for the Achaeans? Impossible to be less than 13, since he had already had a son at the time,

Please, someone explain this for me

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Old April 28th, 2017, 08:52 AM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcellus View Post
It was at the wedding of Tethys and Peleus that Eris threw the apple, in the same day the three goddesses went to Paris, so that he would choose the most beautiful.

9 or 10 years later, because this is the age given to Hermione when Helen went away, Paris went to Sparta and kidnapped Helen, or she ran away with him, whatever

So how old was Achilles, son of Peleus and Tethys, when he went to fight for the Achaeans? Impossible to be less than 13, since he had already had a son at the time,

Please, someone explain this for me
Ha!
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Almost as confusing as the date of the Trojan War.
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Old April 28th, 2017, 10:47 AM   #3

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Because these are all mythical (or quasi-mythical) characters, their lives don't fit into a chronology. The characters are all linked together in the Greek myths--charmingly IMO--but we shouldn't look either for more than just mythical value.

E.g. Helen was beautiful woman--the most beautiful on earth, according to Aphrodite who offered her to Paris in return for judging her the most beautiful goddess. The trouble-making Paris, a handsome young man and a good judge of good-looking women, decided to kidnap Helen (or perhaps better said, she decided to leave her older husband and run off with him), which naturally started a big row since it involved the families of the rulers of Achaea and Troy.

Achilles was a fierce warrior who would participate in a big row if the chance offered, so. . .

This all takes place in the timeless world of myth, so to try to nail down dates would spoil the fun.

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Old April 28th, 2017, 11:02 AM   #4

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Originally Posted by David Vagamundo View Post
Because these are all mythical (or quasi-mythical) characters, their lives don't fit into a chronology. The characters are all linked together in the Greek myths--charmingly IMO--but we shouldn't look either for more than just mythical value.

E.g. Helen was beautiful woman--the most beautiful on earth, according to Aphrodite who offered her to Paris in return for judging her the most beautiful goddess. The trouble-making Paris, a handsome young man and a good judge of good-looking women, decided to kidnap Helen (or perhaps better said, she decided to leave her older husband and run off with him , which naturally started a big since it involved the families of the rulers of Achaea and Troy..

Achilles was a fierce warrior who would participate in a big row if the chance offered, so. . .

This all takes place in the timeless world of myth, so to try to nail down dates would spoil the fun.
You do not know either
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Old April 28th, 2017, 11:18 AM   #5

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I agree. I wouldn't try to tie down the chronology of the Trojan War too much. I'm sure there is a timeline to it but I fear it would be plagued by confusion and inconsistency.

I mean, if we are looking at characters' ages, then how old would Odysseus have been? After all, even after all those years of war and his 20 years wandering, when he returned to Ithaca he needed to be disguised as an old man? So he wasn't that old when he came back but was out for, at least, the best part of three decades.

But it is better to simply enjoy the stories than to stress about the details, especially if you have a clear enough grasp on the order of things, which you clearly do.
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Old April 28th, 2017, 11:24 AM   #6
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The story of the Trojan War has had a bunch of other stories grafted onto it over time because it was considered the most important event in Greek history and every Greek hero had to have some connection to it. That's why the timeline doesn't make sense - the original story is buried under a host of later additions.
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Old April 28th, 2017, 11:28 AM   #7

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When war with Troy was first mooted, it was prophesied that success would only be met if Achilles joined them. Thetis his mother, having already failed to make him immortal, knew that this war would be fatal to Achilles, so she hid him in the court of King Lycomedes of Scyros. There Achilles was disguised as a girl and lived among the king's daughters. But being the half-god hero that he was, he got one of them pregnant before he was discovered by Odysseus and whisked away to Troy.

His son by the king's daughter, Neoptolemus, was born at Scyros. After the siege of Troy had been prolonged for 9 years, it was declared that Achilles' son was needed to bring about the capture of Troy, so Odysseus went back to the court of Lycomedes again to obtain the boy.

Accordingly, Achilles was 9 when he fathered Neoptolemus. And Neoptolemus was 9 when he helped capture Troy and took Andromache as his wife.

This being Mycenaean Bronze Age based mythology, 9 years old was a suitable age for a boy to become a man.

But subsequent mythologisers couldn't accept this timeline, so declared that there were two attempts at building the fleet that was to sail to Troy, the second successful launch being 9 years after the first aborted one. This extra 9 years allowed (among other things) both Achilles and Neoptolemus to be a few years older and so make the chronology more believable to later hearers.
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Old April 28th, 2017, 11:37 AM   #8

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When war with Troy was first mooted, it was prophesied that success would only be met if Achilles joined them. Thetis his mother, having already failed to make him immortal, knew that this war would be fatal to Achilles, so she hid him in the court of King Lycomedes of Scyros. There Achilles was disguised as a girl and lived among the king's daughters. But being the half-god hero that he was, he got one of them pregnant before he was discovered by Odysseus and whisked away to Troy.

His son by the king's daughter, Neoptolemus, was born at Scyros. After the siege of Troy had been prolonged for 9 years, it was declared that Achilles' son was needed to bring about the capture of Troy, so Odysseus went back to the court of Lycomedes again to obtain the boy.

Accordingly, Achilles was 9 when he fathered Neoptolemus. And Neoptolemus was 9 when he helped capture Troy and took Andromache as his wife.

This being Mycenaean Bronze Age based mythology, 9 years old was a suitable age for a boy to become a man.

But subsequent mythologisers couldn't accept this timeline, so declared that there were two attempts at building the fleet that was to sail to Troy, the second successful launch being 9 years after the first aborted one. This extra 9 years allowed (among other things) both Achilles and Neoptolemus to be a few years older and so make the chronology more believable to later hearers.
Thank you, it now makes some sense for him to be a father so soon. It's very odd to think he went to war at the age of nine, but Hercules killed two snakes in the crib,
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Old April 28th, 2017, 12:51 PM   #9

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Accordingly, Achilles was 9 when he fathered Neoptolemus. And Neoptolemus was 9 when he helped capture Troy and took Andromache as his wife.
When I was 9, I was scared of going on busses.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 03:57 PM   #10
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Moros wrote:

Quote:
When war with Troy was first mooted, it was prophesied that success would only be met if Achilles joined them. Thetis his mother, having already failed to make him immortal, knew that this war would be fatal to Achilles, so she hid him in the court of King Lycomedes of Scyros. There Achilles was disguised as a girl and lived among the king's daughters. But being the half-god hero that he was, he got one of them pregnant before he was discovered by Odysseus and whisked away to Troy.

His son by the king's daughter, Neoptolemus, was born at Scyros. After the siege of Troy had been prolonged for 9 years, it was declared that Achilles' son was needed to bring about the capture of Troy, so Odysseus went back to the court of Lycomedes again to obtain the boy.

Accordingly, Achilles was 9 when he fathered Neoptolemus. And Neoptolemus was 9 when he helped capture Troy and took Andromache as his wife.

This being Mycenaean Bronze Age based mythology, 9 years old was a suitable age for a boy to become a man.

But subsequent mythologisers couldn't accept this timeline, so declared that there were two attempts at building the fleet that was to sail to Troy, the second successful launch being 9 years after the first aborted one. This extra 9 years allowed (among other things) both Achilles and Neoptolemus to be a few years older and so make the chronology more believable to later hearers.
And that makes the end of the Trojan War 28 years after Paris abducted Helen, I think. Thus Paris should have been 28 years older at the end of the Trojan War than when he abducted Helen.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcellus View Post
Thank you, it now makes some sense for him to be a father so soon. It's very odd to think he went to war at the age of nine, but Hercules killed two snakes in the crib,
So Achilles was young enough and cute enough when he went off to the Trojan War to disguise himself as a girl. I can't help thinking that the person who made up that myth was making fun of the great warrior Achilles and the cleaver Odysseus by claiming that Odysseus couldn't spot Achilles immediately but had to resort to a trick to discover him.

I wonder if any casting director has ever cast a young man in the role as cute as the myth makes Achilles. I don't remember any movie Achilles that looked like he could successfully disguise himself as a girl.

I remember once reading that in the myths Helen is young and beautiful for decades, explained by her being half divine. But what about Paris, her husband?

Neoptolemus or Pryyhus the son of Achilles was old enough to be a warrior in the last year of the Trojan War, the year Paris was killed. And if Paris made his judgement right after the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the grandparents of Neoptolemus, he should have been a member of the generation of the parents of Achilles and grandparents of Neoptolemus.

Thus he should have been middle aged or elderly in the last year of the Trojan War, the year the Illiad is set in, except in so far as the supernaturlaly rapid growth of the partly divine Achilles and Neoptolemus might make the last year of the Trojan War only 18 years after the marriage of Peleus and Thetis.

So what does Paris look like in depictions of Hector urging Paris to go out and fight in Book 6 of the Illiad?

Hector Admonishes Pars for His Softness and Exhorts Him to Go to War by J.H.W. Tischbein (1751-1828):


Click the image to open in full size.

Hector Censuring Helen and Paris (about 1820) by F. Hendrickx:

Click the image to open in full size.


"Hector admonishes Paris, who removes his wreath and reaches for his helmet. Behind them sits beautiful Helen." Pierre-Claude-Francois Ddelvome 1783-1859.

Click the image to open in full size.

Hector Reproving Paris Richard Cook (1784-1857):

Click the image to open in full size.

And here are scenes of Paris killing Achilles even later that year.

Death of Achilles Peter Paul Rubens 1630/32.

Click the image to open in full size.

"Death of Achilles" from an ancient Greek vase:

Click the image to open in full size.

So for thousands of years Paris has usually been depicted as beardless and not looking like he could have been shaving for very long, even in events in the last year of his life.

One way to make it the timeline more plausible if writing a novel about the Trojan War would be to make the three goddesses quarrel for years after the marriage of Peleus and Thetis and while Achilles is a growing child about who is more beautiful. Then they could search for years to find a mortal brave or stupid enough to dare to judge between them. Then they finally find a little boy named Paris naive enough not to worry about the revenge of the jilted goddesses. Paris could give the golden apple to Aphrodite after she bribes shim with a promise to give him the most beautiful woman in the world when he will become a teenager.

Or one could go with the idea that members of he Trojan royal family were slow to age due to their descent from Zeus.

Last edited by MAGolding; September 14th, 2017 at 04:01 PM.
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