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Wicca was suggested this week, but I think that will require a little more research than I want to devote while finishing off some other writing.  I hope you will accept my substitute, the Trojan Wars.

Everyone knows about the Trojan War, either as written by Homer himself or through the reasonable movie facsimile done a few years ago.  The romance of Paris and Helen, the foolish bravado of Achilles conflicting with the regal arrogance of Agamemnon, and the terrible situation Priam and Hector are forced into are all good storytelling.

The truth is that if a minion behaved as Achilles does toward Agamemnon, he would have had his throat slit as he slept.  If he didn’t, his king would lose his hold over his other minions and himself be killed.  The fact is that Odysseus is the real hero of The Iliad and Homer’s sequel The Odyssey.  He enlists Achilles, then uses his hubris to defeat Hector.  He convinces Agamemnon to employ the Trojan Horse.  He is no slouch as a fighter either, he alone can string his own bow and does his share of damage on the plain of Troy.

The land Troy was set on, controlling access into the Black Sea, made it a valuable location for centuries.  That the Greeks were annoyed with whomever they found interfering with their trade makes perfect sense as well.  The new idea, the one that has probably caught your eye, is the concept of multiple attacks on the city.  The archaeological evidence is there.  There were about a dozen versions of the same city built on the same land by the time Alexander the Great passed through centuries later, and half of those existed between his time and the traditional date for the Trojan War of 1200.

Evidence for different wars can be found in Homer as well, where weapons of different ages are described, from Bronze to Iron.  The specific descriptions of swords, spears, and even horse apparel are clearly from several different time frames too.

There are also the Greek myths.  Several isolated legends suggest that different men lead an expedition to Troy, and many more are worded such that interpretation is possible.  According to myth, Hercules himself tore down one set of walls when he felt he had been underpaid for working on them.

Agamemnon may very well have led several war-bands into a war there.  Judging from his impotence without Odysseus and Achilles and his reception when he returned home (murdered), he likely failed to sack the town.

Achilles is so closely linked with Hector as the main emotional storyline in Homer that he may have killed the Trojan leader (in a period where the maximum life-span was fifty-five, he would have fought the king and no prince).  However, as the tradition has it that he died before the city was taken, historically he may have been killed on the plains of Troy as well.

To Odysseus legend gives the Trojan Horse and the eventual return home.  Clearly under his leadership the city was taken.  However, whether he was the first attacker or the last is unknown, whether they all lived within a few generations or five hundred years apart is unknown as well.