Wednesday 16 December 2020

The War of Troy


The War of Troy


(The Iliad is a Greek epic poem. It was written by the blind poet, Homer. It describes the famous War of Troy which took place between the Greeks and the Trojans some 1200 years B.C. This story has a number of characters – both human and divine. The Trojan War continued for ten years between the Greeks who lived on the mainland and the people of Troy which is now in Turkey. The war was sparked off by the elopement of Spartan Queen Helen to Troy. Troy was finally defeated and Helen was brought back to Sparta by her husband, Menelaus). The story goes that when Peleus married Thetis (a Greek sea-goddess who married a mortal named Peleus and gave birth to Achilles) all the gods and goddesses were invited to the wedding feast. Eris, goddess of discord, was somehow the only exception. She was left out. She felt infuriated at this insult. She thought of a revenge plan. She threw a golden apple among the assembled guests. The apple bore on it the words: ‘meant for the fairest.’ This apple was claimed by three of the goddesses present on the scene. They were all proud of their beauty. They were Athene (patron goddess of Athens, personified wisdom), Hera (a jealous, quarrelsome Greek goddess) and Aphrodite (Greek goddess of fertility and love). They soon started quarrelling bitterly over it.

They took their problem before Zeus. Zeus did not like to take any risk. He thought of keeping himself out of such a difficult matter. He sent the goddesses to Mount Ida, where Paris was tending his flocks. The goddesses, gathered around the handsome shepherd. Each of them offered to reward him richly if he gave her the prize. Hera promised Paris power and riches. Athene said she would bring him glory and fame. Aphrodite vowed that she would give him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife. Paris chose Aphrodite and gave her the golden apple. This enraged the other two goddesses who became his enemies. Paris was the son of Priam, the King of Troy. Though he was born in a royal family, he had been brought up in obscurity because an oracle had prophesied that he would one day bring ruin to the city. Under the protection of Aphrodite, Paris sailed for Sparta to claim his prize, the most beautiful woman in the world. This woman was Helen, the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta. With the help of Aphrodite, Paris succeeded in persuading Helen to elope with him. They sailed away to Troy. Overcome by grief, Menelaus called upon all the kings and chieftains of Greece to help him recover his wife. They organized a huge army. Agamemnon, his brother, was commander-in-chief of that army. Among the other illustrious warriors were Ajax, Nestor, Odysseus and Achilles. Achilles was the greatest of the warriors. King Priam of Troy was old and weak. His son Hector was, however, a brave and noble young man. Hector had felt a premonition of danger when his brother Paris brought Helen to Troy. He knew that he must fight for his family, but grieved at the circumstances that had set hero against hero. The other principal warriors on the Trojan side were Aeneas, Glaucus and Sarpedon. After a long preparation, the Greek fleet and army assembled and set out for Troy. For nine long years the Greek army besieged Troy. The two armies fought, neither side winning over the other. Achilles soon showed himself to be the bravest and most daring of the Greek warriors. However, he had a quarrel with Agamemnon, his commander in the war. He refused to go on fighting. After this, the war went badly for the Greeks. Patroclus, who was his best friend, persuaded Achilles to lend him his armour. He hoped that wearing Achilles’ armour would deceive the Trojans into thinking that Achilles was once more fighting against them. Hector proved stronger than Patroclus. He fought with Patroclus and killed him. When Achilles learned of his friend’s death he was infuriated. He swore to take revenge and decided to fight again. He joined the Greek army and fought so fiercely that the Trojans withdrew into the city. Hector, who refused to retreat, was left alone on the battlefield. However, when Hector saw that he was facing the real Achilles, he lost his wits. He ran towards the city gates. Achilles ran faster and cut off his retreat. When Hector saw that escape was impossible, he decided to fight. Achilles killed Hector with a thrust of his spear With Hector’s death, the Trojans suffered a serious setback. Paris was sent to fight with Achilles. Before Achilles was born, a prophecy had told his mother that he would die young. After his birth she bathed him in the river Styx / stiks /. It was a river whose water had] magical powers. This water gave Achilles protection from all wounds and diseases. However, the water did not touch the heel by which his mother Thetis had held him. So, when Paris shot a poisoned arrow at Achilles, the gods guided Paris’ arrow to his heel which was the only vulnerable part of his body. Achilles died from the wound. The Greeks now lost hope. They did not now have much hope of ever conquering the city of Troy. Still they held on. They decided to resort to a trick. They pretended to abandon the siege. Most of their ships set sail with warriors on board and disappeared from the scene. They did not, in fact, head for home. They only sailed to a nearby island where they hid in a harbour. The Greeks who were left behind built a huge wooden horse which was hollow. The armed men left in the camp climbed into the horse and closed the opening. The remaining Greeks then sailed away, giving the impression that the entire army had left. When the Trojans saw that the Greek camp had disbanded and the fleet had gone, they threw open the gates of the city. They rushed out to look at the abandoned camp. They found nothing but the huge wooden horse there. They wondered what it could be. Some of them suggested that it may be carried back to the city and put on display as a trophy of war but others were afraid of it. Laocoon, a priest, tried to sound a note of warning to the Trojans. “Are you mad?” he exclaimed. “Have you not seen enough of Greek trickery to be on your guard against it? I have my strong doubts against the Greeks. They can be treacherous even when they appear to be offering gifts.” As Laocoon was speaking, some Trojans appeared, dragging a captive between them. It was a young Greek boy. The Trojans promised to spare his life if he answered their questions truthfully. “My name is Sinon,” said the young Greek. “My countrymen have abandoned me here because they were angry with me. I had committed a small offence to incur their displeasure.

The wooden horse is a peace-offering to Athene. The gods had told us that if you Trojans took possession of it, we would lose the war. We have made the horse huge so that you cannot carry it into the city.” The Trojans were tricked into believing his story. They placed it in the main square so that everyone could see it as a sign of their victory. They spent the rest of the day celebrating and feasting. At last, exhausted from the festivities, they went to their homes and fell into their beds. The city was quiet in the night. The Greek army was only waiting for this opportunity. The armed men who were hidden inside the body of the horse were let out by Sinon. They opened the gates of Troy and let in their companions, who had returned under the cover of darkness. The Greeks caused great havoc and set fire to the city. The Trojans died in their beds. Menelaus hastened to the palace. He found Helen and took her back to Sparta. Troy had fallen and the city was completely destroyed.



infuriated (adv) : enraged He felt infuriated when she announced that he would go her own way.


discord (noun) : disagreement A note of discord between the members was felt during the annual meeting.


tending (v) : taking care of A shepherd was tending his sheep.


enrage (v) : to make someone very angry The servant’s behaviour enraged the master.


obscurity (n) : a state of being forgotten He spent most of his life in obscurity.


prophesy (v) : forecast, say in advance The priest had prophesied that she would go up in life.


armour (n) : metal clothing that soldiers wore in war This is the statue of a knight in shining armour.


premonition (n) : fear of some impending imagined danger I had somehow the premonition that some serious danger lay ahead.

vulnerable (adj) : weak and easily hurt Young children are more vulnerable to diseases of the stomach.

abandon (v) : to leave with no intention of returning The child was abandoned by its parents.


havoc (n) : lot of destruction, ruin. The floods caused havoc all over the city.


treacherous (adj) : that cannot be trusted, unrealiable. He was warned against the treacherous ways of his enemies.


incur (v) : to deal with an unpleasant situation, suffer, cause to happen He incurred the wrath of his father by not obeying him.





A. Comprehension Questions

(i) Answer the following in about 10 to 20 words each:


1. Who was not invited to the wedding feast?

Ans. Eris, the goddess of Discord, was not invited to the wedding feast.


2. How did Eris react when she learnt that she had not been invited to the wedding feast?

Ans. Eris became very angry when she learnt that she had not been invited to the wedding feast. She decided to take her revenge.


3. What did Eris do to take her revenge?

Ans. Eris threw a golden apple ‘for the fairest’ among the assembled guest. Thus she sowed seeds of discord among them.


4. What was written on the apple?

Ans. “Meant for the fairest” was written on apple.


5. Who claimed the apple?

Ans. Each of the three goddesses, Athene, Hera and Aphrodite claimed the apple.


6.. Why did Zeus not solve their problem?

Ans. Zeus did not want to get involved in the dispute among the goddesses. So, he did not solve their problem.


1.     What rewards did the three goddesses promise Paris?

Ans. Hera promised to give Pairs power and riches. Athene promised that she would bring him glory and fame and Aphrodite promised to give him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife.


2.     Why was Paris brought up in obscurity?

Ans. When Pairs was born, an oracle had said that the boy would be the cause of ruin of Troy. So he was brought up in obscurity.


3.     What was the prize given to Paris?

Ans. Helen, the wife of king Menelaus of Sparta who was the beautiful woman in the world, was given to Paris as his prize.


4.     Why did the Greek army besiege Troy?

Ans. Pairs had taken Helen to Troy. She was the wife of Menelaus, a Greek King of Sparta. So the Greek army besieged Troy on order to get Helen back to Sparta.


5.     How was Hector killed?

Ans. Hector was left alone in the battlefield. Achilles put a heavy blow of his spear on Hector and killed him.


6.     What was the prophecy about Achilles?

Ans. The prophecy about Achilles was that he would die at a young age.


7.     How did Achilles die?

Ans. After the death of Hector, Pairs was sent to fight with Achilles. He shot a poisoned arrow into the heel of Achilles and he died.


8.     Did the Greeks turn back?

Ans. No, the Greek simply pretended to leave Troy. It was only a trick played on the Trojans. In fact, they didn’t go back.


9.     What was inside the wooden horse?

Ans. There were armed men inside the wooden horse. They were Greek soldiers.


10.            What was the priest’s suggestion?

Ans. The suggestion of the priest was that Trojans must not trust the Greeks. They might be deceiving the Trojans.


11.            What did Sinon tell about the horse?

Ans. Sinon said that the horse was a peace-offering to the goddess Athene. The gods had told the Greeks that if the Trojans got possession of the horse, the Greeks would lose the war. So the Greek had made it so huge that it could not be taken into the city.


12.            When did the soldiers come out of the horse?

Ans. The soldier came out of the horse at night when the Trojans were sleeping.


19. Did the Greeks get Helen at last?

Ans. Yes, the Greeks got Helen at last when they killed the Trojans in their beds.


(ii) Write short notes on the following:

1.     The dispute between the three goddesses.

Ans. The Three goddesses were Athene, Hera and Aphrodite. Eris, the goddess of Discord had thrown a golden apple at the table where they were feasting when Thetis married Peleus. On the apple were written these words, “meant for the fairest.” Each goddess claimed the golden apple as she believed that she was the fairest. They failed to decide who should get the golden apple. At last, this dispute was settled by Pairs. He gave the apple to Aphrodite.


2.     Death of Achilles

Ans. Achilles was the son of the king Peleus and Greek sea- goddess called Thetis. When he was born, his mother wanted to make him immortal like gods. She bathed him in the water of the river Styx. The water did not touch the boy’s heel. So the heels become the weakest part of his body. When Achilles was fighting with Paris on the plains of Troy, Paris shot a poisoned arrow into his heel and he died.


3.     The trickery of the Greek soldiers

Ans. After the death of Achilles, the Greeks army was weakened. It could not defeat the Trojans. The Greeks played a trick. They made a huge wooden horse and hid their best soldiers inside that horse. They left that horse at the gate of Troy. They sailed away in their ships to a nearby island. The Trojans carried the wooden horse into their city and celebrated their victory. When the Trojans slept at night, the hidden Greek soldiers came out the wooden horse. They opened the gates of troy. They killed the Trojan soldiers and burnt the city. Thus they defeated the Trojan by the trick.


B. Vocabulary Exercises

(i) Give one word for the following expressions selecting suitable words from the list given below:

Mortal                     vow                      elope                             vulnerable                  obscurity


discord                    besiege                     premonition              captive                        setback.


1. Weak and easily hurt.                                                                           Vulnerable         


2. To capture a town by surrounding it.                                        Besiege                                                          

3. One who takes birth and dies one day.                                                Mortal 


4. A feeling that something unpleasant is going to happen.                    Premonition             


5. A difficulty that makes a situation from bad to worse.                       Setback


6. A formal and serious promise.                                                    Vow                      


7. To run away with someone to get married.                                Elope                            


8. A state of being unknown.                                                                    Obscurity


9. One who is under arrest.                                                             Captive


10. A serious difference of opinion.                                                Discord 



(ii).. Match the words in column A with their antonyms in column B :

                   A                                                                                    B

discord                                                                          joy


assemble                                                                        pushing


proud                                                                            obscurity


fame                                                                              accept


grief                                                                               concord


refuse                                                                             disperse


dragging                                                                       humble



Discord                                                                                             concord


Assemble                                                                                          disperse


Proud                                                                                                         humble


Fame                                                                                                 obscurity


Grief                                                                                                 joy                                                                                                                                                                              

Refuse                                                                                               accept                            


Dragging                                                                                          pushing



(i)                Fill in the blanks using adverbs of the following words:


Bitter             eager              fierce


Truthful           rich                complete


1. The boy was promised to be spared if he answered their questions             truthfully


2. The surprised soldiers dragged the horse                                                       eagerly              


3. The city of Troy was destroyed                                                            completely


4. The goddess promised to reward him                                                  richly                                                                       

5. The goddesses were quarrelling                                                            bitterly


6. The armies fought                                                                                 fiercely


(ii)              Match the following, making references to the lesson:


1. Greek sea-goddess Priam

Ans. Greek sea-goddess Thetis. She was the mother of Achilles and wife of King Peleus.


2. Goddess of discord Menelaus

Ans. Goddess of discord Eris. She was not invited to the wedding feast when Thetis and Peleus got married. She threw the golden apple of discord.


3. Goddess of wisdom Aphrodite

Ans. Goddess of wisdom Athene. The Greek wooden horse was a peace offering to this goddess.


4.     Goddess of fertility and love Hera

Ans. Goddess of fertility and love Aphrodite. She got the Golden apple from Paris and gave him Helen as his reward.


5. King of Sparta Athene

Ans. King of Sparta Menelaus. His wife Helen eloped with Paris.


6. King of Troy Thetis

Ans. King of Troy Priam. He was very old and weak.


7. Goddess of jealousy Eris

Ans. Goddess of jealousy Hera. She promised Paris to give him power and riches.



C. Grammar Exercises

(i) Punctuate the following:


(a) ah i thought he will come in and my seventeenth chapter will never be finished


(b) rehman gave it to me said tina cheerfully rehman gave it to you cried her mother much

shocked o tina how could you take it from him


(c) he caught my hand and said you are very kind sir do not offer me money you have a little

girl I too have one like her in my own home I think of her and bring fruits to your child


(d) he made a promise to the kings surgeon bleed the king to death with this lancet and I will

give you a thousand pieces of gold and when I ascend the throne you will be my chief minister




(ii) Join the following sets of sentences using appropriate conjunctions / connectors:


1. (a) To see Mary quiet is unnatural.

(b)  I cannot bear it long.

Ans. It is unnatural to see Mary quiet and I cannot bear it long.


2. (a) He offered her nuts and raisins.

(b) She would not be tempted.

Ans. He offered her nuts and raisins but she would not be tempted.


3. (a) This is the house.

(b) My father built it.

Ans. This is the house that my father built.


4. (a) You cannot win the trophy.

(b) You should work hard.

Ans. You cannot win the trophy unless you work hard.


5. (a) She must be operated upon.

(b) She will die.

Ans. She must be operated upon or she will die.


6. (a) I reached the station.

(b) The train had left.

Ans. The train had left before I reached the station.


7. (a) You are mistaken.

(b) I am mistaken.

Ans. Either you are mistaken or I am mistaken.


8. (a) Sita was afraid of being late.

(b) She ran.

Ans. Sita ran because was afraid of being late.


9. (a) You do as I tell you.

(b) You will be punished.

Ans. Do as I tell you or you will be punished.


10. (a) I am in the right.

(b) You are in the wrong.

Ans. I am in the right but you are in the wrong.



(iii) Fill in the blanks with the indirect objects (Direct/ Indirect) of your choice:



a S


Transitive verb                        

Direct                                  object                              












My friend            


                          Her umbrella                      



Her sister.




have sold                

my land             


My neighbour.

The Principal      




                                             Some students.


The company      

offered    a                                                             

manager’s                    Post






















b. Subject                          transitive verb               Direct object           Indirect object


My uncle                           bought                            me                             a new watch.

The Chairman                   appointed                       him                            a new director.

The minister                     got                                  her                             a good job.

She                                    cooked                           her son                      a nice dinner.

The student                       fetched                           the teacher                a box of chalks.       








D. Pronunciation Practice

Check up the pronunciation of the following words in the dictionary and say them aloud:

measure                           loose                              rumour

murder                             vase                                mass

bosom                             police                              balcony

tour                                 woman                           machine

horse                               threw                            government

Don’t you think you should learn phonetic symbols to be able to read the correct pronunciation of words from the dictionary?


E. Creative Writing and Extended Reading

1. Get hold of an abridged version of The Iliad. Read the story in detail. Make a list of the various gods and goddesses mentioned in the story.

2. Ask your teacher to relate the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall of Man on the basis of his study of Milton’s poem, The Paradise Lost. Discuss the story in the class.

3. Read the abridged versions of The Ramayana and The Mahabharta. What are the messages contained in these books? Write these in brief.



Just a little fun:

There’s a clever old miser who tries

Every method to e-con-omise.

 He said with a wink,

“I save gallons of ink By

 simply not dotting my I’s