Thursday, June 30, 2011

Confusions II

This bothered me for most of the way through the book: Why did the Trojans (and especially their neighbors) insist on protecting Paris and Helen. The Trojans should have just given Helen back and maybe surrendered Paris to Menelaus for punishment (death). The whole war seems pretty pointless. The other kings from around Troy especially confuse me. Why did they even show up to defend Troy? Were they looking for glory? Or did they expect future help from Troy if they won? Did they have some economic ties to Troy's port?

I ran this question by a certain friend of mine whose broken ankles will not be named here (yes, by now they certainly have names) and he said that the primary reason that the other kings came to help and that they Trojans stood up against the Achaeans at all was because the Achaeans were invaders. Apparently Greeks thought that place matters. The very ground on which your city was built was important, not just the city itself. Thus if foreigners came to take your city, they were automatically the ones in the wrong. While I can understand this, the Achaeans were not really there to take the city. They were there for Paris's blood and for Helen and maybe a little cash for their troubles in sailing all the way over there to get her. In fact, after Menelaus kicks Paris's butt, they offer those exact terms to the Trojans and get nothing.

Maybe my misunderstanding has a lot to do with my Judeo-Christian, American mind. I think (call me crazy) that human life has inherent value and that wars, while justifiable, are tragedies and should be avoided. The Greeks, especially the Spartans, seem to enjoy war or at least not really mind it. Maybe the Trojans and their neighbors are of the same mind.

I still think the whole Trojan war was pretty silly.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps it has something to do with the Greek hospitality complex. Paris and Helen fled here for succor. Therefore, ipso facto, we must protect them. Although we see cities also rejecting dangerous would-be immigrants, as in the Odyssey.