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Nefer-Ankhe

Helen of Troy?

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Nefer-Ankhe

I've been watching the Netflix drama Troy and I visited Troy a few years back now. It's made me wonder if there's any truth to the Iliad? Was Helen possibly a real historical character? 

 

Would be interesting to hear your thoughts. 

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seanjo

Every legend has a basis in fact.

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The Caspian Hare

I always wondered if the Trojan horse was real

"Hey guys look at this big cool horse they built for us, that was nice of them, and it's got wheels how convenient, let's roll it into the city"

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Orphalesion

There is a little bit of basis, a city was discovered in roughly the right spot for it to be possibly be Troy. That city was destroyed several times (including one time that would roughly fit the supposed timeframe of the Iliad. That city was possibly inhabitet by Hittites and named Wilusa, which could be related to the name Ilion, the alternate name for Troy (hence iliad)
So there possibly was a war that destroyed the city before it was later resettled.

However there is no evidence, and no reason to think that this war was fought by any sort of Pan-Grecian coalition who laid siege to the city for 10 years to help the King of Sparta (which, like many of the other city states mentioned in the Illiad, hadn't risen to any sort of prominence yet, if it was around at all) get his waifu back.

It's possible that there was a tale of Wilusa's distraction on which the Greeks, over time, added on layers and layers. As it became a story that was popular in all of Greece, naturally all the Greek city states wanted to have a prominent part in it, so they came up with a reason as to why the Greeks would all unite under Menelaus to fight Troy (Helen and the oath they had sword for her) and as that happened they had to scale up the dimensions of the war until it was a 10 year siege involving a plethora of exotic, and occasionally made up, nations on both sides.
Even when removing the supernatural elements, there's still a lot of very unrealistic elements, chief among them being the Horse (yeah no...) and the fragmented Greek tribes uniting to get Helen.

One can speculate that perhaps the horse was a misunderstanding of some sort of siege weapon by people who hadn't invented them yet and hadn't seen them in action.

You can compare it to King Arthur. If he existed at all he was some minor Celtic warlord without a Camelot, an Exaclibur or Knights. 
So there might have been a war that destroyed Wilusa, but it was one without Helen or Achilles or Amazons or Odysseus. 
The difference is that with the Arthur myth we can tell were many of the elements come from and first entered the myth, with Troy we only have the two last remaining pieces of the fully formed, probably late, version of a much larger, epic cycle, which likely had gone around for centuries without being written down, receiving a lot of variation and embellishment in the process. 

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Essan

I reckon the events were real in the same way the events of every John Wayne or 007 film were real ;) 

Epic story telling is one of man's oldest pastimes.

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Piney
12 minutes ago, Essan said:

I reckon the events were real in the same way the events of every John Wayne or 007 film were real ;) 

Epic story telling is one of man's oldest pastimes.

If I remember correctly during the "Dark Age" at the end of the Bronze Age, Troy was destroyed by a group from the Northwest (Phrygians?) 

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Rlyeh
Posted (edited)

Helen was the daughter of Zeus.. was Heracles real?

Edited by Rlyeh
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The Caspian Hare
2 hours ago, Rlyeh said:

Helen was the daughter of Zeus.. was Heracles real?

Steve Reeves was quite real, I assure you. :whistle:

Dwayne Johnson however is entirely a fictional construct.

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Piney
27 minutes ago, The Caspian Hare said:

Steve Reeves was quite real, I assure you. :whistle:

I have the DVD's with the Ray Harry claymation!  AWESOME! :tu:

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Orphalesion

 

4 hours ago, The Caspian Hare said:

Steve Reeves was quite real, I assure you. :whistle:

Dwayne Johnson however is entirely a fictional construct.

 

3 hours ago, Piney said:

I have the DVD's with the Ray Harry claymation!  AWESOME! :tu:

Have you guys seen those (really, really, really) awful Italian Hercules movies from the 80s starring Lou Ferrigno? I saw the German dub as a kid on network TV and then saw the English one some years ago.

They are pretty bad all around (plot, acting, writing, logic, costumes, special effects) but the English dub makes it even more glorious because it is completely incoherent. I swear it must have been translated by somebody who spoke neither English nor Italian using a bilingual dictionary. One thing I still remember was that the Fates were mistranslated as "Little People"(Fairies) and the various goddesses had hair that was several times the size of their own heads.

I mean still better than the Clash of Titans remake, but yeah...

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jaylemurph
12 hours ago, seanjo said:

Every legend has a basis in fact.

...really?

--Jaylemurph

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danydandan
12 hours ago, seanjo said:

Every legend has a basis in fact.

I disagree, what about the legend of Slenderman.

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seanjo
11 minutes ago, danydandan said:

I disagree, what about the legend of Slenderman.

What the hell is the legend of Slenderman?

 

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seanjo

OK...Most legends have a basis in fact...i,e, there was a Troy and it probably had to defend its walls on more than one occasion, a Legend/story was built up around that.

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danydandan
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, seanjo said:

What the hell is the legend of Slenderman?

 

An urban legend that was originally made up by Victor Surge as an internet Meme. Now it's grown out of control and some lunatics believe it's real. People have killed other people to become his proxies. Scray stuff dude.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slender_Man

Edit: I do agree that not all legends are baseless.

Edited by danydandan
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Windowpane

There's this myth from Ugarit, which is supposed somehow to anticipate the myth of Helen of Troy ... although, to be honest, I couldn't see all that many similarities.

 

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Piney
3 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

Have you guys seen those (really, really, really) awful Italian Hercules movies from the 80s starring Lou Ferrigno? I saw the German dub as a kid on network TV and then saw the English one some years ago.

I have them on one of those $3.00 fantasy DVD sets from the Walmart bin. :tu:   Bad movies rule!

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jaylemurph
3 hours ago, seanjo said:

OK...Most legends have a basis in fact...i,e, there was a Troy and it probably had to defend its walls on more than one occasion, a Legend/story was built up around that.

For the record, I mostly agree that most legends have some basis in fact or history. Just not /all/: it's a short jump from that to the Annunaki!

--Jaylemurph

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Piney
2 minutes ago, jaylemurph said:

For the record, I mostly agree that most legends have some basis in fact or history. Just not /all/: it's a short jump from that to the Annunaki!

 

Think about the Jersey Devil. He was the original creepy pasta tale. A parody written by Ben Franklin rehashed by the London Gentlemen's Gazette. 

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kmt_sesh

One must take care when think all myths have some portion of truth. There is no evidence historically for this Helen, but she may have derived from a queen or noble lady well known in her tme, among the Mycenaeans. For that matter, she might derive from any number of queens or noble women. The Greeks had a penchant for assigning great historical events to a single person or two, but we all know history is more complicated than that. The whole of the Iliad, for that matter, is quite unrealistic—but it's an incredible story and fun to read to this very day.

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Kenemet
12 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

One must take care when think all myths have some portion of truth. There is no evidence historically for this Helen, but she may have derived from a queen or noble lady well known in her tme, among the Mycenaeans. For that matter, she might derive from any number of queens or noble women. The Greeks had a penchant for assigning great historical events to a single person or two, but we all know history is more complicated than that. The whole of the Iliad, for that matter, is quite unrealistic—but it's an incredible story and fun to read to this very day.

It could also be a political or nationally symbolic tale.  It certainly had a great deal of importance to the Greek culture - it shows up on vases and in statuary and jewelry and paintings and other decoration.  True or not, it was one of the better known tales.

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MDagger
15 hours ago, Piney said:

Think about the Jersey Devil. He was the original creepy pasta tale. A parody written by Ben Franklin rehashed by the London Gentlemen's Gazette. 

Even creepier the New Jersey Devil:

devil.jpg.487c21867d0dabe3c8a4ea4e264f4574.jpg

 

MDagger

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Piney
23 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

I mean still better than the Clash of Titans remake, but yeah...

I couldn't even finish watching that turd..........

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danydandan
10 minutes ago, Piney said:

I couldn't even finish watching that turd..........

You take that back right now..... anything with Liam Neeson in it is at least watchable.

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Windowpane

From something I read years ago, and have now forgotten: wasn't Helen supposed to be Aphrodite's daimon, or some such ... ?

This appears to be a literary discussion of Helen, and it does make some mentions of the concept of a daimon ...  

But I'm no expert in Greek civilisation and culture ... Perhaps someone else might know more?

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