Misc

Troy: Differences between the movie and the mythos

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Main differences between the original Greek myth and the film
*According to the myths, Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Hera, Aphrodite and Poseidon all played active parts in the Trojan War. The film presents rites of Greek polytheism, including libation, prayer and Charon's obol (anachronistically, since coinage comes into use only 600 years later), but it does not show the gods as real or actively intervening. Achilles' mother Thetis is presented as a human woman.

*The Judgement of Paris is not mentioned. This was the impetus for the relationship between Paris and Helen, making it the catalyst for the entire war.
*The opening scene in Thessaly is not mentioned in the Iliad, nor are the king Triopas or the hero Boagrius.

*The Oath of Tyndareos is not referred to. This oath, an idea by Odysseus, was sworn by all the suitors of Helen prior to her marriage to Menelaus. The oath demanded that all rejected suitors would unite for revenge if Helen was ever taken by another. The omission of this helps portray the invasion of Ilios as nothing more than a grab for power by Agamemnon.

*Sparta has no harbour; it is situated well inland, although on the Eurotas River.

*Odysseus finds Achilles sparring with Patroclus, though some versions of the myth state that Achilles was hiding (disguised as a woman) at Scyros on the orders of his mother. 

*The movie character Briseis is a composite amalgamation of Iliad characters Briseis, Chryseis, and Cassandra and another character from mythology surrounding the war, Polyxena.

*Menelaus is not killed by Hector in the Iliad. He is one of the few leaders to survive the war and returns to live with his retrieved wife Helen "happily ever after".

*Although Menelaus and Paris did engage in single combat, it was at the behest of Menelaus. As Menelaus was about to win the fight, Aphrodite snatched Paris from combat "under a cloud of darkness" and placed him safely inside Troy.

*Agamemnon does not die at Troy. He survives and returns to Mycenae where he is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra, as referred to in Homer's Odyssey, Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy, and in Sophocles' Electra. However the manner in which he dies in the movie is reminiscent of the manner described in the aforementioned plays.

*Patroclus does not lead the Myrmidons on foot; instead, he rides a chariot drawn by Balius and Xanthus, Achilles' godly horses (after Patroclus was killed, the horses were reprimanded by Achilles for allowing Patroclus' death).

*Achilles knew of Patroculus' intentions to fight beforehand, and allows him to lead the Myrmidons in his place, lending him his armour and telling him to return after the Trojans are pushed back from Greek ships instead of pursuing them further.

*The body of Patroclus is not given over to the Greeks by the Trojans; the fight over the body takes the entirety of Book XVII of The Iliad.
*Patroclus is Achilles tentmate, not his cousin. A tentmate as defined by the Greeks is a close friend, war comrade and maybe lover. The Illiad does not explicitly state that Patroclus' and Achilles' relationship is anything more than platonic though. 

*Patroclus is older than Achilles, while the film shows him as much younger

*Patroclus' funeral pyre is not burnt until after Hector has been killed. After killing Hector, Achilles drags the dead body back to the body of Patroclus as a sign of vengeance.

*Hector does not readily engage in combat with Achilles. As the Trojans are retreating into the wall, Hector stays outside to engage Achilles, but as Achilles runs towards him, he panics and flees. As the city's gates have already been closed, Hector runs around the city three times before Athena tricks him into stopping and fighting Achilles. There is no protracted duel, as Achilles kills Hector with a spear while Hector is running towards him. Hector is also wearing Achilles armour, which had been taken from the body of Patroclus, and Achilles is wearing new armour, forged by Hephaestus at the request of Thetis after his old armour is taken.

*The Trojan Horse is claimed to be left as an offering to Poseidon while according to Virgil it was dedicated to Athena (Minerva).

*Ajax is not killed by Hector; he falls on his own sword in shame. He disgraced himself by a moment of madness: After the death of Achilles, Ajax slaughtered a herd of sheep thinking them to be the Greek leaders. This act arose from Ajax' rage because the Greek leaders did not hand him Achilles armour, after having a quarrel with Odysseus (after the quarrel, Odysseus got the armour).

*Achilles dies before Ajax. Ajax is often shown carrying the dead body of Achilles. 

*Sinon, the agent sent by the Greeks to convince the Trojans that they have left for home and that the wooden horse is harmless does not appear in the movie; also missing is the Trojan priest Laoco├Ân who warned not to trust Greeks bearing gifts.

*In Book 2 of Virgil's Aeneid Priam is killed, not by Agamemnon, but by Neoptolemus, Achilles' son. This is supported by numerous vase paintings showing that it was established in popular Greek culture.

*Andromache does not escape, but is captured. Her son Astyanax is killed.

*In the secret tunnel Paris asks Aeneas's name, though they were brothers-in-law and well known to each other.

*Aeneas is depicted here as a teenager whereas in the Iliad he was older (about the same age as Hector) and was second best warrior after Hector according to the story. Also, he is depicted as leading his father out through this tunnel, though book II of Vergil's Aeneid describes Aeneas as carrying his father on his shoulders. In addition, his father's (Anchises) house is far away from the citadel, as Vergil describes in the Aeneid, and Aeneas would not have been carrying him at this point anyway.

*No such object as the "Sword of Troy" is ever referred to in any myth, including the much later Roman story of Aeneas, who bears the sword away at the end of the film.

*The movie's closing titles state that the film was inspired by the Iliad of Homer, but the end of the film is based (loosely) on Book 2 of The Aeneid of Virgil. The Wooden Horse and the Sack of Troy do not appear in the Iliad which ends shortly after the funeral of Hector.

*Priam is not killed by Agamemnon but by Neoptolimus, Achilles son

* In original myth, Cassandra tells her father that the horse is a trap, but she is cursed by Apollo so no one believes her prophecies.

* Menelaus is not Killed by Hector, or anyone at Troy.

* Laocoon from the Aeneid is not mentioned. Laocoon was a priest of Apollo who was killed by two serpents sent by Athena as retribution for throwing a spear at the Trojan horse. 

* Paris and Helen do not escape and live happily ever after; Paris is killed before the end of the war and Helen is captured by Menelaus and returns to Sparta with him.

* Many of the events described in the Illiad are left out. These include Diomedes' aristeia, the plague that opens the Illiad and results in Agamemnon's claiming of Briseis, the Gods' battles on Greek and Trojan lines and more. Many other myths surrounding the Trojan war such as the taking of the Palladium and the slaughter of King Rhesus's horse are also not mentioned.

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