The epic poem the “Iliad” is arguably one of mans most well known novel or book behind the Bible and the Odyssey (sequel to Iliad). The Iliad, and Odyssey for this matter where ancient texts written by Homer. The Iliad is a story set approximately 1194-1184 BC about the Trojan War and the ten year siege of Troy. This battle has many famous mythical figures such as Achilles the leader of the Myrmidons, Helen the princess that ran off with Paris which sparked the battle. Helen was the wife of King Menelaus ruler of the Spartans.
Paris is a prince of Troy and brother to Hector the air to the throne. The movie adaptation is focused less on the adventures the Spartans had while sailing to Troy and more on the short stint of pre battle and end battle. The movie suggests the battle of Troy was over the course of a few weeks when per the Iliad it latest ten years. Now this battle has never been proven for accuracy and may have never happened. However the movie has a very direct sense of what and how the war was. It shows the layout of the city of Troy, the characters mentality and fondness or lack there of, of the characters.
The way battles started seems quite accurate. Before a battle the opposing armies would taunt each other. After this the major warriors, or best of the army would duel each other. Depending on the outcome of this the battle would ensue. This is shown a few times in the movie. Once between Paris and Menelaus, which started the war. Paris surrendered and went to his brother’s ankles. Hector protected Paris from being slaughtered. It shows the ships, blood, and garb the persons would wear in this time frame.
Or does it? The dates this war happened of approximately 1194-1185 (10 years) is during the bronze age. This plays a key role in the historical accuracy of it. The weapons, shields, and clothing for battle is all wrong. These items shown are closer to the dark ages. The uniforms or garb of the ancient Greeks and Trojans where slightly less than what is shown in the movie. The movie depicted a very if not identical uniform for every soldier. In reality only the middle and upper class soldiers would have these.
Even at that, the uniforms were not identical like in the movie. They where typically handed down from generation to generation due to cost. The armor and shields where made of Bronze breastplates in a muscled style, a helmet that covered most of their head and shin protection made of bronze. This is the uniform of the very well off soldiers. The common man would have even less. They would use a linen reinforced with bronze plating or animal skin, this was called “Linothorax armor” which was priced much lower then the fully bronze uniforms for the wealthy.
The Greeks also found range weapons to be cowardly and would avoid use of them. In the movie both the Trojans and Spartans (Greeks, who thinks range weapons are cowardly) had many bows and used them often. The weapons other than long range used by both armies where typically Doru, which were long spears. These Doru like in the movie were 7-9 feet in length and where the primary weapon. In the movie the swords were primary, which in reality these where secondary weapons. These swords, or Xiphos where for use after the Doru were snapped or lost in combat.
The xiphos were 2 feet for the Trojans and a bit shorter for the Spartans. The Spartans blades were typically 1-1. 5 feet long. This was more advantageous for the Spartans when the lines got much closer. The movie depicts both blades to be equal size on either side of the war. The ships where also dated much later in time. The ships of the bronze age would not have the very large and ornate front (Stem, Bow, or Head) and the stern would be higher. In the movie it seems to be the opposite. Most of the ships had much larger and obvious heads than sterns.
The bow and stern would also be more angled and arched up. The movie depicts the ships bow to be flat on many ships. The movie Troy is a great story about the war between Troy and the Spartans. It depicts Achilles as a great warrior and in a strange way kind man. It has the beauty of Helen and the Anger of Menelaus. Much of this movie has been done historically correct however there are major flaws in its accuracy. I highly suggest one to watch this movie as it is quite enjoyable and the epic it is based on should be read as that is quite great itself.
Courtney from Study Moose
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