Aeschylus’ View of the Trojan War

Aeschylus wrote a famous tragedy, sort of satyr trilogy known as The Oresteia in which he tells the story of king Agamemnon and his family. Within the first play called Agamemnon, Aeschylus includes the legendary story of the Trojan war. Here he establishes his own view of the war.

This writer confirms the classical greek view and pretty much the view of many civilizations in ancient times about the relevance of the gods in pretty much everything that is done. The gods are territorial gods and each one holds specific authority over a city or geographical area. For example, some would rule over mountains, others over valleys, others over rivers, others over oceans, others over Athens, others over Troy, etc. An army’s victory depended greatly upon the area the war was fought and if the god of such army had jurisdiction upon that specific geographical area or city. In other words, while human beings fought with swords on their hands killing each other, the gods would fight amongst themselves to proportion the ultimate victory.

For this precise matter we see that while Agamemnon is on a boat with his soldiers undergoing a terrible storm due to the apparent causeless anger of the goddess of Artemis, there is a “harsh yoke of necessity” to sacrifice a human being to placate her. Agamemnon chooses in an “unholy” matter to sacrifice his own daughter. The sacrifice enabled the fleet to live and advance in war. However, the gods then punish the fleet by sinking it.

This comes to show that it is all an unethical world filled with revenge, hatred, death, irrational punishment, destruction, human sacrifice, sexual immorality, murder, etcetera and etcetera. Everything is caused by the gods, continued by the gods, and finished by the gods. Their strength and their whims are what determine the history of humanity causing many to engage in sinful affairs, according to the writings of Aeschylus.

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4 responses to “Aeschylus’ View of the Trojan War”

  1. slukeplassblog22 says :

    There is a lot of old literature out there on historical events, this is one of them, sort of anyway. The problem with many Greek writers is their deviation from facts. Kind of like how modern textbooks (1980s-onward) deviate from the facts, and are also harder to read and understand. They are also very dry. Before I moved to the RPC my 7th Grade History teacher gave me the 15 year old textbook that was being used, since they were switching 100% to the new one. This is exactly right. Even Zeus was known for courting other female “goddesses” in Greek mythology.

  2. Gerald says :

    Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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