Author Archives: taiping713

The History of the Trojan War

Figure 1: A depiction of the Siege of Troy

Figure 1: A depiction of the Siege of Troy (Trautmann)

The Trojan War, which occurred sometime between 1260 and 1240 BC, was fought between the Greeks and the Trojans in the city of Troy. According to Greek mythology, the war was initiated when the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena began to quarrel when Eris gave them the Apple of Discord, which was marked for the fairest. Paris judged that Aphrodite was the fairest and she received the apple. In return, Aphrodite made the wife of Menelaus, Helen, fall in love with Paris. This angered Menelaus, which caused him to have troops, led by his brother Agamemnon, to siege the city for over ten years.

Many historians disagree as to whether the Trojan War actually occurred. Many pieces of evidence of the war come from various pieces of Greek art. “A great proportion of Greek and Roman art can be connected with legends that stem from the Trojan War” (Sparkes, 54). “The most important literary sources are the two epic poems traditionally credited to Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey, composed sometime between the 9th and 6th centuries BC” (Wikipedia Contributors). In The Odyssey, Homer writes of Odysseus who has not returned home from the war. He mentions the Trojan War in the first sentence of this poem. “Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy” (Homer, 1).

In Homer’s epic poem The Iliad, he “never overtly refers to the ruse of the wooden horse” (Franko, 121), but he does allude to the horse three times near the end of the poem. Greek legend states that the war was ended when the Greeks constructed a large hollow wooden horse. He filled the horse with soldiers and delivered the horse to the Trojans’ camp. The Trojans accepted the horse, which was a sacred animal to them, and the soldiers emerged from within and sacked Troy.


Franko, George Fredric. “The Trojan Horse at the Close of the Iliad.” Classic Journal. 101.2 (2005/2006): 121. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. <;.

Homer. The Odyssey. 800 BC. 1. Print.

Sparkes, B.A. The Trojan Horse in Classical Art. 18. Cambridge University Press, 1971. 54. Web. <;.

Trautmann, Johann Georg. Blik Auf Das Brennende Troja. 1759. Painting. Wikipedia: The Free EncyclopediaWeb. 20 Apr 2014. <;.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Trojan War.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 05 Apr 2014. Web. 20 Apr 2014. <;.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Mystery of King Harold


Figure 1: Panel 71 of the Bayeux Tapestry

Figure 1: Panel 71 of the Bayeux Tapestry

In my panel of the Bayeux Tapestry, panel 71, King Harold is killed. This is determined through translating the Latin on the panel Hic Harold rex interfectus est, or “Here King Harold has been killed” (Wilson 173). The big controversy over this scene is which figure is really King Harold. David M. Wilson states that “the killing of Harold is one of the scenes in the Tapestry most difficult of interpretation” (Wilson 194). Brooks and Walker argue against C. H. Gibbs-Smith’s opinion of which figure in this panel is really King Harold. “Brooks and Walker argue that Harold is indeed killed by an arrow in his eye but that he is shown again lying on the ground being cut in the leg by a sword” (Wilson 194). C. H. Gibbs-Smith, as well as Sir Frank Stenton believe that King Harold is the figure at the end of the panel that is being ridden down by a horseman. Guy of Amiens, the French Bishop, believes that “Harold was downed by four knights: Eustace of Boulogne, a son of Count Guy of Ponthieu, Walter Giffard and Hugo of Montford” (Rud 87). Some researchers doubt that Harold was really struck with an arrow in the eye. “The arrow is a later addition following a period of repair” (Wikipedia Contributors). The makers of Britain’s Bayeux Tapestry website feel that he is shown twice “first plucking an arrow from his eye, and then being hacked down by a Norman knight” (Britain’s Bayeux Tapestry). It seems that no one can really agree on which figure is King Harold. Which figure in this scene is really King Harold? This mystery of the Bayeux Tapestry may never be resolved, but we can certainly conclude that this is the panel portraying Harold’s death

Figure 2: Possibly King Harold pulling an arrow out of his eye

Figure 2: Possibly King Harold pulling an arrow out of his eye


“Battle of Hastings”. Britain’s Bayeux Tapestry at the Museum of Reading. 8 April 2014. Web.

Rud, Mogens. The Bayeux Tapestry And the Battle of Hastings 1066. 1st ed. Copenhagen: Christian Ejlers Publishers, 2002. 87. Print.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Bayeux Tapestry.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 24 Mar 2014. Web. 8 Apr 2014. <;.

Wilson, David. The Bayeux Tapestry. 1st. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1985. 194-195. Print.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Battle of Halicarnassus


Ruins of the fortifications around the city; 4th c. BC; Bordrum, Turkey

The siege of Halicarnassus (located in modern Bodrum, Turkey) was fought between the Macedonians and the Persians. Alexander the Great was the leader of the Macedonians and Memnon of Rhodes was the leader of the Persian garrison. This event occurred in 334 BC. The wars of Alexander the Great started when his father, Philip II, was assassinated by the captain of his bodyguard. Because Alexander was the next in line to be an heir to the kingdom, he was proclaimed king. Many states were outraged about the news of Philip II’s death and began to revolt. Alexander gathered over 3,000 cavalry men and took control over them. He then set off to conquer Persia.

One of Alexander’s tactics was to siege all the cities on the way to Halicarnassus with the help of his 3,000 cavalrymen. “But Alexander, on entering Caria, in a short time got possession of all the cities between Miletus and Halicarnassus” (Quintus Curtius, 52). He was able to do this due to his existing relations with the Greeks in the cities. “Most of them were inhabited by Greeks, to whom he was accustomed to restore immunity and their own laws, declaring that he had come into Asia to free them” (Quintus Curtius, 53). After conquering Caria, Alexander left his cavalrymen behind and used alternate means of attacking Halicarnassus. “These troops were left in Caria as part of the provincial army” (Sekunda 22). Even though the Macedonian cavalry wasn’t used in the siege of Halicarnassus, they were a vital piece of capturing and keeping control of the cities nearby.  

Another reason Alexander didn’t take his cavalrymen to siege Halicarnassus was possibly due to the terrain. Halicarnassus’ citadel was located on an island, away from the acropolis and the rest of the city, which was not ideal for horsemen. In order to capture Halicarnassus, Alexander sent spies into the city to meet with dissidents. “When his spies arrived, however, the dissidents were nowhere to be found” (Wikipedia Contributors). A minute battle broke out, and Alexander’s army was able to get through the city walls. The Persians attacked by using their catapults, which held his army off. In the end, the Macedonians were able to capture the acropolis and the lower part of the city due to a path through the valley close by. Even with this small victory, Alexander was unable to capture the citadel; the Persians were able to keep the Macedonians at bay for over a year. Alexander, knowing that he had lost both time and men, moved on to fight his next battle. Many historians agree that “The most important reason for Alexander’s lack of success was the fact that the Macedonians did not have a navy” (Lendering).



Curtius, Quintus. Quintus Curtius: History of Alexander. 1. 1. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. 52-53. Print.

Jansoone, Georges. Ruins of the fortifications around the city; 4th c. BC; Bordrum, Turkey. 2007. Photograph. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Web. 6 Mar 2014. <;.

Lendering, Jona. “The Siege of Halicarnassus.” Livius.Org. N.p., 26 Jun 2008. Web. 6 Mar 2014. <>.

Sekunda, Nick. The Army of Alexander the Great. 1st ed. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2004. 22. Web. < at halicarnassus cavalry&source=bl&ots=gyoSnlNlw1&sig=X9i_z7KsRlp_LONoBSDyT28PjWQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rIMPU_rFMY2xoQS28oHwBA&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBA

Wikipedia Contributors. “Siege of Halicarnassus.”Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. N.p., 15 Feb 2014. Web. 6 Mar 2014. <;.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Importance of the Greek Cavalry on the Home Front during the Peloponnesian War

Visit the above link to view an image of a marble carving of two horsemen that is from the West Frieze of the Parthenon.

The Peloponnesian War occurred during 431-404 BC. This war between the Athenians and the Spartans was fought mostly in Peloponnesia and Attica. It is difficult to narrow down to one cause of the Peloponnesian War because sources conflict in their reasoning. Thucydides believed it was because “they are also metaphysical representations of opposite ways of looking at the universe” (Strassler xi). On the other hand, others believe it is attributed to the peace between Athens and Sparta being slowly broken down which first started in 440 BC. “The Thirty Years’ Peace, an attempt by Sparta and Athens to avoid further fighting which began in 446BC, was first tested in 440 BC, when Athens’ powerful ally Samos rebelled from its alliance with Athens (Wikipedia contributors).

The Greek cavalry, though small and outnumbered, played many roles in the Peloponnesian War. “They were used at home to prevent raiding beyond the enemy’s armed camp, in enemy country to make a raid” (Gaebel 90). In my opinion, one of the most important functions of the cavalry was staying at home and defending their cities from the Spartans. An Athenian, Thucydides, who wrote a history of the war, emphasized the members of the cavalry who stayed on the home front. “They were not to go out to battle, but to come into the city and guard it, and get ready their fleet, in which their real strength lay” (Strassler 98).

Xenophon, an Athenian horseman, provided an account of hippeis (the Greek cavalry) tactics. “But the horsemen sent by Dionysius, few though they were, scattering themselves here and there, would ride along the enemy’s line, charge upon them and throw javelins at them, and when the enemy began to move forth against them, would retreat, and then turn round and throw javelins again. And while pursuing these tactics they would dismount from their horses and rest. But if anyone charged upon them while they were dismounted, they would leap easily upon their horses and retreat” (Worley 84). This was an important tactic for the Greek cavalry

Both Thucydides and Xenophon’s accounts of the functionality of the cavalry on the homeland help us to understand the Athenians’ strategy for protecting the homeland during this war. Despite their efforts, the Athenians had to surrender after Lysander, the Spartan general, sent his fleet to Hellespont, the main source of Athens’ grain. The Athenians were “facing starvation and disease from the prolonged siege” (Wikipedia contributors).



Gaebel, Robert E. Cavalry Operations In The Ancient Greek World. 1st ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002. 90. Web.

Papakyriakou/Anagnostou, Ellen. Horsemen. 2013. Photograph. Ancient Greek CitiesWeb. 18 Apr 2014. <;.

Strassler, Robert B., 1st ed. The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War. 1996. New York: Free Press. Print.

Wikipedia contributors. “Peloponnesian War.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.

Worley, Leslie J. Hippies: The Cavalry of Ancient Greece. 1st ed. . Boulder: Westview Press, Inc., 1994. 84. Print.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Blog works

I was able to access the blog

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized