Ancient History: Greece : War and Conflict

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Ancient History: Greece

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : War And Conflict

Which of these best describes Agamemnon?

Possible Answers:

The fictional king of Troy who fought against the Greeks in the Trojan War.

The fictional king who led the ancient Greeks in the Trojan War.

A poet and storyteller from the Mycenaean Age.

A soldier in the ancient Greek army during the Trojan War.

A poet and storyteller from the Archaic Era.

Correct answer:

The fictional king who led the ancient Greeks in the Trojan War.

Explanation:

Agamemnon is the fictional king of the Greeks in Homer’s The Iliad. He leads the ancient Greek forces across the Aegean Sea and attacks the city of Troy.

Example Question #2 : War And Conflict

The Mycenaean civilization collapsed shortly after the Trojan War. The Mycenaeans fought a war with Troy, as legend has it, because the Trojan Prince Paris kidnapped, Helen, the beautiful wife of the Greek King Menelaus. Menelaus convinced his brother Agamemnon of Mycenae to attack Troy and return Helen to Greece. Whether Helen was kidnapped or willingly went with Paris, is not clear. Historically, the cause of the war also remains unclear. It is known that Agamemnon led a fleet of one thousand ships from the Greek Islands, crossing the Aegean Sea to Asia Minor. Upon arriving in Troy, he demanded the return of Helen from King Priam of Troy. The war is notable for the tale of the Trojan horse that enabled the Mycenaean Greek army to defeat Troy. Historians have questioned the validity of the Trojan War based on what seems to be a legend of love lost and regained. However, excavations by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, in the 1870s, have proven that the war did take place. He found archaeological proof of the existence of the city of Troy. His excavations uncovered a domed citadel in western Turkey matching historical records of the ancient city of Troy. Recent historians and archaeologists also confirm that a war did occur at this time. The Trojan War ended in circa 1200 BCE with the destruction of Troy. Helen returned to Greece to rule with Menelaus until his death when, according to the legend, she was exiled to the island of Rhodes. Also, according to legend, the Greek sailors and soldiers slowly returned to Greece engaging in various adventures as they returned to their homeland.

The Trojan War, although confirmed as an actual event and referred to in ancient Greek writing, is clouded with skepticism as legend. What is a logical reason for this lack of clarity?

Possible Answers:

All of the three provided options are correct

The main characters of the Trojan War Epics were Greek gods and goddesses and the events of the war are loosely based on the sagas of the gods and goddesses

None of these

Virgil’s poem the Aeneid

Archeological evidence shows that ancient cities could withstand a siege of only ten months not ten years

Correct answer:

All of the three provided options are correct

Explanation:

The Trojan War is wrapped in mystery and legend. The finding of a domed citadel by Schliemann, that could have been seen by Homer in his time, proved that Troy did exist and appeared to have been destroyed in battle. The Trojan War Epics written by ancient writers, including Homer, in the first century BCE are based on oral tradition and the heroics and escapades of the Greek gods and goddesses. Virgil wrote the Aeneid to give the Roman Empire a sense of dynasty through its hero Aeneas, a Trojan soldier, who led his soldiers to Carthage before arriving in Rome to establish the Roman Empire. Virgil’s poem has a very loose relationship to the Trojan War as it is a work meant to inspire Romans. But it has no bearing on the Greek civilizations. 

Example Question #3 : War And Conflict

Which of these statements about Agamemnon is inaccurate?

Possible Answers:

He is most likely fictional

His wife was Helen of Troy

None of these statements are inaccurate

He started the Trojan War

His brother was Menelaus

Correct answer:

His wife was Helen of Troy

Explanation:

Agamemnon was the fictional king of the ancient Greeks in Homer’s The Iliad. He starts the Trojan War after Helen of Troy, the wife of his brother Menelaus, elopes with Paris, the son of the Trojan king. There is some historical evidence to suggest that Agamemnon may have been a real person, but general historical consensus is that he was a fictional creation of Homer’s, based on a semi-mythological figure who lived in the fourteenth century BCE.

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