THE STORY: (40 minutes) Zeus, King of the Gods, hosts a wedding. An uninvited guest crashes, bringing an unwelcome gift. In mere moments, all Hades breaks loose. And the wheels of Western culture’s most awesome epic – the Trojan War – are set in motion.
THE COMMENTARY: DID THE TROJAN WAR REALLY “HAPPEN”? (9 minutes; begins at 40:00) In this episode of post-story commentary I spend some time talking about how the Trojan War epic, though over three thousand years old, remains deeply embedded in contemporary culture. I note how we are all familiar with the names (Achilles, Helen of Troy, Hector), the images (The Trojan Horse), and the concepts (“the face that launched a thousand ships”; “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”; “his Achilles’ Heel”) that originate in this epic. Then I review the “history” of the story: from a war that may or may not have happened circa 1250 BCE, through five hundred years of post-war “oral tradition”, up to Homer’s written account – The Iliad – in 700 BCE, and on to the contributions of further storytellers, including the Roman poet Virgil in 19 BCE. I confess to how wonderfully liberating it is for a storyteller like me to be free to sort through the myriad sources, stories and texts (many of which contradict each other), and then “glue them together” into one big, cohesive, entertaining plot. I conclude the post-story commentary by definitively answering the burning question of whether the Trojan War ever really happened.
Hope you have fun.