Helen of Troy Legend (03:05)
A Greek Orthodox shrine was once dedicated to the Queen of Sparta. Hear about the siege of Troy and the female captives brought to Sparta. This film will investigate whether the war was started by a woman, and ended by a wooden horse. (Credits)
Troy Mystery (02:13)
Troy stands near the Dardanelles in modern day Turkey. Bards of Homer's time sung of an expedition from Mycenae, a powerful Peloponnese citadel. Could Agamemnon have led a confederation of kings to attack Asia Minor?
Treasury of Atreus (02:38)
Michael Wood approaches Mycenae from a ruined road system—symbolizing imperial power. Royal tombs built before the Trojan War show that several generations of kings ruled the region.
Mycenae Citadel (02:47)
Agamemnon's residence was built around 1300 BC. Wood passes under the Lion Gate and analyzes the grave circle excavated by Heinrich Schliemann—symbolizing the Mycenaean history and sense of royal legacy.
Mycenaean Throne Room (02:45)
Wood explores the citadel's royal apartments with a view of the Peloponnese Mountains. View objects from Agamemnon's era.
Expedition to Troy (02:53)
According to Homer, Agamemnon persuaded allies to go to war for Helen because they had sworn to recover her. An expert believes he was elected to lead due to his power, and argues that Mycenae wasn't an empire.
Age of Imperial Mycenae (02:54)
The Argos Plain could have supported 500,000 people in the Bronze Age. From Tiryns, Greeks imported copper and tin to make weapons. The city-state model was common across Greece; Wood discusses its political geography.
Empire Builders (02:28)
Mycenaean kings shared religion, language, and architecture, and likely collaborated in conquest. Wood examines British slave owner accounts. Similar Bronze Age records exist that may illuminate the origins of the Helen of Troy legend.
Pylos Palace (02:25)
Excavation of King Nestor's residence revealed the most intact Mycenaean hall to date. Wood outlines decorations and explains how guests were received.
Flax Women (03:15)
Linear B tablets in the Pylos Palace excavation mention female workers from Asia Minor. Wood visits a stream where they would have processed seeds into linen. He argues the women were slaves brought back from the Trojan War.
Evidence of Trojan War Captives (03:12)
An expert places Linear B tablet descriptions of female slaves in the context of Bronze Age Pylos society. He believes they were likely seized from Troy on a war expedition.
Menolaeum Site (04:27)
Wood drives to Sparta, where Helen supposedly lived with Menelaus. Palace ruins match the legend that said a Mycenaean was king at the time of the Trojan War.
Abduction from Sparta (02:58)
Pilgrims still worship Helen at Menolaeum. Wood traces her route to Kranai Island, where she spent the night with Paris before sailing to Troy, pursued by a Greek armada.
Historical Viability (02:23)
The story of Paris and Helen is usually dismissed as fiction, but some scholars argue that it was possible. It may have been an excuse for Agamemnon to go to war with King Priam and expand the Mycenaean Empire.
Troy Site (02:56)
Learn about economic motives for a Mycenaean invasion of Troy. Hear a description of the city according to 8th century BC scholars.
Excavating Troy (03:13)
Greek tradition accepts the Hisarlik site as Troy; contact to the outside were cut off around 1250 BC. Stirrup jars demonstrate trade connections to Mycenae and large dwellings suggest wealth.
Trojan War Speculation (03:28)
Schliemann's excavation destroyed Priam's palace. An expert deduces what Troy looked like and believes horse breeding, wool, and slaves were sources of wealth that Mycenae may have pursued.
Troy Earthquake Theory (05:09)
Excavation shows that an earthquake in 1260 BC destroyed Troy. The horse was a symbol of Poseidon, who was the god of earthquakes—a possible explanation for the Trojan Horse legend.
Female Trojan Slaves (03:23)
The Greeks to women captive and returned Helen to Sparta. Troy pottery found in Mycenae supports Homer's legend but primary evidence of the Trojan War remains lacking.
Credits: The Women of Troy (01:09)
Credits: The Women of Troy
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