Trojan War To Turnus (Greco-Roman Mythology)

Trojan War


The greatest epic adventure of classical tradition concerns the abduction of the beautiful Helen by Paris and the resulting war. Traditionally thought to have been fought in 1184 B.C., the war probably took place earlier, if archaeological evidence of the destruction of the city can be accepted. Some people cite the refusal of Telamon to return Hesione to her father, Priam, as one of the causes of the Trojan War, but this is not the usual reason for the ten-year struggle.

The true cause lies with the Apple of Discord, which was thrown among the guests at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis by Eris, who was in a fit of pique at being omitted from the guest list. Inscribed with the words, "To the fairest," the apple was immediately claimed by Hera, Athene, and Aphrodite. To settle the dispute Zeus ordered that the three goddesses should be taken to Paris on Mount Ida and that he should award the apple as he saw fit. The three goddesses paraded naked before the hapless Paris, and each attempted to bribe him. Aphrodite promised that if she were awarded the apple she would enable him to carry off the most beautiful woman in the world; Paris decided in her favor.

The goddess accompanied Paris—who deserted his lover, Oenone, on Mount Ida—to Sparta, where he was warmly welcomed by Menelaus and his beautiful wife, Helen. While Menelaus was absent from Sparta, Paris and Helen eloped, taking a great deal of Spartan treasure with them, thus precipitating the Trojan War, now inevitable, as Helen’s suitors had sworn an oath to defend her chosen husband.

Helen, the daughter of Zeus by Leda and sister of Castor, Polydeuces, and Clytemnestra, had been brought up in the court of Tyndareus, king of Sparta. Her beauty led to her abduction, while she was yet a young girl, by Theseus and Peirithous. She was later rescued from Attica by her brothers, the Dioscuri. All the noblest leaders vied for the hand of the beautiful maiden, and at the instigation of Tyndareus they swore to defend the rights of her chosen husband. She married Menelaus, brother of Agamemnon, who married her sister, Clytemnestra; when the Dioscuri were immortalized, Menelaus succeeded Tyndareus as king of Sparta.

Having fled with Paris, Helen left behind her husband and daughter Hermione. Menelaus thus called upon all those who had sworn the oath to make good. Agamemnon, the powerful king of Mycenae, was chosen commander in chief, and he gathered together the necessary forces. He was joined from the Peloponnesos by Nestor, the only one of Neleus’s 12 sons who had been spared by Heracles. Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, had been one of the Epigoni, and he came from the same region, bringing along 80 ships as well as two fellow Epigoni—Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus, and Euryalus, the Argonaut. Tlepolemus, the son of Heracles, came from Rhodes and brought nine ships. Palamedes, the son of Nauplius, joined the expedition from Euboea.

Although he had already assembled a mighty force, Agamemnon went to Ithaca along with Menelaus and Palamedes to attempt to persuade Odysseus to join them. When they arrived they found Odysseus, warned by an oracle not to go to Troy, ploughing a field with an ox and an ass, sowing it with salt. His pretence of insanity was uncovered when Palamedes placed Telemachus, Odysseus’s infant son, in the furrow before the plough. Odysseus reacted as any sane father would, rescuing the child. Thus he was unable to avoid serving in the war.

Additional forces joined the huge fleet that Agamemnon was gathering. Ajax the Greater, the son of King Telamon, came from Salamis, bringing with him 12 ships as well as his half-brother, Teucer, the best archer in all Greece. Ajax the Lesser, the son of Oileus, came from Locris, bringing with him 40 ships. However, the Greek forces were incomplete, for an oracle had foretold that Troy would never be taken unless Achilles was among their number.

Thetis, Achilles’ mother, had been warned by an oracle that her son would die if he went to Troy. She therefore sent him to the court of Lycomedes, king of Scyros, where he was hidden among the maidens of the court. Deidameia, one of Lycomedes’ daughters, bore him a son, Neoptolemus. When Odysseus, Nestor, and Ajax the Greater visited Scyros to recruit forces for the coming war, Odysseus left a bundle of presents for the maidens, among them a shield and a spear. Achilles naturally chose these and so exposed himself. At the age of just 15, Achilles joined the Greek forces, taking with him his tutor, Phoenix, and his inseparable friend, Patroclus.

More forces came from Crete with King Idomeneos, who in the company of Meriones brought 100 ships. Having brought such a sizable force, he would share command with Agamemnon.

Assembling at Aulis, the huge fleet was fortunate to have along Anius, son and priest of Apollo in Delos; his three daughters had been dedicated to Dionysos. They had in return received the power to produce corn, oil, and wine at will, so the fleet would be amply provisioned.

Setting out from Aulis, the fleet mistakenly landed in and ravaged Mysia, the country of Telephus, the son of Heracles and Auge. When Telephus began to repel the invading Greeks, Dionysos caused him to stumble and fall over a vine, allowing Achilles to pounce on and wound him. This wound refused to heal, so Telephus consulted an oracle, who told him that only the inflictor of the wound could cure it. Telephus thus went to Achilles, who first was at a loss, for nothing he did cured the wound. Finally it dawned on him that he was not the true inflictor of the wound—the spear was. By scratching some rust from the weapon into the wound, Telephus was cured. The Greeks had been told they could not take Troy without the help of Telephus, and the grateful king showed them the correct route.

The fleet now reassembled at Aulis but was delayed by unfavorable winds after Agamemnon had angered the goddess Artemis by killing a hart. The seer Calchas foretold that only the sacrifice of Iphigeneia, Agamemnon’s daughter, would appease the goddess. Reluctantly Agamemnon gave his permission, and the unfortunate girl was offered to Artemis. Different sources give varying outcomes of this phase of the story. Some say that the girl was indeed sacrificed, thus earning Agamemnon the enduring hatred of his wife, Clytemnestra. Others say that the goddess substituted a deer for the girl at the final moment, carrying Iphigeneia away to become her priestess in Tauris. Whatever the outcome, the winds changed in the Greeks’ favor, and the fleet set sail.

Landing first on the island of Tenedos in sight of Troy, Achilles killed the king, Tenes, and his father, Cycnus. But Philoctetes, the famous archer-son of Poeas, suffered a festering wound, inflicted either by one of Heracles’ poisoned arrows, which he now owned, or alternatively by a snakebite. The wound began to smell so offensively that Odysseus recommended they maroon Philoctetes on the island of Lemnos, which the Greeks quickly did.

Envoys were now sent to Priam to seek a peaceable solution to the forthcoming conflict. Menelaus, Odysseus, and Palamedes were hospitably received in Troy, where they were entertained by Antenor, who advised his people that Helen should be returned. The Trojans remained obdurate, so war became inevitable.

The Greeks attacked the mainland, though no one was eager to be the first to leap onto Trojan soil, for an oracle had forewarned that the first to do so would quickly die. Seeing his compatriots hesitate, Protesilaus of Thessaly leaped from his ship—even though he knew it meant certain death—and was soon cut down by the Trojans. Desolate with grief, his wife, Laodameia, the daughter of Acastus, pleaded the gods to let her husband return to her for just three hours. Zeus ordered Hermes to lead Protesilaus back from the Underworld, and when he died for the second time, Laodameia died with him.

The second to jump onto Trojan soil was Achilles, who soon distinguished himself as the greatest of all the Greek warriors. It was through him that Aeneas entered the war. Although he was the son of Priam’s cousin, Anchises, he at first took no part; but Achilles raided his herds on Mount Ida, and he led his Dardanian forces against the Greeks. His mother, Aphrodite, frequently helped him and once carried him off after he had been wounded by Diomedes. He was even saved from Achilles by Poseidon, even though that god was normally hostile toward Troy.

For the first nine years of the war Troy remained impregnable, so the Greeks concentrated on raiding the surrounding countries, states, and cities that were allied with the enemy. In Thebes, in Cilicia, Achilles killed Eetion, the father of Andromache, Hector’s wife. Ajax the Greater raided the Thracian Chersonesus and, in Teuthrania, killed King Teuthras and abducted his daughter, Tecmessa.

In the tenth and final year of the war the Greeks at last concentrated solely on Troy, which was defended by Hector and Aeneas and many mighty allies, including Sarpedon, a son of Zeus, who was in command of the Lycian forces.

The Greeks were not hampered not only by the resistance of the Trojans but also by rivalries between their own chiefs. Odysseus first took his cruel revenge on Palamedes, who had uncovered his ruse on Ithaca. By bribing one of Palamedes’ servants, Odysseus had a quantity of gold and a letter, written in Priam’s name, hidden under Palamedes’ bed. Odysseus then accused him of treason, his tent was searched, and the incriminating evidence was discovered. Palamedes was stoned to death by the entire Greek army as a traitor.

Next the famous quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon broke out, and that is where Homer’s Iliad opens. Agamemnon had been awarded Chryseis, the daughter of the Trojan priest Chryses, after she had been taken captive. Chryses came to ransom her but was roughly repulsed by Agamemnon, so he prayed to Apollo, who avenged him by sending a plague against the Greek forces. Calchas advised that only the return of Chryseis would free them of the terrible affliction, so Agamemnon unwillingly returned the girl to her father. He recompensed himself, however, by seizing Briseis, the concubine of Achilles. After losing his concubine Achilles sulked in his tent, obdurately refusing to take any further part in the fighting. Some sources, however, say that this was an attempt by Achilles to curry favor with Priam, for he had fallen deeply in love with Priam’s daughter, Polyxena.

Things quickly turned in favor of the Trojans, so much so that Agamemnon was glad to grant a truce while Paris and Menelaus met in single combat in an attempt to settle the conflict. However, when Paris was on the point of losing the duel, Aphrodite carried him away, and the fighting once more broke out.

Diomedes wounded Aeneas and, amazingly, Aphrodite, then fought with Glaucus, a Lycian prince who was second in command to Sarpedon. However, when they remembered the friendship of their ancestors they gave up the fight and exchanged gifts. Hector and Ajax the Greater also fought in single combat until nightfall, when they too exchanged gifts, Hector giving Ajax a sword and receiving a purple baldric.

The hard-pushed Greeks were now forced to build a wall and trench, but when they were driven even farther back Agamemnon quickly offered to return Briseis to Achilles, still sulking in his tent. Achilles politely but firmly refused the offer. Odysseus and Diomedes then made a night raid on the Trojan lines, during which they killed the spy Dolon. They then killed Rhesus of Thrace and drove off his snow-white horses, for an oracle had foretold that once they drank from the River Scamander, and after they had eaten the grass of the Trojan Plain, Troy would not be taken.

The next day the Trojans once again took the upper hand and victoriously set fire to one of the Greek ships. Achilles, still refusing to return to the fray, loaned his armor to his friend Patroclus, who then led the Myrmi-dones back into the thick of things. At first successful, Patroclus killed Sarpedon, and his forces drove the Trojans back to their city walls. There Patroclus was wounded by Euphorbus, son of Panthous, and killed by Hector, who stripped him of his borrowed armor. Menelaus, who had killed Euphorbus, joined Ajax the Greater in rescuing Patroclus’s body.

Prostrate with grief, Achilles finally made his peace with Agamemnon, who duly returned Briseis to him. Thetis then visited her son, bringing along new armor that had been made by Hephaistos. Wearing this Achilles rejoined the fighting and drove the terrified Trojans back to their city, Hector alone remaining outside to defend, even though Priam and Hecuba implored their son to return to the safety of Troy. Three times Achilles chased Hector around the walls of the city before he killed him, stripped him of his armor, and, tying him by the ankles, dragged him unceremoniously back to the Greek lines. Some sources vary these events, saying that Hector’s body was dishonored after death by being dragged three times around the city walls with the purple baldric Ajax had given him.

Each morning, at dawn, still crazed with grief for Patroclus, Achilles would pull the corpse of Hector three times around the tomb of his great friend. Finally, Priam was led by Hermes, at night, to beg for the release of his son’s body so that he could be honored with burial.

With Troy seeking reinforcements, the Amazons now came to its aid, led by their queen, the lovely Penthesilea, daughter of Ares and Otrere. She too was killed by Achilles, but as he struck the fateful blow he fell in love with her. Mourning over her, Achilles was ridiculed by Thersites, the most scurrilous and ugliest of all the Greeks. Achilles killed him with a single blow, angering Diomedes, a kinsman of Thersites. He threw Penthesilea’s body into the Scamander, where it was then rescued and buried, some sources saying Achilles performed these tasks.

Memnon, the black-skinned son of Eos and Priam’s half-brother, Tithones, king of Ethiopia, now came to reinforce the Trojans. He killed several Greeks, including Antilochus, the son of Nestor, before the vengeful Achilles faced him in single combat; Zeus weighed their fates in the balance, which tipped in Achilles’ favor. Eos then persuaded Zeus to honor her dead son by causing birds, known as Memnonides, to rise from the flames of his funeral pyre and fly above it until they fell back into the fire as a sacrifice. These birds were said to visit Memnon’s tomb on the Hellespont annually.

However, Achilles’ own course had now run, and during a battle with Paris outside the Scaean Gate an arrow, fired by Paris but guided by Apollo, struck Achilles in his vulnerable heel. Ajax the Greater killed Glaucus, and he and Odysseus rescued the body of the fallen Achilles. They now quarreled violently over Achilles’ armor. Two sources relate slightly different outcomes of this quarrel, but both say the armor was awarded to Odysseus. In the first, Odysseus simply killed Ajax; the second says that after the armor was awarded to Odysseus Ajax offended Athene and was sent mad, after which he killed the Greek sheep, believing them to be his enemies, then killed himself with the sword he had received from Hector.

Seeing so many heroes dead, the Greeks lost heart. In an attempt to bolster the Greek morale, Calchas said they must fetch to their ranks the bow and arrows of Heracles. As these were now in the possession of Philoctetes, Odysseus and Diomedes sailed to Lemnos to persuade the unfortunate archer to accompany them back to Troy. Having been marooned for nine years, he was at first reluctant to go but was eventually persuaded.

At Troy his festering wound was cured by either Machaon or Podalirius, sons of Asclepios, after which he challenged Paris to an archery contest. Mortally wounded, Paris returned to Mount Ida, where he sought out his former lover, Oenone, to cure him. She refused, but after relenting too late she took her own life.

With Paris dead, Helenus and Deiphobus quarreled over possession of Helen, now homesick for Sparta. When Deiphobus forcibly married her, Helenus fled to Mount Ida, where he either freely joined the Greek forces or was captured by Odysseus, for Calchas had foretold that only Helenus could reveal the secret oracles that protected Troy. Helenus freely gave the advice that the city would fall that summer if a bone of Pelops was brought to the Greeks, if Achilles’ son, Neoptolemus, joined them, and if Athene’s Palladium was stolen from the citadel of Troy.

Agamemnon immediately sent for the shoulder blade of Pelops; Odysseus, Phoenix, and Diomedes traveled to Scyros, where they persuaded Lycomedes to allow Neoptolemus to join their cause. Odysseus then gave Achilles’ armor to Neoptolemus.

By this time the Trojans were also tired of the conflict, so Priam sent Antenor to Agamemnon to sue for peace. However, out of hatred for Deiphobus, Antenor plotted with the Greek leader as to how they might secure the Palladium and thus ensure the downfall of the city. They arranged for Odysseus, disguised as a filthy, runaway slave, to enter the city, which he did. Recognized by Helen, he gained much useful information from her, including the fact that she longed to return home. He then stole the Palladium, either on this occasion or on a later expedition in the company of Diomedes.

With the required talismans now secured, Odysseus is said to have devised the stratagem of the Wooden Horse, though some sources say the idea was put in his head by Athene. It is generally agreed that the goddess supervised the construction of the wooden animal by Epeius, the cowardly son of Panopeus, who inscribed on the horse a dedication to Athene. When it was completed, 23 or more of the bravest Greeks, including Neoptolemus, Odysseus, Thoas, and Sthenelus, climbed into its hollow belly and waited.

As night fell, Agamemnon ordered the Greek camp burned. They then sailed to the island of Tenedos, leaving behind just one man, Sinon, a cousin of Odysseus and grandson of Autolycus, whose cunning he appears to have inherited.

The following morning the jubilant Trojans discovered that the Greeks had gone, leaving the huge Wooden Horse on the shore. Believing it to be sacred to Athene, it was drawn, despite some opposition, up to the citadel. Cassandra rightly declared that the horse concealed Greek warriors. She was disbelieved, as usual. Laocoon, the son of Antenor and a priest to both Apollo and Poseidon, supported Cassandra, even going so far as to throw a spear at the horse’s flank, causing a clatter of arms from within. This warning too was neglected, partly because of Sinon (he had allowed himself be taken prisoner, and he said the horse was the Greeks’ atonement for having stolen the Palladium) and partly because of the misinterpretation of the fate that now befell Laocoon.

Being a priest of Apollo, he had sworn celibacy, but nevertheless he had married. To punish him the god sent two huge serpents, which crushed to death the priest and his two sons. Priam falsely interpreted this as punishment for smiting the Wooden Horse, and it was now welcomed within the city with much feasting and revelry. That evening, Helen and Deiphobus strolled around the horse. She, imitating the voices of the wives of each hidden warrior, called out to the heroes, but they managed to stifle their replies. As the city slept— having celebrated what they believed to be the end of the ten year war—Sinon lit a signal beacon, and Agamemnon and the Greek fleet sailed back from Tenedos. On the command of Antenor the warriors jumped down from inside the Wooden Horse, opened the gates, and razed the city.

Priam had been persuaded by his wife, Hecuba, to seek refuge along with she and her daughters before an altar sacred to Zeus. However, Neoptolemus slew their son, Polites, before their eyes, and when the frail king tried to intervene Neoptolemus mutilated him as well. Odysseus and Menelaus came across Deiphobus and Helen. Killing Deiphobus, Menelaus was about to kill Helen as well when he once again was overcome by her beauty, immediately pardoned her, and led her back to the safety of the Greek fleet.

Cassandra fled to the sanctuary of Athene but was forcibly dragged away by Ajax the Lesser and claimed as booty by Agamemnon. Her sister, Laodice, the wife of Helicaon, was swallowed up when the earth opened beneath her. Andromache, the widow of Hector, fell to the lot of Neoptolemus. The Greeks, eager to exterminate the entire family of Priam, went so far as to kill her infant son, Astyanax, by throwing him from the city walls, lest he should one day rise up to avenge his parents. Polyxena, whom Achilles had reportedly loved, was sacrificed to him, at his ghost’s demand, by Neoptolemus to ensure favorable winds for the return voyage. Some sources say this happened at Troy, whereas others report Thrace, where the fleet had once again becalmed.

Hecuba, Priam’s widow, fell to the share of Odysseus. He took her to the Thracian Chersonesus, where she avenged the death of one of her sons, Polydorus. According to Homer this boy, the youngest of Priam’s sons, had been killed by Achilles, but later sources speak of another son of the same name. Shortly before the fall of Troy, Priam had entrusted him, along with a large quantity of gold, to Polymester, the king of the Thracian Chersonesus. When Troy fell Polymester murdered the youth, cast his body into the sea, and made off with the gold. Hecuba discovered the body and contrived to kill Polymester and his two sons. Having achieved her goal, she then turned herself into a bitch named Maera in order to evade the angry Thracians.

Few of the Trojans escaped slavery or death. The wise Antenor, his wife, Theano, and all their children were spared. They were reported to have sailed to the western coast of the Adriatic Sea, there founding Venice and Padua. Odysseus took ten years to return to his island realm of Ithaca, an epic journey related in Homer’s Odyssey.

The tradition that Greek survivors of the Trojan War—notably Epeius, Diomedes, Philoctetes, and Odysseus—later emigrated to Italy was probably current sometime before 300 B.C. The origin of Aeneas’s arrival remains unknown, though Homer’s Iliad makes it clear that he escaped the final sack of the city. Carrying his blind father, Anchises, on his back and leading his son, Ascanius, he was given safe conduct through the Dardanian Gate, some saying that he was afforded safe passage because he had betrayed Troy out of his hatred for Paris. Later Roman tradition says that he also took with him the Penates of Troy as well as the Palladium, the Palladium stolen by Odysseus having been only a copy. After a total of seven years of wandering he reached Italy, there becoming the founding father of the Roman nation. The epic cycle of the Trojan War remains, to this day, one of the most remarkable pseudo-historical accounts of a great classic battle and forms the most essential core of research for any student of the classical period in Greece. .



Son of Erginus (king of Orchomenus in Boeotia) and brother of Agamedes. The brothers are credited with building many early temples and other religious buildings, including Alcmene’s burial chamber at Thebes. They were also said to have built the first temple of Apollo at Delphi, but its beauty was such that all those who saw it pined away, so the gods destroyed it.

They also built a treasury for Hyrieus, king of nearby Hyria, but left a secret entrance, through which Agamedes removed a great deal of the treasure. Hyrieus caught Agamedes in a trap, and, afraid that he too would be uncovered, Trophonius decapitated his brother so that the king would be unable to recognize the thief he had caught. Trophonius was not long to survive his brother, for he was swallowed by the earth at Lebadeia, the gulf where he vanished becoming the site of an oracle. This oracle was first discovered by Saon, who was led there by a swarm of bees. There Trophonius instructed him in all the procedures of the oracle.

A simpler version of the deaths of the two brothers says that as a reward for building the temple of Apollo at Delphi they were allowed to live merrily within the sanctuary for six days and, on the seventh, die peacefully in their sleep.



King of Phrygia, grandson of Dardanos, father of Ilus and Ganymede, the latter of whom he gave to Zeus as his cupbearer in return for some magnificent white horses. Tros is certainly the eponymous founder of Troy, but archaeological evidence suggests the amalgamation of three small towns: Dardania, founded by his grandfather, Dardanos; Tros; and Ilium, founded by his son, Ilus, the name later used by the Romans.



Once thought of as a purely legendary city, the historicity of Troy was established between 1871 and 1873 when the German eccentric Heinrich Schliemann, putting his faith in the descriptions of Homer, excavated a site on the coast of Asia Minor near modern Hissarlik, close to the mouth of the Dardanelles. He unearthed the foundations of not only one but seven Troys, his most remarkable find being a hoard of exquisite gold ornaments. Since then two further layers of foundations have been uncovered, mainly through the work of Wilhelm Dorpfeld, who worked on the site during the 1890s.

Current thinking says that Bronze Age Troy was an important trading center on the main tin route between Europe and Asia. Frequently attacked—and subsequently rebuilt many times, as Schliemann’s multiple foundations would seem to suggest—the Greeks, Cretans, and Phrygians all claimed to have had a hand in founding the city. In Homer’s time, when the sixth or seventh Troy would have been standing, it probably had already absorbed three smaller towns: Dardania, Tros (Troy), and Ilium, each names being represented in the early legends of the city’s foundation.

The three towns of Dardania, Tros, and Ilium were reportedly founded by Dardanos, Tros, and Ilus respectively. Dardanos was the son of Zeus by Electra the Pleiad. He received a piece of land from Teucer, the son of Idea and Scamander (formerly Xanthus), and on this land he founded the town of Dardania. His grandson was Tros, founder of the town by the same name and the father of Ganymede, who became cupbearer to Zeus, and Ilus, who founded Ilium. His son was Laomedon, who seems to have combined the three smaller towns into the larger conglomerate that became Troy.

Zeus assigned Apollo and Poseidon to Laomedon as laborers to build the city walls, but Laomedon refused to make them any payment. Poseidon in return sent a sea monster to which Hesione, Laomedon’s daughter, was to be sacrificed, but the monster was killed by Heracles. Again Laomedon refused to reward Heracles, and the great hero later returned with Telamon to sack the city, killing Laomedon and all his sons but one, Podarces, who subsequently changed his name to Priam. Hesione was given to Telamon.

Priam was, of course, the king of Troy during the Trojan War, a war in which he lost his life during the final struggle and one that resulted in the destruction of the city. Recent research appears to suggest that this was the seventh city to stand on the site, designated Troy VIIa, and was sacked and burned c. 1250 B.C. Abandoned c. 1100 B.C., it was succeeded by a shantytown that itself seems to have been sacked c. 780 B.C. The final settlement on the site seems to have lasted until c. 400 A.D.



Daughter of King Servius Tullius, wife of Arruns Tarquinius, and thus sister-in-law to Tarquinius Superbus. She prompted her brother-in-law to murder her husband, then married Tarquinius Superbus. Tarquinius Su-perbus then threw the aging Servius Tullius down the senate steps, where he was killed by hired assassins and where his corpse was run over by Tullia as she returned from proclaiming Tarquinius Superbus’s usurpation. She was, reportedly, covered from head to toe in the old man’s blood.

Tullus Hostilius


The third legendary king of Rome, second successor to Romulus. Reputed to have built the Curia Hostilia (Senate House) and to have captured Alba Longa, Tullus Hostilius seems, unlike his two predecessors, to have some historicity, though the stories associated with him are imaginary.



Prince of Ardea in Rutulia. When Latinus agreed to the marriage of his daughter, Lavinia, to Aeneas after an oracle had told him that she would marry a foreigner, Juno incited Turnus to lay claim to the girl, saying that since he was of Mycenaean ancestry the oracle clearly referred to him, a view supported by Amata, Latinus’s wife. When Ascanius, Aeneas’s son, accidentally shot a pet stag, war was inevitable between the two factions.

Aeneas sought and gained the support of Evander, whose son, Pallas, joined Aeneas’s forces. Turnus opened the hostilities by setting fire to Aeneas’s ships. During the battle many great heroes were killed including Pallas, who was slain by Turnus, who stripped the body of a golden belt his victim always wore. To settle the conflict Aeneas and Turnus agreed to meet in single combat, though both Latinus and Amata tried to convince their son of his folly.

Jupiter pacified Juno by saying that the Trojan and Latin peoples should unite to form a single nation, thus swinging the balance in favor of Aeneas. As Turnus entered the combat his mother, believing him already dead, hanged herself. Aeneas mortally wounded Turnus, who asked that his father be allowed to have his body. Aeneas was about to concede this point when he noticed that Turnus was wearing the belt of his dead friend, Pallas. With a single thrust of his sword he dispatched Turnus.

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