The Early War

After the Greeks departed from Aulis, they encountered one small problem: no one knew exactly where Troy was located.

While searching, the great archer Philoctetes was bitten on the foot by a snake.  He did not die, but his wound became infected, and rather smelly.  On the advice of Odysseus, they abandoned Philoctetes on an island.

Eventually, the Greeks reach Troy.  Before landing, Menelaus and Odysseus go as ambasors to Troy.  They tell Priam, the king of Troy, that to avoid war, all he must do is return Helen and the gold, which Paris had stolen.  Priam would have done as they asked, but unfortunately listened to his young sons, who were eager for war and its glory.  Priam said no, and sent the two back to their ships.  The two would have been killed, but Antenor, who had received the men as guests, refused.

Once back at the ships, all of the Greeks prepared to disembark.  No one would step off of his ship, however.  There was a prophecy that the first Greek attacker to set foot upon the shores of Troy would die.  Protesilaus could stand waiting no longer, and was the first to leave his ship.  As was fated, he was soon killed by Hector.

For the first nine years of war, the Greeks concentrated on taking the towns surrounding Troy.  The Greek captains grew rich, from the plundering of the towns and the ransoming of hostages.  The Greeks supplied themselves with women as well.  After the capture of a city, the Greeks would one by one in order of rank choose their concubines, which surely must have helped their morale.

Source(s):

  1. ApollodorusBibliotece.