Ilion 1: Background of the Epic (TH 039)


Synopsis:

This talk is the first of a series of talks based on Sri Aurobindo’s poem Ilion. Sri Aurobindo refers to this event as one of the four major events that have shaped humanity. Before three thousand years Greece had many small independent states. At that time Troy (Present Turkey) was very rich and the most advanced and powerful state. It is said that the city was built by gods. The prince of Troy, Paris came as a guest to the state of Mycenae, and he fell in love with the queen Helen. Both loved each other and one day Paris left Greece with Helen and came to Troy. Helen was wife to King Agamemnon’s brother Menelaus. The Greek warrior King accumulated an army and marched towards Troy. The greatest warrior of that time Achilles also went with him though he did not fight initially. Achilles used to love the daughter of Priam, the king of Troy. So with a messenger he sent a message to Troy that if they return Helen, the Greek queen and arrange of Priam’s daughter with Achilles, then the war can be averted. But gods had sealed the destiny of Troy. The proposal meets with refusal and war follows that stretches on to nearly ten years. Here, in this poem we see mainly what was transpiring behind scenes before the armies took to war. The rest of it has been covered by the seer-poet Homer in two of his well-known epics. This great event has been glorified by Sri Aurobindo in this poem revealing for us the subtle forces at play and the deeper reasons for the War.

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