“Agamemnon’s Family and the War of Troy”:
The war originated from a quarrel between the goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite after Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, gave them a golden apple, sometimes known as the Apple of Discord, marked “for the fairest” (Kallisti in greek).
Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris, who judged that Aphrodite, as the “fairest”, should receive the apple. In exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Prince Paris, who took her to Troy.
Agamemnon, the king of Argos or Mycenae, was the husband of Clytemnestra and the father of Iphigenia, Electra, Orestes and Chrysotemis.
Menelaus was Agamemnon’ s brother, and, besides, the king of Sparta.
When Helen, Menelaus’ wife, was abducted by Paris of Troy, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War.
Greek forces gathered at Aulis. However, weak winds prevented the fleet from sailing. The priest Calchas said the winds would be favorable if Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis.
Agamemnon persuaded his wife Clytemnestra to send Iphigenia by deceptively telling her that the purpose of his daughter’s visit was to marry her to Achilles, the greek heroe.
The trojan War ended with the Achaean’s (or greek’s ) victory.
The Greeks tricked the Trojans. They made them know that they had won the war by sending all their ships into hiding. This made the Trojans believe they were gone. As a parting gift, the Greeks had left a wooden horse which the Trojans brought into their city. Inside of it there were lots of achaeans soldiers. Once in the city of Troy, the Greeks came off, slaughtered the Trojans and desecrated their temples.
The war lasted ten years and ended with the wooden horse episode and after the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris.
During this period of Agamemnon’s long absence, his wife Clytemnestra began a love affair with Aegisthus, her husband’s cousin.
Upon Agamemnon’s return from Troy, he was murdered (according to the oldest surviving account, Homer´s “Odyssey”) by Aegisthus, the lover of his wife, Clytemnestra.
In some later versions Clytemnestra helps him or kills herself Agamemnon, like Aeschylus tells us in “The Oresteia”.
►Aeschylus’s Oresteia: “A Tragedy in Three Plays”:
The best-known version of Agamemnon ‘s death and the following events related to the war of Troy is that of Aeschylus’s “Oresteia”, a three -act drama of family fate, like the “Oedipus trilogy” by Sophocles. The term “Oresteia” originally probably referred to all four plays, but today is generally used to designate only the surviving trilogy.
In the first one, (“Agamemnon”) Clytemnestra herself murders his husband Agamemnon.
In the second part (“The Libation Bearers”) Clytemnestra is murdered by his son Orestes.
In the third and last play,”The Eumenides”, Orestes is judged by a jury composed of Athena and twelve Athenians. After being counted, the votes on each side are equal. Athena declares that tied juries will result in the defendant (Orestes) being acquitted as mercy should always take precedence over harshness.
For further details on this topic, check out this article: “Background and Images for the Oresteia“.