Trojan War in popular culture
Setting: Troy (modern Hisarlik, Turkey)
Greeks and allies
Trojans and allies
There is a wide range of ways in which people have represented the Trojan War in popular culture.
- Laocoön, c.1610-1614, a painting by El Greco. from The National Gallery of Art
- Helen of Troy by Evelyn De Morgan
Innumerable ancient items, including:
- the Trojan War was a classic subject for the Pottery of ancient Greece (for example see the potter Exekias and certain bands of the François Vase).
- the Mykonos vase, pottery depiction of the Trojan war and horse
- the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer
- the Epic Cycle:
- several poems by Stesichorus, Alcaeus, and Sappho
- numerous plays, mostly tragedies of which the extant ones are:
- the Capture of Troy by Triphiodorus
- the Posthomerica by Quintus of Smyrna (4th century AD)
- the Aeneid by Virgil (book 2)
- the Metamorphoses by Ovid (books 12-14)
- the Heroides By Ovid (I, III, V, VII)
- the Double Heroides By Ovid (XVI & XVII)
- the Ephemeris, purporting to be by Dictys of Crete
- the Fall of Troy, purporting to be by Dares of Phrygia
- the Achilleis by Statius
- Roman de Troie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure (ca. 1160), derived from Dictys and Dares.
- De bello Troiano by Joseph of Exeter (1183-4)
- Historiae destructionis Troiae by Guido delle Colonne (1287), derived from Benoît.
- Il filostrato by Boccaccio, derived from Benoît and Colonne.
- "Troilus and Criseyde" by Geoffrey Chaucer, a poem in rhyme royal telling a tragic love story set during the war, derived from the above works.
- The Rawlinson Excidium Troie
- The Seege of Troye a Middle English poem based on "Dares" and Benoît.
- The Laud Troy Book another Middle English poem written about 1400.
- Troy Book by John Lydgate Middle English poem composed 1412-20.
In reality the Trojan War is little known except via Homer, and had little or no effect on the history of the Middle East (but Troy and Ilion are mentioned in passing in Hittite records and there is a theory connecting the aftermath of the Trojan War with the Sea people). But medieval European writers (for example Snorri Sturluson) trying to reconstruct world history sometimes treated Homer and the Aeneid as true records and the Trojan War as the great epoch-dividing battle of the age with widespread effects across Europe.
- Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, published in 1474, the first printed book to be published in English, containing Caxton's translation of Raoul le Fevre's work, in turn derived from Guido and, ultimately, Benoît.
- Troilus and Cressida, William Shakespeare's dark interpretation of Chaucer's story, derived from Caxton's Recuyell.
- Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, written circa 1590, features Helen of Troy.
- Penthesilea play by Heinrich von Kleist, 1808.
- Faust, Part 2 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published in 1832 features Helen of Troy.
- The Trojan War Will Not Take Place, play by Jean Giraudoux, written in 1935.
- Paris of Troy by George Baker, published in 1947 (originally published as Fidus Achates 1944)
- Kassandra by Christa Wolf, published in 1983.
- The Greek Generals Talk (1986) and The Trojan Generals Talk collections of short stories by Phillip Parotti.
- Cassandra: Princess of Troy by Hilary Bailey published in 1993.
- Women of Destiny: A Story of the Trojan War by Clemence McLaren published in 1996.
- The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough published in 1998.
- Achilles by Elizabeth Cook published in 2002.
- The Siege of Troy by Greg Tobin published in 2004.
- The Talisman of Troy: A Novel by Valerio Massimo Manfredi published in 2004.
- Lindsay Clarke's Troy series:
- The War at Troy, published in 2004.
- Return from Troy, published in 2005.
- David Gemmell's Troy Series:
- Gene by Stel Pavlou, published in 2005, is the story of a soldier from the Trojan War reincarnated seven times through history.
- The Memoirs of Helen of Troy by Amanda Elyot published in 2005.
- Ilium by Dan Simmons, published in 2003, gives the story of Troy a science fiction twist.
- Several poems by William Butler Yeats make reference to the Trojan War or Troy in the context of the Trojan War.
- No Second Troy, published in 1910
- A Man Young and Old VI, published in 1928
- Leda and the Swan, published in 1928
- Helen of Troy by Margaret George, published in 2006.
- The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, published in 2012 is a retelling of the stories surrounding the Trojan War from the point of view of Patroclus, who the story presents as the lover of Achilles.
- The Nantucket series by S. M. Stirling involves a time-travelling American adventurer overthrowing Agamemnon and proceeding to himself conquer and destroy Troy, in a manner quite different from that depicted by Homer.
- The Songs of the Kings by Barry Unsworth, published in 2002.
- War Music by Christopher Logue, a Modernist retelling of books 1 - 8 and 16 - 19 of Homer's Iliad, published between 1959 and 2005.
- "Temporary Like Achilles", by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, from the album Blonde on Blonde (1966).
- "Tales of Brave Ulysses", by the band Cream, released as a B-side on May 1967, and also included on the album Disraeli Gears (1967).
- "Achilles Last Stand", by the band Led Zeppelin, from the album Presence (1976).
- "I Stole a Bride", by the band Hefner, from the album The Fidelity Wars (1999).
- "And Then There Was Silence", by the band Blind Guardian, released as a single on November 2001, and also included on the album A Night at the Opera (2002); an epic 14 minute song picturing the last part of the Trojan War through Cassandra's eyes.
- The name of the American post-hardcore band The Fall of Troy is inspired by the Trojan War.
- The entire album Ethernaut (2003), by the band The Crüxshadows, was based on the Trojan War and the fall of Troy.
- "The Third Temptation of Paris" by the band Alesana, from the album On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax (2006); a piano ballad picturing the fall of Troy through Paris' eyes.
- Helen of Troy (1956), featuring Stanley Baker as Achilles.
- La Guerra di Troia (1961), by Giorgio Ferroni.
- Doctor Faustus (1967 film), by Richard Burton and Nevill Coghill, stars Elizabeth Taylor as Helen of Troy and Richard Burton as Doctor Faustus.
- The Trojan Women (1971), an adaptation of Euripides' play directed by Michael Cacoyannis and starring Katharine Hepburn as Hecuba, Vanessa Redgrave as Andromache, Geneviève Bujold as Cassandra and Irene Papas as Helen.
- Troy, by Wolfgang Petersen, starring Brad Pitt as Achilles, Sean Bean as Odysseus, Eric Bana as Hector, Orlando Bloom as Paris, and Diane Kruger as Helen; released in 2004.
- Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria by Claudio Monteverdi, composed in 1641, after Homer.
- Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, composed 1688, after Virgil.
- Achilles by John Gay, composed in 1733
- Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz, composed 1856-8 after Virgil.
- La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach composed in 1864
- Troilus and Cressida by William Walton composed 1947-1954 after Chaucer.
- King Priam by Michael Tippett, composed 1958-61 after Homer.
Television and radio
- "The Myth Makers", a 1965 Doctor Who serial, depicted the last days of the war satirically.
- Time Commanders, a BBC television programme about ancient battle strategy, fought out the battle of Troy in one episode.
- The Time Tunnel episode "Revenge Of The Gods" (aired 21 October 1966) involves the American protagonists arriving at the final stage of the war and helping the Greeks to conquer and destroy Troy.
- Operation Lightning Pegasus, a satirical version by Alick Rowe, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1981.
- The Xena: Warrior Princess episode "Beware of Greeks bearing Gifts" (aired 15 January 1996) involves Xena and Gabrielle arriving at Troy during the Trojan War when the warrior princess' help is required by her old friend Helen.
- Troy, a trilogy of radio plays, starring Paul Scofield as "Hermes", first broadcast in 1998.
- Helen of Troy (2003), a miniseries starring Rufus Sewell as Agamemnon and Sienna Guillory as Helen.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Troy Story" (aired 20 September 2013) involves the boys reenactment of the Trojan War but with a Phineas and Ferb twist.
- The Last Days of Troy, a two-part 2015 BBC Radio 4 adaptation by Simon Armitage completing Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid, originally directed for The Royal Exchange Theatre by Nick Bagnall and directed for radio by Susan Roberts. The cast included Richard Bremmer as Zeus, Colin Tierney as Odysseus, Jake Fairbrother as Achilles, David Birrell as Agamemnon, Clare Calbraith as Thetis/Andromache, Francesca Zoutwelle as Athene/Briseis, Tom Stuart as Paris and Lily Cole as Helen.
Comics and graphic novels
- Age of Bronze an ongoing series by writer and artist Eric Shanower, published by Image Comics.
- Marvel Illustrated
- The Iliad (2008) (Hardcover), ISBN 978-0-7851-2383-5, collecting issues #1 - 8, adapted by Roy Thomas and Miguel Angel Sepulveda from the epic poem.
- The Odyssey (2009) (Hardcover), ISBN 978-0-7851-1908-1, collecting issues #1 - 8, adapted by Roy Thomas and Greg Tocchini from the epic poem.
- The Trojan War (2009) (Hardcover), ISBN 978-0-7851-3862-4, collecting issues #1 - 5, adapted by Roy Thomas and Miguel Angel Sepulveda based on Epic Cycle and other ancient sources.
- The Trojan War app (2013) (App Store (iOS) application), published by Kichigai Editions.
- Battle for Troy a 3D strategy game by ValuSoft and Zono Inc. released in 2004.
- Gates of Troy a turn based strategy expansion for the game Spartan, by Matrix Games and Slitherine Soft, released in 2004.
- The Trojan War appears a scenario in the Greek campaign for the RTS computer game Empire Earth.
- Age of Mythology, an RTS game by Ensemble Studios and Microsoft released in 2002, in which several missions deal with the capture of Troy.
- "Troy: Total War", a modification for Rome: Total War that takes place in the Trojan War.
- "Warriors: Legends of Troy" is a hack and slash game developed by a Canadian branch of Tecmo Koei. Released on consoles in 2011, the game is centered around the events of the Trojan War.