The Greeks built the Trojan horse at the end of the Trojan War.
They used the wooden horse to fool the people and soldiers of Troy so they could get into the city.
The soldiers wanted to rescue Helen, the wife of a Spartan king who ran away to be with the prince of Troy.
The Legend of the Trojan horse
The city of Troy was on the coast of Turkey with the city-state of Sparta across from it in the Aegean Sea.
Helen was married to a king in Sparta but ran away to be with the price of Troy and the king wanted her back.
Some people suggest that Helen had been kidnapped and taken to Troy.
The king asked city-states in Greece to help him get Helen back and more than one thousand ships were sent out across the Aegean Sea to bring her back.
When the soldiers reached Troy, they found a very high wall, up to 20 feet tall, surrounding the city.
This meant they had no way of getting inside the city. The only entrance to the city was through a gate and the soldiers of Troy guarded it.
The soldiers of Troy stood high up on the walls and fired arrows down onto the Greeks.
The Two Sides Were At a Standstill
The two sides were at a standstill as the Greek soldiers had tried for 10 years to enter the city of Troy.
The Greeks could not get in and did not want to leave without Helen. The soldiers of Troy could not make the Greek army go away.
Greek General Odysseus Came Up With a Crafty Plan
A Greek general called Odysseus came up with a crafty plan, which would allow the Greek army to enter the city.
He asked a carpenter called Epeius to build a huge hollow wooden horse.
In ancient Greece when an army admitted losing, they usually gave a peace offering to the other side.
The Trojan horse was built to make the people of Troy think it was a peace offering.
The carpenter built the horse and it was left outside of the gates of the city of Troy.
The Greek army pretended to leave the city gates and went to an island close-by to wait.
The People of Troy Fell for the Trick
The people of Troy fell for the trick as the horse had been decorated and looked beautiful.
What the people of Troy did not realize was that the horse was hollow.
Inside the horse, 30 Greek soldiers were hidden.
The gates of the city were opened up and the horse was dragged inside.
The people of Troy celebrated as they thought the Greeks had given up and gone home. They thought they had won the war.
The Trojan horse was inside the city and the people put it on display.
When night came the people of Troy went to sleep and quietly the soldiers hidden inside the hollow horse came out.
They opened up the gates of the city and let the rest of the soldiers inside, who had come back to the city.
Greek soldiers caught the soldiers and people of Troy off guard sleeping and killed them, winning the war.
Facts about Trojan Horse
- There is a computer virus today called a Trojan. It has this name as it tricks people into installing it on computers so the virus can do damage.
- The Trojan horse had a carving on it that read “For their return home, the Greeks dedicate this offering to Athena”.
- Some people believe the Trojan horse was a battering ram used to break down the gates of Troy, not a horse with men hidden inside.
- The huge wooden horse with 30 men inside would have weighed a lot, perhaps as much as 4 tons, making it highly unlikely that it could have been pulled inside the gates by hand.
- It was suggested that the Trojan horse was around 10 feet wide and 25 feet tall.
- Today the term “Trojan horse” is used for anything that seems to look good but is used for a bad purpose or trickery.
- The Greeks won the Trojan War not by using fighting skills but by using their brains.
- The war lasted for 10 years before the Greeks cheated and tricked the people of Troy.
Questions and Answers
Question 1 – Who came up with the idea of building the Trojan horse?
Answer – A Greek general called Odysseus
Question 2 – Who built the Trojan horse?
Answer – A carpenter called Epeius
Question 3 – What was unusual about the Trojan horse?
Answer – It was hollow inside so soldiers could hide in it
Question 4 – How many Greek soldiers hid inside the Trojan horse?
Answer 4 – 30