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World Chronology, Lesson 08. The Trojan War (1200 BC)

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In lesson 01, we studied the four ages of world history, which must always be remembered:

  1. The Ancient World (4000-750 BC)
  2. The Classical World (750 BC – 500 AD)
  3. The Medieval World (500 AD – 1500 AD), and
  4. The Modern World (1500 AD to the present day).

In recent lessons, we have studied two very important events: the life of Abraham and the Hebrew Exodus. You should be able to explain the history of the world from the beginning to the life of Abraham and from Abraham to the Hebrew Exodus. If you cannot, spend some time reviewing your recent lessons until you can.

When we read Scripture, we learn that God created the world and everything it contains. All men can trace their ancestry back to Noah and his family–everyone else was destroyed through the flood. However, we often fail to understand where the nations outside of Israel have come from after the flood. Their stories are very important if we are to understand world history through God’s eyes. Before we begin, it is important to note that we will use the names as they were written in the Greek and Latin translations of the Bible, for these help us to see the
importance of the names in history.

We know that Noe (Noah) had three sons: Sem, Cham and Japheth. We know that all of the nations of the world must have come from one of these three men–and this is very important. In chapter 10 of the book of Genesis we learn of the descendants of these three men. Again, this family tree is very important if you wish to understand ancient history.

The reason why this family tree is important is because Noah cursed the families of his son Cham during his lifetime, while blessed Japheth and reserved his greatest blessing for Sem. Ham dishonored his father and for this brought this curse upon his descendants. Japheth and Sem guarded their father’s honor and were blessed for it. Thus, these three branches of Noe’s family tree were influenced by their father’s blessing. Read the words of Noe as he spoke them:

“Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Blessed be the Lord God of Sem, be Canaan his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Sem, and Canaan be his servant.”

What is important to note here is the curse upon Canaan, which we will see is a curse upon Cham’s children. Sem and Japheth were blessed, along with their children. The big question, however, is: Who exactly were the sons of Sem, Cham and Japheth, and how did Noe’s blessing work itself out in the events of history?

First, we are told that the sons of Sem were: Elam, Assur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. We are told further that Arphaxad was the father of Sale, who was the father of Heber. This is very important because the Hebrews are named after this Heber. As such, they are sons of Sem, who we call Semites. Theirs is the blessing of their ancestor Noe. The Semites, we are told, lived in the land of the Fertile Crescent to the mountains in the East, which we know today as Iran.

Second, we are told that the sons of Japheth were: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Thubal, Mosoch and Thiras. Who are these people? Scripture tells us that “By these were divided the islands of the Gentiles in their lands, every one according to his tongue and their families in their nations.” In other words, the sons of Japheth moved away from the Middle Eastern lands to the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. In Hebrew, the name for Greece is Javan, and for Italy is Thubal. Thus, we must understand that to the people of Israel, Greeks and Romans were known to be descendants of Japheth, the son of Noe.

Third, we are told that the sons of Cham (the cursed son) were: Mesram, Phuth and Canaan. We then read a list of the descendants of these men, which includes the names Nimrod (the founder of Babylon), Achad, Assur, Nineveh, the Philistines and all the other ancient enemies of the Hebrew people. We should not be surprised to find that the enemies of the children of Sem (whom Noah blessed) are the children of Cham (whom Noah cursed). In the ancient Hebrew mind, nations were not simply countries with a name like “Germany”, “Russia” or
“America”. They were families named after their ancestors, which were all affected by the blessing and curse of Noah. You can probably recognize most of the names, but the most important of all was Mesram, which we call “Egypt” from the Greek name Aegyptos.

With that knowledge, we come to 1200 BC in our study of world history and the famous Trojan War. Many Christians wonder what relationship there is between the stories of the Bible and the stories of the nations which are not told in the Bible. The relationship is an important one. First, all nations are the descendants of the sons of Noe (Noah) and we will see throughout history the power of Noe’s blessing upon Sem. Secondly, since all human beings are created with a reasonable soul, we will see them discovering many wonderful things without the help of Scripture. Third, we will see God leading them slowly to the Truth, which is finally revealed in all of its beauty by
the Catholic Church years later. Ultimately, we will see God’s control of all the Earth in many mysterious ways that reveal his goodness, wisdom and power. Having said that, we begin our first look into history outside of the Bible–the Trojan War.

The Trojan War

The Trojan War took place in the city of Troy (Troia) between the Trojans (Troians) and the Greeks. Troy was a wealthy ancient city that controlled the narrow channel that allowed ships into the Black Sea. The war began when Paris, the prince of Troy, stole the wife of Menelaos, the king of Sparta. The wife of Menelaos was no ordinary woman, but was Helen, known as the most beautiful woman in the world. Menelaos kindly let Paris stay in his palace as he traveled through Sparta, but Paris committed the terrible crime of violating the rules of hospitality. Rather than showing gratitude to the king, he took advantage of the king’s kindness and seduced his wife. Helen returned with Paris to Troy and news of the deed reached Menelaos.

Menelaos was a powerful king, but his brother was greater. Agamemnon was known as the “lord of men” and he gathered a great army of Greeks to fight on his brother’s behalf and punish Troy for this humiliating crime. The Greek army was filled with warriors who would become forever famous including Achilles and Odysseus, whom we will learn about when Homer writes their stories in 750 BC.

The Trojans had many great warriors of their own, including Hektor and Aeneas. They also had home field advantage as the Greeks came to fight on Trojan land. However, the sin of Paris angered the gods of Greece and were doomed unless the crime was undone.

The Trojan War lasted for ten years, when the Greeks decided to use trickery instead of force. The Greeks, knowing the Trojans worshipped Athena, built an massive horse–the “Trojan Horse”–to be offered as a gift of peace and an end to the fighting. The Trojans did not know that the Greeks left the belly of the horse empty with room for a group of its best warriors. The Trojans, after letting their guard down, accepted the gift, wheeled the horse into the city and spent the night celebrating the end of war. When the exhausted Trojans finally slept, the Greeks exited the horse, opened the gates of Troy for their armies and Troy was burned to the ground by the Greeks–never to be built again.

The Trojan War is not famous because of the events of the war itself, but for the influence it had on the history of the world after it ended. Alexander the Great admired Achilles and was inspired by his story to conquer the world in 336 BC. The story of Achilles was written by Homer in the Iliad. Aeneas, a Trojan warrior who escaped when the city was burned, sailed to the West to later become the ancestor of the Romans in Italy. His story was told by the Roman poet Virgil in the Aeneid. All of this is still to come in world history.

Can you tell the story thus far?

Memory Work

Directions: Read each date and event and recite it several times. By daily repetition, thoroughly memorize these events. Memorize them using your complete chart so that you can “see” the chart in your mind.

  • 4000 BC –  750 BC   Ancient World
  • 4000 BC Creation of the World
  • 3500 BC   Ancient Sumeria Begins
  • 3000 BC   Ancient Egypt Begins
  • 2950 BC – 2000 BC Life of Noah
  • 2000 BC – 1780 BC  Life of Abraham
  • 1450 BC – 1410 BC  Hebrew Exodus
  • 1200 BC   Trojan War
  • 750 BC –   500 AD  Classical World
  • 500 AD – 1500 AD  Medieval World
  • 1500 AD – Present    Modern World

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