Every so often, I stumble across something that makes me regret (yet again) my continual lack of a literature/historical background in Greek Mythology and ancient literature. Seriously guys: this, just this. It’s possible I already knew about this from previous reading, but it brought about that whole revelation thing. “Oh yeah,” I think, “there was more to the Trojan War than just the Illiad and Odyssey.”

In my defense, I was already well aware that the Illiad only covered a small part of the war (part of the last year) and was specifically from the point of view of Achilles (mostly about his temper). There are nine whole years of war left unaccounted for, and that doesn’t even count the time the Achaeans (invading Greeks) spent just getting to Troy, let alone the looting of the city at the end and returning home.

The books in the Trojan Cycle are: the Cypria (Zeus decides to kill everyone, Helen’s abduction, the journey to Troy), the Illiad (Achilles leaves, then returns to fight, then he dies), the Aethiopis (flash-sideways during the Iliad about reinforcements after Hector’s death, who are also slain by Achilles), the Little Iliad (Achilles’s son arrives, theft of the Palladion, the Trojan Horse).

It seems like the first half this cycle was about Achilles and all the wacky hijinks he got up to up to and including his death. The second half of the cycle seem a lot more straightforward: the Sack of Troy Ilion, the Returns (a whole book of people going home!), the Odyssey (ten years of Odysseus’s return home), and the Telegony (Odysseus’s last hurrah, his death, and some bizarre, incestuous marriages).