Who were the chieftains who attacked Troy?      

1 Answer | Add Yours

noahvox2's profile pic

noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

According to the saying, Helen was the "face that launched a thousand ships." Not all of those thousand ships, however, were supplied by one chieftain or ruler. In fact, Homer spends almost 300 lines in the second book of the Iliad provided what modern scholars call "The Catalogue of Ships." So numerous are the leaders and their ships that Homer calls upon the gods for assistance in remembering them all:

Tell me now, Muses, who live on Olympus – since you are goddesses, ever present and all-knowing, while we hearing rumour know nothing ourselves for sure – tell me who were the leaders and lords of the Danaans. For I could not count or name the multitude who came to Troy, though I had ten tongues and a tireless voice, and lungs of bronze as well, if you Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus brought them not to mind. (A.S. Kline translation)

In this section, lines 484-759, he provides the names of all of the leaders of the various troops, their native cities, and the number of ships that accompanied each leader. Readers of "The Catalogue of Ships" will find that there were dozens of chieftains and over 1100 ships that came to Troy.

Of course, Agamemnon was the commander-in-chief of the Greek forces. He was accompanied by Menelaus, the husband of Helen, and other notable warriors such as: Achilles, Odysseus, Diomedes, two different leaders named Ajax, Nestor, and many others.


We’ve answered 317,367 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question