The account of the Trojan War that has come down to us through Homeric epic depicts it as a ten-year conflict undertaken by a confederated Greek expeditionary force under the leadership of king Agamemnon to recover Helen, the wife of Menelaus who had been abducted by Paris, the son of king Priam of Troy beyond the Dardanelles in Asia Minor. There is some evidence that it is based on an actual event, as there is archeological evidence that one of the cities which stood on the site of Troy was destroyed around 1200 BCE, but the Iliad and Odyssey, which give the earliest literary accounts of episodes in the war, only began to take their present form several hundred years later.
The Achaian (Greek) forces, collected from the various kingdoms over which the High King of Mycenae (or Mykenai) exercised an overlordship, were opposed by the inhabitants of Troy and their allies. For much of the time there was a stalemate throughout. Homer depicts the conflict as taking place outside the walls. Following the death of the great Trojan and Greek champions, Hector and Achilles, Odysseus is said by some to have thought up the cunning device of the Trojan horse. The Greeks pretended to depart, leaving behind a wooden horse said to be a sacrifice to Athene. The Trojans brought the horse into the city, and the warriors hidden in the hollow belly of the horse, emerged at night to open the gates, allowing the returning Greek warriors to enter the city and sack it.