Eight-part adaptation of Homer's classic tale. Helen and Paris's elopement causes chaos for the Greeks and Trojans. Artemis presents Agamemnon with an agonising dilemma.
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Your story is a strange one. I should like to hear it from your mouth.
You're not a shepherd any more.
Your name is Alexander, Prince of Troy.
You're making a great mistake.
I see it in his eyes.
Troy controls the straits from Asia, so everyone wants a piece.
Welcome to the world, Prince.
The queen sends her apologies. She won't be down to say goodbye.
See that it's carefully loaded onto the ship.
The gods do not forget.
This programme contains scenes which some viewers may find upsetting
and graphic violent scenes.
-Where is she?
-I told you, he's taken her.
That's not possible!
I will not be humiliated.
Get a message to my brother.
Is it true?
He brought her right up the street like his bloody bride.
Where are they?
They're resting from the journey. They're coming to see me later.
Is it what I think?
He stole her away in a chest.
We had no idea she was inside until we set sail.
I tried to persuade him to return her.
He threatened to throw me in the sea.
He claims to love her.
How could you not notice what was going on?
I apologise, my lady.
I should have foreseen that,
while the King of Sparta was burying his dead father,
your new son would try to sleep with his wife.
Don't you use that tone with us! We put him in your charge!
By now, Menelaus will know they've eloped.
He'll have told his brother.
Agamemnon needs no excuse for a fight.
She must be sent back, before they do something foolish.
Agamemnon will have rallied all the kings of Greece.
We can't waste any time.
We'll send a message that we regret the discourtesy,
return Helen, and send gifts of our own.
Why should I bow to him?
We made this city prosperous through sweat and blood.
-This city bows to no-one.
-And will continue to do so.
Your pride can afford to take one hit
if it's to save the city from any future harm.
She must go back, Priam.
Forgive me, Your Majesty.
The Spartan queen requests an audience.
No, I said later.
My lord. My lady.
If my fate is to be decided, I would like you to hear me first.
You have a nerve, my lady.
that you rule Troy alongside your husband,
that, in this city, man and woman are equal in respect and power.
I humbly claim that respect now.
I was married at 14 against my will
to a man I had not met and would never love.
Not for one moment have I been happy with Menelaus.
I didn't choose him. I never would have.
I do choose...
..to be with your son.
I'm not a possession.
I'm a woman.
I think, I feel,
and I'm here because I want to be.
Agamemnon demands that Odysseus join him in support of his brother.
-I've told you, our king is distracted.
-Let me see him.
-He's not fit to see anyone.
BABY CRIES IN DISTANCE
Shh, shh, shh. Baby, shh, shh, shh.
My lady! Good to see you again.
-You're looking for my husband?
He and his army are required to join the war effort against Troy.
I read your letters.
The Trojan prince has offended the whole of Greece.
Which is why the whole of Greece must rebuff him.
A week ago, Odysseus was taken with a fever which went to his brain.
-I'm sorry to hear that.
-He won't talk to me.
-To any of us.
-Take me to him.
He ploughs it day and night.
Odysseus! It's Diomedes, your old friend.
-There's no point taking him to war. What use would he be?
Maybe he's as cunning as he ever was.
Maybe you both are.
You're not so mad after all. HE CHUCKLES
..you're the man of the house now.
Look after your mother and sister for me. You must.
First, welcome home, my son.
-Thank you, Father.
-You understand, of course,
what has happened between you is not just a matter of the personal.
Your actions are political because of who you are.
-Father, listen to me...
-We sent you, Alexander,
on a mission of diplomacy.
There are voices in favour of sending the queen back.
You dare...I'll go with her.
-You'll never see me again.
Alexander, my love...
You are our son,
and whatever we may feel on the matter,
we love and defend you.
We will therefore seek an agreement with our Greek friends.
We will keep the queen,
but send ambassadors with gifts of Troy
that will more than match those you have brought from Sparta.
Hopefully, our embassy will arrive
before the Greeks' anger turns into action.
Who knows? This may even strengthen bonds, not break them.
This won't work. You must know that the Greeks -
they won't accept gold as a substitute for a queen.
She is flesh and a symbol.
They'll just throw it back in your face.
This is the decision of myself and the queen.
In the meantime, Helen is to be treated as our guest,
and closest friend.
Agamemnon, he's arrived.
Your letters failed to reach me.
Tricks of Hermes.
Now we are complete! No more delay!
Tricks of Hermes? Tricks of Penelope, more like.
Ajax, what do you know about women? Just stick to fighting and spitting.
-Who else is here?
-We all are.
Lovers and defenders of Greece, as I know you are.
And the best strategist we have.
You don't need me to return a whore to her marriage bed.
You admire Helen as much as the rest of us.
I seem to remember you fought for her hand.
We all did.
And look who won her.
No war should be fought for such a man.
In stealing Helen, the Trojan prince insulted all of us.
Not just about the girl, though, is it, Nestor?
Is that Achilles?
Oh, yes. He's here, too.
Odysseus, let's walk together.
I know we've shared harsh words in the past.
-I'd just like to say...
-All forgotten, my lord.
We have one enemy now.
This war won't take long.
We get the queen back....
..and we teach them a lesson.
-The gods will see to it.
How long has it been blowing like this?
It's been gusting onshore since we came.
-If it doesn't, we can't sail in this.
Did you make offerings to the goddess?
In the haste of anger, rituals may have been neglected.
-The offence is against us.
The winds WILL change.
Get the priest and the seers.
Make offerings of birds to the goddess.
Surely Artemis will understand.
Artemis, accept these pledges of regret for our forgetfulness.
Huntress, abate your anger.
Please, show mercy.
Tell us your will.
Whatever you desire, we will perform.
Speak, man. What is it?
a sacrifice of a dove, purer than pure.
I tried. I took a white dove in my hand,
cut its throat, but she just laughed.
She said, "That is not the dove I mean."
The dove she wants is human.
This will be prevented. Try again.
-Don't say anything. There must be a way.
-The goddess was clear.
Why demand that? To kill my own blood - why?
So you can look a Trojan in the eye as you break their city
and know that nothing they suffer
can compare to what you suffered here.
-What kind of justice is that?
-The justice of war, my lord.
-Then we won't travel to Troy.
-You will have us look like cowards.
-Then you give up your child!
-Hermione wasn't asked for.
What if I offer myself? I'll slit my own throat.
Then we lose a leader and gain nothing.
There is no negotiation, sir. You know that.
..we are running out of time.
We must find the best way...
-Expedite? Expedite?! Do you have a heart?
Yes, my lord, but we are here now.
The winds will not change unless you do.
Your men will not follow a king the gods have abandoned.
We have tried all other forms of sacrifice.
Artemis is unmoveable.
Alexander's our son. My instinct is to defend him,
-even though he's wrong.
You remember the first time I saw you?
-The spring games at Hattusa.
I was spellbound by you in seconds.
Wouldn't you like to be young again?
To have what Alexander's got in his eyes? That self-belief?
Age mellows us.
But it's supposed to make us wise.
Your daughter will be here soon.
-What have they been told?
-That she's coming for her wedding.
Get me out of this.
I'm sorry, I don't know how.
Xanthius, make sure Achilles stays in his tent.
He knows nothing about this.
Going behind the great fighter's back, sir?
-He'll love that.
if I want your opinion, I will ask for it.
Why am I marrying now, just when they're going to war?
Your wedding will bless the voyage to Troy.
Anyway, I don't know why you're moaning.
It's Achilles. Not exactly a monster.
-Will I live with him after?
-Yes, of course.
-What is it?
-I don't want to leave you.
You're not leaving us.
You're joining Achilles. It's a very different thing.
And he is handsome.
-What are they?
-Mulberries. They give the cheek life.
SHE CHUCKLES Not like that. You'll look drunk.
Here, let me.
It should look like it comes out of the face.
Now, it's from he East.
SHE CHUCKLES Here.
Agamemnon, this is wonderful news, if unexpected.
The gods wish it as a blessing.
-And the warrior is willing?
..isn't this a happy day?
-Where is he?
-Achilles is preparing for the ceremony.
I want to see my future son-in-law.
The king will take Iphigenia to the altar.
I will escort you to him.
What do you think?
My husband is not himself. What's going on, Odysseus?
-Has Achilles changed his mind?
-No, my lady.
He's preparing himself apart from the rest, up on the brow.
Then why is everything so rushed?
You know Menelaus has been humiliated.
There's no time for pause.
What is this?
This doesn't look like a marriage altar.
Where are the flowers?
What is it, Father? You look afraid.
The gods - they didn't demand Iphigenia's marriage.
What do you mean?
No. No! No!
The wind blows hard against us.
The goddess gave me no choice.
But I'm your daughter.
No! If it is to happen, let it be without struggle.
What is it?
I'm so lost.
Achilles! Achilles! The wind turns!
-Do you like it?
They're from vines just outside the city.
The olives are from there, too. The best you'll eat.
-She's tricked him. She knew exactly what she was doing.
-She's playing with us all.
-We don't know that.
She left her own daughter, Hector. What kind of a woman does that?
I don't know.
What if they come for her?
What will we do?
-What is it?
-You should come.
As far as the horizon, scores and scores of them.
We were restocking at Thrace.
We saw a fleet of Greek ships.
Thousands of men, weapons, chariots, horses.
-Who leads them?
-All the Greek kings.
Agamemnon. Odysseus. Diomedes. Nestor of Pylos.
Achilles was there and all his Myrmidon warriors.
When I asked a soldier why they were at sea,
he said they were after stolen treasure.
I asked where they were going.
They said here.
Set up beacons on the cliffs and on the outlying islands.
I'll send word to Andromache's father in Cilicia
and all our allies in the neighbouring cities.
Get messengers ready to ride out.
I'll raise the army, put the city on war footing.
You were right.
The last time there was a war here, I was your age.
Hey! Go on! Get out!
Is it true? Are we going to fight?
Looks like it.
Hey, it'll be all right.
Come on. Armies need bread.
I want a show of strength to force them into negotiations.
-They have to know we're ready for them.
-Yes, my Lord.
They won't let me in the chamber.
I'm a brother in name, but when it comes down to it...
You have no experience in battle. That's all.
No. They don't trust me.
And they won't trust you, either.
Let them confront the Greeks.
-This will be over without war.
-You really think so?
I have to believe it.
We're ready for you, Menelaus!
We should talk, before we all regret our actions.
I am honoured to have you as my guest, Menelaus,
and my condolences on the death of your father.
He was a good man.
I hope the welcome on the beach showed you that
we're not some village to be bullied into submission.
-Where is my wife?
-Perhaps we could begin...
-Where is my wife?!
I want to see her. Alone.
You can see her, but not alone.
-How dare you prescribe to me the terms of...
-or not at all.
-Bring her in.
My lady, you've been treated well?
I have been afforded every hospitality.
Is that all?
Did that boy plan this before he arrived?
Did he force you?
What did I do to deserve such treatment?
We found love. That's all.
One day, perhaps...
I will never understand.
Is that all?
King Agamemnon wishes you to understand
he has a large military force in support of his claim.
It is clear that Queen Helen desires to stay here as our guest.
I'm sure Agamemnon does not desire the shedding of blood.
My lady, blood has already been shed.
The king sacrificed his own daughter to appease the gods in coming here.
His own child?
-By his own hand.
So, I hope you will understand how our conditions for peace
-The immediate return of the Queen of Sparta to her husband.
She doesn't want to go back.
With all due respect, King Priam,
what she wants is of little interest to us.
She is yours.
-They're sending me back.
-What about the negotiations?
Agamemnon killed his own daughter to guarantee success.
Get me out.
I can't go back.
We have another condition.
Such an insult as King Menelaus has suffered demands retribution.
We will return all gifts and make reparations.
These are King Agamemnon's demands.
The straits of the Dardanelles - you control them.
You tax every cargo, every ship.
-Is this a joke?
-I assure you not.
-This'll break us.
-A few years' hardship.
-A lesson learned.
-Oh, I see. This is why you're here?
To destroy our economy?
We are here because you insulted my honour!
Don't be hasty.
King Priam, consider the best option for your city.
I was the loudest voice in advocating Helen's return.
Hector is wise.
Get out, and take your conditions with you.
No-one's taking her.
-This is a disgrace. A breach of the protocol.
Alexander, put down your weapon. Your queen isn't going anywhere.
Troilus, Deiphobus, see them out.
We will bring the rage of the gods down
on your Asiatic heads!
Think again. No-one wants this war.
-Make a counter-offer.
and take your smooth tongue with you.
We will be back.
Father, I, erm...
Tomorrow at dawn, outright assault.
We start at the ridge, charge the plain,
meet them face-to-face.
Infantry and horsemen.
We force them back to their own walls.
We climb the citadel, we take the city, we get her back.
We take their gold, we destroy the city, we go home.
We should build ditches.
Dig ourselves in between the plain and the ships
in case of counter-attack.
The assault will take one day, and no more.
How can you be sure?
The gods have guaranteed it...
..with my daughter's blood.
Remember, remember, remember.
You come back to me.
He's friendly. You can stroke him.
-Doesn't your dad help you with that?
-Haven't got a dad.
I'll help you home.
My name's Telamon. I'm a trader from Thrace.
I got here three weeks ago and now look what's happened.
HE WHISTLES What's your dog called?
His name's Keno.
-But why not?
-Because every Greek - every damn one - will seek you out.
Menelaus knows what you look like. We can't disguise you.
We need to keep you safe, away from the field.
-I'll look like a coward.
-Rather that than a corpse.
-Go back to Helen.
-Aeneas and the Dardanian forces have arrived from the south.
Aeneas, your speed is welcome.
We heard of the Spartan queen's arrival,
so we were already standing by.
Let's go get them, my lord.
-Are you with me?
-Are you with me?
-Are you with me?
-Are you with me?
-Are you with me?
Are you with me?
Are you with me? Are you with me?
I want your loyalty, Zeus, to Greece and to me.
Athena has already demanded it,
and what I said to her, I say to you.
I will not take sides.
Aphrodite must be punished. She bribed him with flesh.
And such underhand methods, you'd never contemplate.
Be a coward, then. We won't need you.
Victory will be fast.
That, I doubt.
Ajax of Telamon, unbeatable in brawl, I bless you.
Deiphobus and Troilus, sons of Priam, I bless you.
Odysseus, leader of the high-hearted men
of Cephalonia and Ithaca, I bless you.
Sarpedon and Glaucus,
of the swirling waters of Xanthos, I bless you.
Nestor and his son Antilochus,
Agapenor of Arcadia, I bless you.
Aeneas, leader of the Dardanians of the south, I bless you.
Diomedes, the spear, son of Tydeus, I bless you.
HE CRIES OUT
ALL CRY OUT
Retreat! Retreat! Come back!
HE GASPS FOR AIR
We didn't make one inch of ground.
We should be surrounding the city...
..digging ourselves in, cutting their supplies.
This isn't warfare. This is a madness.
Maybe tomorrow will be different.
..when Hector refused our demands, I saw the years open up before me.
I'll be an old man before I see home again.
What will I be?
Can I help? Can I help? I can help! I can help.
KNOCK ON DOOR
I want to see her.
What are you doing in here? You need to leave now.
You should never have come.
You should never have come!
You should never have come!
I know she's dead, so why do I keep seeing her?
Why did I do it? What was the point?
It was demanded.
And what's my reward?
More death. More blood. Is that justice?
War is like a grief, sir.
You can't force it to be over in one day.
We will prevail...
..but not like this.
Tell me what to do.
He's agreed. Surround the city.
One sentry post every half-mile. Let no-one in, no-one out.
Tell the men to dig deep. It needs to last.
Have you seen Queen Helen? I can't find her.
Tell me, where has she gone?
All this, because of what?
The goddess wanted to win a competition.
This isn't going to be over in a week, or a month.
There'll be more battles, more deaths.
I can't be the one responsible for that.
-Don't say it.
-I'm going home.
That's not your home.
-Then where is?
-Love isn't always enough.
-Then what is?
What is worth fighting for?
The elopement of Helen and Paris causes chaos for the Greeks and the Trojans. Priam and Hecuba debate whether to send Helen back or risk the consequences. The goddess Artemis presents Agamemnon with an even more agonising dilemma.