This week, we’re going to talk about how King Agamemnon of Mycenae is the worst.
So, our tale begins with Paris kidnapping Helen, thus starting off the Trojan War. The Greek fleet is gathering at Aulis, getting ready to go out and kick some Trojan ass, when they run into a little bit of an issue.
See, there is no wind currently, so the fleet can’t set sail.
The Greeks are racking their brains, trying to figure out what’s going on with this, when the seer Calchas comes up with the answer.
He says, “Oh, I see what the problem is here. Hey, Agamemnon, remember that deer you killed earlier?”
Agamemnon’s like, “Yeah, so?”
“Yeah, well it turns out that said deer was actually sacred to Artemis, and you really pissed her off when you killed it. Turns out, in order to get the wind back, you have to sacrifice your daughter, Iphigenia.”
Agamemnon, to his credit, is somewhat hesitant to do this, but relents due to pressure from his commanders. Honestly, though, the fact that he’s even entertaining this idea is pretty shitty.
The next issue, of course, is to get Iphigenia to Aulis to be horribly murdered. How does Agamemnon do this, you may ask? Why, by lying through his teeth, of course! He sends a letter to his wife, Clytemnestra, telling her to bring Iphigenia to Aulis because he’s arranged a pretty sweet marriage for her.
So, Clytemnestra brings their daughter, and Agamemnon leads her up to the altar, where she thinks she’s actually getting married up until the knife comes down. Now, it should also be noted that in some versions of the tale, Artemis has a change of heart and saves her at the last minute, secretly whisking her off to Tauris at the last moment.
Either way, it works, the wind comes back, and the fleet is able to head off to Troy with no further issues.
Also, this has absolutely no negative consequences for Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra totally doesn’t have him killed as soon as he comes back from the war.
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