King Priam of Troy: Mythology, Kingdom & Death

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  • 0:00 Background
  • 0:29 History
  • 1:18 Trojan War
  • 2:49 Literature or Reality
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Williams

Jennifer has taught various courses in U.S. Government, Criminal Law, Business, Public Administration and Ethics and has an MPA and a JD.

In this lesson we will learn who King Priam of Troy was. Together, we will take a closer look at his history, his personal life and his legacy. We will analyze his role in the Trojan War and how his decisions may have resulted in his death.

Background

King Priam was the King of Troy during the Trojan War. It was originally believed that Troy was a fictional kingdom that existed only in ancient literature. However, it is now believed that there may be a historical basis for believing Troy and King Priam, also believed to be King Piyama-Radu, existed based on letters and ancient documents that have been discovered. King Priam was the last king of Troy.

History

King Priam was originally named Podarces. His sister, Hesione, later changed his name to Priam. Priam was the son of King Laomedon. All of Priam's brothers were killed by Hercules when Troy was first attacked. The second attack, known as the Trojan War, later resulted in Priam's death.

Priam had many wives and over fifty sons and daughters throughout his lifetime. Priam reigned as king during the ten years of the Trojan War. His daughter, Cassandra, was able to see into the future and warned of the destruction of Troy. Priam ignored this warning. His eldest son, Arisbe, died before the Trojan War started. Hector, his second son, was therefore the next in line for the throne and Hector's brother, Paris, was the cause of the Trojan War.

Trojan War

Hercules, a Greek, had kidnapped Priam's sister, Hesione, and brought her to Greece. Priam sent his son, Paris, to rescue her. Instead of rescuing her, he brought back Helen, who was the wife of the Greek king of Sparta. This greatly angered the Greeks and thus began the Trojan War.

Priam's son Hector was killed during the Trojan War by Achilles, the Greek warrior. Achilles treated Hector's body badly by dragging it in circles in front of the city. Priam secretly entered the Greek camp to plead with Achilles to return the body. The Greeks and Trojans agreed to a temporary truce in order to allow Priam to bury Hector with an appropriate funeral.

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