Step 1: Helen of Sparta was fabled to be the most beautiful woman in the world. When she reached a suitable age to be married, suitors from across Greece arrived to attempt to win her hand. The suitors are made to vow not to harm Helen or her future suitor, and come to his aid should Helen ever be taken away or harmed. She was eventually married to Menelaus, a decision made by her father for political reasons.
Step 3: Paris was a Trojan prince who arrived in Greece for ‘diplomatic reasons’. He went to claim his ‘prize’ (the most beautiful woman in the world) for giving Aphrodite the Apple of Discord. While Menelaus was away in Crete, Helen eloped with Paris (some sources say she was abducted), who had stayed in Sparta. The two travelled to Troy, leaving Menelaus to return home and find Helen absent.
Step 4: Menelaus visited Troy in a diplomatic mission to retrieve Helen. However, Priam, the king of Troy, had already promised to protect Helen and keep her in Troy with Paris. Menelaus returned back to Greece, already extremely angry, and asked Agamemnon, his brother and King of Mycenae, to help him wage war on the Trojan Empire.
Step 6: Agamemnon had previously boasted that he was a better hunter than the goddess Artemis, and she had taken personal offence. In response she stopped all the wind at Aulis, where the Greek battle fleet was ready to sail. She demanded Agamemnon’s eldest daughter in sacrifice in order to start up the wind again, so Agamemnon send a note back to the palace for Iphigenia, his eldest child, to come to Aulis under the pretence that she was going to marry Achilles. When she arrived Achilles became angry that his name had been used to bring her to Aulis and he vowed to protect her. Rather than cause conflict, Iphigenia sacrificed herself so that Achilles wouldn’t have to fight the rest of the fleet. Athena is said to have made her a companion at Olympus.
Step 7: The Trojan War was not just fought between the Greeks and the Trojans. The gods of Olympus also took sides in the war. Most notably, Hera and Athena assisted the Greeks and Apollo (patron god of Troy) helped the Trojans numerous times.