It is generally accepted that the semi-legendary poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad, were composed around the late 8th or early 7th century BCE, either by a single poet or by many contributors. The Iliad is a summary in verse of the long war between Troy and the Greeks. It is thought that there is truth behind the myth and that the Greeks did struggle with the Trojans for control of the Dardanelles some time between 1250 and 1185 BCE. The Greek fleet is said to have launched 1,000 ships and the contingents of the Achaean army that set sail for Troy are listed by Homer in the Catalogue of Ships. Their aim was to rescue Helen, wife of the Menelaus, king of Sparta, who had been carried off to Troy. Among the rulers who went to her rescue were Ajax, Diomedes, Achilles, Odysseus, Nestor and Agamemnon, king of Mycenae.
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