Agamemnon (mythology)

Mask of Agamemnon
   Agamemnon, in Greek legendary history, king of Mycenae, "rich in gold," situated midway between Athens and Sparta. He was the brother of Menelaus, king of Sparta, whose wife, Helen, was carried away by Paris, son of Priam, king of Troy. As a sort of overlord, Ag­amemnon was a central figure, but not the hero of the band of chieftains who united to avenge the wrong done Menelaus. The ten years' siege of Troy, the death of Priam, Paris, Hector, and the final taking of the city by the introduction of men within the gates by the stratagem of con­cealing them in a huge wooden horse, are told in the Iliad of Homer and the Aeneid of Virgil. On Agamemnon's return from the Trojan war he was slain by his wife Clytemnestra and her guilty lover.
   The Homeric account of fair-haired, ox-eating wielders of iron spears and swords, is so different from the dark complexioned, fruit- and fish-eating, bronze-using men to be expected in Greece at the time of the siege, 1300 B.C, that it has been sug­gested that this Agamemnon of the Ho­meric age was one of a dominant set of in­vaders from the north who had grasped the sovereignties of the fairest cities in Greece, and whose descendants were finally absorbed by the native populace. The the­ory finds favor in view of the fact that intermarriage, absorption among the dark skinned inhabitants, and final disappear­ance as a distinct element, has been the fate of every Teutonic people known to have effected a lodgment in southern Eu­rope. The northern invaders who over­threw the empire of Rome have faded from view in the modern swarthy Italians. Agamemnon is the title of one of Aes­chylus' greatest tragedies.