A master story-teller, a minstrel is given a place of honour in palace banquets. Two of the most famous stories that Homer recounted in song, to the accompaniment of his lyre, were the Iliad and the Odyssey. Virgil was another master story-teller, and his best-known epic poem was the Aeneid, which includes the fall of Troy.
These stories have a historical basis, and may have taken place in the 12th and 13th BC. On the day that Homer arrived, the King of that Greek city arranged a feast for everyone to listen to this wandering minstrel’s stories:
About 3,500 years ago, there was a trading port city called Troy (located in what is now Turkey). Greece had waged a war against this enclave across the Aegean sea because the son of the Trojan king, Paris, had taken Helen, the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta (another city in Greece). (Although this is the official account, there is also the nagging possibility that beautiful Helen left old Menelaus for young Paris).
Now, the war between the Greeks and Trojans had been going on for ten years. The Trojans could not destroy the Greek ships, and the Greeks could not penetrate the fortified city of Troy.
Then Oddysseus, another Greek Cheiftain, came up with a brilliant idea. He suggested the building of a hollow wooden horse, in which Greek soldiers would hide. So they built it and gave it to the Trojans, telling them that it was a gift, an offering of peace. The Greeks then appeared to sail away on their ships, and the Trojans took to celebrating.
The entire city was in a state of inebriation and when sleep overtook them, the soldiers came out of their hiding and opened the gates for the returning Greek army. And so ended the Trojan War.
The Iliad is an epic poem containing 16,000 verses. This must have taken Homer several evenings of feasting to relate.