Physicist speculates that “there will be different histories for different possible states of the universe at the present time.” Why not? But that could be true at an ordinary level too. Each experience may be part of a different history at another level, depending upon the level it is referred to.

The Greek hero, Achilles, fought and defeated a troop of Amazons, who had come to the aid of Troy. He then killed their leader, Penthesilea, with his own hands. But, as he was plunging his sword into her bosom, he fell in love with her.

Where is that love to be placed? History of two individuals or of the failure of the combined strength of the nations of Western Anatolia to stem the rise of Greece? Anyway, one does not kill a woman after defeating her.

But one would not be surprised at Achilles’ action if one were to recall his conduct under the walls of Troy, his quarrel with Agamemnon over Briseis, and his sulking in his tent instead of fighting. He fought and overcame Hector only because his mother, the goddess Thetis, deflected every arrow shot by Hector at him.

Lastly his desecration of Hector’s body after killing him did not become any warrior. (It reminds one of Rustam’s conduct in the fight against Isfandyar, whom Firdausi himself called “Yazdan Parast”.)

Paris may have been irresponsible. But his one good act, killing Achilles, wipes out all his misbehaviour. Well, not all. His causing the Greek attack on Troy cannot be justified, though, here, there are disagreements.

Helen may have been beautiful. But would a dozen kings, whatever their earlier pledges, gather their armies and embark on a mission of recovering a woman, who had of her own will, deserted her husband for a house-guest - recovering her in order to kill her. What a useless act? And this was a woman whom Greeks themselves termed “Wanton”.

More. Many Greek historians hold that she never got to Troy, having disembarked in Egypt on the way. They say that if she had been in Troy, the Trojans would have handed her over to the Greeks, all bound up.

No one may have fought for a “Wanton” woman. But there was a good reason to attack Troy. Greece had a slave-economy, which had many “bourgeois” features. It needed a continuous supply of slaves. These came from the northern coast by Black Sea.

A part of Greek’s production of commodities was sold on that sea’s eastern shores. As a result, there was heavy maritime traffic between Greece and the ports of Black Sea. It passed through Dardanelles, both sides of which were controlled by the Trojans. They apparently went on raising the toll on this shipping until the Greeks found it unbearable and attacked Troy.

Prosaic but understandable. Thus, the Trojan war was a “necessity”. But the death of Hector’s little son, Astyanax, did not have to be part of that history. Here one logic imposed itself on another: if he had survived, he would have as the surviving head of the Trojan ruling house, sought revenge for the destruction of Troy. So the Greek soldiers snatched him from his mother’s arms and threw him from the city’s wall.

This scene is best depicted, among the Greek classical dramatists by Euripides. As the Greeks come to take him, Andromache says:

“Kiss me this one time;

Not ever again. Put up thine

arms and climb;

About my neck: now kiss me, lips to lips.......

Quick! Take him: drag him: cast

him from the wall,

 If cast ye will! Tear him, ye

beasts, be swift!”

The writer is a retired ambassador.