Some readers of Babylon and The Love of Money may have wondered at the identification of Homer’s Trojan conflict as a drug turf war between the drug dealing cartels of Troy and Agamemnon. Scholars are generally agreed that the Trojan war had little to do with the kidnapping of a Spartan princess by a Trojan prince and everything to do with the ambitions of Agamemnon to control the lucrative trade routes flowing through the region.
The ancient city of Troy rested in the highly strategic location at the Aegean Sea end of the Dardanelles. Its position gave it a commanding view over the lucrative trade that passed through the Dardanelles, a trade that would have included opiates due to Anatolia’s long association with the cultivation of the poppy.
However, the connection of Agamemnon to the trade in opiates is mainly deduced from an ugly mythological dispute he seems to have gotten himself into with Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. It particularly involves the role played by his daughter Iphigenia in this dispute.
Prior to the outbreak of hostilities with Troy, Agamemnon had succeeded in offending Artemis and the sacrifice of Iphigenia was required as appeasement (what else?). Agamemnon, for whatever reason, reneged on the sacrifice and, according to one source, Artemis retaliated by changing Iphigenia into the goddess Hecate, who just happened to be the goddess of witchcraft and sorcery (that Greek word for sorcery ‘pharmakos‘ again, see Drug Dealing in Sodom and Gomorrah).
If Iphigenia was involved in sorcery and sorcery was just another way of implying drug use due to the use of the word pharmakos (pharmaceutacals), then we may have found a reason why Agamemnon may have wanted to control trade from the source of opium in the ancient world: Anatolia. Do not assume by this that Iphigenia was a junkie and that Agamemnon was simply a misguided father trying to supply his daughter’s addiction. Rather, it might seem that father and daughter had a vested interest in the ‘sorcery’ trade as a whole. In other words they dealt in drugs. Troy was a competitor in that trade and hence, a pretext was needed in the form of the kidnapping of Sparta’s Helen to eliminate Troy.
The above scenario has all the hallmarks of modern day drug cartel wars over turf and distribution rights. Kidnapping is a major feature of today’s vicious drug wars and it would seem nothing different to how things were handled in the classical era. It also puts a whole new light on the role of Iphigenia as a major, yet hidden player in the Trojan conflict. Much like the influence of today’s drug cartels and intelligence agencies in the ongoing Afghan war.