“Hi Clytie, I'm home from Troy”
Agamemnon was the supreme Greek commander in charge during the Trojan War. He declared war against the Trojans for stealing Helen of Sparta and turning her into Helen of Troy. He was arrogant, conceited and - spoiler - was murdered the moment he returned home to Mycenae with his war trophies.
Who was Agamemnon?
In Homer's The Iliad Agamemnon comes across as a real bad ass, only matched by his brutish brother Menelaus whose wife Helen had ran off with the Trojan prince Paris. The brothers had rallied the other Greek kings on the grounds that Paris's behaviour insulted all of them. An armada was constructed and the Greeks headed off to Troy, though none were too sure in which direction to head. It was whilst they were blundering about that one of them killed a deer sacred to the goddess Artemis.
The virgin hunter demanded a blood restitution from the Greeks. They had to supply a high ranking virgin to appease Artemis's anger over the death of Bambi. Agamemnon tried to persuade the other Greek leaders to sacrifice one of 'their surplus daughters' for their cause but he had no takers. Determined to get to Troy, Agamemnon told his wife Clytemnestra to send their eldest daughter Iphigenia to the Greek encampment as he had promised her to Achilles as a wife. Expecting to get married, Iphigenia was instead sacrificed on a bloody altar. A dense mist descended so no one saw what happened. A dead dear was found where Iphigenia had been last seen. It was presumed Artemis had changed the luckless princess into an animal to mask the murder. Agamemnon was happy to get on the move again. Clytemnestra privately swore revenge on her husband the moment he came home. It would be a long wait - ten years.
Stuck outside Troy
On arriving outside Troy, the Greek leaders hoped the city would surrender or hand over Paris with his head stuck on a pole. Agamemnon's opposite number, King Priam of Troy, told the Greeks to get stuffed. That was about as diplomatic as it got for the next ten years. Stuff only got interesting when Agamemnon and Achilles fell out over an issue about concubine ownership. The Greek leader pulled rank on his chief warrior and took Achilles's bed time squeeze, Briseis, in exchange for giving up one of his slaves who had been working as a priestess in a local temple dedicated to Apollo. That god had given the Greeks a bad attack of the runs to make them amenable to the swap.
Victory and murder
In the tenth year, Troy was finally destroyed. Most of the population was killed or enslaved. Agamemnon as leader got the pick of the booty. He chose Cassandra, a former high priestess and daughter of Priam. He then had his ships loaded with gold and silver and sailed back home. Cassandra predicted doom for herself and her new master, but Agamemnon ignored her. Flushed with victory, Agamemnon told his wife Clytemnestra to get his bubble bath ready and unpack his wooden ducks.
Agamemnon was blissfully unaware that his wife had taken up with a lover called Aegisthus. When Agamemnon arrived in his palace with Cassandra, Clytemnestra insisted on some 'Aggy time' with her husband in the privacy of their bathroom. She dismissed the palace servants and insisted on sponging Agamemnon alone. Whilst Agamemnon droned on about his 'adventures' at Troy, Clytemnestra threw a net over him. Caught like a fish, she then finished off her husband with an axe. Clytemnestra heard Cassandra wailing away until she dragged her Trojan rival into the bathroom and killed her too. Aegisthus turned up to mop up the blood.
Our last glimpse of Agamemnon is the land of the dead. There he is seen with the shades of Achilles and others when Odysseus came to visit. Agamemnon tells Odysseus never trust a woman give you a back scrub. It could be your last.