From carnage to a camp beauty contest: the endless allure of Troy

Why has the ravaged fallen city been such an inspiration to artists for millennia? Ahead of an epic show at the British Museum, our writer unravels its extraordinary influence

Guns, gods and vacuum cleaners … Athena in army gear and Hera wearing a pinny, in Eleanor Antin’s Judgement of Paris (after Rubens), 2007. Photograph: British Museum

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