In the song In Search of Cassandra, Princess of Troy, I have tried to be reasonably faithful to the classical story. Cassandra was a daughter of Priam, king of Troy, and his Goddess-like queen & priestess, Hecuba or Hecabe (whose name closely resembled that of the Goddess of Darkness, Hecate). Cassandra's brothers included Hector (husband of Andromache and father of Astyanax), Paris, Troilus, Deiphobos, Lycaon, Polydorus and her twin Helenus. Her sisters included Polyxena, Laodice and Creusa.
Cassandra's best known characteristic is that, while she had the gift of prophecy, she was fated never to be believed or understood.
There are two differing accounts of how she gained the gift of prophecy, but only one explains why she was not believed or understood. In the classical story, the God Apollo sought to seduce her with this gift. Whether she had in fact agreed to 'lie with him' or not is disputed. What is agreed is that she ultimately refused his advances and Apollo was unable to take back her prophetic powers. Famously however she agreed to a kiss, as a compromise which she thought couldn't do any harm - however Apollo took this opportunity to spit into her mouth (charming!), thus cursing her that although she would always tell the truth, no-one would ever believe or understand what she said, rendering her prophetic powers worse than useless. On reflection it could seem a little strange that she didn't see that one coming. Despite her rejection of his advances, Cassandra was often taken to be Apollo's priestess.
The lesser known account states that, as young children, Cassandra and her twin brother Helenus were playing in the temple when they were licked by serpents. This gave both of them prophetic powers - powers with which serpents were closely linked in the ancient Mother Goddess religions.
The defining circumstance of Cassandra's life, historically-speaking, was of course the Trojan War. If she could and did predict the outcome, she would have been pretty unpopular with her fellow Trojans. The classical story has her warning unheeded about the legendary wooden horse, left by the hiding Greeks. In the bloody ensuing destruction of the city, a Greek soldier, Ajax the Lesser, raped Cassandra, dragging her from the altar in Athena's temple. It is at this point that, writing a few hundred years later, the playwright Euripides takes up the plot, portraying Cassandra as wild and defiant in defeat. In the immediate aftermath of destruction and violation, and with the foresight of the doom that lies ahead for herself, she bewilders those around her by celebrating dynamically and defiantly, knowing that her own fate is closely linked to the impending downfall of Agamemnon, leader and 'Great King' of her conquerors, the man who will take her as a concubine and, in some accounts, father her twins.
The story is taken up by Aeschylus, after Cassandra has been taken across the Aegean Sea as a slave to Mycenae, the golden but troubled home city of Agamemnon and his bitter, unfaithful wife Clytemnestra.
Alone in a strange foreign city, far from the ruins of her home, and knowing that as Clytemnestra's lover Aegisthus is murdering Agamemnon, her own death at the hands of the axe-wielding Mycenean queen is imminent, Cassandra utters what has been suggested to be one of the most beautiful exit speeches ever written:
"Here in the fading light of sun I pray
that when the avenger comes he will remember
there was a slave who died, and pity me
in taking vengeance for that other death
Human life is built on sand.
Prosperity is but a shadow.
while Misfortune's hand need brush
the poor man's slate but once and it is blank.
Much greater is this sorrow than the other."
And then the sun went down.
Thousands of votive statuettes were unearthed, but instead of representing the expected gods of the classical Greek pantheon such as Zeus, Apollo, and Poseidon, they were exclusively female and corresponded vividly with similar finds in other parts of the ancient world (including not only Europe and Asia but also South America.
It thus appears that the Trojans (as well as their Greek enemies) worshipped a goddess variously described in modern times as 'Mother Goddess', 'Earth Goddess', 'White Goddess', 'Black Goddess', 'Triple Goddess' whose forms included Ashtarte and Ashtaroth (mentioned in the christian bible) and probably also Hera, Athena and Aphrodite who became absorbed into the more patriarchal classical Greek pantheon.
Other patriarchal religions seem to have made concessions to followers of the more ancient religion - the elevation of the virgin Mary in the christian religion being one such a case. Instead of being a priestess of Apollo, Cassandra was probably a priestess of the Mother Goddess.