Helen of Troy

In Greek mythology, Helen is considered to be the most beautiful woman whose beauty was the reason for the great 10 years war between the Greeks and the Trojans. This is the story of Helen, her lover Prince Paris, the great war and how all of this started because of an apple!

A long time ago, in the age of heroes, when gods and goddesses still took a close interest in human affairs, a great wedding was planned between a famous warrior called Peleus and a lovely sea nymph whose name was Thetis. All the kings and queens of the day were invited to the wedding feast, as well as all the immortal ones who lived on Mount Olympus – all that is, except for one, for no invitation was sent to Eris, the goddess of strife. Now strife is when people argue, and it was generally thought a bad idea to invite strife to a wedding party, in case she caused the happy couple to quarrel. Eris was extremely annoyed about being overlooked, and as revenge she decided to play a spiteful trick on the wedding guests. Just as the celebrations were at their height, she appeared in the banqueting hall dressed as a serving girl. A silver plate was in her hands, and on it was an apple on which she had written the words, “For the fairest of them all.” This she placed on the table where the three loveliest goddesses were sitting; their names were Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Immediately as they saw the words on the apple, a quarrel broke out between the three goddesses.

Hera said to the others, “I am the queen of all the immortal gods, and it follows that I must be far fairer than either of you two, therefore the apple belongs to me.”

“My dear Hera,” said Athena, “You might be queen, but I am the goddess of wisdom, therefore I know absolutely everything that is worth knowing. You must believe me when I say that you are quite mistaken. Wisdom is beauty, and beauty is wisdom. They are one and the same thing, therefore the apple belongs to me.”

“Darlings,” purred Aphrodite, “It’s quite obvious that the apple belongs to me. I possess the power of love because, to put it quite simply, I am so much more beautiful than anybody else.”

The goddesses carried on arguing continuously for years after the wedding was over – for time means nothing to the immortal ones. The king of all the gods, mighty and thundering Zeus, became quite fed up with listening to their bickering. When, at length, he was at his wits’ end, he suggested to the three lovely goddesses that they resolve the question once and for all with a beauty contest. And that is exactly what they did.

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