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In Greek mythology, Helen (in Greek, – Helénē), known as Helen of Troy (and earlier Helen of Sparta), was the daughter of Zeus and Leda (or Nemesis), wife of King Menelaus of Spartamarker and sister of Castor, Polydeuces and Clytemnestra. Her abduction by Paris brought about the Trojan War. Helen was described by Dr. Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's eponymous play as having "the face that launched a thousand ships."


The etymology of Helen's name has been a problem to scholars until the present. Georg Curtius related Helen (Ἑλένη) to the moon (Selene; in Greek Σελήνη is pronounced sɛˈliːniː). Émile Boisacq considered Ἑλένη from the noun ἐλένη meaning "torch". Otto Scutsch believes that the aforementioned noun can hardly be identical with Helen's name, but betokens some connection with it. It has also been suggested that the λ of Ἑλένη arose from an original ν, and thus the etymology of the name is connected with the root of Venus. Linda Lee Clader points out however that none of the above suggestions offer much satisfaction. Hjalmar Frisk and Pierre Chantraine despair of an etymology.

If the name has an Indo-European etymology, it is possibly a suffixed form of a root *wel- "to turn, roll". or "to cover, enclose" (compare Varuna, Veles), or of *sel- "to flow, run" (The American Heritage Dictionary, "Indo-European roots: wel"). The latter possibility would allow comparison to Vedic Sanskrit Saraṇyū, who is abducted in RV 10.17.2, a parallel suggestive of a Proto-Indo-European abduction myth. Saraṇyū means "swift" and is derived from the adjective saraṇa ("running", "swift"), the feminine of which is saraṇā; the latter is in every sound identical with "Ἑλένα", the form of her name that had no digamma. Helen's name possible connection with the noun "ἐλένη" ("torch") may also support the relationship of her name to Vedic svaranā ("the shining one").

Prehistoric and mythological context

Map of the homeric Greece; Menelaus and Helen reign over Laconia.
The origins of Helen's myth date back to the Mycenaean age. Her name first appears in the poems of Homer, but scholars assume that such myths invented or received by the Mycenaean Greeks made their way to Homer. Her mythological birthplace was the Spartamarker of the Age of Heroes, which features prominent in the canon of Greek myth: in later ancient Greek memory, the Myceneaean Bronze Age became the age of the Greek heroes. The kings, queens and heroes of the Trojan Cycle are often related to the gods, since mythic origins gave stature to the Greeks' heroic ancestors. The fall of Troy came to represent a fall from an illustrious heroic age, remembered for centuries in oral tradition before being written down. Recent archaeological excavations in Greecemarker suggest that modern-day Laconiamarker was a distinct territory in the Late Bronze Age, while the poets narrate that it was a rich kingdom. Archaeologists have unsuccessfully looked for a Mycenaean palatial complex buried beneath present-day Sparta. An important Mycenaean site at the Menelaion was destroyed by c. 1200 BC, and most other Mycenaean sites in Lakonia also disappear. There is a shrinkage from fifty sites to fifteen in the early twelfth century, and then to fewer in the eleventh century.



In most sources, including the Iliad and the Odyssey, Helen is the daughter of Zeus and Leda, the wife of the Spartan king Tyndareus. Euripides' play Helen, written in the late 5th century BC, is the earliest source to report the most familiar account of Helen's birth: that, although her putative father was Tyndareus, she was actually Zeus' daughter. In the form of a swan, the king of gods was chased by an eagle, and sought refuge with Leda. The swan gained her affection, and the two mated. Leda then produced an egg, from which Helen was produced. The First Vatican Mythographer introduces the notion that two eggs came from the union: one containing Castor and Pollux; one with Helen and Clytemnestra. Nevertheless, the same author earlier states that Helen, Castor and Pollux were produced from a single egg.First Vatican Mythographer, VM I 204.

* Gantz, Early Greek Myth, 320–321; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 350; Moser, A Cosmos of Desire, 443–444 Pseudo-Apollodorus states that Leda had intercourse with both Zeus and Tyndareus the night she bore Helen.

On the other hand, in the Cypria, one of the Cyclic Epics, Helen was the daughter of Zeus and the goddess Nemesis. The date of the Cypria is uncertain, but it is generally thought to preserve traditions that date back to at least the 7th century BC. In the Cypria, Nemesis did not wish to mate with Zeus. She therefore changed shape into various animals as she attempted to flee Zeus, finally becoming a goose. Zeus also transformed himself into a goose and mated with Nemesis, who produced an egg from which Helen was born. Presumably in the Cypria this egg was somehow transferred to Leda. Later sources state either that it was brought to Leda by a shepherd who discovered it in a grove in Atticamarker, or that it was dropped into her lap by Hermes.Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, III, 10. 7

* Hard & Rose, The Roudlegde Handbook, 438–439

Asclepiades and Pseudo-Eratosthenes related a similar story, except that Zeus and Nemesis became swans instead of geese. Timothy Gantz has suggested that the tradition that Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan derives from the version in which Zeus and Nemesis transformed into birds.

Pausanias states that in the middle of the 2nd century AD, the remains of an egg-shell, tied up in ribbons, were still suspended from the roof of a temple on the Spartan acropolis. People believed that this was "the famous egg that legend says Leda brought forth". Pausanias traveled to Sparta to visit the sanctuary, dedicated to Hilaeira and Phoebe, in order to see the relic for himself.Pausanias, Description of Greece, III, 16. 1

* Hughes, Helen of Troy, 26–27

Abduction by Theseus and youth

Theseus pursuing a woman, probably Helen.
Side A from an Attic red-figure bell-krater, c. 440–430 BC (Louvre, Paris).
Two Atheniansmarker, Theseus and Pirithous, thought that since they were both sons of gods, both should have divine wives; they thus pledged to help each other abduct two daughters of Zeus. Theseus chose Helen, and Pirithous vowed to marry Persephone, the wife of Hades. Theseus took Helen and left her with his mother Aethra or his associate Aphidnus at Aphidnaemarker or Athensmarker. Theseus and Pirithous then traveled to the underworld, the domain of Hades, to kidnap Persephone. Hades pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast, but, as soon as the pair sat down, snakes coiled around their feet and held them there. Helen's abduction caused an invasion of Athens by Castor and Pollux, who captured Aethra in revenge, and returned their sister to Sparta.

In most accounts of this event, Helen was quite young; Hellanicus of Lesbos said she was seven years old and Diodorus makes her ten years old. On the other hand, Stesichorus said that Iphigeneia was the daughter of Theseus and Helen, which obviously implies that Helen was of childbearing age. In most sources, Iphigeneia is the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, but Duris of Samos and other writers followed Stesichorus' account.

Ovid's Heroides give us an idea of how ancient and, in particular, Roman authors imagined Helen in her youth: she is presented as a young princess wrestling naked in the palaestra; an image alluding to a part of girls' physical education in classical (and not in Mycenaean) Sparta. Sextus Propertius imagines Helen as a girl who practices arms and hunts with her brothers:Ovid, Heroides, 16. 149–152; Propertius, 3.14

* Cairns, Sextus Propertius, 421–422; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 60; Pomeroy, Spartan Women, 28: "In the Roman period, because Sparta was a destination for tourists, the characteristics that made Sparta distinctive were emphasized. The athleticism of women was exaggerated."

Marriage to Menelaus

When it was time for Helen to marry, many kings and princes from around the world came to seek her hand, bringing rich gifts with them, or sent emissaries to do so on their behalf. During the contest, Castor and Pollux had a prominent role in dealing with the suitors, although the final decision was in the hands of Tyndareus. Menelaus, her future husband, did not attend but sent his brother, Agamemnon, to represent him. There are three available lists of suitors, compiled by Pseudo-Appollodorus, Hesiod, and Hyginus respectively. In these catalogs, suitors range from twenty-five to thirty-six—from Hesiod's poem we only have fragments. Achilles' absence from the lists is conspicuous, but Hesiod explains that he was too young to take part in the contest.Hesiod, Catalogs of Women and Eoiae, fr. 196–204; Hyginus, Fables, 81; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca II, 10. 8

* Cingano, A Catalog within a Catalog, 124; Clader, Helen, 10

Tyndareus was afraid to select a husband for his daughter, or send any of the suitors away, for fear of offending them and giving grounds for a quarrel. Odysseus was one of the suitors, but had brought no gifts, because he believed he had little chance to win the contest. He thus promised to solve the problem, if Tyndareus in turn would support him in his courting of Penelope, the daughter of Icarius. Tyndareus readily agreed and Odysseus proposed that, before the decision was made, all the suitors should swear a most solemn oath to defend the chosen husband against whoever should quarrel with him. After the suitors swore not to retaliate, Menelaus was chosen to be Helen's husband. As a sign of the importance of the pact, Tyndareus sacrificed a horse.Hesiod, Catalogs of Women and Eoiae, fr. 204; Hyginus, Fables, 78; Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.20. 9; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 3.10. 9

* Cingano, A Catalog within a Catalog, 128; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 76 Helen and Menelaus became rulers of Sparta, after Tyndareus abdicated.

The marriage of Helen and Menelaus marks the beginning of the end of the age of heroes. Concluding the catalog of Helen's suitors, Hesiod reports Zeus' plan to obliterate the race of men and the heroes in particular. The Trojan War, caused by Helen's elopement with Paris, is going to be his means to this end.Cypria, fr. 1; Hesiod, Catalogs of Women and Eoiae, fr. 204.96–101

* Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 7–8

Seduction by Paris

Some years later, Paris, a Trojan prince, came to Sparta to claim Helen, in the guise as a supposed diplomatic mission. Before this journey, Paris had been appointed by Zeus to proclaim the most beautiful goddess. In order to earn his favor, Aphrodite promised Paris the most beautiful woman in the world. Swayed by Aphrodite's offer, Paris chose her as the most beautiful of the goddesses, earning the wrath of Athena and Hera.

Although Helen is sometimes depicted as being unwillingly raped by Paris (termed abduction as per the ancient understanding of raptus), ancient Greek sources are often elliptical and contradicting. Herodotus states that Helen was abducted, but Cypria simply mention that, after giving Helen gifts, "Aphrodite brings the Spartan queen together with the Prince of Troy." Sappho argues that Helen willingly left behind Menelaus and Hermione, her nine-year-old daughter, to be with Paris:

Dio Chrysostom gives a completely different account of the story, questioning Homer's credibility: after Agamemnon had married Helen's sister, Klytaemnestra, Tyndareus sought Helen's hand for Menelaos on account of political reasons. However, Helen was sought by many suitors, who came from far and near, among them Paris who surpassed all the others and won the favor of Tyndareus and his sons. Thus he won her fairly and took her away to Troia, with the full consent of her natural protectors.Dio Chrysostom, Discourses, 1. 37–53

* Hughes, Helen of Troy, 128–129 Cypria narrate that in just three days Paris and Helen reached Troy. Homer narrates that during a brief stop-over in the small island of Kranai, where, according to Iliad, the two lovers consummated their passion. On the other hand, Cypria note that this happened the night before they left Sparta.Cypria, fr. 1; Homer, Iliad, III, 443–445

* Cyrino, "Helen of Troy", 133–134

Certain ancient Greek authors denied that Helen ever went to Troy at all. Three accounts of this version of Helen's story have survived: by Stesichorus, Herodotus, and Euripides. In the version used by Euripides in his play Helen, Hermes fashioned a likeness of her (eidolon, εἵδωλον) out of clouds at Zeus' request, and Helen never even went to Troy, spending the entire war in Egypt. Eidolon is also present in Stesichorus' account, but not in Herodotus' rationalizing version of the myth. Herodotus adds weight to the "Egyptian" version of events putting forward his own evidence—he traveled to Egypt, and interviewed the priests at Memphismarker, who indeed confirmed that Helen spent ten years in Egypt around the time of the Trojan War.Herodotus, Histories, 113–119

* For an analysis of these three versions, see Alan, Introduction, 18–28

In Troy

When he discovered that his wife was missing, Menelaus called upon all the other suitors to fulfill their oaths, thus beginning the Trojan War. The Greek fleet gathered in Aulismarker, but the ships could not sail, because there was no wind. Artemis was enraged with a sacrilegious act of the Greeks, and only the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia, could appease her. In Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis, Clytemnestra, Iphigenia's mother and Helen's sister, begs her husband to reconsider his decision, and calls Helen a "wicked woman". For Clytemnestra, sacrificing Iphigenia for Helen's sake, "it is buying what we most detest with what we hold most dear".

Before the opening of hostilities, the Greeks dispatched a delegation to the Trojans under Odysseus and Menelaus; they endeavored to persuade Priam to hand Helen back without success. A popular theme, The Request of Helen (Helenes Apaitesis, Ἑλένης Απαἵτησις) was the subject of a drama by Sophocles, now lost.

Homer paints a poignant a lonely picture of Helen in Troy. She is filled with self-distaste and regret for what she has caused; by the end of the war, the Trojans have come to hate her. When Hector dies, she is the third mourner at his funeral, and she says that, of all the Trojans, Hector and Priam alone were always kind to her:Homer, Iliad, XXIV, 773–775

* Hughes, Helen of Troy, 219; Redfold, The Tragedy of Hector, 122

These bitter words reveal that Helen gradually realized Paris' weaknesses, and she decided to ally herself with Hector. There is an affectionate relationship between the two of them, and Helen has harsh words to say for Paris, when she compares the two brothers:Homer, Iliad, VI, 349–351, 354–356

* Hughes, Helen of Troy, 219; Redfold, The Tragedy of Hector, 122; Suzuki, Metamorphoses of Helen, 36

During the fall of Troy, Helen's role is ambiguous. In Virgil's Aeneid, Deiphobus gives an account of Helen's treacherous stance: when the Trojan Horse was admitted into the city, she feigned Bacchic rites, leading a chorus of Trojan women, and, holding a torch among them, she signaled to the Greeks from the city's central tower. In Odyssey, however, Homer narrates a different story: Helen circled the Horse three times, and she imitated the voices of the Greek women left behind at home—she thus tortured the men inside (including Odysseus and Menelaus) with the memory of their loved ones, and brought them to the brink of destruction.Homer, Odyssey, IV, 277–289; Virgil, Aeneid, 515&ndASH;519.

* Hughes, Helen of Troy, 220; Suzuki, Metamorphoses of Helen, 99–100.

Deiphobus was the younger brother of Paris and Hector. After their death, Helen took on him, but when the sack of Troy begun, she hid her new husband's sword, and left him to the mercy of Menelaus and Odysseus. In Aeneid, Aeneas meets the mutilated Deiphobus in Hades; his wounds serve as a testimony to his ignominious end, abetted by Helen's final act of treachery.Virgil, Aeneid, 494&ndASH;512.

* Suzuki, Metamorphoses of Helen, 101–102.

However, Helen's portraits in Troy seem to contradict each other. From one side, we read about the treacherous Helen who simulated Bacchic rites and rejoiced over the carnage of Trojans. On the other hand, there is another Helen, lonely and helpless; desperate to find sanctuary, while Troy is on fire. Stesichorus narrates that both Greeks and Trojans gathered to stone her to death. When Menelaus finally found her, he raised his sword to kill her. He had demanded that only he should slay his unfaithful wife; but, when he was ready to do so, she dropped her robe from her shoulders, and the sight of her beauty caused him to let the sword drop from his hand.According to the ancient writers, it was the sight of Helen's face or breasts that made Menelaus drop his sword. See, inter allia, Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 155; Little Iliad, fr. 13 EGF.

* Maguire, Helen of Troy, 52 Electra wails:


Helen returned to Spartamarker and lived for a time with Menelaus, where she was encountered by Telemachus in The Odyssey. According to another version, used by Euripides in his play Orestes, Helen had long ago left the mortal world by then, having been taken up to Olympusmarker almost immediately after Menelaus' return.

According to Pausanias the geographer (3.19.10.):

"The account of the Rhodians is different. They say that when Menelaus was dead, and Orestes still a wanderer, Helen was driven out by Nicostratus and Megapenthes and came to Rhodesmarker, where she had a friend in Polyxo, the wife of Tlepolemus. For Polyxo, they say, was an Argive by descent, and when she was already married to Tlepolemus, shared his flight to Rhodes. At the time she was queen of the island, having been left with an orphan boy. They say that this Polyxo desired to avenge the death of Tlepolemus on Helen, now that she had her in her power. So she sent against her when she was bathing handmaidens dressed up as Furies, who seized Helen and hanged her on a tree, and for this reason the Rhodians have a sanctuary of Helen of the Tree."

Tlepolemus was a son of Heracles and Astyoche. Astyoche was a daughter of Phylas, King of Ephyra who was killed by Heracles. Tlepolemus was killed by Sarpedon on the first day of fighting in the Iliad. Nicostratus was a son of Menelaus by his concubine Pieris, an Aetolian slave. Megapenthes was a son of Menelaus by his concubine Tereis, no further origin.

In Simonianism, it was taught that Helen of Troy was one of the incarnations of the Ennoia in human form.

Artistic representations

From Antiquity, depicting Helen would be a remarkable challenge. The story of Zeuxis deals with exactly this question: How would an artist immortalize ideal beauty? The ancient world starts to paint Helen's picture or inscribe her form on stone, clay and bronze by the 7th century BC. Helen is frequently depicted on Athenian vases as being threatened by Menelaus and fleeing from him. This is not the case, however, in Laconic art: on an Archaic stele depicting Helen's recovery after the fall of Troy, Menelaus is armed with a sword but Helen faces him boldly, looking directly into his eyes; and in other works of Peloponnesian art, Helen is shown carrying a wreath, while Menelaus holds his sword aloft vertically. In contrast, on Athenian vases of c. 550–470, Menelaus threateningly points his sword at her.

The abduction by Paris was another popular motive in ancient Greek vase-painting; definitely more popular than the kidnapping by Theseus. In a famous representation by the Athenian vase painter Makron, Helen follows Paris like a bride following a bridegroom, her wrist grasped by Paris' hand. The Etruscansmarker, who had a sophisticated knowledge of Greek mythology, demonstrated a particular interest in the theme of the delivery of Helen's egg, which is depicted in relief mirrors.

In Renaissance painting, Helen's departure from Sparta is usually depicted as a scene of forcible removal (rape) by Paris. This is not, however, the case with certain secular medieval illustrations. Artists of the 1460s and 1470s were influenced by Guido delle Colonne's Historia destructionis Troiae, where Helen's abduction was portrayed as a scene of seduction. In the Florentine Picture Chronicle Paris and Helen are shown departing arm in arm, while their marriage was depicted into Franco-Flemish tapestry.

In Pre-Raphaelite art, Helen is often shown with shining curly hair and ringlets. Other painters of the same period depict Helen on the ramparts of Troy, and focus on her expression: her face is expressionless, blank, inscrutable. In Gustave Moreau's painting, Helen will finally become faceless; a blank eidonon in the middle of Troy's ruins.


The major centers of Helen's cult were in Laconia. At Sparta, the urban sanctuary of Helen was located near the Platanistas, so called for the plane-trees planted there. Ancient sources associate Helen with gymnastic exercises or/and choral dances of maidens near the Evrotas Rivermarker. Theocritus conjures up the epithalamium Spartan women sung at Platanistas commemorating the marriage of Helen and Menelaus:Theocritus, The Epithalamium of Helen, 43–48

* Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 12

Helen's worship was also present on the opposite bank of Eurotas at Therapnemarker, where she shared a shrine with Menelaus and the Dioscuri. The shrine has been known as "Menelaion" (the shrine of Menelaus), and it was believed to be the spot where Helen was buried alongside Menelaus. Despite its name, both the shrine and the cult originally belonged to Helen; Menelaus was added later as her husband.Herodotus, Histories, VI, 61. 3

* Hughes, Helen of Troy, 30–31; Lynn Budin, The Ancient Greeks, 286 Isocrates writes that at Therapne Helen and Menelaus were worshiped as gods, and not as heroes. Clader argues that, if indeed Helen was worshiped as a goddess at Therapne, then her powers should be largely concerned with fertility.Isocrates, Helen, 63

* Clader, Helen, 70; Jackson, The Transformations of Helen, 52. For a criticism of the theory that Helen was worshiped as a goddess in Therapne, see Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 20–24 There is also evidence for Helen's cult in Hellenistic Sparta: rules for those sacrificing and holding feasts in their honor are extant.Pausanias, Description of Greece, III, 15. 3, and 19. 9

* Allan, Introduction, 14–16; Calame, Choruses of Young Women, 192–197; Pomeroy, Spartan Women, 114–118

Helen was also worshiped in Attica along with her brothers, and on Rhodesmarker as Helen Dendritis (Helen of the Trees, Έλένα Δενδρῖτις); she was a vegetation or a fertility goddess. Martin F. Nilsson has argued that its cult in Rhodes has its roots to the Minoan, pre-Greek era, when Helen was allegedly worshiped as a vegetation goddess. Claude Calame and other scholars try to analyze the affinity between the cults of Helen and Artemis Orthia, pointing out the resemblance of the terracotta female figurines offered to both deities.


  • In 1928, Richard Strauss wrote the German Opera Die ägyptische Helena, The Egyptian Helena, which is the story of Helen and Menelaus's troubles when they are marooned on a mythical island.

  • A television version of Helen's life up to the fall of Troy, Helen of Troy.

  • Appeared in the episode 12 of Season 1 called "Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts" in Xena: Warrior Princess. Played by Galyn Görg, Helen was supposedly a close friend of Xena's and sent out a messenger to fetch her during the Trojan War.

  • In 2004, Helen was in the film Troy, played by Diane Kruger. In this adaptation she does not return to Sparta with Menelaus, but leaves Troy with Aeneas when the city falls.

  • The first season Xena: Warrior Princess episode "Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts" (1996) is based around Helen of Troy, although some liberties are taken with the setting.

Modern Culture

  • Margaret George wrote a novel "Helen of Troy" that describes her entire life in great detail.

  • Henry Rider Haggard wrote a novel,"The World's Desire" in which Odysseus finds Helen in Egypt as a priestess and they wed.

  • Jacob M. Appel's play, Helen of Sparta, retells Homer's Iliad from Helen's point-of-view.

  • The Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood re-envisioned the myth of Helen in modern, feminist guise in her poem "Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing".

  • The Memoirs of Helen of Troy written by Amanda Elyot was written about the life of Helen.

  • In Richelle Mead's "Succubus Blues," Helen of Troy is referred to as the attitude desired when trying to be seductive.

See also


  1. Clader, Helen, 63–64; Scutsch, Helen, 191
  2. Chantraine, Dictionnaire Étymologique de la Langue Grecque, entry "Ἑλένη"; Frisk, Griechisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, I, entry "Ἑλένη"
  3. The name of Helen as worshipped at Sparta and Therapne began with a digamma. On the other hand, at Corinth there is evidence of Helen without a digamma. Scutsch (Helen, 189, 190 and passim) suggests that we have to do "with two different names, two different mythological Helens".
  4. Scutsch, Helen, 190–191, 192
  5. Nilsson, The Mycenaean Origin, 41
  6. Meagher, The Meaning of Helen, 14–15; Thompson, The Trojan War, 20
  7. Hughes, Helen of Troy, 29
  8. Whitby, Sparta, 7
  9. Homer, Iliad, III, 199, 418, 426; Odyssey, IV, 184, 219; XXIII, 218.
  10. Euripides, Helen 16–21, 257–59
  11. Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, III, 10. 7
  12. Cypria, fr. 9 PEG.
  13. Athenaeus 8.334b-d, quoting the Cypria; Cypria, fr. 10 PEG.
  14. In the 5th century comedy "Nemesis" by Cratinus, Leda was told to sit on an egg so that it would hatch, and this is no doubt the egg that was produced by Nemesis (Cratinus fr. 115 PCG; Gantz, Early Greek Myth, ibid).
  15. Asclepiades 12F11, Pseudo-Eratosthenes Catast. 25.
  16. Gantz, Early Greek Myth, ibid
  17. The most complete accounts of this narrative are given by Apollodorus, Diodorus 4.63.1-3, and Plutarch, Theseus 31-34. For a collection of ancient sources narrating Helen's abduction by Theseus, see Hughes, Helen, 357; Mills, Theseus, 7–8
  18. Hellanicus 4F134; Diodorus 4.63.1-3.
  19. Stesichorus, fr. 191 PMG.
  20. Gantz, pp. 289, 291.
  21. In Hesiod, Catalogs of Women and Eoiae, fr. 198.7–8, and 199.0–1, they are the recipients of the bridal presents. For further details, see A Catalog within a Catalog, 133–135
  22. Cypria, fr. 1; Herodotus, Histories, 113–119
  23. Sappho, fr. 16. See an analysis of the poem by Gumpert, Grafting Helen, 92
  24. Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis, 1166–1170; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 195–196
  25. Ancient writers do not agree on whether the embassy was dispatched before the gathering of the Greek army in Aulis or after it reached Tenedos or Troia. In Herodotus' account the Trojans swore to the Greek envoys that Helen was in Egypt, not in Troy; but the Greeks did not believe them, and laid siege to the city, until they took it (Cypria, fr. 1; Herodotus, Histories, II, 118. 2–4; Homer, Iliad, III, 205; Pseudo-Appolodorus, Epitome, 28–29). About Euripides lost drama, see Hughes, Helen of Troy, 191.
  26. Stesichorus, fr. 201 PMG.
  27. Euripides, Orestes, 1286
  28. Pliny, National History, 35. 64–66. Cicero (De Inventione, 2. 1–3) sets the story in Croton.
  29. Mansfield, Too Beautiful to Picture, 29
  30. Hughes, Helen of Troy, 1–2
  31. Pomeroy, Spartan Women, 169
  32. Anderson, The Fall of Troy, 257; Matheson, Polygnotos and Vase Painting, 225
  33. Caprino, Etruscan Italy, 66–71
  34. David, Narrative in COntext, 136; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 181–182
  35. Maguire, Helen of Troy, 39–43, 47
  36. A shared cult of Helen and her brothers in Attica is alluded to in Euripides, Helen, 1666–1669. See also, Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 26–29. Concerning Helen Dendritis, Gumpert (Grafting Helen, 96), and Skutsch (Helen, 109) support that she was a vegetation goddess. Meagher (The Meaning of Helen, 43–44) argues that her cult in Rhodes reflects an ancient fertility ritual associated with Helen not only on Rhodes but also at Dendra, near Sparta. Edmunds (Helen's Divine Origins, 18) notes that it is unclear what an ancient tree cult might be.
  37. Cited by Gumpert, Grafting Helen, 96, Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 15–18, and Skutsch, Helen, 109. See critical remarks on this theory by Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 16.
  38. Calame, Choruses of Young Women, 201; Eaverly, Archaic Greek Equestrian Sculpture, 9; Pomeroy, Spartan Women, 162–163
  39. The Humanism of Isaac Asimov
  40. http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Egypt-New-Directions-Paperbook/dp/0811205444 H.D. "Helen in Egypt"
  41. Horwitz, Jane. Washington Post, December 16, 2008. P. C08.
  42. http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/helen-of-troy-does-countertop-dancing


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