HELEN

ΕΛΕΝΗ

The Courtship of Paris and Helen (detail), by Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), French Neoclassical painter

The Courtship of Paris and Helen (detail),
by Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)

1. A daughter of Zeus and Leda, and the sister of Polydeuces and Castor ; some traditions called her a daughter of Zeus by Nemesis. (Apollod. iii. 10. § 6; Hygin. Fab. 77 ; Schol. ad Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 232.) She was of surpassing beauty, and is said to have in her youth been carried off by Theseus, in conjunction with Peirithous to Attica. When therefore Theseus was absent in Hades, Polydeuces and Castor (the Dioscuri) undertook an expedition to Attica. Athens was taken, Helena delivered, and Aethra, the mother of Theseus, was taken prisoner, and carried by the Dioscuri, as a slave of Helena, to Sparta. (Hygin. Fab. 79; comp. Paus. i. 17. § 6, 41. § 5, ii. 22. § 7.) After her return to Sparta, princely suitors appeared from all parts of Greece and (Hygin. Fab. 81; Apollod. iii. 10. § 8), but, after a consultation with Odysseus, who was likewise one of them, Tyndareus, the husband of Leda, gave her in marriage to Menelaus, who became by her the father of Hermione, and, according to others, of Nicostratus also. She was subsequently seduced and carried off by Paris to Troy. [See PARIS ; MENELAUS.]

2. Ptolemaeus Hephaestion (4) mentions six other mythical personages of the same name: 1. a daughter of Paris and Helena; 2. a daughter of Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra; 3. a daughter of Epidamnius; 4. a daughter of Faustulus, the shepherd who brought up Romulus and Remus ; 5. a daughter of Tityrus; and 6. a daughter of Micythus, the beloved of Stesichorus.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Greek Mythology Link, Helen (Illustrated)
Greek Mythology Link, Suitors of Helen (Illustrated)

The Courtship of Paris and Helen, by Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), French Neoclassical painter

The Courtship of Paris and Helen, by Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), French Neoclassical painter