One strand of the
story begins with
the goddess Thetis
THETIS: Daughter of NEREUS and DORIS, and best
friend of EURYNOME, was doing well God-wise until an
oracle put out a prophecy which upset ZEUS and
POSEIDON, who both fancied her at the time. The
oracle said that THETIS would bear a son greater than
Thetis was the leader of the 50 Nereids
To avoid the
they made sure
she was married
off to a
mortal, PELEUS, k
ing of Phthia.
Peleus had to
Eris is Discord, and may be called strife and
quarrel as well. Eris has been said to be the
daughter of Nyx, but she has also been called
the sister of Ares and the nurse of War, since she
helps her brother in arms to accomplish his
And enjoying the groans of dying men, she fills
their hearts with hatred, so that they may slay
Uninvited, Eris shows up anyway
She tosses a golden apple
into the crowd.
The infant was taken to Mt. Ida to die from
Nursed by a bear for 5 days, Paris
survived and was raised by shepherds
Paris fell in
love with the
Paris was the perfect
choice to judge the
beauty contest, for
Zeus desired to make
his daughter Helen
famous in both Europe
and Asia via an
Tyndareus and Leda were king and queen
Zeus took on the form of a swan and raped
“Leda and the Swan” has been a subject
for many artists
And a famous poem by Yeats
Leda And The Swan
Poem lyrics of Leda And The Swan by William Butler Yeats.
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
Leda gave birth to 2 eggs
One egg contained Helen and Polydeuces
The other egg contained Clytemnestra and
Castor and Pollux were known as the Dioscuri or
Already a beauty, at age 10 Helen was
kidnapped by Theseus
Helen was rescued and returned to Sparta
by her brothers
In the meantime, Helen’s sister
Clytemnestra had married twice
First to Tantalus, son of
Agamemnon, who killed
After Helen was returned to Sparta, suitors
came from all over
Tyndareus was at a loss because he feared
reprisal from the unsuccessful.
It was, of course, the clever Odysseus who came
up with a strategy -- a strategy he offered to
share in exchange for Tyndareus’s
All the suitors were required to swear an oath to
stand behind whichever suitor Tyndareus
selected, and be ready at any time in the future
to defend the marriage.
The suitors so swore.
Awed by her beauty and her status, the
Trojans welcomed her—even Priam
As soon as Helen left Sparta, the Greeks
Menelaus, who had been amusing himself with
a nymph in Crete, came rushing back to Sparta.
Agamemnon was furious at the dishonor done
to his family.
Couriers were sent throughout Greece to
remind former suitors of their oath.
Odysseus went to Troy
to demand, ransom, or
steal Helen back
Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, even
snuck into Troy to check things out.
But Helen could not be retrieved.
Warriors throughout the Hellenistic world were
called upon to wage war
Some, like Odysseus, were reluctant to go
Happily married to Penelope, with an infant son
named Telemachos and with a prophecy that he
would not return from Troy until 20 years had
passed, Odysseus feigned madness to escape
down to the
beach each day
But Odysseus was needed for his skills as a
rhetorician and a strategist
So Palimedes was sent to bring Odysseus in. He
did so by throwing the infant Telemachos under
the plow. Odysseus’ scheme was to appear mad
by plowing the sand on the beach.
the oxen and
Agamemnon’s ruse was that he had
arranged a marriage between Iphigenia
sent her child to Aulis.
When the marriage was
discovered to be a
hoax, both Clytemnestra
and Achilles were royally
pissed at Agamemnon.