Hesiod was a Greek poet thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject. Ancient authors credited Homer with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, early economic thought, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping; the dating of Hesiod's life is a contested issue in scholarly circles. Epic narrative allowed poets like Homer no opportunity for personal revelations. However, Hesiod's extant work comprises several didactic poems in which he went out of his way to let his audience in on a few details of his life. There are three explicit references in Works and Days, as well as some passages in his Theogony that support inferences made by scholars; the former poem says that his father came from Cyme in Aeolis and crossed the sea to settle at a hamlet, near Thespiae in Boeotia, named Ascra, "a cursed place, cruel in winter, hard in summer, never pleasant".
Hesiod's patrimony there, a small piece of ground at the foot of Mount Helicon, occasioned lawsuits with his brother Perses, who seems, at first, to have cheated him of his rightful share thanks to corrupt authorities or "kings" but became impoverished and ended up scrounging from the thrifty poet. Unlike his father, Hesiod was averse to sea travel, but he once crossed the narrow strait between the Greek mainland and Euboea to participate in funeral celebrations for one Athamas of Chalcis, there won a tripod in a singing competition, he describes a meeting between himself and the Muses on Mount Helicon, where he had been pasturing sheep when the goddesses presented him with a laurel staff, a symbol of poetic authority. Fanciful though the story might seem, the account has led ancient and modern scholars to infer that he was not a professionally trained rhapsode, or he would have been presented with a lyre instead; some scholars have seen Perses as a literary creation, a foil for the moralizing that Hesiod develops in Works and Days, but there are arguments against that theory.
For example, it is quite common for works of moral instruction to have an imaginative setting, as a means of getting the audience's attention, but it could be difficult to see how Hesiod could have travelled around the countryside entertaining people with a narrative about himself if the account was known to be fictitious. Gregory Nagy, on the other hand, sees both Pérsēs and Hēsíodos as fictitious names for poetical personae, it might seem unusual that Hesiod's father migrated from Asia Minor westwards to mainland Greece, the opposite direction to most colonial movements at the time, Hesiod himself gives no explanation for it. However around 750 BC or a little there was a migration of seagoing merchants from his original home in Cyme in Asia Minor to Cumae in Campania, his move west had something to do with that, since Euboea is not far from Boeotia, where he established himself and his family; the family association with Aeolian Cyme might explain his familiarity with eastern myths, evident in his poems, though the Greek world might have developed its own versions of them.
In spite of Hesiod's complaints about poverty, life on his father's farm could not have been too uncomfortable if Works and Days is anything to judge by, since he describes the routines of prosperous yeomanry rather than peasants. His farmer employs a friend as well as servants, an energetic and responsible ploughman of mature years, a slave boy to cover the seed, a female servant to keep house and working teams of oxen and mules. One modern scholar surmises that Hesiod may have learned about world geography the catalogue of rivers in Theogony, listening to his father's accounts of his own sea voyages as a merchant; the father spoke in the Aeolian dialect of Cyme but Hesiod grew up speaking the local Boeotian, belonging to the same dialect group. However, while his poetry features some Aeolisms there are no words that are Boeotian, his basic language was the main literary dialect of Homer's Ionian. It is probable that Hesiod wrote his poems down, or dictated them, rather than passed them on orally, as rhapsodes did—otherwise the pronounced personality that now emerges from the poems would have been diluted through oral transmission from one rhapsode to another.
Pausanias asserted that Boeotians showed him an old tablet made of lead on which the Works were engraved. If he did write or dictate, it was as an aid to memory or because he lacked confidence in his ability to produce poems extempore, as trained rhapsodes could do, it wasn't in a quest for immortal fame since poets in his era had no such notions for themselves. However, some scholars suspect the presence of large-scale changes in the text and attribute this to oral transmission, he composed his verses during idle times on the farm, in the spring before the May harvest or the dead of winter. The personality behind the poems is unsuited to the kind of "aristocratic withdrawal" typical of a rhapsode but is instead "argumentative, suspicious humorous, fond of proverbs, wary of women." He was in fact a misogynist of t
Pindar was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar is by far the greatest, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, his rolling flood of eloquence, characteristics which, as Horace rightly held, make him inimitable." His poems can however, seem difficult and peculiar. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis once remarked that they "are reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning"; some scholars in the modern age found his poetry perplexing, at least until the 1896 discovery of some poems by his rival Bacchylides. His poetry, while admired by critics, still challenges the casual reader and his work is unread among the general public. Pindar was the first Greek poet to reflect on the poet's role. Like other poets of the Archaic Age, he has a profound sense of the vicissitudes of life, but he articulates a passionate faith in what men can achieve by the grace of the gods, most famously expressed in the conclusion to one of his Victory Odes: His poetry illustrates the beliefs and values of Archaic Greece at the dawn of the classical period.
Five ancient sources contain all the recorded details of Pindar's life. One of them is a short biography discovered in 1961 on an Egyptian papyrus dating from at least 200 AD; the other four are collections that weren't finalized until some 1600 years after his death: Commentaries on Pindar by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Although these sources are based on a much older literary tradition, going as far back as Chamaeleon of Heraclea in the 4th century BC, they are viewed with scepticism today: much of the material is fanciful. Scholars both ancient and modern have turned to Pindar's own work – his victory odes in particular – as a source of biographical information: some of the poems touch on historic events and can be dated; the 1962 publication of Elroy Bundy's ground-breaking work Studia Pindarica led to a change in scholarly opinion—the Odes were no longer seen as expressions of Pindar's personal thoughts and feelings, but rather as public statements "dedicated to the single purpose of eulogizing men and communities."
It has been claimed that biographical interpretations of the poems are due to a "fatal conjunction" of historicism and Romanticism. In other words, we know nothing about Pindar's life based on either traditional sources or his own poems. However, the pendulum of intellectual fashion has begun to change direction again, cautious use of the poems for some biographical purposes is considered acceptable once more. Pindar was born in 522 BC or 518 BC in Cynoscephalae, a village in Boeotia, not far from Thebes, his father's name is variously given as Daiphantus, Pagondas or Scopelinus, his mother's name was Cleodice. It is told that he was stung on the mouth by a bee in his youth and this was the reason he became a poet of honey-like verses. Pindar was about twenty years old in 498 BC when he was commissioned by the ruling family in Thessaly to compose his first victory ode, he studied the art of lyric poetry in Athens, where his tutor was Lasos of Hermione, he is said to have received some helpful criticism from Corinna.
The early-to-middle years of Pindar's career coincided with the Persian invasions of Greece in the reigns of Darius and Xerxes. During the invasion in 480/79 BC, when Pindar was forty years old, Thebes was occupied by Xerxes' general, who with many Theban aristocrats subsequently perished at the Battle of Plataea, it is possible. His choice of residence during the earlier invasion in 490 BC is not known, but he was able to attend the Pythian Games for that year, where he first met the Sicilian prince, nephew of Theron of Acragas. Thrasybulus had driven the winning chariot and he and Pindar were to form a lasting friendship, paving the way for his subsequent visit to Sicily. Pindar seems to have used his odes to advance his, his friends', personal interests. In 462 BC he composed two odes in honour of Arcesilas, king of Cyrene, pleading for the return from exile of a friend, Demophilus. In the latter ode Pindar proudly mentions his own ancestry, which he shared with the king, as an Aegeid or descendent of Aegeus, the legendary king of Athens.
The clan was influential in many parts of the Greek world, having intermarried with ruling families in Thebes, in Lacedaemonia, in cities that claimed Lacedaemonian descent, such as Cyrene and Thera. The historian Herodotus considered the clan important enough to deserve mention. Membership of this clan contributed to Pindar's success as a poet, it informed his political views, which are marked by a conservative preference for oligarchic governments of the Doric kind. "Pindar might not claim to be an Aegeid since his'I' statements do not refer to himself. The Aegeid clan did however have a branch in Thebes, his reference to'my ancestors' in Pythian 5 could have been spoken on behalf of both Arcesilas and himself – he may have used this ambivalence to e
Helen of Troy
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy known as Helen of Sparta, was said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world. She was married to King Menelaus of Sparta but was abducted by Prince Paris of Troy after the goddess Aphrodite promised her to him in the Judgement of Paris; this resulted in the Trojan War. She was believed to have been the daughter of Zeus and Leda, was the sister of Clytemnestra, Polydeuces, Philonoe and Timandra. Elements of her putative biography come from classical authors such as Aristophanes, Cicero and Homer, her story appears in Book II of Virgil's Aeneid. In her youth, she was abducted by Theseus. A competition between her suitors for her hand in marriage saw. An oath sworn by all the suitors required all of them to provide military assistance to the winning suitor, whomever he might be, if she were stolen from him; when she married Menelaus she was still young. The legends of Helen in Troy are contradictory: Homer depicts her as a wistful sorrowful figure, who came to regret her choice and wished to be reunited with Menelaus.
Other accounts have a treacherous Helen who simulated Bacchic rites and rejoiced in the carnage she caused. Paris was killed in action, in Homer's account Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead. A cult associated with her developed both at Sparta and elsewhere, she was worshiped in Attica and on Rhodes. Her beauty inspired artists of all times to represent her as the personification of ideal human beauty. Christopher Marlowe's lines from his tragedy Doctor Faustus are cited: "Was this the face that launched a thousand ships / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?"Images of Helen start appearing in the 7th century BCE. In classical Greece, her abduction by Paris – or escape with him – was a popular motif. In medieval illustrations, this event was portrayed as a seduction, whereas in Renaissance paintings it was depicted as a "rape" by Paris; the etymology of Helen's name continues to be a problem for scholars. Georg Curtius related Helen to the moon.
Émile Boisacq considered Ἑλένη to derive from the noun ἑλένη meaning "torch". It has been suggested that the λ of Ἑλένη arose from an original ν, thus the etymology of the name is connected with the root of Venus. Linda Lee Clader, says that none of the above suggestions offers much satisfaction. Inversely, others have connected this etymology to a hypothetical Proto-Indo-European sun goddess, noting her name's connection to the word for "sun" in various Indo-European cultures. In particular, her marriage myth may be connected to a broader indo-European "marriage drama" of the sun goddess, she is related to the divine twins, just as many of these goddesses are. None of the etymological sources appear to support the existence, save as a coincidence only, of a connection between the name of Helen and the name by which the classical Greeks described themselves, namely Hellenes, after Hellen the mythological progenitor of the Greeks; 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 derive from earlier Mycenaean Greek sources.
Her mythological birthplace was Sparta of the Age of Heroes, which features prominently in the canon of Greek myth: in ancient Greek memory, the Mycenaean Bronze Age became the age of the Greek heroes. The kings and heroes of the Trojan Cycle are related to the gods, since divine 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 Greece suggest that modern-day Laconia 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. From the early 1990s to the present suggest that the area around Menelaion in the southern part of the Eurotas valley seems to have been the center of Mycenaean Laconia. In most sources, including the Iliad and the Odyssey, Helen is the daughter of Zeus and of 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 Zeus' daughter. In the form of a swan, the king of gods was chased by an eagle, sought refuge with Leda; the swan gained her affection, the two mated. Leda produced an egg, from which Helen emerged; the First Vatican Mythographer introduces the notion that two eggs came from the union: one containing Castor and Pollux. The same author earlier states that Helen and Pollux were produced from a single egg. Pseudo-Apollodorus states that Leda had intercourse with both Zeus and Tyndareus the night she conceived Helen. On the other hand, in the Cypria, part of the Epic Cycle, Helen was the daughter of Zeus and the goddess Nemesis; the date of the Cypria is uncertain, but it is thought to preserve traditions that date back to at leas
In Greek mythology, was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. His father, was the founder of the House of Atreus through Pelops's son of that name, he was venerated at Olympia, where his cult developed into the founding myth of the Olympic Games, the most important expression of unity, not only for the Peloponnesus, "island of Pelops", but for all Hellenes. At the sanctuary at Olympia, chthonic night-time libations were offered each time to "dark-faced" Pelops in his sacrificial pit before they were offered in the following daylight to the sky-god Zeus. Pelops was a son of Tantalus and either Euryanassa or Eurythemista. In some accounts, he was called a bastard son of Tantalus while others named his parents as Atlas and the nymph Linos. Of Phrygian or Lydian birth, he departed his homeland for Greece, won the crown of Pisa or Olympia from King Oenomaus in a chariot race married Oenomaus's daughter, Hippodameia. Pelops and Hippodameia had at least sixteen children, their sons include Pittheus, Alcathous, Pleisthenes, Thyestes, Hippalcimus, Sciron and Letreus.
Four of their daughters married into the House of Perseus: Astydameia, Nicippe and Eurydice. By the nymph Axioche or Danais or Astyoche, Pelops was father of Chrysippus. Pelops' father was king at Mount Sipylus in Anatolia. Wanting to make an offering to the Olympians, Tantalus cut Pelops into pieces and made his flesh into a stew served it to the gods. Demeter, deep in grief after the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, absentmindedly accepted the offering and ate the left shoulder; the other gods sensed the plot and held off from eating of the boy's body. While Tantalus was banished to Tartarus, Pelops was ritually reassembled and brought back to life, his shoulder replaced with one of ivory made for him by Hephaestus. Pindar mentioned this tradition in his First Olympian Ode, only to reject it as a malicious invention: his patron claimed descent from Tantalus. After Pelops' resurrection, Poseidon took him to Olympus, made him the youth apprentice, teaching him to drive the divine chariot.
Zeus found out about the gods' stolen food and their now revealed secrets, threw Pelops out of Olympus, angry at his father, Tantalus. Having grown to manhood, Pelops wanted to marry Hippodamia, her father, King Oenomaus, fearful of a prophecy that claimed he would be killed by his son-in-law, had killed eighteen suitors of Hippodamia after defeating them in a chariot race and affixed their heads to the wooden columns of his palace. Pausanias was shown what was the last standing column in the late second century CE. Worried about losing, Pelops went to his former lover. Reminding Poseidon of their love, he asked Poseidon for help. Smiling, Poseidon caused a chariot drawn by untamed winged horses to appear. Two episodes involving charioteers were added into the plain account of the heroic chariot race. In the first related by Theopompus, having received the horses, Pelops hastens to Pisa to defeat Oenomaus. On the way, his charioteer Cillus dies and stands in a dream over Pelops, distressed about him, to make requests for a funeral.
Pelops complies by burying his ashes magnificently, raises a mound to erect a temple dedicated to Apollo which he names Apollo Cillaeus and he founds a city besides the mound and the temple which he names Cilla after his charioteer and friend. Both the temple and the city are mentioned in the first book of Homer's Iliad and suggestions regarding their exact location have been made. Furthermore, Cillus after his death, appears to have helped Pelops' cause in order for him to win the race. In the second, still unsure of himself and of the winged horses and chariot of divine providence he had secured, convinced Oenomaus' charioteer, Myrtilus, a son of Hermes, to help him win. Pelops or Hippodamia herself convinced Myrtilus by promising him half of Oenomaus' kingdom and the first night in bed with Hippodamia; the night before the race, while Myrtilus was putting together Oenomaus' chariot, he replaced the bronze linchpins attaching the wheels to the chariot axle with fake ones made of beeswax. The race started, went on for a long time.
But just as Oenomaus was catching up to Pelops and readying to kill him, the wheels flew off and the chariot broke apart. Myrtilus survived. Pelops killed Myrtilus after the latter attempted to rape Hippodamia. After his victory, Pelops organized chariot races as thanksgiving to the gods and as funeral games in honor of King Oinomaos, in order to be purified of his death, it was from this funeral race held at Olympia. Pelops became a great king, a local hero, gave his name to the Peloponnese. Walter Burkert notes that though the story of Hippodamia's abduction figures in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women and on the chest of Cypselus, conserved at Olympia, though preparations for the chariot-race figured in the east pediment of the great temple of Zeus at Olympia, the myth of the chariot race only became important at Olympia with the introduction of chariot racing in the twenty-fifth Olympiad. G. Devereux connected the abduction of Hippodamia with animal husbandry taboos of Elis, the
In Greek mythology, Thyestes was a king of Olympia. Thyestes and his brother, were exiled by their father for having murdered their half-brother, Chrysippus, in their desire for the throne of Olympia, they took refuge in Mycenae, where they ascended the throne upon the absence of King Eurystheus, fighting the Heracleidae. Eurystheus had meant for their lordship to be temporary; the most popular representation of Thyestes is that of the play Thyestes by Seneca in 62 AD. This play is one of the originals for the revenge tragedy genre. Although inspired by Greek mythology and legend, Seneca's version is different. Thyestes was the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, father of Pelopia and Aegisthus, his three sons by a naiad, killed by Atreus were named Aglaus and Calaeus. Pelops and Hippodamia are parents to Thyestes. However, they were cursed by a servant of King Oenomaus, the father of Hippodamia. Myrtilus was promised the right to Hippodamia's virginity and half of Pelops' kingdom, but Pelops denied both to him and killed him by throwing him into the sea.
With his dying gasp, Myrtilus cursed their line, where Thyestes and Atreus comes in. Thyestes' brother and King of Mycenae, vowed to sacrifice his best lamb to Artemis. Upon searching his flock, Atreus discovered a golden lamb which he gave to his wife, Aerope, to hide from the goddess, she gave it to her lover, who convinced Atreus to agree that whoever had the lamb should be king. Thyestes claimed the throne. Atreus retook the throne using advice. Thyestes agreed to give the kingdom back when the sun moved backwards in the sky, a feat that Zeus accomplished. Atreus retook banished Thyestes. Atreus learned of Thyestes' and Aerope's adultery and plotted revenge, he cooked them, save their hands and heads. He served Thyestes his own sons and taunted him with their hands and heads; this is the source of modern phrase "Thyestean Feast," or one. When Thyestes was done with his feast, he released a loud belch, which represents satiety and pleasure and his loss of self-control. An oracle advised Thyestes that, if he had a son with his own daughter Pelopia, that son would kill Atreus.
Thyestes did so by raping Pelopia and the son, did kill Atreus. However, when Aegisthus was first born, he was abandoned by his mother, ashamed of the origin of her son. A shepherd found the infant gave him to Atreus, who raised him as his own son. Only as he entered adulthood did Thyestes reveal the truth to Aegisthus, that he was both father and grandfather to the boy and that Atreus was his uncle. Aegisthus killed Atreus. While Thyestes ruled Mycenae, the sons of Atreus and Menelaus, were exiled to Sparta. There, King Tyndareus accepted them as the royalty. Shortly after, he helped the brothers return to Mycenae to overthrow Thyestes, forcing him to live in Cytheria, where he died; as a token of good will and allegiance, King Tyndareus offered his daughters to Agamemnon and Menelaus as wives and Helen respectively. When Agamemnon left Mycenae for the Trojan War, Aegisthus seduced Agamemnon's wife and the couple plotted to kill her husband upon his return, they succeeded, killing his new concubine, Cassandra.
Clytemnestra and Aegisthus had three children: Aletes and Helen who died as an infant. Seven or eight years after the death of Agamemnon, Agamemnon's son Orestes returned to Mycenae and, with the help of his cousin Pylades and his sister Electra, killed both their mother and Aegisthus. Tired of the bloodshed, the gods exonerated Orestes and declared this the end of the curse on the house of Atreus, as described in Aeschylus' play The Eumenides. However, other stories say that when Aletes and Erigone came of age and became rulers at Mycenae, Orestes returned with an army killed his half-brother and raped his half-sister, who gave birth to a son, Penthilus. In the first century AD, Seneca the Younger wrote. In 1560 Jasper Heywood a Fellow of All Souls College, published a verse translation. Shakespeare's tragedy Titus Andronicus derives some of its plot elements from the story of Thyestes. In 1681, John Crowne wrote Thyestes, A Tragedy, based on Seneca's Thyestes, but with the incongruous addition of a love story.
Prosper Jolyot Crebillon wrote a tragedy "Atree et Thyeste", prominent in two tales of ratiocination by Edgar Allan Poe. In 1796, Ugo Foscolo wrote a tragedy called Tieste, first presented in Venice one year later. Caryl Churchill, a British dramatist wrote a rendition of Thyestes. Churchill's specific translation was performed at the Royal Court Theater Upstairs in London on June 7, 1994 In 2004, Jan van Vlijmen completed his opera Thyeste; the libretto was a text in French based on his 20th century play with the same title. Thyestes appears in Persephone. Seneca's influence in literature is reflected through other works. In Arnold's Sonnet on Shakespeare, the influence of Seneca is apparent. "The reminiscence of Atreus’ speech in the Thyestes of Seneca, which might subtend Cleopatra's own passionate, distended rhetoric about Antony". Bibliotheca Epitome 2.10-2.15 Hyginus, Fabulae, 85: Chrysippus, 86:Sons of Pelops, 88:Atreus Aeschylus' Agamemnon Edgar Allan Poe, The Purloined Letter, 140
Paris known as Alexander, the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. The best known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War. In the war, he fatally wounds Achilles in the heel with an arrow as foretold by Achilles’s mother, Thetis; the name Paris is Luwian and comparable to Pari-zitis, attested as a Hittite scribe's name. Paris was a child of Hecuba. Just before his birth, his mother dreamed; this dream was interpreted by the seer Aesacus as a foretelling of the downfall of Troy, he declared that the child would be the ruin of his homeland. On the day of Paris's birth, it was further announced by Aesacus that the child born of a royal Trojan that day would have to be killed to spare the kingdom, being the child that would bring about the prophecy. Though Paris was indeed born before nightfall, he was spared by Priam. Hecuba was unable to kill the child, despite the urging of the priestess of Apollo, one Herophile.
Instead, Paris's father prevailed upon his chief herdsman, Agelaus, to remove the child and kill him. The herdsman, unable to use a weapon against the infant, left him exposed on Mount Ida, hoping he would perish there, he was, suckled by a she-bear. Returning after nine days, Agelaus was astonished to find the child still alive and brought him home in a backpack to rear as his own, he returned to Priam bearing a dog's tongue as evidence of the deed's completion. Paris's noble birth was betrayed by his outstanding intelligence. While still a child, he routed a gang of cattle-thieves and restored the animals they had stolen to the herd, thereby earning the surname Alexander, it was at this time. She was a nymph from Mount Ida in Phrygia, her father was Cebren, a river-god or, according to other sources, she was the daughter of Oeneus. She was skilled in the arts of prophecy and medicine, which she had been taught by Rhea and Apollo, respectively; when Paris left her for Helen, she told him that if he was wounded, he should come to her, for she could heal any injury the most serious wounds.
Paris's chief distraction at this time was to pit Agelaus's bulls against one another. One bull began to win these bouts consistently. Paris began to set it against rival herdsmen's own prize bulls and it defeated them all. Paris offered a golden crown to any bull that could defeat his champion. Ares responded to this challenge by transforming himself into a bull and winning the contest. Paris gave the crown to Ares without hesitation, it was this apparent honesty in judgment that prompted the gods of Olympus to have Paris arbitrate the divine contest between Hera and Athena. In celebration of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, Lord Zeus, father of the Greek pantheon, hosted a banquet on Mount Olympus; every deity and demi-god had been invited, except Eris, the goddess of strife. For revenge, Eris threw the golden Apple of Discord inscribed with the word "kallisti" – "For the most beautiful" – into the party, provoking a squabble among the attendant goddesses over for whom it had been meant; the goddesses thought to be the most beautiful were Hera and Aphrodite, each one claimed the apple.
They started a quarrel. Knowing that choosing any of them would bring him the hatred of the other two, Zeus did not want to take part in the decision, he thus appointed Paris to select the most beautiful. Escorted by Hermes, the three goddesses bathed in the spring of Mount Ida and approached Paris as he herded his cattle. Having been given permission by Zeus to set any conditions he saw fit, Paris required that the goddesses undress before him. Still, Paris could not decide, as all three were ideally beautiful, so the goddesses attempted to bribe him to choose among them. Hera offered ownership of all of Asia. Athena offered skill in battle and the abilities of the greatest warriors. Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman on Earth: Helen of Sparta. Paris chose Aphrodite and therefore Helen. Helen was married to King Menelaus of Sparta, so Paris had to raid Menelaus's house to steal Helen from him - according to some accounts, she fell in love with Paris and left willingly; the Greeks' expedition to retrieve Helen from Paris in Troy is the mythological basis of the Trojan War.
This triggered the war because Helen was famous for her beauty throughout Achaea, had many suitors of extraordinary ability. Therefore, following Odysseus's advice, her father Tyndareus made all suitors promise to defend Helen's marriage to the man he chose for her; when Paris took her to Troy, Menelaus invoked this oath. Helen's other suitors – who between them represented the lion's share of Achaea's strength and military prowess – were obliged to help bring her back. Thus, the whole of Greece moved against Troy in force and the Trojan War began. Homer's Iliad casts Paris as cowardly. Although Paris admits his shortcomings in battle, his brother Hector scolds and belittles him after he runs away from a duel with Menelaus, to determine the end of the war, his preference for bow and arrow emphasizes this, since he does not follow the code of honor shared by the other heroes. Early in the epic and Menelaus duel in an attempt to end the war with
In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae in the Peloponnese, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidae. Atreus and his twin brother Thyestes were exiled by their father for murdering their half-brother Chrysippus in their desire for the throne of Olympia, they took refuge in Mycenae, where they ascended to the throne in the absence of King Eurystheus, fighting the Heracleidae. Eurystheus had meant for their stewardship to be temporary, but it became permanent after his death in battle. According to most ancient sources, Atreus was the father of Pleisthenes, but in some lyric poets Pleisthenides is used as an alternative name for Atreus himself; the word Atreides refers to one of the sons of Atreus -- Menelaus. The plural form Atreidai refers to both sons collectively; this term is sometimes used for more distant descendants of Atreus. The House of Atreus begins with Tantalus. Tantalus was a son of Zeus who enjoyed cordial relations with the gods until he decided to slay his son Pelops and feed him to the gods as a test of their omniscience.
Most of the gods, as they sat down to dinner with Tantalus understood what had happened, because they knew the nature of the meat they were served, were appalled and did not partake. But Demeter, distracted due to the abduction by Hades of her daughter Persephone, obliviously ate Pelops' shoulder; the gods threw Tantalus into the underworld, where he spends eternity standing in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reaches for the fruit, the branches raise his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bends down to get a drink, the water recedes, thus is derived the word "tantalising". The gods brought Pelops back to life, replacing the bone in his shoulder with a bit of ivory with the help of Hephaestus, thus marking the family forever afterwards. Pelops married Hippodamia after winning a chariot race against her father, King Oenomaus, by arranging for the sabotage of his would-be-father-in-law's chariot and resulting in his death; the versions of the story differ.
The sabotage was arranged by Myrtilus, a servant of the king, killed by Pelops for one of three reasons: because he had been promised the right to take Hippodamia's virginity, which Pelops retracted, because he attempted to rape her or because Pelops did not wish to share the credit for the victory. As Myrtilus died, he cursed his line, further adding to the house's curse. Pelops and Hippodamia had many sons. Depending on myth versions, they murdered Chrysippus, their half-brother; because of the murder, Hippodamia and Thyestes were banished to Mycenae, where Hippodamia is said to have hanged herself. Atreus vowed to sacrifice his best lamb to Artemis. Upon searching his flock, Atreus discovered a golden lamb which he gave to his wife, Aerope, to hide from the goddess, she gave it to Thyestes, her lover and Atreus' brother, who convinced Atreus to agree that whoever had the lamb should be king. Thyestes claimed the throne. Atreus retook the throne using advice. Thyestes agreed to give the kingdom back when the sun moved backwards in the sky, a feat that Zeus accomplished.
Atreus retook banished Thyestes. Atreus learned of Thyestes' and Aerope's adultery and plotted revenge, he cooked them, save their hands and feet. He tricked Thyestes into eating the flesh of his own sons and taunted him with their hands and feet. Thyestes was forced into exile for eating the flesh of a human. Thyestes responded by asking an oracle what to do, who advised him to have a son by his daughter, who would kill Atreus. However, when Aegisthus was first born, he was abandoned by his mother, ashamed of the incestuous act. A shepherd found the infant gave him to Atreus, who raised him as his own son. Only as he entered adulthood did Thyestes reveal the truth to Aegisthus, that he was both father and grandfather to the boy. Aegisthus killed Atreus, although not before Atreus and Aerope had had two sons and Menelaus, a daughter Anaxibia. Agamemnon married Clytemnestra, Menelaus married Helen, her famously attractive sister. Helen left Sparta with Paris of Troy, Menelaus called on all of his wife's former suitors to help him take her back.
Prior to sailing off to war against Troy, Agamemnon had angered the goddess Artemis because he had killed a sacred deer in a sacred grove, had boasted that he was a better hunter than she was. When the time came, Artemis stilled the winds. A prophet named Calchas told him that in order to appease Artemis, Agamemnon would have to sacrifice the most precious thing that had come to his possession in the year he killed the sacred deer; this was Iphigenia. He sent word home for her to come. Iphigenia was honored to be a part of the war. Clytemnestra was sent away. After doing the deed, Agamemnon's fleet was able to get under way. While he was fighting the Trojans, his wife Clytemnestra, enraged by the murder of her daughter, began an affair with Aegisthus; when Agamemnon returned home he brought with him the doomed prophetess, Cassandra. Upon his arrival that evening, before the great banq