As far as Aphrodite was
concerned, there really was no comparison between Aphrodite
and her half sister, Helen. Poor Helen was married to the
king of Sparta. How boring for her. Aphrodite had no
interest in being married at all. Both girls were probably
Zeus' daughters. But Helen's
mother was only a mortal. Everyone knew that Aphrodite's mother was probably a goddess.
Helen was attractive certainly. But the truth was, as
Aphrodite would tell you
herself if you asked her, Aphrodite was the most beautiful
goddess in the land.
You can imagine Aphrodite's surprise
when she heard that Paris, a lowly prince of the city-state of Troy, had proclaimed her half sister Helen as the fairest
in the land. Aphrodite was not at all pleased.
A short time later, a wedding was
announced in the Greek god world. Eris,
the spirit of disagreement, had not been invited. Eris made a
surprise and most unwelcome visit to the wedding reception. She
threw a golden apple of discord on the feasting table. "This
apple is for whomever is the fairest," Eris proclaimed
haughtily, hoping to cause trouble.
Hera, Aphrodite, and
Athena all grabbed for the apple. "It's mine," insisted
the three goddesses, Aphrodite loudest of all.
Zeus thundered, "Enough. Paris
will decide who is the fairest. Hermes,
go tell Paris he has a job to do."
muttered. "Well, well."
Paris found himself facing three of
the most powerful goddesses in the world, all clamoring for his
attention. "Paris will decide! Which one of us is the
loveliest, Paris?" they demanded to know.
Paris could have said they were all the most
beautiful. But Paris was
as foolish as he was handsome. Paris told all three goddesses that
whomever offered him the best bribe would be declared the fairest.
Aphrodite, wise in the ways
of foolish men, promised Paris that his brothers would
be so jealous when the king of Sparta's wife, the beautiful Helen,
fell instantly in love with him. Paris loved the idea. His
brothers were always showing him up and making him feel
foolish. This would show them!
Foolishly, Paris took the
bribe. He declared Aphrodite the fairest of them
Aphrodite kept her promise. That
very day foolish Paris and Helen (enchanted) left Greece behind.
They traveled together to the city of Troy, where they expected to
live happily ever after.
No one knows exactly how, but somehow
the king heard that his wife, Helen, had been kidnapped by Paris, a prince of
Troy. The king of Sparta went after his wife to rescue her. When the king of Sparta
called on the other kings of Greece to help, they rallied to his
side. A huge navy of Greek warriors set sail for Troy. That was the beginning of the
Trojan War. And the end of Troy.
Ever after, and for all time, Queen
Helen of Sparta, the women who caused the destruction of an entire
city-state, was no longer known as the half sister of Aphrodite. She
was known simply as Helen of Troy.