Helen: Wikis


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Helen and Menelaus: Menelaus intends to strike Helen; struck by her beauty, he drops his sword. A flying Eros and Aphrodite (on the left) watch the scene. Detail of an Attic red-figure krater, c. 450–440 BC (Paris, Louvre).

In Greek mythology, Helen (in Greek, ἙλένηHelénē), known as Helen of Troy (and earlier Helen of Sparta), was the daughter of Zeus and Leda (or Nemesis), wife of King Menelaus of Sparta 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."



It is vain to search for an etymology.
— Pierre Chantraine

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.[1] Hjalmar Frisk and Pierre Chantraine despair of an etymology.[2]

If the name has an Indo-European etymology, it is possibly a suffixed form of a root *wel- "to turn, roll".[3] 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.[4] Helen's name possible connection with the noun "ἐλένη" ("torch") may also support the relationship of her name to Vedic svaranā ("the shining one").[5]

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.[6] 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 Sparta 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]



Leda and the Swan by Cesare da Sesto (c. 1506–1510, Wilton House, Wilton). The artist has been intrigued by the idea of Helen's unconventional birth; she and Clytemnestra are shown emerging from one egg; Castor and Pollux from another.

In most sources, including the Iliad and the Odyssey, Helen is the daughter of Zeus and Leda, the wife of the Spartan king Tyndareus.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] Pseudo-Apollodorus states that Leda had intercourse with both Zeus and Tyndareus the night she bore Helen.[13]

On the other hand, in the Cypria, one of the Cyclic Epics, Helen was the daughter of Zeus and the goddess Nemesis.[14] 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.[15] Presumably in the Cypria this egg was somehow transferred to Leda.[16] Later sources state either that it was brought to Leda by a shepherd who discovered it in a grove in Attica, or that it was dropped into her lap by Hermes.[17]

Asclepiades and Pseudo-Eratosthenes related a similar story, except that Zeus and Nemesis became swans instead of geese.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20]

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 Athenians, 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 Aphidnae or Athens. 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.[21]

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.[22] On the other hand, Stesichorus said that Iphigeneia was the daughter of Theseus and Helen, which obviously implies that Helen was of childbearing age.[23] In most sources, Iphigeneia is the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, but Duris of Samos and other writers followed Stesichorus' account.[24]

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:[25]

[...] or like Helen, on the sands of Eurotas, between Castor and Pollux, one to be victor in boxing, the other with horses: with naked breasts she carried weapons, they say, and did not blush with her divine brothers there.

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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

Seduction by Paris

In western painting, Helen's journey to Troy is usually depicted as a forced abduction. The Rape of Helen by Francesco Primaticcio (left, c. 1530–1539, Bowes Museum) is representative of this tradition. In Guido Reni's homonymous painting (right, 1631, Louvre, Paris), however, Paris holds Helen by her wrist, and leave together for Troia.

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."[30] Sappho argues that Helen willingly left behind Menelaus and Hermione, her nine-year-old daughter, to be with Paris:[31]

Some say a host of horsemen, others of infantry and others
of ships, is the most beautiful thing on the dark earth
but I say, it is what you love
Full easy it is to make this understood of one and all: for
she that far surpassed all mortals in beauty, Helen her
most noble husband
Deserted, and went sailing to Troy, with never a thought for
her daughter and dear parents.
The Rape of Helen by Tintoretto (1578–1579, Museo del Prado, Madrid); Helen languishes in the corner of a land-sea battle scene.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34]

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 Memphis, who indeed confirmed that Helen spent ten years in Egypt around the time of the Trojan War.[35]

In Troy

Helen on the Ramparts of Troy was a popular theme in the late 19th century art. Both Frederick Leighton (left), and Gustave Moreau (right) depict an expressionless Helen; a blank or anguished face.

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 Aulis, 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".[36]

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.[37]

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:[38]

Wherefore I wail alike for thee and for my hapless self with grief at heart;
for no longer have I anyone beside in broad Troy that is gentle to me or kind;
but all men shudder at me.
The Love of Helen and Paris by Jacques-Louis David (oil on canvas, 1788, Louvre, Paris); a love that soon faded, when Helen realized that Paris is not a man of courage and strong character.

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:[39]

Howbeit, seeing the gods thus ordained these ills, would that I had been wife to a better man,
that could feel the indignation of his fellows and their many revilings. [...]
But come now, enter in, and sit thee upon this chair, my brother,
since above all others has trouble encompassed thy heart because of shameless me, and the folly of Alexander.

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.[40]

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.[41]

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.[42] 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.[43] Electra wails:[44]

Alas for my troubles! Can it be that her beauty has blunted their swords?


Helen returned to Sparta 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 Olympus 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 Rhodes, 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

Zeuxis et les Filles de Crotone (François-André Vincent, 1789, Paris, Louvre). The scene tells the story of the painter Zeuxis who was commissioned to produce a picture of Helen for the temple of Hera at Agrigentum, Sicily. To realize his task, Zeuxis chose the five most beautiful maidens in the region.[45]

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?[46] The ancient world starts to paint Helen's picture or inscribe her form on stone, clay and bronze by the 7th century BC.[47] 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.[48]

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.[49] The Etruscans, 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.[50]

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.[51]

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.[52] In Gustave Moreau's painting, Helen will finally become faceless; a blank eidonon in the middle of Troy's ruins.


Helen of Troy by Evelyn de Morgan (1898, London); Helen admiringly displays a lock of her hair, as she gazes into a mirror decorated with the nude Aphrodite.

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 River. Theocritus conjures up the epithalamium Spartan women sung at Platanistas commemorating the marriage of Helen and Menelaus:[53]

We first a crown of low-growing lotus
having woven will place it on a shady plane-tree.
First from a silver oil-flask soft oil
drawing we will let it drip beneath the shady plane-tree.
Letters will be carved in the bark, so that someone passing by
may read in Doric: "Reverence me. I am Helen's tree."

Helen's worship was also present on the opposite bank of Eurotas at Therapne, 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.[54] 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.[55] There is also evidence for Helen's cult in Hellenistic Sparta: rules for those sacrificing and holding feasts in their honor are extant.[56]

Helen was also worshiped in Attica along with her brothers, and on Rhodes as Helen Dendritis (Helen of the Trees, Έλένα Δενδρῖτις); she was a vegetation or a fertility goddess.[57] 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.[58] 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.[59]


  • The Private Life of Helen of Troy, an early silent film.
  • 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.
  • In 1956, an Italian-made epic titled Helen of Troy was released, directed by Oscar-winning director Robert Wise and starring Italian actress Rossana Podestà in the title role.
  • 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.
  • Helen of Troy is referenced in the climactic scene of The Truth About Cats & Dogs
  • 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.
  • Margaret George wrote an epic adult novel, Helen of Troy, in 2006, told through Helen's first-person narrative.
  • Esther Friesner wrote a young-adult novel, Nobody's Princess, published in 2007, of Helen's childhood and early life.
  • Caroline B. Cooney also wrote a young-adult novel, Goddess of Yesterday, where Helen is one of the main characters.
  • 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

  • Inspired by the line "Was this the face that launched a thousand ships...?" from Marlowe's play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Isaac Asimov jocularly coined the unit millihelen to mean the amount of beauty that can launch one ship.[60]
  • 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.
  • The modernist poet H.D. wrote an epic poem Helen in Egypt from Helen's perspective.[61]
  • Jacob M. Appel's play, Helen of Sparta, retells Homer's Iliad from Helen's point-of-view.[62]
  • 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".[63]
  • 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. ^ or "to cover, enclose" (compare Varuna, Veles), or of *sel- "to flow, run" (The American Heritage Dictionary, "Indo-European roots: wel").
  4. ^ 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".
  5. ^ Scutsch, Helen, 190–191, 192
  6. ^ Nilsson, The Mycenaean Origin, 41
  7. ^ Meagher, The Meaning of Helen, 14–15; Thompson, The Trojan War, 20
  8. ^ Hughes, Helen of Troy, 29
  9. ^ Whitby, Sparta, 7
  10. ^ Homer, Iliad, III, 199, 418, 426; Odyssey, IV, 184, 219; XXIII, 218.
  11. ^ Euripides, Helen 16–21, 257–59
  12. ^ First Vatican Mythographer, VM I 204.
    * Gantz, Early Greek Myth, 320–321; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 350; Moser, A Cosmos of Desire, 443–444
  13. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, III, 10.7
  14. ^ Cypria, fr. 9 PEG.
  15. ^ Athenaeus 8.334b-d, quoting the Cypria; Cypria, fr. 10 PEG.
  16. ^ 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).
  17. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, III, 10.7
    * Hard & Rose, The Roudlegde Handbook, 438–439
  18. ^ Asclepiades 12F11, Pseudo-Eratosthenes Catast. 25.
  19. ^ Gantz, Early Greek Myth, ibid
  20. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, III, 16.1
    * Hughes, Helen of Troy, 26–27
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ Hellanicus 4F134; Diodorus 4.63.1-3.
  23. ^ Stesichorus, fr. 191 PMG.
  24. ^ Gantz, pp. 289, 291.
  25. ^ 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."
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ 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
  28. ^ 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
  29. ^ Cypria, fr. 1; Hesiod, Catalogs of Women and Eoiae, fr. 204.96–101
    * Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 7–8
  30. ^ Cypria, fr. 1; Herodotus, Histories, 113–119
  31. ^ Sappho, fr. 16. See an analysis of the poem by Gumpert, Grafting Helen, 92
  32. ^ Kimmelman, Michael (1 March 2007). "Lights! Darks! Action! Cut! Maestro of Mise-en-Scène". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/arts/design/01tint.html. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
    * Schjeldahl, Peter (12 February 2007). "Venetial Brass". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/artworld/2007/02/12/070212craw_artworld_schjeldahl. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  33. ^ Dio Chrysostom, Discourses, 1.37–53
    * Hughes, Helen of Troy, 128–129
  34. ^ Cypria, fr. 1; Homer, Iliad, III, 443–445
    * Cyrino, "Helen of Troy", 133–134
  35. ^ Herodotus, Histories, 113–119
    * For an analysis of these three versions, see Alan, Introduction, 18–28
  36. ^ Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis, 1166–1170; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 195–196
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ Homer, Iliad, XXIV, 773–775
    * Hughes, Helen of Troy, 219; Redfold, The Tragedy of Hector, 122
  39. ^ Homer, Iliad, VI, 349–351, 354–356
    * Hughes, Helen of Troy, 219; Redfold, The Tragedy of Hector, 122; Suzuki, Metamorphoses of Helen, 36
  40. ^ Homer, Odyssey, IV, 277–289; Virgil, Aeneid, 515&ndASH;519.
    * Hughes, Helen of Troy, 220; Suzuki, Metamorphoses of Helen, 99–100.
  41. ^ Virgil, Aeneid, 494&ndASH;512.
    * Suzuki, Metamorphoses of Helen, 101–102.
  42. ^ Stesichorus, fr. 201 PMG.
  43. ^ 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
  44. ^ Euripides, Orestes, 1286
  45. ^ Pliny, National History, 35.64–66. Cicero (De Inventione, 2.1–3) sets the story in Croton.
  46. ^ Mansfield, Too Beautiful to Picture, 29
  47. ^ Hughes, Helen of Troy, 1–2
  48. ^ Pomeroy, Spartan Women, 169
  49. ^ Anderson, The Fall of Troy, 257; Matheson, Polygnotos and Vase Painting, 225
  50. ^ Caprino, Etruscan Italy, 66–71
  51. ^ David, Narrative in COntext, 136; Hughes, Helen of Troy, 181–182
  52. ^ Maguire, Helen of Troy, 39–43, 47
  53. ^ Theocritus, The Epithalamium of Helen, 43–48
    * Edmunds, Helen's Divine Origins, 12
  54. ^ Herodotus, Histories, VI, 61.3
    * Hughes, Helen of Troy, 30–31; Lynn Budin, The Ancient Greeks, 286
  55. ^ 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
  56. ^ 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
  57. ^ 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.
  58. ^ 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.
  59. ^ Calame, Choruses of Young Women, 201; Eaverly, Archaic Greek Equestrian Sculpture, 9; Pomeroy, Spartan Women, 162–163
  60. ^ The Humanism of Isaac Asimov
  61. ^ Amazon.com H.D. "Helen in Egypt"
  62. ^ Horwitz, Jane. Washington Post, December 16, 2008. P. C08.
  63. ^ Poemhunter.com


Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • Allan, Williams (2008). "Introduction". Helen. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83690-5. 
  • Anderson, Michael John (1997). "Further Directions". The Fall of Troy in early Greek Poetry and Art. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-198-15064-4. 
  • Cairns, Francis (2006). "A Lighter Shade of Praise". Sextus Propertius. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-86457-7. 
  • Calame, Claude (2001). "Chorus and Ritual". Choruses of Young Women in Ancient Greece (translated by Derek Collins and Janice Orion). Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-742-51525-7. 
  • Caprino, Alexandra (1996). "Greek Mythology in Etruria". in Franklin Hall; John. Etruscan Italy. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-842-52334-0. 
  • Chantraine, Pierre (2000). "Ἐλένη" (in French). Dictionnaire Étymologique de la Langue Gercque. Klincksieck. ISBN 2-252-03277-4. 
  • Cingano, Ettore (2005). "A Catalog within a Catalog: Helen's Suitors in the Hesiodic Catalog of Women". in Hunter; Richard L.. The Hesiodic Catalog of Women. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83684-0. 
  • Clader, Linda Lee (1976). Helen. Brill Archive. ISBN 9-004-04721-2. 
  • Cyrino, Monica S. (2006). "Helen of Troy". in Winkler; Martin M.. Troy: from Homer's Iliad to Hollywood. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 1-405-13182-9. 
  • David, Benjamin (2005). "Narrative in Context". in Jenkens, Lawrence A.. Renaissance Siena. Truman State University. ISBN 1-931-11243-6. 
  • Eaverly, Mary Ann (1995). "Geographical and Chronological Distribution". Archaic Greek Equestrian Sculpture. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-10351-2. 
  • Edmunds, Lowell (May 2007). "Helen's Divine Origins". Electronic Antiquity: Communicating the Classics X (2): 1–44. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ElAnt/V10N2/. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  • Frisk, Hjalmar (1960). "Ἐλένη" (in German). Griechisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch. I. French & European Pubns. ISBN 0-828-86839-5. 
  • Gantz, Timothy (2004). Early Greek Myth. Baltimore, MD and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-85362-1. 
  • Gumpert, Matthew (2001). "Helen in Greece". Grafting Helen. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-17124-8. 
  • Hard, Robin; Rose, Herbert Jennings (2004). "the Trojan War". The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-18636-6. 
  • Hughes, Bettany (2005). Helen of Troy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 1-400-04178-3. 
  • Executive ed.: Joseph P. Pickert... (2000). "Indo-European roots: wel". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-395-82517-2. 
  • Jackson, Peter (2006). "Shapeshifting Rape and Xoros". The Transformations of Helen. J.H.Röll Verlag. ISBN 3-897-54260-9. 
  • Lynn Badin, Stephanie (2006). "Religion and Ideology". The Ancient Greeks. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-576-07814-0. 
  • Maguire, Par (2009). "Beauty". Helen of Troy. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 1-405-12635-3. 
  • Mansfield, Elizabeth (2007). "Helen's Uncanny Beauty". Too Beautiful to Picture. University of MinesotaPress. ISBN 0-816-64749-6. 
  • Matheson, Susan B. (1996). "Heroes". Polygnotos and Vase Painting in Classical Athens. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-13870-4. 
  • Meagher, Robert E. (2002). The Meaning of Helen. Bolchazy–Carducci Publishers. ISBN 0-865-16510-6. 
  • Mills, Sophie (1997). "Theseus and Helen". Theseus, Tragedy, and the Athenian Empire. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-198-15063-6. 
  • Moser, Thomas C. (2004). A Cosmos of Desire. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-11379-8. 
  • Nilsson, Martin Persson (1932). "Mycenaean Centers and Mythological Centers". The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology. Forgotten Books. ISBN 1-605-06393-2. 
  • Pomeroy, Sarah B. (2002). "Education". Spartan Women. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-195-13067-7. 
  • Redfield, James (1994). "The Hero". The Tragedy of Hector. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-822-31422-3. 
  • Skutsch, Otto (1987). "Helen, her Name and Nature". The Journal of Hellenic Studies 107: 188–193. doi:10.2307/630087. http://www.jstor.org/stable/630087. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  • Suzuki, Mihoko (1992). "The Iliad". Metamorphoses of Helen. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-801-48080-9. 
  • Thompson, Diane P. (2004). "The Fall of Troy – The Beginning of Greek History". The Trojan War. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-41737-4. 
  • Whitby, Michael (2002). "Introduction". Sparta. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-93957-7. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Helen[1] is a tourist town that is a re-creation of an alpine village. It is located in Georgia's Historic High Country.

Get in

By car

From Atlanta, GA Approximately 1 1/2 hrs.

I-85 North. Go north to Gainesville Exit 113, which is I-985 and turns into Hwy. 365. Go 42 miles continuing on Hwy. 365 to Hwy. 384. Turn left, go 16 miles to GA Hwy. 75, turn right and go three miles into Helen.

From Atlanta, Georgia via GA 400 GA 400 North. Take 400 North until it ends. Continue ahead on GA Hwy. 115. Go 5 miles to the traffic light. Turn right on to Hwy. 115. Go 13 miles to Cleveland. At traffic light, turn left onto US 129 North. Go to the next traffic light and turn right on Hwy. 75 North. 9 miles to Helen.

From Chattanooga, TN Approximately 132 miles - 3 hrs.

I-75 South. Go South on I-75 to Dalton, GA. Take Hwy. 76 to Ellijay. From Ellijay continue south on Hwy. 52 to Dahlonega. At Dahlonega continue on 52/115 to Cleveland, GA. At 1st traffic light in Cleveland, turn left on Hwy. 129 North to next light and then right on GA Hwy. 75 and travel 9 miles to Helen.

From Birmingham, AL Approximately 3 1/2 hrs.

I-20 E take I-20 East to Atlanta, then I-285 by-pass north toward Chattanooga. Take GA 400 North to the end. Continue straight ahead on a county two-lane road (Long Branch Rd.) for 5 miles to a traffic light. Turn right on Hwy. 52/115 for 13 miles to Cleveland, GA. At traffic light turn left on Hwy. 129 North. At next traffic light turn right on Hwy. 75 and go 9 miles to Helen.

From Florida I-75 to I-675 to I-285 to I-85 and see above from Atlanta.

Get around

Most of downtown Helen can be seen on foot and there are several public parking lots that a convenient.

Horne's Buggy Rides[2] are horse-drawn buggy rides that takes you throughout the city.

  • Anna Ruby Falls[3] a waterfall located in the Chattahoochee National Forest. A trail to the waterfall is also provided for the visually impaired.
  • Babyland General Hospital - Cabbage Patch Kids [4] Where cabbage Patch Kids are "born". Located in the neighboring Town of Cleveland.
  • Black Forest Bear Park & Reptile Exhibit[5] A "park" that is the home to many different species of bears and reptiles too.
  • Charlemagne's Kingdom[6] An Alpine Model Railroad.
  • Nora Mill Granary & Country Store[7] A Granary Mill built in 1876 on the Chattahoochee just 2 miles south of Helen.
  • Sautee Nacoochee Center [8] A museum/nature preserve/heritage site.
  • Sautee Store [9] An old store museum that carries Scandinavian gifts.
  • Scarlett's Secret[10] A Plantation style museum that contains memorabilia from the movie Gone With the Wind and of the Civil War.
  • Unicoi State Park, [11]. The park offers camping, hiking and biking trails, trout fishing, a lodge with rooms and a restaurant and rental cabins.
  • Ana Ruby Falls, [12]. A hiking trail leads to a viewing platform at the base of two falls.
  • Unicoi Outfitters[13]. Fly fishing.
  • Upper Hightower Trout, [14].
  • Georgia Lake Trout, [15].
  • Horseback Riding, [16]
  • Southeastern Expeditions, [17].
  • Wildwood Outfitters, [18].
  • Helen Tubing [19].
  • Cool River Tubing, [20].
  • Innsbruck Golf Club, [21].
  • Helen Mini Golf, [22].
  • Pirates Cove, [23]. Mini-golf.
  • Lake Cruises, 828-389-3255, [24]
  • Fasching [25] Best described as a German Mardi Gras. It is held before Lent.
  • Annual Trout Tournament [26] A Trout fishing tournement held in Helen every year.
  • The Spring Volksmarch Walk [27] Volksmarch is a group oriented hike or walk that is not a contest. Volksmarch is very popular in European countries.
  • Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race & Festival [28] Held the first weekend in June every year.
  • Oktoberfest,[29] Helen hosts one of the longest Oktoberfest in the South. Oktoberfest in Helen starts in September and lasts through November. Updated bands, longer hours, and more visitors than ever will make this years the best ever!
  • Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen, [30]. The owner of this "Candy Kitchen" knows how to make candy so well that he was asked to and did write Candy Making for Dummies. For the famous "Dummies" Book series from Wiley Publishing. [31]
  • Scandinavian European Import Company, [32]. Selling handcrafted cuckoo clocks, Rhythm & Seiko Movement Clocks, Beer Steins, Russian Nesting Dolls, Amber Jewelry, Rare German Pewter, Nyform Trolls, as well as many other items.
  • Nacoochee Grill, 7277 South Main Street, (706)878-8020,[33].
  • The Helen House Restaurant, 8797 N. Main St.(706)892-1004,[34].
  • Hofer's of Helen Bakery and Cafe, 8758 North Main St, (706)878-8200, [35].
  • Pauls Steakhouse, 8537 S Main St(706)878-2468.
  • La Cabana Mexican Restaurant, 8160 S Main St, (706)878-3456.
  • Viele Margaritas, 8537 S Main St STE B (706)878-2468.
  • Troll Tavern & Restaurant, (706)878-3117,[36].
  • Bigg Daddys American Tavern & Music Club
  • Safari Steakhouse 8717 N Main St (706)878-2083
  • Cafe International, Main Street, (706) 878-3102.
  • Old Bavaria Inn Restaurant, 8619 S Main St, (706)878-3729.
  • Jordano's Pizza, 11 River St, (706)878-7732.
  • Sunflower Restaurant, 8252 S. Main St., (706)878-8899.
  • Hofbrau Riverfront Motel & Restaurant, 9001 Main Street, (706)878-2248, [37].
  • Alpine Village Inn[38] 1005 Edelweiss Strasse (706)878-2296;(800) 844-8466
  • Best Western Riverpark Inn & Conference Center[39] 8220 S Main Street (706)878-2111;(800)435-3642
  • Castle Inn[40] N Main St (706)878-3140; (800)395-3644
  • Days Inn[41] 8288 South Main St (706)878-4079;(800)DAYSINN
  • Econo Lodge [42] 100 Edelweiss Strasse (706)878-8000
  • Edelweiss German Inn & Restaurant[43]747 Duncan Bridge Rd, Sautee, Ga (706)865-7371
  • Hampton Inn on the River [44] 147 Unicoi St (706)878-3310;(800)426-7866
  • Helendorf Inn, 33 Munichstrasse Helen, GA 30545, +1 (800) 445-2271 [45]. The Helendorf River Inn and Conference Center is located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in downtown Alpine Helen, Georgia in the Northeast Georgia Mountains.
  • Hofbrau Riverfront Motel & Restaurant [46]9001 Main Street (706)878-2148;(800)830-3977
  • Motel 6 [47] 8171 S Main St (706)878-8888
  • Quality Inn [48] 15 Yonah St. (706)878-2268;(800)535-8678
  • Ramada Limited [49] 11 Edelweiss Strasse (706)878-1451 (800)2RAMADA
  • Rodeway Inn [50] 749 Brucken Strasse (706)878-2141;(800)424-6423
  • Super 8[51] 8396 S Main St (706)878-2191;(800)535-1251
  • Unicoi State Park Lodge & Restaurant Hwy 356 Sautee, GA 30571 (706)878-2201;(800)573-9659
  • A Blue Ridge Cabins [52]
  • Tanglewood Cabins [53]
  • Cabin Rentals of Sautee & Old Pilgrim House [55]
  • Chimney shadows Cabins [56]
  • Frances Lee Cabin [57]
  • Georgia Mountain Rentals [58]
  • Lazy Bones Mountain Cabins [59]
  • Pinnacle Cabin Rentals [60]
  • Sautee Resorts [61]
  • North Ga Cabins [62]
  • Sleepy Hollow Campground [63]
  • Yonah Mountain Campgrounds[64]
  • Jenny's Creek Campground[65]
  • Creekwood RV Park & Cabins [66]
  • Leisure Acres Campground [67]
  • The neighboring town of Cleveland where you my find Babyland General Hospital - Cabbage Patch Kids [68] Where cabbage Patch Kids are "born".
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HELEN, or Helena (Gr. `EMv), in Greek mythology, daughter of Zeus by Leda (wife of Tyndareus, king of Sparta), sister of Castor, Pollux and Clytaemnestra, and wife of Menelaus. Other accounts make her the daughter of Zeus and Nemesis, or of Oceanus and Tethys. She was the most beautiful woman in Greece, and indirectly the cause of the Trojan war. When a child she was carried off from Sparta by Theseus to Attica, but was recovered and taken back by her brothers. When she grew up, the most famous of the princes of Greece sought her hand in marriage, and her father's choice fell upon Menelaus. During her husband's absence she was induced by Paris, son of Priam, with the connivance of Aphrodite, to flee with him to Troy. After the death of Paris she married his brother DeIphobus, whom she is said to have betrayed into the hands of Menelaus at the capture of the city (Aeneid, vi. 517 ff.). Menelaus thereupon took her back, and they returned together to Sparta, where they lived happily till their death, and were buried at Therapnae in Laconia. According to another story, Helen survived her husband, and was driven out by her stepsons. She fled to Rhodes, where she was hanged on a tree by her former friend Polyxo, to avenge the loss of her husband Tlepolemus in the Trojan War (Pausanias iii. 19). After death, Helen was said to have married Achilles in his home in the island of Leuke. In another version, Paris, on his voyage to Troy with Helen, was driven ashore on the coast of Egypt, where King Proteus, upon learning the facts of the case, detained the real Helen in Egypt, while a phantom Helen was carried off to Troy. Menelaus on his way home was also driven by stress of winds to Egypt, where he found his wife and took her home (Herodotus 11.112-120; Euripides, Helena). Helen was worshipped as the goddess of beauty at Therapnae in Laconia, where a festival was held in her honour. At Rhodes she was worshipped under the name of Dendritis (the tree goddess), where the inhabitants built a temple in her honour to expiate the crime of Polyxo. The Rhodian story probably contains a reference to the worship connected with her name (cf. Theocritus xviii. 48 f (30v µ', `EAEVas cbvrov €1µi). She was the subject of a tragedy by Euripides and an epic by Colluthus. Originally, Helen was perhaps a goddess of light, a moon-goddess, who was gradually transformed into the beautiful heroine round whom the action of the Iliad revolves. Like her brothers, the Dioscuri, she was a patron deity of sailors.

See E. Oswald, The Legend of Fair Helen (1905); J. A. Symonds, Studies of the Greek Poets, i. (1893); F. Decker, Die griechische Helena in Mythos and Epos (1894); Andrew Lang, Helen of Troy (1883); P. Paris in Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionnaire des antiquites; the exhaustive article by R. Engelmann in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologie; and O. Gruppe, Griechische Mythologie, i. 163, according to whom Helen originally represented, in the Helenephoria (a mystic festival of Artemis, Iphigeneia or Tauropolos), the sacred basket (iMvn) in which the holy objects were carried; and hence, as the personification of the initiation ceremony, she was connected with or identified with the moon, the first appearance of which probably marked the beginning of the festivity.

<< Helder

St. Helena >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also helen, and Helén




From Ancient Greek Ἑλένη (Helenē), possibly connected with ἥλιος (hēlios), sun).


Proper noun




  1. (Greek mythology) Helen of Troy, a famous beauty in classical Greek legend.
  2. A female given name.

Related terms


  • 1602 William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act I, Scene I
    Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair,
    When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
  • 1928 Agatha Christie, The Mystery of the Blue Train
    "Is her name Ellen or Helen, Miss Viner? I thought - "
    Miss Viner closed her eyes.
    "I can sound my h's, dear, as well as anyone, but Helen is not a suitable name for a servant. I don't know what the mothers in the lower classes are coming to nowadays."
  • 1993 Oscar Hijuelos, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, ISBN 0-14-023028-9, page 6:
    in 1910 she brought Helen into the world, the little female, or "mujercita", as her mother called all the babies, naming her after the glittery label on a facial ointment, The Helen of Troy Beauty Pomade, said to eradicate wrinkles, to soften and add a youthful glow to the user's skin - a fortuitous choice because, of all the sisters, she would be the most beautiful and, never growing old, would always possess the face of a winsome adolescent beauty.
  • 2003 Deborah Crombie, A Share in Death, HarperCollins, ISBN 0060534389, page 189
    Gemma followed her, thinking that Helen seemed rather an old-fashioned and elegant name for this rumpled young mother.



Proper noun


  1. A female given name borrowed from English.


Proper noun


  1. A female given name, short form of Helena, also borrowed from English Helen.


Proper noun


  1. A female given name borrowed from English.


Proper noun


  1. A female given name borrowed from English.

Simple English

by Evelyn de Morgan (1898, London).]] Helen is a person in Greek mythology. She is said to be the most beautiful woman in the world and is an important person in the Trojan War, and Homer's Iliad.

Helen was the daughter of the god Zeus and Leda, the wife of King Tyndareos of Sparta. Her brothers were Castor and Polydeukes, and her sister was Klytaimnestra.

Helen was married to Menelaus, and was queen of Sparta. With Menelaus she had a daughter, Hermione.

Later she was taken away by Paris to Troy. This was one of the main causes of the Trojan War.

Was influenced by Atalanta, the huntress.

Half Brothers: Heracles, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Dionysus.

Half Sisters: Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, Discord, Eileithyia, Hebe, and Pandia.

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