Helen (known as "Beautiful Helen") was a woman of extraordinary beauty. According to Greek mythology, she was the main reason for the legendary Trojan War. Euripides, the famous tragedian, states that " Helen's destiny was to bring about death in order to rid the earth of arrogant people".
Helen was a daughter of Zeus, king of the gods, and Leda (or Nemesis). Because of her extraordinary beauty, many men wanted to marry Helen, including Theseus, the founder of Athens.
Eventually, Helen became the wife of Menelaus, the legendary king of Sparta. The couple gave birth to a daughter named Hermione and probably also a son named Nicostratos.
According to the ancient Greek tragedian Euripides, Helen was a frivolous woman and deliberately unfaithful.
Helen resembled the immortal goddesses in her appearance and was called the "most beautiful woman in the world" by goddess Aphrodite. The ancient Greek poet Homer depicts Helen in the Iliad as fair-faced and beautifully dressed. However, Helen described herself as "dog-eyed" ("kynopis" in ancient Greek).
While Helen was married to Menelaus, she was noticed by Paris, the prince of Troy. Overwhelmed by her beauty, Paris kidnapped Helen and took her to his hometown of Troy.
According to another myth, however, Paris did not kidnap Helen, but actually persuaded her to come with him and abandon her daughter Hermione, who was nine years old at the time.
Outraged by the kidnapping, Menelaus gathered a force with his brother Agamemnon and attacked Troy, leading to a battle that lasted ten years.
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