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Helen of Troy

Information About Helen of Troy and Her Family of Origin


Les Amours de Pâris et d'Hélène, by Jacques-Louis David

Paris and Helen, by Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825)

Public Domain
Helen of Troy and the Trojan War were central to the early history of ancient Greece.

Helen is the object of one of the most dramatic love stories of all time and one of the main reasons for a ten-year war between the Greeks and Trojans, known as the Trojan War. Hers was the face that launched a thousand ships because of the vast number of warships the Greeks sailed to Troy to retrieve Helen. The poems known as the Trojan War Cycle were the culmination of many myths about the ancient Greek warriors and heroes who fought and died at Troy.

Helen of Troy - Family of Origin

The Trojan War Cycle is based on a story from the legendary period of ancient Greece, a time when it was common to trace lineage to the gods. Helen is said to have been a daughter of the king of the gods, Zeus. Her mother was generally considered to have been Leda, the mortal wife of the king of Sparta, Tyndareus. In some versions, Nemesis, in bird form, is named mother. The Helen-egg was then given to Leda to raise. Clytemnestra was the sister of Helen, but her father wasn't Zeus, but Tyndareus. Helen had two (twin) brothers, Castor and Pollux (Polydeuces). Pollux shared a father with Helen, and Castor with Clytemnestra. The two brothers are called the Dioscuri. There were various stories about this helpful pair of brothers, including one about how they saved the Romans at the Battle of Regillus.

The Argonauts - The Dioscuri: Castor and Pollux
Homeric Hymn to the Dioscuri
Helen of Troy

Next Page: Menelaus, Agamemnon, and Paris of Troy

Helen in the Iliad
People From the Trojan War You Should Know

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