Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus

By Apollodorus; Michael Simpson et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Trojan War (Epitome 3-5)

EPIT. 3 Alexander later carried off Helen in accordance with the will of Zeus, | as some say, so that his daughter might acquire fame when Europe and Asia went to war, or as others say, so that the race of demigods might be exalted. | For one of these reasons Strife tossed an apple among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite as a prize for beauty, and Zeus ordered Hermes to lead them to Alexander on Mount Ida for him to judge among them. Each promised Alexander gifts if he chose her: Hera, rule over all men; Athena, victory in war; and Aphrodite, marriage with Helen. He chose Aphrodite and sailed to Sparta in ships built by Phereclus.1 For nine days he was the guest of Menelaus and on the tenth, when Menelaus went to Crete to bury Catreus, his maternal grandfather, Alexander persuaded Helen to go off with him. She abandoned her nine-year-old daughter Hermione, put most of her property on board, and set sail with him at night. Hera sent a heavy storm upon them which forced them to put in at Sidon. Wary of pursuit, Alexander delayed a long time in Phoenicia and Cyprus. When he was certain that he was not being pursued, he came to Troy with Helen. | Some say that Hermes stole Helen in obedience to Zeus' will, brought her to Egypt, and gave her to Proteus, the king of the Egyptians, to guard, and that Alexander went to Troy with an image of Helen made from clouds. | 2

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When Menelaus realized that Helen had been abducted, he went to Agamemnon at Mytenae and begged him to raise an army throughout Greece against Troy. He also sent a herald to each of the kings, to remind them of the oaths they had sworn and to advise each to safeguard his own wife, saying that all Greece shared the insult. Many were enthusiastic about the expedition. Some went to Odysseus in Ithaca, who did not want to go and pretended to be insane. But Palamedes, the son of Nauplius, proved that his insanity was feigned. He

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