Helena , Latinized from ancient Greek Ἑλένη Helénē , is the daughter of Zeus and Leda born from an egg in Greek mythology . Leda was seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan, whereby she became the mother of Helena and the Dioscuri Castor and Polydeukes (Roman: Pollux ). Clytaimnestra was considered the daughter of Leda and Tyndareus ; she was a half-sister of Helena.
The beautiful Helena
Helena was considered the most beautiful woman of her time. Her beauty is said to have been so great that every man who saw her wanted to own Helena. As a teenager she was kidnapped by Theseus and Peirithoos to Aphidnai in Attica and freed by the Dioscuri , her brothers.
Many Greek princes competed for them. Her earthly father feared the hostility of all rejected if a suitor was preferred and therefore, following a advice from Odysseus , made all applicants for Helena swear that they would recognize Helena's election and defend it against everyone - a typical justification for the alliance of almost all Greek kings against Troy . Helena chose Menelaus , Prince of Mycenae and thus later King of Sparta , to whom she gave birth to her daughter Hermione .
In the quarrel between the three goddesses Hera , Aphrodite and Athene over the apple of Eris , Aphrodite promised her to the Trojan prince Paris and agreed to abduct her to Troy. Hera and Athene decided to fight Troy.
According to one version of the legend, she never arrived in Troy, but ended up on a long return journey with many detours to Egypt - according to the will of the gods, only a "phantom" like Helena arrived in Troy. According to the main version of the legend, however, it followed Paris to Troy and thus triggered the Trojan War of the Greeks against Troy when the dishonored Menelaus turned to all the rejected suitors for help. After the fall of Paris, she married his brother Deiphobus and was accepted again by Menelaus after the defeat of Troy. Both returned safely to Sparta, lived and ruled there for a long time - unlike most of the other Greek princes, almost all of whom perished after the fall of Troy.
The Helena figure appears already in the oldest Western (Greek) epic of Homer , the Iliad , and learned a long literary afterlife (z. B. in Goethe's Faust II , as well as in the Historia von D. Johann Faustus and Jacques Offenbach's operetta La Belle Hélène and much more).
The Mount Helen in Antarctica is named after her.
- Erich Bethe : Helene 3). In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume VII, 2, Stuttgart 1912, Col. 2824-2835.
- Richard Engelmann : Helena II . In: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Hrsg.): Detailed lexicon of Greek and Roman mythology . Volume 1,2, Leipzig 1890, Sp. 1928–1978 ( version ).
- Helene Homeyer : The Spartan Helena and the Trojan War. Changes and wanderings of a saga from antiquity to the present (= Palingenesia . Volume 12). Steiner, Wiesbaden 1977, ISBN 3-515-02534-0 .
- Ludger Scherer, Burkhard Scherer : Myth Helena. Texts from Homer to Luciano de Crescenzo . Reclam, Ditzingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-15-020163-3 .
- Steffen Schneider: Helena. In: Maria Moog-Grünewald (Ed.): Mythenrezeption. The ancient mythology in literature, music and art from the beginnings to the present (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 5). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2008, ISBN 978-3-476-02032-1 , pp. 308-317.
- Wilhelm Gemoll : Greek-German school and hand dictionary. Munich / Vienna 1965.
- It is said that she was worshiped as a vegetation goddess in pre-Greek times in Sparta .
- Euripides , Helena 18-19; Hyginus , Fabulae 77
- Pausanias 1,33,7; Libraries of Apollodorus 3,10,7
- Hyginus, Fabulae 79; Plutarch , Theseus 31
- Hyginus, Fabulae 81
- Hyginus, Fabulae 77; Libraries of Apollodorus 3,10,9