Helen of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Helen of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Bettany Hughes

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 1400076005

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Helen of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Bettany Hughes

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 1400076005

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For 3,000 years, the woman known as Helen of Troy has been both the ideal symbol of beauty and a reminder of the terrible power beauty can wield.In her search for the identity behind this mythic figure, acclaimed historian Bettany Hughes uses Homer’s account of Helen’s life to frame her own investigation. Tracing the cultural impact that Helen has had on both the ancient world and Western civilization, Hughes explores Helen’s role and representations in literature and in art throughout the ages. This is a masterly work of historical inquiry about one of the world’s most famous women.

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in the air. The 12th-century hall was hidden in the 18th century by a neo-classical façade; the building still operates as the local Palais de Justice. In the past, to access the court, you would have taken your chances with Eleanor’s henchmen, but now the greatest hazard is the plate-glass door that slides rather too quickly from one side of the entrance to the other. Lawyers of the Palais de Justice still pop in and out of the arches that line the walls, to take a mobile phone call or share a

Geology and Mineral Exploration KBo Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi (Leipzig and Berlin) KUB Keilschrifturkunden aus Boghazköi (Berlin) LBA Late Bronze Age LCL Loeb Classical Library LH Late Helladic LFMC Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae LM Late Minoan MM Middle Minoan or Mycenae Archaeological Museum NMA National Archaeological Museum, Athens F’MG Poetae Melici Graeci (Oxford: D. Page, 1962) PMGF Poetarum Melicorum Graecorum Fragmenta (Oxford: M. Davies, 1991)

tablets – an absence that some scholars apply to the suggestion that Helen is a proto-Aphrodite figure. 14 Hurrian Hymn to Ishtar, KUB XXIV (CTH 717) i.38–40, adapted by G. Beckman (2000) in ‘Goddess Worship – Ancient and Modern’, in A Wise and Discerning Mind: Essays in Honor of Burke O. Long, ed. S.M. Olyan and R.C. Culley (Providence), 11, from a translation by H. Güterbock (1983) ‘A Hurro-Hittite Hymn to Ishtar’, Journal of the American Oriental Society 103: 156. 15 Stamps still survive:

3.232–3]. 7 Iliad 2.747 [LCL 2.652]. 8 Details from ‘The Education of Michael Ventris’, a paper given by Thomas G. Palaima at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, March 2004. 9 ‘The Decipherment of Linear B and the Ventris-Chadwick Correspondence’: exhibition in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2003. The Mycenaean Epigraphy Group and the Chadwick Fund, Faculty of Classics, Cambridge. Exhibition catalogue by Lisa Bendall: 39. 10 Tablets featuring names of oxen come from

fan-base. The epithets Spartan (austere, hardy, rigorous) and Laconic23 (brief, using few words) have made their way into the English language. They are appropriate mementoes of a society which was indeed extreme, hard-line and taciturn. The Spartans believed, above all, in duty and self-sacrifice. Deriving inspiration from a shady – possibly mythical – figure called Lycurgus ‘the Law-Giver’ they outlawed money, banned prostitutes and perfume and shunned the sartorial embellishments much loved by

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