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Helen of Troy (miniseries)
Helen of Troy is a 2003 British-American television miniseries based upon Homer's story of the Trojan War, as recounted in the epic poem, Iliad. This TV miniseries also shares the name with a 1956 movie starring Stanley Baker. It stars Sienna Guillory as Helen, Matthew Marsden as Paris, Rufus Sewell as Agamemnon, James Callis as Menelaus, John Rhys-Davies as Priam, Maryam d'Abo as Hecuba, as well as Stellan Skarsgård as Theseus. The series was entirely shot on location in the islands of Malta.
|Helen of Troy|
|Written by||Ronni Kern|
|Directed by||John Kent Harrison|
With Rufus Sewell
and Stellan Skarsgård
|Theme music composer||Joel Goldsmith|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Original network||USA Network|
|Original release||April 20, 2003 (U.S.)|
Helen of Troy in Context
The abduction of Helen by Paris reflects the ancient idea of women as trophies that can be taken from an enemy. Victorious soldiers commonly took the women of their fallen enemies as slaves in the myth, Paris actually provokes a war by taking Helen with him while Menelaus is away. Versions of the story differ on whether or not Helen went with Paris willingly, but this is irrelevant to Menelaus's reaction: he behaves as if Paris has stolen property from him, an attitude typical of the time period.
Helen also reflects Greek ideas about the importance of physical beauty. According to the ancient Greeks, outer beauty was a reflection of the mind and spirit. Therefore, beauty was considered to be a sign of intelligence, health, and a pure heart. Although the Greeks focused on physical beauty, it is because they did not consider beauty to be merely “skin deep.”
Although Helen was the daughter of Zeus, she is a mortal woman in the myth of the fall of Troy. Some scholars suggest that Helen was once a very ancient goddess associated with trees and birds, but whose status was reduced to a mere mortal when the Greeks stopped worshipping her.
The Curse of Beauty: How Helen of Troy Was Blamed for Sparking the Trojan War
When a figure is known for having "the face that launched a thousand ships," they're bound to pique plenty of interest and curiosity. While many people may be familiar with this Christopher Marlowe line from "Doctor Faustus," they may not be as familiar with his inspiration: Helen of Troy. Otherwise known as Helene or Helen of Sparta, the mythological figure is a character in Homer's epic poem, "The Iliad," who is described as the most beautiful woman of Greece. She's also been blamed for inadvertently sparking the Trojan War (which some might say is unfair considering the fault really lies with the men fighting over her). But there's much more to Helen than many realize, and her story is one more piece of the fascinating, interconnected puzzle of Greek mythology.
Like many players in Greek mythology, Helen's family life is a little complicated. "The most important part of Helen's bio — aside from the fact that she was the immediate reason for the Trojan War being fought — is that she's the daughter of the chief god Zeus," says Richard P. Martin, Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek professor in classics at California's Stanford University, in an email interview. "Her mother was a mortal, Leda, who was married to Tyndareus of Sparta." According to Martin, Zeus — a master of disguise — took on the form of a swan to seduce Leda and she produced two eggs, resulting in four offspring: the girls Helen and Clytemnestra, and the boys Castor and Polydeuces (better known by their Latin names Castor and Pollux — the "Gemini" or twins). "Helen and her sister grew up to marry two brothers, Menelaus and Agamemnon, respectively," Martin says.
Helen's history as an important mythological figure runs deep. "Helen was worshipped as a goddess in Sparta in historical times," Martin says. "She was especially associated with springs of water and trees. Rituals carried out by girls nearing the age of marriage were dedicated to her."
Helen and The Trojan War
So why is Helen implicated in the start of the Trojan War, the legendary Bronze Age conflict between the early Greeks and the people of Troy? Experts still debate which portions of the war were based in reality and which were fabricated by creatives like Homer and Virgil. So how does Helen fit into the most popular version of the story?
"Helen was the most beautiful woman in Greece and had many suitors," Martin says. "Her father made them all swear that they would come to the aid of whichever suitor won Helen's hand in marriage, should anything happen to her. He chose Menelaus to be her husband. The pair lived in Sparta and had a daughter, Hermione."
According to Martin, while Helen and Menelaus started their domestic life together, a young prince from Troy on the other side of Aegean Sea named Paris was asked to judge a beauty contest among the goddesses: Hera (Zeus's wife), Athena and Aphrodite.
"Each promised success in her own special field," Martin says. "Hera offered rule as a king, Athena offered wisdom, and Aphrodite dangled Helen as a bribe — and of course Paris proceeded to judge the sex goddess to be the fairest."
Martin says that when Paris went to visit Menelaus, he seduced Helen and sailed back with her to Troy, prompting the leading warriors of Greece (who, had until recently, been the ones vying for Helen's attention) to join Agamemnon and Menelaus in taking her back from Paris. "But he would not let her go, and so a ten-year siege of Troy by the Greeks began, ending only with the ruse of the Trojan Horse that enabled the Greek fighters to secretly enter the citadel and set it aflame," Martin says. "Menelaus finally got his wife back when the Greeks conquered the city."
The "Face That Launched a Thousand Ships"
As far as that famous line about her face, Martin explains how Helen came to be defined by a 17th century literary description. It refers to the Greek fleet that went in pursuit of Helen, and it comes from a line in a play called "The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus," published in 1604 by a contemporary of Shakespeare named Christopher Marlowe," he says. "The main character, Faustus, wants power at all costs and makes a deal with an associate of the devil, that he will sell his soul provided he is given the service of evil spirits for 24 hours. So he gets the ability to summon spirits of the long-dead, the most impressive being Helen of Troy, whom he takes as a lover."
For further context, here are the lines with which Faustus greets Helen:
But while Helen is often known for her role in Greek mythology, she has universal appeal. "The story of Helen has deep connections with a folktale plot that is found all over the world, starting in ancient Egypt — the 'beautiful wife abducted,'" Martin says. "There is a terrific recent book on all the many versions, written by Lowell Edmunds: "Stealing Helen: The Myth of the Abducted Wife in Comparative Perspective."
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Helen the Whore and the Curse of Beauty
Said to have ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’, Helen of Troy has been remembered, judged – and hated – by every age since she entered the written record 2,700 years ago. With great beauty comes great resentment.
Detail from The Love of Helen and Paris, Jacques-Louis David, 1788.
I n the archives of Trinity Hall College, Cambridge, there is an infrequently studied medieval manuscript. Created in 1406 it is an illustrated version of Boethius’ sixth-century Consolation of Philosophy. The Consolation is a fusion of Christian and pagan principles written in an attempt to identify the root of happiness – and set down while the author Boethius was awaiting execution in Pavia. On one page of the discoloured parchment, Helen of Troy, dressed in the fashionable robes of the day, stands on a parapet while flags flutter on the towers of the castle behind her she stares down at Paris who is climbing up to greet her. Helen has a flick of rouge on her cheeks. She grips Paris’ shoulders firmly, hauling him up towards her and to infidelity.
Although we now tend to think of Helen as a passive figure, a feeble thing swept along to Troy on the tide of Paris’ libido, the simpering shell immortalized in Wolfgang Peterson’s movie Troy (2004), a close study of representations of Helen through the centuries yields a feistier figure. She is a woman who is at times applauded, but more often damned, for being sexually active – and is, furthermore, branded a whore. Helen of Troy is a telling icon: a woman who impacted on the world around her – as one of the earliest named authors of the West, Hesiod declared in his Works and Days: ‘[there was] a god-like race of hero men . grim war and dread battle destroyed a part of them . [war] brought them in ships over the great sea gulf to Troy for rich-haired Helen’s sake’ – but whose impact has to be explained away in terms of a shabby sale of sex.
Of all Helen’s roles in the literary and artistic corpus (and it is a long career – she has been forgotten by not a single generation since she entered the written record 2,700 years ago), it is her part as fantasy whore that has been most tenacious. Her many sexual partners – the hero Theseus, her husband Menelaus, her lover Paris, her second Trojan husband Deiphobus, and (some whispered) Achilles after both he and Helen were dead – are trotted out by ancient and modern authors alike as the gossip columns would the client-list of a high-class prostitute. And so Euripides calls her a ‘bitch-whore’ she is Shakepeare’s ‘strumpet’ in Thomas Proctor’s The Reward of Whoredom by the Fall of Helen (1578) she is a ‘trull’ and a ‘flurt’, an embodiment of prostitution’s ‘vilde filthy fact’ Chaucer may well have been playing on words when he called her a ‘queene’ – a homophone for a ‘quene’ or harlot, and for Schiller a ‘Helen’ simply meant a prick-tease, a tart, a slut.
The rationale (if the thought process involved can be distinguished with such a name) from the fifth century BC onwards was that Helen’s crime was not simply sleeping with another man, Paris, the prince of Troy, but being encouraged into his bed by rich treasures from the East, brought as gifts for Menelaus and the Spartan court. Euripides’ queen Hecuba interrogates Helen: ‘were the halls of Menelaus not large enough for your luxury to wanton in?’. ‘O adulterous beauty!’ bemoans an Clement of Alexandria in the second century AD. ‘Barbarian finery and effeminate luxury overthrew Greece Lacedaemonian chastity was corrupted by clothes, and luxury, and graceful beauty barbaric display proved Zeus’ daughter a whore.’ And in his loose adaptation of Euripides, the late modernist Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin has Hecuba (Paris’ mother and Priam’s widow) spit out at Helen:
My son Paris was a heart-stopping boy,
And you, adulterous witch, wanted him.
And he was rich. Your heart flew at that.
Your husband here, King Menelaus, had a nice, modest castle
You’d heard about our palaces – luxurious,
So-long Menelaus, Paris – come on in!
(The Lost Women of Troy by Hanoch Levin, working adaptation by Tanya Ronder)
Oddly – in an accrued narrative that is nine-tenths fiction and one-tenth fact – the notion that a visiting Trojan prince would have brought untold treasures to the Spartan court in the Late Bronze Age (the most likely period for a conflict we call the Trojan War) does have real historical weight. Both Troy and Sparta were important and strategic settlements between 1300–1100 BC – the kinds of places that would have sent envoys across the Aegean to negotiate with one another, to debate rights over trade routes, to promote marriage alliances. Detailed written evidence in the form of inscribed hieroglyphic and cuneiform tablets produced by the bureaucrats of the Egyptian and Hittite courts make it clear that the rulers of the day showered one another with gifts.
Extravagant gift-giving allowed aristocrats to trade without seeming to stoop to the ranks of merchant men. Gift-exchange also bound states together in an abstract convention known as xenia – or xenwia as it appears in the Greek Late Bronze Age script, now called Linear B. Xenia roughly translates as ‘guest-friendship’ (literally ‘for guest-gift’) and was a means by which the traveller could be safely entertained in a stranger’s halls, an exchange of gifts demonstrating the goodwill between the two parties.
The formal transfer of the richest of material goods, xenia in action, gave the Eastern Mediterranean some cohesion in the Late Bronze Age. There is not a shred of evidence that a Bronze Age Helen bestowed sexual favours in return for booty – but equally there is no question that a Mycenaean aristocrat such as Helen would have received rich gifts from visiting foreign dignitaries – particularly from a city as wealthy as Troy.
Yet a diplomatic explanation for Paris’ delivery of Anatolian exotica is far from the minds of Helen’s biographers. Instead her dealings with the Trojan prince position her as the archetypal broad. Following Helen’s progression as a whore, and glancing sideways at other key female characters as one travels through time, a pattern emerges. Think of powerful women from history – women such as Cleopatra, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Anne Boleyn: the memory of each is coloured by sexual scandal. Cleopatra, like Helen, was described as a Fury by Virgil and in Lucan’s first-century Civil War we read: ‘Cleopatra, the shame of Egypt, the fatal Fury of Latium, whose unchastity cost Rome dear. As the dangerous beauty of the Spartan queen overthrew Argos and Troy town, in like measure Cleopatra fanned the frenzy of Italy’.
Eleanor was the 12th-century heir to the duchy of Aquitaine, and ‘by the wrath of God Queen of England’ she chose to dress in red (we still have in the National Archives the pipe-rolls that detail the lengths of scarlet cloth ordered for her out of state funds) and chroniclers were quick to judge her a scarlet woman. Matthew Paris declared that ‘by reason of her excessive beauty, she destroyed or injured nations’. Henry VIII’s second wife Anne, ‘the Great Whore’, was lambasted by the Abbot of Whitby in the following terms: ‘the King’s Grace is ruled by one common, stewed whore, Anne Boleyn, who makes all the spirituality to be beggared, and the temporality also.’
And like Anne, Eleanor and Cleopatra, Helen’s sexual peccadilloes were doubly dreadful because they were perceived as hastening men not just to a woman’s bed but to their deaths.
Show me the strumpet that began this stir,
That with my nails her beauty I may tear!
Thy heat of lust, fond Paris, did incur
This load of wrath that burning Troy did bear
Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth here,
And here in Troy, for trespass of thine eye,
The sire, the son, the dame and daughter die.
(Shakespeare, Lucrece 1, 471 – 7)
Helen’s misfortune was that her crime against humanity was equally heinous in a pagan and a Christian climate. The ancients thought Helen’s crime was the crime of a god, or rather a goddess, Aphrodite (in that Helen’s excessive sexual charisma was a gift of Aphrodite) – but through the medieval and Early Modern periods – in fact up until the 21st century, her affair was judged a sin against God himself. And so we find medieval theologians such as Joseph of Exeter, detailing her misdemeanours with overweening enthusiasm. Note here that Joseph of Exeter, writing in around 1184, describes her favoured sexual position with Paris as being on top – an attitude detailed in the penitential lists of the day as the mark of a whore.
Lying on him [Paris] with her whole body, she [Helen] opens her legs, presses him with her mouth and robs him of his semen. And as his ardour abates the purple bedlinen that was privy to their sins bears witness to his unseen dew. What evil! O wicked woman, were you able to put a check on such passionate desire? Was lust waiting for a purchaser? What marvellous power in the gentle sex! Woman holds back her precipitate lust to obtain wealth and does not deign to give joy unless her smile has been paid for!
Where ancient, medieval and modern worlds also concurred was not just on the guilt of Helen and women like her, but in the assertion that it was female allure (not you note Paris’, Mark Anthony’s, Henry II’s or Henry VIII’s hubris or lust) that brought exceptional suffering to the world. And in Helen’s case, the specific cause – the Spartan girl’s unparalleled, dreadful beauty.
Rather than positioning Helen’s beauty as a worthy gift of the gods – ancient authors (with the interesting exception of Sappho who seems to suggest in Fragment 16 that Helen’s beauty endows her with initiative) predominantly saw her ‘peerless face and form’ as a curse. Beauty in Greek men was thought to be a sign of inner goodness (the Greeks had a word for it, kalokagathia, meaning joint nobility in appearance and mind or conduct.) Whereas for the male of the species a perfect face was the patina for a perfect character, a woman’s beauty was thought to conceal a dark heart.
Helen’s beauty was believed pernicious. She was imagined to be a direct avatar of the kalon kakon – the beautiful evil – the first ever woman according to Hesiod’s revisionist theogony composed in the seventh century BC. Helen was a thing essentially bad, cloaked in beauty. Given that beauty was thought in the ancient world to be an active attribute with its own cogent power, the most beautiful woman in the world had, by definition, to be its most dangerous. As she walks along the walls of Troy, the old men of the benighted city start to chatter, muttering that now they understand why these two great peoples, the Trojans and the Greeks, have to fight. What beauty Helen has, they say, a terrible beauty like that of the goddess.
‘Terrible’ because the Greeks believed that when you looked on the face of a goddess or one who, like Helen was quasi-divine, dreadful things happened. When Actaeon saw Diana bathing she turned the peeping Tom into a stag – a stag who was then harried by his own hounds. Those who stared at the Gorgon were petrified – turned to stone. It is for this reason that Helen despises her own beauty – and bemoans in Euripides’ eponymous drama Helen: ‘My life and fortunes are a monstrosity. partly because of my beauty. I wish I had been wiped clean like a painting and made plain instead of beautiful’.
Helen knows she cannot escape her own beauty, she cannot clamber out of her skin. On the vases of the fifth and fourth centuries BC she is often depicted staring intently at herself in a mirror. Artists of the 19th and 20th centuries – painting their own versions of the Spartan Queen – interpreted this self-absorption as a sign of vanity – but for the ancients it was a signal that by studying her reflection Helen was bringing her horrors home to roost.
The fancy that Helen’s beauty was a lint covering a festering wound proved perennially popular. A woman’s beauty was thought, in the Western tradition, to ‘trick’ men into a sexual relationship. The more beautiful a woman, the more likely her exterior attributes displayed a duplicitous nature. Semonides, composing in the seventh century BC, ranted:
Yes, women are the greatest evil Zeus has made,
And men are bound to them, hand and foot,
With impossible knots tied by god.
It is no wonder that Hades waits at the door
For men at each other’s throats
On the Greek stage much play was made of the notion that the handsome female was created to beguile and inveigle the male population. In Attic Comedy, fine women with their contrived beauty, and prostitutes, are frequently characters whose job it is to ensnare men. Travelling forward 2,000 years in time, Alexander Ross, Anglican minister and author of the highly popular and widely read Mystagogus Poeticus (a myth dictionary listed in alphabetical order and published in 1647) opines:
. for she [Helen] had a deform’d soul, playing the strumpet, not only in her younger years with Theseus . but also being married to Menelaus, forsook him, and became a whore to Paris and not content with him, committed incest with Gorythus, the son of Paris and Oenone afterward betrayed the city of Troy to the Grecians, and treacherously caused her husband Deiphobus to be murdered in his bed by Menlaus . thus we see, that outward beauty of the body, without the inward graces of the mind, is but a gold ring in a swine’s snout.
In the Iliad, Helen wails: ‘On us is sent an evil destiny,/ That we should be a singer’s theme/ For generations to come’. Her prophecy holds. There has not been an age that has not hated her for her beauty and has not chosen to transmit her sexual adventure as an educative example of voracious whoring. In Terence la Nove’s series of artworks ‘Maelstrom’ created between 1999–2003, Helen is portrayed as a catalyst of disarray and in the site-specific installations of the American artist Joan Jonas ‘Lines in the Sand 2002’ – a mixed-media series which subtly and brilliantly aims to liberate Helen from her stereotype – Helen still appears reincarnated as a showgirl in Las Vegas.
The ancient authors were right to think of Helen’s beauty as a curse. She has been remembered – not as one of the Mycenaean potentates on whom her story was based, nor as sexually active player in Late Bronze Age international politics, nor even as Homer’s complex, tortured and resourceful Queen, but as ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’, ‘the most Beautiful Woman in the World’, ‘the Harlot of Greece’.
Helen of Troy has been established as a primal whore, a deceiver – in a long line of sexually powerful women whose purpose is credited as being to bring down men, whose sex life is viewed as betrayal in pursuit of furtherment, perpetuating the ancient notion that female lust pollutes male intellect. To use the words of Jeffrey Toobin: ‘As is demonstrated by the history of scandal from Helen of Troy to Monica of Beverly Hills, sex has a way of befogging the higher intellectual faculties.’
Bettany Hughes is a historian, broadcaster and author of Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore (2005). Her latest book, Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities, is out now. This article originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of History Today.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Titan's Curse
Percy Jackson briefly mentions Helen when talking to Aphrodite about tragic love stories in a white limo at the Junkyard of the Gods when she is with Ares somewhere in Colorado. Aphrodite sees these tragic love stories as if they were soap operas. She also says she hasn't seen such a tragic love story for centuries, probably referring to Helen and Paris.
Who was Helen of Troy?
Bettany Hughes is an historian, broadcaster, and author of Helen of Troy, Goddess, Princess, Whore (Pimlico 2013). Here, she writes about the myth of Helen as explored through the ages, and her continued relevance.
Is she fake or for real? Was she brutally abducted or did she elope? Could she really have been the most beautiful woman in the world?? For 27 centuries, Helen of Troy has been one of the most exciting and the most contested of female figures. She&rsquos also one of the most tenacious from the moment when Helen first enters the record in Book 2 of Homer&rsquos Iliad back in the Iron Age, there isn&rsquot a single decade when she leaves the human radar. East and West alike have used Helen&rsquos story to explore the conflict between duty and desire, between women and men, between delight and death, and between ideas of what is right and wrong.
She is of course, actually, Helen of Sparta. The epic poets tell us that Helen was a gorgeous and feisty princess, heir to the lush and fertile Spartan kingdom in the Greek mainland. Her hand was fought for ferociously by the greatest heroes of Greece &ndash the most splendid of all, Achilles. Eventually she was claimed by Agamemnon&rsquos younger brother Menelaus as his bride. This was not a match made in heaven. Lured, the Greeks told us, by the &lsquogolden riches of the East&rsquo Helen left behind her cuckold-husband and girl-child Hermione, and a few years later ran off to Troy with the Trojan Prince Paris &ndash himself super-pretty, crowned, as Homer puts it with &lsquoglistening love-locks&rsquo. As a guest in Menelaus&rsquo Spartan home (Menelaus was conveniently away in Crete at his father&rsquos funeral at the time) Paris&rsquos hubris broke all codes of honour - and all hell broke loose. Greece&rsquos heroes then spent ten long, bloody years fighting to get Helen back. Helen was cursed for her beauty, &lsquobeauty like that of a goddess&rsquo as Homer puts it &ndash (meaning a ferocious vitality that changed men&rsquos lives). Helen&rsquos physical perfection spawned suffering and rage and ugly death.
Now Homer was not composing a history &ndash it is clear this epic poem, spanning 15693 lines, was a rip-roaring tale of derring-do, it is myth. But myth at this time didn&rsquot mean pure fantasy, rather &lsquothings that were spoken of, the transfer of information&rsquo. And the exciting truth is that every time there is an excavating season of Bronze and Iron Age sites in the Eastern Mediterranean or Near East, the details of the story of Helen and Paris edge just a little bit further from fairy-tale and a little closer to fact.
We now know for example that there were indeed high-ranking female aristocrats whose infidelity was enough to spark threats of war between states in what is now Lebanon and Syria. That women did oil themselves with oil to make their hair and clothes and skin shine, that they mixed druggy brews of opiates in their palace homes, that Troy was a crux of international trade and diplomacy, that golden spindles and boars&rsquo tusk helmets &ndash minutely described by Homer - were indeed trophies, that marriage alliances across the Mediterranean stitched together this macho, beauty-obsessed world and that the Greeks really were at Troy sometime around 1200 BC &ndash close to the traditional date of the war. A ten-year siege seems to be, from the archaeology, total nonsense.
And Helen herself seems to be a gorgeous confection, a combination of real flesh and blood women of the day, and salivating fantasies about female sexuality combined with a sharp fear of female power. But the delight of Helen&rsquos story, if you read Homer carefully, is that it offers a glimpse of actual women in Europe and Asia who enjoyed status and standing and agency. When women were generally written out of history, Helen of Troy was written in. As her story passed down the generations it held up a mirror to the prejudices of society and to some of its truths. Helen in the Iliad declares, &lsquoon us has been sent an evil destiny, that we should be a singer&rsquos theme for generations to come.&rsquo How prophetic. Helen might not be real &ndash but she never loses her relevance.
Helen Of Troy (2003)
Still seeking to gain entrance into Troy, clever Odysseus (some say with the aid of Athena) ordered a large wooden horse to be built. Its insides were to be hollow so that soldiers could hide within it.
Once the statue had been built by the artist Epeius, a number of the Greek warriors, along with Odysseus, climbed inside. The rest of the Greek fleet sailed away, so as to deceive the Trojans.
One man, Sinon, was left behind. When the Trojans came to marvel at the huge creation, Sinon pretended to be angry with the Greeks, stating that they had deserted him. He assured the Trojans that the wooden horse was safe and would bring luck to the Trojans.
Only two people, Laocoon and Cassandra, spoke out against the horse, but they were ignored. The Trojans celebrated what they thought was their victory, and dragged the wooden horse into Troy.
That night, after most of Troy was asleep or in a drunken stupor, Sinon let the Greek warriors out from the horse, and they slaughtered the Trojans. Priam was killed as he huddled by Zeus' altar and Cassandra was pulled from the statue of Athena and raped.
After the war, Polyxena, daughter of Priam, was sacrificed at the tomb of Achilles and Astyanax, son of Hector, was also sacrificed, signifying the end of the war.
Aeneas, a Trojan prince, managed to escape the destruction of Troy, and Virgil's Aeneid tells of his flight from Troy. Many sources say that Aeneas was the only Trojan prince to survive, but this statement contradicts the common story that Andromache was married to Helenus, twin of Cassandra, after the war.
Menelaus, who had been determined to kill his faithless wife, was soon taken by Helen's beauty and seductiveness that he allowed her to live.
The surviving Trojan women were divided among the Greek men along with the other plunder. The Greeks then set sail for home, which, for some, proved as difficult and took as much time as the Trojan War itself (e.g., Odysseus and Menelaus).
Helen of Troy
Links compiled by Tracy Marks , Greek Mythology instructor at
the Cambridge Center for Adult Education , leader of the online
Classica discussion group and Path of the Heroine Greek mythology
workshops. More Greek myth articles and links here .
Helen of Troy and ousted founder settle lawsuit
Gerald Rubin posed in the lobby of Helen of Troy's El Paso headquarters in 2011. (Photo: BRIAN KANOF/EL PASO TIMES FILE PHOTO) Buy Photo
Gerald Rubin and officials with Helen of Troy, the El Paso consumer products company he founded, have settled a wrongful-termination lawsuit Rubin filed against the company almost a year ago, Helen of Troy reported.
Rubin had sought more than $50 million in lost compensation and additional damages from the company for what he claimed was his wrongful ouster as chief executive officer and board chairman in January 2014 by the company's board of directors. He ran the company for 45 years. It has annual sales of more than $1.4 billion.
Rubin settled for a life insurance policy with a cash-out value of $6.3 million, the company reported in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. He also received $15 million of Helen of Troy stock as due to him under his employment and separation agreements. He had not accepted the shares after his ouster.
The two sides made a settlement agreement on Nov. 12.
Rubin, his Dallas lawyer, Michael Lynn, and Helen of Troy officials declined to comment on the lawsuit settlement.
Rubin is now CEO of River Oaks Properties, the large El Paso shopping center development company he's owned for years.
Helen of Troy officials agreed to transfer ownership and assign all rights to a life insurance policy the company held for Rubin and his wife, the company reported in its SEC filing. The policy could be cashed out by Rubin for $6.3 million, according to the filing. The company will take a $4.3 million charge-off in the third quarter for the policy transfer, which is the amount the policy ownership change cost the company after income tax deductions are made.
The company charged off the $15 million stock shares and other compensation due Rubin in its 2014 fiscal year fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 28, 2014.
The 47-year-old company develops, makes, and sells an array of hair-care, home, and health-related products under well-known brands, including Revlon, Brut, Vicks, Honeywell, and Dr. Scholl's.
It employed slightly more than 1,600 people worldwide, including about 450 in its lavish West El Paso headquarters, at the end of August, the latest information from the company.
Rubin in his lawsuit, filed in a state court in Dallas in late November 2014, claimed the Helen of Troy board forced him to resign before his employment contract was to end in 2015. That ouster was to save millions of dollars in compensation for Rubin because of pressure from the company's institutional investors, he claimed. Institutional Shareholder Services, which keeps track of Helen of Troy for the company's institutional shareholders, for several years had problems with Rubin's large compensation package, the lawsuit claimed.
Helen of Troy officials in public statements and court documents had denied any wrongdoing in Rubin's termination.
Rubin received $14.05 million in salary, stock awards, and other compensation in fiscal 2013, a company report showed. His base salary was $600,000 per year. He had the potential of earning almost $42 million in a three-year period, including future stock awards, if he remained with the company until the end of fiscal 2015, a company report showed.
Julien Mininberg was appointed by the Helen of Troy board to replace Rubin, and became the company's CEO in March 2014. Mininberg was running Helen of Troy's Healthcare and Home Environment division, created after its 2010 acquisition of Kaz Inc., a Boston-area maker of body thermometers, humidifiers, fans and other products under well-know brands, including Vicks, Braun, and Honeywell.
The company's sales, profits and stock price have grown substantially under Mininberg, who has his office in El Paso, but his home remains in Massachusetts.
The company had sales of $1.45 billion in its 2015 fiscal year, up almost 10 percent from fiscal 2014. Its profit almost doubled to $131.2 million in fiscal 2015..
Its stock closed Nov. 18 at $103.14 per share on the Nasdaq stock exchange, up $1.62 per share.
Helen of Troy
Helen of Troy was the demigoddess daughter of Zeus and Leda. She was taken by Paris as his wife (since she was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world), which caused the Trojan War. She has 3 childrens with him named Idaeus, Bunomus and Corythus. Sadly all of her childrens with Paris died in the roof of Troy.
She originally was the wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta, and had a daughter, alongside 3 sons with him named Hermione, Aethiolas, Maraphius and Pleisthenes. At the end of the Trojan War, she was taken back to Sparta to live with her husband and daughter again. Menelaus was enraged by Helen's betrayal, but when Helen took off her cloak to revealing her breast, Menelaus calmed down.
In some sources, she was abducted by Theseus, but was then saved by Castor and Pollux. The twin brothers then forced Theseus' mother to be Helen's slave.