Judgement of Paris

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The Judgement of Paris is a story from Greek mythology, which was one of the events that led up to the Trojan War and (in slightly later versions of the story) to the foundation of Rome.

Contents

Sources of the episode

As with many mythological tales, details vary depending on the source. The brief allusion to the Judgement in the Iliad (24.25–30) shows that the episode initiating all the subsequent action was already familiar to its audience; a fuller version was told in the Cypria, a lost work of the Epic Cycle, of which only fragments (and a reliable summary[1]) remain. The later writers Ovid (Heroides 16.71ff, 149–152 and 5.35f), Lucian (Dialogues of the Gods 20), Apollodorus (Epitome E.3.2) and Hyginus (Fabulae 92), retell the story with skeptical, ironic or popularizing agendas. But it appeared wordlessly on the ivory and gold votive chest of the 7th-century tyrant Cypselus at Olympia, which was described by Pausanias as showing:

The subject was favoured by painters of Red-figure pottery as early as the sixth century BC,[2] and remained popular in Greek and Roman art, before enjoying a significant revival, as an opportunity to show three female nudes, in the Renaissance.

Mythic narrative

It is recounted[3] that Zeus held a banquet in celebration of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles). However, Eris, goddess of discord, was uninvited. Angered by this snub, Eris arrived at the celebration, where she threw a golden apple (the Apple of Discord) into the proceedings, upon which was the inscription καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, "for the fairest one").[4]

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