Helen

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In Greek mythology, Helen (in Greek, ἙλένηHelénē), known also as Helen of Troy (and earlier Helen of Sparta), was the daughter of Zeus and Leda (or Nemesis), daughter of King Tyndareus, wife of Menelaus and sister of Castor, Polydeuces and Clytemnestra. Her abduction by Paris brought about the Trojan War. In Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, hers is "the face that launched a thousand ships."

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Etymology

The etymology of Helen's name has been a problem to scholars until the present. Georg Curtius related Helen (Ἑλένη) to the moon (Selene Σελήνη). Émile Boisacq considered Ἑλένη from the noun ἐλένη meaning "torch". It has also been suggested that the λ of Ἑλένη arose from an original ν, and thus the etymology of the name is connected with the root of Venus. Linda Lee Clader points out however that none of the above suggestions offers much satisfaction.[1] Hjalmar Frisk and Pierre Chantraine despair of an etymology.[2]

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