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Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore (edition 2005)
by Bettany Hughes (Author)
Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore by Bettany Hughes
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184413329X, Paperback)A major new book about the life and legend of the world’s ‘most beautiful woman’ – by the new star of TV history.
As soon as men began to write, they made Helen of Troy their subject. Hesiod, a poet born around 700BC and one of the first named authors in history, called her ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ and the description endured. Even though we have no contemporary representations of her, this Bronze Age princess is still seen as a paradigm of absolute beauty and as a reminder of the terrible power beauty can wield.
Because of her double marriage to the Greek King Menelaus and the Hittite Prince Paris, Helen was held responsible for the enduring enmity between East and West. But who was she? She exists in many forms: the historical figure of the Bronze Age Spartan Queen who ruled over one of the most fertile areas of the Mycenaean world; the goddess subject of an eighth-century BC heroic cult which conflated Helen the person with a pre-Greek goddess; the mythological and literary home-wrecker figure of the Iliad; the icon and the first recorded sex-goddess, a symbol of the power of beauty and love.
Focusing on the ‘real’ Helen (the possibility of a flesh and blood Helen), acclaimed historian Bettany Hughes re-constructs the context of life in the Bronze Age Greece for this elusive pre-historic princess. Hughes brilliantly unpacks the facts and myths surrounding one of the most enigmatic and notorious figures of all time.
From the Hardcover edition.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:17 -0400)
For close to three thousand years, Helen of Troy has been both the embodiment of absolute female beauty and a reminder of the terrible power that beauty can wield. Because of her double marriage to the Greek king Menelaus and the Trojan prince Paris, Helen was held responsible for an enduring enmity between East and West. But who was she? Helen exists in many guises: a matriarch from the Age of Heroes; the focus of a cult that conflated Helen the heroine with a pre-Greek fertility goddess; the home-wrecker of the Iliad; the bitch-whore of Greek tragedy; the pin-up of Romantic artists. Focusing on a flesh-and-blood aristocrat from the Greek Bronze Age, cultural and social historian Hughes reconstructs the context of her life. Through the eyes of a young Mycenaean princess, Hughes examines the physical, historical, and cultural traces that Helen has left on locations in Greece, North Africa, and Asia Minor.--From publisher description.
(summary from another edition)
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