45. Signs and Wonders - Helen

September 18, 2017

Helen: 

fem. proper name, from French Hélène, from Latin Helena, from Greek Helene, fem. proper name, probably fem. of helenos "the bright one." In Greek legend, the sister of Castor and Pollux and wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. Her elopement with Paris was the cause of the Trojan War. Among the top 10 popular names for girl babies in the U.S. born between 1890 and 1934.

Angel Mine

 

Angel mine

because of you

the sky is not just blue

but the reason for being alive.

 

Angel mine

because of you

the trees are not just green

but the reason for believing.

 

Angel mine because of you

the city this morning

is brim full of sunshine

and all the streets are smiling.

 

Angel mine because of you

I no longer have just one toe

on the ground but both feet

back on the earth.

 

Angel mine because of you

my world is changed utterly

darling

because of you.

 

Jeff Guess

 Meditation:

 

 

Reflection: 

In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy (Greek Ἑλένη Helénē, pronounced [helénɛː]), also known as Helen of Sparta, or simply Helen, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and was a sister of Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux. In Greek myths, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus. Her elopement with Prince Paris of Troy brought about the Trojan War. She was described by Dares Phrygius as "She was beautiful, ingenuous, and charming. Her legs were the best; her mouth the cutest. There was a beauty-mark between her eyebrows".

Elements of her putative biography come from classical authors such as Aristophanes, Cicero, Euripides and Homer (in both the Iliad and the Odyssey). Her story appears in Book II of Virgil's Aeneid. In her youth, she was abducted by Theseus. A competition between her suitors for her hand in marriage sees Menelaus emerge victorious. An oath sworn beforehand by all the suitors (known as the Oath of Tyndareus) requires them to provide military assistance in the case of her abduction; this oath culminates in the Trojan War. When she marries Menelaus she is still very young; whether her subsequent involvement with Paris is an abduction or a seduction is ambiguous. The legends recounting Helen's fate in Troy are contradictory. Homer depicts her as a wistful figure, even a sorrowful one, who comes to regret her choice and wishes to be reunited with Menelaus. Other accounts have a treacherous Helen who simulates Bacchic rites and rejoices in the carnage. Ultimately, Paris was killed in action, and in Homer's account Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead. A cult associated with her developed in Hellenistic Laconia, both at Sparta and elsewhere; at Therapne she shared a shrine with Menelaus. She was also worshipped in Attica and on Rhodes. Her beauty inspired artists of all time to represent her, frequently as the personification of ideal beauty. Christopher Marlowe's lines from his tragedy Doctor Faustus (1604) are frequently cited: "Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships/And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?" However, in the play this meeting and the ensuing temptation are not unambiguously positive, closely preceding death and descent to Hell. Images of her start appearing in the 7th century BC. In classical Greece, her abduction by Paris—or elopement with him—was a popular motif. In medieval illustrations, this event was frequently portrayed as a seduction, whereas in Renaissance painting it is usually depicted as a rape by Paris. The fact that the terms rape and elopement were often used interchangeably lends ambiguity to the legend.

 Reading:

 

"Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships/And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?"

 Christopher Marlowe's lines from his tragedy Doctor Faustus (1604)

 

©Jeff Guess 2017

 

 

 

 

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