Paris, a son of Priam and Hecuba, a shepherd watching his herds on Mount Ida is noted in Greek mythology as being the judge of the contest of beauty between the goddesses Hera,
Athena, and Aphrodite. The contest, which was destined to start the Trojan Was, resulted after discord (Eris) threw an apple onto Olympus during an assembly of the gods. The apple was to be given to “the most beautiful,” and all three of the goddess laid claim to the title. Therefore, Zeus had Hermes take the goddesses to the mountain near Troy and Paris was appointed the judge. Each goddess attempted to persuade the judge in her favor. Hera offered to make Paris lord of Asia, Athena said she would make him invincible in war, and Aphrodite promised him the hand of Helen. Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite, for which, it is said, she also disrobed to show him her perfect form.

To some degree, Aphrodite was responsible for the war, protecting Paris while Troy was siege, and saving him from danger during his duel with Menelaus. She also saved Aeneas when Diomedes was about to kill him. After Troy fell, she made certain that the Trojan race survived by permitting Aeneas to escape while carrying Anchises on his back. A.G.H.


Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, pp. 131-132 Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman’s Sons, 1980, p. 133