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The Court of Paris

(Statue of the III century BC)

Quickly rushed Hermes and the three goddesses to the slopes of Ida to To Paris. Paris, son Priam, herding herds at this time. Before Paris was born, his mother Hecaba had a terrible dream: she saw how the fire threatened to destroy all of Troy. Hecaba was scared, she told her husband her dream. Priam turned to the soothsayer, and he told him that Hecaba would have a son who would be responsible for the death of Troy. Therefore, Priam, when Hekaba's son was born, ordered his servant Agelay to take him to the high Ida and throw him there in the forest thicket. But Priam's son did not die - he was nursed by a bear. A year later, Agelai found him and raised him as his own son, calling him Paris. Paris grew up among shepherds and became an extraordinarily beautiful young man. He stood out among his peers by strength. He often saved not only herds, but also his comrades from the attacks of wild animals and robbers, and became so famous among them for his strength and bravery that they called him Alexander (striking men). Paris lived quietly among the forests of Ida. He was quite content with his fate.

Paris Court
The Court of Paris. Paris is sitting in the middle, Athena and Hera are to his right, and Aphrodite and Eros are to his left.
(Drawing on a vase.)

It was to this Paris that the goddesses and Hermes appeared. Paris was frightened when he saw the goddesses and Hermes. He wanted to run away from them, but how could he escape from Hermes, who was as quick as thought? Hermes stopped Paris and spoke to him affectionately, handing him an apple:

- Take this apple, Paris, - said Hermes, - you see, there are three goddesses standing in front of you. Give the apple to the one who is the most beautiful. Zeus commanded you to be the judge in the dispute of the goddesses.

Paris was confused. He looks at the goddesses and cannot decide which of them is more beautiful. Then each of the goddesses began to convince the young man to give the apple to her. They promised Paris great rewards. Hera promised him power over all Asia, Athena - military glory and victories, Aphrodite promised him the most beautiful of mortal women as a wife, Elena, daughter of the thunderer Zeus and Leda. Paris did not think long after hearing Aphrodite's promise: he gave the apple to her. Thus, Aphrodite was recognized by Paris as the most beautiful of the goddesses. Since then, Paris has become Aphrodite's favorite, and she began to help him in everything, no matter what he did. And Hera and Athena hated Paris, they hated Troy and all the Trojans, and decided to destroy the city and the whole people.