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Useful weblinks: Return From Troy, Episode 1

Paris' Choice

Paris: ancient portrait


One of the earliest pictures of Paris.
This is a small detail from a Greek vase in the British Museum dating to c.470 BC. 
Here's a slightly larger black & white image
We'll see the whole vase a little further down this page.


The most recent actor to play Paris is hearthrob Orlando Bloom.

Troy: the location


Map (with boundaries of modern countries) showing location of Troy.

Greek Gods & Goddesses 1


Terrific picture showing the 12 major gods and goddesses who lived on Mt Olympus; they are pictured with their special symbols. Look for: 
Zeus, king of the gods with thunder-bolt; 
Hera, queen of the gods with peacock, pomegranate & cuckoo-topped sceptre; 
Athene, goddess of wisdom and defensive warfare with owl and shield; 
Apollo, god of music, poetry & archery with lyre and bow; 
Artemis, goddess of hunting with bow and arrows; 
Hermes, the messenger god with winged helmet & winged sandals (his herald's staff though is mistakenly depicted as being entwined with snakes - that snakey staff belonged to Asklepius, god of medicine!); 
Ares, god of war with spear and shield; 
Hestia, goddess of the home with hearth fire; 
Poseidon, god of the sea, earthquakes and horses, with trident & horse; 
Demeter, goddess of the harvest with wheatsheaf; 
Hephaestus, god of metalworking with hammer and tongs; 
Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty with her son Eros (Cupid).

Greek Gods & Goddesses 2


Find out more about the main Greek god family-tree with links to more information and fabulous ancient and "modern" pictures of the gods. 
Hades, god of the Underworld, is also included.

Greek Gods & Goddesses 3


Illustrated with objects from the British Museum. Check out symbols, objects, places and festivals of each god or goddess. Dionysus, god of wine, replaces Hestia in their line-up of 12 gods.

Greek Gods & Goddesses 4


This is the Mt Olympus of all websites about the Greek gods. Everything you ever wanted to know with terrific illustrations from ancient Greece & Rome.

In most ancient versions of the story, Paris is brought up not as a prince in Troy but as an animal herder on Mt Ida. So in many of the depictions of "Paris' choice" - an episode usually known as the "Judgement of Paris" - he is characterised as a shepherd or goatherd with crook and attendant animals. Often he's shown with a lyre which links him to the lyre-playing god, Apollo, who was the founder of Troy

The Judgement of Paris: Greek pot


Paris the shepherd - check out the woolly sheep next to him - gives the apple to Aphrodite. Behind her comes Athene, the only readily-identifiable goddess with her snakey-frilled breastplate. Hera's all muffled up - in fact, at this time c.470 BC it would have been considered shameful to have depicted goddesses with no clothes on! 
Red-figure vase in the British Museum dating to c.470 BC and painted by the so-called "Painter of the Yale Oinochoe".

The Judgement of Paris: Roman mosaic


Roman mosaic depicting Hermes on the left instructing a seated Paris - tending his flock as a shepherd - as to his task. The goddesses from left to right are: Athene (with armour), Aphrodite (with Eros/Cupid above) and Hera. 
Dating c.115-150 AD from Antioch, Syria. Now in the Louvre Museum, Paris; more details.

The Judgement of Paris: baroque painting


"And the golden apple goes to..." 
The goddesses' identities are indicated by their attributes: armour and owl for Athene, peacock for Hera, and winged Eros (Cupid) for Aphrodite, her winning status shown by hovering cupids showering her with petals. You can almost hear her saying "Me? What a surprise!" 
Hermes, with his winged helmet and messenger's staff, watches from behind a tree... 
By the Dutch artist Hendrick van Balen, 1599; in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

The Judgement of Paris: baroque painting 2


This more sumptuous painting is by a Swiss artist Lodovico David, painted c.1690 and now in the Ringling Museum of Art in Florida.

The Judgement of Paris: modern painting


Terrific modern oil painting by the living Portuguese artist Rosario Andrade. Peacocks, armour and gorgeous, flowing hair advertise the three, sassy goddesses!

The Golden Apple


It was inscribed kallisti - Greek for to the fairest one.

So how do you portray Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world? Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder... but here are a few examples of Helen's image through time:

Helen: a Greek portrait


Detail from a Greek pot, dating 450-440 BC; now in the Louvre, Paris.

Helen: a Victorian portrait


Painted in 1898 by Evelyn De Morgan; in the De Morgan Centre, London.

Helen: a modern portrait


Photo-realistic drawing in coloured pencil showing Helen stepping towards the viewer (...Paris?) after seeing the Greek fleet with her husband Menelaus approaching. 
2006, by American artist Howard David Johnson.

Helen: a modern movie-star


In the 2004 blockbuster movie Troy, Helen was played by the actress Diane Kruger.



A youthful Roman portrait; it's a detail from a wall-painting from Pompeii known as "The Sacrifice of Iphigenia". 
Dating to c.50-79 AD; now in the National Archaeological Museum at Naples.

Paris and Helen sail away


...and live happily ever after... if only!

1000 ships


Helen was the "face that launch'd a thousand ships" - a phrase from the play "Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe. 
Impressive shot from the 2004 movie Troy.

Troy: a city on the coast


Around the time of our story, Troy and its surrounding area may have looked like this. 
Recent research has revealed a large and impressive lower city that spread out from the well-known and massively fortified upper city, called Ilium.

Troy: walls, palaces, temples, streets & houses


This reconstruction, based on the results of recent archaeological work, shows how the city may have looked around the year 1200 BC, a date often proposed for the Trojan War - a story perhaps based on a real event. 
The upper city with its large palace-type buildings was known as Ilium and was heavily defended by a tall, thick wall with towers. 
If you were standing inside the city over 3000 years ago, it may have resembled something like this set of movie Troy
Here's another artist's impression of Troy as viewed from the plain below the city.

Troy: all that's left today


Aerial view of the upper city which would have contained the palaces, temples and administrative buildings. 
It was defended by impressive walls.

Classical sources for the above section
There are numerous accounts, but some of the main ones are
> Homer, The Iliad (Greek epic poem, c.750 BC); 
> Arctinos, The Iliou Persis (Greek epic poem, c.600's BC); 
The Cypria (Greek epic poem, c.600 BC); 
> Apollodorus, Library Epitomes 3-5 (Greek book of myths, 1st C. AD)

Food for the Soul

The Island


The island on which the "stranger" is washed up is called Scheria or sometimes Phaeacia. 
This photo is of the Greek island Corfu which is thought by some to be location of "Scheria".

The Shipwrecked Stranger


We're not giving too much away if we let on that the shipwrecked stranger is Odysseus. His appearance may well have been like that of this washed-up survivor (played by Tom Hanks) in the movie "CastAway".

Odysseus meets Nausicaa: ancient Greek image


Detail of an Athenian red-figure vase, c.440 BC, showing a ship-wrecked Odysseus - watched over by Athene - meeting Nausicaa. 
Here's a scrolled-out drawing of the pot which shows the rest of Nausicaa's handmaidens washing clothes on the beach. 
Now in the Antikensammlungen (vase 2322) in Munich.

Odysseus meets Nausicaa: 1937 image


Painting by American artist W.M.Paxton

Odysseus meets Nausicaa: 1956 image


Illustration by Alice and Martin Provensen, 1956

Odysseus meets Nausicaa: 21st-century image


Fantastic illustration by Stuart Roberston, 2000.

Demodocus the Bard


The ancient Greeks believed that Demodocus's description as a blind bard was a self-portrait of the author of the Odyssey - the poet Homer
The large part that Demodocus and his songs play in Book 8 of the Odyssey reflects the culturally important role that oral poets undoubtedly played in Bronze Age Greece (the period when the story is set) and Archaic Greece (the period when Homer lived). 
This lovely illustration is by Christina Balit, 2006.

Odysseus weeps at the Tale of Troy


We immediately warm to this stranger who is weeping. He may turn out to be a Greek hero but he is shown here to be very human. 
Painting of 1814 by Francesco Hayez; in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples.

Source for the above section: > Homer, Odyssey, Books 6-8.

>> Back to other teaching resources for this episode