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The Golden Apple: Three goddesses compete for a mortal’s pick

When Peleus and Themis wedded, Zeus held a grand celebration to honor them. All the gods were invited, all but one, the goddess Discord (Eris). Because when celebrating the union of two people, the last thing desired is the very goddess of “quarrel” to send her blessing. To retaliate for this insult she threw a golden apple at the ceremony, with the inscription: “To the fairest of all”. Athena, Hera and Aphrodite claimed the apple, each for herself...

Some disputes, scare even the Father of gods.

 As expected nobody wanted to be the one to settle a dispute between three goddesses, least of all mighty Zeus (Hera’s husband). Zeus decided to assign the task to a mortal, Paris of Troy, the most handsome man of his time, but he had to test his critic-skills first.
 Knowing there was a bull-judging contest where Paris would be the judge, he requested Ares to transform into a bull and enter the contest. Ares accepted the request humorously. He transformed into a perfect bull in every respect and placed himself in the contest. Paris chose him as the winner and awarded him the golden laurel, thus proving his cleverness in the eyes of Zeus.

Zeus gave Paris the Golden apple and asked him to offer it to the goddess he choose as the fairest. He re assured him any decision he made would be accepted regardless. So the three goddesses appeared and tried to “persuade” him to select them. Athena offered him wisdom beyond any mortals, even beyond even some god’s! Hera offered to make him the most powerful and famous king while Aphrodite offered to give him the most beautiful woman on earth to be his wife, Helen of Sparta. Paris craved neither glory nor wisdom, so he chose Aphrodite. He stole Helen from Sparta and married her. But this choice cost mankind dearly, not because of divine vengeance but because it caused the Trojan War, the greatest war among men.

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Icarus was the son of Daedalus, the most talented Athenian craftsman of his time.

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In 1989, Professor of Byzantine Studies, Helen Ahrweiler is appointed Chairman of the Cultural Centre Pompidou in Paris

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