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Dangerous Femme: Helen of Sparta

Few women have obsessed me in life as Helen of Sparta. I’ve always loved Greek myths but Helen has always been my deep fascination, the glue that holds it all together, the mother of all knots of a comb, the reason for every battle, crimes of passion, lust, obsession that was ever told by Greek authors, philosophers, historians, lovers. Helen. The most beautiful woman on earth, the essence of a femininity that became dangerous and destroyed kingdoms. Helen, the light-hearted woman who was desired by the most powerful men and heroes, the object of obsession of kings and gods.

Helen, portrayed by Diane Kruger in the 20th Century Fox film “Troy”, 2004

That was Helen. Pure obsession, elegance, beauty, lust. And ruin. No one saw the latter one coming, though. Every man wanted her, but no man knew the price for it.

Here’s the story of Helen. The facts first and then we can delight ourselves in the various versions of her myth.

The truth is that Helen was the daughter of the King and Queen of Sparta, Tyndareus and Leda. She had two older sisters, Clytemnestra and Timandra. She had two twin brothers, Castor and Pollux. Her biological father, though, was allegedly Zeus, who impregnated the flirtatious Leda in the form of a swan.

Helen, portrayed by Bella Dayne in the BBC/Netflix series “Troy: fall of a City”, 2018

She was known as the most beautiful female on earth. There are two possibilities for this: it is because her godly father vested upon her some sort of divine beauty that made her stand out or was it the fact that she was blonde with green eyes in a land where most women were tanned skinned and dark haired. Either way, she must have been a spectacle to the eye given the fame that preceded her.

As it often happens in romantic tails, children end up paying for their fathers’ sins. Case and point. Tyndareus angers Aphrodite by forgetting to pay her the rightful offerings and prayers. As a result, the goddess curses him making his three daughters famous adulterers and murder instigators.

Helen, portrayed by Sienna Guillory in the Warner Bros mini-series “Helen of Troy”, 2003

Helen soullessly married Menelaus, a random second-class king with no personality nor will power. She falls for a guest coming from abroad, Paris. She follows him to Troy leaving her daughter behind. She lands in Troy, thus sparking the beginning of a 10 year-long war that is remembered to this very day. Marries another man, has him killed to save her own life and uses her breast with gold-painted nipples to distract men. How is she not fascinating?

In the Peloponnese I found her home town, her grave, the place where she was kidnapped by Theseus, where she had her affairs.


Can you guess how she died? Leave your comment below. I will reveal it in due time.


A curious Italian-Chilean travel writer and culture enthusiast who loves to discover the obscure and unusual in everything.

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