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CLAS 203 Lecture Notes - Calchas, Atreus, Helenus

Course Code
CLAS 203
Margaret Palczynski

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CLAS203 Lecture 29 Notes
The Oath of Tyndareus:
There were many suitors for the Helen’s hand (semi-divine daughter of Tyndareus):
Odysseus, Diomedes, Ajax, Philoctetes, Patroclus, Menelaus…
Tyndareus was scared of giving Helen to any one suitor in fear that the other suitors
would go against him afterwards
Odysseus, who came from a poor region, knew that he wouldn’t have a chance, but
proposes to Tyndareus a solution about Helen in exchange for marriage to one of his
niece, Penelope. Odysseus proposes a stratagem of oath (oath of Tyndareus), in which
the suitor of Helen would have the support of Tyndareus and that all the other suitors
must swear to protect what is that of Tyndareus (including Helen) and to protect
whoever tries to defy and/or hurt Helen
Menelaus + Helen (chooses Menelaus) has a daughter named
Clytemnestra (sister of Helen) marries Agamemnon has three children named:
Iphigeneia, Electra, Orestes.
Agamemnon returns to (Homer’s Iliad says he comes from) Mycenae (Argos)
The Judgment of Paris
o Wedding of Peleus and Thetis (Achilles). Peleus’ father is King of Aegina
(Aeacus), island off the coast of Athens in Saronic Gulf. Peleus and his brother
Telemon killed their half-brother, Phocus, and were exiled. Peleus went to Phthia
to be purified. Peleus married the sea-nymph, Thetis, which makes Hera happy
knowing that Zeus did not have sex with Thetis. Hera organizes large wedding
but forgets to invite Eris (strife)
o Eris and the Golden Apple: was not invited to Peleus and Thetis’ wedding; comes
anyways and brings a Golden Apple and rolls it on the ground and yells, “To the
fairest goddess”. Zeus tells Hermes and escorts the three goddesses to Paris, a
farmer. Hera offers Paris dominion over the whole world. Athena offers him the
most glorious military career. Aphrodite offers him the most beautiful women in
the world. Paris chooses Aphrodite as the fairest goddesses in the world; creates
tension amongst goddesses. Paris cannot claim Helen since she is already
o The judgment of Paris
The start of the Trojan War:
o The abduction of Helen by Paris/Alexander (son of Priam and Hecuba)
o Paris was prophesized to be Troy’s destruction – Hecuba’s dream, leaves Paris on
Mt. Ida, shepherds came by and raised Paris, Paris goes into Troy and compete in
competitions and wins, is recognized by people as son of Priam and Hecuba.
Cassandra, sister of Paris, prophesizes that Paris will be the destruction of Troy.
Paris, as prince of Troy, sails to Mycenaean to claim Helen. Menelaus offers his
home to Pairs (Xenia: guest-host relationship) but leaves due to attending
funeral. Paris using the opportunity abducts Helen back to Troy, sets out the
‘Oath of Tyndareus’.
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