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Helen Of Troy Existed?
The Discovery Channel ^ | 10-18-2005 | Jennifer Viegas

Posted on 10/18/2005 11:08:43 AM PDT by blam

Helen of Troy Existed?

By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Was a Queen of Sparta Helen of Troy?

Oct. 17, 2005— Helen of Troy, described in the epic poem The Iliad, was based on a real woman, according to a new book that weaves history, archaeology and myth to recreate the famous ancient Greek beauty's life.

According to the new theory proposed by Bettany Hughes, Helen's mythological character was inspired by a wealthy Bronze Age leader from the southern mainland of Greece.

Hughes, a former Oxford University scholar who has conducted research in the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor, was unavailable for comment.

In her book "Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore," however, she wrote, "I believe that all three incarnations — princess, goddess and whore — find their root in a Bronze Age Helen, that the template for Helen of Troy was provided by one of the rich Spartan queens who lived and died on the Greek mainland in the 13th century B.C.; a woman who slept at night and woke at dawn, a flesh-and-blood icon, an aristocrat responsible for orgia — secretive, mysterious fertility rites — a woman so blessed, so honoured, so powerful, she appeared to walk with the gods. A mortal who, down the centuries, has become larger than life."

Based upon the writings of Homer, Sappho, the historian Herodotus, and others, Hughes thinks Helen's palace was located on a Spartan hill called Therapne near the River Eurotas. Three skeletons — one of a 30-year-old woman and two belonging to children — were excavated at the site, along with evidence of structures that had been destroyed by fire, according to Hughes.

It is unclear what happened at the site, but Hughes thinks Helen's life was short, since the average lifespan for Mycenaean females was 28 years.

"Women were mothers at twelve, grandmothers at twenty-four, dead before they were thirty," she wrote.

Homer described Helen as fair and shimmering. Hughes wrote that the shimmer came from linen clothing soaked in perfumed olive oil, which was customary for well-heeled women of the time.

While Greeks generally have dark hair, frescoes dating to Helen's era around 3,500 years ago reveal at least one woman with "tawny red hair and blue eyes."

Hughes speculated that Helen had such hair and would have been viewed as special, "entrusted with particular religious authority."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bettanyhughes; existed; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; greece; helen; helenoftroy; iliad; laconia; menelaus; mycenaean; mycenaeans; sparta; theiliad; trojanwar; troy
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1 posted on 10/18/2005 11:08:46 AM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 10/18/2005 11:09:35 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
And here she is. I'm certain she's old enough, and matches the description, sorta: ===========================


3 posted on 10/18/2005 11:13:35 AM PDT by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: blam

It was all the Greeks' fault.


4 posted on 10/18/2005 11:15:37 AM PDT by SlowBoat407 (The best things happen just before the thread snaps.)
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To: blam

"Women were mothers at twelve, grandmothers at twenty-four, dead before they were thirty," she wrote.

That's very misleading.


5 posted on 10/18/2005 11:18:30 AM PDT by Graymatter
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To: MineralMan

you beat me to it.


6 posted on 10/18/2005 11:18:41 AM PDT by flashbunny (What is more important: Loyalty to principles, or loyalty to personalities?)
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To: Graymatter
"Women were mothers at twelve, grandmothers at twenty-four, dead before they were thirty," she wrote.

Sounds like Detroit.

7 posted on 10/18/2005 11:23:51 AM PDT by Clemenza (Gentlemen, Behold!)
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To: blam

The Greeks had fairer hair previously.


8 posted on 10/18/2005 11:25:26 AM PDT by Styria
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To: Clemenza
"Women were mothers at twelve, grandmothers at twenty-four, dead before they were thirty," she wrote.

Scott Ritter gains a sudden interest in the Classics.

9 posted on 10/18/2005 11:25:33 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Now that taglines are cool, I refuse to have one.)
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To: blam

"While Greeks generally have dark hair, frescoes dating to Helen's era around 3,500 years ago reveal at least one woman with "tawny red hair and blue eyes."

But Homer describes Menelaos as 'xanthos', admittedly as a poetic formula, while not mentioning Helen's hair coloring at all.


10 posted on 10/18/2005 11:26:05 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: blam
"Women were mothers at twelve, grandmothers at twenty-four, dead before they were thirty," she wrote.

I hate this ahistorical crap.

Women in ancient Greece were not dead by thirty. What these idiots fail to realize is that low life expectancy back then was due to high infant/child mortality.

Out of every ten people born in those times, three or four would die before they made it to age 3.

If you survived childhood diseases and lived to adulthood in ancient Greece, you would generally live to 65-70.

There were nonagenarians and centenarians in ancient Greece.

Also most Greek women, given the state of nutrition back then, would not have been able to become mothers at 12. Women were generally married off as soon as they could have children and in ancient Greece that was generally 15-16.

11 posted on 10/18/2005 11:27:18 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: blam
the shimmer came from linen clothing soaked in perfumed olive oil

Hey, that's pretty slick.

12 posted on 10/18/2005 11:27:24 AM PDT by socal_parrot (Fear the monkey.)
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To: Styria

You mean like the epic on one of the cable channels this year?

We called it, "Malibu Barbie of Troy."

It just stunk....


13 posted on 10/18/2005 11:28:17 AM PDT by OpusatFR (Vegetarian, permaculturalist, cloth wearing, green, peak oil believing Trad Catholic Indie.)
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To: blam
It is unclear what happened at the site, but Hughes thinks Helen's life was short, since the average lifespan for Mycenaean females was 28 years.

I hate it when they say things like this. Average lifespan includes the child mortality rate, which was terribly high "back in the day". Once you got out of childhood, you could live to a relatively ripe old age.

14 posted on 10/18/2005 11:30:28 AM PDT by Paradox (Just because we are not perfect, does not mean we are not good.)
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To: Graymatter
"That's very misleading."

More like flat out wrong.

15 posted on 10/18/2005 11:31:19 AM PDT by jpsb
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To: blam
I'm not aware of Homer describing Helen as "shimmering" and the ancient Greeks were not physically identical to modern Greeks.

The Greeks of Homer's world were descendants of several waves of Northern invasions. Blondism and green and blue eyes were quite common among ancient Greeks.

Greeks today are descendants of a variety of nationalities - urban Greece in the 1st century AD was the rough equivalent of NYC today - a broad mixture of ethnicities.

16 posted on 10/18/2005 11:31:25 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: blam

BTDT. ;')

Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore
PRNewswire | Sep. 14, 2005 | Melanie Pope of Renault Communications
Posted on 10/09/2005 8:29:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1499699/posts


17 posted on 10/18/2005 11:32:31 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

18 posted on 10/18/2005 11:32:49 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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To: MineralMan

Come on. I just ate. Let's have a moratorium on Helen of Thomas pictures, unless preceeded by a BARF!!! alert.


19 posted on 10/18/2005 11:33:41 AM PDT by chesley
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To: wideawake
Women in ancient Greece were not dead by thirty. What these idiots fail to realize is that low life expectancy back then was due to high infant/child mortality.

I think also they're confusing life SPAN with life EXPECTANCY. Human lifespan probably hasn't changed in hundreds of thousands of years.

20 posted on 10/18/2005 11:33:57 AM PDT by SedVictaCatoni (<><)
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