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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; helen; helenoftroy; iliad; 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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To: SedVictaCatoni
Correct.

And I doubt the average Greek polis would have had compulsory military service until age 50 if the typical lifespan was 28.

21 posted on 10/18/2005 11:36:43 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: SedVictaCatoni

"Human lifespan probably hasn't changed in hundreds of thousands of years."

Oh, yeah? What about those Old Testament dudes? Let me refer you to a couple of Young Earth Creationists. They'll set you straight. [grin]


22 posted on 10/18/2005 11:36:48 AM PDT by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
Ah, truth to the basis of the FPI!

Feminine Pulchritude Index: a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being Medusa and 10 being Helen of Troy. 5 is average by definition.

24 posted on 10/18/2005 11:38:28 AM PDT by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
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To: wideawake
"The Greeks of Homer's world were descendants"

I have always thought proto-celts or some other northern/east asian peoples. I have also wondered just what the heck happened to the bronze age Greeks? Did not Greece go thru it's own a dark age 1500BC - 800BC? Wonder why?

25 posted on 10/18/2005 11:38:49 AM PDT by jpsb
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: MineralMan

And so, the answer to my unasked question is, "Three posts."

Dan


28 posted on 10/18/2005 11:44:03 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: jpsb
Did not Greece go thru it's own a dark age 1500BC - 800BC? Wonder why?

Probably the usual reasons - invasions coupled with famines.

Interestingly, Lithuanian has a number of striking similarities to both Ionian Greek and Sanskrit.

Of the European languages, Lithuanian may be the closest to proto-Indoeuropean.

29 posted on 10/18/2005 11:44:59 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: blam

Most likely there was a Helen of Troy, since there is good reason to think that the basic facts about the Trojan War described in the Iliad and the Odyssey are historical. You could fiddle with the minor figures, but figures like Agamemnon, Menelaos, and Helen are unlikely to have been sheer inventions.

The Achaeans were newcomers to Greece at the time of the war, who conquered and ruled over the Greeks who had lived their earlier. The usual theory is that they came down from the north. Achilles and Odysseus are both described as red-haired or blond, and so is Menelaos. Fair hair may have been fairly common among the kings and nobles of that time.

I don't see any reason to believe that this particular woman was Helen, though, and not some other noble or royal lady. It's sheer speculation, a good way to get on TV and sell books.


30 posted on 10/18/2005 11:45:39 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: blam
Illium By Dan Simmons. On Earth, a post-technological group of humans, pampered by servant machines and easy travel via "faxing," begins to question its beginnings. Meanwhile, a team of sentient and Shakespeare-quoting robots from Jupiter's lunar system embark on a mission to Mars to investigate an increase in dangerous quantum fluctuations. On the Red Planet, they'll find a race of metahumans living out existence as the pantheon of classic Greek gods. These "gods" have recreated the Trojan War with reconstituted Greeks and Trojans and staffed it with scholars from throughout Earth's history...
31 posted on 10/18/2005 11:47:04 AM PDT by jgorris
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To: bobbdobbs
True. But the average wasn't 28.

I remember some study that suggested that the number of men dying prematurely from job-related accidents (war, shipping, mining, quarrying, etc.) was always close to the number of women dying in childbirth.

32 posted on 10/18/2005 11:48:21 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: blam
Sappho is not a historical source for Helen of Troy - Helen was the subject of one of her poems, to be sure, (Fragment 16) but that image of Helen was as much a fantasy as ours is today.

Another brick in the Wymyn's Studies wall...

33 posted on 10/18/2005 11:48:27 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: MineralMan

The face that sunk a thousand ships ...


34 posted on 10/18/2005 11:49:31 AM PDT by eastsider
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To: blam

Story created by some man stuck at sea for way too long, thinking about his sweetheart back at home or the girl in the last port.


35 posted on 10/18/2005 11:50:40 AM PDT by dhs12345 (w)
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To: wideawake

I have heard that the present day Greeks are largely the descendents of Germans and Slavs who came in during the barbarian migrations.


36 posted on 10/18/2005 11:51:36 AM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: MineralMan

The face that sunk a thousand ships.


37 posted on 10/18/2005 11:51:46 AM PDT by Netheron
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To: Netheron

Unlucky at first posting, lucky at love.


38 posted on 10/18/2005 11:53:01 AM PDT by Netheron
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To: jgorris

I just finished Ilium and Olympos. Simmons is crazy (I mean that in a good way).


39 posted on 10/18/2005 11:55:06 AM PDT by Paradox (Just because we are not perfect, does not mean we are not good.)
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To: Cicero

I agree, the outline of the story is most likely true and the story's main character most likely real, with a good deal of literary license of course.


40 posted on 10/18/2005 11:55:14 AM PDT by jpsb
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To: wideawake
I'm not aware of Homer describing Helen as "shimmering"

I think it's in the Oddyssey, where Telemachos pays her a visit while he is out looking for Dad. Of course, she was a little on the shady side of thirty by then.

41 posted on 10/18/2005 11:58:41 AM PDT by 19th LA Inf
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To: 19th LA Inf

Oddyssey = Odyssey


42 posted on 10/18/2005 12:00:13 PM PDT by 19th LA Inf
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To: RobbyS
I have heard that the present day Greeks are largely the descendents of Germans and Slavs who came in during the barbarian migrations.

Germanic people didn't make it that far until the Middle Ages, and even then they did not settle in Greece in large numbers.

Many Slavs, Turkic groups and Bulgars did settle in Greece, however.

The Greeks of the classical period may have been more "Germanic" (a meaningless word at that time, maybe "Northern" might be better) than the peoples who took their place.

Greece is an ethnic melting pot, unified by the Orthodox faith and its liturgical language.

43 posted on 10/18/2005 12:02:58 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: wideawake

Just as the Turks are a melting pot--and practrically the same mix-- unified by religion and language.


44 posted on 10/18/2005 12:08:48 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: blam
If women were mothers at twelve, it's little wonder that they were dead before they were thirty.

BTW, if I recall correctly, according to the Iliad, Achilles had red hair.

45 posted on 10/18/2005 12:09:09 PM PDT by Savage Beast (The internet is the newspaper of record.)
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To: bobbdobbs; Cicero; Graymatter; jpsb; Paradox; SedVictaCatoni; wideawake

Infant/child mortality rates were high, and that persisted into (at least) the 19th century. Women did indeed become mothers as soon as possible.

Military service until age 50 doesn't pertain to the life expectancy of ancient Greek women, since women didn't serve in the military.

Cicero: "there is good reason to think that the basic facts about the Trojan War described in the Iliad and the Odyssey are historical"

wholeheartedly agree.

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
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1499699/posts


46 posted on 10/18/2005 12:11:17 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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To: blam

Hughes should find a different line of work.


47 posted on 10/18/2005 12:12:11 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny (Base. All Yours = Mine.)
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To: Cicero
It has been over thirty years since I was a classics major but I still remember that the Doric Greeks were supposed to have been fair haired and tall while the earlier Ionians were more Mediterannean in appearance.Since they both spoke Greek their must have been a kinship.

Also the Spartan (Doric) women were known to be the most beautiful in Greece which I always thought of as a waste. It may have been partly due to their eugenics practices.

48 posted on 10/18/2005 12:12:57 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: wideawake
Bronze age Europe (and earlier) was mostly proto-celt, I think, proto-celts occupied most of northern europe and nothern east asia, there is even reason to think proto-celts made it into China and the Americas. Areas in near Europe, not proto-celts would be Persia, Egypt and Phoenician. Not sure about India, India might have been settled by proto-celts too.
49 posted on 10/18/2005 12:13:08 PM PDT by jpsb
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To: yarddog

The Linear B Tablets and Mycenaean Social, Political, and Economic Organization
Dartmouth College | 1996 | faculty
Posted on 11/28/2004 7:29:26 PM PST by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1290075/posts


50 posted on 10/18/2005 12:15:36 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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