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The Apple of Discord And The Judgment of Paris

Golden Apple of Discord by Jacob Jordaens

The Apple of Discord is one of the most iconic stories in Greek mythology. It tells a story of how a golden apple, caused a war between three goddesses – Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite – for its possession. This myth is not just an interesting tale from Ancient Greece but has relevance today that can help us understand the implications of our actions and their consequences. In this blog article, we will explore the history behind this famous myth.

The Story of the Apple of Discord

The wedding of Peleus and Thetis

This story begins with the wedding of the great mortal Peleus and the goddess Thetis. It was one of the most celebrated events in all of Ancient Greece. This union was an important occasion, as these two would later give birth to the legendary Achilles (Hercule).

Held on Mount Pelion, the wedding was attended by numerous gods and goddesses including Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Aphrodite, and Apollo. Even Zeus himself attended the event. This was one of those rare times when gods and humans could actually be all together and have a great celebration.

Painting of The wedding of Peleus and Thetis, by Joachim Wtewael
The wedding of Peleus and Thetis, by Joachim Wtewael

The Wrath of Eris: the Goddess of Discord

All the gods were invited to the wedding except Eris the Goddess of Discord. Out of revenge, she threw a golden apple into the crowd with an inscription reading “To The Fairest”. Normally, such a thing would be harmless. But Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena were all in that same place. All looked down on the apple and claimed it belonged to them and so began a dispute on who was the most beautiful.

They took this dispute to Zeus that refused to participate in this debate and move this problem to the Trojan prince “Paris”. The tree goddess all appear in front of Paris undressed and asked him to choose the most beautiful but he couldn’t choose so the goddess tried to bribe him.

Athena offered him fame & desire. Hera offered political power. Aphrodite offered the most beautiful mortal woman as his bride. Paris choose Aphrodite’s offer which happened to be Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. — This story is also known as the judgment of Paris.

The Judgement of Paris - Painting by Peter Paul Rubens
The Judgement of Paris by Peter Paul Rubens

The Origins of the Trojan War: How a Dispute Became an Epic Conflict

As a result, Paris raids Menelaus’s home and steals Helen from him. In certain accounts, it is stated that Helen fell in love with the Trojan prince and chose to leave voluntarily.

This rivalry led to a huge war between the Greeks and Trojans that lasted for ten years. The conflict ended with the destruction of Troy and much loss was experienced on both sides of the conflict.

Not one to forgive easily, Hera nursed a bitter resentment toward Paris and the Trojans due to the contest’s unfavorable results. Over the course of the long conflict, Hera lent her considerable might to the Achaeans, the broad coalition of Greeks that included the aggrieved King Menelaus, in their fight against the Trojans. Hera also recruited Athena to her side, plotted against Ares (who was defending the Trojans), inspired Achilles and the other Greeks with her charms, and even fought in open combat.

It all started with the Apple of Discord, making it one of the most consequential gifts of mythological history.

Coypel, Charles-Antoine - Fury of Achilles - 1737
Fury of Achilles – Coypel, Charles-Antoine – 1737

The Moral of the story

The story of the Apple of Discord serves as a reminder to modern-day readers that we need to be careful in our choices, lest we cause unintended consequences.

At its core, this myth illustrates the lesson that with great power comes great responsibility. The gods should have known better than to start an argument over such a trivial thing as beauty, and the same applies to us.

We must be aware of how our decisions affect others and think carefully before we act. The Apple of Discord may have been a minor skirmish for the gods, but it caused immeasurable suffering for mortals — a lesson that still rings true today.

This myth serves as an important reminder to be mindful of our choices, and think before we act. By doing so, we can hopefully avoid the disasters that were caused by the Apple of Discord!

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