Helen

You may think it would be pretty cool to be the girl whose face launched a thousand ships. But those ships weren't heading to a relaxing Bermuda vacation. They were sailing away to war. Not so cool anymore, right?

HumanitiesMythology
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:20

I’m here to tell you ladies that being the most beautiful woman in the world ain’t

00:23

all it’s cracked up to be.

00:25

Trouble started for me not long after I emerged from the egg laid by my mother Leda.

00:29

If you’re wondering why my mom laid an egg, it’s because my dad Zeus seduced her in

00:32

the form of a swan.

00:34

Yep, things were a little twisted in ancient Greece. But I digress...

00:38

The first time I ran into trouble was when that lechy king of Athens,

00:41

Theseus, kidnapped me when I was a little girl.

00:44

Luckily, my brothers Castor and Pollux marched an army to Athens and rescued me, and I was

00:48

back to our hometown of Sparta before anything too traumatic happened.

00:52

“Traumatic” being a relative term in Greece.

00:54

You’d think having one war fought over you would be enough for one lifetime,

00:57

but the Fates had more in store for me.

00:58

Eventually, I married a beefy guy

01:00

from Mycenae <<MY-suh-NAE>> named Menelaus <<men-uh-LAY-iss>>.

01:02

To be frank, I wasn’t into him.

01:04

He was kinda dumb and always played second fiddle

01:06

to his egomaniacal brother Agamemnon <<ag-uh-MEM-non>>.

01:09

My father insisted, though.

01:11

So the next thing I know, Menelaus and I were stuck together for better or worse.

01:15

And believe me when I say that it was about to get a lot worse.

01:18

One day, in walked the charming, handsome Paris of Troy.

01:22

It’s part of my job as Queen of Sparta to entertain foreign envoys.

01:26

Little did I know what sort of entertainment this foreigner had in mind.

01:29

Turns out he’d just judged a beauty contest between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite.

01:34

Because Paris judged Aphrodite the most beautiful, the goddess of love awarded me as the prize.

01:38

Can you believe it? Just like my father, the goddess sold me like a piece of meat.

01:42

Next thing I knew, Aphrodite caused me to fall madly in love with Paris,

01:46

and I was sailing with him back to Troy.

01:48

Needless to say, this did not go over well with Menelaus or the rest of Greece.

01:52

They showed up at the gates of Troy with a gigantic army, and they were beyond ticked off.

01:56

Paris refused to give me back, and the horrible Trojan War ensued.

02:02

The war revealed a couple things to me. For one, war is gross. Real gross.

02:07

For two, Paris was a total wuss-ball.

02:09

Half the time, he hid in the back of the lines and let his brother Hector fight his battles for him.

02:13

Yeah, somewhere in there Aphrodite’s spell wore off, and I saw him for what he was.

02:18

It was all really terrible.

02:19

The Trojans hated me because I’d brought all this down on them,

02:22

and the Greeks all thought I was a tramp.

02:24

Everybody hated me more and more as the war got bloodier and bloodier.

02:28

There was death everywhere.

02:30

Hector died, the Greek hero Achilles died, even Paris died.

02:35

And, eventually, thanks to Odysseus’s wooden horse trick all of Troy went up in flames.

02:40

I thought Menelaus was going to kill me when he came marching into Troy.

02:43

But I batted my eyes, and the dumb lunk took me back.

02:46

And now I’m forever known as the face that launched a thousand ships.

02:50

I try to tell my side of the story,

02:52

but everybody still thinks I’m a vain, self-centered floozy

02:55

who brought nothing but destruction to the world.

02:58

So there you have it.

02:59

Being the hottest woman on Earth… really isn’t so hot.