Allriiiiiighty, kiddies, it’s ancient history time.
Sing, Muse, of the petty arguments, the Court of Paris, and the War of Troy.
It was a very calm and peaceful day on Olympus. Eris, the Goddess of Chaos and Discord (you’re supposed to capitalize the letters) sought to fix this, for it was an antithesis to all she stood for, and a girl has to keep in shape, don’tcha know. Eris took a solid gold apple (the equivalent of a Grammy award, Nobel Prize, and Miss Universe rolled into one) and inscribed on it in a pretty anonymous hand “to the fairest”. She most casually strolled (wafted on a thundercloud, whatever) next to Olympus, and dropped it in the middle of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Physical Love, and Hera, the Goddess of Marriage, Zeus’ wife. Which immediately resulted in a catfight for the apple.
(You would think that Athena at the least would be wise enough not to fall for the ploy. Vanity is such a terrible thing to behold.)
The bickering eventually grew so loud that the trio decided to have a third party (or fourth, for those keeping track) judge to whom the Apple goes. Athena proposed a scholar, and was promptly shouted down. Aphrodite nominated a fellow who was quite the Don Juan at the time, and was similarly denied. Hera chose the only person who could have been impartial, a shepherd in the mountains, somewhere north of Thebes. The other two agreed, grumbling quietly.
The young fellow was named Paris. But, unlike his modern namesake, he had more than just wire and bits of fluff between his ears. He was, therefore, able to understand the significance of three glowing women of great beauty which appeared out of nowhere.
“Which of us is the most fair?” They inquired of him. This is when Paris gets a really sly grin on his face. Imagine a cartoon mouse that just got a free ticket to a factory of cheese. Like that. So he says, most ceremonially and ritually,
“Take it off.”
To which the Goddesses responded “No, do you realize who you are talking to, and who do you think you are?”
“I am the man you chose to decide which is the fairest. I set the conditions. Now take your clothes off.”
And so they did. And Paris saw some pretty fine divine bootay. Which was cool with him. But he could not decide which one was the BEST, and this is when the bribery comes in.
Hera whispered to him (keep in mind they’re all still in their birthday suits):
“I can make you King of all men, if you choose me.”
“I can make you the wisest man in the world, if you say I am the most beautiful.”
And Aphrodite said:
“You can have the most beautiful woman in the world as your wife, if you say I am the most beautiful.”
Remember, Paris is not exactly thinking with his head here, but you really can’t blame him, he’s only an adolescent male. The choice naturally fell for Aphrodite.
(Eris is watching from behind a rock. The disrobing made her day, the results would probably keep her happy for a decade.)
Aphrodite captured Helen and took her and Paris to Troy, were they would be safe. Athena and Hera promptly instructed their worshipers to make war unto Troy. I guess being a Goddess makes you a very sore loser indeed.
And thus, the Trojan war. It lasted for more than ten years, and slaughtered thousands. The city of Priam was awash with blood.
And what of the Apple, which started and decided the entire War? It in itself was innocent. It grew at the end of the world, in a garden. The garden was guarded by Zeus’s daughters and a dragon with a thousand mouths and no toothbrush. It was Hera’s wedding gift (the Garden, not the Dragon).
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