The Judgement of Paris

William Blake--'The Judgement of Paris'

Peleus and the nereid Thetis were getting married. In their haste to plan they forgot to invite Eris. Needless to say Eris was very angry, and being the goddess of strife she decided to take revenge rather than complain to the bride and groom. The wedding went as planned, but at the wedding feast, Eris threw a golden apple between three of the goddess attending: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Inscribed on the apple were the words "For the Fairest". The three goddesses promptly began fighting about who the apple was intended for. They asked Zeus to judge, but he declined, probably realizing that the two goddesses that he didn't pick would hate him for the rest of their immortal lives. He told them to go to Mount Ida where a mortal man would choose. This mortal man was Paris, the crown prince of Troy. Each of the goddesses offered Paris a prize, should they chose her: Athena offered to make him victorious in every fight, Hera offered him control of Asia, and Aphrodite offered to give him the world's most beautiful woman as his bride. Not really caring much about battle or Asia, Paris chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess. And so Paris gained Helen as his wife, not caring that she was already married. He abducted her, and the battle to get her back will be covered in another epic tale: The Trojan War.

The painting is "The Judgement of Paris" by William Blake. More information on William Blake can be found in the Senior Humanities section.
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