All the gods and goddesses of Greece, with the exception of Eris, the goddes of discord, had been invited to an important wedding. Futious, Eris appeared at the festivities and threw a golden apple among the guests. On it was inscribed, «For the fairest». Juno, Venus, and Minerva each claimed the apple. Jupter, not wanting to make a decision, sent the goddesses to Paris. the son of the king of Troy.
Paris had been reared in obscurity because it had been foretold that he would bring ruin to the state. He lived as a shepherd-prince on Mt. Ida, in Trow. There he had wedded a nymph, and until the arrival of the goddessess, he had been quite happy.
ow he had to make a judgment. Each goddess appealed to him. Juno promised power and great wealth, Minerva glory and victory in war, Venus the fairest woman in the kingdom. Paris, forgetting his wife, decided in favour of Venus. His decision made Juno and Minerva his enemies. Under the protection of Venus, Paris sailed to Greece, where he ecame the guest of King Menelaus. Helen, the beautiful wife of Menelaus, was the prize Venus had in mind for Paris. Helen had been sought by many suitors. They had all agreed to aphold her choice and avenge her cause if necessary. With the aid of Venus, Paris persuaded Helen to elope with him, and he carried her off to Troy. This was the couse of the famous Trojan War. Menelaus called on the great chieftains of Greece to come to his aid in getting back is wife.
The defenders of Helen sided with Troy. The gods and goddesses, too, took sides. The war lasted nine years and resulted in the defeat of Troy and the death of many famous Greeks and Trojans.