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Helen

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2 years ago

Helen’s beauty was believed pernicious. She was imagined to be a direct avatar of the kalon kakon – the beautiful evil – the first ever woman according to Hesiod’s revisionist theogony composed in the seventh century BC. Helen was a thing essentially bad, cloaked in beauty. Given that beauty was thought in the ancient world to be an active attribute with its own cogent power, the most beautiful woman in the world had, by definition, to be its most dangerous. As she walks along the walls of Troy, the old men of the benighted city start to chatter, muttering that now they understand why these two great peoples, the Trojans and the Greeks, have to fight. What beauty Helen has, they say, a terrible beauty like that of the goddess.


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