“If Helen really were in Ilium, they would have given her back to the Greeks whether Paris wanted them to or not. Priam was not so out of his mind, nor were his other subjects, that they would want to risk their own bodies and children and the city itself just so that Paris could sleep with Helen.”
εἰ ἦν Ἑλένη ἐν Ἰλίῳ, ἀποδοθῆναι ἂν αὐτὴν τοῖσι Ἕλλησι ἤτοι ἑκόντος γε ἢ ἀέκοντοςἈλεξάνδρου. οὐ γὰρ δὴ οὕτω γε φρενοβλαβὴς ἦν ὁ Πρίαμος οὐδὲ οἱ ἄλλοι οἱ προσήκοντες αὐτῷ, ὥστε τοῖσι σφετέροισι σώμασι καὶ τοῖσι τέκνοισι καὶ τῇ πόλι κινδυνεύειν ἐβούλοντο, ὅκως Ἀλέξανδρος Ἑλένῃ συνοικέῃ.
11 thoughts on “Sex at What Price? Herodotus 2.120”
Oh, Antenor and the Trojan elders have some complicated feeling about this…
You should post a counter-point! I should have included the part where Herodotus says that they would have given her back even if Priam himself were sleeping with her.
All the rest of the Trojans wanted to give her back but Paris refused. You would have thought Priam or Hector could have overruled him but even if they had the Greeks would not have accepted. They’d invested too much in the campaign.
Paris said he would not give back the wedded wife of Menelaos although the Trojans were telling him to do it.
κουριδίην δ᾽ ἄλοχον Μενελάου κυδαλίμοιο
οὔ φησιν δώσειν: ἦ μὴν Τρῶές γε κέλονται.
Poor Alexander. Three women get upset over an apple and he pays the price.