Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hegemon Book 9. Paris the Deceitful

Legend has it that when Prince Alexandros was born to King Priam and Queen Heckabe of Troy, his sister Cassandra forewarned the Trojan king that he would be the downfall of Troy. The sun god Apollo hath fallen in love with Cassandra and granted her the power to see the future, but when she spurned him, he decreed that none would believe her.

In this instant, Priam did not kill Alexandros but left him to die at Mount Ida. A kindly shepherd raised Alexandros, but having no knowledge of his princely status called him by his peasant name Paris.

One day, during the wedding of Achilles’ father Peleus to the nymph Thetis, Eros, the goddess of havoc, was not invited, so she cast a golden apple and said, “To the fairest.” Three goddesses vied for this apple, and because Paris was deemed to be a man of good character, he was made their judge.

First, Hera, the queen of the gods, approached him and said, “Give me the apple, and I shall make you ruler of Asia.”

To which Paris replied, “Lady, you are trying to bribe me.”

He then walked over to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and she said, “Give me the apple, and I shall make thee the greatest conqueror of all times.”

To this, Paris replied, “Lady, you are trying to bribe me.”

But then, Aprhodite, the goddess of Love, approached him and said, “Give me the apple, and I will let you win the heart of the fairest lady in the world.”

Paris said nothing, but handed the apple to Aphrodite…and so the legend goes. In due time, through Aphrodite’s influence, Paris returned to Troy and became a prince once more, much to the chagrin of his sister Cassandra.

Now, Troy was no ordinary city. Its walls were higher than any in Greece. Its wealth was legendary. It was said that Priam was the richest man on earth. Located on the connection point of Asia and Europe, its fleet controlled commerce by providing the best harbour, and though it paid tribute to the Hittite emperor Hattusilis, the Hittites largely left them alone.

One day, Troy decided to make an alliance with Sparta. I have always treated Prince Paris as my friend, but never would I imagine that he would betray my trust in such a vile manner…but perhaps, I should have, for the lad was comely and my wife Helen was the most beautiful woman to ever walk the Earth …and some say fairer than the goddess of Olympus.

Who could resist the charms of Helen? And what man could be so honorable as to forgo her? I knew only later from her chambermaid that Paris and Helen carried on an affair without my knowledge, and upon his departure, I realized that my queen was missing. This could only mean war. The Spartans think that I did it for Spartan honor and much as I would have them believe that, the truth was that I could not live without Helen. And so the die was cast. Sparta would declare war upon Troy. I would win back my wife and slay that deceitful friend, Prince and favorite of Aphrodite though he may be.

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