Born to King Priam
and his wife Hekabe
. It was prophesied
that the boy would grow to be the death of his city. In order to try to avoid this, Priam
had the child taken to Mount Ida
, where he hoped he would die of exposure.
But baby Paris was found by shepherds
, who took up the task of raising him. While he was under their care, three goddesses, Aphrodite
approached young Paris, commanding him to decide who was most beautiful of the three.
This was in reaction to the gauntlet
thrown down by Eris
, when she cast a golden apple
among the three
goddesses. She advised them that the most beautiful could claim the prize. Each thinking herself worthy of the prize, the three were referred by Zeus
to Paris. Each promised him something wonderful:
Athene vowed that he should have immortal fame
as a hero
Hera promised him the throne of Asia
Aphrodite said that she would obtain for him the most beautiful woman in the world
as his wife.
After much thought, Paris decided in favour of Aphrodite, and in so doing drew the bitter enmity of the two losers upon himself and his country.
At that time, it happened that oxen
were required for a sacrifice
being offered in Troy, and so two sons of King Priam
, came to Mount Ida
, and took one of the herd watched over by Paris. Unwilling let them take the oxen, Paris followed the princes back to Troy, intending to demand restoration of his cattle. A quarrel ensued on the way, and the princes nearly killed Paris. But then Cassandra
appeared and revealed the
story of Paris' birth, and with great rejoicing the three returned to Troy, where Paris took his place as a son of King Priam, and a prince of the city. Aphrodite commanded Paris to set sail for Sparta
, where Paris met the woman whom the goddess had promised would be his wife, the most beautiful woman on earth. This was Helen, wife of
. The two developed a friendship that later turned into love, and when the opportunity to elope
presented itself, Paris and Helen fled Sparta and returned to Troy
, where they were married.
Menalaus was not going to take this lying down, and so commanded those who had sworn an oath to aid him now to take up arms against Troy and sail to the city to rescue Helen. Thus began the nine-year Trojan War
, in which many died.
During this war Paris distinguished himself by killing the Greek hero Achilles
, but was in the end himself slain by
, with the arrows of Hercules