Judgement of Paris
At the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, Paris of Troy was appointed by the gods to choose between three goddesses who claimed to be the most beautiful; Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena. The Judgement is conducted by Hermes who in early art is shown restraining Paris, who flees from the goddesses. Paris is sometimes shown as a shepherd; the encounter was on Mount Ida. He chose Aphrodite and in return she promised to give him Helen, the most beautiful woman on earth. Helen was already married to a Greek king (Menelaos), and after Paris carried her off to Troy, the Greeks laid siege to the city and the Trojan War began.
Above left: Hermes leads the goddesses. Detail from a Pontic black-figure clay vase, about 550 BC. Munich, Antikensammlungen 837. © Antikensammlungen, Munich Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 162
Above right: Detail from Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 500-450 BC. London. British Museum E178. Photo. Mus. 222039. © British Museum