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Stealing HelenThe Myth of the Abducted Wife in Comparative Perspective$
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Lowell Edmunds

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691165127

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691165127.001.0001

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(p.66) 2 Dioscuri
Stealing Helen

Lowell Edmunds

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the divine twins, the “Dioscuri,” to which Helen is variously related in the mythology. After reviewing the evidence for the theft of Helen and her rescue by the Dioscuri, the chapter studies the Indo-European background of the trio, and attempts to reconstruct an Indo-European prototype story. Turning back to the Greeks, the chapter asks if the evidence for the three characters suggests some more primordial trio lying behind the rescue story. However, the chapter abandons the search for Indo-European or primordial prototypes of the story for want of sufficient evidence, though it argues that, nevertheless, one does not have to deny every kind of Indo-European explanation.

Keywords:   divine twins, Dioscuri, Indo-European prototypes, cults, name etymology, Indo-European origins, Indo-European epic

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