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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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Hypostases of Helen

Hypostases of Helen

(p.162) 4 Hypostases of Helen
Stealing Helen

Lowell Edmunds

Princeton University Press

This chapter reexamines the evidence for two cults of Helen, as part of a discussion into the origins of Helen and her myth outside of her narrative. Some scholars have posited that Helen, before becoming humanized into a heroine in Homer's epic, had originated as a goddess, and is thus hypostatized as an essential or real being who exists before and outside of myth and poetry and somehow enters the extant sources. To make matters more obscure, there are two such goddesses—two hypostases. In one, Helen is the avatar of an Indo-European goddess, who is also reflected in certain goddesses in the Rig Veda. In the other hypostasis, Helen is a goddess of cult.

Keywords:   hypostases, Helen cults, goddess, Indo-European goddess, goddess of cult, cults, Sparta, Rhodes

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