Helen of Troy

The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships

The Story of Helen

Helen was said to be the most beautiful woman to ever live. She was kidnapped as a young girl, and when she returned home there were suitors from every part of Greece trying to win her hand. Knowing there would be conflict when it came time to choose only one suitor Odysseus proposed everyone should take an oath to always protect Helen and the man she should marry. Helen's father quickly chose Menelaus to marry her.

A few years into their marriage Menelaus had to go abruptly to Crete, leaving Helen alone with his friend Paris. The two quickly fell in love and fled Sparta (some stories say she was forced to go.) After many adventures the two arrived in Troy. The Trojan people loved Helen, and threw a wedding ceremony for the two.

Menelaus returned home to find Helen gone and he was outraged. The suitors as promised went to Troy and demanded Helen be returned. Helen either would not return, or would not be allowed to return. The Greeks went home and prepared for war. The suitors stayed true to their word and soon many ships were constructed, and armies assembled. This led to the 10 year Trojan war. If the Trojan war truly took place it may have been the worst war in history

The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships

The saying is mainly used to refer to Helen of Troy, but can also be used to express that you think someone is beautiful, by saying “She/He has a face that could launch a thousand ships” or “You have a face that could launch a thousand ships.”