Judgment of Paris


noun Classical Mythology.

the decision by Paris to award Aphrodite the golden apple of discord competed for by Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera.

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Cultural definitions for judgment of paris

Judgment of Paris

In classical mythology, the incident that ultimately brought on the Trojan War (see also Trojan War). When the goddess Discord threw the apple of discord, marked “For the Fairest,” among the gods, Zeus refused to judge which goddess was the most beautiful, but sent the three contestants — Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera — to the Trojan prince Paris for a decision. Each made offers to induce Paris to give her the apple. Athena and Hera offered military or political power, but Aphrodite said that he could have the most beautiful woman in the world. He gave the apple to Aphrodite, thereby making powerful enemies of Athena and Hera. Aphrodite led him to Helen, afterward known as Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world and wife of the king of Sparta in Greece. Paris carried her off to Troy while her husband was away. The Greeks then combined forces to make war on Troy and bring her back. Trojan civilization was destroyed in the process.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.