Helen of Troy: Bettany Hughes

Goddess, Princess, Whore

(Let’s start off with the historical facts, on the basis that there aren’t many of them.) I haven’t always been a fan of Bettany Hughes: she was practically the only female historian on TV during my teenage years and I felt that she spent too much time wearing impractical dresses and not enough time on the actual history. However, with this book, all was forgiven. Hughes is an engaging and thorough writer. She uses Helen as a figurehead through whom to explore the condition of women in the late Bronze Age, which is all completely fascinating stuff; and naturally she covers the history, development and enduring popularity of the Helen myth. All in all, a very good place to start.

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