Some say
A company of horsemen
Others a legion of foot soldiers
And others a fleet of ships
Is the most beautiful to behold on this black earth
I say
The most beautiful
Is whomever
One loves.
. . .
Shall I compare you
To a lone red apple
High atop the tallest tree
Some say all who came
Passed it by
I say none
Can reach that high.
    Sappho, 7th century B.C.
more Artful Romance

Lucas Cranach (1508)
Other versions of the same work:
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The story of Helen and Paris love affair which led to the Trojan War, starts when Paris, the son of Priam the Trojan king, was living as a shepherd on Mount Ida. His mother, Hecuba, had left him at birth because of a bad dream. The young Paris was present at a contest in which the beauties of the goddesses Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite were being compared. The prize was the Golden Apple of Eris inscribed with "For the Most Beautiful". The unpopular Eris, Goddess of Discord, threw the apple on a table in a wedding party where all other gods were invited, in order to cause a fight.  Paris was made the judge by Zeus , and chose Aphrodite who promised him the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. Helen was the daughter of Zeus by Leda (subject of another Artful Romance). She married Menelaus, king of Sparta, among 99 suitors. Later, Paris went to Sparta and won Helen's love and took her with him back to Troy, and this caused the 10-year Trojan War.
During the War Paris killed Achilles, the greatest Greek hero, by shooting an arrow at his heel. This was after Achilles defeated and killed Hector, the greatest Trojan hero and Priam's elder son. During the fall of Troy, Paris was shot by Philoctetes who had Heracles' bow. Helen who had taken refuge in the sanctuary of Apollo, was found and forgiven by her husband. Their return home, but, took eight years and was beset with misfortune. According to Homer's version of the story, she lived a faithful life and was deified at the end. Not a very romantic and exciting ending, I guess :-)
 J.o.Paris by Antoine Watteau (1720)   Helen by Evelyn DeMorgan (1898)
 J.o.P by Renoir (1913)   J.o.P by Rubens (1635)
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