Portrait related to the so-called Seleucid Prince. Marble, Roman copy of the 1st century AD after a Hellenistic original. From the Via Barberini, Rome: photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, September 2009 (National Museum of Rome)
The heroes. They sit upon their stones with their weapons disengaged and converse softly
among themselves, murmuring the names of the legendary coveted trophy women, none daring risk
the vulnerable admission of a crucial and crippling nescience when it comes to these things.
Who is she? This Helen? This Sonia, or Sophia -- this prize? With her breasts of white gold that yet come alive, glistening in the dark not with the reflected firelight
of this desert encampment alone, but, in the tiny beads of sweat, in each of which is contained the further countless mirrored universes
of her eternally unreadable smile, with the obscure illumination of unimaginable remote fertile welcoming mystery haciendas?
Menelaus intends to strike Helen; struck by her beauty, he drops his sword. A flying Eros and Aphrodite (on the left) watch the scene. Detail of an Attic red-figure krater by Menelaus Painter ca. 450–440 BC, found in Gnathia (now Egnazia, Italy): image by Jastrow, 2006 (Department of Greek, Roman and Etruscan Antiquities, Musée du Louvre)