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The Judgment of Paris

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Judgment of Paris by Peter Paul Rubens (1636)

The Judgment of Paris is an ancient myth from Greece and Rome. The subject was a favorite for many artists over the centuries because it permitted the artist to depict three female nudes in the same picture.

The gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus were having a celebration. Eris, the goddess of discord, was not invited because she was usually unpleasant. In retaliation for being snubbed, she threw a golden apple into the hall. It was inscribed, "To the fairest".

Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite all claimed to be the fairest. They asked Paris, a young and handsome prince of ancient Troy, to decide. He chose Aphrodite, and gave her the golden apple.

Paris's choice had terrible consequences. When the Trojan War broke out, Athena and Hera sided with the Greeks. Aphrodite sided with the Trojans.

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