Paris, the Trojan prince who kidnapped Helen: His responsibility for the Trojan War

Greek mythology is an inexhaustible source of captivating stories, one of the most emblematic of which is undoubtedly the Trojan War. This legendary confrontation, interwoven with passion, betrayal and divine intervention, continues to intrigue historians and enthusiasts alike. At the heart of this epic is Paris, the Trojan prince, and his controversial abduction of Helen, which set off the tinderbox of a devastating war. This article delves into the life of Paris and examines his role in one of the most famous conflicts in ancient history.

Born into the royal line of Troy, Paris is the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. His coming into the world is surrounded by dark omens, as a prophecy announces that he will be the cause of the fall of Troy.

Life among the shepherds

Abandoned in the mountains to avoid this fateful fate, Pâris grows up among the shepherds, unaware of his royal origins.

Return to Troy and recognition

The truth finally comes out, and Pâris is welcomed back to his native city, where his beauty and charm quickly become a sensation.

The Judgment of Pâris

The story of the Judgment of Pâris is the trigger for the Trojan War, featuring the apple of discord and the fateful choice of the young prince.

The apple of discord

The goddess of discord, Eris, displeased at not being invited to the wedding of Thetis and Peleus, throws a golden apple destined for "the fairest" among the goddesses, provoking a celestial dispute.

Pâris' choice

Faced with three goddesses vying for the title, Pâris is seduced by Aphrodite's promise: the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Hélène.

Hélène's abduction

Pâris' journey to Sparta is marked by his warm welcome at the home of king Ménélas and his meeting with Hélène.

The seduction of Helen

Under the spell of Aphrodite, Helen succumbs to the advances of Paris.

The flight to Troy

Their escape arouses controversy and interpretation, triggering a series of reactions that lead to war.

The Trojan War

The Trojan War, which lasted a decade, is a complex episode in which gods and men fought for honor and glory.

Trigger and stakeholders

The anger of the Achaean kings and the involvement of the deities shape the course of the war.

Key moments involving Pâris

Pâris faces Menelaus and his attitude during the war oscillates between bravery and cowardice, affecting the morale of the Trojan troops and the course of events.

Analysis of Pâris' responsibility

The question of Pâris' responsibility has been debated since antiquity. Was he a pawn in a divine game, or the architect of his own downfall?

Mythological perspectives

Examining Pâris' free will in the face of fate, and the influence of the gods on his choices, sheds light on the complexity of his guilt.

Historical and literary perspectives

Pâris is often seen as the catalyst of the war. Criticism and interpretations of his character vary from antipathy to a certain form of empathy, depending on the period and the author.


Pâris, through his choices and actions, has undeniably left his mark on the history of Troy and on literature. His legacy remains a source of interest and debate, illustrating the continuing fascination with Greek mythology and ancient history.