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Leda and the Swan

April 7, 2013

Leda and the Swan

In the most commonly recounted tale Leda was seduced or raped by Zeus. The result of this union was a number of eggs laid by Leda from one of these Helen was born. Helen would go onto leave her husband for Paris, providing the excuse Agamemnon needed to launch the campaign against Troy.

Other versions of the myth tell that it was Nemesis who was raped and that Leda found the egg or it was placed under her birthing stool by Hermes.

This mosaic relief from Cyprus details the moment before the rape of Leda by Zeus. This is a replica of the original which is housed in the museum to ensure it is preserved.

The rape of Leda is a further representation of male dominance over women (much like with Persephone). However, in this moment of violence It also represents the transmission of Zeus’ godly power to Helen providing her with her unparalleled beauty.

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From → Mythical Figures

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