The golden apple is an element that appears in various ethnic folk legends and fairy tales. Golden apples are generally depicted as a source of immortality, or an object of insatiable desire. One of our favorites is a story of Greek mythology and the Judgement of Paris (or as we call it the Original Snub).
On Olympus, home of the gods, Zeus planned a wedding banquet for Peleus and Thetis. However, Eris the Goddess of Discord was not invited, for it was believed she would have made the party unpleasant for everyone. Angered by this snub, Eris arrived at the celebration anyhow with a golden apple from the Garden of Hesperides and inscribed on it the word Kallisti, meaning “for the fairest”.
Naturally, every goddess rushed forward to claim the prize. Soon they were arguing and fighting over the golden apple, but by the end of this chaotic battle, only three goddesses remained: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. They asked Zeus to judge which of them was fairest.
He decided to delegate that question to someone else, because he knew that whichever Goddess was chosen, the other two were going to inflict some serious revenge. He declared that Paris, a Trojan mortal, would judge since had shown exemplary fairness in another recent contest.
The goddesses then stood before Paris and began to offer bribes.
Hera said. “Select me and you will be among the most powerful men on earth.”
Athena strode forward next. “I shall make you the finest warrior who ever lived.”
Last to step forward was Aphrodite. “Paris,” she said, “I offer you Helen of Sparta, the most beautiful mortal woman in the world.”
Paris accepted Aphrodite’s gift and awarded the golden apple to her. In doing this, he had not only angered Athena the Goddess of War and Wisdom, and Hera the Queen of the Gods, but also the Greeks since Helen was already married to the Greek king Menelaus. He had no idea what he’d gotten himself into. Paris did indeed steal Helen away – but not without cost to both himself and his beloved city. The Greeks’ expedition to retrieve Helen from Paris in Troy is the mythological basis of the Trojan War and the fall of Troy.
Golden Apples… insatiable enough to spark envy, jealousy, and desire, even amongst the Gods.