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[7] But Zeus in the form of a swan consorted with Leda, and on the same night Tyndareus cohabited with her; and she bore Pollux and Helen to Zeus, and Castor and Clytaemnestra to Tyndareus.1 But some say that Helen was a daughter of Nemesis and Zeus; for that she, flying from the arms of Zeus, changed herself into a goose, but Zeus in his turn took the likeness of a swan and so enjoyed her; and as the fruit of their loves she laid an egg, and a certain shepherd found it in the groves and brought and gave it to Leda; and she put it in a chest and kept it; and when Helen was hatched in due time, Leda brought her up as her own daughter.2 And when she grew into a lovely woman, Theseus carried her off and brought her to Aphidnae.3 But when Theseus was in Hades, Pollux and Castor marched against Aphidnae, took the city, got possession of Helen, and led Aethra, the mother of Theseus, away captive.


1 Compare Eur. Hel. 16ff.; Lucian, Dial. Deorum xx.14; Lucian, Charidemus 7; Scholiast on Hom. Od. xi.298; Hyginus, Fab. 77; Hyginus, Ast. ii.8; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 27, 64, 119ff., 163 (First Vatican Mythographer 78, 204; Second Vatican Mythographer 132; Third Vatican Mythographer 3.6). As the fruit of her intercourse with the swan, Leda is said to have laid an egg, which in the time of Pausanias was still to be seen hanging by ribbons from the roof of the temple of Hilaira and Phoebe at Sparta. See Paus. 3.16.1. According to one account (First Vatican Mythographer 78), Castor, Pollux, and Helen all emerged from a single egg; according to another account (First Vatican Mythographer 204), Leda laid two eggs, one of which produced Castor and Pollux, and the other Clytaemnestra and Helen. In heaven the twins Castor and Pollux had each, if we may believe Lucian, half an egg on or above his head in token of the way in which he had been hatched. See Lucian, Dial. Deorum xxvi.1. For the distinction between Pollux and Castor, the former being regarded as the son of Zeus and the latter as the son of Tyndareus, see Pind. N. 10.79(149)ff. According to Hesiod, both Pollux and Castor were sons of Zeus. See Scholiast on Pind. N. 10.80(150).

2 With this variant story of the birth of Helen compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 88 (who may have followed Apollodorus); Eratosthenes, Cat. 25; Paus. 1.33.7ff.; Scholiast on Callimachus; Hyginus, Ast. ii.8. According to Eratosthenes and the Scholiast on Callimachus, Hymn to Artemis, 232, the meeting between Zeus and Nemesis, in the shape respectively of a swan and a goose, took place at Rhamnus in Attica, where Nemesis had a famous sanctuary, the marble ruins of which may still be seen in a beautiful situation beside the sea. The statue of the goddess at Rhamnus was wrought by the hand of Phidias, and on the base he represented Leda bringing the youthful Helen to her mother Nemesis. In modern times some of these marble reliefs have been found on the spot, but they are too fragmentary to admit of being identified. See Paus. 1.33.2-8, with Frazer's, commentary, vol. ii. pp. 455ff.

3 As to the captivity of Helen at Aphidnae, and her rescue by her brothers Castor and Pollux, see Apollod. E.1.23; Hdt. 9.73; Strab. 9.1.17; Diod. 4.63.2-5; Plut. Thes. 31ff.; Paus. 1.17.5; Paus. 1.41.3; Paus. 2.22.6; Paus. 3.18.4ff.; compare Paus. 5.19.3; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 503; Hyginus, Fab. 79. The story was told by the historian Hellanicus (Scholiast on Hom. Il. iii.144), and in part by the poet Alcman (Scholiast on Hom. Il. iii.242).

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