The wedding of Peleus and Thetis, a sea goddess, was a large event. The wedding was very popular, and most of the important gods and mortals were invited. One goddess who was not invited was Eris, the goddess of discord. She threw a golden apple into the crowd with the words “The Fairest” inscribed on it. Three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all claimed the apple should be for them. To resolve the disagreement Zeus appointed Paris, a Trojan prince, to judge the contest.
All three goddesses bribed Paris. Hera offered Paris control over Asia. Athena offered him wisdom and victory in battle. Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris picked Aphrodite for the title “The Fairest.” In return Aphrodite helped Paris kidnap Helen, wife of the King Menelaus of Sparta. Stories conflict as to weather if Helen fell in love with Paris (with the help of Aphrodite) and left willingly, or if she was forcefully abducted by Paris. In either case this event set into motion the Trojan War for the next ten years.