thyself and thy companions, I command thee to begone from my land
within the space of three days- and I warn you, that otherwise at
the end of that time you will be treated as enemies."
Such was the tale told me by the priests concerning the arrival of
Helen at the court of Proteus. It seems to me that Homer was
acquainted with this story, and while discarding it, because he
thought it less adapted for epic poetry than the version which he
followed, showed that it was not unknown to him. This is evident
from the travels which he assigns to Alexander in the Iliad- and let
it be borne in mind that he has nowhere else contradicted himself-
making him be carried out of his course on his return with Helen,
and after divers wanderings come at last to Sidon in Phoenicia. The
passage is in the Bravery of Diomed, and the words are as follows:-
There were the robes, many-coloured, the work of Sidonian women:
They from Sidon had come, what time god-shaped Alexander
Over the broad sea brought, that way, the high-born Helen.
In the Odyssey also the same fact is alluded to, in these words:-
Such, so wisely prepared, were the drugs that her stores
Excellent; gift which once Polydamna, partner of Thonis,
Gave her in Egypt, where many the simples that grow in the
Potent to cure in part, in part as potent to injure.
Menelaus too, in the same poem, thus addresses Telemachus:-
Much did I long to return, but the Gods still kept me in Egypt-
Angry because I had failed to pay them their hecatombs duly.
In these places Homer shows himself acquainted with the voyage
of Alexander to Egypt, for Syria borders on Egypt, and the
Phoenicians, to whom Sidon belongs, dwell in Syria.
From these various passages, and from that about Sidon especially,
it is clear that Homer did not write the Cypria. For there it is
said that Alexander arrived at Ilium with Helen on the third day after
he left Sparta, the wind having been favourable, and the sea smooth;
whereas in the Iliad, the poet makes him wander before he brings her
home. Enough, however, for the present of Homer and the Cypria.
I made inquiry of the priests whether the story which the Greeks
tell about Ilium is a fable, or no. In reply they related the
following particulars, of which they declared that Menelaus had
himself informed them. After the rape of Helen, a vast army of Greeks,
wishing to render help to Menelaus, set sail for the Teucrian
territory; on their arrival they disembarked, and formed their camp,
after which they sent ambassadors to Ilium, of whom Menelaus was
one. The embassy was received within the walls, and demanded the
restoration of Helen with the treasures which Alexander had carried
off, and likewise required satisfaction for the wrong done. The
Teucrians gave at once the answer in which they persisted ever
afterwards, backing their assertions sometimes even with oaths, to
wit, that neither Helen, nor the treasures claimed, were in their
possession,- both the one and the other had remained, they said, in
Egypt; and it was not just to come upon them for what Proteus, king of
Egypt, was detaining. The Greeks, imagining that the Teucrians were
merely laughing at them, laid siege to the town, and never rested
until they finally took it. As, however, no Helen was found, and
they were still told the same story, they at length believed in its
truth, and despatched Menelaus to the court of Proteus.
So Menelaus travelled to Egypt, and on his arrival sailed up the
river as far as Memphis, and related all that had happened. He met
with the utmost hospitality, received Helen back unharmed, and