It is often assumed that Helen was the cause of the Trojan War. The chain of events that started the Trojan War actually began with a spiteful goddess and a simple apple. Zeus was putting together a wedding banquet for Peleus and Thetis. He planned to invite just about everyone except Eris, the goddess of discord. She was known far and wide as a troublemaker and was left out of every big reception.
Eris was indeed greatly angered because she had been left out of the wedding festivities. She then thought up a little plot to stir things up at the reception. She created a golden apple and upon it she wrote Kallisti (meaning "To the prettiest one").
Up until this point, the gods and goddesses were very happy. They were dancing and playing. Suddenly, Eris threw the golden apple into their midst crying:
"The fairest shall have it!"
Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena each thought herself the prettiest, and they each ran to pick it up. All three of them wanted the golden apple. They all became angry, and a big argument started. The wedding broke up, with everyone angry and confused, and the gods and goddesses went back to Mount Olympus.
The goddesses were still fighting, and Zeus decided that someone must be appointed the judge of the three, in order to end the quarrel. Zeus asked Hermes, the messenger god, to be an impartial judge. Hermes in turn looked down on Earth, and he saw Paris, the son of King Priam, the King of Troy. Paris was very handsome, and Hermes thought he would make a good judge.
The goddesses went to Paris, and each one tried to bribe him to give her the apple. Hera said she would give him power and wealth. She filled his head with images of thrones and conquering, and promised him that he should have all of Asia at his feet. Athena said she would give him wisdom and victory in battle: She offered him great wisdom, almost equaling her own, and promised him great luck in battle. Aphrodite said she would give him the most beautiful maidenthere was, Helen, Queen of Sparta.
Helen was married to Menelaus, King of Sparta, but Aphrodite said she would simply make Helen fall in love with Paris.
So, Paris ended up awarding Aphrodite the apple. Aphrodite then sent Eros, her little son, down to shoot Helen with one of his arrows, to make her fall in love with Paris. Paris came and got her, and they ran away to Troy.
Paris, a prince of Troy, stole Helen away from her husband, Meneleas, the Greek king of Sparta. Menelaus wanted his wife back and Paris would not agree. The Trojan War resulted as Paris’ father Priam, the king of Troy and Meneleas, the king of Sparta went to battle over Paris’ kidnapping and marrying of Helen.