/men'l ay"euhs/, n.Class. Myth. a king of Sparta, the husband of Helen and brother of Agamemnon, to whom he appealed for an army against Troy in order to recover Helen from her abductor, Paris.
* * *When his wife, Helen, was abducted by Paris, he asked the other Greek kings to join him in an expedition against Troy, thus beginning the Trojan War. He served under his brother Agamemnon. At the war's end he recovered Helen and brought her back to Sparta instead of killing her as he had intended. Having forgotten to appease the gods of defeated Troy, he endured a hard voyage home, and many of his ships were lost.
* * *in Greek mythology, king of Sparta and the younger son of Atreus, king of Mycenae; the abduction of his wife, Helen, led to the Trojan War. During the war Menelaus served under his elder brother Agamemnon, the commander in chief of the Greek forces. When Phrontis, one of his crewmen, was killed, Menelaus delayed his voyage until the man had been buried, thus giving evidence of his strength of character. After the fall of Troy, Menelaus recovered Helen and brought her home. Menelaus was a prominent figure in the Iliad and the Odyssey, where he was promised a place in Elysium after his death because he was married to a daughter of Zeus. The poet Stesichorus (fl. 6th century BC) introduced a refinement to the story that was used by Euripides in his play Helen: it was a phantom that was taken to Troy, while the real Helen went to Egypt, from where she was rescued by Menelaus after he had been wrecked on his way home from Troy and the phantom Helen had disappeared.
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