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The Ancient World with Bettany Hughes – Helen of Troy

She is ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’; the woman blamed for the Trojan War – a conflict that caused countless deaths – but who was the real Helen of Troy? Bettany Hughes travels across the eastern Mediterranean to disentangle myth from reality and find the truth about the most beautiful woman on earth. Helen’s story is a dark and very human drama, interweaving pleasure and pain, sex and violence, love and hate: a tale that started with a messy love affair and ended with a bloody and disastrous conflict. Hughes argues that many images of the mythic Helen, from Hollywood movies to romantic paintings, have got her all wrong: Helen was the original sex goddess. And the film reveals just how a pre-historic princess in Bronze Age Greece – a real Helen – would have looked. The feature-length documentary takes in some of the most beautiful scenery of the ancient world, from the magnificent citadel at Mycenae and the spectacular shrine to Helen in Sparta, to the archaeological site in modern Turkey that will be forever linked with the war fought in Helen’s name: Troy.

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