Menelaus (mĕnəlāˈəs) [key], in Greek mythology, king of Sparta, son of Atreus. He was the husband of Helen, father of Hermione, and younger brother of Agamemnon. When Paris, prince of Troy, abducted Helen, Menelaus asked the other Greek kings to join him in an expedition against Troy, beginning the Trojan War. Menelaus, although subordinate to Agamemnon, took a prominent part in the war. After the fall of Troy, he became reconciled with Helen, but before they finally reached Sparta they experienced a long series of adventures. Menelaus appears in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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