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In Greek mythology, Oenone was the first wife of Paris of Troy, whom he abandoned for the queen Helen of Sparta. Oenone was a mountain nymph on Mount Ida in Phrygia, a mountain associated with the Mother Goddess Cybele, alternatively Rhea. Her father was Cebren, a river-god. Her very name links her to the gift of wine. Paris, son of the king Priam and the queen Hecuba, fell in love with Oenone when he was a shepherd on the slopes of Mount Ida, having been exposed in infancy but rescued by the herdsman Agelaus. The couple married, and Oenone gave birth to a son, Corythus. When Paris later abandoned her to return to Troy and sail across the Aegean to kidnap Helen, the queen of Sparta, Oenone predicted the Trojan War. Out of revenge for Paris' betrayal, she sent Corythus to guide the Greeks to Troy. Another version has it that she used her son to drive a rift between Paris and Helen, but Paris, not recognizing his own son, killed him. The only extensive surviving narration of Oenone and Paris is Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica, book X.259-489, which tells the return of wounded Paris to Oenone. Mortally wounded by Philoctetes' arrow, he begged Oenone to heal him with her herbal arts, but she refused and cast him out with scorn, to return to Helen's bed, and Paris died on the lower slopes of Ida. Then, overcome with remorse, Oenone, the one whole-hearted mourner of Paris, threw herself onto his burning funeral pyre, which the shepherds had raised. A fragment of Bacchylides suggests that she threw herself off a cliff, in Bibliotheke it is noted "when she found him dead she hanged herself," and Lycophron imagined her hurtling head first from the towering walls of Troy. Her tragic story makes one of the Love Romances of Parthenius of Nicaea.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
a nymph of Mount Ida, near Troy, beloved by and married to Paris, but whom he forsook for Helen; is the subject of one of Tennyson's poems.
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