1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Menelaus
|←Menedemus||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18
|See also Menelaus on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
MENELAUS, in Greek legend, son of Atreus (or Pleisthenes), king of Sparta, brother of Agamemnon and husband of Helen. He was one of the Greeks who entered Troy concealed in the wooden horse (Virgil, Aeneid, ii, 264) and recovered his wife at the sack of the city. On the voyage homewards his fleet was scattered off Cape Malea by a storm, which drove him to Egypt. After eight years' wandering in the east, he landed on the island of Pharos, where Proteus revealed to him the means of appeasing the gods and securing his return. He reached Sparta on the day on which Orestes was holding the funeral feast over Aegithus and Clytaemnestra. After a long and happy life in Lacedaemon, Menelaus, as the son-in-law of Zeus, did not die but was translated to Elysium (Homer, Odyssey, iii. iv.). His grave and that of Helen were shown at Therapnae, where he was worshipped as a god (Pausanias iii. 19, 9). He was represented in works of art as carrying off the body of the dead Patroclus or lifting up his hand to slay Helen.