Menelaus Essay, Research Paper


Classics of British Literature


Mon 6:00-9:40pm

Menelaus (Born 70 (possibly) died 130)

Menelaus although a great warrior was also a great observer and thinker. Menelaus was the son of Atreus. Menelaus?s brother was the leader of the Trojan army, Agamemnon. Although he was not a major warrior in the war, his brother was the commander in chief of the forces against Troy (Parada, p.2).

Although little is known about Menalus?s life in Alexandria, other records show that he recorded astrological records. Menelaus observed the occultation of the star Beta Scorpii by the moon (Robertson and O?Connor, p.1). Occultation is the blocking of a heavenly body by another (ex: the moon blocking the view of another star.) Menelaus was mentioned in the works of Plutach also. It stated that Lucius apologized to Menelaus for doubting that light, when reflected, obeys the law that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection (O?Connor, Robertson, and p.1).

Menelaus not only being an observer was also a mathematician. He composed a book that survived until today. The book titled ?Sphaerica? is the only surviving book, it deals with spherical triangles and their application to astronomy (O?Connor, Robertson, p.1). Menelaus produced many other books pertain to Geometry and Trignometry, but none of these books survived the translation from Greek to Arabic and then later to modern day.

Not only a thinker, Menelaus was a great warrior. Menelaus was leader of the Lacedaemonians, Helen?s homeland, during the war. Not much is known about any other roles he had in the war. After the conclusion of the war Menelaus wandered about the Mediterranean following the winds that the Gods provided. In and or around Egypt it is said that Menelaus was stuck there because of the hee trapped the old man of the sea Proteus 2 there. Menelaus bound him in chains and while Proteus metamorphisized into many figures to escape Menelaus waited. Finally Proteus confided why Menelaus had been traveling aimlessly. Proteus said that the Gods were angry because Troy had fallen and that Menelaus had to make an offering (Parada, p.3).

Menelaus made the offering so he could return home. Setting sail with Helen he returned home to Sparta and regained his kingdom. When they reached Sparta it was said that they had a very happy and long life after the war, they had children and were very prosperous. During Menelaus?s trapping of Proteus, he confided in Menelaus that the gods were pleased with him and that they had decided to be admitted to the Elysian fields along with Helen.

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