THE BIRTH OF BEAUTIFUL HELEN ON THE ISLET “PEFNOS”
The ancient traveler Pausanias mentioned in 150 B.C. that Dioscuri were born on the islet “Pefnos”, located in the port of Agios Dimitrios of West Mani, and two bronze statues of them were there. Unfortunately, the statues no longer exist, probably because they were stolen at some point in the later years. The need to reposition the stolen statues and to revive the values of Greek culture, made us re-create a sculpture on this particular islet.
With the guidance and help of the honorable professor of archeology Dr. Petros Themelis, we managed to complete the difficult task of the sculpture installation. The process was done with methods reminding of the ones used in the ancient times and all the materials were carried hand in hand on a fishing boat. The created statue depicts Zeus who transformed into a swan and mated with Leda. From this union an egg emerged, through which the “Beautiful Helen” and the Dioscuri were born. Dr. Petros Themelis explains this myth in the following text, which will be engraved on a marble slab directly opposite the rocky islet, in the port of Agios Dimitrios:
“THE BIRTH OF HELEN
According to an ancient legend from the Euripidian tragedy ‘Helen’ (vs. 17 and 252), the supreme god Zeus fell passionately in love with the beautiful Leda, wife of king Tyndareus of Sparta. Zeus transformed himself into a pale white swan fleeing from an eagle and took refuge into the arms of Leda. This secret, erotic union of god and mortal took place on the small rocky islet of Pefnos, near the coast. As a result, Leda produced an egg and this famous egg led to the birth of the Dioscuri twins Castor and Pollux, as well as the ‘Beautiful Helen’, destined to be the wife of Menelaus, Paris and the unfortunate Troy.
In ancient times, bronze statues of the Dioscuri were erected on the islet of Pefnos, while to-day a modern work of art – depicting the union of Swan/Zeus with Leda – is being placed on the same spot.