face that launched a thousand ships, the

the face that launched a thousand ships

Helen of Troy, whose beauty (and men's desire thereof) is commonly ascribed as the cause of the Trojan War. Questions still remain as to whether the face that launched a thousand ships did so as an unwilling abductee or a treacherous elopement.
See also: face, launch, ship, that, thousand
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

face that launched a thousand ships, the

fAn exceptionally beautiful woman; or, ironically, someone lacking in beauty. The phrase comes from Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus (ca. 1588), and describes Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Greece, whose legendary beauty led to her abduction by Paris, which set off the Trojan War. “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?” wrote Marlowe.
See also: face, launch, that, thousand
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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