ON THIS DAY in 1184 B.C. (according to Eratosthenes, who put some effort into working out the date), the city of Troy fell after a ten-year siege. Thus the tawdry little affair between Helen and Paris came to a spectacular end. In those days, there were no supermarket tabloids to shame adulterers in public, so an offended husband could not simply call his publicist, and had to resort to war as his only recourse.

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