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Three times in Iliad 3, Helen is called the daughter of Zeus, the only references in the poem to her parentage. This article examines the evidence about Helen's family from Hesiod and the Cypria, and argues for a traditional link between her ambiguous parentage and her role in the Trojan War. In the tradition, Helen is created by Zeus as a weapon to wipe out the heroes, and this instrumentality is more important than her genealogy. Although the Iliad makes no reference to this tradition, I show how our understanding of her Homeric character is informed and deepened by it.