Achilles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Achilles and the Nereid Cymothoe: Attic red-figure, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris)
Achilles (right) binds Patroclus's wounds

Achilles (or Achilleus; Ancient Greek: Ἀχιλλεύς) was a hero in Greek mythology. In Homer's Iliad, Achilles was the son of Peleus and the nereid Thetis. He was the greatest warrior of the Achaean Greeks in their struggle against the Trojans in the Trojan War. His story is at the centre of the Iliad, which starts with the dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon, the Greek king.[1]

Achilles, believing that Agamemnon had dishonoured him, did not wish to bow to the king's leadership.[2] He sat out the battle until the Trojans had almost won the war. Then he entered the battle. He killed the great Hektor, the son of Priam, and the Trojans' greatest hero. The tide of battle turned against the Trojans, and many were slaughtered.

It is believed that Achilles was killed at the end of the war, but this is not said in the Iliad. The Iliad ends with the funeral of Hektor.

Legend[change | change source]

Achilles could not be hurt. In some versions of the myths, Thetis, his mother, dipped him into the river Styx, holding the baby by his left heel. Because of that, his heel was still vulnerable. However, the Iliad does not say this.

According to the legend, Achilles was killed by Paris, who shot his heel with a poisoned arrow. He was very angry. He cursed at Paris but Paris fled. Achilles was alive over 2000 years ago. Achilles was born to defeat the Trojans. Achilles was shot many times by the arrows of Paris' but the only arrow found on his body was through his heel.

References[change | change source]

  1. Fagles, Robert (transl) 1990. The Iliad. Introduction and notes by Bernard Knox. Penguin: Book One: 'The rage of Achilles'. ISBN 0-14-027536-3
  2. timelessmyths.com