Achilles was a Greek hero, most famous for his part in the Trojan War. He was the son of Thetis and Peleus, the king of Myrmidons.
Poseidon and Zeus were in love with Thetis, but Prometheus warned them of a prophecy that said that the son of Thetis would become greater than his father. This led to the Olympian gods leaving, and Thetis went on to marry Peleus.
When he was born, Thetis dipped Achilles in the river Styx to make him immortal. She held him by the heel as she dipped him in, and because his heel did not touch the water, it was the only part of him that could be harmed. In some versions of that story, she covered Achilles in ambrosia – the food of the gods – and put him on top of a fire in order to burn away his immortality.
Achilles commanded fifty ships which contained fifty Myrmidons each during the start of the Trojan war. However, at first because of a mistake they landed in Mysia which was then ruled by Telephus who was wounded by Achilles. He was told that only Achilles could heal him, and in return, Telephus guided them to Troy.
When Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaeans, enslaved a woman called Chryseis, her father – who was a priest of Apollo – begged the god to help him. Apollo sent a plague down to the Greeks. Agamemnon agreed to return the girl, but only in exchange for Achilles by handing over his prize – a woman named Briseis. Achilles was furious at this dishonour and retreated from battle. His friend Patroclus went on his stead.
Hector killed Patroclus in a battle which enraged Achilles. Killing Hector was not enough for Achilles so he dragged his dead body with his chariot during the funeral games held for Patroclus. However, Hector’s brother shot an arrow (said to be guided by Apollo) to his heel instantly killing Achilles. This is where the term “Achille’s heel” comes from.
Roles and Responsibilities of Achilles
- He was said to be the greatest warrior of Homer’s Illiad.
- He killed Hector and dragged him in his chariot.
Appearance and Personality of Achilles
- He was said to be supremely handsome and had supernatural strength.
- He was also said to be extremely loyal and sacrifice for his friends and family but he was vengeful and easily angered when he did not get what he wants.
Facts about Achilles
- He was predicted to die a hero in a battle.
- He was burned by his mother, dipped in a river of styx, dressed with ambrosia and was given a shield and a sword forged by
- Hephaestus as per request of her mother.
- He retreated from the Trojan war when Agamemnon took Briseis, his wife in replacement of Chryseis.
- He returned to the battlefield when he heard that his friend, Patroclus died.
- He was killed by Paris by shooting an arrow to his heel (guided by Apollo).
- He killed Hector and dragged him in the chariot despite the latter’s plea to be buried in their land, he was ignored by Achilles and threw him in the heaps of garbage. In some sources Hector returned him to his land.
- His mother was pursued by Zeus and Poseidon but they were warned by Prometheus that Thetis would bore a son that will be greater than his father.
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