10 Interesting Facts about Achilles

If you love reading Greek mythology, then you should have considered these following facts about Achilles really interesting to read. Achilles, in Greek mythology, was a Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character and greatest warrior of Homer’s Iliad. Achilles was said to be demigod; his mother was the nymph Thetis, and his father, Peleus, was the king of the Myrmidons. Achilles’ most notable feat during the Trojan War was the slaying of the Trojan hero Hector outside the gates of Troy. Furthermore, to get to know about him, here are some other facts about Achilles you might like.

Facts about Achilles 1: Achilles’ Heel

Later legends (beginning with a poem by Statius in the 1st century AD) state that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Because of his death from a small wound in the heel, the term Achilles’ heel has come to mean a person’s point of weakness.

Facts about Achilles 2: Name

Achilles’ name can be analyzed as a combination of akhos (“grief”) and laos (“a people, tribe, nation, etc”). In other words, Achilles is an embodiment of the grief of the people, grief being a theme raised numerous times in the Iliad (frequently by Achilles).

Facts about Achilles - Achilles
Facts about Achilles – Achilles

Facts about Achilles 3: Birth

Achilles was the son of the Nereid Thetis and Peleus, the king of the Myrmidons. Zeus and Poseidon had been rivals for the hand of Thetis until Prometheus, the fore-thinker, warned Zeus of a prophecy that Thetis would bear a son greater than his father. For this reason, the two gods withdrew their pursuit, and had her wed Peleus.

Facts about Achilles 4: Trojan War

Achilles’ consuming rage is at times wavering, but at other times he cannot be cooled. The humanization of Achilles by the events of the war is an important theme of the narrative. According to the Iliad, Achilles arrived at Troy with 50 ships, each carrying 50 Myrmidons.

Facts about Achilles - Achilles' departure
Facts about Achilles – Achilles’ departure

Facts about Achilles 5: Iliad

Homer’s Iliad is the most famous narrative of Achilles’ deeds in the Trojan War. Achilles’ wrath is the central theme of the poem. The Homeric epic only covers a few weeks of the war, and does not narrate Achilles’ death.

Facts about Achilles 6: Death

The death of Achilles, as predicted by Hector with his dying breath, was brought about by Paris with an arrow (to the heel according to Statius). In some versions, the god Apollo guided Paris’ arrow. Some retellings also state that Achilles was scaling the gates of Troy and was hit with a poisoned arrow.

Facts about Achilles - The education of Achilles
Facts about Achilles – The education of Achilles

Facts about Achilles 7: Achilles’ Armor

Achilles’ armor was the object of a feud between Odysseus and Telamonian Ajax (Ajax the greater). They competed for it by giving speeches on why they were the bravest after Achilles to their Trojan prisoners, who after considering both men came to a consensus in favor of Odysseus.

Facts about Achilles 8: Worship of Achilles in Modern Times

In the region of Gastouri (Γαστούρι) to the south of the city of Corfu Greece, Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria also known as Sissi built in 1890 a summer palace with Achilles as its central theme and it is a monument to platonic romanticism. The palace, naturally, was named after Achilles: Achilleion.

Facts about Achilles - The rage of Achilles
Facts about Achilles – The rage of Achilles

Facts about Achilles 9: Other Stories

Some post-Homeric sources claim that in order to keep Achilles safe from the war, Thetis (or, in some versions, Peleus) hides the young man at the court of Lycomedes, king of Skyros. There, Achilles is disguised as a girl and lives among Lycomedes’ daughters, perhaps under the name “Pyrrha”.

Facts about Achilles 10: Greek Philosophy

The philosopher Zeno of Elea centered one of his paradoxes on an imaginary footrace between “swift-footed” Achilles and a tortoise, by which he attempted to show that Achilles could not catch up to a tortoise with a head start, and therefore that motion and change were impossible.

Facts about Achilles - Triumph of Achilles
Facts about Achilles – Triumph of Achilles

Hope you would find those Achilles facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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