27 Facts About Achilles


Achilles was the son of the Nereid Thetis and Peleus, king of Phthia.

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Later legends state that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for one heel, because when his mother Thetis dipped him in the river Styx as an infant, she held him by one of his heels.

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Achilles was the son of the Thetis, a nereid, and Peleus, the king of the Myrmidons.

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Achilles's was interrupted by Peleus and abandoned both father and son in a rage.

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Achilles was ambidextrous, and cast a spear from each hand; one grazed Achilles' elbow, "drawing a spurt of blood".

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When she had Achilles, Peleus noticed, tore him from the flames with only a burnt foot, and confided him to the centaur Chiron.

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Achilles appointed five leaders: Menesthius, Eudorus, Peisander, Phoenix and Alcimedon.

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Angry at the dishonour of having his plunder and glory taken away, with the urging of his mother Thetis, Achilles refuses to fight or lead his troops alongside the other Greek forces.

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Achilles rejects all Agamemnon offers him and simply urges the Greeks to sail home as he was planning to do.

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Achilles's persuades Hephaestus to make new armour for him, in place of the armour that Patroclus had been wearing, which was taken by Hector.

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Achilles even engages in battle with the river god Scamander, who has become angry that Achilles is choking his waters with all the men he has killed.

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Achilles then kills Hector and drags his corpse by its heels behind his chariot.

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At the onset of his duel with Hector, Achilles is referred to as the brightest star in the sky, which comes on in the autumn, Orion's dog; a sign of evil.

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Achilles relents and promises a truce for the duration of the funeral, lasting 9 days with a burial on the 10th.

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Death of Achilles, even if considered solely as it occurred in the oldest sources, is a complex one, with many different versions.

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Achilles was represented in the Aethiopis as living after his death in the island of Leuke at the mouth of the river Danube.

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Achilles' armour was the object of a feud between Odysseus and Telamonian Ajax.

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The city was visited in 333 BCE by Alexander the Great, who envisioned himself as the new Achilles and carried the Iliad with him, but his court biographers do not mention the spear; however, it was shown in the time of Pausanias in the 2nd century CE.

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Cult of Achilles is illustrated in the 500 BCE Polyxena sarcophagus, which depicts the sacrifice of Polyxena near the tumulus of Achilles.

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Ruins of a square temple, measuring 30 meters to a side, possibly that dedicated to Achilles, were discovered by Captain Kritzikly in 1823 on Snake Island.

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Achilles is said to have visited the tomb of Achilles at Achilleion while passing Troy.

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Towards the end of the 5th century BCE, a more negative view of Achilles emerges in Greek drama; Euripides refers to Achilles in a bitter or ironic tone in Hecuba, Electra, and Iphigenia in Aulis.

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Hippias believes that Achilles was a generally honest man, while Socrates believes that Achilles lied for his own benefit.

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Achilles was described by the Byzantine chronicler Leo the Deacon, not as Hellene, but as Scythian, while according to the Byzantine author John Malalas, his army was made up of a tribe previously known as Myrmidons and later as Bulgars.

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Achilles has been frequently the subject of operas, ballets and related genres.

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Achilles sacrificing to Zeus for Patroclus' safe return, from the Ambrosian Iliad, a 5th-century illuminated manuscript.

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Achilles killing Penthesilea, tondo of an Attic red-figure kylix, c 465 BC, from Vulci.

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