Achilleas 1.100 BC
Achilleas 1.100 BC

In Greek mythology, Achilles, son of Peleus and grandson of Aeacus (Achilles Peleides or Aeacides) was the greatest and central but also the bravest hero of Homer's Iliad.

The anger / month of Achilles is the main theme of Homer's epic Iliad.

After the attack and the destruction caused by Achilles, in the place of Vrisiida, as well as the death of her husband, to be comforted by Patroclus, he promised to marry her to her abductor, whom she became the favored and beloved slave. Later, when the assembly of the besiegers in the Trojan War forced Agamemnon, following the advice of the soothsayer Calchas, to return his slave, Chrysiida, to her father, Agamemnon demanded Vrisiida in return. He sent his messengers, Talthybius and Eurybatus, and they took Vrisiida from Achilles. After that, Achilles got angry and refused to fight. This anger ("month") of Achilles is the subject of the epic Iliad of Homer, as written in the first two verses of this famous work.


Achilles was the son of Peleus (hence his name Peleides), king of the Myrmidons in Fthia (present-day northeast Fthiotida), which is located near Farsala and the Nereid Thetis. The god Zeus and the god Poseidon competed for her hand until an oracle revealed that she would give birth to a son better and stronger than his father, at which point they very wisely chose to give her to someone else. According to post-Homeric myth, Thetis tried to make Achilles invulnerable by diving into the waters of Styx, but grabbing him by the heel left him vulnerable at this point. (See Achilles heel). Homer, however, mentions a slight injury in the Iliad. In a newer and less popular version, Thetis anointed the boy with ambrosia and then put him over the fire every night to burn the mortal parts of his body. When one night Peleus saw Thetis doing such a thing, he was frightened (because he thought he wanted to kill the child) and so he quickly went and pulled Achilles from the fire. Outraged, Thetis abandoned father and son and returned to the sea, near her sisters, the Nereids. Peleus gave it to him, together with his little friend, Patroclus, to the centaur Chiron, on Mount Pelion, to raise him.

Achilles before the Trojan War

In a post-Homeric (but popular) version of the myth, the soothsayer Calchas stated that the Greeks could not be defeated without the help of Achilles, but his mother, Thetis, knew that his fate was to die if he went to Troy. So she hid him in the yard of Lykomidis in Skyros, disguised as a girl. There he had a connection with Didamia resulting in a son, Neoptolemus. However, he was discovered by the cunning Odysseus, who after learning where Achilles was hiding, arrived in Skyros with Achilles's childhood friend, Patroclus, and his teacher, Phoenix. Disguised as a gyrologist with jewelry and dresses, he went to the palace of Lycomedes and there he met him, his daughters and Achilles. Odysseus, with the permission of Lycomedes, left the jewelry and dresses in front of the princesses. But Odysseus had also hidden a sword under the dresses. So while the girls were trying on the dresses, Achilles found the sword and drew it, and so Odysseus understood who he was. Alternatively, he was spotted with the sound of a trumpet, where instead of being timid, he snatched a spear to repel the invaders. From there it took a little persuasion from Odysseus, Patroclus and Phoenix to decide to go to Troy.

Death of Achilles

The gods, seeing that Achilles had killed so many, determined that it was time to die, so a poisonous arrow of Paris directed by the god Apollo hit him in the heel, his only vulnerability, and killed him. According to another version, Achilles fell deeply in love with one of the Trojan princesses, Polyxeni, and so he asks Priam for her hand in marriage. Priam is willing to give it, because that would mean the end of the war and win an alliance with the world's greatest warrior. But while Priam oversees the private marriage of Polyxene and Achilles, Paris, who would have to leave Helen if Achilles marries his sister, hides in the bushes and succeeds Achilles with a divine arrow, killing him. Both versions agree that his killer acted insidiously and without dignity, due to the common perception that Paris was a coward and not worthy of his brother, Hector. Thus, they do not give him honors and it is considered that Achilles remained undefeated on the battlefield. After his death, the Achaeans mixed his bones with those of Patroclus and organized funeral games. After his death, sources state that he was married to Iphigenia on the White Island. Another source states that Medea, towards the end of her life, being immortal, descended to the Champs Elysees where she became the wife of Achilles. Homer in the Odyssey also describes the meeting of Achilles and Patroclus in Hades. According to another view of Pausanias, the two heroes of Greek Mythology continued to live together on the island of Lefki even after his death (Paus. III, 19-2).