Achilles

Greek - Son of Peleus and Thetis. Husband of Polyxena, some say. Father of Pyrrhus by Deidamia. At his birth, Thetis dipped him in the river Styx to make him invulnerable, holding him by one ankle. This part of his body did not go in to the water and consequently remained unprotected. Another version says that Thetis held the child by his ankle over the fire but Peleus snatched him from her in time to save him from being completely consumed. Like many famous Greeks he was a pupil of the wise Centaur Chiron and of Phoenix. Thetis sent him to the court of Lycomedes where, dressed as a girl, he hoped to escape service with the army at Troy. Odysseus, in the guise of a pedlar, saw through the disguise when Achilles chose weapons rather than trinkets from the wares on offer and persuaded the younger man to join the expedition to rescue Helen from the Trojans. En route to Troy, the Greeks came ashore at Mysia and were repelled by the inhabitants. In the fighting Achilles wounded Telephus but later cured him with rust from the spear that had caused the wound. He fought at Troy, leading his band of Myrmidons but fell out with Agamemnon over a girl, Briseis, awarded to him as a prize and refused to fight any more. When the Greeks were on the verge of defeat, his best friend, Patroclus, put on Achilles' armour and led a renewed attack but was killed in single combat with Hector, who took over the armour. his friend, Achilles donned new armour made for him by Hephaestus and led the Greeks in a fresh assault on the Trojan forces. He met and killed Hector and defiled his body by dragging it round the city walls behind his chariot and when Memnon intervened with his army on the side of the Trojans, Achilles met him also in single combat and killed him, driving the defenders right back to the gates of the city. He also killed Penthesilea, the Amazon queen who was fighting on the side of the Trojans, and when Thersites mocked him for mourning her death he killed him too. In the fighting near the gate, Achilles was struck by an arrow fired from the walls by Paris which, striking his ankle, the only vulnerable part of his body, killed him. In some accounts he fathered a son, Caistus, on Penthesilea. Another account says that Polyxena, given to him as a prize, persuaded Achilles to divulge the secret of his vulnerability and she passed on the knowledge to her brother, Paris, who stabbed Achilles in the heel at his wedding to Polyxena. It is said that he married either Helen or Medea in Hades. In some references, identified as Achilles, Aeacides, Aeacides, Akhilleus, Akhilleus, Liguron, Liguron, Pelides or Pelides.

Nearby Myths