File:Leon Benouville The Wrath of Achilles.jpg
File:Leon Benouville The Wrath of Achilles.jpg

Hero of The Trojan War

Achilles, also known as the hero of The Trojan War, was best known as the central figure and the greatest warrior of Homer's llliad. Some say that without the help of Achilles, the Greeks would have never defeated the Trojans.

Born of the mortal Peleus and of the sea-nymph Thetis, it was told that the son of Thetis would be greater than his father. Many wanted to have a son by her, but did not want to take the chance of the prophecy coming true. She was then mated with a mortal man, but Thetis was an intelligent sea-nymph. She knew that her son was destined to be a hero that would die in battle.

She then went to the river Styx where everything the sacred waters touched became invulnerable, and bathed him in it. However, she held her son by his heel, in effect, making her son's heel the only part vulnerable.

Achilles war story begins when Calchas prophesizes that in order for the Greeks to take Troy, they would need the aid of Achilles. Knowing that if Achilles went into battle he would die, Achilles mother, sent the young Achilles to Scyros where he was hidden away and disguised as a girl. His disguise was finally revealed by Odysseus, who placed arms and armor amidst a display of woman's finery and seized upon Achilles when he was the only "maiden" to be fascinated by the swords and shields.

Achilles then willingly went off with Odysseus to Troy, leading an army of his father's people, the Myrmidons, his tutor Phoenix, and his close friend Patroclus.

Once at Troy, Achilles proved himself to be an unstoppable warrior. Among his other achievements, he captured twenty-three towns in Trojan territory, including the town of Lyrnessos, where he took the woman Briseis as a war-prize. Later on, Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks, was forced by an oracle of Apollo to give up his own war-prize, the woman named Chryseis, and took Briseis away from Achilles to make up for his loss.

After Briseis was taken, Achilles was enraged and refused to fight. From there on out, the war turned in the Trojan's favor. The Greeks pleaded Achilles to return to battle, but he refused. He then agreed to allow his friend Patroclus to fight in his place, wearing his armor. The next day Patroclus was killed and stripped of the armor by the Trojan hero Hector, who mistook him for Achilles.

Overwhelmed and full of rage at Hector, his mother obtained a magnificent new armor for him from Hephaestus. He then returned to the fighting and killed Hector. He desecrated the body, dragging it behind his chariot before the walls of Troy, and refused it to be buried.

File:Triumph of Achilles in Corfu Achilleion.jpg
File:Triumph of Achilles in Corfu Achilleion.jpg

Finally, only when Priam, the king of Troy and Hector's father, came secretly into the Greek camp to plead for the body, Achilles finally gave way and allowed him to take the body.

From there on, Achilles continued fighting heroically, killing many of the Trojans and their allies, including Memnon and the Amazon warrior Penthesilia
until finally, Paris, with help from Apollo, shot Achilles with a poison arrow in the one place where he was vulnerable...his heel. He then died.

This is where people get the expression "Achilles Heel" meaning your weakness.

No matter how great you may be, you'll always have a weakness, your Achilles Heel.

Other Facts:
During his lifetime, Achilles is also said to have had a number of romantic episodes. He reportedly fell in love with Penthesilia, the Amazon maiden whom he killed in battle, and it is claimed that he married Medea.

Words which use ACHILLES:
Achilles heel: weakness or a fatal flaw