Greek & Roman Mythology - Info
Agamemnon's demand humiliates and infuriates the proud Achilles. The men Achilles prays to his mother, the sea-nymph Thetis, to ask Zeus, king of the gods, . In Greek mythology, Achilles or Achilleus was a Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character and greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad. His mother was the immortal Nereid Thetis, and his father, the mortal Peleus, .. Agamemnon consents, but then commands that Achilles' battle prize Briseis, the daughter of Briseus. Thetis is a figure from Greek mythology with varying mythological roles. She mainly appears as Most extant material about Thetis concerns her role as mother of Achilles, but there is some evidence that as the the lost Aethiopis, which presents a strikingly similar relationship – that of the divine Dawn, Eos, with her slain.
The odd blame attached to him really belongs to Achilles, who is generally not blamed at all. Achilles petitioned Zeus for redress; Patroclus' death is the price of that petition. Driven by Zeus, Patroclus leads the Greeks in slaughtering the Trojans. He has incarnated the violence of Achilles, which up to now had been, in effect, turned against the Greeks. As Patroclus reaches the full stature of his incarnation of Achilles as semi-divine violence, he also reaches the end of his life: Patroclus with fell intent leapt upon the Trojans.
Thrice then leapt he upon them, the peer of swift Ares, crying a terrible cry, and thrice he slew nine men. But when for the fourth time he rushed on, like a god, then for thee, Patroclus, did the end of life appear; for Phoebus met thee in the fierce conflict, an awful god. He is the violence of Achilles in a form that can and must be killed in order to fulfill Zeus' plan. He is, in short, a victim, the price Achilles must pay for his wrath.
Patroclus, for all his glory as a warrior, dies the death of a victim, struck down first by Apollo: And Patroclus marked him not as he passed through the turmoil, for enfolded in thick mist did he meet him; and Apollo took his stand behind him, and smote his back and broad shoulders with the flat of his hand, and his eyes were made to whirl.
And from his head Phoebus Apollo smote the helmet, that rang as it rolled beneath the feet of the horses--the crested helm; and the plumes were befouled with blood and dust. And in the hands of Patroclus the far-shadowing spear was wholly broken, the spear, heavy, and huge, and strong and from his shoulders the tasselled shield with its baldric fell to the ground, and his corselet did Apollo loose--the prince, the son of Zeus.
Then blindness seized his mind, and his glorious limbs were loosed beneath him, and he stood in a daze. The dying Patroclus realizes he has been killed first of all by the gods, and he tells the foolishly boasting Hector: And another thing will I tell thee thou shalt not thyself be long in life, but even now doth death stand hard by thee, and might fate, that thou be slain beneath the hands of Achilles'" Il. Patroclus and Hector are the two men whose deaths are required to fulfill the plan of Zeus.
Patroclus had to die to pay for the excesses of Achilles, and to deflect the anger of Achilles from the Greeks to the Trojans. Hector must die because he has been the murderous agent of Achilles' wrath, killing the Greeks so that Achilles might receive honor according to the bitter plan of Zeus. Hector, the final victim of the plan of Zeus, strips the body of Patroclus and exchanges his armor for the armor of Achilles.
This is essential so that he may more perfectly be the final victim of the wrath, killed by a conjunction of gods and men, as was Patroclus.
Zeus observes doomed Hector donning the armor of Achilles: His comrade, kindly and valiant, hast thou slain, and in unseemly wise hast stripped the armour from his head and shoulders. Howbeit for this present will I vouchsafe thee great might, in recompense for this--that in no wise shalt thou return from out the battle.
Hector, like Patroclus, is enhanced and glorified to increase the value of his death. Just as Patroclus had to become glorious in the immortal armor in order to be killed as a substitute for Achilles, now Hector, in the same armor, is glorified so that his death can better absorb the force of Achilles' violence.
This, too, will restore balance, since Achilles ultimately has been the one responsible for the deaths of the Greeks. The death of Hector will be the next to final price for Achilles' wrath, since it is the precondition for Achilles' own death. Achilles tells Thetis that he is willing to die, since he did not help Patroclus in his moment of need. Further, Achilles accepts responsibility for the destruction his wrath has caused: But now will I go forth that I may light on the slayer of the man I loved, even on Hector; for my fate, I will accept it whenso Zeus willeth to bring it to pass'" Il.
Having accepted his responsibility and his fate, Achilles will dress in the immortal armor made for him by Hephaestus and complete the violence of the wrath, killing many Trojans in a bloody fury that leads up to the final killing of Hector wearing armor that makes him look like Achilles, like another self. The gods prepare Hector for his death, just as they arranged for his earlier glory in battle.
Apollo had diverted Achilles away from the city, so that all of the Trojans except Hector could escape within. Priam is the first to see Achilles finally approaching Troy, and he begs Hector to come within the gates, but Hector is "furiously eager to do battle with Achilles" Il. Hector resists Priam's tearful pleading--he is willing to die to pay the price for his error in not properly leading the Trojans and debates within himself: Howbeit I hearkened not--verily it had been better far!
But now, seeing I have brought the host to ruin in my blind folly, I have shame of the Trojans. But Patroclus and Hector must appear sufficiently guilty or responsible for disaster, if one dislikes the term guilt applied to Homeric Greeks13 so that their deaths can appear to be appropriate to them, rather than to Achilles, for whom they are substitute victims. He quickly vacillates in his feelings from wanting to face Achilles like a hero to wondering if he can offer to return Helen and much treasure, ending the war then and there.
Hector does not want to play the role of victim assigned to him, and when Achilles finally draws close, Hector begins to run away. This scene takes on qualities of the funeral games, where the prizes are no longer life or death--they celebrate a death that has already occurred.
This race is a game before the funeral, a rite made into a dramatic situation. Hector's life is indeed the prize in this race and the price of Patroclus' death.
To be worthy of this role, Hector must be excellent, the best available. So at just this moment when Hector's race is most like a funeral rite, Zeus, knowing full well that Hector must die, addresses his fellow gods, as if Hector could be saved, and remarks on his excellence and piety: Nay then, come, ye gods, bethink you and take counsel whether we shall save him from death, or now at length shall slay him, good man though he be, by the hand of Achilles, son of Pelleus.
Hector's excellence becomes that of a fleeing animal. First, he is compared to a racing horse, then to a fawn chased by a hound. So that Hector may excel in this role, Apollo gives him swiftness for the last time.
This is necessary because Achilles is swift-footed and requires a victim who can excel at running, just as his violence requires a victim who can excel at violence.
Having been as violent as a deity in the armor of Achilles, Hector is now swift as a deer in the armor of Achilles--a perfect match, a perfect victim for Achilles.
Hector's death proceeds with the finality of a funeral race. On the fourth circuit of Troy 15 Zeus lifts his scales: The scale is a perfect image for deciding the death of Hector because it functions to establish balance. The balance of human emotions and of the right separation between humans and gods has been disturbed by violence spreading outward from Agamemnon and Achilles; the death of Hector will being to reestablish this balance and separation.
Apollo leaves Hector and Athena comes to Achilles. She will prepare the victim to die in a dignified manner. Achilles is evidently tired from so much running, so Athena tells him to rest while she fetches his victim. Deluded into believing he has help, Hector prepares to meet Achilles, offering to fight according to the covenants of civilized men. Achilles rejects any talk of covenants, saying: Now shalt thou pay back the full price of all my sorrows for my comrades, whom thou didst slay when raging with thy spear'" Il.
The death of Hector, killed by both a god and a man, will be the price for the death of Patroclus, as well as for the many dead Greeks. Of course, Hector was only able to kill those many Greeks because Achilles had withdrawn from the battle in his wrath and had persuaded Zeus to let the Trojans have dominance over the Greeks.
Hector's death is the final focus for all the violence and death caused by Achilles' anger and the plan of Zeus. Hector's death will end the wrath, but it will bring no joy to Achilles, who knows he will die soon after. Achilles' wrath has gone beyond all possibility of covenants. Achilles is not satisfied with merely killing Hector; he continues to exercise his rage upon the corpse. After Achilles, aided by Athena, has fatally wounded Hector, but left the windpipe intact so that he can speak, Hector's one concern is that his body be returned to his family unmutilated, while Achilles' concern is that the dogs and birds shall rend Hector's corpse while Patroclus receives proper burial.
Achilles, wrathful beyond humanity, tells the dying Hector: Achilles continues to abuse Hector's body even after the funeral and games for Patroclus. Every night he weeps for Patroclus, and at dawn every day he fastens Hector's corpse behind his chariot, drags him three times around the mound of Patroclus, and then leaves him lying in the dust. Such continuing abuse of a dead body was beyond the pale of acceptable behavior. On the twelfth day Apollo, the god of purification, speaks out among the gods against Achilles' behavior.
Just as Patroclus and Hector paid the price for Achilles' wrath, now Priam must pay the price even more literally, with ransom to recover his dead son and release Achilles from his obsessive connection to the corpse. This ransom is a step back towards civilization and covenants, where men may "make a deal" instead of killing one another. After Achilles has killed Hector, other Greeks run up and gaze at the body; each speaks and inflicts a wound on the corpse.
The rape of Helen
Hector's death is a community affair and the resulting funeral ceremonies will purify the entire community, which has been polluted by an excess of death. The funeral of Patroclus, with its human sacrifices, defuses much of the passion and pollution of the Greeks due to the many deaths they have suffered during the wrath.
The plan of Zeus has been completed, but the reestablishment of normal relations among men and between men and the gods requires careful rituals and elaborately civilized behavior in order to succeed. The funeral games for Patroclus are the focus for the reestablishment of human social order as the passions of men calm down and the gods recede from human affairs. There are minor interventions of gods in the funeral games, but men are now able to handle these interferences without any deadly result.
Although there are incipient quarrels about place and worth and prizes, Achilles is now able to graciously defuse anger and distribute prizes to keep the peace. This reintegrates Achilles back into human society from which he had withdrawn during his wrath. The plan of Zeus was a response to the wrath of Achilles. This plan shows a pattern of cause and effect which operates with the logic of the sacred, and the dual or multiple causation of a system that describes events as occurring for not one, but for two or more reasons, such as anger being produced by a man's emotions and by the influence of a god, or the combination of god-sent delusion and human folly leading to a disastrous action.
Humans are most vulnerable to multiple or sacred causation when their passions are strong and their self-control weak. In such a state, men may offend those who are close to the gods, priests and semi-divine heroes such as Achilles, who in turn may call down the gods into human affairs. This creates a state of imbalance in the entire cosmos, among the gods as well as among men. This imbalance not only causes human suffering, but discomfort to the gods, such as the wounding of Aphrodite and Ares and the struggle between Hephaestus and Xanthus.
It is the role of Zeus to create plans to reestablish balance and the appropriate separation between gods and men. Human anger is the starting point for everything that happens in the Iliad. The anger of Agamemnon and the responsive angers of Chryses and Achilles are the events that initiate the plague and the wrath.
The Iliad was used for centuries much as the Bible has been used, as a source of historical information that provides sacred and moral instruction. Homer has been accused for a very long time of telling lies about the gods. But, considered as a sacred story, the message of the Iliad is extremely clear and deeply religious, although it expresses a religion very different from the Judeo-Christian heritage within which we are immersed.
But Paris paid no heed to marriage vows. He sailed to Sparta, entered Menelaus's palace as his guest and, unseen by the king, whispered sweet nothings in his wife's lovely ear. Helen did not resist, for Paris turned heads with his fine looks and fancy clothes, and Aphrodite filled her with desire for him.
She forgot about her home and her family and agreed to run away with him. When Paris arrived back in Troy, Priam, his father, berated him, as did Hector, his brother. But Hecuba, his mother, berated him most of all, for she recalled that when she was pregnant with Paris she dreamed that she gave birth to a firebrand that burned down the whole city around her.
Paris did not care. He knew it was too late now for them to stop the affair. He also knew that the most beautiful woman in the world found him irresistible. Meanwhile Menelaus appealed to his brother Agamemnon, king of Argive Mycenae, to help rescue his wife.
Agamemnon was the most powerful king in all of Greece, and to him all kings owed obligations.
Most of them, moreover, had been Helen's suitors. Tyndareus, Helen's father as everyone believedhad taken the precaution, before he announced the name of Helen's husband, to make all the suitors swear not only to abide by his decision but also to protect her honour. And so Menelaus sent out Odysseus of Ithaca, most cunning of heroes, to tour the palaces and cities of Greece and use his clever tongue to recruit men for an expedition to free Helen.
In truth, the Greeks needed little persuasion, for they thought it outrageous that a Greek woman should be taken by force from her husband and her children.
They would teach the Trojans a lesson they would never forget. Nor were the Greeks forgetful of the prospect of plunder and booty, gold and slaves to be auctioned or ransomed and, of course, fame and glory. When Menelaus arrived at the great bay of Aulis to review the assembled fleet he was amazed to see it filled with a thousand ships, and was touched.
Then he thought again of how his wife must be suffering at the hands of her forceful violator, and urged Agamemnon to make haste and set sail immediately.
Achilles - Wikipedia
His brother did not reply but hung his head, while tears ran down his cheeks. But before he could finish, Iphigeneia herself was standing there in front of them in the tent, accompanied by her mother Clytaemnestra. Some said his mother Thetis had tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the underworld river known as the Styx, and as a result he had become invulnerable everywhere except for his heel, which she had held him by when he was submerged. Then she had sent him to the wilds for an education, entrusting him to the care of Chiron, the wise centaur, who had taught him all the skills of combat.
Judgement of Paris Zeus had received a prophecy that Thetis's son would become greater than his father, as Zeus had dethroned his father to lead the succeeding pantheon. In order to ensure a mortal father for her eventual offspring, Zeus and his brother Poseidon made arrangements for her to marry a human, Peleusson of Aeacusbut she refused him.
Proteusan early sea-god, advised Peleus to find the sea nymph when she was asleep and bind her tightly to keep her from escaping by changing forms. She did shift shapes, becoming flame, water, a raging lioness, and a serpent.
Subdued, she then consented to marry him. Thetis is the mother of Achilles by Peleuswho became king of the Myrmidons. According to classical mythology, the wedding of Thetis and Peleus was celebrated on Mount Pelionoutside the cave of Chironand attended by the deities: Apollo played the lyre and the Muses sang, Pindar claimed. At the wedding Chiron gave Peleus an ashen spear that had been polished by Athene and had a blade forged by Hephaestus. While the Olympian goddesses brought him gifts: His father-in-law Nereus endowed him a basket of the salt called 'divine', which has an irresistible virtue for overeating, appetite and digestion, explaining the expression ' Zeus then bestowed the wings of Arce to the newly-wed couple which was later given by Thetis to his son, Achilles.
The rape of Helen | Books | The Guardian
Furthermore, the god of the sea, Poseidon gave Peleus the immortal horses, Balius and Xanthus. She threw, in spite, a golden apple into the midst of the goddesses that was to be awarded only "to the fairest.
Thetis dips Achilles in the Styx by Peter Paul Rubens between and In the later classical myths Thetis worked her magic on the baby Achilles by night, burning away his mortality in the hall fire and anointing the child with ambrosia during the day, Apollonius tells.
When Peleus caught her searing the baby, he let out a cry. However, the heel by which she held him was not touched by the Styx's waters and failed to be protected. A similar myth of immortalizing a child in fire is connected to Demeter compare the myth of Meleager. Some myths relate that because she had been interrupted by Peleus, Thetis had not made her son physically invulnerable. His heel, which she was about to burn away when her husband stopped her, had not been protected.Troy Achilles talks to Agamemnon HD
Peleus gave the boy to Chiron to raise.