Saturday, July 17, 2010


My favourite Greek hero would have to be Achilles. I think he is just awesome seriously! Here's why-

achillessg.gif(aww Ancient Greek is such a pretty language, can't wait to be able to read it! and yes that says Achilles)

Birth: Achilles was born to the nereid Thetis an immortal, and the mortal Peleus. Thetis was very beautiful, and had been eyed off by Zeus and Poseidon, however once they heard a prophecy that her son would outshine and would be stronger than it's father, she was quickly married to the mortal Peleus. Peleus, was one of the members of the Argonauts, who accompanied Jason on the long journey to retrieve the Golden Fleece. When Achilles was born, Thetis tried vigorously to make him immortal. So she held, baby Achilles by the heel and dipped him into the River Styx. Thus he was immortal everywhere, except for his tendon. The place we now refer to the Achilles Tendon (awesome eh! I mean think about it, according to the Iliad here was a hero who strove for glory and sacrificed his life knowing he would die at Troy all for the sake of glory and having his name remembered all throughout the ages, and it worked! I mean he has a body part named after him, and a saying!)

Upbringing: Achilles was brought up by the wise centaur Chiron, who lived on Mount Pelion. Here he was educated and taught they ways of the world.
Troy: Thetis knew that it was fated that Achilles would die at Troy. So she dressed him as a woman, and hid him among the other girls at the court of King Lycomedes of Scyros. When the war at Troy had been confirmed and the soldiers were being rounded up. Odysseus comes and presents for the girls at the court all these clothes and jewellery and amongst them he places a sword. Once Achilles grabs the sword they realise it's him and there is no way out, he goes to Troy with his Myrmidons.
The War: Achilles was given a two way street, when it came to his fate. Either he goes to Troy lives a short life with everlasting fame and glory.....or......he stays and lives a long fame and gloryless life. I guess it's a bit obvious why he chose the first option!
Iphigenia at Aulis: Written by Euripides, it depicts the human sacrifice of Iphigenia for the goddess Artemis, as a punishment for Agamemnon. I really enjoy Achilles' characterisation by Euripides in the play, he is the ultimate 'hero' and strives to defend Iphegenia from her unjust death. For example when these are a few lines said by Achilles in a stichomythia type structure with Clytemnestra: "Kill my bride to be, ", I said, "you shall not.", "you faced the inevitable and saw your duty. When I witness the nobility of your soul I yearn all the more for your love" ( awwwwwww), "I shall put my weapons at the ready by the altar to rescue you from dying".
Book 1 of the Iliad: First of all I seriously do not like Agamemnon! He is a very self motivated leader, which I think is a non-leader type quality. He becomes quite arrogant, especially when he won't return Chryseis to her father. Achilles the only one who stands up to Agamemnon makes a proper defence and says:
" Shameless armoured in shamelessness- always shrewd with greed! How could any Argive soldier obey your orders, freely and gladly do your sailing for you or fight your enemies, full force?"

The best Greek swear word I have ever heard, and still makes me crack up laughing when I read it is when Achilles says to Agamemnon- " and you, you dog-face!" *insert loud laughter* gets me every time!
So by the end of the book, Achilles has said he will never fight for the Greeks again but we know this changes with Patroclus' death, no not my fish his friend.
"Both hands clawing the ground for soot and filth, he poured it over his head, fouled his handsome face and black ashes settled onto his fresh clean war-shirt. Overpowered in all his power, sprawled in the dust, Achilles lay there, fallen...
tearing his hair, defiling it with his own hands" . ( wow, Homer sure knows how to paint a picture, this description is just beautiful as it is sorrowful especially where is says " Achilles lay there fallen..." this is such an different description of Achilles as oppose to other descriptions of him, and we see just how strong the bond between them was. *tear*)
Angry and Vengeful Achilles: Patroclus' death brings about a seriously angry, macho, feared Achilles. Just goes to show don't piss off someone like Achilles!
Epic Achilles quote to Hector, when Hector says we should make a pact to give each other the proper burial rights: "There are no binding oaths between men and lions -
wolves and lambs can enjoy no meeting of the minds-
they are all bent on hating each other to the death. So with you and me."

This scene from the Iliad where Priam goes to ransom Hector's body from Achilles is so very sad and sentimental.
And Achilles' famous death by an arrow shot by Paris (guided by Apollo), was this great warrior's downfall.
So yes I really really like Achilles, and no he is not just a "mumma's boy" who "sulks in his tent", he's a sensitive hero.....seriously how many hero's do you know who cry! Achilles really reminds me of Alexander, there's just something about both of them that sparks a similarity. And yes if I ever do have a son I shall name him Achilles and if I have another Haemon.
And I can yell out his name " Achillllllleeeeeeeeeesssssss" haha!

He is awesome!
love Yags


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