The Death of the Greek Demigod, Achilles

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The Death of the Greek Demigod, Achilles

Achilles was a demigod Greek hero, most well known from the legend of the Trojan War for the slaying of the Trojan hero Hector just outside the gates of Troy. In Greek mythology, when he was born it was foretold that he would die young. In order to prevent his death his mother took him to the River Styx, which according to legend was claimed to have the power of invulnerability. His body was dipped into the water while being held by the heel, so his heel was not covered by the magical waters from the river. He went on to fight and win many battles.

He was apparently killed near the end of the Trojan War by Paris. Paris shot him in the heel with an arrow. Achilles was considered invulnerable in all of parts of his body except for the heel due to the way he was dipped into the River Styx. This is where Paris shot the arrow. A recent analysis of the potential circumstances around Achilles death suggest that arrow was probably poisoned. However, another interpretation suggest that Achilles might have actually died of gout.

Statue of Achilles dying from the arrow in his heel at the Achilleion palace in Corfu.

Statue of Achilles dying from the arrow in his heel at the Achilleion palace in Corfu.

The term Achilles’ heel has since come to mean a strong person’s or entities point of weakness that attacking can potentially lead to their downfall.

While filming the 2004 film, Troy, Brad Pitt who played Achilles, ironically ruptured his Achilles tendon:

The gods, it seems, were not pleased by this fleet-footed choreography. Brad came down hard and – bitter irony, this – injured his Achilles tendon.
“Look at his face when he lands,” says director Wolfgang Petersen. “There’s a second you can see something’s wrong. Great for the scene, terrible for the movie. Brad was hobbling around for months and we had to come back later to finish the last scene – which, ironically, was another big one-on-one combat scene, the one between Brad and Eric. We shot the first few frames, when they size each other up, in September. But it wasn’t ’til December we shot the rest.”


Book: Achilles and the Trojan War

On the fields of battle, no man could match the part-god Achilles. However, he let others lead the Greeks during the Trojan War when he felt dishonored by Agamemnon-only vengeance could bring this mythical hero back to fight. With accessible content and action-packed illustrations, this graphic novel launches readers into the epic battle scenes that follow Achilles’ bloody return to war outside the walls of Troy. Readers will be captivated by his incredible deeds the discovery of his ultimate weakness.


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Related Topics:
Greek Foot | Brad Pitt | Achilles Tendon Rupture

External Links:
Achilles page at Wikipedia

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