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Achilles was the seventh son of Peleus, one of the greatest of Achaean warriors, and of the sea goddess Thetis (who had been forced by Zeus to marry Peleus after she avoided union with him).[1] Achilles was also the cousin of Ajax[5] and of Patroclus,[6] his "first soulmate".[4]

The priest Calchas foretold that without him, Troy would never be taken. Thetis dipped Achilles into the sacred River Styx to render him invulnerable, but held him by the ankle, which wasn't dipped and remained vulnerable.[1]

Another account states that his powers came from an amulet, created by "those who called themselves gods", who allegedly "made him who he was", by elevating a mere mortal to divine strength, power, and vitality. Achilles wore the amulet around his ankle.[7]

He inherited the ashen spear of his father, who had been polished by Athena and whose spearhead had been forged by Hephaestus, the wedding gift of Cheiron the Centaur to his parents.[1] He also somehow acquired armor and a sword forged by Hephaestus.[8] He was mentored by Old Phoenix.[9]


Helen's hand and Paris

According to Aeneas, Achilles was among the princes to fulfill their oath of loyalty to Menelaus.[4]

As Achilles grew up, Thetis foresaw that he would gain glory in the Trojan War, but never return home alive. To prevent that fate, she disguised him as a girl and sent him to the court of Lycomedes, King of Scyros.[1]

After Paris of Troy fled with Helen, Menelaus gathered the princes who had swore the oath.[4] Odysseus, Nestor, and Ajax were sent to fetch him at the court of Lycomedes. To see through the disguise crafted by Thetis, Odysseus brought many gifts to the ladies of the court: Jewels, garments, a sword, and a shield. He then had his soldiers to blast their trumpets and clash their arms and armor as if a battle started, and Achilles instinctively wielded the weapons and revealed himself. Despite having made no vow to defend Menelaus' honor and despite his mother's wishes, Achilles accepted to join the war against Troy, leading his Myrmidon soldiers.[1]

Sailing for Troy

Rallied, the Argives sailed for Aulis, then to Troy. Crossing the Aegean Sea, they reached Teuthrania in southern Mysia and sacked it, believing it to be Illium. The warrior-king Telephus killed Thersander before Achilles wounded him using his father's spear.

Achilles' vessels then put in at Scyros, where he married Deïdameia, the daughter of Lycomedes. During the wedding, Telephus came to him, claiming Achilles was the only one who could heal his wound, which he managed to do by scraping rust from the spear into the wound. In gratitude, Telephus showed Achilles what course to steer to reach Troy, but didn't joined them.[1] Achilles also impregnated Deïdameia.[8]

The fleet returned a second time at Aulis, and as Agamemnon bragged about a stag he shot, claiming to surpass Artemis, she sent stormy winds prevent them from sailing, and Calchas stated that only the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia would dispel the storm.[1] Agamemnon tricked his wife Clytemnestra into sending their daughter to Aulis by stating she would marry Achilles. When Clytemnestra and Iphigenia arrived, Achilles protested and the truth was revealed. As Iphigenia had been called his wife, Achilles decided to defend her, but she resolved to die with honor to permit her father's army to sack Troy. Achilles stated that he would have wanted to have her for his wife. Once her sacrifice was done, the fleet sailed.

On Tenedos, Achilles and Ajax were present when archer Philoctetes was bitten by a snake, and healed by Aesculapius. He was left behind on the isle of Lemnos to nurse his wound, due to its stench.[10]

Trojan War

First Days

Following Menelaus' peaceful attempt to take back Helen, the Achaeans shored in range of fire of Troy. As it was foretold that the first of them to set upon the shore would perish, they waited, until Iolaus was killed by Paris' brother Hector, who renamed him "Protesilaus", "the first of his people" (the first to die before Troy). As Cycnus, a son of Poseidon, wished to kill the second Achaean to brave the shore of Troy, he attacked but was quickly killed by Achilles, causing the Trojans to doubt and to retreat under Hector's advice, and then the siege began.

Achilles wished to see Helen, to know for himself whether she was worth a war, and as he called his mother Thetis, she came with Aphrodite. The two goddesses brought Achilles into Troy to see Helen, who recognized him immediately though they had never met. Achilles recognized that she was as beautiful as said, and was carried back to his ship. As Ajax, Odysseus and others doubted, Achilles galvanized them, recalling them of the gold, glory, cattle, and women to be enslaved and sold that the war would bring to them.

Soon afterward, Achilles and his Myrmidons drove off the cattle of Aeneas, son of Aphrodite, on Mount Ida, causing him and his Dardanians to become the ally of Troy and the enemies of the Achaeans. As Illium stood, he then ravaged many neighboring cities: Lyrnessus (where he killed King Munes and enslaved his widow Briseïs), Pedasus, and Chryse (where he enslaved Chryseïs, daughter of Apollo's priest Chryses). Chryseïs went to Agamemnon, and Briseïs to Achilles, whom Patroclus was tasked to treat well. Achilles started to resent Agamemnon, who took the largest share of the plunder while remaining safe.

Along with Diomedes and Odysseus,[10] Achilles was suspected of having slay the clever rival Palamedes.[11]

For nine years, the war kept on, with rare battles.[10] Ares stood by Achilles' side at some point during the war.[2]

Ninth Year of War

After nine years of war, Chryseïs was surrendered by Agamemnon, because her father caused Apollo to rain death on the Achaeans, and Agamemnon took Briseïs in her place. That caused a quarrel (decreed by Zeus)[10] between Agamemnon and Achilles. According to Aphrodite, Achilles was even close to slaying Agamemnon, but was stopped by Athena. Achilles retired with his troops to his ships, refusing to fight any more,[4] until that wrong was redressed.[10]

During the battle following Menelaus and Paris duel, Achilles remained aside, making Diomedes the mightiest of the Argives fighting. During the following months, Patroclus wore Achilles' armor and led the Argive host. The Trojans consequently gave him way, thinking him invulnerable, until Hector (who had spied the trick) slaughtered him, only to be slain by Achilles himself (some men stated Achilles was helped by the Gods, who misled Hector) (Achilles was then equipped with a new-forged armor).[4] Achilles surrendered Hector's corpse to King Priam only at Zeus' command himself.[10]

After Hector's death, the Trojans remained within the walls of their city, fearing Achilles, until twelve Amazon led by Penthesileia entered the city to assist them, announcing she would slay Achilles and destroy the Argives. She attacked them, but Ajax and Achilles were away from the battle, mourning at Patroclus' grave, held back from the battle tumult by one god so many Argives would be killed by Trojans and their allies. Eventually, they heard of the battle and joined the fight, immediately targeted by Penthesileia, whom he defeated in single combat, causing the wrath of her father Ares who was forbidden by Zeus to interfere (as any Olympians). As Achilles gazed upon the body of Penthesileia, feeling sorrowing love for her (same he had for Patroclus' death), he was mocked by Thersites, whom he killed with a single backhand fist blow, causing rejoice among the Achaeans save for Diomedes who wished to avenge Thersites, who was of his blood. Achilles let the Trojans carry off the body and armor of Penthesileia, and himself sailed to Lesbos to sacrifice and be purified for killing Thersites.

During this time, Aethiopian warrior-King Memnon and his tribesmen came to help Troy. Memnon killed Antilochus, son of Nestor and bosom friend to Achilles, but was killed by Achilles at his return, and so the Aethiopians departed.[3]

Achilles shot in the heel by Paris


After the funeral of Antilochus, Priam's sons Paris and Deiphobus rallied the Trojans and attacked, but Achilles forced them back to the city's opened gates. As Apollo forbid Achilles from entering the city, the son of Peleus threatened him. Guided by Apollo, Paris went back to Achilles and shot him in his vulnerable heel[3] with a poisonous arrow, avenging his brother.[4] Achilles stood in the opening of the Scaean Gates, surrounded by the Trojans who didn't dare come close to him, and though he was weakening, he killed Orythaon, comrade of Hector, then Hipponous and Alcathous, before finally falling.[3]

Another account state that Paris shot the chain of the amulet that allegedly gave him his powers and that he wore at the ankle. Without the amulet, Achilles was (still allegedly) no mightier than any other man, and fell.[7]

Before the Trojans could take his body, Ajax came into the gates to retrieve it, and Odysseus came himself to protect Ajax's retreat, killing many Trojans in the process.

As Old Phoenix and his comrades mourned him, none wept more than the enslaved Briseïs and Thetis. Thetis' father Nereus and all the sea gods mourned as well.[3]

Afterlife and Legacy

Hades and end of the Trojan War

After Achilles' death, Paris hoped in vain that the Achaeans would stop the war and leave. On Achilles' pyre (and after funeral games had been held in his honor), Thetis offered her son's armor to the man who rescued his body. Ajax claimed the price, but Odysseus as well, stating that Ajax would have been killed save for him. The armor finally went to Odysseus. Achilles was sent to Hades.[8]

After being told by Priam's son and seer Helenus that Troy would not fall until "the Bow of Heracles looses arrows against it", Odysseus sent a ship back to Tenedos[8] (or more likely Lemnos)[4] to fetch Philoctetes, who was healed by Aesculapius' son Machaon. Once back at Troy, Philoctetes and Paris were drawn at the same point of the battle by goddess Strife, and Philoctetes killed Paris from one,[8] or three arrows.[4]

As Telephus' son Eurypylus came with reinforcements from Teuthrania, and as an oracle had decreed that "only when this scion of Achaea's most formidable warrior fought beside [them] would the war come to an end", Odysseus and Diomedes went to Scyros to fetch Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, who was given by Odysseus his father's armor. Neoptolemus was already as his father, although his young age, due to Achilles being the son of a goddess. As Neoptolemus wished to meet his father alive, Achilles' ghost came to visit him at night, under Hades' consent for once only, and asked him to not shame his name in battle. Leading the Myrmidons, Neoptolemus clashed with Eurypylus, recalling him that his father had wounded then healed his own before killing him.[8]

After Troy fell, Agamemnon alleged that Achilles had come in his dreams to demand the sacrifice of Queen Hecuba's daughter Polyxena. She was brought to Achilles' tomb to be sacrificed. During Agamemnon's return to Mycenae, Achilles' ghost appeared to him, warning him against his wife Clymnestra who still hated him for the sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia (confirming the prophecy of Priam's daughter Cassandra, whom Agamemnon had taken and intended to marry).[9]

Achilles' artifacts




At some point ("an uncounted time ago") and somehow, Achilles and Ajax found themselves in Olympus,[13] resurrected as demigods.[14]

There, they fought the assault of Hades who wished to rule upon Olympus (or crush it?), along with Hercules, Apollo, Poseidon, and Ares.[13]

Modern Era

During World War II, the spirit of Menelaus endowed the "the invulnerability of Achilles" to American teenager Lon Crag.[15]

When the armies of Mikaboshi attacked Olympus, Achilles fought, along with many heroes and gods, including Hercules, Odysseus (who died in the fights), Apollo, Athena, Patroclus, Theseus, Ajax, Jason, the Argonauts, and Perseus.[6] Zeus sent Achilles to lead Olympus' soldiers, while having the Myrmidons kidnap Ares' son Alex Aaron (and sent to the Myrmidons' stronghold, the Halls of Achilles) to force him to join the fight.[2] Achilles was wounded in battle against Mikaboshi, who managed to scar him,[6] and then came to Ares along with two Myrmidons, to ask him to help them defeat the armies of the East, convincing him by stating that it would save his son.

Returning to Olympus using the Bolts of Zeus, they ended up in a fallen city, with the Myrmidons all dead,[2] save for three.[6] Achilles had to convince Ares to fight off the hordes of Mikaboshi, until they were both teleported to Zeus' halls.[2] As Ares was raging and striking Zeus for his plots, Achilles and Hercules tried to interfere but were forbidden to do so by Zeus. Ares once again accepted to help them, devising a plan (and stating that Achilles should have been in charge from the beginning, and not Hercules). While Achilles was exposing his knowledge of the enemy to Ares and the other heroes (including Patroclus), Mikaboshi's warriors breached the room.[6]

After the attack was repelled, the Olympians were introduced by Hermes to East god Inari, who asked them to make a gesture towards his fellow gods, as they were too prideful to ask for help from "barbarians". Both Apollo and Achilles felt vexed and wanted to refuse, as well as Ares, opposed to Hercules' opinion. Water was offered to Inari, who was then dismissed. While the men were preparing, Ares and Achilles discussed for a time of Ares' spawn Phobos and Deimos, of Zeus, and questioned themselves the length of the war to come.

Five years later, Ares and Hercules' troops assaulted Mikaboshi's fortress.[16] Inari brought the water to his fellow gods (the few having survived Mikaboshi), implying the Olympians asked for help. His and Hermes' ruse caused them to join the fight, saving Achilles, Patroclus, and the others from the undead armies and turning the tide for the gods of West and East to defeat Mikaboshi.[17]

At the point of the Second Superhero Civil War and the rise of the Uprising Storm, Achilles was still dead (or rather "again").[18]



  • Invulnerability: Due to being immersed in the river Styx by his mother, Achilles' body was permanently altered. Achilles became indestructible, as such he was impervious and immune to any/all kinds of damage and harm.[1]

Another account mentions an amulet that gave him divine strength, power, and vitality.[7]


He was a ruthless warrior with a sword and in unarmed combat,[2] and was considered the mightiest Greek warrior of the Trojan War,[4] the bravest man of all,[8] and the greatest warrior of mankind.[2]

Ares also considered Achilles a capable strategist.[6]


His ankle[1] or his heel was not invulnerable to harm like the rest of his body due to it not being immersed into the river Styx.[4]

The account imputing his powers to the amulet states that the chain of the amulet, wore around the ankle, was his weakness.[7]



He used a shield forged by Hephaestus,[3] a first set of armor, then a second armor created by the same blacksmith.[8][4]

He also wore an amulet, created by "those who called themselves gods", who allegedly "made him who he was", by elevating mere mortals to divine strength, power, and vitality.[7]


He carried an ashen spear who had been polished by Athena and whose spearhead had been forged by Hephaestus:[1] the Lance of Pelias.[8]


He used a war chariot,[3] and later the Bolts of Zeus.[2]


Zeus himself allegedly feared Achilles.[12]

See Also

Links and References


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