I LOVE HEROES Achilles - I LOVE HEROES Illustration: Michalis Loukianos Text: Anastasia D. Makri...
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Transcript of I LOVE HEROES Achilles - I LOVE HEROES Illustration: Michalis Loukianos Text: Anastasia D. Makri...
The brave warrior of the Iliad
Translated from Greek into English Kiriaki Papakonstantinou
BA English Language & Literature / MA Psycholinguistics / DIPTRANS - DPSI Chartered Linguist (Translator) / Translators - Interpreters Trainer
Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists in London
Scientific consultant Xanthi Proestaki
Dr of Archaeology and History of Art
Achilles I LOVE HEROES
Illustration: Michalis Loukianos Text: Anastasia D. Makri
UNDER THE AEGIS OF
H e was surpassingly handsome – just like a god. An over-whelming feeling of admiration would strike those who set an eye on him for the first time: eyes like the deep blue sea and hair like a stream of gold; His toned body would move in a proud gait. Yet, above all he was a brave and duti- ful hero who couldn’t care less about other people’s admira- tion of his beauty; what mattered to him was rather respect and faith in him for his genius and magnanimity of soul.
A chilles, the beautiful and brave hero, was the only son of King Peleus of Phthia and the sea nymph Thetis. Thetis was so beautiful that Zeus and Poseidon once
quarreled over her. Yet, all their efforts to conquer her came to a halt the moment goddess Themis told them that Thetis would give birth to a son who would exceed his father in strength. Fearing to have a son greater than either of them, the two great gods agreed to get Thetis marry the mortal King Peleus. The wedding feast of the sea nymph and the king was held on Mount Pelion, with all due pomp. All gods and goddesses were invited – well, all but one: Eris, the goddess of discord, for fear that chaos and hatred would follow her as always. When she
heard of the wedding she got enraged for being ignored and sought revenge. So, she threw a golden apple among Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, with the words “To the fair- est” written upon it.
A big quarrel broke out among them with each goddess claiming the apple for herself. Zeus and the other gods were in big trouble: regardless who they would choose to have the apple, they would become enemies with the other two. Eventually, Zeus chose a mortal to judge which goddess was the fairest. He ordered the wing-foot god Hermes to take the goddesses to Mount Ida in Troy. There Paris, son of Priam, king of Troy would decide which one
would win the apple. Hermes at once executed Zeus’ command and the three goddesses were taken in front of a handsome shepherd – Paris himself – who remained astonished on seeing the divine company. Then Hermes approached him and explained what he had to do. Each goddess tried to bribe him over.
“Offer me the apple and you will be the ruler of the world” said Hera. “Choose me and you will become a mighty warrior”, said Athena. “I’ll help you win the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, the Queen of Sparta” prom- ised Aphrodite. Paris thought for a while and then knelt before goddess Aphrodite offering her the golden apple.
Time had come and Paris, with the advice of Aphrodite, set off to Sparta. There, King Menelaus and Helen’s husband welcomed him warmly. But when he had to go to Crete for a while, Paris grabbed the opportunity and took the beautiful queen away to Troy along with numerous treasures from the palace. After that, war was a matter of time…
The birth of Achilles
N ow, let’s go back to Thetis and Peleus. A beautiful boy was born from their union. His mother, who adored him, wanted to make him immortal. So, she plunged him into the sacred waters of the river Styx, in Hades, the un- derworld, holding him by the right heel. Indeed, the little boy’s whole body became invulnerable and immortal ex-
cept his right heel. While still a child, Achilles was brought by his father to Mount Pelion, to be raised by wise centaur Chiron, who taught him music, medicine and horse riding. However, the most important was that he learned to be brave, just, respectful to gods and unsurpassed in valor.
Thetis hides Achilles
A fter the abduction of Helen, the Greeks decided to campaign against Troy to get her back thus rinsing off 6
the shame. But the seer Calchas predicted that without Achilles they couldn’t manage to defeat the Trojans. Thetis knew well that if her only son followed them, she wouldn’t be seeing him alive again. Only to the thought her heart got heavy and tears filled her eyes. Thus, to protect him she hid him in the court of King Lycomedes, on Skyros, advising him to be disguised as a girl. There Achilles fell in love with Deidamia, one of the king’s daughters and had a son, Neoptolemus.
The Greeks, on the other hand, had moved heaven and earth to find him, but in vain – until rumors led re- sourceful Odysseus to the palace of Lycomedes.