Achilles

The Mission. Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 500-450 BC. Munich. Staatliche Antikensammlungen 8770Achilles and Ajax. Detail from an Athenian black-figure clay vase, about 575-525 BC. Rome, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco Vaticano 16757Drawing, formerly collection of Pembroke-Hope. Lost. Rumpf, <i>ChalkVas</i> Pl.12

Greek hero, son of Peleus and Thetis, who fought in the siege of Troy and was killed there. His main adversaries were various sons of the Trojan king Priam, including Hektor, whom he killed in revenge for the death of his close companion Patroklos. He killed the young prince Troilos in ambush, the hero Memnon, son of Eos, and appears in several other duels. He was said to have fallen in love with the Amazon Queen Penthesileia as he killed her. In archaic art he is shown playing dice with Ajax at Troy, ignoring the call to battle. Agamemnon takes from him his slave Briseis, whence his wrath and the subject of Homer's Iliad; he is shown mourning her loss, and meeting the Mission led by Odysseus to try to persuade him to return to the battlefield. This he does, after his companion Patroklos is killed wearing Achilles' armour. He is re-armed by his mother Thetis, and kills Hektor. Priam comes to him to plead for the return of Hektor's body, which Achilles had dragged around the city walls behind his chariot. His vulnerable heel was hit by Paris' arrow, killing him; his body was rescued from the field of battle by Ajax, and ownership of his divine armour became a cause of dissent between Ajax and Odysseus. He was the archetypal tragic hero of antiquity: proud, self-assertive, but doomed. Before Troy he was placed with Lykomedes on Skyros, and dressed as a girl; he was summoned thence to war by Odysseus - this is a subject for later art.

Above left: The Mission. Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 500-450 BC. Munich. Staatliche Antikensammlungen 8770 © Staatliche Antikensammlungen Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 104

Above middle: Achilles and Ajax. Detail from an Athenian black-figure clay vase, about 575-525 BC. Rome, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco Vaticano 16757 © Museo Gregoriano Etrusco Vaticano

Above right: Drawing, formerly collection of Pembroke-Hope. Lost. Rumpf, ChalkVas Pl.12 © Rumpf.