Not unlike the much larger Indian epic, the Mahabharata, this Greek tale involves a grand-scale war between two opposing factions. Divine gods and goddesses often appear and, like the Indian story, offer their assistance to favored mortals.
Together with the Odyssey, the Illiad is one of the pillars of existing Greek myth.
Rather than my trying to summarize the story, it’s better to leave that to an expert. For an excellent outline with commentary and original Greek terms, see Sir Paul Harvey’s work, freely available at http://www.archive.org/details/oxfordcompaniont006050mbp (PDF, page 220).
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Achilles The ancient Greek warrior and hero who, in Homer‘s Iliad, fought in the Trojan wars.
The son of Peleus and Thetis, at birth Achilles’ mother held him by the heel and dipped him in the fiery river Styx to obtain magical protection from his enemies.
Achilles’ heel remained dry, becoming his vulnerable spot.
Often savage, Achilles killed Hector and mangled his body. Achilles also offered human sacrifices.
The violent aspect of the Achilles legend brings to mind historical killers who find temporary satisfaction by expressing turbulent psychological forces.
Achilles could also be seen as a brilliant, if undisciplined, military commander.
Antonio Balestra’s (1666-1740) oil on canvass depicts Thetis dipping Achilles, head-first, into a cauldron of water, presumably drawn from the river Styx.
More recently Brad Pitt played a convincing Achilles in the film, Troy.
Achilles was eventually killed by Paris‘ poisoned arrow to the heel. » Balder, Olympus, Shadow, Wotan, Zeno
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