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Head of Achilles from the Achilles Penthesilea group, Roman copy of a Hellenistic original, Vatican Museums Inv. 4632
Thetis gives her son Achilles his new weapons, forged by Hephaestus . Detail of a black figure painting on an Attic hydria 575–550 BC, Louvre

Achilles (German Achilles or Latinized Achilles ; ancient Greek and modern Greek - taught Ἀχιλλεύς [Akhilleus] / akʰilleǔ̯s / , Modern Greek - vernacular Αχιλλέας ) is in Greek mythology, an almost invulnerable hero of the Greeks ( Achaeans ) in front of Troy and the main hero of the Iliad of Homer . He is the son of Peleus , king of Phthia in Thessaly , and the sea ​​nymph Thetis .

He is often referred to with the attributes "Pelide" or "Peleiade" (son of Peleus) or "Aiakide" (descendant of Aiakos ), which remind of his ancestors.

In the latest version of the birthday, Thetis dips him into the underworld river Styx , which made him invulnerable. But his heel, to which Thetis held him, was not wetted and therefore remained vulnerable. He was raised by the centaur Cheiron , who instructed him in the arts of war, music and medicine. Given the choice of fate, he preferred a short but glorious life to a long but lackluster life. His mother hid him at the royal court of Lycomedes to save him from participating in the Trojan War . But Odysseus discovered Achilles, after which he and his best friend Patroclus took part in the Greek campaign. In the tenth year of the war a dispute with Agamemnon escalated , so that he stayed away from the battle: This incident is sung about as the "Wrath of Achilles" in the Iliad . Patroclus's death drove him to take up arms again in order to avenge him on Hector , the greatest hero of the Trojans. Shortly after Achilles killed Hector, he was killed when he was hit on his vulnerable heel by an arrow from Paris , which the god Apollo directed there.

The Achilles tradition consists of numerous texts from different times. Sometimes different events are told, some of which contradict each other and assess Achilles' behavior differently.

Achilles was worshiped as a godlike hero in the Greek world. As a beautiful and courageous representative of a haughty code of honor, he embodies "the ideal morality of a perfect Homeric noble."


Achilles and Ajax playing, Attic black-figure amphora , ca.510 BC Chr., Villa Getty (86.AE.81)

Achilles is often called "Pelide", "Aiakide" or "Pyruus", nicknames that remind of his ancestors. The etymology of its actual name is unknown. Achilles is encountered as a proper name in Mycenaean Greek on two Linear B documents (Knossos Vc 106, Pylos FN 79.2) around 1200 BC. In the spelling a-ki-re-u . However, the bearers of the name are real people who did not belong to any upper class. The question of the origin of his name was asked in ancient times:

Pseudo-Apollodorus explains that his name means "of no lips was" - as the composition of the ancient Greek Negationspräfix α- (a-) and χεῖλος (kheĩlos) because his lips had never sucked at a mother's breast "lip". Lycophron leads the name back to the same root, but on the grounds that Achilles lost a lip to fire after his birth.

Another ancient hypothesis gives the name the meaning of "the one whose army is grieved", from ancient Greek ἄχος (ákhos) "sorrow, sorrow" and λαός (laós) "army, the multitude of warriors". Indeed, the figure of Achilles is associated with grief: the Achaeans feel him when he withdraws from battle and when he dies. An interpretation based on the same root ἄχος (ákhos) interprets the name as "the one who caused the Trojans (ie the Illians) suffering".

Modern considerations interpret the root αχελ (akhel) as an indication of a water deity - with etymological parallels to the river deities Acheron and Acheloos - which is also supported by its descent from the sea deity Thetis and the fight with the scamander . Others lead the name back to Αχιλόγονος (Achilógonos) " son of a snake", as his mother preferred to turn into a snake.

Elements of the Achilles material


In the main tradition, the nereids Thetis and Peleus, king of Phthia, are the parents of Achilles. He is a great-grandson of Zeus through his father Peleus and thus his grandfather Aiakos .

But there are also sources which make Polymela , the actor's daughter , his mother. In other representations, Polymela is Achilles' sister. The sources that name Thetis as the mother of Achilles differ in the prehistory of his conception: In the folk tale, which is older than the Epic Cycle , Thetis is defeated by Peleus in a wrestling match. There is only a unique connection between them, after which Thetis retreats into the sea. In the Kyprien , an epic in the Epic Cycle , as well as in the later Iliad of Homer, Thetis is raised by Hera , the wife of Zeus. To please her, she rejects Zeus' applications. In another variation, both Zeus and Poseidon free around Thetis. The oracle goddess Themis prophesies that her son will be even stronger with her than she is. That is why Zeus wed her to Peleus. Achilles emerges from this connection.

Invulnerability and Achilles heel

Bath of the newly born Achilles, House of Theseus, Paphos (Cyprus), 5th century. A.D.

One of the most important aspects of the stories about Achilles, the proverbial Achilles 'heel , is related to his mother Thetis' desire to cleanse the boy from his father's mortality and to make him invulnerable. Their attempts to bring about this have come down to us in different versions:

According to one version, Thetis put all of her children in a kettle of boiling water or directly in the fire to make them immortal. In another line of tradition, she anointed her children with the divine nectar ambrosia during the day and put them in the fire at night so that it would consume the mortal part of the children. Peleus interrupted it before it could inflict the same fate on Achilles, thereby saving his life. Similar legends are associated with Demophon of Eleusis and Isis in Egyptian mythology. But the fire has already destroyed Achilles' ankle. His father brings the rescued son to Cheiron , who heals him by removing the corresponding bones from the skeleton of Damysus , the fastest-footed giant .

The motif of the heel as the only vulnerable point on Achilles' body was first encountered by Statius in the first century AD . According to him, Thetis Achilles dived into the waters of the Styx, the river of the underworld, holding him by the heel. In this way he became invulnerable, except by the heel that his mother held him by. This is where the expression “Achilles heel”, which is still used today, comes from, denoting a “vulnerable point”, a “sensitive point”. A little later, Hyginus explicitly mentions the ankle that Apollon pierced with his arrow as the only vulnerable point. However, four vases from the Archaic period and from the beginning of the Classical Era already depict how Paris shoots an arrow in the direction of Achilles' abdomen or even show the dead Achilles with an arrow in his foot. This is an indication that the tradition of the "Achilles heel" was already known in ancient Greece. After all, all authors speak of the ankle (Latin talus , ancient Greek σφυρόν (sphyrón)), with the exception of the Mythographus Vaticanus , who speaks of the planta , the sole of the foot , but the word talus changes its meaning via the French talon (heel).

Despite the multitude of variants, the Iliad does not mention any of these at the birth of Achilles, and there is no indication in the Homer epic that Achilles is physically insensitive. In the Posthomerica of Quintus of Smyrna , he is wounded by the Ethiopian Prince Memnon . Incidentally, Achilles is not the only famous (almost) invulnerable Greek hero: later tradition also attributes this preference to Ajax the Great .

In addition, the motif of a hero, who is invulnerable except for a small, secret body part, also appears outside of Greek mythology in the Germanic hero Siegfried , but there, as in the Nibelungenlied, is more clearly and momentarily integrated into the dramatic processes.

Education at Cheiron

Peleus entrusts Achilles to Cheiron , Lekythos with a white background, around 500 BC. BC, National Archaeological Museum, Athens

The main tradition says that Achilles, like other heroes such as Jason and Actaion , was entrusted by his father to the Centaur Cheiron , who lives on Mount Pelion in Thessaly . With him he learns to wield weapons, the art of mounting a horse and hunting, and music. The literature reports of his extraordinary achievements in the hunt, but of no independent heroic deed by the young man.

The Iliad treated Cheiron less detail. With Homer, Achilles is brought up by his mother. Peleus only sends him to Phoinix when the war breaks out , where he learns the art of speaking and the use of weapons. The presence of the Cheiron episode depends in the narratives on how the relationship between Thetis and Peleus went: the Cyppria and the Iliad do not report the wrestling match between Peleus and Thetis, and Thetis does not retreat to the Nereids. According to this, Achilles is raised with his parents.

Hideout in Skyros

Achilles at Lykomedes , bas-relief of an Attic sarcophagus , around 240 AD, Louvre

Before Achilles goes to war, he is in Skyros . The Skyros episode has come down to us in two versions: in the Iliad , the Cyppria and in the Little Iliad , Achilles conquers Skyros even before the trip to Mysia (see below). There he fathered Deidameia , the daughter of King Lykomedes of Skyros, a son to whom he gave the name Neoptolemus or - with the help of Lycomedes - Pyrrhus.

In a more popular, but much later variant, probably dating from the fifth century BC at the earliest, Achilles is hidden by his mother as a nine-year-old boy in Skyros: Thetis knows that Achilles will have to take part in the Trojan War. Thetis or Peleus, who fear for his life, disguise him as a girl and hide him under Lykomedes' daughters in order to evade him from the urging of the warriors. With Lykomedes Achilles bears the name Pyrrha, "the redhead". Disguised as a girl, Achilles falls in love with Deidameia in the women's rooms and secretly fathered a son with her who, after Achilles' death, also went to the Trojan War.

An oracle of the Kalchas taught the Achaeans that they needed Achilles to take Troy. After they have been rejected by Peleus in Phthia, they learn from Kalchas that Achilles is hidden in Skyros. Diomedes , Odysseus and the trumpeter Agyrtes finally arrive in Skyros, and identify Achilles, who is returning with them to the army of the Greeks. This act is the subject of a tragedy by Euripides, The People of Skyros . Ovid tells how Odysseus disguises himself as a merchant and offers the daughters of Lycomedes precious robes and weapons; Achilles betrays himself when he is the only one to take up a shield and sword. In the library of Apollodorus it is the sound of a trumpet that arouses the youth's heroism, with which he betrays himself. Statius combines these two variants. With Hyginus , Achilles appears a little less naive: when he hears the trumpet, Achilles believes the city is being attacked and takes up arms in defense. After Achilles is exposed, his relationship with Deidameia becomes known and the two are married.

The Iliad does not recognize this episode. There Achilles, together with Patroclus and the Myrmidons, is sent directly by Peleus as soon as the Greek leaders gather in Aulis.


The Cypriots report how the fleet then mistakenly lands in Teuthrania in Mysia after a storm . Believing that they had reached Troy, the Achaeans attacked and clashed with the king there, Telephos , son of Heracles . Achilles meets this and wounds him. The Greek expedition drives back, but a storm carries them to the island of Skyros , where Achilles marries Deidameia , the daughter of King Lykomedes . The Kypria tell how the still wounded Telephos went to Argos to be healed by Achilles in exchange for information about the route to Troy. The Iliad makes no mention of these events. In the fifth century BC The story of Telephos and Achilles is known through the Pindar reception, who alludes to it in his Isthmian Victory Chants, and also through Aeschylus , Sophocles and Euripides : Aeschylus and Sophocles each dedicated him a (now lost) tragedy , which probably the report from arrival in Mysia to recovery in Argos. The also lost Telephos drama of Euripides is known from the numerous hints of Aristophanes : it focuses on Telephos' arrival and his recovery in Argos. Later sources specify that Telephos flees when he meets Achilles. Tripped by a vine and half thrown to the ground by Dionysus , he is wounded by Achilles' lance. It is only the rust or iron filings from this lance - according to a common magical scheme - that can heal it.

The journey to Troy

Events of the Trojan War , which preceded those of the Iliad , have come down to us in contradicting ways. In particular, it is not clear why Achilles had to take part in the Trojan War. The Greek army was recruited from the suitors of Helena, who had been stolen from Paris, who had sworn to each other before Helena's election to support her husband should Helena be kidnapped. Achilles cannot have been one of these suitors: At the wedding of his parents Thetis and Peleus, the quarrel between the three goddesses Hera , Pallas Athene and Aphrodite , which was triggered by the uninvited goddess of discord Eris , arose as to which of them was the most beautiful. They called on Paris to decide , who opted for Aphrodite and then stole Helena from Sparta , where she had been married for about ten years. If Achilles had been born after his parents' wedding, he would not have been born at the meeting of the many princes who vied for Helena's hand in Sparta. There was no obligation for him from the protective alliance formulated by Odysseus and ratified by all suitors to move to Troy.

When the Greek army is about to leave, the goddess Artemis, in her anger at Agamemnon, the general of the Greeks, stops the fleet in Aulis. An oracle reveals that Iphigenia , Agamemnon's daughter, must be sacrificed. In order to lure her to Aulis, the military leaders promise her marriage to Achilles. After Iphigenia has been sacrificed, the fleet casts off and heads for the island of Tenedos , where a feast is held. Achilles is furious because he is invited later. Tradition has it that Achilles gets angry at dinner: In the Odyssey , the Aöde offers Demodokos at the court of Alcinous to sing about the quarrel between Achilles and Odysseus: the oracle of Delphi had predicted that this quarrel would that he would be the omen for the fall of Troy. A hint of Plutarch to a lost play by Sophocles also reported that Odysseus had made fun during a banquet on the wrath of Achilles: Odysseus accuses him of having become afraid in the face of Troy and Hector and sought a pretext before the battle to press. It is not easy to find out whether we are dealing here with the same incident or two different outbursts of anger on the part of Achilles.

A second incident occurs in Tenedos: The island is ruled by Tenes , a son of Apollo. This rejects the Achaeans. Achilles kills him, although his mother - worried that Achilles would find death even at the hand of Apollo - had warned him to kill Tenes. For his part, Plutarch tells that Thetis sent a servant to Achilles to remind him of her warning; Achilles stuck to it until he met the daughter of Tenes, who impressed him with her beauty. Tenes steps between the two to protect his daughter, whereupon Achilles forgets the warning and kills him.

First years of the war

Achilles connects Patroclus ,
Etruscan kylix ( Sosias bowl ) painted in red by Sosias , approx. 500 BC. BC, State Museums in Berlin

Before the Greek fleet docks at Troy, Achilles is warned by his mother not to be the first to enter the country, because otherwise he would also be the first of the Greeks to die. Achilles follows her advice and so Protesilaos meets this fate. Achilles meets Cyknos , a son of the sea god Poseidon and king of Kolonai at Troas. This wants to prevent the Greeks from landing. Kyknos is invulnerable: no weapon can injure him. Achilles finally manages to kill him by strangling him with the chin strap of his helmet or, according to another version, by killing him with a stone throw.

The Greeks set up camp on the beach in front of Troy. An embassy from the Achaeans, which Helena reclaims, is turned down. Achilles longs to see Helena. The Kypria only report that a meeting of Aphrodite and Thetis is arranged without going into any further detail. However, a Hellenistic variant tells of a divination by Kassandra , according to which Helena would have five husbands - Theseus , Menelaus, Paris, Deiphobus and Achilles. It is obviously not an allusion to the reign of Achilles after his death in Elysium , because the same source makes Medea his wife post mortem . Rather, it can be concluded from Cassandra's verdict that the meeting of Achilles and Helenas ended with the union of the two.

Once, when the Trojans retreated behind their city walls, Achilles used the opportunity to cut off supplies. From the bow of his ships he attacks eleven citizens of Asia Minor , who are tributaries to Troy. This happens in Lyrnessos , the city, when Achilles conquered in the tenth year of the siege the Briseis as an honorary share of the booty, whereas Agamemnon was awarded the Chryseis .

Achilles' wrath

This is where the report of the Iliad begins . A plague attacks the camp of the Greeks, and Kalchas , encouraged by Achilles, reveals that the plague was a punishment for Apollo: the god punished Agamemnon for not returning Chryses 's daughter to his priest, Chryses . Forced to give in, Agamemnon angrily claims another part of the booty. Achilles protests and Agamemnon decides to take away the Briseis awarded to him. In anger Achilles decides to retire to his tent and swears by Zeus not to return to battle under Agamemnon. Achilles distinguishes himself in this scene by the twofold division of his mind. On the one hand there is his heart (/ thymós), his anger, which Agamemnon wants to atone for his presumption, on the other hand there is his mind (/ lógos), which is embodied by the goddess Athena and Achilles in a dialogue with advises against his plan. Achilles begs his mother to ask Zeus' favor for the Trojans as long as he stays away from the battlefield himself. The aim is that Agamemnon asks Achilles to fight again, whereby his injured honor would be restored by the robbery of the Briseis. Zeus agrees. This incident is recited in the first verse of the Iliad, the so-called Prooemium :

"Sing the wrath, O goddess, Achilles of Peleiad,
Him who, on fire, aroused inexpressible misery to the Achaeans,
And many brave souls of the hero's sons to Aïs
Sent, but presented them to the dogs for prey,
And the birds around. Zeus' will was thus accomplished "

Without Achilles' help, the Greeks accept defeat after defeat. When the Greeks are so distressed that the Trojans threaten to set their ships on fire, the old sage Nestor , Phoinix and Odysseus come to Achilles and stand up as ambassadors for the Achaean cause. Achilles remains stubborn, but his friend Patroclus, who is gripped by the calamity of his comrades, obtains Achilles permission to support the Greeks while wearing Achilles' armor. This shows success, but Patroclus not only fights back the Trojans, but also sets out to pursue them, although he had promised Achilles otherwise. He is killed by Hector, who takes Achilles' armor as prey. Angry and humiliated - deceived by Patroclus, who is now dead, and symbolically overcome by Hector - Achilles decides to take revenge. He ignores his mother's warnings: If he attacked Hector, he would die a short time later. Hephaestus forges him new weapons in which he seeks the fight with Hector.

Achilles grinds Hector's corpse on his chariot, comb found in Oria , second half of the first century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Taranto

After receiving his divine armor, he goes back into battle and single-handedly butchered so large numbers of Trojans in his anger that the scamander's waters are littered with corpses and the water has turned a blood red color. Because the river god is offended, he wants to drown Achilles, but Achilles is saved by the intervention of Hephaestus. Achilles finally meets Hector, challenges him and kills him with Athene's help, who deceives Hector by appearing to him as one of his comrades-in-arms. He drags the corpse around the city in his chariot before taking it to the Achaean camp. Returning to his tent, the hero weeps for his dead friend Patroclus. When he burns his body, he cuts his hair as a sign of mourning and sacrifices four horses, nine dogs and twelve Trojan youths, whose bodies are thrown at the stake. The next day he dragged Hector's body again behind his chariot and thus circled the tomb of Patroclus three times.

Nevertheless, Achilles shows humanity when he lets King Priam , Hector's father, come into his tent, who begs him for his son's body in order to prepare him a dignified burial. He listens to his mother: Thetis was sent by the gods who disagree with the mistreatment of the corpse.

Killing of Memnon and Penthesilea

The fight between Achilles and Penthesilea , glass drinking bowl from Basilicata , end of the fifth century AD, National Archaeological Museum, Madrid
Thesaurus of Sifnos in Delphi around 525 BC Chr. Colored copy: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

The Aithiopis , one of the epics of the Trojan cycle, takes up the account of the Trojan War at the point where the Iliad ends. She tells how new heroes arrive in Priam's city after Hector's death. First of all, this is the Amazon Penthesilea , daughter of the god of war Ares . Achilles duels her, kills her and falls in love with the dying or dead woman, which arouses the mockery of Thersites . Achilles is indignant about Thersites' mockery, kills him and then has to be atoned for this murder by Odysseus on the island of Lesbos .

A little later, Memnon arrives , the son of Dawn Eos and Tithon and Prince of Ethiopia. He also meets Achilles in a duel and is killed by him.


The days of Achilles are numbered from now on. Xanthos , an immortal horse of Achilles, foretold it for the hero, calling his death a "mighty god".

Thetis also warned him several times that he was going to die young: "To die on the wall of the ore-armored Trojans / Be [he] determined by Apollo's rapid missiles." Finally, the dying Hector also has the death of his opponent through Paris and Apollo close by Scaean Gate prophesied.

Thetis and the Nereids mourn the death of Achilles, black-figure Corinthian hydria 560-550 BC. BC, Louvre

There are several versions of Achilles' death. The Aithiopis describes how he dies at the hands of Paris and Apollo while he pursues the Trojans into their city walls. Pindar lets it be heard that the god took the form of Priam's son and killed Achilles to postpone the conquest of Troy, as he did with Patroclus in the Iliad to stop the attack. The Aeneid is the first source to explicitly state that Paris shot down the deadly arrow directed by Apollo.

Another tradition connects Achilles' death with his love for Polyxena , a daughter of Priam: The hero is killed when he asks for his daughter's hand in the temple of Apollo at the Thymbrian near Priam. In another version, Achilles falls in love with Polyxena when she accompanies her father to Achilles to claim Hector's corpse. Priam promises him her hand on the condition that he ends the war - this is actually an ambush: Paris is waiting for him, hidden behind a column of the temple, with the bow in his hand.

His funeral is recounted in the twenty-fourth song of the Odyssey of the spirit of Agamemnon, and also in the third book of the Posthomerica by Quintus of Smyrna . His ashes were mixed with those of Patroclus in a golden urn, but separately from the remains of Antilochus . Achilles was buried in the floods of the Hellespont with lamentations and weeping and could no longer live to see the victory of the Greeks.

After his death

Ajax carries the body of Achilles, black-figure Attic lekythos around 510 BC. BC, State Collections of Antiquities in Munich

Homer depicts Achilles in the Odyssey as a disappointed king over the asphodelic ground in Hades . He replies to Odysseus, who congratulates him on his rule over the dead:

“Don't praise my death comfortably, glorious Odysseus.
I would rather the unrefunded Meier,
Who only lives miserably as a day laborer tilling the field,
When the whole crowd of rotting dead rule. "

In the Aithiopis , Thetis depicts him as if he were living the ideal life of a warrior on the island of Leuke , in countless battles and eternal feasts. He is married to Medea, Helena, Iphigenie or Polyxena. In the Nemean songs of victory, Pindar speaks of a gleaming island that lies in the Pontos Euxeinos . Euripides adopts this version in his Andromache .


Despite his origins from Peleus and Thetis, Achilles is mortal. However, Homer describes the hero's anger as an outflow of the divine. This has nothing in common with the anger and resentment of ordinary people, but is a holy anger, a divine passion. The other heroes of the Iliad are also obsessed with mania , with the warlike madness that blinds them - with the exception of Odysseus.

Achilles is an ambivalent personality because he is free to respect the rites of heroes and the manners of the people. This forces him not to belong to any group, which gives him an isolated place in Homer's work.

This dichotomy of Achilles seems to be particularly inviting for identification . He is peace-loving at heart and hates war, but when he fights it is unstoppable and brutal; to some authors he appears heterosexual ( Deidameia , Briseis, Polyxena), to others more homosexual (Patroklos); he vacillates between submission to a common goal and complete self-will; he is young, beautiful and fast - and yet vulnerable; he is a feared fighter - and in times of need he flees into his mother's arms. Homer already combines all of these contradictions in his person, and yet he never gives the impression of a poetic construct. His special vitality lies in this abundance of properties and contradictions: because his pride is offended, he goes on a war strike. He returns to the theater of war for a private motive: he wants to avenge his friend. The actual war aims, Troy and Helen, are apparently completely indifferent to him. All other war participants are in the service of the war aims, but the fighter Achilles realizes himself. For Hegel Achilles embodies the ideal of the epic hero: “With Achilles you can say: this is a person! - The versatility of noble human nature develops all its richness in this one individual. "


Johann Heinrich Füssli , Thetis weeps for the death of Achilles , 1780, Art Institute of Chicago

Achilles has become the subject of a hero cult in many Mediterranean regions . It is unclear how the cult took off as the hero cults usually focus on the hero's grave. In the case of Achilles, one would expect to find his remains not far from Troy in the Hellespont : in the Iliad (XXIII) Patroclus is buried there, and his spirit asks Achilles that both mortal shells should be buried in the same place. The Odyssey describes in more detail that a large tumulus , a burial mound visible from the sea, was built by the Achaeans. The veneration of the hero in the fifth century BC is documented and a city named after him, Achilleion , was founded at this point. The Thessalians conducted an annual pilgrimage, and some sources mention that the Persian army also came there during the Persian Wars and revered Achilles as much as after them Alexander the Great . and also Caracalla .

The Achilles cult was not limited to his tombs: He was also venerated in Erythrai in Asia Minor , in Croton , in Sparta and in Elis , and even on Astypalea , a Cycladic island . The cult of which we have the richest find situation is the cult from the Olbia region on the Black Sea, which is documented from the sixth century BC to the time of the Roman Empire . A number of grave stelae from the second and third centuries AD prove that Achilles was venerated there under the nickname “Pontarch” (ancient Greek for ruler of the Pontus ). He is also one of the main deities of this region in Roman times.

A fragment of Alcaios of Lesbos , which takes up the word combination of these grave inscriptions again, speaks of Achilles ruling over the Scythians . In the same area, the Tendra peninsula is known as the " Achilles Racecourse ". The name is possibly derived from the athletic games that were held there in honor of the hero and for which there is evidence from the first century. After all, Leuke (today the Snake Island , literally: "The White") in the northwest of the Black Sea is the cult site of Achilles, which was best known in ancient times. It houses a temple and a statue. The hero is attributed to live at the place of worship: he appears as a vision to the seafarers who approach the island.

The Achilles worship is often associated with the sea, a connection that cannot be explained from the elements of his myth, but only from the fact that he is the son of a nereid , a sea deity. He is also worshiped together with Thetis in Erythrai, Asia Minor. Achilles is particularly popular with seafarers, who dedicated most of the offerings found in the Black Sea to him.

Tiepolo , Achill's Zorn , 1757 , fresco from the Villa Valmarana ( Vicenza ). Athena prevents Achilles from killing Agamemnon

Regardless of his veneration as a deity, Achilles imposes himself on the Greeks as an exemplary heroic personality. Alexander the Great also compares himself to him - he allegedly regretted not having found a Homer who could sing about his own deeds. Accompanied by his friend Hephaestion , the conqueror sacrificed him on the burial mound of Achilles and Patroclus.



In ancient times the tradition dominates that Achilles lived on after his death. The Iliad sets itself apart from this and compensates for it through its continued existence in the imperishable praise of the poets. Homer sets up the bold Achilles as a counter-image to the cunning and sometimes lying Odysseus. The central feature of Achilles in the Iliad is his anger. Homer describes his anger as an outflow of the divine. It has nothing in common with the anger and resentment of ordinary people, but is a holy anger, a divine passion. The other heroes of the Iliad are also obsessed with mania , with the warlike madness that blinds them - with the exception of Odysseus. Achilles' sense of honor motivates both his withdrawal from the battle and his re-entry: when Agamemnon snatches the Briseis from him, he is deeply offended. He feels as if he has lost his heroic honor, thanks to which Zeus counts him among his favorites. As a result, he was unimpressed by the gifts of expiation Agamemnon offered him. Worse, it only fuels his anger that Agamemnon believes he can calm his sacred rage with simple gifts. For although they are very precious, they are only human and therefore worthless in the face of what constitutes Achilles' divinity. To restore Patroclus's honor, he avenges him on Hector. In addition to this dominant trait, the Iliad also shows his pity for Priam at the surrender of Hector's corpse.

Unlike Homer, the Greek poets speak of Achilles' life after death: Alkaios describes him as ruler over the Scythians, Ibykos and Simonides settle him with Medea as their wife in the Elysium, with Stesichoros he lives on after his death on the island of the blessed .

In the Odes of Pindar , Achilles is celebrated as an example of the greatest achievement, and of how death may limit human happiness but can be compensated for by immortality in poetry.

Achilles appears as an acting character in various dramas: the only one of these dramas that has survived is Euripides ' Iphigenia in Aulis . Achilles appears in the lost Euripides dramas Telephos and The People of Skyros , and in Hecabe his spirit demands the sacrifice of Polyxena . In Aeschylus ' work, Achilles appears in the lost tragedy of weak soul , in which his struggle with Memnon is described, as well as in a tragedy that has the dispute over his weapons as its theme, and in an Achilles trilogy, in which the relationship with Patroclus is described as a homoerotic relationship.

Socrates is concerned with questioning Achilles' moral straightforwardness. With the help of a comparison between Odysseus and Achilles, Socrates shows that Achilles was no less a deceiver than Odysseus, but only a deceiver with less talent: Achilles was only unable to deceive others because he was not sufficiently intellectual. Plato gives the figure of Achilles an ethical meaning by interpreting his continued life after death on the island of the blessed as a reward for his love death. Even Aristotle provides Achilles is as an ethical role model.

In the paradox of Achilles and the turtle , Zeno of Elea contrasts the hero's proverbial speed with the fact that he cannot overtake a turtle.

In Roman antiquity, Achilles was primarily reduced to his cruelty and lust for murder: the fragmentary traditional dramas Achilles , Hectoris Lytra des Ennius and Myrmidones , Achilles and Epinausimachia des Accius , presumably focus on Achilles' defiance, which isolates him within the Greek army. In Virgil's Aeneid , Achilles mainly serves to provide the contrast for the exemplary virtue of Aeneas . In Horace , in the Metamorphoses of Ovid and in Seneca , Achilles appears cruel and bloodthirsty. Cicero criticizes Achilles' passion from a stoic perspective as pathological. In his unfinished Achilles, Statius brings Achilles' warlike and sexual violence into an analogy. This is also expressed in the Penthesilea motif: Achilles, who has overcome Penthesilea by war, is overcome by her by falling in love with her. Catullus emphasizes the connection between Achilles' early death and fame.

Late antiquity and the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the Homer reception took a back seat. Instead, in the Latin West, the fictional Troy reports of the Dictys Cretensis (Ephemeris Belli Troiani) and Dares Phrygius (Acta diurna belli Troiani) , who pretend to be eyewitness accounts. Dictys Cretensis moves Achilles' love for Polyxena, already mentioned in Hyginus, into the center of his fate: Achilles is lured unarmed by the Trojans into the Temple of Apollo, supposedly to be married to Polyxena, and murdered from behind. Dictys Cretensis describes Achilles as careless. Around 500 AD, Fulgentius interprets the vulnerable heel - as the seat of the veins that establish the connection to the seat of passions - as an allegory of the vulnerability of the exemplary hero through his passion. The text of the Dictys Cretensis and Fulgentius' interpretation form the basis for how Achilles appears in the courtly Troy novels of the 12th and 13th centuries: Achilles is portrayed there on the one hand as a model for courtly chivalry and on the other as an example of ruinous love.

Many Troy novels of the Middle Ages are more favorable to the Trojans than to the Achaeans. This leads to Achilles being described as underhanded in a duel with Hector: he overcomes Hector only with insidiousness; his death is seen as the just punishment for it, first around 1165 in the novel de Troie by Benoît de Saint-Maure and in the adaptation of Guido delle Colonne Historia destructionis Troiae in the late 13th century. Herbort von Fritzlar wrote a Liet von Troye around 1195 , in which Achilles is on an equal footing with Hector, just as in the Trojan War of Konrad von Würzburg . In French created in the 14th century two texts from 1316 to 1328, the anonymous moralise Ovide and 1400 the Epistre Othea of Christine de Pizan contain both criticism of Achilles by describing Hector to be exemplary, Achilles whereas the victim of his love will . This valuation also follows the Troy Book by John Lydgate , which, like two other Middle English adaptations of the text by Guido delle Colonne, was created at the beginning of the 15th century.

Modern literature

Achilles' Zorn , François-Léon Benouville (1821–1859) ( Musée Fabre )


In his play Troilus and Cressida , Shakespeare adheres to the Homeric motif of refusing to argue as far as Achilles is concerned, but at the same time uses heroic satire to depict him as vain and cowardly; Odysseus describes him with the words:

The hero Achilles, crowned by opinion
As the nerve and right hand of the whole army -
The ear filled with his airy fame,
Becomes cheeky and capricious and rests in the tent,
Mocking our actions. Patroclus with him,
On a lotter bed, doing cheeky antics
All the long day ...


When Goethe was working on the epic in hexameters Hermann and Dorothea , he studied Homer in the translation of Johann Heinrich Voss . In doing so, he came to the conclusion that there was an epic poem between the end of the Iliad and the beginning of the Aeneid . He started to write an Achilles in 8 chants, but gave up the project after completing the first chant, either because the entanglements around Achilles' death, especially with regard to the Polyxena episode, suggested that the tradition was too far-reaching or because of the contradiction between dramatic material and epic form seemed too big for him. Goethe describes Achilles as "deeply moved and gentle", but at the same time certain of his imminent death (he is already having his burial mound digged up himself) and as a fatalistic and fearless fighter:

... The happiest think about the argument
To be always armed, and everyone is like a warrior,
Who is always ready to part from Helios' gaze.


In his poem, Schiller makes Nänie Achilles the epitome of mortal beauty:

Do not save the divine hero the immortal mother,
When, falling at the Skaean Gate, he will fulfill his destiny.
But she rises from the sea with all the daughters of Nereus,
And the lament begins for the glorified son.
Please refer! The gods weep, the goddesses all weep
That the beautiful passes, that the perfect dies.
To be a lament in the mouth of the beloved is also glorious,
Because the mean goes down to the Orcus without a sound.


Hölderlin compares himself in his short elegy Achilles himself with Achilles after Agamemnon has robbed him of Briseis:

Glorious Son of God! since you lost your beloved
If you went to the seaside, cried out into the tide ...

In contrast to Achilles, who was able to mourn his mother's suffering and was comforted by her, Hölderlin can not share his heartache - being separated from Susette Gontard , the Frankfurt banker's wife - with anyone:

Son of gods! o if I were like you, I could be confident
One of the heavenly ones complain of my secret suffering.

Heinrich von Kleist

Achilles' death is depicted differently in Heinrich von Kleist's drama Penthesilea than in the ancient tradition: Achilles only apparently wants to succumb to the beloved woman in battle and approaches her unarmed; she misjudges his intention and kills him; Meroe, Penthesilea's companion in arms, reports:

She strikes, tearing his armor from his body,
She hits the tooth in his white chest ...
... when I appeared
Blood dripped from her mouth and hands.

Horrified by her own deed, Penthesilea also chooses death. In a macabre way, this ending anticipates the poet's double suicide with a friend.

Heinrich Heine

The encounter between Odysseus and Achilles in the underworld is taken up by Heine in the poem Epilog:

Fame warms our grave.
Foolish words! Foolishness!
A better warmth gives
A cow girl who falls in love
Kiss us with thick lips
And smells like crap considerably.
Also a better warmth
Warms man's intestines
When he drinks mulled wine and punch
Or grog to your heart's content
In the lowest taverns
Among thieves and scoundrels,
Who ran away from the gallows
But live, breathe, puff
And are more enviable
As the Thetis big child
The Pelide spoke rightly:
Live like the poorest servant
In the upper world it is better
As in the Stygian waters
Be a shadow leader, a hero
Homeros sang about it himself.

Christa Wolf

Another perspective on the literary figure Achilles is provided by Christa Wolf in Kassandra . In the story of the seer Kassandra, who was condemned by Apollo so that no one believes her prophecies, Achilles appears as the murderous embodiment of all destructive urges and is only called "Achilles the cattle". The author must have been aware that this was a reduction in his character. She has the man who tried to avoid participating in the war in women's clothes, who went on strike over a woman, who wept with Priam over the futility of war, who fell in love with the dying Penthesilea and who almost ended war through a marriage alliance with Polyxena brought to a standstill, faded out for the sake of effect.

Marion Zimmer Bradley

In her novel The Fires of Troy , Marion Zimmer Bradley describes Achilles as a monster who desecrated Hector's corpse and raped Penthesilea's body after the killing. At the same time, it was not Paris who killed him with the bow, but Cassandra in the form of Apollo.

Alban Nikolai Herbst

In the third volume of his Anderswelt trilogy ( Thetis. Anderswelt , Buenos Aires. Anderswelt , Argo. Anderswelt ), the "epic" novel Argo. Anderswelt , Alban Nikolai Herbst tells the Achilles on one level by adopting Goethe's fragment verse by verse with all idiosyncrasies and with its rhythm. Example (Argo p. 230):

38 / - / - / - / - / - / -
( Goethe: Your be the perfection, when the urn has taken hold of me soon. )
Argo: Man and man lived quietly and animals, hand in hand, and
39 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Argo: Mountain and water and plants, the fire around the camp.
( Goethe: So said he and went, and walked through the row of tents )

In addition, one of the main characters in all the Otherworld books bears the name Achilles, called Chill, Borkenbrod, and Achill's story is retold, partly precisely, partly travestingly, up to the outbreak of the Trojan War. (For example, Chill has a sore heel and therefore limps a little. And it is also Odysseus who exposes him, hidden among women in women's clothes.)

Madeline Miller

The American writer Madeline Miller tells the myth in her novel The Song of Achilles from 2011 from the perspective of Patroclus with a strong emphasis on their homosexual relationship.

Achilles as namesake

Achilles in music

The figure of Achilles is the subject of numerous musical works:


  • C. Fleischer: Achilles . In: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Hrsg.): Detailed lexicon of Greek and Roman mythology . Volume 1,1, Leipzig 1886, Col. 11-66 ( digitized version ).
  • Jakob Escher-Bürkli : Achilleus 1 . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume I, 1, Stuttgart 1893, Col. 221-245.
  • Hildebrecht Hommel: The god Achilles (= session reports of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. Philosophical-historical class. Born 1980, treatise 1). Winter, Heidelberg 1980, ISBN 3-533-02867-4 .
  • Anneliese Kossatz-Deissmann:  Achilleus . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volume I, Zurich / Munich 1981, pp. 37-200.
  • Anthony Edwards: Achilles in the Odyssey. Ideologies of Heroism in the Homeric Epic (= contributions to classical philology. Volume 171). Hain, Königstein im Taunus 1985, ISBN 3-445-02358-1 (also dissertation, Cornell University 1981).
  • Anthony Edwards: Achilles in the Underworld. Iliad, Odyssey, and Ethiopis. In: Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Volume 26, 1985, pp. 215-227.
  • Katherine Callen King: Achilles. Paradigms of the War Hero from Homer to the Middle Ages. University of California Press, Berkeley 1987, ISBN 0-520-05571-3 .
  • Robert Schmiel: Achilles in Hades. In: Classical Philology. Volume 82, 1987, pp. 35-37.
  • Guy Hedreen: The Cult of Achilles in the Euxine. In: Hesperia. Volume 60, 1991, pp. 313-330.
  • Timothy Gantz: Early Greek Myth. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1993, ISBN 0-8018-4410-X .
  • Gregory Nagy: The Name of Achilles. Questions of Etymology and “Folk-Etymology”. In: Illinois Classical Studies. Volume 19, 1994, pp. 3-9.
  • Joachim Latacz : Achilles. Changes in a European hero image. Teubner, Stuttgart / Leipzig 1995, ISBN 3-519-07552-0 .
  • CJ Mackie: Achilles' Teachers. Chiron and Phoenix in the Iliad. In: Greece & Rome. Volume 44, 1997, pp. 1-10.
  • CJ Mackie: Achilles in Fire. In: Classical Quarterly. Volume 48, 1998, pp. 329-338.
  • Gregory Nagy: The best of the Achaeans. Concepts of the hero in Archaic Greek poetry. Revised edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1999, ISBN 0-8018-6015-6 .
  • Pantelis Michelakis: Achilles in Greek Tragedy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2002, ISBN 0-521-81843-5 .

Web links

Commons : Achilles  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Achilles  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Henri-Irénée Marrou : Histoire de l'éducation dans l'Antiquité . Volume I: Le monde grec . Seuil, collection "Points", Paris 1981, p. 35: "l'idéal moral du parfait chevalier homérique"
  2. Pierre Chantraine : Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque , Paris 2009, p. 144.
  3. Dieter Hertel : The early Ilion. The colonization of Troy by the Greeks (1020–650 / 25 BC) . Beck, Munich 2008, p. 210 (with further evidence).
  4. ^ Libraries of Apollodorus 3, 13, 6 .
  5. Dorothea Sigel: Achilleus. In: The New Pauly (DNP). Volume 1, Metzler, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-476-01471-1 , Sp. 76-81.
  6. ^ Leonard R. Palmer: The Interpretation of Mycenaean Greek Texts . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1963, p. 79.
  7. Achilles. In: Hubert Cancik, Helmut Schneider (ed.): Der Neue Pauly. Encyclopedia of Antiquity . Stuttgart and Weimar: Metzler 1996. Volume 1, p. 76.
  8. Hans von Geisau : Achilleus 1. In: Der Kleine Pauly (KlP). Volume 1, Stuttgart 1964, column 46.
  9. Hans von Geisau : Achilleus 1. In: Der Kleine Pauly (KlP). Volume 1, Stuttgart 1964, Col. 46-50 (Col. 47).
  10. Scholion zu Apollonios von Rhodos 1, 558. Compare: Anneliese Kossatz-Deißmann:  Achilleus . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volume I, Zurich / Munich 1981, pp. 37-200, p. 40.
  11. ^ Libraries of Apollodorus . See: Anneliese Kossatz-Deißmann:  Achilleus . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volume I, Zurich / Munich 1981, pp. 37-200, p. 40.
  12. a b Anneliese Kossatz-Deißmann:  Achilleus . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volume I, Zurich / Munich 1981, pp. 37-200, p. 41.
  13. Pindar : Isthmia 8, 26-27; Apollonios of Rhodes 4, 800-801 ; Libraries of Apollodorus 3, 13, 2 . Cf. Escher: Achilles. In: Georg Wissowa (Hrsg.): Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen antiquity. New processing . Druckermüller: Munich and Zurich 1893, reprinted unchanged in 1988. Volume 1, Sp. 221–245. Cf. also Susanne Gödde: Achilleus. In: Maria Moog-Grünewald (Ed.): Mythenrezeption. The ancient mythology in literature, music and art from the beginnings to the present (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 5). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2008, ISBN 978-3-476-02032-1 , pp. 1-14.
  14. Hesiod , fragment 300 MW mentions water; Lykophron, Alexandra 177–179 reports of fire and specifies that six children died in this way.
  15. Apollonios of Rhodes , Argonautika 4, 869-879 .
  16. Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautika 4, 869 ff .; Libraries of Apollodor 3, 13, 6 , cited. after: Achilles. In: Hans-K. and Susann Lücke: Heroes and deities of antiquity. Rowohlt Taschenbuch, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2002, pp. 15–16.
  17. Homeric Hymns: To Demeter 233–242
  18. Ptolemy Chennos 4.
  19. Statius, Achilleis 1, 133-134 ; see also Gantz, p. 625.
  20. Statius , Achilleis 1, 133-134 .
  21. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 107 .
  22. A protocorinthian lekythos from Athens, a Pontic amphora (Copenhagen 14066), a Chalcidian amphora (formerly in the Pembroke-Hope collection, now lost) and an Attic pelike by the Niobid painter (Bochum, RUB art collection s1060). Gantz, p. 626.
  23. ^ About the doublet * talo, onis . Frédéric Martin: talus. In: Les Mots latins . Hachette 1976.
  24. In Homer's Iliad ( 18, 436–438 ( memento January 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive )) Achilles is an only child.
  25. a b Quintus von Smyrna, Posthomerika 1, 564-567 .
  26. ^ Hesiod , Catalog of Women , Fragment 204 MW. See also Pindar : Odes ( Pythian Odes 6, 21, 3; Nemean Odes 3, 43–58). The education of Achilles by Cheiron is the subject of a lost poem by Hesiod: The Rules of Chiron ; see. Gantz, p. 231 and Mackie (1997), p. 1.
  27. ^ Mackie (1997), p. 2.
  28. Gantz, p. 231.
  29. Homer, Iliad 9, 438–442 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  30. Homer: Iliad 1, 396 ( memento of November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) and 18, 51–60 ( memento of January 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  31. Libraries of Apollodorus : 3, 13, 8 ; Hyginus: Fabulae 96 ; Scholion to the Iliad
  32. Pausanias 10:26, 4
  33. See also: Anneliese Kossatz-Deißmann:  Achilleus . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volume I, Zurich / Munich 1981, pp. 37-200, p. 55.
  34. Anneliese Kossatz-Deißmann:  Achilleus . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volume I, Zurich / Munich 1981, pp. 37-200, p. 56.
  35. According to a Scholion of the Iliad (Σb 19, 326), but contrary to the summary of Proclus, this element of the myth appears in the Cyprus (fragment 19 Bernabé). It is attested for the first time in a picture of Polygnotos in the Propylaea in Athens, compare Pausanias 1, 22, 6 ; Gantz, p. 581 and p. 837, No. 23.
  36. ^ Hyginus , Fabulae 96 .
  37. Scholien zu Homer, Iliad 19, which refer to the epic cycle. Gantz, p. 581.
  38. Statius: Achilleis 1.689 to 880
  39. Ovid, Metamorphosen 13, 162-170 .
  40. Libraries of Apollodorus 3, 13, 8 .
  41. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 96 .
  42. Homer, Iliad 9, 439 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  43. See also the Small Iliad , another epic of the cycle, fragment 24 PEG, and also Homer, Iliad 9, 666–668 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), which speaks of the capture of Skyros by Achilles.
  44. According to the summary given by the grammarian Proclus in the fifth century. Gantz, pp. 576-577.
  45. Pindar, Isthmika , 8, 48–51.
  46. see: Escher: Achilleus. In: Georg Wissowa (Hrsg.): Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen antiquity. New processing . Druckermüller: Munich and Zurich 1893, reprinted unchanged in 1988. Volume 1, Sp. 221–245, Sp. 227.
  47. Karl Kerényi: The mythology of the Greeks. Volume 2, Munich 1966, p. 209.
  48. Kypria in the summary of Proclus; Sophocles, Iphigenia fragment 305 R; Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 24-25.
  49. The summary of the Kypria by Proklos does not mention the anger resulting from the belated invitation; Aristotle , Rhetoric 2, 24 is more detailed and speaks of a dinner from Tenedos.
  50. Homer, Odyssey 8, 75-82 ( Memento of October 24, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  51. Plutarch, Moralia 74a.
  52. Gantz, pp. 588-589.
  53. Diodor von Sicily: Bibliotheke historike 5, 83, 4–5 .
  54. Libraries of Apollodorus , Epitome 3, 26 .
  55. Plutarch, Moralia 297 d – f.
  56. Libraries of Apollodor Epitome 3, 29–30 .
  57. Kypria ; Pindar: Odes ( Olympic Odes 2, 82; Isthmica 5, 39); Aristotle, Rhetoric 2, 24.
  58. Scholion of Hellanikos of Lesbos , Fragments of the Greek Historians 4 F 148.
  59. Sophokles, Poimenes fragment 500 R.
  60. Ovid, Metamorphoses 12, 72-144 .
  61. Libraries of Apollodor Epitome 3, 31 .
  62. ^ Gantz, p. 596.
  63. ^ Lycophron 139-174.
  64. Gantz p. 596.
  65. Homer, Ilias 2, 688-691 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  66. Homer, Iliad 1, 43–54 ( Memento November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  67. Homer, Ilias 1, 92–100 ( Memento November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  68. Homer, Ilias 1, 130-139 ( Memento November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  69. a b Homer, Ilias 1, 223–246 ( Memento from November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  70. a b Homer, Ilias 1, 350–412 ( Memento from November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  71. Homer, Iliad 1, 1–5 ( Memento November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). Excerpt from the translation by Johann Heinrich Voss
  72. Homer, Iliad 9, 92–100 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  73. Homer, Ilias 16, 173–657 ( Memento of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ).
  74. Homer, Ilias 16, 684–691 ( September 23, 2015 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  75. Homer, Ilias 16, 817–862 ( memento of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) and 17, 125 ( memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  76. Homer, Iliad 18, 94–96 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  77. Homer, Ilias 19, 349-424 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  78. Homer, Ilias 20, 353–503 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  79. Homer, Iliad 21, 7–21 ( September 23, 2015 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  80. Homer, Ilias 21, 211–221 ( Memento of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ).
  81. Homer, Ilias 21, 234–327 ( Memento of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ).
  82. Homer, Ilias 21, 328–382 ( Memento of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ).
  83. Homer, Ilias 22, 306–364 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  84. Homer, Ilias 22, 395–404 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  85. Homer, Iliad 23, 1–110 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  86. Homer, Iliad 23, 140–151 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  87. Homer, Iliad 23, 171–177 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  88. Homer, Iliad 24, 14-18 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  89. Homer, Ilias 24, 440–670 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  90. Homer, Iliad 24, 133–140 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  91. Homer, Iliad 24, 23-76 ( January 30, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive ).
  92. ^ Servius , Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 1, 491.
  93. Libraries of Apollodor Epitome 5, 1 .
  94. z. B. Quintus of Smyrna, Posthomerika 1, 18-19; 1, 227 ff .; 1, 538 ff.
  95. Homer, Ilias 19, 410 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) in the translation by Johann Heinrich Voss
  96. Homer, Ilias 1, 417 ( Memento of November 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ); 9, 410-416 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 on the Internet Archive ); 18, 95-96 ( Memento from January 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ).
  97. Homer, Ilias 21, 277-278 ( Memento of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). in the translation by Johann Heinrich Voss
  98. Homer, Ilias 22, 358-360 ( Memento of May 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  99. Gantz, p. 625.
  100. Pindar , Paian 4, 77-86. The papyrus is divided into three parts at this point.
  101. Homer, Ilias 16, 698–701 ( Memento of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ).
  102. ^ Virgil , Aeneis 6, 56-58. Then resumed Ovid, Metamorphoses 12, 598-606 ; see. also Gantz, p. 625.
  103. Scholion to Euripides , HekabeHek. 41).
  104. ^ Servius : Commentary on Virgil's AeneidÆn. 3, 322).
  105. The more detailed variant was added by Lactantius in the commentary on Statius' AchilleisAch. I, 134).
  106. Homer, Odyssey 24, 76-80.
  107. Homer, Odyssey 11, 488-491 ( Memento of October 24, 2010 in the Internet Archive ). Excerpt from the translation by Johann Heinrich Voss
  108. Pindar, Nemeische Siegesgesänge 4, 49–50.
  109. Euripides, Andromache approx. 1259–1262.
  110. This section is based on Pietro Citati: La Pensée chatoyante. Chapter I, “Achille”.
  111. ^ Gregory Nagy : Le Meilleur des Achéens. La fabrique du heros dans la poésie grecque archaïque. coll. «Des travaux». Seuil, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-02-012823-3 .
  112. Hélène Monsacré: Les larmes d'Achille. Le héros, la femme et la souffrance dans la poésie d'Homère . Albin Michel, Paris 1984, ISBN 2-226-02163-9 .
  113. ^ William Armstrong Percy : Reconsiderations about Greek Homosexualities. In: Beert C Verstraete, Vernon Provencal (ed.): Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West. Harrington Park Press, New York 2005, p. 19.
  114. ^ Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel: Lectures on the aesthetics. Volume I, Frankfurt am Main 1983, p. 308.
  115. Homer, Odyssey 24, 80-84 ( Memento of October 24, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  116. Hedreen, p. 313.
  117. Pliny the Elder , Naturalis historia 5, 15; Strabon , Geographika 13, 1, 32; Diogenes Laertios , On the Life and Teachings of Famous Philosophers 1, 74. Achilleion is mentioned: Herodotus , Historien 5, 94.
  118. Flavius ​​Philostratos , On Heroes 53, 8-18.
  119. Herodotus 7:43.
  120. Diodor of Sicily: Bibliotheke historike 17, 17, 3; Arrian , Anabasis Alexandrou 1, 12, 1; Cicero , Pro Archia 24; Plutarch : Alexander 72.
  121. ^ Cassius Dio 77, 7.
  122. Hedreen, p. 314.
  123. Hedreen, p. 323.
  124. " Ἀχιλλεύς ὀ τὰς Σκυθίκας μέδεις " Akhilleús o tàs skythíkas médeis (fragment 354 LP).
  125. " Ἀχιλλέως δρόμος " (Akhilléus drómos) in Herodotus 4, 55 and Strabo 7, 3, 19.
  126. Hedreen, p. 318.
  127. ^ Pausanias 3:19 , 11 .
  128. ^ Arrian , Tour of the Black Sea 23; Flavius ​​Philostratos , On Heroes 55, 2-3; 56, 2-4 and 56, 6-9; Maximos of Tire 6–7.
  129. a b Hedreen, p. 122.
  130. This is reported in several ancient sources, see e.g. Arrian , Anabasis 1, 12.
  131. For the entire paragraph cf. Section B.1. Antiquity in Susanne Gödde: Achilles. In: Maria Moog-Grünewald (Ed.): Mythenrezeption. The ancient mythology in literature, music and art from the beginnings to the present (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 5). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2008, ISBN 978-3-476-02032-1 , pp. 1-14.
  132. Pindar: Nemeen (III, 43-52), (VI, 45-54); Isthmia (V, 34-45), (VII, 47-55)
  133. Pindar: Isthmia (VIII, 56)
  134. ^ Plato: Hippias minor
  135. Aristotle: Poetics
  136. Horace: Carmina (4,6,1-24), Epistulae (2,2,42), Ars poetica (120-122)
  137. Ovid: Metamorphoses (12,157-163), (13,1-398)
  138. Seneca the Younger: Troades (1162–1164), (1195)
  139. Catullus: Carmina (64,338-352)
  140. For the entire paragraph cf. Section B.2. Late antiquity and the Middle Ages in Susanne Gödde: Achilleus. In: Maria Moog-Grünewald (Ed.): Mythenrezeption. The ancient mythology in literature, music and art from the beginnings to the present (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 5). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2008, ISBN 978-3-476-02032-1 , pp. 1-14.
  141. ^ Dictys Cretensis, Ephemeris Belli Troiani 4, 10-11 .
  142. Dictys Cretensis, Ephemeris Belli Troiani 1.14 and 4.11 .
  143. Kevin Liggieri: Why do we succeed in the epic so rarely? A look behind Goethe's “Achilleis” . Berlin 2010.
  144. ^ Heinrich Heine Complete Writings. Volume 6/1, Munich: Carl Hanser 1975, p. 239
  145. Jost Eickmeyer: The fall of Europe. Alban Nikolai Herbst's Otherworld. In: die horen 59,4 (2014), H. 256, pp. 200–206
  146. ^ Henning Bobzin: From Bremen to the other world . About identity and reality in the main prose work, poetics and weblog by Alban Nikolai Herbst. Dissertation, Göttingen 2015. See: