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Briseis and Phoinix , red-figure kylix , around 490 BC Chr. , Louvre (G 152)

Briseis ( Greek  Βρισηΐς Brisēḯs ) is a character from Homer's Iliad . The daughter of Brises and wife of King Mynes was the favorite slave of the Greek warrior Achilles . Her real name was Hippodameia , "Briseis" is actually a patronymic that means "Brises' daughter".

It was captured by Achilles during the Trojan War in Lyrnessos , the city of Mynes. During the conquest of Lyrnessos, Mynes and the three Briseis brothers were killed, and she herself was awarded to Achilles as a slave and concubine . In her own words, she could hope that Achilles would marry her. The general Agamemnon took Achilles Briseis away when he had to return his own slave, Chryseis , to her father because of an oracle and to avert further arrows of Apollo .

Achilles then withdrew from the battle for Troy. Since this meant a decisive weakening of the Greeks , Agamemnon returned Briseis, along with seven other women and an oath not to have slept with her. The Briseis love for Achilles is the content of one of the letters from the Heroides , a collection of love letters from famous mythological women, written by the Roman poet Ovid .


  • When Heinrich Schliemann was looking for a nanny for his (Greek) children in the summer of 1879 and, following the recommendation of Rudolf Virchow, decided in favor of Marie Mellien, a lawyer from Berlin, he made it a condition that Marie should use a Greek first name for the duration of the employment. She chose “Briseis” from the names Schliemann offered for it .


Web links

Commons : Briseis  - collection of images, videos and audio files