Who was Achilles?



CHIEF of the heroes of the siege of Troy was Achilles. He was a prince of Thessaly in Greece, and his mother was said to have been the sea-nymph Thetis. He was very young when the Greeks set out to attack Troy, so his mother, knowing that he was destined to perish in the war, hid him as a girl among the maidens of the court. Here he was found by the clever Ulysses, who was gathering the reluctant Greek princes for the war. Ulysses discovered Achilles by coming as a merchant among the court women. Each picked up such of his wares as pleased her, and young Achilles seized upon the weapons of war.

As their leader in the struggle against Troy, the Greek princes chose Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae. A jealousy sprang up at once between Agamemnon and Achilles, who could ill brook any leadership; and this enmity at length flashed into open quarrel. Each of them in the war had captured a fair princess as his prisoner. Agamemnon's prize was the daughter of a priest, and to stay a pestilence among the Greeks she was restored to her father. Agamemnon then demanded that Achilles' prize, the beautiful Briseis, should be given him instead. Achilles had been occupied in subduing all the lesser cities dependent upon Troy. In one of these he had captured Briseis and had learned to love her. When he was compelled to surrender her, he sank into such depths of despair and anger that he would no longer fight. He refused to lend any further help whatever to the Greeks.






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Read about Who was Achilles? in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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