Achilles was the fairest, ablest, and most worthy of all the heroes who took part in the Trojan War.
Achilles was born in the ancient city of Fthia (probably modern Farsala in Thessaly/ Central Greece) to Peleus, king of Fthia, and the silver-footed sea goddess Thetis.
Achilles was a passionate, generous, brave hero, but also had an impulsive and quick-tempered character. He often even gave the impression of being arrogant. During the Trojan War Agamemnon accused Achilles of being a narrow-minded soldier, who loved conflict, wars and battles.
Thetis, the mother of Achilles, was very attached to her son, and when he was born, she tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the sacred waters of the river Styx. However, Thetis didn't quite achieve what she had hoped... while holding him in the water, she had to hold her child by one heel, which left a vulnerable spot in Achilles' body. This weak spot proved crucial for Achilles, as he was killed during the Trojan War by an arrow that hit that exact spot.
The phrase "Achilles' heel" has endured to this day and describes a small but important weakness in a person.
View the probable location of Ancient Fthia in a larger map
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