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Greek Heroes» Achilles» Myths about Achilles » The Mourning of Achilles

Last Update: 01 May 2021

The Mourning of Achilles

Achilles and the body of Patroclus. Detail of a painting by Nikolay GeOne day Achilles lost his best friend Patroclus in the war against Hector because Patroclus was wearing Achilles' armor and his enemies thought he was Achilles. Achilles was devastated. His quiet but brave friend was very dear to him and was like his other half.

In grief he refused to taste bread or wine. He wanted to show solidarity with his slain friend who was experiencing the fateful day instead of him.

His comrades kept telling Achilles: "You can't win a war on an empty stomach, people need food to survive!"

But the persistent advice of his comrades did not convince Achilles. Quite the opposite. Achilles rebelled and promised himself: He would not touch the food under any circumstances.

But high up on Mount Olympus Zeus was watching over Achilles, for he knew that Achilles was a very brave man. And he knew perfectly that when there is a famine, people's knees begin to tremble.

So Zeus sent his daughter Athena, the goddess of wisdom, to strengthen Achilles. The goddess came as fast as she could with her broad wings and poured ambrosia and nectar - the divine food of the gods - over Achilles' chest. This element gave Achilles the strength to fight all day without food, but did not make him immortal.

Later, Achilles finally took revenge by killing Hector and many other Trojans. Then he buried Patroclus with honors and organized funeral games in loving memory of his dear friend.







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