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date: 24 May 2022


The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World

son of Peleus and Thetis; greatest Greek hero in the Trojan War; central character of Homer's Iliad. He is king of Phthia, or ‘Hellas and Phthia’, in southern Thessaly, and his people are the Myrmidons. The size of his kingdom, and of his contingent in the Trojan expedition (50 ships), is not outstanding. But martial prowess is the measure of excellence for a Homeric hero, and Achilles' status as ‘best of the Achaeans’ is unquestioned. We are reminded of his absolute supremacy throughout the poem, even during those long stretches for which he is absent from the battlefield.... ...

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