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Achilles ( Greek Hero )

troy-560Real Name: Achilles

Identity/Class: Human, Demi-god

Occupation: Prince of Phthia, Warrior

Affiliations: Agamemnon, Chiron, Menelaus, Myrmidons, Odysseus, (former) Diomedes, Pandarus

Enemies: Cycnus, Hector, Helen of Troy, Mikaboshi, Paris, Penthesileia, Pluto, the Trojans, (former) Agamemnon

Known Relatives: Peleus (father), Thetis (mother), Neoptolemus (son by Deidameia, alias Pyrrhus), Telamon (uncle), Ajax The Great (cousin), Aeacus, Nereus (grandfathers), Endeis, Doris (grandmothers); Polyxena (wife), Caistrus (son by Penthesilia), Zeus (great-grandfather)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Phthia (now part of Modern Greece)
Troy (now part of Modern Turkey)

First Appearance: Thor Annual#8 (November, 1979)

Powers/Abilities: Achilles possibly possessed exceptional strength, stamina, and resistance to injury due to his semi-divine birth. He was stronger, faster, and more inexhaustible than most human beings, but not to a superhuman degree. He was also invulnerable with the exception for his ankles, which lacked the godly enhancements of his physical stamina. He could not be harmed by any means, but a wound in his ankles could prove certain death. He was also a particularly ruthless warrior with a sword and in unarmed combat, and he could show particularly brutal tactics when heightened by a warriors’ rage. He carried a sword and wore armor forged by the god Hephaestus.

History: (Greek Legend)- Achilles was the son of King Peleus of Phthia and the minor sea-goddess, Thetis. The Titaness Themis predicted that any son of Thetis would live to oppose his father, and Zeus and Neptune quickly married her off to Zeus’ grandson, Peleus. During the wedding, the goddess Discord (later to be known as Bellona) became angry that she had not been invited and tossed into the gathering an apple that had been inscribed “For The Fairest.” Venus, Hera and Athena immediately tried to claim it in a series of events that triggered the Trojan War.

Thetis desired her son Achilles to be an immortal and dipped him into the waters of the River Styx and then began to burn off his mortality, but since his ankles remained covered by her hands during the ritual, that part of him remained mortal. Surprised by Peleus, she abandoned him and took Achilles to be raised by the centaur Chiron. As a pupil, Achilles became friends with Patroclus.

Thetis, however, knew of the Trojan War growing to be inevitable and hid Achilles as a female among the daughters of King Lycomedes of Scyros. One of the daughters, Deidameia, however, must have discovered the ruse because she gave birth to his son, Pyrrhus, later be known as Neoptolemus. Odysseus of Ithaca came looking for Achilles since he knew he would need his help in the war. He dragged in a cart of weapons and dresses, and Achilles remained true to his personality and took a sword to admire which revealed his identity to all concerned.

Trying to stop her son from entering war with the Trojans, Thetis warned he was destined for a long life in Phthia or a short glory at Troy. He decided to go for the glory as she further warned him not to be the first to raise a sword or to draw upon King Tenes of Tenedos, because as Tenese was a son of Apollo, Apollo would be sure to avenge him While Achilles was sure not to be the first to storm the beaches of Troy or to raise a sword, he killed King Tenes almost immediately. He was also pitted against Cycnus, the son of Poseidon, who was invulnerable to weapons, and managed to strangle him on his helmet

In the early months of the war, Achilles seized for himself a concubine as a spoil of war, but the King Agamemnon seized her for himself in order to keep Achilles’ mind centered on the war. Achilles, meanwhile, withdrew from the war entirely as the Trojans pummeled the Greeks.

(Thor Annual#8/Greek Legend)- The Asgardian god Thor was thrust back in time through caverns under his native Asgard. Entering the time of the war, he befriended the Dardanian prince Aeneas and helped him to push back the Greeks. Patroclus asked Achilles to wear his armor to confront this newcomer and the Trojans. Mistaken for Achilles, Patroclus was killed by Hector, one of the Trojan leaders. To avenge Patroclus, Achilles forgot his feud with Agamemnon and took up a new sword and armor to kill Hector. Dragging the prince’s corpse behind his chariot as a prize of war, he was soon approached by King Priam under a mission of mercy, who was claiming his son’s body to be given a hero’s funeral, a vow Achilles could not refuse. He also tried to ask Priam for the hand of his daughter Polyxena in marriage, but Priam refused him.

(Greek Legend)- Priam, meanwhile, contacted the Amazons as allies against the Greeks. Achilles noticed among them the Amazons Penthesilia and met her in battle. As she impressed him with her reputation, Achilles fell in love with her, and she reportedly gave him a son named Caistrus.

Achilles was soon thereafter killed by Paris whose arrow was guided by Apollo to Achilles’ ankle in order to avenge his son, Tenes. His armor was given to Odysseus and his ashes were mixed with that of Patroclus. To replace him, Odysseus brought Achilles’ own son, Neoptolemus, who was now a young man, into the war.

(Thor Annual#8/Greek Legend)- Odysseus meanwhile used cunning deceit inspired by Loki, who had traveled to this time with Thor, to gain entrance into Troy. Smuggling himself inside the city within a great horse, Odysseus opened the gates and allowed the Greeks to enter and burn the city to the ground. In the aftermath, Achilles’s ghost appeared and asked that Priam’s daughter Polyxena be sacrificed on his tomb so that they could be together in the afterlife. They were allegedly then married in the Underworld. Achilles’ ghost also visited Odysseus when he traveled near the Underworld, to seek guidance in his return home.

(Ares#1) – During a battle with Pluto, Achilles joined the great heroes of Earthly legend in fighting alongside the Olympians.

(Ares#2) – When Olympus was invaded by the Japanese demons led by Mikaboshi, Zeus sent Achilles to led their armies. Achilles faced Mikaboshi, but suffered a terrible wound to his face that would not heal. Wanting to bring Ares into the battle, Achilles had the Myrmidons guard his son Alex Aaron in Olympus while he journeyed to Earth with two Myrmidons to enlist Ares. Ares was surprised by Achilles’ injured face, and complimented him on it, as it had improved his “womanly looks.” When they returned to Olympus, they found all but one Myrmidon slain, and Alex had been kidnapped by Mikaboshi. Ares joined Achilles in battling Mikaboshi’s forces.

(Ares#3-5) – Achilles remained ever-faithful by Ares’ side as he led the Olympians into battle to destroy Mikaboshi and rescue his son. Ultimately, with the aid of gods from the east, they triumphed, although Zeus was seemingly slain in the battle.

Comments: Adapted by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga.

According to the myth, Achilles was nine years old when he was hidden as a girl and fifteen when he was called into war. Since the war lasted ten years, he was twenty-five when he died and had been born in 1208 BC. If he conceived his son Neoptolemus when he was thirteen, then Neoptolemus was thirteen himself when he was called into war. From these dates, and a lot of dead reckoning, it is possible to date pretty much all the events in Greek and Roman myth by using the lengths of relative kings in power as a guide and working backward on a family tree of the kings of Ancient Greece.

The term, “Greeks” is topical since that term would not exist in the area for at least another thousand years.

The Greeks buried many of the casualties of the Trojan War on White Island near the mouth of the Danube in modern Romania. Legends have it that their ghosts were seen there as late as the Fifth Century AD.

by Will U and Prime Eternal

Achilles is not to be confused with:

* Achilles of the Pantheon, @ Incredible Hulk II#379

Images taken from:
Thor Annual#8, page 9, panel 3
Thor Annual#8, page 42, panel 5
Thor Annual#8, page 43, panel 1
Thor Annual#8 (November, 1979) – Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks)
Ares#1-5 (March-July, 2006) – Michael Avon Oeming (writer), Travel Foreman (penciler), Derek Fridolfs (inker), Warren Simons (editor)

Last updated: 07/10/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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