Reader's Encyclopedia

Achilles

In Greek mythology, the son of Peleus and the Nereid Thetis, and king of the Myrmidons, a Thessalian tribe. Achilles is the hero of Homer's Iliad and became the prototype of the Greek's conception of manly valor and beauty. He took part in the Trojan War on the side of the Greeks as their most illustrious warrior, and he slew the Trojan hero Hector. Achilles had been dipped in the Styx by his mother, which rendered him invulnerable except in the heel by which she held him. He was fatally wounded there by an arrow shot by Paris, Hector's younger brother, or, according to another version of the story, by the god Apollo, who had assumed Paris 'shape. The phrase Achilles' heel is used to describe the vulnerable point in the character of a person or nation.

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