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N.S. Gill

Myth Monday - Achilles and His Heel

By September 24, 2012

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Achilles and Penthesilea
Achilles holding the Amazon queen Penthesilea whom the hero has just killed.
CC Flickr User Ken and Nyetta

Last week many people were searching this site for Achilles. I'm not sure I've figured out why, but it appears that a few athletes, including golfer Tiger Woods, recently injured their Achilles heels or tendons. It may also be the time of year when schools are introducing Greek myth via the story of the Trojan War, where Achilles features prominently. A third possibility is Brad Pitt's perennial popularity heightened by recent repeats on television of his role as Achilles in the movie "Troy".

Like other heroes, Achilles had his strengths and weaknesses, with virtues to match character flaws, but he was the number one Greek hero of the Trojan War. He was remarkably fast -- running is one way to injure an Achilles tendon -- and almost invulnerable, but he had an Achilles' heel: his own, in fact.

Read more about Achilles and his famous weak spot:

Previous 2012 Myth Mondays:

  1. Hercules Hurls His Guest
  2. Scylla
  3. Olympics Origins II: Myrtilos
  4. Hercules the Giant-Killer
  5. The First Tyrant
  6. The King and the Harpies
  7. The Dawn Goddess Loves a Mortal
  8. Vediovis
  9. Even a Boar Wishes to Kiss Adonis
  10. Hero and Leander
  11. Who Were the Argonauts?
  12. The Chimera
  13. Narcissus and Echo
  14. How Perseus Fits In
  15. Hesiod and the Bestiary
  16. The First Olympics Origins I
  17. Dionysus and the Return of Hephaestus
  18. Zeus, the Recent Victor of the Titanomachy, Wins Once More in Hesiod's 'Theogony'
  19. Atlas, the Titan Who Didn't Shrug
  20. Troilus and ... Polyxena
  21. Who Is the Virgo?
  22. Pandora's Box
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