In Greek mythology, when Achilles was a baby, it was foretold that he would die young . To prevent his death, his mother Thetis took Achilles to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invulnerability, and dipped his body into the water. But as Thetis held Achilles by the heel, his heel was not washed over by the water of the magical river. Achilles grew up to be a man of war who survived many great battles. But one day, a poisonous arrow shot at him was lodged in his heel, killing him shortly after. Still, Achilles is remembered as one of the greatest fighters who ever lived.

achilles-heel1.jpg Peter_Paul_Rubens_181.jpg
Achilles' armor was the object of a feud between Odysseus and Telamonian Ajax (Ajax the greater). They competed for it by giving speeches on why they were the bravest after Achilles to their Trojan prisoners, who after considering both men came to a consensus in favor of Odysseus. Furious, Ajax cursed Odysseus, which earned the ire of Athena. Athena temporarily made Ajax so mad with grief and anguish that he began killing sheep, thinking them his comrades. After a while, when Athena lifted his madness and Ajax realized that he had actually been killing sheep, Ajax was left so ashamed that he committed suicide. Odysseus eventually gave the armor to Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles.
A relic claimed to be Achilles' bronze-headed spear was for centuries preserved in the temple of Athena on the acropolis of Phaselis, Lycia, a port on the Pamphylian Gulf. The city was visited in 333 BC by Alexander the Great, who envisioned himself as the new Achilles and carried the Iliad with him, but his court biographers do not mention the spear, which he would indeed have touched with excitement.[12] But it was being shown in the time of Pausanias in the 2nd century AD.[13]

Achilles' armor was the object of a feud between Odysseus and Telamonian Ajax (Ajax the greater). They competed for it by giving speeches on why they were the bravest after Achilles to their Trojan prisoners, who after considering both men came to a consensus in favor of Odysseus. Furious, Ajax cursed Odysseus, which earned the ire of Athena. Athena temporarily made Ajax so mad with grief and anguish that he began killing sheep, thinking them his comrades. After a while, when Athena lifted his madness and Ajax realized that he had actually been killing sheep, Ajax was left so ashamed that he committed suicide. Odysseus eventually gave the armor to Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles.
A relic claimed to be Achilles' bronze-headed spear was for centuries preserved in the temple of Athena on the acropolis of Phaselis, Lycia, a port on the Pamphylian Gulf. The city was visited in 333 BC by Alexander the Great, who envisioned himself as the new Achilles and carried the Iliad with him, but his court biographers do not mention the spea
Achilles_in_Corfu.jpg


Achilles was the son of the nymph Thetis and Peleus, the king of the Myrmidons. Zeus and Poseidon had been rivals for the hand of Thetis until Prometheus, the fore-thinker, warned Zeus of a prophecy that Thetis would bear a son greater than his father. For this reason, the two gods withdrew their pursuit, and had her wed Peleus.[2]
As with most mythology, there is a tale which offers an alternative version of these events: in Argonautica (iv.760) Zeus' sister and wife Hera alludes to Thetis' chaste resistance to the advances of Zeus, that Thetis was so loyal to Hera's marriage bond that she coolly rejected him. Thetis, although a daughter of the sea-god Nereus, was also brought up by Hera, further explaining her resistance to the advances of Zeus.

The Education of Achilles (ca. 1772), by James Barry

According to the Achilleid, written by Statius in the 1st century AD, and to no surviving previous sources, when Achilles was born Thetis tried to make him immortal, by dipping him in the river Styx. However, he was left vulnerable at the part of the body by which she held him, his heel[3] (see Achilles heel, Achilles' tendon). It is not clear if this version of events was known earlier. In another version of this story, Thetis anointed the boy in ambrosia and put him on top of a fire, to burn away the mortal parts of his body. She was interrupted by Peleus and abandoned both father and son in a rage.[4]
However, none of the sources before Statius makes any reference to this general invulnerability. To the contrary, in the Iliad Homer mentions Achilles being wounded: in Book 21 the Paeonian hero Asteropaeus, son of Pelagon, challenged Achilles by the river Scamander. He cast two spears at once, one grazed Achilles' elbow, "drawing a spurt of blood".
Also, in the fragmentary poems of the Epic Cycle in which we can find description of the hero's death, Cypria (unknown author), Aithiopis by Arctinus of Miletus, Little Iliad by Lesche of Mytilene, Iliou persis by Arctinus of Miletus, there is no trace of any reference to his general invulnerability or his famous weakness (heel); in the later vase paintings presenting Achilles' death, the arrow (or in many cases, arrows) hit his body.
Peleus entrusted Achilles to Chiron the Centaur, on Mt. Pelion, to be reared.[5]
achilles_chiron the cantaur.jpg

bibliography:
1. Google images
2. Wikipedia