A-Z: General definitions: Patroclus


The loved friend of Achilles. Achilles' refusal to fight brought about Patroclus' death, and in turn hastened his own death. In the tenth year of the Trojan War, Agamemnon had to give up Chryseis his concubine, because Apollo was angry with him. In his anger, Agamemnon took Achilles' own concubine Briseis, whom he loved dearly. In revenge, Achilles refused to fight, appealing to Zeus through his mother Thetis to make the Trojans so successful that the Greeks would need Achilles. Achilles' friends begged him to return, but he refused. In the end, Patroclus himself tried, asking Achilles at least to allow him to wear his armour while he led Achilles' men. Achilles agreed, telling his friend only to force the Greeks back to their ships. Patroclus did this, but then continued fighting. Hector killed Patroclus, and Achilles was heartbroken. He was determined to avenge his friend's death, even though Thetis warned him his own death would follow soon after Hector's. Returning to the battle in fury, Achilles killed many Trojans, before killing Hector. Not satisfied with this, he dragged the body behind his chariot, even after giving Patroclus full burial rites, for many days. Finally, Priam came to him at night to beg for the return of his son's body. Achilles at last came to terms with what he had done, and returned the body for burial.

Related Topics

Achilles; Trojan War; Wooden Horse

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