The Greeks looked at their gods with attributes they only wished they could attain. They developed stories of extraordinary people that were the offspring of immortals such as Nymphs or gods like Hermes or Zeus. Most of these stories consisted of labors, quests, or bloody wars, where the heroes were at the epicenter of the tale. What made these heroes so great was not just the fact they had godly attributes or completed monumental tasks, but endured more tragedy or more bliss than any common Greek would undergo. One tale commonly told was that of a demigod named Achilles. His mother Thetis was a Sea Nymph, and his father was Peleus, was the king of the Myrmidons. Most stories of Achilles revolved around war, where either his gift was at his greatest or worst. Every Greek sought him for battle so his skills would tip the balance to their favor. No myth exemplified this more than that of the ten-year Trojan War. An excerpt from a translation written by Apollodorus that accounts this time state, “He also took Lesbos and Phocaea, then Colophon, and Smyrna, and Clazomenae, and Cyme; and afterwards Aegialus and Tenos, the so-called Hundred Cities; then, in order, Adramytium and Side; then Endium, and Linaeum, and Colone. He took also Hypoplacian Thebes and Lyrnessus, and further Antandrus, and many other cities.” (Frazer) By many accounts, you could argue that Achilles was the dealer of death and that he relished in every moment of his adventures. By his own words, this was not the case. For example, in the textbook the Classical Mythology it states, “The now dead Achilles laments, I should prefer as a slave to serve another man, even if he had no property and little to live on, than to rule all those dead who have done with life" (Morford, Lenardon, Sham, 2011). Another hero that many spoke of during that day an age was Odysseus. He was a descendant of Hermes who became king of Ithaca. The real stories of Odysseus that Greeks and many others embrace were...
References: Frazer, J.G. (1921) Apollodorus, Epitome 3.33. Retrieved from http://www.theoi.com/Text/ApollodorusE.html
Morford, M,Lenardon, R, Sham, M, (2011) Greek Mytholodgy 9th Ed. Oxford University Press
Lattimore, R (1999). The Odyssey of Homer. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Evelyn-White, H. The Theogony of Hesiod. (1914). Retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/theogony.htm
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