Achilles and patroclus relationship in iliad

achilles and patroclus relationship in iliad

Achilles is tender towards Patroclus, while he is callous and arrogant towards others. In the Iliad Homer describes the friendship of Achilles and Patroclus. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is a key element of the stories associated with the Trojan War. Its exact nature has been a subject of dispute in both the Classical period and modern times. In the Iliad, Homer describes a deep and meaningful relationship between. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is one of consistent debate. Were these two In translations of the Iliad, Homer's language is ambiguous.

However, Thetis motivates Achilles to return to the battlefield.

achilles and patroclus relationship in iliad

Achilles returns to the battlefield with the sole aim of avenging Patroclus' death by killing Hector, Patroclus' killer, even though the gods had warned him that it would cost him his life. Achilles' attachment to Patroclus is an archetypal male bond that occurs elsewhere in Greek culture: Alexander the Great and Hephaestion who made symbolic public references to Achilles and Patroclus, Damon and PythiasOrestes and PyladesHarmodius and Aristogeiton are pairs of comrades who gladly face danger and death for and beside each other.

Halperin writes, Homer, to be sure, does not portray Achilles and Patroclus as lovers although some Classical Athenians thought he implied as much Aeschylus fragmentsRadt; Plato Symposium e—b; Aeschines Against Timarchus—50but he also did little to rule out such an interpretation.

Enigmatic verses from Lycophron's 3rd-century Alexandra seem to make unrequited love Achilles' motive for killing Troilus. This speculative theory was asserted by some later authors despite the lack of evidence. In Athens during the 5th century BC, the relationship was often viewed in light of the Greek custom of paiderasteia.

While some contemporary readers maintain the same pederastic view, others see it as an egalitarian homosexual pairing or believe the relationship to simply be a strong, non-sexual friendship between two war heroes. From the times of Classical Greeceand especially in Hellenismto the time of the Romansthe relationship between Achilles and Patroclus was presented as loving and pederastic[8] although these roles are anachronistic for the Iliad.

Achilles is the most dominant, and among the warriors in the Trojan War he has the most fame; Patroclus performs duties such as cooking, feeding and grooming the horses, and nursing yet is older than Achilles. Both also sleep with women; see Iliad, IX. But Achilles slept in the innermost part of the well-builded hut, and by his side lay a woman that he had brought from Lesbos, even the daughter of Phorbas, fair-cheeked Diomede.

And Patroclus laid him down on the opposite side, and by him in like manner lay fair-girdled Iphis, whom goodly Achilles had given him when he took steep Scyrus, the city of Enyeus. In the 5th century BC, in Aeschylus ' lost tragedy The MyrmidonsAeschylus regarded the relationship as a sexual one and assigned Achilles the role of erastes or protector since he had avenged his lover's death even though the gods told him it would cost him his own lifeand Patroclus the role of eromenos.

He tells of Achilles visiting Patroclus' dead body and criticizing him for letting himself be killed.

Achilles and Patroclus

In a surviving fragment of the play, Achilles speaks of a "devout union of the thighs". The speaker Phaedrus holds the two up as an example of divinely approved lovers. He also argues that Aeschylus erred in saying that Achilles was the erastes, "for he excelled in beauty not Patroclus alone but assuredly all the other heroes, being still beardless and, moreover, much the younger, by Homer's account. Aeschines, in placing an emphasis on the importance of paiderasteia to the Greeks, argues that though Homer does not state it explicitly, educated people should be able to read between the lines: Furthermore, such scholars believe that in Homer's Ionian culture homosexuality had not taken on the form it later would in pederasty.

Achilles and Patroclus - Wikipedia

However, some scholars, such as Bernard Sergenthave argued that it had, though it was not reflected in Homer. Sergent asserts that ritualized man-boy relations were widely diffused through Europe from prehistoric times. Aristarchus believed that Homer did not intend the two to be lovers. However, he did agree that the "we-two alone" passage did imply a love relation and argued it was a later interpolation. When Alexander the Great and his intimate friend Hephaestion passed through the city of Troy on their Asian campaign, Alexander honoured the sacred tomb of Achilles and Patroclus in front of the entire army, and this was taken as a clear declaration of their own friendship.

The joint tomb and Alexander's action demonstrates the perceived significance of the Achilles-Patroclus relationship at that time around BC. Medieval Christian writers deliberately suppressed the homoerotic nuances of the figure.

achilles and patroclus relationship in iliad

In the Iliad itself, the two share an intense but non-sexual relationship: This explains well the overtones in the Iliad of having Achilles mourn Patroclus in the manner just used by the girl Briseis a few lines before him, in Book 19, lines — Briseis' lament and lines — Achilles' lament. Shay places a strong emphasis on the relationships that soldiers who experience combat together forge, and points out that this kind of loss has in fact often led to "berserking" of soldiers stunned with grief and rage, in a way similar to the raging of Achilles in the Iliad.

Shay points out that a frequent topos in veterans' grief for a companion is that companion's gentleness or innocence; similarly, while a warrior of great note, Patroclus is said in the Iliad by other soldiers and by Briseis the captive to have been gentle and kind. Achilles' decision to spend his days in his tent with Patroclus is seen by Ulysses and many other Greeks as the chief's reason of anxiety about Troy.

The novels of Mary Renault contain frequent symbolic references to Achilles and Patroclus; the pair represent a model for the non-effeminate, comradely homosexual love that was her ideal. Elizabeth Cook's verse novel, Achilles, is not sexually explicit, but a romantic relationship can be inferred. She writes of Achilles, "He also knows the body of his cousin Patroclus.

The relationship is intensely intimate, and certainly exceeds the common bounds of friendship. The film Troy presented Patroclus as a younger relative of Achilles, without any romantic or sexual aspects.

Achilles and Patroclus: Brothers from Other Mothers or Passionate Paramours? | Ancient Origins

In the Iliad, it is explicitly stated that Patroclus was the older and more responsible of the two. The musical Spring Awakeningincludes an offhand reference where one boy, Hanschen, entreats another, Ernst to 'do a little Achilles and Patroclus'.

Alexander the Great and Hephaestion who made symbolic public references to Achilles and Patroclus, Damon and PythiasOrestes and PyladesHarmodius and Aristogeiton are pairs of comrades who gladly face danger and death for and beside each other.

Halperin writes, Homer, to be sure, does not portray Achilles and Patroclus as lovers although some Classical Athenians thought he implied as much Aeschylus fragmentsRadt; Plato Symposium e—b; Aeschines Against Timarchus—50but he also did little to rule out such an interpretation. In Athens, the relationship was often viewed as being loving and pederastic, [8] although these roles were anachronistic for the Iliad. The Greek custom of paiderasteia between members of the same-sex, typically men, was a political, intellectual, and sometimes sexual relationship.

The age difference between partners and their respective roles either active or passive was considered to be a key feature.

Phaedrus argues that Aeschylus erred in claiming Achilles was the erastes because Achilles was more beautiful and youthful than Patroclus characteristics of the eromenos as well as more noble and skilled in battle characteristics of the erastes.

Further evidence of this debate is found in a speech by an Athenian politician, Aeschines, at his trial in BC. Aeschines, in placing an emphasis on the importance of paiderasteia to the Greeks, argues that though Homer does not state it explicitly, educated people should be able to read between the lines: According to William A.

Achilles and Patroclus: Brothers from Other Mothers or Passionate Paramours?

Percy IIIthere are some scholars, such as Bernard Sergentwho believe that in Homer's Ionian culture there existed a homosexuality that had not taken on the form it later would in pederasty. Sergent asserts that ritualized man-boy relations were widely diffused through Europe from prehistoric times.

achilles and patroclus relationship in iliad

Aristarchus believed that Homer did not intend the two to be lovers. However, he did agree that the "we-two alone" passage did imply a love relation and argued it was a later interpolation. The joint tomb and Alexander's action demonstrates the perceived significance of the Achilles-Patroclus relationship at that time around BC.

As a rule, the post- classical tradition shows Achilles as heterosexual and having an exemplary asexual friendship with Patroclus.

achilles and patroclus relationship in iliad

Medieval Christian writers deliberately suppressed the homoerotic nuances of the figure. He argues that while a modern reader is inclined to interpret the portrayal of these intense same-sex male warrior friendships as being fundamentally homoerotic, it is important to consider the greater themes of these relationships: The thematic insistence on mutuality and the merging of individual identities, although it may invoke in the minds of modern readers the formulas of heterosexual romantic love […] in fact situates avowals of reciprocal love between male friends in an honorable, even glamorous tradition of heroic comradeship: This can explain the overtones in Book 19 of the Iliad wherein Achilles mourns Patroclus lines — in a similar manner used previously by Briseis lines — Shay places a strong emphasis on the relationships that soldiers who experience combat together forge, and points out that this kind of loss has in fact often led to "berserking" of soldiers stunned with grief and rage, in a way similar to the raging of Achilles in the Iliad.

Shay points out that a frequent topos in veterans' grief for a companion is that companion's gentleness or innocence; similarly, while a warrior of great note, Patroclus is said in the Iliad by other soldiers and by Briseis the captive to have been gentle and kind.

Classical tradition[ edit ] William Shakespeare 's play Troilus and Cressida depicts Achilles and Patroclus as lovers.

  • Classical and post-Classical views in antiquity
  • Was the Relationship of Achilles and Patroclus an Example of Pederasty?
  • Post-classical and modern interpretations

Elizabeth Cook's verse novel, Achilles, is not sexually explicit, but a romantic relationship can be inferred. She writes of Achilles, "He also knows the body of his cousin Patroclus.