Death of Achilles
Achilles burned with terrible anger against the Trojans. He decided to take cruel revenge on them for the death of his friends, Patroclus and Antilochus. Achilles fought like an angry lion, overthrowing the heroes of Troy one by one. The Trojans rushed into a hasty flight, they hurried to hide behind the walls of Troy. Furious Achilles pursued them. His inexorable fate drove him to certain death. Achilles pursued the Trojans all the way to the Scaean Gate.
He would have broken into sacred Troy, and it would have perished if the god Apollo had not appeared. Shouting menacingly, he stopped Achilles. But Achilles disobeyed him. He himself was angry with the god for many times saving the arrow god from Hector and the Trojans. Achilles even threatened the god that he would hit him with a spear. Relentless fate clouded the mind of Achilles. He was ready to attack even God. Apollo got angry, he forgot what he once promised at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis to store Achilles. Covered with a dark cloud, invisible to anyone, he sent an arrow Paris, and she hit Achilles in the heel (Thetis immersed the baby Achilles in the underground river of the kingdom of Hades, the Styx, and she held him by the heel, from this his body became hard as iron, but the water of the Styx did not touch the heels), where only the great hero could be hit. This wound was fatal for Achilles. He felt the approach of death to Achilles. He pulled out an arrow from the wound and fell to the ground. He bitterly reproached the god Apollo for destroying him. Achilles knew that without the help of God, none of the mortals could kill him. Achilles gathered his strength once more. Terrible, like a dying lion, he rose from the ground and slew many more Trojans. But now his members have grown cold. Death was getting closer. Achilles staggered and leaned on a spear. He shouted menacingly to the Trojans:
- Woe to you, you will perish! And after death I will take revenge on you!
At this exclamation, the Trojans fled. But Achilles grew weaker and weaker. The last of his strength left him, and he fell to the ground. His golden armor rattled on him, and the earth trembled. Achilles died. But the Trojans did not dare to approach the dead either. They were afraid of him and the dead, such horror he inspired in them during his lifetime. Little by little, they overcame their fear, and a fierce slash boiled around the body of the greatest of heroes. The most powerful heroes of the Greeks and Trojans took part in this battle. Corpses piled up in mountains around Achilles, and he lay motionless, huge, no longer hearing the battle. Dust whirled under the feet of the combatants. Blood flowed like a river. The battle seemed to never end. Suddenly thunder struck Zeus, a storm arose and stopped the Trojans. Zeus did not want the Trojans to take possession of the corpse of Achilles. The mighty Ajax Telamonides lifted the corpse of Achilles and carried it to the ships, and Odysseus defended it, repelling the advancing Trojans. A cloud of arrows and spears flew from the ranks of the Trojans to Odysseus, but he still courageously held back their onslaught, retreating step by step.
Ajax brought the corpse of Achilles to the ships. The Greeks washed the corpse, anointed it with fragrant oil and laid it on a richly decorated couch. Surrounding the bed, the Greeks loudly mourned their greatest hero and tore their hair in grief. The goddess Thetis heard their cry. She rose from the depths of the sea with her Nereid sisters. Upon learning that her beloved son had died, Thetis uttered such a cry of grief that all the Greeks trembled. They would have fled in fear to the ships if the elder Nestor had not stopped them. For seventeen days Thetis, the Nereids and the Greeks mourned Achilles. The Muses descended from the high Olympus. They sang a funeral hymn in honor of the deceased. The immortal gods on Olympus also mourned the hero. On the eighteenth day, the funeral pyre was built. The corpse of Achilles was burned on it. Many sacrifices were made in honor of the greatest of heroes by the Greeks. All Greeks participated in the funeral, dressed in magnificent armor. When the fire burned down, they collected the bones of Achilles and put them in a golden urn, which the god Dionysus presented to Thetis. In the same urn lay the bones of Patroclus. Achilles, Patroclus and Antilochus, son of Nestor, were buried in the same grave. The Greeks built a high mound over the grave, it was far visible from the sea, testifying to the great glory of the heroes buried under it.
After the same funerals were arranged in honor of the deceased game. The goddess Thetis brought precious gifts from the sea. They were supposed to serve as a reward for the winners in the games. So luxurious were these gifts that Achilles himself would have been delighted if the great hero had lived.