The Death of Achilleus (page 628)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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VM II 205 – Vatican Mythographer II Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti 1, pp. 142-43, ed. G. H. Bode. Celle 1834.

Greek Text

VM III 11.24 – Vatican Mythographer III Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti 1, p. 242, ed. G. H. Bode. Celle 1834.

Greek Text

VM I 178 – Vatican Mythographer I – Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti 1, pp. 54-55, ed. G. H. Bode. Celle 1834

Greek Text

Σ Hek 41 – Scholia to Euripides, Hekabe – Scholia in Euripidem 1, pp. 16-17, ed. E. Schwartz. Berlin 1887.

Greek Text

Σ Aen 3.321 – Servius, scholia to Vergil, Aeneid – Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii Carmina commentarii: Aeneis, ed. G. Thilo and H. Hagen 1, pp. 397-98. Leipzig 1898.

Latin Text

Σ Ach 1.134 – Lactantius Placidus, scholia to Statius, Achilleis  – Lactantii Placidi qui dicitur commentarios in Statii Thebaida et commentarium in Achilleida 3, pp. 492-93, ed. R. Jahnke. Leipzig 1898.

Latin Text

Fab 110 – Hyginus, Fabulae

And so the Danaans sacrificed at his tome Polyxena, daughter of Priam, a most beautiful girl, because when Achilles had sought her in marriage and had come for an interview, he was killed by Alexander and Deiphobus.  Latin Text

Dik 3.2 – Diktys Cretensis, The Trojan War

One day, at Troy, when Hecuba was praying to Apollo, Achilles and a few of his men came to watch the religious ceremonies. Many other women were there besides Hecuba: her daughters-in-law, for instance, and the wives of the leading Trojans; some of these, in pure devotion to their queen, attended upon her, while others, pretending to be so devoted, had really come to pray for something for themselves. There were also the daughters of Hecuba, Polyxena and Cassandra, as yet unmarried. They were the priestesses of Minerva and Apollo. Their hair was dishevelled, their fillets strange and barbarous. Polyxena was the one who set them to these duties.

When Achilles by chance turned his gaze on Polyxena, he was struck by the beauty of the girl. The longer he remained there, the deeper his passion grew. Finding no relief, he returned to the ships and, after several days of increasing torment, sent for Automedon and laid bare his heart. Automedon, he finally begged, must go to Hector and plead his suit for the girl.

As for Hector, he, to be sure, would give him his sister to marry if he would betray the whole army to him.

[3] Accordingly, Achilles promised that he would bring the whole war to an end if Polyxena were given to him. Then Hector said that Achilles must either swear an oath to this betrayal or kill the sons of Plisthenes and Ajax; and that otherwise he was going to hear of no agreement.

Achilles, on hearing this, became terribly angry and shouted that, in the first battle, as soon as fighting was resumed, he was going to kill Hector.  Latin Text

Dik 3.27 – Diktys Cretensis, The Trojan War

When Priam had finished this speech, he ordered that everything be displayed which he had brought to ransom his son. Achilles commanded the gold and silver to be removed, and also the clothes he liked best. Having gathered together what was left, he gave it to Polyxena. Then he handed over the body to Priam. The king, whether desiring to show his gratitude for being able to hold the funeral, or hoping to insure the safety of his daughter if Troy should fall, fell at the knees of Achilles and begged him to take Polyxena and keep her for himself. The young man answered that she should return with her father; they would see about her at some other time and in some other place.

Thus Priam recovered the body of Hector and, mounting his chariot, returned to Troy along with the others.  Latin Text

Dik 4.10-11 – Diktys Cretensis, The Trojan War

After a few days, the religious festival of the Thymbraean Apollo began; a truce was made and hostilities ceased. Then, while both armies were preoccupied with sacrificing, Priam found time to send Idaeus to Achilles with instructions concerning Polyxena. While, however, Achilles was examining these instructions, alone in the grove with Idaeus, word of this meeting was brought to the ships. Our men were angered, suspecting Achilles of being disloyal, for the rumor that he was a traitor had gradually grown and now was accepted as truth throughout the whole army. Therefore, in order to placate the fired-up emotions of the soldiers, Ajax, Diomedes and Ulysses went to the grove and stood in front of the temple, waiting for Achilles to leave. They likewise wanted to tell him what had happened at the ships and hoped to deter him from further secret dealings with Trojans.

[11] Meanwhile Alexander and Deiphobus, having formed a plot, approached Achilles, as if to confirm the agreement of Priam. In order to incur no suspicion, Alexander (he was wearing a dagger) stopped near the altar and faced away from our leader. Achilles was carrying no weapon, thinking there was nothing to fear in the temple of Apollo. Then Deiphobus, when the time seemed right, came up to Achilles and, with flattering congratulations for the terms he had made, embraced him and, hanging upon him, refused to let go until Alexander, with sword drawn, rushed forward and thrust two blows in the victim’s sides. When they saw that he was dying they departed in haste and returned to the city, their very important mission accomplished beyond their fondest hopes.  Latin Text

Dar 34 –  Dares Phrygius, History of the Fall of Troy – Dictys Cretensis et Dares Phrygius: De Bello Trojano, pp. 40-42, ed. A. J. Valpy. London 1825.

Hecuba, bewailing the loss of Hector and Troilus, her two bravest sons, both slain by Achilles, devised, like the woman she was, a treacherous vengeance. Summoning her son Alexander, she urgently begged him to kill Achilles, and thus to uphold the honor of himself and his brothers. This he could do in an ambush, catching his victim off guard. She would summon Achilles, in Priam’s name, to come to the temple of the Thymbraean Apollo in front of the gate, to settle an agreement according to which she would give him Polyxena to marry. When Achilles came to this meeting, Alexander could treacherously kill him. Achilles’ death would be victory sufficient for her.

Alexander promised to do as she asked. During that night he chose the bravest of the Trojans and stationed them in the temple with instructions to wait for his signal. Hecuba, as she had promised, sent word to Achilles. And Achilles, because of his love for Polyxena, gladly agreed to come to the temple that morning.

Accordingly, on the next day Achilles, along with Antilochus, Nestor’s son, came for the meeting. Upon entering the temple, he was treacherously attacked. Spears were hurled from all sides, as Alexander exhorted his men. Achilles and Antilochus counterattacked, with their left arms wrapped in their cloaks for protection, their right hands wielding their swords; and Achilles slew many. But finally Alexander cut down Antilochus and then slaughtered Achilles, dealing him many a blow. Such was the death of this hero, a treacherous death and one ill-suiting his prowess.  Latin Text

Iliou Persis (Ilii Excidium) Argumentum PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, pp. 88-89, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Aithiopis Argumentum PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 69, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2023

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