TitleThe mitoses of Akhilleus
NameSmoot, Guy (author), Brennan, T. Corey (chair), Figueira, Thomas (internal member), Connolly, Serena (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Achilles (Greek mythology)
DescriptionIn her article "Achilles Lord of Scythia," Gloria Pinney cogently argues that Akhilleus was sometimes depicted as a barbarian from the far north in archaic Greek art. Why Akhilleus has such a strong connection to the far north has thus far remained problematic. I propose, however, that it arises from Akhilleus' hypostatic relation to the youthful god Apollo, who migrated to the land of the Hyperboreans on an annual basis.
The Iliadic evidence for a paradisiacal island at the northern ends of the earth is consistent with this interpretation. In Book 13, for instance, the eyes of Zeus travel north to the land of the Abioi, who I contend must be Hyperboreans. Significant details about the funeral of Patroklos support the notion that the Thracian winds took the psukhe of Akhilleus' therapon to Leuke in the north just as Thetis snatched her son from the pyre.
It is my contention that even the Iliad knew of the tradition according to which Akhilleus was a northern barbarian. In order to assess the evidence, it is necessary, however, to acknowledge the process of dissimilation whereby doubles of Akhilleus were differentiated from the hero in terms of their persona, and yet exhibited certain idiosyncrasies that are suggestive of a common identity.
In the case of the Paionian Asteropaios (Book 21), the strongest indication that the Iliad understood him as a northern Akhilleus in the strict sense of the word is the paronomasia involving the name Πηλεγόνς, which is morphologically, grammatically and semantically analyzable as "the son of Peleus." The Iliad subtly yet cogently portrays his native Paionia as the mythical land of the Hyperboreans.
Akhilleus has no greater enemy than himself: only Asteropaios, who comes from the ends of the earth like Memnon in the Aithiopis, manages to shed Akhilleus' blood. Only Apollo, his divine counterpart, will manage to kill him. Specific clues in the confrontation of the two heroes by the river Xanthos and the funerary contest between Aias and Diomedes suggest that the death of Asteropaios by Akhilleus amounts to a suicide: by killing Asteropaios, Akhilleus kills himself.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 79-86).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.