Achilles and Patroclus
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 nature of Achilles and Patroclus's relationship in Homer's Iliad has been disputed by classical scholars for ages. Ultimately a determining factor in the. relationship between Achilles and Patroclus as a noble, loving relationship, in contrast to M. Van der Valk, Researches on the Text and Scholia of the Iliad .
He was swiftly slain by Hector, prince of Troy. Needless to say, Achilles immediately sought revenge. The varying views of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus exist in so many forms for just as many reasons. Early archaeology took place in an era when homosexuality was frowned upon as sin, and the men following this lifestyle were insulted as women as this was also an age when women were still considered "weak".
It also took many long years of intensive study into ancient Greek culture, religion, literature, language, and art for scholars to understand that the ancient Greek mindset worked differently from our own and thus could not be fathomed or imagined as an accurate interpretation of these materials. In this case, the long-misunderstood practice was pederasty, in which two men are, in fact, lovers.
Pederasty is a relationship between an older man and a younger man or teen. This relationship usually lasts a good many years, but it is not necessarily considered a relationship in the modern sense of the word.
Pederasty was common in Ancient Greece, and most widely recorded by Athenian writers and playwrights.
Achilles and Patroclus
This is likely because the Athenians were the first Ancient Greek city state to incorporate the practice into society in a structural fashion. 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.
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.Troy Story: The Iliad (1/2)
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. 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'.
The two characters are later shown engaging in a homosexual relationship.
Achilles and Patroclus - Wikipedia
In Christa Wolf 's novel CassandraAchilles is depicted as a somewhat conflicted homosexual male, one who would go after both a young man, whom he actually desired, and a young woman, to prove he was like everyone else. Patroclus is briefly mentioned as the sole man who could get Achilles to feel truly passionate about defeating Troy, and upon his death Achilles butchered several Troy captives — including two royal children — as a sacrifice.
In Iliumby Dan SimmonsAchilles and Patroclus share a close "brothers in war" type bond, but are also shown to engage in group sexeach with a woman and possibly each other. Byrne Fone's novel Achilles: A Love Story portrays Achilles and Patroclus as lovers.
David Malouf 's novel, Ransomis a reconsideration of the Iliad, and among others, depicts the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus as intense and intimate. Madeline Miller 's The Song of Achilles is a coming-of-age story told from Patroclus' point of view, showing the development of a loving homosexual relationship between Achilles and Patroclus.
Literary significance Nature of the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles Some scholars claim that the exact nature of the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles has profound literary and artistic implications. As Kenneth Dover points out in his Greek Homosexuality knowing whether Achilles was erastes and Patroclus eromenos or whether their love was egalitarian, was crucial to understanding the thematic makeup of the Iliadfrom the perspective of later Greeks.
There are many possible interpretations on the nature of the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles. Three popular ones are: Achilles was the dominant lover, and he learns from Patroclus' that sacrifice is rooted in a startling role-reversal: The change in Achilles' character hinges on having believed that only glory mattered, and learning otherwise by losing the only thing that mattered more to him than acclaim.
Patroclus, the eromenos, in leading the Myrmidons, is elevated beyond the moral caliber of his mentor, and Achilles is redeemed only when, having reflected on his follies, he returns Hector's body to Priam. Patroclus was the dominant lover, his death represents a deliberate lesson to his pupil, Achilles.
Why the tale of Achilles and his lover still has the power to move us
In this case, the teacher had to die in order to redeem the student, and the pivotal change in Achilles' character occurs when he resumes leadership of the Myrmidons and takes the field against Hector despite his grievance with Agamemnon. Achilles and Patroclus represent an egalitarian homosexual pairing, the time and nature of Achilles' pivotal character development are shaded with gray and open to interpretation.
The Death of Patroclus The way in which Patroclus died offers another kind of literary significance. Patroclus dies by masking himself as Achilles; when he dies, those around him mourn him as the "best of the Achaians," a title usually reserved for Achilles.
Patroclus' attempt to mask his identity sets off a line of people that will do the same.