Greek Mythological Story of How Achilles Became a Warrior

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To the Ancient Greeks, Achilles possessed all the qualities that a good hero should have, and his story has been said to inspire people throughout the ages. In antiquity, traveling bards would journey to different Ancient Greek city-states, entertaining large audiences with tales of valor. Two of those tales, the Iliad and the Odyssey, both of which were written by Homer, are still known to modern audiences today. One of the most recognizable stories from Homer’s stories is Achilles, who is a well-known hero who played an important role in the Trojan War. Here’s the details of his story:

Achilles’ Chooses a Heroic Life

Achilles was a mortal child of the sea nymph, Thetis, and Peleus, an ancient king. From a young age, Achilles had set himself on a path to become a great hero. He had six other siblings, all of whom died when they were very young. Because he had survived, Achilles always felt as if he were destined for something great. He was also given the opportunity to choose the course of his life. Would he have a long and ordinary life, filled with all of the typical daily pursuits, or would he choose a briefer life, but one filled with glory and valor on the battlefield? He decided that a brief life of valor was his ultimate path. He desired to have a short life, but to be remembered with eternal fame.

Thetis Bathes Achilles in the River Styx

Thetis, Achilles’ mother, also wanted him to have an extraordinary life. In her desire to make Achilles’ immortal, she bathed him in the River Styx. To do so, she held him by the heel and lowered him into the water. Although this act is said to have given him some of his gifts, it didn’t make him immortal. In fact, it also caused his greatest weakness. His heel had become vulnerable where she held him to lower him into the water because every part of his body was covered with the water except the heel. Thetis also kept the whole incident from her husband, Achilles’ father, Peleus.

Achilles Learns How to Be a True Warrior

Peleus also played a part in helping Achilles become a true warrior, and this training would help him turn into a true hero. He asked Chiron, the might centaur, to teach him the skills he needed to be effective on the battlefield. Chiron had a reputation for teaching Ancient Greeks how to become great warriors, and Peleus thought that he’d be perfect at teaching Achilles, as well. Through his strenuous training, he learned how to become a great warrior. Once his skill was developed as a warrior, he knew that he wanted to go to war.

Ultimately, Achilles journey as a warrior led him to the Trojan War in order to aid the Greeks, and King Melalaus of Sparta, in their fight. The Spartan king was angered when Helen, his wife, fell in love with Paris, a Trojan prince, and they ran away together. Achilles’ ultimately loses his life in this war but before that, he made his mark on the battlefield. He killed Hector, a Trojan Prince, shortly before he lost his life when an arrow struck him in the heel – the very heel that was never dipped in the River Styx.


Wikipedia – Achilles

Wikipedia – Peleus

Wikipedia – Thetis

Wikipedia – Cheron

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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