Achilles versus Hector, the Bachelorette wins

The duel (Greek mythology)

At last they faced each other. This was the moment that the most terrible and fearless warrior of the Greeks, Achilles, had waited so long. Why had he sat pouting in his tent too? He had noticed that the Greeks were losing one fight after the other because Hector, the bravest of the Trojans, was leading them. This Hector was the Trojans' great hope, and without him the Trojan army was in a mess.

The whole mess had started with the fact that Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks, had taken from him, Achilles, the daughter of the priest Chryses, Chryseis, whom he had come to love. Achilles told the Agamemnon that he would not rejoin the fight until he returned Chryseis to him. As expected, Agamemnon had refused. The Greeks looked paralyzed and it should look as if the Trojans were going to win the war for Helena, the Spartan queen who had voluntarily moved to Troy with Paris. Basically, it wasn't about Helena for a long time - the immeasurable wealth of Troy aroused desires. Women robbery was normal at this time. In addition, the plague raged in the Greek camp and somehow the Trojans had regained hope of being able to save their city. But the fall of the city was not only prophesied by Kassandra, Priam's daughter.

Achilles 'best friend, Patroclus, had then asked Achilles' permission to put on his uniform so that, as supposed Achilles, he could decide the battles for the Greeks. Achilles had agreed.

To the cheering of the Trojans, Hector had killed the supposed Achilles and Achilles joined the fight again. He realized Hector's mistake all too soon. Achilles' whole mind revolved around defeating Hector and now the time had come. Hector, the darling of the gods, whose fate was now sealed. It had taken long enough. Achilles had shooed Hector's warriors back behind the city walls of Troy and only Hector hadn't made it. That made him suspect that his end was imminent and that he could do nothing against Achilles.

His courage and bravery failed him when he looked into the eyes of his counterpart, and so he fled - Achilles chased him three times around the city wall of Troy until Hector finally faced a duel. He would have taken on anyone else, just not this one.

Andromache, Hector's wife, their little son Astyanax, and Priam and Hecabe, Hector's parents, and most of his siblings, including his sisters Kassandra and Polyxena, and Paris, his brother, were standing on the city wall.

At first Hector fought quite bravely, but then Achilles led the decisive blow against Hector and Hector sank fatally. Achilles in his hatred forgot every human emotion, tied the body of Hector to his chariot and with it circled the city walls of Troy several times.

Andromache wasn't the only one that stood petrified. Finally Kassandra, her sister-in-law, put an end to this and Andromache allowed herself to be led away from her. Like a puppet, she let everything happen to her, Hector's son pressed against her. Not only that her Hector was dead, but that his body was so violated was more than she could bear. They had loved each other, and lived happily ever after and had a good marriage for so many years.

It wasn't until Helena showed up with them that the disaster began. Even Hector, who at the beginning of her life had always insisted that Helena be sent back to Sparta, then turned around and everyone had accepted Helena as the wife of Paris, since she emphasized that she was in Troy of her own free will and only one husband have - the Paris.

With the fall of Hector, Achilles' own fall and the fall of Troy were also imminent. Achilles finally ended his cruel conduct - probably through the intervention of Zeus.

The corpse of Hector was now in the camp of the Greeks and Priam snuck into their camp in sackcloth and ashes at night to beg for the body of his son.

Achilles came up with a new meanness: he wanted to return Hector's corpse weighed in gold. Priam was unable to refuse this request if he wanted his son back. And so a macabre spectacle took place at the gates of Troy. A huge scale was set up, with Hector on one side of the scale and the required gold on the other. What may have been going on in Priam, Hecabe, and the Hector siblings when they had to watch this go on? Andromache, for understandable reasons, did not attend this terrible spectacle. To the Greeks, the gold supply that Priam raised to redeem his dead son seemed immeasurable. The side on which Hector was lying was still sloping down. More and more gold was brought in and finally the two sides of the balance held each other on the same level. And still Achilles did not have enough; he demanded one of Priam's daughters, it should have been Polyxena, for herself - as a slave.

"I am Polyxena, daughter of Priam. Who are you that you want me to be your slave?" She hurled at him. "You now have your gold and now go and let our brother and my parents bury their son."

The Trojan royal family turned quietly and measuredly, went back to their no longer existing city and in a moving mourning ritual they were able to weep and bury Hector.

All books by Ulla Schmid on her author's page

© Article "The duel (Greek mythology)": Author Ulla Schmid. The illustration shows Hector and Kassandra, detail on an antique drinking vessel (period: around 425/420 BC). License: public domain, author: Jastrow

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