AchillesAchilles, son of Peleus and the sea-nymph Thetis, was universally acknowledged as the greatest warrior among the Achaeans. The Iliad is the story of the wrath of Achilles, which arose when Agamemnon took away Briseis, the prize of honour which the army had awarded him. Achilles knew he would die at Troy, but never flinched in his loyalty to the cause and to his friends - and, of course, to his own glory and enrichment, until Agamemnon's treatment forced him to. Homer also shows him as an introspective man, with hints at a greater sensitivity than the traditional hero - he weeps, naturally, when thwarted, but he also sings and plays the lyre. Achilles does not die in the Iliad, but he knows his death will quickly follow Hector's. He knowingly chose his style of life - he turned down a long life in obscurity for a short one at Troy with eternal fame. He was killed by an arrow fired by Paris, but guided by Apollo.

Homer knows nothing of the later story about "Achilles' heel" - his mother was supposed to have dipped him in the Styx to secure immortality, but left that part out of the water!