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by Gaston Bussieres
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ACHILLES PART ONE - HIS PARENTAGE
the greatest hero of the Trojan War, a celebrated warrior whose name
and glory has endured throughout the eons. His battle skills
were unmatched, and all who challenged him met a swift and
His mother was the Nereid Thetis,
one of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris, sea gods in the
retinue of the great Poseidon, lord of the seas. Collectively
the fifty beautiful girls were known as the Nereids.
These lovely creatures lived peacefully with their parents deep
in the oceans, and they were known and beloved for the many
instances in which they had assisted both mortals and gods.
Thetis in particular had a number of interventions herself, in
which she proved exceedingly useful.
For example, when the god Hephaestus was cast by Zeus - or Hera,
as most say - from Mount Olympus, and fell into the sea, he was saved by
Thetis. Zeus had just presented Hephaestus to his wife and, revolted
by the sickly looking baby, the queen of the Olympians had
disgustedly tossed him off Heaven. Thetis rushed to his rescue
and nursed him back to health, but industrious Hephaestus has
ever since walked with a limp, the fall from Olympus having made
When Dionysus, celebrated god of wine, was persecuted by King Lycurgus of the Edonians,
and appeared certain to be captured, he found refuge in the sea with
When Jason and the Argonauts,
returning home with the Golden Fleece in their possession, met the
alluring Sirens; and when they encountered the dreadful monsters Charybdis and Scylla and the
Wandering Rocks, it was none other than Thetis - along with her sister
Nereids - that put them out of
danger by steering their ship through those threats.
Thetis even helped
Zeus, the king of the Olympians - One time a palace revolt took place
Olympus and the deities Hera, Poseidon and Athena plotted against
Zeus, conspiring to chain him, and even taking away his awesome thunderbolts.
Thetis averted the uprising by urgently summoning to Mount Olympus the Hecatoncheire
(One-Hundred-Handed) giant named Briareus who, squatting down by Zeus and
displaying his force, frightened the other gods away and undid Zeus'
binds, freeing him.
Zeus and his brother
Poseidon, the two most powerful deities, both were in love with Thetis and tried
to win her hand in marriage. But the respected Titaness Themis made a
prophecy that the son of Thetis would grow up to become mightier than
That's all the two Olympian gods had to hear! The word of Themis was
highly valued, and neither Zeus nor Poseidon wanted to marry a woman
whose son would grow up to supplant them, so in no time they changed their minds about her. Instead
Thetis married a man named Peleus.
Others say that Hera
had raised Thetis as a child, and out of respect for her benefactress, Thetis
herself refused the offer of marriage by Zeus. To punish her for
spurning him the dejected Olympian god decided that
she would not marry a god, but instead would have to settle for a mortal man.
Zeus did not stop
pursuing Thetis until he learned the prophecy from Themis. And Hera, in
recognition for what Thetis had done, or rather not done, chose Peleus
as Thetis' husband, for according to her, he was the best man on earth
at that time.
Still, Thetis was not
happy to wed a mere mortal and complained that it was an insult to her
status. So when Peleus tried to claim his bride she refused him and
changed her form, first into a bird, then a tree, and finally into a
tigress, scaring Peleus into letting go of her.
But Proteus, a son of
Poseidon, instructed Peleus to not release Thetis no matter what
form she took. When Thetis turned into fire and water and yet Peleus still
held on, in admiration of his perseverance she finally grudgingly
relented and agreed to be his wife.
Achilles continues on