" Most ancient writers (among the most influential Aeschylus, Plutarch, Theocritus, Martial and Lucian) followed the thinking laid out by Aeschines. This is how they are portrayed, for instance, in Madeline Miller’s novel The Song of Achilles (published in 2012) and in the BBC television series Troy: Fall of a City(released in 2018). Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature” Debunked, Sorry, Ancient Pagans Didn’t Really Worship Nature. I am obsessed with the ancient world and I write about it constantly. Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls (2018) depicts the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus as nuanced, describing their close bond as stated in the Iliad but leaving the rest for inference. Achilles describes Patroklos several times as his “πολὺ φίλτατος . There is no evidence for the existence of Achilles, Patroklos, Odysseus, Agamemnon, the Trojan Horse, Priamos, Hektor, or any of the rest. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is a key element of the stories associated with the Trojan War. The Athenian orator Aischines (lived 389 – 314 BCE) says in his oration Against Timarchos that, although Homer does not explicitly describe Achilles and Patroklos as lovers in the Iliad, the poet clearly knew and intended for educated audiences to understand that they were lovers. ( Public Domain ) This latter theory is not as popular among the research of art historians, due to the artistic and literary emotional and mental breakdown of Achilles at Patroclus' death. The Song of Achilles ist mit Abstand mein Lieblingsbuch. Not everyone in classical Athens, however, agreed with the view that Achilles and Patroklos were lovers. In other words, were Achilles and Patroklos really in a sexual relationship? In Homers Ilias wird die Beziehung zwischen Achilles und Patroklos als eine enge Freundschaft beschrieben, die noch über den Tod hinausreichen sollte. Nevertheless he gave his life to revenge his friend, and dared to die, not only in his defence, but after he was dead. News of Patroclus’ death reaches Achilles through Antilochus, which throws him into deep grief. Achilles' attachment to Patroclus is an archetypal male bond that occurs elsewhere in Greek culture: Alexander the Great and Hephaestion who made symbolic public references to Achilles and Patroclus, Damon and Pythias, Orestes and Pylades, Harmodius and Aristogeiton are pairs of comrades who gladly face danger and death for and beside each other.. He later forms a relationship with Patroclus' reincarnation, Patrick Cleese. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is a key element of the stories associated with the Trojan War. Achilles did not allow the burial of Patroclus' body until the ghost of Patroclus appeared and demanded his burial in order to pass into Hades. The Athenian tragic playwright Aischylos (lived c. 525 – c. 455 BCE) is known to have explicitly portrayed Achilles and Patroklos as sexually intimate in his now-lost tragedy The Myrmidons. Homer never explicitly casts the two as lovers but they were depicted as lovers in the archaic and classical periods of Greek literature, particularly in the works of Aeschylus, Aeschines and Plato.. Once again, Aischylos is clearly alluding to intercrural sex. . The only Achilles and Patroklos we can possibly know about are the fictional ones who appear in Greek literature. She writes of Achilles, "He also knows the body of his cousin Patroclus." The musical Spring Awakening, includes an offhand reference where one boy, Hanschen, entreats another, Ernst to 'do a little Achilles and Patroclus'. After defeating Hector, Achilles drags his corpse by the heels behind his chariot. So many do now. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). The film Troy presented Patroclus as a younger relative of Achilles, without any romantic or sexual aspects. The thick warmth of his sleepy breath against my ear. Hello! When Aischylos uses the phrase “sacred wonder of the thighs,” he is alluding to intercrural sex, which is a form of non-penetrative intercourse in which a man rubs his penis between the thighs of his partner. Elizabeth Cook's 2001 verse novel, Achilles, is not sexually explicit, but a romantic relationship can be inferred. In the Iliad, Homer describes a deep and meaningful relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, where Achilles is tender toward Patroclus but callous and arrogant toward others. (pp474 b.23 l. 69–71) Patroclus was then cremated on a funeral pyre, which was covered in the hair of his sorrowful companions. If by “Were Achilles and Patroclus lovers?”, one is asking about the meaning behind the oldest and most comprehensive source we have, the answer for me is probably not. The fact that Aischines could treat it as axiomatic that Achilles and Patroklos were in a homosexual relationship in a speech that was meant to be delivered in front of an Athenian jury clearly demonstrates that, by the time Aischines was writing in the late fourth century BCE, this must have been a fairly widely accepted interpretation. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1993, p. 6. , Commentators from the Classical period on have interpreted the relationship through the lens of their own cultures. David Halperin compares Achilles and Patroclus to the traditions of Jonathan and David, and Gilgamesh and Enkidu, which are approximately contemporary with the Iliad's composition. The age difference between partners and their respective roles (either active or passive) was considered to be a key feature. I mention this because it is well known that, in the Iliad, Achilles has a strong attachment to—and apparent sexual desire for—Briseïs, the woman whom he has captured and forced to become his personal sex-slave. Notably, the writer Xenophon (lived c. 430 – 354 BCE) wrote a response to Plato’s Symposion in which he makes the speaker Socrates specifically argue that Achilles and Patroklos were not lovers.
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