In Greek mythology, as recorded in the Iliad by Homer, Patroclus, or Patroklos (Gr. Πάτροκλος “glory of the father”), son of Menoetius, was Achilles’ best friend and, according to some (including Ovid), his lover.
Actor was a son of Deion, King of Phocis and Diomede. His paternal grandparents were Aeolus of Thessaly and Enarete. His maternal grandparents were Xuthus and Creusa, daughter of Erechtheus and Praxithea.
Patroclus was somewhat older than Achilles (Iliad XI, 780-790).
In a post-Homeric version, he is listed among the unsuccessful suitors of Helen of Sparta, all of whom took a solemn oath to defend the chosen husband (ultimately Menelaus) against whoever should quarrel with him. At about that time Patroclus killed Las, founder of a namesake city near Gytheio, Laconia, according to Pausanias the geographer. Pausanias reported that the killing was alternatively attributed to Achilles. However Achilles was not otherwise said to have ever visited Peloponnesos.
After retrieving his body, which had been protected on the field by Menelaus and Telamonian Aias, Achilles returned to battle and avenged his companion's death by killing Hector. Achilles then desecrated Hector's body by dragging it behind his chariot instead of allowing the Trojans to honorably dispose of it by burning it. Achilles' grief was great and for some time, he refused to dispose of Patroclus' body; but he was persuaded to do so by an apparition of Patroclus, who told Achilles he could not enter Hades without a proper cremation. Achilles cut a lock of his hair, and sacrificed horses, dogs, and twelve Trojan captives before placing Patroclus' body on the funeral pyre.
Achilles then organized an athletic competition to honour his dead companion, which included a chariot race (won by Diomedes), boxing (won by Epeios), wrestling (a draw between Telamonian Aias and Odysseus), a foot race (won by Odysseus), a duel (a draw between Aias and Diomedes), a discus throw (won by Polypoites), an archery contest (won by Meriones), and a javelin throw (won by Agamemnon, unopposed). The games are described in Book 23 of the Iliad, one of the earliest references to Greek sports.
The death of Achilles is given in sources other than the Iliad. His bones were mingled with those of Patroclus so that the two would be companions in death as in life and the remains were transferred to Leuke, an island in the Black Sea. Their souls were reportedly seen wandering the island at times.
A general of Croton identified either as Autoleon or Leonymus reportedly visited the island of Leuke while recovering from wounds received in battle against the Locri Epizefiri. The event was placed during or after the 7th century BC. He reported having seen Patroclus in the company of Achilles, Ajax the Lesser, Telamonian Aias, Antilochus, and Helen.
|Achilles and Patroclus myths as told by story tellers|
|Bibliography of reconstruction: Homer Iliad, 9.308, 16.2, 11.780, 23.54 (700 BC); Pindar Olympian Odes, IX (476 BC); Aeschylus Myrmidons, F135-36 (495 BC); Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis, (405 BC); Plato Symposium, 179e (388 BC-367 BC); Statius Achilleid, 161, 174, 182 (96 CE)|