What Is Achilles Famous For?

According to Greek mythology, Achilles is most famous for his only mortal weakness, his heel. His mother, the sea nymph Thetis, tried to make him immortal by anointing him in the River Styx. She submerged his body in the river except for the heel that she held, and although her son remained mortal, his body become invulnerable except for his "Achilles' heel."

Achilles is also known for his part in the Trojan War and Homer's rendition of his wartime actions in "The Iliad." When Achilles was young, his father, Peleus, reacted to a divine communication predicting his son's death in the battle for Troy. He took Achilles away to Skyros, where he was hidden, disguised as a girl, in an attempt to keep him from Greek military service and his prophesied demise. The soothsayer, Calchas, predicted that Troy could only be taken with the help of Achilles, precipitating an extensive search and the uncovering of Achilles' location. From that time onward, Achilles demonstrated bravery and heroics in his efforts for the Greek war machine, capturing several towns in Trojan territory. He appeared to be invulnerable. Achilles was eventually killed by an arrow, guided by Apollo, that struck him on his unprotected heel.