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AMBROSIA 100.00%
Anything that confers or preserves immortality: (1) the food of the gods (as nectar was their drink), which doves, according to Homer, bring daily to Zeus from the far west: (2) the anointing oil of the gods, which preserves even dead men from decay: (3) the food of the gods' horses.
 
NECTAR 89.39%
The drink of the Greek gods (see AMBROSIA), which Homer describes as a red wine [Il. xix 38] which Hebe pours out for the immortals [ib. iv 3].
 
DEMOPHOON 45.14%
Son of Celeus of Eleusis and Metanira. He was tended in infancy by Demeter, when, in her search for Persephone, she came to Eleusis in the form of an old woman. Demeter found comfort in the care of the child, and wished to confer immortality on him by anointing him with ambrosia and holding him at night over the fire. The interference of the mother, however, prevented the fulfilment of her design (see DEMETER). Triptolemus in some versions takes the place of Demophoon (see TRIPTOLEMUS).
 
SARPEDON 39.41%
According to Homer, son of Zeus and Laodamia and grandson of Belleroplion; like his cousin Glaucus (q.v., 4), a prince of the Lycians and ally of Priam. At the storming of the Greek camp he, in company with Glaucus, was the first upon the enemy's wall; on his falling by the hand of Patroclus, a fearful battle arose over his body, until Apollo, by the command of Zeus, rescued the disfigured corpse from the Greeks, and, after washing it and anointing it with ambrosia, had it carried through the air to Lycia by the twin brothers Sleep and Death [Homer, xvi 419-683]. Later writers describe him as a son of Zeus and Europa, and brother of Minos; driven out by the latter, he won for himself a lordship in Lycia, and lived there by the favour of Zeus for three generations.
 
PLELADES OR PLEIADES 24.24%
The seven daughters of Atlas and the Ocean-nymph Plelone, born on the Arcadian mountain Cyllene, sisters of the Hyades. The eldest and most beautiful, Maia, became the mother of Hermes by Zeus; Electra and Tayggete, of Dardanus and Lacedaemon by the same; Alcyone, of Hyrieus by Poseidon; Celaeno of Lycus and Nycteus by the same; Sterope or Asterope, of (Enomaus by Ares; Merope (i.e. the mortal), of Glaucus by Sisyphus. Out of grief, either for the fate of Atlas or for the death of their sisters, they killed themselves and were placed among the constellations. According to another legend, they were pursued for five years by the Giant hunter Orion (q.v.), until Zeus turned the distressed Nymphs and their pursuer into neighbouring stars. As the constellation of the seven stars, they made known by their rising (in the middle of May) the approach of harvest, and by their setting (at the end of October) the time for the new sowing. Their rising and setting were also looked upon as the sign of the opening and closing of the sailing season. One of the seven stars is invisible; this was explained to be Merope, who bid herself out of the shame at her marriage with a mortal. The constellation of the Pleiades seems also to have been compared to a flight of doves (Gr. peleides). Hence the Pleiades were supposed to be meant in the story told by Homer of the ambrosia brought to Zeus by the doves,-one of which is always lost at the Planetae rocks, but is regularly replaced by a new one [Od. xii 62]. Among the Romans, the constellation was called Vergiliae, the stars of spring.
 
HECTOR 19.46%
The eldest son of Priamus and Hecable, husband of Andromache and father of Astyanax. In Homer he is the most prominent figure among the Trojans, as Achilles is among the Greeks, and is evidently a favourite character with the poet. He has all the highest qualities of a hero, unshaken spirit, personal courage, and wise judgment; but he is also a most affectionate son, and the tenderest of fathers and husbands. This trait is most touchingly exhibited in the celebrated scene in the sixth Iliad, where he takes leave of Amdromache. Moreover, he is a favourite of the gods, especially of Apollo. He clearly foresees his own death, and the destruction of his native city; but he does not allow the thought to unnerve his courage and force for a moment. The Trojans love and revere him as the shepherd of his people; his enemies fear and respect him, and even Achilles cannot meet him without some apprehension. He is always to be found where the battle rages most furiously, and he does not hesitate to meet the chiefest heroes of the Greeks in single combat. Ajax the son of Telamon is his especial foe. In the absence of Achilles he reduces the Greeks to the direst straits, storms their defences, and sets their ships on fire. Patroclus, who opposes him, he slays with the aid of Apollo. But his destiny at length overtakes him. In spite of the entreaties of his parents and his wife, he goes out to meet Achilles in his wrath. He is suddenly seized with the agony of terror; his terrible foe chases him three times round the walls of the city; Zeus mourns for him; but when his life and that of his enemy are weighed in the balance, Hector's scale sinks, Apollo leaves him, and he falls by the spear of Achilles before the eyes of his people. Achilles flings his corpse into the dust in front of Patroclus' bier, to be devoured by dogs and birds. But Aphrodite anoints the body with ambrosia, and thus saves it from corruption. Achilles drags it three times behind his chariot round the grave of Patroclus, but Apollo preserves it from mutilation. At length, at the command of Zeus, Achilles delivers up the body to Hector's aged father, to be laid out in the court of the palace, and afterwards burnt on a funeral pyre. In later times Hector was worshipped as a hero by the inhabitants of Ilium, who offered sacrifice's at his grave.
 
ACHILLES 3.86%
Son of Peleus (king of the Myrmidons in Thessalian Phthia) by the Nereid Thetis, grandson of Aeacus, great-grandson of Zeus. In Homer he is duly brought up by his mother to man's estate, in close friendship with his older cousin Patroclus, the son of Mencetius, a half-brother of Aeacus; is taught the arts of war and eloquence by Phoenix (q.v.) and that of healing by the centaur Chiron, his mother's grandfatber. But later legends lend additional features to the story of his youth. To make her son immortal, Thetis anoints him with ambrosia by-day, and holds him in the fire at night, to destroy whatever mortal element he has derived from his father, until Peleus, coming in one night, sees the boy baking in the fire, and makes an outcry; the goddess, aggrieved at seeing her plan thwarted, deserts husband and child, and goes home to the Nereids. According to a later story she dipped the child in the river Styx, and thus made him invulnerable, all but the heel by which she held him. Then Peleus takes the motherless boy to Chiron on Mount Pelion, who feeds him on the entrails of lions and boars, and the marrow of bears, and instructs him in all knightly and elegant arts. At the age of six the boy was so strong and swift that he slew wild boars and lions, and caught stage without net or hound. Again, as to his share in the expedition to Troy, the legends differ widely. In Homer, Achilles and Patroclus are at once ready to obey the call of Nestor and Odysseus, and their fathers willingly let them go, accompanied by the old man Phoenix. In later legend, Thetis, alarmed by the prophecy of Calchas that Troy cannot be taken without Achilles, and foreseeing his fall in such a war, conducts the boy of nine to the island of Scyros, where in female dress he grows up among the daughters of king Lycomedes, and by one of them, Deldameia, begets Neoptolemus(q.v.). But Calchas betrays his whereabouts, and Odysseus, in concert with Diomedes, unmasks the young hero. Disguised as a merchant, he spreads out female ornaments before the maidens, as well as a shield and spear; suddenly a trumpet sounds the call to battle, the maidens flee, but Achilles clutches at the arms, and declares himself eager to fight. At the first landing of' the Greeks, on the Asian coast, he wounds Telephus (q.v.); at their second, on the Trojan shore, Cycnus (q.v.). Before Troy, Homer makes him the chief of Greek heroes, whom the favour of Hera and Athena, and his own merit have placed above friend and foe. He is graced with all the attributes of a hero: in birth, beauty, swiftness, strength, and valour, he has not his peer; none can resist him, the very sight of him strikes terror into the foe. His anger may be furious, his grief immoderate; but his nature is at bottom kind, affectionate, and generous, even to his enemies. Touching is his love for his parents, especially his mother, and his devotion to his friends. In the first nine years of the war he leads the Greeks on their many plundering excursions around Troy, and destroys eleven inland and twelve seacoast towns. The events of the tenth year, brought on by the deep grudge he bears Agamemnon for taking away Briseis (daughter of Brises), form the subject of Homer's Iliad. When he and his men withdraw from the fight, the Trojans press on irresistibly; they have taken the camp of the Greeks, and are setting their ships on fire. In this extremity he lends Patroclus the arms his father (see PELEUS) had given him, and lets him lead the Myrmidons to battle. Patroclus drives the Trojans back, but falls by Hector's hand, and the arms are lost, though the corpse is recovered. Grief for his friend and thirst for vengeance at last overcome his grudge against Agamemnon. Furnished by Hephaestus, at the request of Thetis, with splendid new arms, including the shield of wondrous workmanship, he goes out against Hector, well knowing that lie himself must fall soon after him. He makes frightful havoc among the enemy, till at last Hector is the only one that dares await him without the walls, and even he turns in terror at the sight of him. After chasing him three times round the city, Achilles overtakes him, pierces him with his lance, trails his body behind his chariot to the camp, and there casts it for a prey to the birds and dogs. Then with the utmost pomp he lays the loved friend of his youth in the same grave-mound that is to hold his own ashes, and founds funeral games in his honour. The next night Priam comes secretly to his tent, and offers rich gifts to ransom Hector's body; but Achilles, whom the broken-down old king reminds of his own father, gives it up without ransom, and grants eleven days' truce for the burying. After many valiant deeds (see TROJAN WAR), he is overtaken by the fate which he had himself chosen; for the choice had been given him between an early death with undying fame and a long but inglorious life. Near the Scaean Gate he is struck by the shaft of Paris, guided by Apollo. According to a later legend he was wounded in the one vulnerable heel, and in the temple of Thymbraean Apollo, whither he had gone unarmed to be wedded to Priam's daughter Polyxena (q.v.). Greeks and Trojans fight furiously all day about his body, till Zeus sends down a storm to end the fight. Seventeen days and nights the Greeks, with Thetis and the sea-goddesses and Muses, bewail the dead; then amid numerous sacrifices the body is burnt. Next morning the ashes, with those of Patroclus and of Nestor's son, Antilochus, whom Achilles had loved in the next degree, are placed in a golden pitcher, the work of Hephaestus, and gift of Dionysus, and deposited in the famed tumulus that crowns the promontory of Sigeum. The soul of Homer's Achilles dwells, like other souls, in the lower world, and is there seen by Odysseus together with the souls of his two friends. According to later poets Thetis snatched her son's body out of the burning pyre and carried it to the island of Leuke at the mouth of the Danube, where the transfigured hero lives on, sovereign of the Pontus and husband of Iphigeneia. Others place him in Elysium, with Medea or Helena to wife. Besides Leuce, where the mariners of Pontus and Greek colonists honoured him with offerings and games, he had many other places of worship; the most venerable, however, was his tomb on the Hellespont, where he appeared to Homer in the full blaze of his armour, and struck the poet blind. In works of art Achilles was represented as similar to Ares, with magnificent physique, and hair bristling up like a mane. One of his most famous statues is that at Paris (from the Villa Borghese), though many take it for an Ares.
 
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