Drawing a metal stylus back and forth in boustrophedon fashion over
woven paper, he wrote to himself and for himself:
Of chariots and spears, of gods and wars, I want no more.
Patroklos, my surrogate brother and only true friend, is dead, and
death avenged. Briseis, my future bride, has been returned to me by
that treacherous bastard Agamemnon. My wrath has cooled and there is
nothing more for me here.
We shall make a quiet life running a farm — olives, vines, some sheep
— nestled on a sleepy island. Briseis and I will raise a family, and
my armor and my weapons will rest safely beyond use.
They will, in time, forget the name of Peleiades’ son, and for the
first time in my life that prospect pleases me. Whatever happens,
this will be my final day at Troy.
And, with that, he strode from his tent, mounted his chariot, and rode
into battle. When Paris’ arrow struck his heel it seemed a small
thing, but the bleeding never stopped. Achilles left Troy in the same
urn as Patroklos, his wife and his armor parceled out to other
IMAGE: Death of Achilles, Innocenzo Fraccaroli, 1805-1888.