Today I’m venturing far afield from my usual browsing and posting. Instead of uplifting quotes or inspirational thoughts, I’m delving into Greek mythology this morning, specifically the story of Achilles.
We’ve all heard the term “Achilles’ heel” — an expression referring to a particular weakness we have. Do you know the story behind it?
When Achilles was a baby, his mother immersed him in the river Styx — a legendary river separating the living and the dead — in order to confer immortality upon him and make him invincible in battle. As she dipped him into the water, she held him by the heel. She then drew him out of the river and forgot to immerse his heel, thereby leaving him with a vulnerable spot.
Achilles became a great warrior — and a powerful hero in Homer’s Iliad. Yet despite his great strength and his military skills, he died in the final battle of the Trojan War, as Troy was being sacked and burned by Greek soldiers. He was shot with a poisoned arrow which struck the one vulnerable part of his body, his heel.
From: “Greek Medicine”
“We all have our weak or vulnerable areas, our Achilles’ heels. Even someone who may outwardly appear to be all-powerful, or even invincible, isn’t without a weak spot, or Achilles’ heel.”
Indeed, we all have weaknesses, and one of the lessons we learn from the story of Achilles is the need to be aware of those vulnerable places in our lives, the little flaws in our thinking that can bring us down and defeat us.
What’s your Achilles’ heel?
If you love reading about the gods and goddesses of ancient mythology, or if you just want to know more about Achilles, you might enjoy this new volume, released last month.
Greek Mythology by Stephan Weaver
Or…just for fun, try out this edible Achilles cake-topper!
And you thought mythology was dull! Not a chance. Stories of battle, immortality, love, revenge, jealousy, and so much more… all can be found in the enduring stories of Ancient Greece. We can learn a lot from them.