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Polyxena - Achilles Orders Her Death

Polyxena - Achilles Orders Her Death Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Legends and Legendary People Visual Arts

Achilles realized that Polyxena, whom he loved, had betrayed him.  One version of the story of his revenge tells us that, following his death, Achilles ordered his men to kill her.  This image depicts that version.

Here is another version which amplifies that story.

Hyginus, in Fabulae, calls Polyxena “part of the spoils.” Did she die as revenge, for Achilles’ death, or for some other reason? Hyginus tells the story this way:

When the Greek victors were boarding their fleet from Troy and each wished himself to be returned into his native land and each wished to accumulate plunder for himself, the voice of Achilles, from the grave, is said to have demanded part of the spoils.

And so the Greeks sacrificed at his [Achilles'] tomb Polyxena, daughter of Priam, the maiden who was very beautiful, whom when Achilles was seeking her and had come for the purpose of a conversation, he was murdered by Paris and Deiphobus. (See Apollodorus & Hyginus, translated and introduced by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma, at page 134.) 

This black-figure painting, believed to be by Timiades, depicts the sacrifice of Polyxena to Achilles. The work of art is an Attic black-figure Tyrrhenian amphora, circa 570-550 BC. Specifically, it shows Neoptolemus sacrificing Polyxena after the capture of Troy.

Today, this ancient vase is maintained by the British Museum. It is located on the Main floor, room 13, Geometric and Archaic Greece.

Click on the image for a full-page view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5123stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 09, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Dec 09, 2016


Media Credits

This image depicts a photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen which is online via Wikimedia Commons.

LICENSE: CC BY 2.5

 

 

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