The Story of Achilles:

I have written many times about the Achilles tendon, but I was just thinking that maybe people do not know how that name has come about. How did we get the name for the Achilles tendon? It is really a Greek Myth from centuries ago. I wanted to share it with you. Now this has nothing to do with Achilles tendonitis, but I thought that you may find it interesting to know the story of the Achilles tendon.

There are really two myths that go along with Achilles. First Achilles was a great warrior. He was the best warrior the Greeks had. He fought in the Trojan War. Achilles was a hero when he killed the Trojan hero Hector. The God Apollo guided a single arrow of Hector’s brother Paris to the part of Achilles body that was vulnerable, his heel. That is how we got the name. Now for the story on how that part of the body was vulnerable.

The first myth goes like this. His mother was the sea-goddess Thetis and was in the process of protecting her son. When Achilles was an infant, she would rub him each day with godly ambrosia, and in the evening she laid him on the hearth fire. What happened was this. Achilles’ father did not know the procedure would make his son immortal. When he came home one night unexpectedly and saw Thetis holding their son in the flames, he yelled in alarm. Well what happened then was Thetis was offended. She left and went home to her father, the Old Man of the Sea. That left Achilles to his mortal fate. That is one myth. The other goes like this.

The myth goes that Thetis was again trying to protect her son. While he was an infant she dipped him in the river Styx. The infernal waters made Achilles skin impervious to any arrows of the trojans. But what she forgot was that she was holding him by the heels when she was dipping him. So what happened was the one part that was not protected was the heels and that is where the arrow of Hectors’ brother hit Achilles and killed him.

So those are the stories of Achilles. I thought that you would enjoy understanding how we have developed the term Achilles heel.

I will talk to you again soon. Please leave any comments on any subjects that you would like me to investigate for you.

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