Friday, May 21, 2010

Achilles and Patroclus ... the Legendary Argument

The night before the Myrmidons sail for Troy, Achilles meets Patroclus in the old temple ... and he implores Zeus for patience, because his young cousin (and they're kissin' cousins, come to that) is demanding to sail with the fleet and get into the fighting...
Patroclus asks the question for the thousandth time, and Achilles tells him no, yet again. "Kiddo, I'm done talking about it, all right? We're sailing tomorrow -- don't bug me, and don't think I can't tan your backside, because I can."

"But why not?" Patroclus demands. "Look at me, I'm a man grown." (You know, he's dead right, if these images are anything to go by.) "Yes," said Achilles, "you're a man ... but you're not a Myrmidon, not yet. Stay home, grow up, and you can come fight with the big boys in the next war, all right?"
Which makes Patroclus implore Mars, the God o War to give him strength before he tries his hand at strangling his cousin, which would definitely get Achilles PO'd, and could easily result in the death of a wannabe Myrmidon before Hector even knows there's any such person.
"Oh, put a sock in it, junior," says Achilles (only he says it in Ancient Greek, and it would be phrased in Homeresque dialog: "Forsooth, ye brattish whelp, curtail thy cursed whining 'fore thy much-regarded elder and better doth demonstrate that higher function for which stockings were actually designed!") ...

And when Patroclus stops for breath Achilles cuts him a deal, to get a little peace and quiet: "All right, you little twerp. You can sail with us, but you're not going to fight -- not in this war." "Awwww, why not?" Patroclus wheedles. "Because I bloody said so," says Achilles. And the argument is over ... at least for half an hour.

Seriously ... anyone who's read the Iliad or seen Troy (or both) knows this scene must have happened one Saturday night about 3200 years ago. Then, being kissin' cousins and all, they probably kissed and made up, roasted a goat, packed their bags, got an early night (because they're out of there on the dawn tide) and ... did whatever it is Ancient Greek warrior kissing cousins did when they, uh, had an early night. Give you three guesses.

For an extra 25 points, name the Myrmidon country of which Achilles is the king. (Hint: is it NOT called Myrmidia, mermaids do not come from there, and Myrmidons are not boy mermaids. And it's very hard to pronounce.)

Sorry if this post got away from me and spiralled into a Mel Brooks routine, it just came out that way. Join me tomorrow and I'll at least try to be serious. No promises, but I'll try!

Jade, 22 May
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