We all know Hector, Prince of Troy, for at least two key actions:
Carl Friedrich Deckler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1) Like a good older brother, Hector took up for Paris when the unthinking rapscallion became besotted with Menelaus’ wife, Helen of Sparta, and stowed her away in the Trojan ship heading back to Troy.
2) As the Prince of Troy and in line for the throne, Hector fought with bold ferocity to protect his homeland from the invading Greeks.
But what else can we learn about Hector, the great champion of the Trojans and one of the most memorable warriors of all time? Much of our intel about him, of course, comes from Homer’s The Iliad (quotes below).
Friends and enemies alike only had good things to say about the noble Hector. He was admired for his fairness, determination, and integrity.
His parents were Priam, honorable King of Troy, and the lovely Hecuba.
Despite being heir to the throne with access to all the sumptuous luxury that Troy had to offer, Hector displayed noble behavior as the devoted husband of Andromache. His wife loved him dearly: “Nay, Hector, you who to me are father, mother, brother, and dear husband, have mercy upon me; stay here upon this wall; make not your child fatherless, and your wife a widow.”
Golden shining Apollo especially favored Hector, and Ares also stood on the side of the Trojans. Unfortunately for the Trojans, flashing eyed Athena, Zeus, and others lent their powers to the Greeks. Apollo said: “Let us rouse the valiant spirit of horse-taming Hector.” And later: “Trojans, rush on the foe, and do not let yourselves be thus beaten.”
During the war, Hector used various weapons to fight off the Greek aggressors, including swords, spears, and head bashing. He urged: “Trojans and allies, be men, my friends, and fight with might and main.” Greek warriors, including Agamemnon, prayed to Zeus to defeat Hector: “Grant that my sword may pierce the shirt of Hector about his heart, and that full many of his comrades may bite the dust as they fall dying round him.”
When Achilles’ best friend Patroclus donned Achilles’ armor, forged by Hephaestus, and joined the fray, finally confronting Hector, Hector defeated him tout suite and confiscated Achilles’ armor. This proved to be a turning point in the war, because it propelled a fury-filled Achilles, who had been sulking in his tent over some girl, to enter the battle. Now the two would face off, the most ferocious Greek warrior—Achilles, and Troy’s most valiant warrior—Hector.
Knowing of a weakness in the armor Hephaestus had forged for him, Achilles was able to pierce Hector in the neck. Afterward, Hector’s dead body was treated with ignominy by Achilles—dragged around on the ground behind a chariot and, for a time, denied a proper burial. Without Hector, the Trojans were pretty much doomed.
One of the most heartbreaking occurrences is the tradition of Hector’s small son Astyanax being thrown from the city walls so that he could not grow up to seek revenge on the Greeks. An interesting alternative tradition, however, has Astyanax survive and go on to found the Merovingian line of the Franks, leading up to the great Charlemagne. Obviously, I like the second idea much better than the first. That would be a fascinating story!
Hector’s half-brother Aeneas, a survivor of the Trojan War, went on to establish the great city of Rome. Despite defeat, cultures shift, merge, and re-emerge. Small trickles of the past continue into the present and future.
What are your thoughts about Hector? Achilles? The Trojan War? Have you enjoyed the Greek plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides? I confess I really love those plays.
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romances Heaven or hell? Dream or nightmare? Where passion is concerned, the veils are thin.