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The Bravery and Excellence of Achilles
“The Thessalonian you’re fighting, he’s the biggest man I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t want to fight him.” -Messenger Boy
“That’s why no one will remember your name.” -Achilles from the movie Troy.
For the longest time since I made RESAVAGER, I’ve wanted to write about Achilles. My favorite part of the Iliad is Achilles’ rampage. If you’ve only seen the movie, Troy, you don’t understand how much you’re missing. Brad Pitt was an excellent Achilles, but there’s only so much you can do in a movie, especially one where you must appeal to normie audiences. In the Iliad, Achilles doesn’t just duel Hector for vengeance. He goes on a rampage against the Trojans. He slaughters so many Trojans, the River God Scamander is angered that he is choking the river with blood.
Hector isn’t how he is portrayed in the film. He’s arrogant and boasts at the Greeks as he beats them back to their ships. When Achilles takes the field, Hector flees for his life. He’s chased three times around Troy before, finally, The Gods trick him into facing Achilles. Athena appears before him as one of his cousins who tells Hector they should take him together. She vanishes as Achilles catches up to him and Hector realizes he was tricked. We admire Achilles for many reasons, but I believe most of them are the WRONG reasons you should admire him.
Achilles is said to be a demigod. Partly divine because his Goddess mother dipped him into the River Styx as a child. But she held him by heel which was said to be his only vulnerability. This is what made him the best warrior of the Trojan War. This is, of course, the mythological interpretation of his excellence. In our modern day, leftist deconstructionists have tried to mar the undying fame of Achilles. He didn’t do his duty to the Greks when he sat out the war. He was selfish. Not a good soldier. Hector was the heroic defender of his city.
Of course, you should reject their attacks against Achilles as terrible slander. You should also ask them WHY the modern soldier, who risks everything to defend his country gets none of the plunder from his sacrifice. Why do corporations receive all the benefits of war? Why is glory stolen from our fighting men? No, Achilles is the example all our warriors should be following. The movie is a poor adaptation of the Iliad. It tries to make Achilles some mercenary whereas the cause of Agamemnon and the Trojans is the new idea of nationalism. The portrayal of Achilles, however, is very good.
At the beginning of the film is a scene that I believe encompasses the true reasons WHY you should admire Achilles. A messenger boy is sent to get Achilles so he could face the Thessalonian champion. The boy tells him he wouldn’t want to fight the warrior who says is the biggest man he ever saw. Achilles tells him, “That’s why no one will remember your name.” Take away the mythological interpretation of Achilles. Achilles was real. The walls of Troy have been excavated from the earth. The Trojan War happened.
What defined Achilles, what made us remember him for a couple thousand years later, is revealed in the small scene at the beginning of the film. It wasn’t that he was a demigod or descended from Zeus, it was that he was the BRAVEST of the Greks. This bravery was matched only by his martial EXCELLENCE, his devotion to his craft, and his confidence to face down any foe. Now don’t confuse Achilles as a mercenary and common soldier as the movie attempts to portray him. Achilles was a warlord and KING. All the heroes of the Trojan War were Kings of their cities who agreed to fight under the King with the biggest army, Agamemnon. They weren’t there to serve Agamemnon, to do their duty for Greece. They were there for glory and plunder. Is this ok?
Ancient Aryan Nobility
“They name themselves, for instance, "the truthful": this is first done by the Greek nobility whose mouthpiece is found in Theognis, the Megarian poet. The word esthlos[good,brave];, which is coined for the purpose, signifies etymologically ‘one who is’ who has reality, who is real, who is true; and then with a subjective twist, the ‘true,’ as the ‘truthful’: at this stage in the evolution of the idea, it becomes the motto and party cry of the nobility, this stage in the evolution of the idea, it becomes the motto and party cry of the nobility, and quite completes the transition to the meaning ‘noble,’ so as to place outside the pale the lying, vulgar man, as Theognis conceives and portrays him - till finally the word after the decay of the nobility is left to delineate psychological noblesse, and becomes as it were ripe and mellow. In the word kakos[bad, ugly]; as in deilos[cowardly, vile]; (the plebeian in contrast to the agathos[good, well-born]) the cowardice is emphasised.” -Nietzsche
You must be wary of modern, leftist interpretations of the Ancient Greks. We have this view of royalty, nobility, and aristocrats as these decadent, undeserving clowns who aren’t worthy of their positions. Of course, we only remember what royalty became at the beginning of the democratic era. Leftists take their images of the last vestiges of royalty and apply their vices to all the nobles who came before them. They will talk about how these royal descendants don’t have the merit or skill to manage the modern nation-state. How they were often cruel and selfish. How they held down the poor good folk.
Now how much of what they claimed was just lies and slander? It’s debatable, but what isn’t debatable is the character of the Ancient Grek aristos or nobility. What made these men nobles and royalty was their deeds in life and their ancestry. Grek nobles were warrior kings. They distinguished themselves in battle. They fought at the front and they were SUPERIOR to their kin. Even Agamemnon, who is seen as a bad king in the Iliad, fights bravely and kills Trojans. He’s not the fat lump we see in the movie.
How did the ancient kings and nobles tell themselves apart from everyone else? It’s best to review Nietzsche’s first essay in On the Genealogy of Morals where he linguistically shows us the origins of good and bad. And what Nietzsche finds is far from politically correct. The GOOD were seen as the light-haired, the BAD the dark-haired. This was the residual of the Aryan conquests of the steppe. They saw the people they conquered, the dark-haired, as bad and cowardly. From this, we get the separation between nobles and peasants.
The GOOD, the conquerors, called themselves as such. They were the lords, the masters, and the commanders. They called themselves the TRUE, the truthful, the brave. The Grek word for nobles, ARISTOS, meant the superior, the best, the excellent. What they called BAD were the weak, the cowardly, the liars. They were the traits they associated with the people THEY conquered. The noble caste was also the warrior caste. They were the brotherhood of the KORYOS.
The Koryos in the ancient world were blood brotherhoods where men swear oaths to their kings and lords. These men fight for their kings and in exchange, the king rewards their valor with plunder, women, and glory. The Greks did not go to Troy to SERVE. They went there with the expectation they would get women and plunder. The idea that they would be like our modern soldiers is absurd. Poor men weren’t hoplites in Grek armies, they were slaves. You had to at least be middle class to afford the costs of getting your armor and weapons. It wasn’t provided by the state.
That’s right, the men putting their lives on the line, risking it all, were well-off nobles. If you read the Iliad, you’ll get some insight into what Homer thought of the “leftist type.” The men that get derided for cowardice are always ugly and deformed. All the true men laughed at or were disgusted by them.
Achilles had every right to sit out the war after being dishonored by Agamemnon. He did nothing wrong.
“The knightly-aristocratic ‘values’ are based on a careful cult of the physical, on a flowering, rich, and even effervescing healthiness, that goes considerably beyond what is necessary for maintaining life, on war, adventure, the chase, the dance, the tourney - on everything, in fact, which is contained in strong, free, and joyous action.” -Nietzsche
You must reject the leftist propaganda against Achilles. They attempt to apply modern morality to men who had entirely different value system. Achilles should be the gold standard for young men. The ancient world was a different animal. If you wanted something in the old world, you had to win it with a swing of your sword or thrust of your spear. Entrepreneurs like to talk about taking risks, but they risk what, financial ruin? The nobles and kings of ancient times risked their lives and their honor. They took on enemies they knew or didn’t know head-on with the confidence they’d come out on top.
The quality of Achilles isn’t that he was a son of a Goddess. It was that he was brave. Brave above all others. This bravery was supported by his excellence and confidence. He faced the best his enemies could throw at him and cut them all down, one after the other. What sort of bravery would have to manifest to fight at a head of an army? The Iliad takes place in the final year of the Trojan War.
For nine years, Achilles led the Greks against Trojan allies. He was known as the great runner and the sacker of cities. Achilles flips out on Agamemnon at the beginning of the book because the son of Atreus wants to take his prized war bride that was given to him by the army for HIS sacking of the city. He talked about how he was too exhausted to take his pick of the plunder. Too exhausted because he was putting the Grek army on his back to win battles. His reputation was well known before they arrived on the beach of Troy. What kind of bravery and excellence does it take to fight peoples you don’t even know with the confidence that you’re going to win?
All the Grek heroes have their moments of shame and fear. Moments where they realized they couldn’t win, some God was aiding the Trojans. Moments where they realized they had to run and regroup. When Achilles ended his rage and took to the field, he sought out Hector. He cut down every Trojan in his way to get to the Prince of Troy. It wasn’t until the blood of the slain Trojans choked the river and its God, Scamander, attacked Achilles that he was forced to flee, to ask The Olympians for help. It took a God to drive off the Son of Peleus.
This is the quality you must manifest in yourself. Bravery and excellence against all odds. Bravery is a quality sorely lacking. Much of it comes from not having the excellence to back it up. Forget the mythology. Achilles was noble. He strived for excellence, to be the best. He proved himself SUPERIOR. He proved himself the greatest warrior of the Trojan War. His name and deeds will be remembered for all time.
If your bravery isn’t up to the task, what do you have to do to get it there? That is your path, your Great Work. Be devoted to your craft. Strive for excellence and leave your mark on the world.
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