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Was Achilles gay? Twitter users have had debates after Madeline Miller’s book Song of Achilles resurfaced on the social media platform.
The Greek hero Achilles is one of the most famous figures in Greek mythology and one of the greatest warriors during the Trojan War.
The character has been depicted in a number of television and movie projects with the most popular role portrayed by Brad Pitt in the 2004 film Troy.
A lot of writings and books have been published that involve the great warrior. Achilles is a key character in Homer’s Iliad.
Now, the character is trending for another reason as social media users have been talking about the book Song of Achilles, prompting the question among many of them – ‘Was Achilles gay’?
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Twitter users debate over Song of Achilles
It doesn’t take too long for Twitter users to turn a book, movie or TV series into a viral topic – and soon many users start having long debates.
But the reason that the character of Achilles is trending right now is that some people have discovered Madeline Miller’s 2011 book Song of Achilles.
One person asked: “Was Achilles gay like in real? (Is Achilles a real person or a fictional character? Ohh, I should start with this).”
Was Achilles gay?
Achilles and Patroclus have developed a close relationship when they were young. Many authors have accepted the theory that they have possibly been lovers.
The idea of romantic relationships between both men and women was common in ancient Greece.
A blog article by the British Museum notes that there were “no words in ancient Greek for ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ classical Athens relationships between older, often married, men and younger men were a normal part of social life”.
For instance, Achilles has described Patroclus in Homer’s Iliad as “the man I loved beyond all other comrades, loved as my own life”.
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What has author Madeline Miller said about it?
Madeline Miller has supported the idea that Achilles and Patroclus were romantically involved – but she explained that the love story between the two in her book was inspired by Plato.
“I stole it from Plato! The idea that Patroclus and Achilles were lovers is quite old.” Madeline said in a Q & A. “Many Greco-Roman authors read their relationship as a romantic one—it was a common and accepted interpretation in the ancient world.
“There is a lot of support for their relationship in the text of the Iliad itself, though Homer never makes it explicit. For me, the most compelling piece of evidence, aside from the depth of Achilles’ grief, is how he grieves: Achilles refuses to burn Patroclus’ body, insisting instead on keeping the corpse in his tent, where he constantly weeps and embraces it—despite the horrified reactions of those around him.”
Madeline added: “That sense of physical devastation spoke deeply to me of a true and total intimacy between the two men.”