“MY APOLOGIES for bothering you so late, Prince Pyrrhus.” He offers his easiest smile.
“I do not sleep,” Pyrrhus says.
“How convenient. No wonder you get so much more done than the rest of us.”
Pyrrhus watches him with narrowed eyes; he cannot tell if he is being mocked.
“Wine?” Odysseus holds up a skin.
“I suppose.” Pyrrhus jerks his chin at two goblets. “Leave us,” he says to Andromache. While she gathers her clothes, Odysseus pours.
“Well. You must be pleased with all you have done here. Hero by thirteen? Not many men can say so.”
“No other men.” The voice is cold. “What do you want?”
“I’m afraid I have been prompted by a rare stirring of guilt.”
“We sail tomorrow, and leave many Greek dead behind us. All of them are properly buried, with a name to mark their memory. All but one. I am not a pious man, but I do not like to think of souls wandering among the living. I like to take my ease unmolested by restless spirits.”
Pyrrhus listens, his lips drawn back in faint, habitual distaste.
“I cannot say I was your father’s friend, nor he mine. But I admired his skill and valued him as a soldier.
And in ten years, you get to know a man, even if you don’t wish to. So I can tell you now that I do not believe he would want Patroclus to be forgotten.”
Pyrrhus stiffens. “Did he say so?”
“He asked that their ashes be placed together, he asked that they be buried as one. In the spirit of this, I think we can say he wished it.” For the first time, I am grateful for his cleverness.
“I am his son. I am the one who says what his spirit wishes for.”
“Which is why I came to you. I have no stake in this. I am only an honest man, who likes to see right done.”
“Is it right that my father’s fame should be diminished? Tainted by a commoner?”
“Patroclus was no commoner. He was born a prince and exiled. He served bravely in our army, and many men admired him. He killed Sarpedon, second only to Hector.”
“In my father’s armor. With my father’s fame. He has none of his own.”
Odysseus inclines his head. “True. But fame is a strange thing. Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.” He spread his broad hands.
“We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory. Who knows?” He smiles. “Perhaps one day even I will be famous. Perhaps more famous than you.”
“I doubt it.”
Odysseus shrugs. “We cannot say. We are men only, a brief flare of the torch. Those to come may raise us or lower us as they please. Patroclus may be such as will rise in the future.”
“He is not.”
“Then it would be a good deed. A deed of charity and piety. To honor your father, and let a dead man rest.”
“He is a blot on my father’s honor, and a blot on mine. I will not allow it. Take your sour wine and go.”
Pyrrhus’ words are sharp as breaking sticks.
Odysseus stands but does not go. “Do you have a wife?” he asks.
“Of course not.”
“I have a wife. I have not seen her for ten years. I do not know if she is dead, or if I will die before I can return to her.”
I had thought, always, that his wife was a joke, a fiction. But his voice is not mild now. Each word comes slowly, as if it must be brought from a great depth.
“My consolation is that we will be together in the underworld. That we will meet again there, if not in this life. I would not wish to be there without her.”
“My father had no such wife,” Pyrrhus says.
Odysseus looks at the young man’s implacable face. “I have done my best,” he says. “Let it be remembered I tried.”
- The Song of Achilles
some designs for myth ladies! thank you to @mcsprinkles for pointing me in the right direction to read up on Medea and the Colchians in general!! i did a lot of research about both mycenaean clothing as well as tried to mix up the costuming in some areas-- Helen’s garb was heavily inspired by Persian clothing, and for Penelope I spent about an hour and a half taking notes and sketches on Chinese clothing that pre-dated the hanfu before settling on a mix of hanfu and the descriptions of Shang Dynasty tunics.
Been reading a thesis on artistic and literary representations of the Judgement of Paris, and some interesting things:
Most importantly, Paris has at least one dog with him in quite a number of paintings and I am very charmed!!!
Secondly, Apollo talking to/standing next to Paris in a small number of vase paintings with a greater collection of divinities than just Hermes and the goddesses! Thought that was interesting.
More interesting, however, is the inclusion (at the back, usually) of Dionysos, even when there's no one else but the goddesses, Hermes and Paris in the scene.
Which makes me think of Kratinus' comedy-satyr play Dionysalexandros where Dionysos takes Paris' place (before he tries to avoid the angry Achaeans at the end and Paris finds out what has been done in his name). No way to know why Dionysos is included on those paintings, but the coincidence of appearance between the play and the paintings is curious!
dreamed I went to see a movie based on the Iliad and when the ocean appeared in the first shot, the audience went absolutely wild shouting THE WINE DARK SEA! THE WINE DARK SEA!
Source (it is very nice and good to retweet the original posting!)
PEOPLE COME TO SEE his grave. Some hang back, as if they are afraid his ghost will rise and challenge them.
Others stand at the base to look at the scenes of his life carved on the stone. They are a little hastily done, but clear enough. Achilles killing Memnon, killing Hector, killing Penthesilea. Nothing but death. This is how Pyrrhus’ tomb might look. Is this how he will be remembered?
Thetis comes. I watch her, withering the grass where she stands. I have not felt such hatred for her in a long time. She made Pyrrhus, and loved him more than Achilles.
She is looking at the scenes on the tomb, death after death. She reaches, as if she will touch them. I cannot bear it.
Thetis, I say.
Her hand jerks back. She vanishes.
Later she returns. Thetis. She does not react. Only stands, looking at her son’s tomb.
I am buried here. In your son’s grave.
She says nothing. Does nothing. She does not hear. Every day she comes. She sits at the tomb’s base, and it seems that I can feel her cold through the earth, the slight searing smell of salt. I cannot make her leave, but I can hate her.
You said that Chiron ruined him. You are a goddess, and cold, and know nothing. You are the one who ruined him. Look at how he will be remembered now. Killing Hector, killing Troilus. For things he did cruelly in his grief.
Her face is like stone itself. It does not move. The days rise and fall. Perhaps such things pass for virtue among the gods. But how is there glory in taking a life? We die so easily. Would you make him another Pyrrhus? Let the stories of him be something more.
“What more?” she says.
For once I am not afraid. What else can she do to me? Returning Hector’s body to Priam, I say. That should be remembered.
She is silent for a long time. “And?”
His skill with the lyre. His beautiful voice. She seems to be waiting.
The girls. He took them so that they would not suffer at another king’s hands.
“That was your doing.” Why are you not with Pyrrhus?
Something flickers in her eyes. “He is dead.”
I am fiercely glad. How? It is a command, almost.
“He was killed by Agamemnon’s son.”
For what? She does not answer for some time. “He stole his bride and ravished her.”
“Whatever I want,” he said to Briseis. Was this the son you preferred to Achilles?
Her mouth tightens. “Have you no more memories?”
I am made of memories.
- The Song of Achilles