Myrmidons, the Men of Myth

Myrmidons, the Men of Myth

According to a Greek legend, the Myrmidons were a group of very fierce warriors. They were the ones who fought under the leadership of Achilles in the Trojan War. They were created out of a colony of ants in order to repopulate the island. This all happened after a plague had killed all of the island’s inhabitants.

One myth states that they descend from a princess, Eurymedusa of Phthia. She was the daughter of a mortal king, or of the river god Achelous. Zeus once visited her, taking the form of an ant. He seduced her into an affair and temporarily transformed her into an ant too. This was so that they could be together without Hera spying on them. As a result of their union, a demigod was born. He was King Myrmidon, after which all of the tribe got its name.

Myrmidons, the Men of MythMyrmidons, the Men of Myth

However, Hera still became jealous, because Aegina had the name of one of Zeus’s lovers. After most of the island’s population died, King Aeacus prayed to Zeus to restore his people. This is when Aeacus heard a thunderclap, which he thought was a favorable sign. At that moment, he also saw a line of ants climbing up a tree. He asked Zeus for as many people as the number of ants on the tree, so the kingdom could prosper. During that night, he dreamed of the ants turning into humans.

When Aeacus awoke the next morning, he found that his vision had come true. He named all of his new people Myrmidons, from the Greek name of the ant from which they came. Aeacus’s grandson, Achilles, ultimately inherited command of the Myrmidons. The Greek epic the Iliad tells the story of the role played by the Myrmidons under Achilles in the Trojan War.

All in all, term still exists today. The word myrmidon refers to an individual who carries out a command faithfully. It’s about a person who can endure, regardless of how harsh the task is.

 

 

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