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Encyclopedia > Achilles' heel

An Achilles’ heel is a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength, actually or potentially leading to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, metaphorical references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to their downfall are common.


Statue of Achilles thniskon (dying) at the Corfu Achilleion
Statue of Achilles thniskon (dying) at the Corfu Achilleion

The death of Achilles was not mentioned in Homer's Iliad, but appeared in later Greek and Roman poetry and drama concerning events after the Iliad, later in the Trojan War. Here and in the myths surrounding the war, Achilles died from a heel wound as the result of an arrow - possibly poisoned - by Paris. This article is about the Greek island Kerkyra known in English as Corfu or Corcyra. ... Achilleion Palace Achilleas thniskon in the gardens of the Achilleion. ... For other uses, see Achilles (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Greek poet Homer and the works attributed to him. ... title page of the Rihel edition of ca. ... The fall of Troy, by Johann Georg Trautmann (1713–1769). ... See List of King Priams children Statue of Paris in the British Museum This article is about the prince of Troy. ...

According to a myth arising later, his mother, Thetis, had dipped the infant Achilles in the river Styx, holding onto him by his heel, and he became invulnerable where the waters touched him -- that is, everywhere but the areas covered by her thumb and forefinger -- implying that only a heel wound could have been his downfall. Another version of Achilles becoming close to immortal involves Thetis' attempt to make him a god. She would rub his whole body with ambrosia and then hold him over a fire every night. She held him by his heel, which is why that part of his body was vulnerable. One day, Achilles' father, Peleus, came in the home and caught Thetis holding Achilles over the fire. Peleus did not know that Thetis was trying to immortalize Achilles. Thetis was scared and fled out of fear. This possibly coincides with the story that Thetis left Achilles at a very young age. This article is about the Greek sea nymph. ... In Greek mythology, Styx (Στυξ) is the name of a river which formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld, Hades. ... For other uses, see Thumb (disambiguation). ... The index finger or forefinger is the second finger of a human hand, located between the thumb and the middle finger. ... This article is about the food or drink of the gods. ... Peleus consigns Achilles to Chirons care, white-ground lekythos by the Edinburgh Painter, ca. ...

The use of “Achilles’ heel” as an expression used for “area of weakness, vulnerable spot” dates only to 1855 (Merriam-Webster). It derived from the Greek "Achilleios pterna" (Greek: Αχίλλειος πτέρνα) literally meaning Achilles’ heel.

The Achilles' heel as a singular weakness has become a cliché in superhero comics, originating mainly from Superman's weakness against kryptonite. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... For other uses, see Superhero (disambiguation). ... Superman is a fictional character and comic book superhero , originally created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian artist Joe Shuster and published by DC Comics. ... This article is about the fictional substance. ...


The large and prominent tendon of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calf is called the tendo achilleus or Achilles tendon. It is often believed in popular culture that the hero was therefore killed by being shot through this structure. However, as tendons are notably avascular, such an injury is unlikely to be fatal. The gastrocnemius is a powerful superficial muscle that is in the back part of the lower leg (the calf). ... The soleus muscle and surrounding structures, from Grays Anatomy. ... This is about vertebrate anatomy. ...

The anatomical basis of Achilles death is more likely to have been injury to his posterior tibial artery below the medial malleolus. It is noted that this area would have been included in Thetis’ grip and therefore would have been vulnerable. Arteries of the lower limb - posterior view. ... We dont have an article called Medial malleolus Start this article Search for Medial malleolus in. ... This article is about the Greek sea nymph. ...

See also

Siegfried could refer to: The opera by Richard Wagner; see Siegfried (opera). ... The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. ... Duryodhana as depicted in Yakshagana popular drama from Karnataka In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata, Duryodhana (दुर्योधन) is the eldest son of the blind king Dhritarashtra by Queen Gandhari, the eldest of the one hundred Kaurava brothers, and the chief antagonist of the Pandavas. ... Balders death is portrayed in this illustration from an 18th century Icelandic manuscript. ... In Old Norse, áss (or ǫ́ss, ás, plural æsir, feminine ásynja, feminine plural ásynjur) is the term denoting one of the principal gods of the pantheon of Norse paganism. ... See also: List of deities Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Norse, Viking or Scandinavian mythology comprises the indigenous pre-Christian religion, beliefs and legends of the Scandinavian peoples, including those who settled on Iceland, where most of the written sources for Norse mythology were assembled. ... This article is about the fictional substance. ... Esfandiar or Esfandyar (in Persian: ) is an Iranian legendary hero. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Capitalism's Achilles Heel (460 words)
Now, in Capitalism’s Achilles Heel, Baker—the internationally respected authority on money laundering, corruption, and development issues—takes you on a fascinating journey that winds its way across the global free-market system and reveals how dirty money, poverty, and inequality are inextricably intertwined.
For capitalism to succeed on a global scale, we must fight rampant lawlessness, reduce inequality, and recast the free market’s supporting structures around principles of global justice.
In Capitalism's Achilles Heel (Wiley Pounds 16.99), Raymond Baker reveals the methods by which corrupt governments and crooked executives - as well as terrorists - move money through the global financial system.
Achilles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3499 words)
The Wrath of Achilles, by François-Léon Benouville (1821–1859) (Musée Fabre)
Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons in Phthia (southeast Thessaly), and the sea nymph Thetis.
Peleus entrusted Achilles to Chiron the Centaur, on Mt. Pelion, to be raised.
  More results at FactBites »



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