HOME
The Info List - Hector





In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
and Roman mythology, Hector
Hector
(/ˈhɛktər/; Ἕκτωρ Hektōr, pronounced [héktɔːr]) was a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy
Troy
in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam
Priam
and Queen Hecuba, who was a descendant of Dardanus and Tros, the founder of Troy,[1] he was a prince of the royal house and the heir apparent to his father's throne. He was married to Andromache, with whom he had an infant son, Scamandrius (whom the people of Troy
Troy
called Astyanax). He acted as leader of the Trojans and their allies in the defence of Troy, "killing 31,000 Greek fighters", offers Hyginus.[2] During the European Middle Ages, Hector
Hector
figures as one of the Nine Worthies
Nine Worthies
noted by Jacques de Longuyon, known not only for his courage but also for his noble and courtly nature. Indeed, Homer places Hector
Hector
as peace-loving, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son, husband and father, and without darker motives. James Redfield writes of Hector
Hector
as a "martyr to loyalties, a witness to the things of this world, a hero ready to die for the precious imperfections of ordinary life."[3]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Greek mythology

2.1 Greatest warrior of Troy

2.1.1 Duel with Protesilaus 2.1.2 Duel with Ajax 2.1.3 Duel with Achilles

2.2 Trojan counter-attack 2.3 Hector's last fight

3 Historical references 4 In literature 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Etymology[edit] In Greek, Héktōr is a derivative of the verb ἔχειν ékhein, archaic form *ἕχειν hékhein, 'to have' or 'to hold' from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
*seǵh- 'to hold'.[4] Héktōr, or Éktōr as found in Aeolic
Aeolic
poetry, is also an epithet of Zeus
Zeus
in his capacity as 'he who holds [everything together]'. Hector's name could thus be taken to mean 'holding fast'.[5] Greek mythology[edit] Greatest warrior of Troy[edit]

Hector
Hector
Admonishes Paris for His Softness and Exhorts Him to Go to War by J. H. W. Tischbein (1751–1828)

According to the Iliad, Hector
Hector
does not approve of war between the Greeks
Greeks
and the Trojans. For ten years, the Achaeans besieged Troy
Troy
and their allies in the east. Hector
Hector
commanded the Trojan army, with a number of subordinates including Polydamas, and his brothers Deiphobus, Helenus, and Paris. By all accounts, Hector
Hector
was the best warrior the Trojans and all their allies could field, and his fighting prowess was admired by Greeks
Greeks
and his own people alike. Diomedes
Diomedes
and Odysseus, when faced with his attack, described him as what Robert Fagles
Robert Fagles
translated as an 'incredible dynamite', and a 'maniac'. Duel with Protesilaus[edit] In the Iliad, Hector's exploits in the war prior to the events of the book are recapitulated. He had fought the Greek champion Protesilaus in single combat at the start of the war and killed him. A prophecy had stated that the first Greek to land on Trojan soil would die. Thus, Protesilaus, Ajax, and Odysseus
Odysseus
would not land. Finally, Odysseus
Odysseus
threw his shield out and landed on that, and Protesilaus jumped next from his own ship. In the ensuing fight, Hector
Hector
killed him, fulfilling the prophecy.

Ajax and Hector
Hector
exchange gifts (woodcut in Andreas Alciatus, Emblematum libellus, 1591).

Duel with Ajax[edit] As described by Homer in the Iliad[6] at the advice of his brother Helenus (who also is divinely inspired) and being told by him that he is not destined to die yet, Hector
Hector
managed to get both armies seated and challenges any one of the Greek warriors to single combat. The Argives
Argives
were initially reluctant to accept the challenge. However, after Nestor's chiding, nine Greek heroes stepped up to the challenge and drew by lot to see who was to face Hector. Ajax wins and fights Hector
Hector
to a stalemate for the entire day. With neither able to achieve victory as the day was about to end, they express admiration for each other's courage, skill, and strength. Hector
Hector
gave Ajax his sword, which Ajax later uses to kill himself. Ajax gave Hector
Hector
his girdle that Achilles
Achilles
will later attach to his chariot to drag Hector's corpse around the walls of Troy. The Greeks
Greeks
and the Trojans make a truce to bury the dead. In the early dawn the next day the Greeks
Greeks
take advantage of it to build a wall and ditch around the ships. Zeus
Zeus
is watching in the distance.[7] Duel with Achilles[edit] Another mention of Hector's exploits in the early years of war was given in the Iliad
Iliad
in book IX. During the embassy to Achilles, Odysseus, Phoenix and Ajax all try to persuade Achilles
Achilles
to rejoin the fight. In his response, Achilles
Achilles
points out that while Hector
Hector
was terrorizing the Greek forces now, and that while he himself had fought in their front lines, Hector
Hector
had 'no wish' to take his force far beyond the walls and out from the Skiaian Gate and nearby oak tree. He then claims, 'There he stood up to me alone one day, and he barely escaped my onslaught.' Another duel that took place, although Hector received help from Aeneas
Aeneas
and Deiphobus, was when Hector
Hector
rushed to try to save his brother Troilus from Achilles' hands. But he came too late and Troilus had already perished. All Hector
Hector
could do was to take the lifeless body of Troilus while Achilles
Achilles
escaped after he fought his way through from the Trojans reinforcement. A 2004 film version of Troy
Troy
has Achilles
Achilles
slaying Hector
Hector
following a duel, whereas in the Iliad
Iliad
it is rather different. In the Iliad, Hector
Hector
remains outside the walls, while his army flees into the city. As Achilles
Achilles
approaches, Hector
Hector
stands his ground, fights and dies upon looking up at Troy. The film version of his death more resembles the single combat between the champions mentioned by Achilles
Achilles
in the Iliad in book IX.

Hector's last visit with his wife, Andromache, and infant son Astyanax, startled by his father's helmet (Apulian red-figure vase, 370–360 BC)

In the tenth year of the war, observing Paris avoiding combat with Menelaus, Hector
Hector
upbraids him with having brought trouble on his whole country and now refusing to fight. Paris therefore proposes single combat between himself and Menelaus, with Helen to go to the victor, ending the war.[8] The duel, however, leads to inconclusive results due to intervention by Aphrodite
Aphrodite
who leads Paris off the field. After Pandarus
Pandarus
wounds Menelaus
Menelaus
with an arrow the fight begins again. The Greeks
Greeks
attack and drive the Trojans back. Hector
Hector
must now go out to lead a counter-attack. According to Homer[9] his wife Andromache, carrying in her arms her son Astyanax, intercepts Hector
Hector
at the gate, pleading with him not to go out for her sake as well as his son's. Hector
Hector
knows that Troy
Troy
and the house of Priam
Priam
are doomed to fall and that the gloomy fate of his wife and infant son will be to die or go into slavery in a foreign land. With understanding, compassion, and tenderness he explains that he cannot personally refuse to fight, and comforts her with the idea that no one can take him until it is his time to go. The gleaming bronze helmet frightens Astyanax
Astyanax
and makes him cry.[10] Hector
Hector
takes it off, embraces his wife and son, and for his sake prays aloud to Zeus
Zeus
that his son might be chief after him, become more glorious in battle than he, and to bring home the blood of his enemies and make Hector's wife, his mother, proud. Once he left for battle, those in the house began to mourn as they knew he would not return. Hector
Hector
and Paris pass through the gate and rally the Trojans, raising havoc among the Greeks. Trojan counter-attack[edit] Zeus
Zeus
weighs the fates of the two armies in the balance, and that of the Greeks
Greeks
sinks down. The Trojans press the Greeks
Greeks
into their camp over the ditch and wall and would have laid hands on the ships, but Agamemnon
Agamemnon
rallies the Greeks
Greeks
in person. The Trojans are driven off, night falls, and Hector
Hector
resolves to take the camp and burn the ships the next day. The Trojans bivouac in the field.

A thousand camp-fires gleamed upon the plain ....[11]

The next day Agamemnon
Agamemnon
rallies the Greeks
Greeks
and drives the Trojans

like a herd of cows maddened with fright when a lion has attacked them ...[12]

Hector
Hector
refrains from battle until Agamemnon
Agamemnon
leaves the field, wounded in the arm by a spear. Then Hector
Hector
rallies the Trojans:

... like some fierce tempest that swoops down upon the sea ...

Diomedes
Diomedes
and Odysseus
Odysseus
hinder Hector
Hector
and win the Greeks
Greeks
some time to retreat, but the Trojans sweep down upon the wall and rain blows upon it. The Greeks
Greeks
in the camp contest the gates to secure entrance for their fleeing warriors. The Trojans try to pull down the ramparts while the Greeks
Greeks
rain arrows upon them. Hector
Hector
smashes open a gate with a large stone, clears the gate and calls on the Trojans to scale the wall, which they do, and

... all was uproar and confusion.[13]

Battle at the ships, on a Roman-era sarcophagus, 225–250 AD

The battle rages inside the camp. Hector
Hector
goes down, hit by a stone thrown by Ajax, but Apollo
Apollo
arrives from Olympus and infuses strength into "the shepherd of the people", who orders a chariot attack, with Apollo
Apollo
clearing the way. Many combats, deaths, boasts, threats, epithets, figures of speech, stories, lines of poetry and books of the Iliad
Iliad
later, Hector
Hector
lays hold of Protesilaus' ship and calls for fire. The Trojans cannot bring it to him, as Ajax kills everyone who tries. Eventually, Hector
Hector
breaks Ajax' spear with his sword, forcing him to give ground, and he sets the ship on fire.[14] These events are all according to the will of the gods, who have decreed the fall of Troy, and therefore intend to tempt Achilles
Achilles
back into the war. Patroclus, Achilles' closest companion, disguised in the armor of Achilles, enters the combat leading the Myrmidons and the rest of the Achaeans to force a Trojan withdrawal. After Patroclus
Patroclus
has routed the Trojan army, Hector, with the aid of Apollo
Apollo
and Euphorbus, kills Patroclus, vaunting over him:

"Wretch! Achilleus, great as he was, could do nothing to help you."[15]

The dying Patroclus
Patroclus
foretells Hector's death:

"You yourself are not one who shall live long, but now already death and powerful destiny are standing beside you, to go down under the hands of Aiakos' great son, Achilleus"[15]

Hector's last fight[edit]

Alas! the gods have lured me on to my destruction. ... death is now indeed exceedingly near at hand and there is no way out of it – for so Zeus
Zeus
and his son Apollo
Apollo
the far-darter have willed it, though heretofore they have been ever ready to protect me. My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter. — Spoken by Hector
Hector
facing Achilles, after a missed spear-throw; Iliad, Book XXII, lines 299–305

Hector
Hector
strips the armor of Achilles
Achilles
off the fallen Patroclus
Patroclus
and gives it to his men to take back to the city. Glaucus accuses Hector
Hector
of cowardice for not challenging Ajax. Stung, Hector
Hector
calls for the armor, puts it on, and uses it to rally the Trojans. Zeus
Zeus
regards the donning of a hero's armor as an act of insolence by a fool about to die, but it makes Hector
Hector
strong for now.[16] The next day, the enraged Achilles
Achilles
renounces the wrath that kept him out of action and routs the Trojans, forcing them back to the city. Hector
Hector
chooses to remain outside the gates of Troy
Troy
to face Achilles, partly because had he listened to Polydamas and retreated with his troops the previous night, Achilles
Achilles
would not have killed so many Trojans. When he sees Achilles, however, Hector
Hector
is seized by fear and turns to flee. Achilles
Achilles
chases him around the city three times before Hector
Hector
masters his fear and turns to face Achilles. But Athena, in the disguise of Hector's brother Deiphobus, has deluded Hector. He requests from Achilles
Achilles
that the victor should return the other's body after the duel, (though Hector
Hector
himself made it clear he planned to throw the body of Patroclus
Patroclus
to the dogs) but Achilles
Achilles
refuses. Achilles
Achilles
hurls his spear at Hector, who dodges it, but Athena brings it back to Achilles' hands without Hector
Hector
noticing. Hector
Hector
then throws his own spear at Achilles; it hits his shield and does no injury. When Hector
Hector
turns to face his supposed brother to retrieve another spear, he sees no one there. At that moment he realizes that he is doomed. Hector
Hector
decides that he will go down fighting and that men will talk about his bravery in years to come. The desire to achieve ever-lasting honor was one of the most fierce for soldiers living in the timocratic (honor-based) society of the age.

Triumphant Achilles
Achilles
dragging Hector's lifeless body in front of the Gates of Troy. (From a panoramic fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion)

Hector
Hector
pulls out his sword, now his only weapon, and charges. But Achilles
Achilles
grabbed his thrown spears that were delivered to him by the unseen Athena who wore the Hades helmet. And then Achilles
Achilles
aimed his spear and pierced the collar bone section of Hector, the only part that the stolen Armor of Achilles
Achilles
that not protected Hector
Hector
from it. That wound was fatal yet that wound also allowed Hector
Hector
to speak to Achilles. Hector, in his final moments, begs Achilles
Achilles
for an honorable funeral, but Achilles
Achilles
replies that he will let the dogs and vultures devour Hector's flesh. (Throughout the Homeric poems, several references are made to dogs, vultures, and other creatures that devour the dead. It can be seen as another way of saying one will die.) Hector
Hector
dies, prophesying that Achilles' death will follow soon:

Be careful now; for I might be made into the gods' curse ... upon you, on that day when Paris and Phoibos Apollo...destroy you in the Skainan gates, for all your valor.[17]

After his death, Achilles
Achilles
slits Hector's heels and passes the girdle that Ajax had given Hector
Hector
through the slits. He then fastens the girdle to his chariot and drives his fallen enemy through the dust to the Danaan
Danaan
camp. For the next twelve days, Achilles
Achilles
mistreats the body, but it remains preserved from all injury by Apollo
Apollo
and Aphrodite. After these twelve days, the gods can no longer stand watching it and send down two messengers: Iris, another messenger god, and Thetis, the mother of Achilles. Thetis has told Achilles
Achilles
to allow King Priam
Priam
to come and take the body for ransom. Once King Priam
Priam
has been notified that Achilles
Achilles
will allow him to claim the body, he goes to his strongroom to withdraw the ransom. The ransom King Priam
Priam
offers includes twelve fine robes, twelve white mantles, several richly embroidered tunics, ten bars of yellow gold, a special gold cup, and several cauldrons. Priam
Priam
himself goes to claim his son's body, and Hermes grants him safe passage by casting a charm that will make anyone who looks at him fall asleep.

Think of thy father, and this helpless face behold See him in me, as helpless and as old! Though not so wretched: there he yields to me, The first of men in sovereign misery! Thus forced to kneel, thus groveling to embrace The scourge and ruin of my realm and race; Suppliant my children’s murderer to implore, And kiss those hands yet reeking with their gore!

— Spoken by Priam
Priam
to Achilles; Iliad, Book XXIV, Pope's translation

Achilles, moved by Priam's actions and following his mother's orders sent by Zeus, returns Hector's body to Priam
Priam
and promises him a truce of twelve days to allow the Trojans to perform funeral rites for Hector. Priam
Priam
returns to Troy
Troy
with the body of his son, and it is given full funeral honors. Even Helen mourns Hector, for he had always been kind to her and protected her from spite. The last lines of the Iliad
Iliad
are dedicated to Hector's funeral. Homer concludes by referring to the Trojan prince as the "Breaker of Horses."[18] Historical references[edit] The most valuable historical evidence for the Battle of Troy
Troy
are treaties and letters mentioned in Hittite cuneiform texts of the same approximate era, which mention an unruly Western Anatolian warlord named Piyama-Radu (possibly Priam) and his successor Alaksandu (possibly Alexander, the nickname of Paris) both based in Wilusa (possibly Ilion/Ilios), as well as the god Apaliunas (possibly Apollo). Other such pieces of evidence are names of Trojan heroes in Linear B tablets. Twenty out of fifty-eight men's names also known from Homer, including 𐀁𐀒𐀵, E-ko-to (Hector),[19] are Trojan warriors and some, including Hector, are in a servile capacity.[20] No such conclusion that they are the offspring of Trojan captive women is warranted. Generally the public has to be content with the knowledge that these names existed in Greek in Mycenaean times, although Page[21] hypothesizes that Hector
Hector
"may very well be ... a familiar Greek form impressed on a similar-sounding foreign name." When Pausanias visited Thebes in Boeotia, in the second century AD, he was shown Hector's tomb and was told that the bones had been transported to Thebes according to a Delphic oracle. Moses I. Finley observes[22] "this typical bit of fiction must mean that there was an old Theban hero Hector, a Greek, whose myths antedated the Homeric poems. Even after Homer had located Hector
Hector
in Troy
Troy
for all time, the Thebans held on to their hero, and the Delphic oracle provided the necessary sanction." The pseudepigraphical writer Dares Phrygius states that Hector
Hector
"spoke with a slight lisp. His complexion was fair, his hair curly. His eyes would blink attractively. His movements were swift. His face, with its beard, was noble. He was handsome, fierce, and high-spirited, merciful to the citizens, and deserving of love."[23] In literature[edit]

The Grief and Recriminations of Andromache
Andromache
over the Body of Hector
Hector
Her Husband (1783) by Jacques-Louis David

In Dante Alighieri's Inferno (which is part of the Divine Comedy series), Hector
Hector
and his family are placed in Limbo, the outer circle wherein the virtuous non-Christians dwell. Roland's sword in early 12th century French poem Song of Roland, was named Durendal. According to Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso
Orlando Furioso
it once belonged to Hector
Hector
of Troy, and was given to Roland
Roland
by Malagigi (Maugris). In William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, Hector's death is used to mark the conclusion of the play. His nobility is shown in stark contrast to the deceit and pridefulness of the Greeks, especially Achilles.

See also[edit]

List of King Priam's children Nine Worthies

References[edit]

^ Iliad, XX, 215 ff. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 115. ^ Redfield, James M. (1994). Nature and Culture in the Iliad: The Tragedy of Hector. Durham: Duke University Press. p. ix.  ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 399. ^ This etymology is given under Hector
Hector
in the Online Etymological Dictionary, which, if true, would make it an Indo-European name, of root *seĝh-. The Dardanians would not have been Greek, but the language of the city of Troy
Troy
is still an open question. ^ Iliad, VII 43-305. ^ Iliad, VII, 433 ff. ^ Iliad, III. ^ Iliad, VI 390-480 ^ This Trojan helmet was made famous by Denys L. Page in History and the Homeric Iliad, Chapter VI, "Some Mycenaean relics in the Iliad", as the Greeks
Greeks
do not wear bronze helmets in the poem's epic formulae, but they did in the Homeric Age; therefore, scholar Denys L. Page concludes (on other evidence as well) that the bronze helmet of Hector descends in oral poetry from Mycenaean times. ^ Iliad, VIII, 542 ff. ^ Iliad, XI, 171 ff. ^ Iliad, XII. ^ Iliad, XV, end. ^ a b The Iliad, book XVI ^ Iliad, XVII ^ Lattimore, Richmond (2011). The Iliad. University of Chicago Press. p. 467. ISBN 978-0-226-47049-8.  ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca. III, xii, 5–6; "Epitome" IV, 2.  ^ "The Linear B
Linear B
word e-ko-to". Palaeolexicon: Word study tool for ancient languages.  ^ Template:Cite book editor1-first=Michael ^ Page, Denys Lionel (1972) [1959]. "V". History and the Homeric Iliad. Sather Classical Lectures. University of California Press.  ^ Finley, Moses I. (1978) [1954]. The World of Odysseus
Odysseus
(Revised ed.). Viking Press. p. 44.  ^ Dares of Phrygia. History of the Fall of Troy
Troy
12. A short prose work which purports to be a first-hand account of the Trojan War
Trojan War
by Dares, a Trojan priest of Hephaestus in the Iliad.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hector.

 "Hector". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920. 

v t e

Characters in the Iliad

Achaeans

Acamas Achilles Agamemnon Agapenor Ajax the Greater Ajax the Lesser Alcimus Anticlus Antilochus Arcesilaus Ascalaphus Automedon Balius and Xanthus Bias Calchas Diomedes Elephenor Epeius Eudoros Euryalus Eurybates Eurydamas Eurypylus Guneus Helen Ialmenus Idomeneus Leitus Leonteus Lycomedes Machaon Medon Meges Menelaus Menestheus Meriones Neoptolemus Nestor Nireus Odysseus Palamedes Patroclus Peneleos Philoctetes Phoenix Podalirius Podarces Polites Polypoetes Promachus Protesilaus Prothoenor Schedius Stentor Sthenelus Talthybius Teucer Thersites Thoas Thrasymedes Tlepolemus

Trojans

Aeneas Aesepus Agenor Alcathous Amphimachus Anchises Andromache Antenor Antiphates Antiphus Archelochus Asius Asteropaios Astyanax Atymnius Axylus Briseis Calesius Caletor Cassandra Chryseis Chryses Clytius Coön Dares Phrygius Deiphobus Dolon Epistrophus Euphemus Euphorbus Glaucus Gorgythion Hector Hecuba Helenus Hyperenor Hypsenor Ilioneus Imbrius Iphidamas Kebriones Laocoön Lycaon Melanippus Mentes Mydon Mygdon of Phrygia Othryoneus Pandarus Panthous Paris Pedasus Peirous Phorcys Polites Polydamas Polybus Polydorus Priam Pylaemenes Pylaeus Pyraechmes Rhesus of Thrace Sarpedon Theano Ucalegon

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 40185106 GN

.