I wanted to consider all of the ancient literary heroes and legendary warriors that we have gone over this semester as well as some that we didn’t before deciding on the two I felt complimented each other, and many great names came to mind. Perseus, Prometheus, Theseus, Hercules, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, William Wallace, and Beowulf just to name a few. But even more prevailing then these are Achilles and Cuchullin. When looking at the first works of mythology that came out of Europe we can see that there are two noteworthy mythological figures that are the most alike despite the fact that their stories come from completely opposite ends of the region. Through the stories of Cuchullin and Achilles not only do we get a glimpse of the past but the culture where both stories originated as well.
The Greeks’ Achilles and Ireland’s Cuchullin both lead very heroic and dynamic lives; the lives of true hero-warriors. Even though the tales and myths of both of these great warriors come from very different cultures it is remarkable to note the similarities between them. They do have a number of characteristics that differ between the two of them, nevertheless the myths of Achilles and Cuchullin are fundamentally the same kind of legend.
Achilles could quite easily be considered the greatest warrior of the Greek people. After reading Homer’s Iliad, the one word I would use to describe Achilles is kleos, because this term appears to follow him throughout his life. A hero earns kleos through accomplishing great deeds, usually through his own death. Like all hero’s Achilles wants to reach kleos even with the knowledge that his death is the only way to ultimately attain this feat. While Achilles was a magnificent fighte...
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...h being foreshadowed by the Grey of Macha, like Achilles’ death was foreshadowed by Xanthos of the Glancing Feet.
According to myth, Achilles is without a doubt the best warrior in Greece, just as Cuchullin is the greatest Irish warrior. What is equally important is that they were heroes. After looking at both these figures, along with the fact of the multitude of similarities in their tales and their lives, the perception of their greatness is extremely valuable. Achilles and Cuchullin were not just great hero-warriors, but they were the best. This is clearly an intriguing commentary on two cultures, the Greeks and the Irish, and how they, like their legendary heroes have more in common than can been first noted. Although they are very different in their development and traditions, it is interesting to see how similar their perceptions of heroic warriors truly were.
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