Thersites - Encyclopedia




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THERSITES, the ugliest man in the Greek camp before Troy, celebrated for his biting tongue. The special objects of his attack were the leaders of the army, and Homer (Iliad, ii. 212) tells how he was chastised by Odysseus for daring to abuse the commander-in-chief. According to a later story, Achilles, after he had slain the Amazonian queen Penthesilea, bitterly lamented her death; for this he was reviled by Thersites, who even insulted the body of the dead queen. Achilles thereupon slew Thersites with a blow of his fist (Quint. Smyrn. i. 722). There was a play by Chaeremon called Achilles the Thersites-slayer, probably a satyric drama, the materials of which were taken from the Aethiopis of Arctinus.

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