Patroclus APL-19 - History

Patroclus APL-19 - History

Patroclus
(APL-19: dp. 4,100 (1.); 1. 328'; b. 50'; dr. 14'; s. 12 k.; cpl.
253; a. 8 20mm.; cl. Achelous.)

LST-955 was laid down at the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard Hingham, Mass., 22 September 1944; launched 22 October 1944, and placed in reduced commission 13 November 1944 to proceed to Baltimore, Md.; decommissioned on the 27th; converted to an ARL at the Bethlehem Key Highway Plant; and commissioned in full 17 April 1945, Lt. Evan G. Bower in command.

Following shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, Patroclus departed the east coast 22 May 1945, transited the Panama Canal and steamed to San Francisco for final outfitting. Steaming westward 2 July, the landing craft repair ship arrived at

Saipan 7 August and reported for duty with ServDiv 103. On the 26th, she continued on to Tokyo Bay to provide repair facilities for oeeupation force vessels. Assigned to Tokyo Bay, she witnessed the formal surrender of Japan 2 September, then commenced repair work on all LSMs, LCIs, LCSs, and LSTs in the area. On 7 April 1946, Patroclus w as relieved by Romulus (APL-22) and on the 8th she departed for the east coast of the United States and inactivation.

Decommissioned 2 October 1946, Patroclus was berthed at Green Cove Springs, Fla., as a unit of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until November 1951. Then transferred to the custody of the 6th Naval District, she underwent conversion prior to transfer under the Military Assistanee Program. Struck from the Navy List 22 August 1952, she was transferred to Turkey, 15 November 1952. Into 1970 she serves that nation as Basaran (A 582).


Synthesis Recipes

Dropped From

Historical Background

In Greek mythology, as recorded in the Iliad by Homer, Patroclus, or Pátroklos (Gr. Πάτροκλος “glory of the father”), son of Menoetius, was Achilles’ best friend and, according to some (including Ovid), his lover.

During Patroclus' battle with Hector in the Trojan War, the god Apollo, seeking to give Hector an upper hand, disarmed Patroclus of his weapons, then knocking the helmet off his head. Patroclus fought bravely, but fell a short while later.

While still a boy, Patroclus killed his friend, Clysonymus, during an argument. His father fled with Patroclus into exile to evade revenge, and they took shelter at the palace of their kinsman King Peleus of Phthia. There Patroclus apparently first met Peleus' son Achilles. Peleus sent the boys to be raised by Chiron, the cave-dwelling wise King of the centaurs.

Patroclus was likely somewhat older than Achilles. He is listed among the unsuccessful suitors of Helen of Sparta, all of whom took a solemn oath to defend the chosen husband (ultimately Menelaus) against whomever should quarrel with him.

At about that time Patroclus killed Las, founder of a namesake city near Gytheio, Laconia, according to Pausanias the geographer. Pausanias reported that the killing was alternatively attributed to Achilles. However Achilles was not otherwise said to have ever visited Peloponnesos.

Nine years later, Helen fled Sparta with Prince Paris of Troy. Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, started contemplating war against Troy. The preparations for war and gathering of allies and armies took him ten years, according to some versions.

When Achilles refused to fight because of his feud with Agamemnon, Patroclus donned Achilles' armor, led the Myrmidons and killed many Trojans and their allies, including the Lycian hero Sarpedon (a son of Zeus), and Cebriones (the chariot driver of Hector and illegitimate son of Priam) despite the warning of Achilles to not engage in combat beyond the Achaean ships. He was killed by Hector and Euphorbos, with help from Apollo.

After retrieving his body, which had been protected on the field by Menelaus and Telamonian Aias, Achilles returned to battle and avenged his companion's death by killing Hector. Achilles then desecrated Hector's body by dragging it behind his chariot instead of allowing the Trojans to honorably dispose of it by burning it. Achilles' grief was great and for some time, he refused to dispose of Patroclus' body but he was persuaded to do so by an apparition of Patroclus, who told Achilles he could not enter Hades without a proper cremation. Achilles cut a lock of his hair, and sacrificed horses, dogs, and twelve Trojan captives before placing Patroclus' body on the funeral pyre.

Achilles then organized an athletic competition to honour his dead companion, which included a chariot race (won by Diomedes), boxing (won by Epeios), wrestling (a draw between Telamonian Aias and Odysseus), a foot race (won by Odysseus), a duel (a draw between Aias and Diomedes), a discus throw (won by Polypoites), an archery contest (won by Meriones), and a javelin throw (won by Agamemnon, unopposed). The games are described in Book 23 of the Iliad, one of the earliest references to Greek sports.

In the Iliad, the love of Achilles for Patroclus drives the story and contributes to the overall theme of the humanization of Achilles. While in the Iliad this love may be seen as chaste, in later Greek writings, such as Plato's Symposium, the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is held up as a model of sexual love, usually interpreted as pederastic. The primary disagreement in ancient times was between those, such as Aeschylus, who held Patroclus to be the eromenos (beloved) of Achilles, and that of others, including Plato, who argued that Achilles was the eromenos. Still other ancient authors, such as Xenophon in his Symposium, argued that it was a mistake to label their relationship as a sexual one.

The funeral of Patroclus is described in book 23 of the Iliad. Patroclus is cremated on a funeral pyre, and his bones are collected into a golden urn in two layers of fat. The barrow is built on the location of the pyre. Achilles then sponsors funeral games, consisting of a chariot race, boxing, wrestling, running, a duel between two champions to the first blood, discus throwing, archery and spear throwing.

The death of Achilles is given in sources other than the Iliad. His bones were mingled with those of Patroclus so that the two would be companions in death as in life and the remains were transferred to Leuke, an island in the Black Sea. Their souls were reportedly seen wandering the island at times.

In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus meets Achilles in Hades, accompanied by Patroclus, Telamonian Aias and Antilochus.

A general of Croton identified either as Autoleon or Leonymus reportedly visited the island of Leuke while recovering from wounds received in battle against the Locri Epizefiri. The event was placed during or after the 7th century BC. He reported having seen Patroclus in the company of Achilles, Ajax the Lesser, Telamonian Aias, Antilochus, and Helen.


Contents

If given Nectar, Patroclus will give you the Broken Spearpoint.

Patroclus' affinity gauge is maxed out at 8 hearts.

Favor [ ]

Patroclus' favor is part of the Fated List of Minor Prophecies, much like Achilles Zagreus has to find a way to reunite the two. At some point after Zagreus has deepened his relationship with both Patroclus and Achilles as far as possible, Patroclus will instruct Zagreus to tell Achilles to "risk it all". Achilles will eventually tell Zagreus to alter his contract with the help of Nyx, Zagreus will find it in the Administrative Chamber, and he can then spend 5 to modify it.

The affinity gauge is unlocked when Zagreus next finds Patroclus and Achilles together in Elysium.


Treatment Treatment

Most cases of APL are treated with an anthracycline chemotherapy drug (daunorubicin or idarubicin) plus the non-chemotherapy drug, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), which is a relative of vitamin A. This treatment leads to remission in 80% to 90% of patients. [6]

Patients who cannot tolerate an anthracycline drug may get ATRA plus another drug called arsenic trioxide . [6] Arsenic trioxide has also proven to be an effective alternative for the 20% to 30% of patients with APL who don't respond to initial treatment or who relapse. If treatment with arsenic trioxide achieves a remission, further courses of this drug may be given. A stem cell transplant may also be an option. If a second remission is not achieved, treatment options may include a stem cell transplant or taking part in a clinical trial . [7]

Additional information related to treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia can be accessed through Medscape . This includes detailed information related to the use of arsenic trioxide .

FDA-Approved Treatments

  • Arsenic trioxide(Brand name: Trisenox) - Manufactured by Cephalon
    FDA-approved indication: In combination with tretinoin for treatment of adults with newly-diagnosed low-risk acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) whose APL is characterized by the presence of the t(1517). Also approved for induction of remission and consolidation in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) who are refractory to, or have relapsed from, retinoid and anthracycline chemotherapy, and whose APL is characterized by the presence of the t(1517) translocation .
    National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
    Medline Plus Health Information
  • Tretinoin(Brand name: Vesanoid®) - Manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals
    FDA-approved indication: Induction of remission in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia who are refractory to or unable to tolerate anthracycline based cytotoxic chemotherapeutic regimens.
    National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
    Medline Plus Health Information

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Were Achilles and Patroclus lovers?

It’s one of the big questions of Greek mythology that continues to be debated thousands of years later: were Achilles and Patroclus lovers? Or just platonic friends?

On Quora, I recently came across a popular answer to the question “What important parts of Greek myths do filmmakers always seem to get wrong?”

According to this answer, which as of writing this has been upvoted over 6,000 times, one of those things they get wrong is the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. This writer is sure that Hollywood (and specifically the 2004 film Troy) refuses to show the true romantic nature of their relationship in order to appeal to a wider audience. “Yes, Achilles is gay,” he states definitively.

I wouldn’t normally write an article in response to a single person’s opinion online, but I have come across this sentiment many times over the years. There is a widespread attitude that Achilles and Patroclus were clearly in sexual relationship and that anyone who questions that or disagrees must have some hidden agenda that would cause them to deny their true nature.

In an article about the film Troy in the Guardian, the reviewer writes, “It seems the Greek hero (Achilles) has undergone a radical straightening process – and I'm not talking about his hair any more. No gods and no gay men. You've got to wonder why they bothered making a film about ancient Greece in the first place..”

So, here, I’m going to bring us back to the original sources and offer something of a rebuttal to this popular interpretation. But I’m also going to examine the best evidence that Achilles and Patroclus were in a romantic or sexual relationship.

When it comes to Achilles and Patroclus, the obvious place to start is Homer’s epic poem the Iliad. It is the oldest surviving, most definitive account of their lives, as well as the source material that most of the later interpretations and representations were based on. It is the gold standard when it comes to the mythology of Achilles and Patroclus.

So what does the Iliad say? Simply put, it says they are incredibly close companions. It does not state or, as far as I can tell, even imply that Achilles and Patroclus are lovers. But don’t take my word for it. Here are a couple moments and quotes that proponents of the “lover” argument often cite:

It is indisputable that Achilles and Patroclus are especially close to one another. Achilles even wishes that all of the other soldiers, both Greek and Trojan, would perish so he and Patroclus could conquer Troy by themselves (Book 16).

After Patroclus is killed by Hector, Achilles reacts with intense sorrow and anger, going as far to say that he has lost his will to live until he is able to avenge Patroclus’ life. Here are some of his words: “My dear comrade’s dead - Patroclus - the man I loved beyond all other comrades, loved as my own life - I’ve lost him.” Book 18.

Patroclus returns as a ghost and has one final conversation with Achilles: “A last request - grant it, please. Never bury my bones apart from yours, Achilles, let them lie together…So now let a single urn, the gold two-handed urn your noble mother gave you, hold our bones - together.” Book 23.

Later, Achilles holds an elaborate and emotional funeral ritual for Patroclus and even places a lock of his own hair in Patroclus’ hands (Book 23).

There are many other similar moments, but I think you get the picture. It is clear that Achilles and Patroclus had an incredibly deep, intimate bond. But nothing between them in the Iliad is explicitly romantic or sexual.

Gregory Nagy, who may well be the world’s leading authority on the Iliad and the meaning behind the text, writes that, “For Achilles . in his own ascending scale of affection as dramatized by the entire composition of the Iliad, the highest place must belong to Patroklos.” Again, nothing necessarily sexual.

Robin Lane Fox, another one of the most influential and knowledgeable historians of ancient Greece, sums it up by saying, “There is certainly no evidence in the text of the Iliad that Achilles and Patroclus were lovers” (The Tribal Imagination: Civilization and the Savage Mind, pg. 223).

Ok, so why do so many people seem to disagree with Homer, or subscribe to an interpretation that goes beyond what he wrote?

Because many Greeks of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, centuries later after the Iliad was written, did portray Achilles and Patroclus as lovers. They presented them as part of a pederastic relationship, which was a custom at the time in which an older male (usually in his twenties) formed a sexual relationship with a younger male (usually in his teens).

However, the Classical Greek writers couldn’t even agree on who was the older partner (erastes) and who was the younger partner (eromenos). Plato presents one version in his Symposium, while Aeschylus presents another in his lost play The Myrmidons (meanwhile others at the time, such as Xenophon, don’t seem convinced the two were lovers at all).

This confusion makes it pretty clear to me that the Classical Greeks were merely trying to project their culture onto a different, much older culture portrayed in the Iliad (which was written around the 8th century BCE and based on legends dating back to the 12th century BCE).

This projection has been a common thread running through portrayals of Achilles and Patroclus ever since ancient times. They are often shown as lovers in cultures that are more sexually liberal (especially as it pertains to same-sex love) and as close friends in cultures that are more sexually conservative.

So what is the verdict? Were Achilles and Patroclus lovers?

Before answering, it’s important to state that Achilles and Patroclus are mythological figures. Even if the myths are somehow loosely based on real individuals, the Achilles and Patrocus we know are fictional, not historical. So, there really is no “true” answer in the same way we know that, say, the United States was founded in 1776. It’s a little more abstract and open to interpretation.

If by “Were Achilles and Patroclus lovers?”, one is asking about the meaning behind the oldest and most comprehensive source we have, the answer for me is probably not. Homer does not explicitly say they were, nor does he clearly imply it. Some believe there are clues within the text that he hoped readers and listeners would pick up on, but that is a pretty big stretch for me. Feels like wishful thinking.

If, however, one is looking at the totality of the mythological tradition of Achilles and Patroclus, clearly there is plenty of precedent to depict them as lovers. Many of history’s greatest thinkers, writers, and artists thought of Achilles and Patroclus as romantically involved. From this standpoint, why is Shakespeare’s interpretation (in which they are lovers) any less valid than Homer’s? There is certainly an argument that myths evolve over time and Homer’s version is just one (albeit important) link in that ongoing chain.

So it depends on how you approach finding “truth” in mythology.

It’s also worth noting that some folks with much better credentials than me appear to disagree with some of my conclusions.

Madeline Miller, who holds a Masters degree in Classics from Brown University, spent over a decade adapting the Iliad into the award-winning novel The Song of Achilles (which I review here). In it, Achilles and Patroclus do have a sexual relationship. Here is one short excerpt from their younger days, before the Trojan War began:

"I was trembling, afraid to put him to flight. I did not know what to do, what he would like. I kissed his neck, the span of his chest, and tasted the salt. He seemed to swell beneath my touch, to ripen. He smelled like almonds and earth. He pressed against me, crushing my lips to wine" (100).

It’s one of my favorite books and I know that Miller did everything she could to be true to the ancient source material. In an interview she was asked how she came to the conclusion that the two were lovers:

I stole it from Plato! The idea that Patroclus and Achilles were lovers is quite old. Many Greco-Roman authors read their relationship as a romantic one—it was a common and accepted interpretation in the ancient world. We even have a fragment from a lost tragedy of Aeschylus, where Achilles speaks of his and Patroclus’ “frequent kisses.”

There is a lot of support for their relationship in the text of the Iliad itself, though Homer never makes it explicit. For me, the most compelling piece of evidence, aside from the depth of Achilles’ grief, is how he grieves: Achilles refuses to burn Patroclus’ body, insisting instead on keeping the corpse in his tent, where he constantly weeps and embraces it—despite the horrified reactions of those around him. That sense of physical devastation spoke deeply to me of a true and total intimacy between the two men.

The fragment Miller refers to is from the Myrmidons by Aeschylus, which I mentioned before was written a couple of centuries after the Iliad was finalized. And as for the way Achilles grieves, it certainly underscores their intimacy, but doesn’t necessarily imply a sexual intimacy. At least not to me. Miller also admits that she took inspiration from other sources than the Iliad to develop her story.

To defend the other side for a moment, we simply don’t know for sure what Homer wished us to believe about Achilles and Patroclus. I’m not convinced he wanted us to think they were lovers, but there are a few passages that certainly open up the possibility.

There’s also a lot we don’t know about the Archaic Age of Greece (the time of Homer), so we’re missing some valuable context. Maybe the Greeks of the Classical Age knew something about this earlier time period we don’t. After all, they were much closer to Homer in terms of the timeline than we are.

So, although I don’t think Homer intended us to view Achilles and Patroclus as lovers, that view doesn’t directly contradict Homer’s version either. So certainty isn’t really on the table here. The most one can really say is that a romantic or sexual aspect to their relationship doesn’t reflect a literal reading of the text. Anything beyond that is an exercise in speculation, projection, or interpretation (or all three).


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BioNTech and Pfizer developed a COVID-19 vaccine that's being distributed in the USA. (Photo: AP)

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Patroclus APL-19 - History

Q.: Do the Greek myths really matter in our modern world of cutting-edge technology and tenuous global politics?

A.: It can be a cliché to call a story timeless. But the stories of ancient Greece—the Iliad foremost among them—are exactly what this cliché was made for. To borrow Ben Jonson, they are not “of an age, but for all time.” Human nature and its attendant folly, passion, pride and generosity has not changed in the past three thousand years, and is always relevant. And especially at this fractured and shifting historical moment, I think people are looking back to the past for insight. These stories have endured this long, moving generation after generation of readers—they must, still, have something important to tell us about ourselves. Every day on the front page of the newspaper is an Iliad of woes—from the self-serving Agamemnons to the manipulative, double-speaking Odysseuses, from the senseless loss of life in war to the brutal treatment of the conquered. It is all there, in Homer too: our past, present and future, inspiration and condemnation both.
I would also add, more specifically, that I think the culture is ready for the kind of love story that transcends gender and time. I did not deliberately set out to tell a deliberately “gay” love story rather, I was deeply moved by the love between these two characters—whose respect and affection for each other, despite the horrors around them, model the kind of relationship we all can aspire to.

Q.: How much of the Achilles story depicted in THE SONG OF ACHILLES is based on the classics and how much did you create in order to tell the story? And, can explain how you did your research for the book?

A.: In some ways I feel like I’ve been researching this book my whole life. I have loved the ancient Greek myths since I was a child, and studied Latin and Greek throughout high school, college, and graduate school. My professors gave me an incredible and electrifying education in ancient history and literature, and all of it helped provide the foundation for the book—though at the time, of course, I had no idea that I would one day use it for fiction.

Once I started writing the novel, I inevitably discovered that I needed to know more: What exactly did ancient ship sails look like? What kind of flora and fauna does Homer mention? My background in Classics helped there too I had a lot of the answers already on my bookshelf, or I knew where to go to find the information I needed. It was also extremely helpful that I had spent time in parts of Greece and Turkey.

It was very important to me to stay faithful to the events of Homer’s narrative. The central inspiration behind the book is the terrible moment in the Iliad when Achilles hears about Patroclus’ death. His reaction is shocking in its intensity. The great half-god warrior—who carelessly defies rules, and condemns a whole army to death—comes completely unglued, desperate with grief and rage. I wanted to understand what it was about Patroclus and their relationship that could create that kind of crisis. Although Homer tells us what his characters do, he doesn’t tell us much of why they do it. Who was Achilles? And why did he love Patroclus so much? Writing the novel was my way of answering that question.

The biggest changes to the mythology came with the stories about Achilles’ life before he came to Troy, which the Iliad doesn’t cover. There are many, many variations on these, so part of what I was doing was figuring out which ones added to the novel’s arc, and which ones I should omit.

Q.: Most people don’t know that much about Patroclus and his relationship with Achilles. How did you come up with your theory that their friendship grew into love?

A.: I stole it from Plato! The idea that Patroclus and Achilles were lovers is quite old. Many Greco-Roman authors read their relationship as a romantic one—it was a common and accepted interpretation in the ancient world. We even have a fragment from a lost tragedy of Aeschylus, where Achilles speaks of his and Patroclus’ “frequent kisses.”

There is a lot of support for their relationship in the text of the Iliad itself, though Homer never makes it explicit. For me, the most compelling piece of evidence, aside from the depth of Achilles’ grief, is how he grieves: Achilles refuses to burn Patroclus’ body, insisting instead on keeping the corpse in his tent, where he constantly weeps and embraces it—despite the horrified reactions of those around him. That sense of physical devastation spoke deeply to me of a true and total intimacy between the two men.

Q.: What about the “Achilles Heel” legend? Where does it come from, and after all of your research, do you believe it?

A.: Achilles’ most famous myth—his fatally vulnerable heel—is actually a very late story. Our earliest account of it is by a Roman author, almost a millennium after the Iliad and the Odyssey were first composed. During those thousand years a number of other stories popped up to explain Achilles’ seeming invincibility, but the Iliad and Odyssey contain the simplest: he wasn’t really invincible, just extraordinarily gifted in battle. Since the Iliad and Odyssey were my primary inspiration, and since their interpretation seemed more realistic, this was the version I chose to follow.

There are a number of fun myths about the heel, once that story became popular. The most famous one is that, in trying to make him immortal, his mother, the goddess Thetis, dipped him in the river Styx. The place where she held him—his heel—was the only place not made invulnerable. Every time I have told this story to my middle school students, they erupt into chaos:

“That’s so stupid! Why didn’t she just switch heels and dip him twice?”
“Or go back later, and do it again?”
“The water would still have seeped in!”

So that may have also influenced me on finding that a not-as-compelling reading.

Q.: If one wanted to visit Greece and its surrounding countries now, and walk in Achilles and Patroclus’ footsteps, and “re-live” the Trojan War, what modern cities should they visit and what might they find there?

A.: The journey would begin in northern Greece, in the region of Thessaly. We aren’t sure where Peleus’ palace may have been (if it was a real place), but certainly Mount Pelion is still there. It is a gorgeous spot to go hiking, and there’s even a mountain train that runs on the weekends. Nearby, the major port town Volos is a wonderful place to visit and, given its excellent location, could very well have been a good Phthian settlement in antiquity.

Next up would be the island of Scyros, where the goddess Thetis hid her son Achilles from the war, disguising him as a woman. Scyros is in the middle of the Aegean, the most southern of the Sporades island cluster. It’s quite rocky, especially in its southern region, and also has some wonderful Byzantine and Venetian monuments, along with its stunning landscapes and beaches. If you want the full Achilles experience, cross-dressing is a must.

After that, it’s off to Aulis, (modern Avlida), in Boetia, due north of Athens. This is where the Greek fleet gathered before setting off to Troy. It’s quite a small town, but there are beaches, of course, and you can sit on them and pretend that you’re there waiting for that kid Achilles to finally show up so you can sack Troy already….

Though Achilles and Patroclus didn’t actually go there, now is a good time to take a quick detour to Agamemnon’s palace at Mycenae, in the northern Peloponnese. It’s one of the few Homeric-era ruins that we do have, other than Troy itself. You can see the famous “Lion-Gate” entrance to the city, as well as the circular graves where the golden “Mask of Agamemnon” and “Cup of Nestor” were found. As you tour the site, imagine that you’re the proud son of Atreus himself, and bully some subordinates. But don’t go too far: Agamemnon was killed with an ax in the bathtub by his fed-up wife.

Now, back to Aulis. After joining up with the fleet, Achilles and Patroclus would have made their way to Troy, stopping several times along the way. Since we don’t really know where they stopped (even in mythology), I think that this gives you the right to land at pretty much any fabulous Greek island that you wish. If you take the southern route, you can drop by Lesbos, where the famous poetess Sappho (whom Plato named the tenth muse), lived and wrote. Farther north is the island of Lemnos, which was infamous in ancient mythology as the home of the venomous snake that crippled the hero Philoctetes. Watch where you step!

Personally though, I would recommend choosing the most northern route, which takes you, with just a little detour, by the incredible city of Istanbul. I had the good fortune to visit Istanbul this past spring, and it is breathtaking. Everywhere you look there is some priceless piece of history, from the Hittites to the Ottomans, not to mention its many modern attractions. So, you heard it here first: Patroclus definitely went to Istanbul.

Last stop: Troy itself, perched just below the Dardanelles. The nearby city of Canakkale is a great place to stay and boasts the full-size prop of the Trojan Horse used by the 2004 movie Troy. Brad Pitt himself arranged the donation, the rumor goes!
A short bus ride south brings you to the ancient archaeological site. Stand amid the ruins of five thousand years of history, and look out over the plains where the Greeks and Trojans fought. Though not much is left but stones, the feel of the place is unmistakably epic. Be sure to bring a jacket: not for nothing did Homer call it ‘Windy Ilios.’ Find the highest point—all that’s left of one of the ancient city’s famous towers— and remember the Iliad’s immortal first line:
Sing, goddess, of the terrible rage of Achilles.

Q.: What do you hope that readers will gain from reading your book? And, what do you say to folks that say, reading the Greek myths is just too hard and not very interesting? That kids in school should be able to choose their own reading materials (vampire novels, and the like) and not have to worry about these classics?

A.: For those who have dipped into an ancient epic—the Iliad, say, or the Aeneid— and found it boring, here is my answer: I understand.

As a teacher, I have often had students who would come to me at the beginning of the school year and confess, I read the Aeneid over the summer and hated it. It doesn’t worry me: the poems assume a lot of background knowledge—who the gods are, and what the back story is. They also assume that their audience understands epic conventions, like listing all the generals and their ships, or using frequent repetition. If you don’t have that knowledge, the book can feel like a confusing slog. But, if you go into it with a guide—a good introduction, a quick re-read of Greek myths, a friend who loves it—then it just comes to life in your hands. Every one of those students, at the end of the school year, declared that they loved Vergil and they loved the Aeneid.

One of my explicit desires in writing this book was to make it so that readers didn’t have to know anything about the Iliad to enjoy it. I wanted to give them everything they needed to follow the action right then and there, so that they could experience Homer just as his first audiences would have: as entertainment, instead of an object of study.

The good news is that even if someone doesn’t appreciate a Classic text in school, they might go back to it later and realize that they enjoy it after all. I read Toni Morrison’s Sula in tenth grade and it went completely over my head I just couldn’t connect with it. Then I picked it up again a few years ago, and absolutely loved it. So it’s never too late.

As for what I would hope readers gain: I certainly would love to hear that the novel inspired some interest in Greek mythology in general, and the Iliad in particular. I hope too that it might help to combat the homophobia that I see too often.

In writing this novel, I thought a lot about personal responsibility. Patroclus is not an epic person, the way Achilles is. He’s an “ordinary” man. But he has more power than he thinks, and the moments where he reaches out to others and offers what he sees as his very modest assistance have huge positive ramifications. Most of us aren’t Achilles—but we can still be Patroclus. What does it mean to try to be an ethical person in a violent world?


The Love Story You Missed In Homer's 'Iliad'

I’ve been a Greek history geek since my grandmother sat me down with a bowl of kalamata olives, feta cheese and a book of Greek mythology at the kitchen table and said: “This is your history. This is Greek.”

Homer’s Iliad has always been a favorite of mine. I love the characters and their deep flaws. I love the high stakes and the power play and poetry. And I’ve always been fascinated that what eventually leads the Greeks to victory against Troy is the death of Patroclus, a man inconsequential to all but Achilles, who calls him “the dearest life I know.” Patroclus dies in Achilles’ armor in an attempt to rouse the Greek troops because Achilles won’t fight in the middle of an honor feud with Agamemnon, commander of the Greek army. After Patroclus’ death, Achilles throws aside honor and life itself to pursue Hector, Prince of Troy, the man who killed Patroclus in a case of mistaken identity. Achilles brutally murders Hector, though he knows his own death will follow soon after. His quest for death takes him to the battlefield again and turns the tide of the war for the Greeks.

This past Christmas, I received Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles as a gift. It gave me a chance to dive into the mythology I cherish and it also gave me a fresh interpretation of the relationship that fascinated me throughout The Iliad. The story has seen many incarnations but most that I’ve read neglect the beating heart of Homer’s legend: the love shared between Achilles and Patroclus. While The Iliad is vague as to the platonic or romantic nature of their relationship, Homer makes it perfectly clear that Achilles loves Patroclus with a fierce devotion. In The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller places that love at the epicenter of the story. She gives the narration to Patroclus so that we get a front row seat for the journey of their relationship. She creates a tender, believable, timeless romance between the two men that makes The Iliad’s ending all the more poignant.

Achilles and Patroclus are the unlikeliest of partners — the one, a boy destined to earn fame from killing, and the other, a pacifist with a history of abuse and distaste for violence. When we meet Patroclus in The Song of Achilles, he is a scrawny, awkward boy neglected and scorned by his father, a king. Achilles, also the son of a king, is skilled and beautiful, born from his father’s union with a goddess and headed for a future of glory. When Patroclus is banished to Achilles’ kingdom after a horrible accident that leads to his disinheritance, he is alone and has already learned his own inconsequence. He becomes a loner. Achilles changes that. He finds the boy hiding from the other foster children at his father’s house and offers him a chance to attend his own lessons and be his companion, so he won’t be punished for avoiding the other boys.

They go out to the practice field and Patroclus convinces a reluctant Achilles to showcase his fighting skills. Achilles obliges, but it is the only time he has ever practiced with another boy. Usually he is forbidden to do so because his skills so surpass the others. Patroclus wrestles with jealousy at his friend’s perfection:

I had seldom stopped to consider how isolating it would have been for Achilles to be as glorious as he was. How lonely and frustrating it would be to never be able to fight another boy in play as the rest of the boys would do. To always be looked upon with respect and awe but very seldom genuine, personal affection. Patroclus provides this for Achilles and in return, Achilles gives him confidence and the intimacy he had been denied throughout his childhood. Our friendship came all at once after that, Patroclus says.

The most beautiful part of the novel for me is when teenaged Achilles and Patroclus train with Chiron, the centaur in charge of tutoring the greatest heroes (hello, Jason and Hercules). Achilles and Patroclus learn about healing, nature and ethics from Chiron. Privately, they learn about each other — their bodies, their minds, and their love, which is finally consummated. In a line of beautiful subtext shortly thereafter, Patroclus vows to himself, I will never leave him. It will be like this, always, for as long as he will let me.

But for Patroclus, being with Achilles is an almost daily challenge. Achilles’ mother, a goddess, has a serious grudge against humans because she was forced to marry one. So, she’s really not pleased that her son has chosen a mortal as his companion and lover. No one bothered to tell Patroclus that Achilles had set off to train with the centaur in the faraway woods. So, Patroclus follows him on his own. When the call to war in Troy comes, Achilles decides to go. Both know the prophecy that determines Achilles’ fate: He will win great fame at Troy, but what brings his glory also brings his death. Both know Achilles will not return if he goes to Troy. Despite this, Patroclus doesn’t hesitate to go with his companion. He knows what glory and reputation mean to Achilles and he won’t stand in the way.

On their way to Troy, Odysseus observes the two and their closeness. He suggests they distance themselves before heading off to war to stave off rumors that they’re lovers. After all, he says, it’s common enough among boys but you two are men. Our men liked conquest, Miller writes in Patroclus’ voice, they did not trust a man who was conquered himself. Patroclus immediately sees how this could affect Achilles’ reputation:

Achilles and Patroclus respect and really know each other. Achilles sacrifices a piece of his honor to be with Patroclus. Patroclus never questions Achilles’ decision to go to war and to his death. He doesn’t want to change Achilles, even though he knows he will lose him. Patroclus wants to be there until the end. He assumes Achilles will die first, then him.

After the two arrive at Troy and Achilles joins his first battle, he is a hero. He becomes the best of the Greeks. And with that comes all the spoils of war, including captive women. In Miller’s version of the tale, Achilles is plainly uninterested in women, yet in The Iliad he is referred to as having a great harem tent of stolen women taken as prizes. Miller’s Achilles does this to please Patroclus. He takes as many women as he can to save them from certain rape at the hands of the other generals like Agamemnon who are clearly interested in women and do not have Patroclus’ scruples. Thus, Patroclus becomes Achilles’ conscience. Instead of a harem, the women’s tent becomes a tent of safety, a place where the ladies can learn Greek if they wish or other skills taught by Briseis, the captive whose seizure will eventually push Achilles into a zero-sum game with Agamemnon.

The beauty of the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles in Miller’s book is its health. Patroclus knows Achilles is doomed. He knows his companion so well that not only does he go with him to Troy (despite lacking any talent as a soldier), he doesn’t question Achilles’ right to choose his own destiny. Nor is he threatened by that choice. He knows he can no sooner change Achilles’ mind than he can change Achilles, himself. In the end, each respects the choices of the other and that makes the relationship startlingly beautiful to me.

Traditionally, Achilles is portrayed as having two main characteristics: he’s the best of the Greeks and the proudest of the Greeks. Miller looks beyond the legend to find a young man whose destiny is at odds with the man he loves. And the only attribute Homer gives Patroclus traditionally is his loyalty to Achilles. He is defined by Achilles’ love for him. In Miller’s version of the story, Patroclus is defined by his love for Achilles, by his promise never to leave him, and by his ultimate sacrifice. After Patroclus’ death, Achilles abandons his hubris and his plans for his own greatness. The feud with Agamemnon is gone. All that remains is a man, not a hero, suddenly heartbreakingly human.


COVID-19 Databases and Journals

Below are selected databases and journals to help researchers find scholarly articles about COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus).

  • Research articles downloadable database
    • The CDC Database of COVID-19 Research Articles is now a part of the WHO COVID-19 database external icon . Our search results are now being sent to the WHO COVID-19 Database external icon to make it easier for them to be searched, downloaded, and used by researchers worldwide.
    • The last version of the CDC COVID-19 database will be archived and remain available on this website. Please note that it has stopped updating as of October 9, 2020 and all new articles are now being integrated into the WHO COVID-19 database external icon .
    • To help inform CDC&rsquos COVID-19 Response, as well as to help CDC staff stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 research, the Response&rsquos Office of the Chief Medical Officer has collaborated with the CDC Office of Library Science to create a series called COVID-19 Science Update. This series, the first of its kind for a CDC emergency response, provides brief summaries of new COVID-19-related studies on many topics, including epidemiology, clinical treatment and management, laboratory science, and modeling. These summaries are released every Tuesday and Friday.

    Some databases and journals are accessible only to those with a CDC user id and password. Find a library near you that may be able to help you access similar resources by clicking the following links: https://www.worldcat.org/libraries external icon OR https://www.usa.gov/libraries external icon .

    Materials listed in these guides are selected to provide awareness of quality public health literature and resources. A material&rsquos inclusion does not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Public Health Service (PHS), or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nor does it imply endorsement of the material&rsquos methods or findings.

    • Research articles downloadable database
      • The CDC Database of COVID-19 Research Articles is now a part of the WHO COVID-19 database external icon . Our search results are now being sent to the WHO COVID-19 Database external icon to make it easier for them to be searched, downloaded, and used by researchers worldwide.
      • The last version of the CDC COVID-19 database will be archived and remain available on this website. Please note that it has stopped updating as of October 9, 2020 and all new articles are now being integrated into the WHO COVID-19 database external icon .
        • This database is compiled by the National Library of Medicine from COVID-19 articles in PubMed. It is available for download.
        • NIH&rsquos comprehensive, expert-curated source for publications and preprints related to either COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
        • This database is compiled by the WHO and searches multiple databases. It is available for download.
        • This database provides up to date genomics and precision health information on coronavirus disease.

        Databases that require a CDC login to access:

        • Ovid databases
        • Open dataset on more than 45,000 articles related to coronaviruses intended for use for researchers using natural language processing. Includes more than 33,000 full text articles on coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

        Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) affiliated journals (all are Open Access):

        Other journals (most have made COVID-19 articles Open Access, or free of charge, while the pandemic is ongoing):


        Watch the video: The Story of Patroclus, The Most Beloved