Achilleion

The tour

flag-gr.gif (8418 bytes)

Entrance - Enclosure

Interior

The Chapel

Elisabeth's room

Kaiser's room

Garden of statues

 

 

VICTORIOUS ACHILLES

Victorious Achilles

   At the top of the main staircase leading from the entrance is the great painting measuring 8 metres by 4 metres, which can also be viewed from the terrace on the second floor behind the palace. The original oil painting (on canvas) is by Austrian artist Franz Matsch which he titled 'The Triumph of Achilles'. It shows Achilles pulling behind his chariot, the body of the slain Hector around the walls of Troy; as Homer refers to the episode in one of his two epic poems - 'The Iliade'...’Achilles', the greatest of the Greek warriors, had been involved in a grave, dispute with Agamemnon, leader of the Greek armies, over the stealing of his girlfriend Vrissiida. Achilles refused to go into battle and stayed behind in his encampment, refusing to be drawn into the battle. Patroclus', a great friend to Achilles, realising something had to be done to put fear into the hearts of the Trojans, donned the battle armour ofhis friend Achilles and went into battle. Sadly, Patroclus was slain by Hector who commandeered his armour and weapons and murdered his charioteer 'Eumorphus', but his horses came back alone... Achilles, so angered at the death of his friend, asked his mother Thetes to weave him a new suit of armour and went into battle killing, causing fear to the Trojans who locked themselves into their defensive fortress, with Hector having to stay and fight for his life~ He was the one that Achilles wanted. in the battle that ensued, Achilles slayed him, taking the revenge of his friend 'Patroclus " fastening him to the back of his chariot, dragging his body three times around the battlements of Troy as a show of strength to the Trojan army,During his triumph, Achilles holds his lance,' his Ionic shield as well as his helmet, taken back from Hector 'The Brave '.Charioteer Eumilos' leads Achilles, immortal horses: Xanthos and Valios' (according to Homer - Hera has given the horse Xanthos a human voice) into a fearless circuit of the battlements of Troy passing in front of the main gates of the fortress, followed by Achilles’ warriors the Myrmidons and their leader 'Menestheos'… This epic artwork is the main theme of Achilleion…

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE TRIUMPH OF ACHILLES

    The painting itself shows how well, according to our opinion, the painter has studied Homer, adding his style and his Homeric knowledge that everything in his depictions has a reason - which in the case of the Triumph, shows itself foremostely in the 'static wheel' of the main charioteer. The wheel shows that the painting is based on the Romanic portayal of a charioteers. According to this, even though it appears optically false, it was the only way to describe an incidence which took part in the Classic years. The untouched body of  Hector, for all it has been dragged around the ramparts of Troy and under the wheel of Achilles' chariot, it has its own significance. After the revenge, the everlasting poet described in the' l1iade, that the dead body ofHector had been savagely speared by all the Greek warnors. The God Apollo, a major player on the side of the Trojans, felt sorry for Hector, hence, he.preservedhis body inperfectform until its burial The body of Achilles is not .presented in a muscular form and his face is shown as angelic, for all he is embroiled in a major violent battle. This is partly due to the fact that Elisabeth had expressed to the painter her desire that Achilles should be emphasised as a beautific hero as she fondly envisioned him. This antethesis is the whole majesty of the painting as well as the eye trick which happens with the first of the white horses which follows the main chariot. The artist has painted a shadow on the horses neck in such a way that it seems the horse is actually moving when the observer moves position. Finally, we have to mention the swastika emblem whch appears above the main gates of Troy. Being one of the first sanscript symbols founded in Nepal, India, it became afterwards a symbol of Raj, God of Sun in Egypt. After it was spread by the Phoenicians and it became an emblem of the city of Troy. Its final appearance was integrated into the Nazi flag when Adolf Hitler enclosed it in a red circle at a leaning angle to symbolise the power of the Third Reich.