Saturday, August 28, 2010


The Myrmidons are people of ancient Greek mythology. They are very brave and skilled warriors as described in Homer's Iliad, and are commanded by Achilles. Their eponymous ancestor was Myrmidon, a king of Thessalian Phthia who was a son of Zeus and "wide-ruling" Eurymedousa, a princess of Phthia. She was seduced by him in the form of an ant. An etiological myth of their origins, simply expanding upon their supposed etymology — the name in Classical Greek was interpreted as "ant-people" was first mentioned by Ovid, in Metamorphoses: in Ovid's telling, King Aeacus of Aegina, father of Peleus, pleaded with Zeus to populate his country after a terrible plague. Zeus said his people would number as the ants on his sacred oak, and from the ants sprang the people of Aegina, the Myrmidons.

The Myrmidons of Greek myth were known for their loyalty to their leaders, so that in pre-industrial Europe the word "myrmidon" carried many of the same connotations that "robot" does today. Myrmidon later came to mean "hired ruffian" (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) or "a loyal follower, especially one who executes orders without question, protest, or pity, unquestioning followers." (

Myrmidons is also the title of the first of a trilogy of plays by Aeschylus, collectively known as Achilles. The other plays in the trilogy are Nereids and Phrygians. See Achilles (play) for more.

According to Homer's Iliad, the Myrmidons were the fiercest warriors in all of Greece.

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