Heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson recently sat down with highly ranked lightweight Ryan Garcia to tape an episode of his Hot Boxin’ podcast. During that conversation, Garcia asked Tyson if there was anyone throughout history he would want to fight.
Garcia, surely expecting an answer limited to boxing history, got an altogether different kind of response.
“Achilles” answered Tyson, referring to the ancient Greek warrior who was prominently featured in Homer’s Iliad.
“He’s the greatest warrior ever,” explained Tyson, who also announced that he’s hoping to visit Achilles’ tomb in Greece to pay his respects.
Initially historians believed Achilles and the Trojan War were an inventions by Homer, who was purporting to write about a subject that happened three thousand years before he was born. However, in the late 1800s archaeologists were able to find enough evidence of the fallen city of Troy (or Ilium) and the conflict that now it is widely accepted that the Trojan War did happen and many of the characters included in Homer’s writings may have been inspired by real people.
Achilles role in the the Iliad is that of the greatest warrior among the Greeks. Achilles is initially a reluctant participant in the war against Troy and often expresses his dislike for the Greek leader Agamemnon. On the shores of Troy, Achilles initially refuses to fight. His mind is only changed when his best friend, and possible lover, Patroclus is killed in action.
Furious over the death of Patroclus, Achilles then slays scores of Trojans. He then kills their greatest warrior, Hector, in a duel. Achilles is later killed by Hector’s brother, Paris. The deathblow comes via an arrow through the heel. The arrow itself was said to be guided by the god Apollo, as retribution for the Greeks’ repeated offences against him and his cult.
The shared tomb of Achilles and Patroclus is thought to be located beneath a large mound near the village of Yenikoy on the western shore of Turkey.