Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus and the Nereid Thetis. He was the mightiest of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War, and was the hero of Homer’s Iliad. Thetis attempted unsuccessfully to make her son immortal. The legend says that she held the young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the river Styx; everything the sacred waters touched became invulnerable, but the heel remained dry and therefore unprotected.
After the death of Hector at the Trojan War, Achilles continued fighting heroically, killing many of the Trojans and their allies, including Memnon and the Amazon warrior Penthesilia. Finally Priam’s son Paris, aided by Apollo, wounded Achilles in the heel with an arrow; Achilles died of the wound.
The statue captures exactly Achilles’ anguish of death, who has just been wounded by the lethal arrow.The original sculpture is located in the Achilleion Residence of the 19th century Queen Elizabeth (Sissy) of Austria in Corfu, Greece.