He Whom I Loved as Dearly as My Own Life: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Achilles and Patroclus


  • Hayley Rhodes Wittenberg


Homer’s Iliad has been a pillar in Western literature for centuries. Following the
story of the Trojan War, the epic introduces us to Achilles, the greatest warrior
of Greece. Although in most of the epic Achilles has abstained from fighting,
he rejoins after the death of his dearest companion, Patroclus. Achilles’s
relationship with Patroclus has been heavily debated since antiquity, with the
likes of Plato arguing their status as lovers. Recently, there has been a shift in
the accepted dogma, with more historians accepting the fact that Achilles
and Patroclus’s relationship was more than simply platonic. This analysis
lays out the evidence to support this claim and adds to the scholarship on
queer interpretations of the Iliad. This article compiles direct material from
the Iliad, information from other scholars, and works from historical figures
such as Plato. There are several pieces of evidence that show that Achilles and
Patroclus enjoyed a very close, very intimate relationship with each other. It
would be inaccurate and a disservice to the works of Homer to assert that
there were no romantic attachments between the two.