(b. ca. 1547, Mantova, d. 1612, Roma)

Achilles Bearing the Body of Patroclus

Engraving, 239 x 391 mm
British Museum, London

This engraving was made after Giulio Romano's fresco in the Palazzo Ducale, Mantua.

Patroclus of Phthia, son of Menoetius and Sthenele, is renowned as the close friend of Achilles in the Iliad. Patroclus accompanied Achilles to the Trojan War. When Achilles refused to fight, Patroclus begged him to let him wear his armour, and so, dressed as Achilles, but without the hero's valour, Patroclus was unevenly matched when he fought Hector, and so, he died. Menelaus recovered the corpse of Patroclus.

Because Hector killed Patroclus, Achilles was enraged and re-joined the battle to get his revenge. Achilles killed Hector and then desecrated his corpse, by dragging it around by the belt Hector had received as a gift from Ajax.