▲ Death of Achilles, Innocenzo Fraccaroli, 1805-1888.
Drawing a metal stylus back and forth in boustrophedon fashion over woven paper, he wrote to himself and for himself:
Of chariots and spears, of gods and wars, I want no more.
Patroklos, my surrogate brother and only true friend, is dead, and his death avenged. Briseis, my future bride, has been returned to me by that treacherous bastard Agamemnon. My wrath has cooled and there is nothing more for me here.
We shall make a quiet life running a farm—olives, vines, some sheep—nestled on a sleepy island. Briseis and I will raise a family, and my armor and my weapons will rest safely beyond use.
They will, in time, forget the name of Peleiades’ son, and for the first time in my life that prospect pleases me. Whatever happens, this will be my final day at Troy.
And, with that, he strode from his tent, mounted his chariot, and rode into battle. When Paris’ arrow struck his heel it seemed a small thing, but the bleeding never stopped. Achilles left Troy in the same urn as Patroklos, his wife and his armor parceled out to other warriors.
This entry is part of Jack Rusher’s archive, originally published January 23rd, 2014, in New York.