Achilles' name can be analyzed as a combination of ἄχος (akhos) "grief" and λαός (Laos) "a people, tribe, nation, etc." In other words, Achilles is an embodiment of the grief of the people, grief being a theme raised numerous times in the Iliad (frequently by Achilles). Achilles' role as the hero of grief forms an ironic juxtaposition with the conventional view of Achilles as the hero of kleos (glory, usually glory in war).
Laos has been construed by Gregory Nagy, following Leonard Palmer, to mean a corps of soldiers, a muster. With this derivation, the name would have a double meaning in the poem: When the hero is functioning rightly, his men bring grief to the enemy, but when wrongly, his men get the grief of war.
- (5th BC Attic): IPA: /akʰil̚le͜ʊ́s/
- (1st BC Egyptian): IPA: /akʰil̚lɛ́ʍs/
- (4th AD Koine): IPA: /axil̚léɸs/
- (10th AD Byzantine): IPA: /açil̚léps/
- (15th AD Constantinopolitan): IPA: /açiléps/
|Case / #||Singular|
- Ἀχίλλειος (Akhilleios)