Achilles Among the Daughters of Lycomedes

According to a prophecy, the Greeks could not take Troy without Achilles, but he was doomed to die in that war. Achilles' mother Thetis therefore sent him to the island of Skyros, where he lived disguised as a maiden with the daughters of King Lycomedes. Odysseus was sent to retrieve Achilles for the Greek cause. Disguised as a trader, he laid out feminine jewelry and ornaments along with masculine weapons, then arranged for a military alarm to be sounded. Benbridge has shown the moment when Achilles, still wearing a woman's clothing, hears the alarm and claps a helmet on his head, thus revealing his true identity. The story appears in many versions; the most detailed is by the Roman poet Statius in his Achilleid. It is the subject of paintings by Poussin and others.


Philadelphia Museum of Art


Philadelphia Museum of Art




oil on canvas

Benbridge, Henry (American painter, 1743-1812), “Achilles Among the Daughters of Lycomedes,” Classicizing Philadelphia, accessed January 23, 2019,