The Sacrifice of Polyxena

Polyxena is a Trojan princess from Greek mythology. She is the youngest daughter of King Priam of Troy and his queen Hecuba.

With Hecuba, wife of King Priam of Troy, Apollo had a son named Troilius. An oracle prophesied that Troy would not be defeated as long as Troilius reached the age of twenty alive. He and his sister, Polyxena were ambushed and Troilius was killed by Achilles, who later fell in love with Polyxena. During a truce, Achilles was killed visiting her.

The ghost of Achilles appeared to the survivors of the war, demanding Polyxena, the Trojan princess, be sacrificed before anybody could leave. Neoptolemus did so.



Alexander, the tyrant of Pherae (this last should be his only appellation; he should not be permitted to disgrace the name of Alexander), as he watched a tragic actor, felt himself much moved to pity through enjoyment of the acting. He jumped up, therefore, and left the theatre at a rapid pace, exclaiming that it would be a dreadful thing, if, when he was slaughtering so many citizens, he should be seen to weep over the sufferings of Hecuba and Polyxena. And he came near visiting punishment upon the actor because the man had softened his heart, as iron in the fire. Plutarch, Moralia: "On the Fortune of Alexander."

Sacrifice of Polyxena at the tomb of Achilles , Etruscan Sarcophagus

Neoptolemus holds Polyxena, while Hecuba ask him to release her daughter, her son Polites is dead (still with tears coming from his eyes). Pio Fedi, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy

Achilles, Polyxena and Troilus

Polyxena and Troilos CA6113

Death of Polyxena, Paul Francois Quinsac

Mythology Images

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