Myrmidons

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The Myrmidons (or Μυρμιδόνες, the name literally means "ant-people") were an ancient nation of Greek mythology. The story of their origins was first mentioned by the poet Ovid. Initially, the Myrmidons were simple worker ants on the island of Aegina.

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[edit] Myth of the repopulation of Aegina

Hera, queen of the gods, sent a plague to kill all the human inhabitants of Aegina because the island was named for one of the lovers of Zeus. King Aeacus, a son of Zeus and the intended target of Hera along with his mother, prayed to his father for a means to repopulate the island. As the ants of the island were unaffected by the sickness, Zeus responded by transforming them into a race of people, the Myrmidons. They were fierce and hardy as ants, and intensely loyal to their leader. Because of their ant-ish origins, they wore brown armour.

After a time, Aeacus exiled his two sons, Peleus and Telamon, for murdering their half-brother, Phocis. Peleus went to Phthia and a group of Myrmidons followed him to Thessaly. Peleus's son, Achilles, brought them to Troy to fight in the Trojan War. They feature as the loyal followers of Achilles in most accounts of the Trojan War from Homer to the 2004 film Troy.

Another tradition states that the Myrmidons had no such remarkable beginnings, but were merely the descendants of Myrmidon, a Thessalian nobleman, who married Peisidice, the daughter of Aeolus, king of Thessaly. Myrmidon was the father of Actor and Antiphus. As king of Phthia, Actor (or his son) invited Peleus to stay in Thessaly.

[edit] Modern Myrmidons

The Myrmidons of Greek myth were known for their blind and remorseless loyalty to their leaders, so that in pre-industrial Europe the word "myrmidon" carried many of the same connotations that "robot" does today. "Myrmidon" later came to mean "hired ruffian", according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

[edit] Myrmidons in literature

  • In Chonchu, a Manhwa (A Korean style of comics similar to the Japanese manga), the Mirmidons (with a little difference in the name's spelling) are a dreadful warrior tribe known for their strength and spirit. They are fierce fighters who live only for the delight of battling.
  • In Garth Nix's young adult novel, Shade's Children, alien Overlords reconstruct human children into mindless soldiers called Myrmidons.
  • In The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance, a planet's population is artificially divided into three castes by imposing linguistic and cultural barriers; the members of the warrior caste refer to themselves as "Myrmidons."
  • The Myrmidons were depicted twice in the DC Comics book Wonder Woman. The first time was when Wonder Woman astral projected into the mythological past to gain knowledge, and the second was in the Artemis/Requiem mini-series. There they are shown to now live in the underworld as servants, keeping guard over the dead.
  • In Jan Morris' novel 'Hav', which was first published as 'Last letters from Hav' in 1985, a second part appears in the 2006 version entitled 'Hav of the Myrmidons'. It portrays the (fictional) claim by a post-revolutionary regime to a mythical past derived from the legendary Myrmidons, companions of Achilles. The novel itself blurs the distinction between factual account and fiction, geographical precision and utopian abstraction to use Myrmidons as a metaphor for domination seeking to legitimate itself through ethnic descent from an ancient tribe. The grotesque 'Myrmidonic Tower' in Hav symbolises the instrumental use of ancient legends at the height of modernity.

[edit] Myrmidons in games

  • The term myrmidon enjoys widespread use in Computer and Video games, especially those in the Role-playing game genre. It is in common use as a title for character classes, a class rank in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing system and derivatives, and even occasionally used as the name for a piece of equipment or vehicle within a game.
  • Myrmidons are a class in the Fire Emblem series of games, and are able swordfighters.
  • Myrmidons are Zeus' unique units in the game Age of Mythology
  • The term Myrmidont is used in the game Half-Life 2 to refer to a species of large insectoid aliens called Antlions.
  • Myrmidon is a fighter class in Oblivion's Arena in the Imperial city
  • The term Myrmidon is used as the name of a battlecruiser introduced in the Revelations expansion for the MMORPG, EVE Online.
  • The term "Myrmidon" is a special dragon form in the game Breath of Fire 3 for the Playstation.
  • The term Myrmidon is name of a fighter class in the game Freespace 2.
  • In the computer game Myth (Computer game), the Myrmidons are a one of the units of the Dark, under the sway of the Fallen Lords.

[edit] References and external links

de:Myrmidonen es:Mirmidones fr:Myrmidons it:Mirmidoni nl:Myrmidonen no:Myrmidonere pl:Myrmidonowie pt:Mirmidão ru:Мирмидоняне fi:Myrmidonit

Myrmidons

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