In Greek mythology, Patroclus, or Pátroklos (gr. Πάτροκλος "glory of the father") was Achilleus' best friend and possibly lover, son of Menoetius.
In his youth, Patroclus killed a friend of his, Clysonymus, during an argument. His father had to escape into exile with Patroclus to escape punishment, and they took shelter at the palace of King Peleus, Achilleus' father. Peleus sent the boys to live in the wilderness and be raised by Chiron, the wise king of the centaurs.
Homer's Iliad inspired this pottery art of the chariot races at Patroclus's funeral games.
Patroclus fought with the Greeks in the Trojan War and killed Sarpedon(a son of Zeus), Kebriones(the chariot driver of Hector), and many other insignificant Trojans. When Achilleus refused to fight because of his feud with Agamemnon, Patroclus donned his armor and was killed by Hektor and Euphorbos, with help from Apollo. After retrieving his body, which had been protected on the field by Menelaus and Telamonian Aias, Achilleus for some time refused to bury it, but he was persuaded to do so by an apparition of Patroclus, who told him he could not enter the underworld without a proper cremation. Achilleus cut a lock of his hair and sacrificed horses, dogs, and twelve Trojan captives before placing Patroclus' body on the funeral pyre.
Achilleus then organized an athletic competition to honour his dead friend, which included a chariot race (won by Diomedes), boxing (won by Epeios), wrestling (a draw between Telamonian Aias and Odysseus), a foot race (won by Odysseus), a duel (a draw between Aias and Diomedes), a discus throw (won by Polypoites), an archery contest (won by Meriones), and a javelin throw (won by Agamemnon, unopposed). The games are described in Book 23 of the Iliad, one of the earliest references to Greek sport.
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