Exekias, Achilles Slaying Penthesilea, 530-525 BCE, terracotta, 41 x 29 x 18 cm, British Museum, London
Achilles is a classical hero--the greatest hero of the Trojan War and the main character of Homer's Iliad. He was the son of Peleus, a king, and Thetis, a sea nymph. His mother attempted to make him immortal by dipping him in the river Styx, but held him by his heel, thus leaving that spot vulnerable. When an oracle predicted his death at Troy, she attempted to hide him, but he was discovered by Odysseus and joined the Greek army. Ten years in, he refused to fight after a dispute with the Greek leader Agamemnon, but the death of his cousin, Patroclus, by Hector brought him back into the fray. He killed Hector in a duel, but was eventually killed himself by an arrow in his heel, perhaps shot by Paris.
Various episodes from his life frequently appear in art, including his discovery by Odysseus on Skyros, fight with Agamemnon, and battle with Hector (and subsequently dragging his corpse around the walls of Troy), as well as various other combat scenes.