The Curse of Achilles is a power and a curse that a person can acquire when they bathe in the River Styx.
In order to make Achilles immortal, his mother Thetis dipped the infant in the River Styx, holding him by the heel. Thetis was about to carry out the ritual, when her husband, Peleus, ignorantly interrupted and took away his son because he thought she was hurting the baby. Thetis angrily left Peleus and Achilles remained mortal. Achilles became the greatest Achaean (Greek) warrior, thanks to this ability, and slew Hector, one of the best Trojan fighters during the Trojan War. Achilles was later slain by a stray arrow from Paris, which struck his vulnerable heel.
Luke Castellan was blackmailed by Kronos to bathe in the River Styx, in order to host the Titan's soul without disintegrating.
Percy Jackson had to bathe in the River Styx, on Nico's insistence. Already the odds were heavily against Olympus and Percy had to compensate for this. This proves to be effective as Kronos suffered hundreds of casualties while Camp Half-Blood sustained only sixteen casualties.
The curse is named after Achilles, the Ancient Greek hero, who was famous for his invulnerability. When one bathes in the River Styx, they will be granted the power to remain uninjured by any means. However, they will always have one weak spot (for Percy, it was on the back, for Achilles, it was on his heel and for Luke, it was on his armpit). They must get their parent's blessing, however, before bathing in the river or it would kill whoever entered its' shores.
When one bathes in it, the person must envision one thing that ties them to the living. They also must imagine a single spot on their body that will be vulnerable and a rope tying them to the mortal plane. If they do not do this they will turn into ash and be forever lost in the River Styx. Though not proven, the thing a person usually envisions is often someone close. An example of this is when Percy Jackson bathes in the Styx, he envisioned Annabeth Chase, the girl he loves.
Exposure to the water of the Tiber negates the curse permanently, because it is a Greek blessing/curse that could not be retained in territory belonging to the Romans (i.e. Camp Jupiter), the enemies of the Greeks, according to Juno. We see an example of this when Percy loses the curse in the Son of Neptune.
Anyone who bears the Curse of Achilles is nearly invulnerable, except in one weak point. They also get highly increased strength, speed, agility, reflexes, endurance, and fighting skills, also linking to their abilities, making it less tiresome to use immense powers. Percy was powerful enough to defeat Hades, Hyperion, a hundred skeletal warriors created by Hades, and a large fraction of the Titan army equivalent to hundreds of monsters. The curse also allowed Achilles to slay a large amount of Trojans and Amazons during the Trojan war.
The most obvious weakness is the mortal spot the person chooses, as it remains the only place that can be injured. If this spot is even slightly injured, the person will die immediately.
The less obvious weakness is a secondary function - in addition to gaining invulnerability, someone with the Curse of Achilles also gains extreme physical powers - heightened strength and reflexes - and a body that almost automatically fights. However, this places an enormous amount of stress on the body, requiring a warrior under the curse to be careful not to overexert himself, which happens more quickly than before. Chiron said that Achilles himself took about twenty naps a day; it sometimes seemed that when Achilles wasn't fighting, he was either sleeping or eating.
This means that, though the person would have enhanced fighting skills, it would be at the cost of expending energy at a very fast rate, which might cause the warrior to die of exhaustion. It is also mentioned that a person under the curse will have certain emotions or behaviors enhanced, normally having to do with their fatal flaw. One other major weakness is that while you are immune to injury you can still be killed by other means, as your body is still mortal:
- Asphyxiation (e.g. drowning, choking)
- Diseases (heart attack, strokes, cancer,etc.)
- Electrocution (during The Last Olympian, the river gods proclaim they can kill Percy Jackson with electric power cords in The Last Olympian)
- Burning (during The Last Olympian, when Kronos was trying to get his scythe he was burned by Hestia)
- Gods' true form (obvious, as the bearer is invulnerable not immortal, so a god's divine form will still kill them)
- Gods' wrath (while a bearer is invulnerable, a god can still kill them with a snap of a finger as in The Last Olympian, Percy was afraid of bringing the entire fighting force to Mt. Olympus, afraid that the gods will be angry and he would get "blasted to bits", and since god's are capable of killing mortal's with a thought, this is very probable.)
- Exhaustion (Chiron mentioned that Achillies had to sleep "twenty times" a day, so if the bearer of the curse is constantly fighting for too long, than they can burn themselves out.)
|Luke Castellan||Below the left armpit|
|Percy Jackson||Small of the back, opposite the navel (formerly)|
- When Percy was trying to pick his Achilles' heel, he said he didn't want to pick an embarrassing spot like his armpit. Later, when Luke asks for Annabeth's knife so he can kill himself, his Achilles' heel is under his left armpit. However, Percy says this was a good idea as it can be hard to hit someone's armpit.
- Apparently, while being invulnerable, the bearer can still feel pain to a certain extent. Examples include when Percy was fighting the giant Cacus, and was very disoriented after being hit into a wall, almost knocking him out. Another time, Percy cried in pain when jumping onto Blackjack. Also Kronos, despite having Luke bathe in River Styx, was still burned by Hestia when he tried to grab his scythe. However, the amount of pain felt will be greatly reduced.
- The curse can apparently be removed when entering certain magical places connected to Rome, as the curse is a Greek blessing. One of these places is the Tiber River at Camp Jupiter, which has the ability to wash the curse away. Percy is the only known demigod to lose it without being killed.
- Your Achilles tendon is named after Achilles, due to it being close to the heel.
- A common quote is someone's 'Achilles Heel,' which is someones weakness, named after Achilles because of his weak heel.
- All the known bearers of the curse in both the series and mythology were male. No female has ever been known to bear the curse.
- The curse of Achilles, despite its Greek origin, is quite similar to the invulnerability of the Norse god Balder, who also had only one fatal weakness, and, according to some myths, also killed with an arrow of mistletoe.
|Demigod Abilities:||ADHD | Ancient Greek | Aphrodite's Blessing | Ares' Blessing | Artemis' Blessing | Clear Sight | Dreams | Dyslexia | Latin|
|Object Manipulation:||Air | Anatomy | Atmosphere | Bones | Darkness | Dead | Earth | Electricity | Fire | Healing | Ice | Light | Love | Machines | Magic | Metals | Plants | Poison | Sleep | Sound | Temperature | Time | War | Water | Weapons|
|Other Skills:||Archery | Charmspeak | Curse of Achilles | Empathy Link | Mist Control | Prophecy | Seasons Alteration | Shadow Travel | Shapeshifting | Vocal Mimicry | Weaving | Zoolingualism|