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Andromache Mourning Hector
Jacques-Louis David : 1783

In Greek mythology, Andromache (Ανδρομάχη) was the wife of Hector and daughter of Eetion. During the Trojan War, Hector was killed by Achilles and Neoptolemus, Achilles' son. Neoptolemus took her as a concubine and Hector's brother, Helenus, as a slave. When Neoptolemus died, Andromache married Helenus and became Queen of Epirus.

With Hector, Andromache had a son named Astyanax. With Neoptolemus, she mothered Molossus and Olympias.

Andromache, Casa di Marco Lucrezio Frontone,

Hector and Andromache ( Friedrich Schiller)

Iliad Book 6:

There his wife ran up to meet him,
Andromache, daughter of great-hearted Eëtion, 
who'd included a large dowry with her.  
Eëtion had lived below the forests on Mount Placus, 
in Thebe, king of Cilician people.

.....

Taking Hector by the hand, she spoke to him.

"My dear husband, your warlike spirit                                
will be your death.  You've no compassion
for your infant child, for me, your sad wife, 

who before long will be your widow.
For soon the Achaeans will attack you,                           
all together, cut you down.  As for me,  

it would be better, if I'm to lose you,
to be buried in the ground.  For then I'll have
no other comfort, once you meet your death,
except my sorrow.  I have no father,
no dear mother.  For lord Achilles killed                               
my father, when he wiped out Thebe,
city with high gates, slaying
Eëtion.  
But he didn't strip his corpse
his heart
felt too much shame for that.  So he burned him                   
in his finely decorated armour,
raised a burial mound over the ashes.
Mountain nymphs, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus,  

planted elm trees all around his body.
I had seven brothers in my home.
All went down to Hades in one day,                           
for swift-footed lord Achilles killed them all,
while they were guarding their shambling oxen,   

their white shining sheep.  As for my mother,
who ruled wooded Thebe-under-Placus,                
he brought her here with his other spoils.
Then he released her for a massive ransom.
But archer goddess Artemis killed her
in her father's house.  So, Hector, you are now
my father, noble mother, brother,    

my protecting husband.  So pity me.                                     
Stay here in this tower.  Don't orphan your child
and make your wife a widow. Place men by the fig tree, 

where the city is most vulnerable, 
the wall most easily scaled.  Three times                             
their best men have come there to attack,  
led by the two Ajaxes, the sons of Atreus,
famous Idomeneus, and Diomedes,
Tydeus' courageous son, incited to it
by someone well versed in prophecy                             
or by their own hearts' inclination."

Great Hector of the shining helmet answered her:                               

                                                                  "Wife,  
all this concerns me, too.  But I'd be disgraced, 

dreadfully shamed among Trojan men,
and Trojan women in their trailing gowns,                            
if I should, like a coward, slink away from war.

My heart will never prompt me to do that, 
for I have learned always to be brave, 
to fight alongside Trojans at the front, 
striving to win fame for father and myself.  
My heart and mind know well the day is coming
when sacred Ilion will be destroyed,
along with Priam of the fine ash spear,  

Priam's people.  But what pains me most
about these future sorrows is not so much    

the Trojans, Hecuba, or king Priam, 
or even my many noble brothers,
who'll fall down in the dust slaughtered
by their enemies.  My pain concerns you,                             
when one of the bronze-clad Achaeans
leads you off in tears, ends your days of freedom.
If then you come to Argos as a slave,
working the loom for some other woman,    

fetching water from Messeis or Hypereia,
against your will, forced by powerful fate, 
then someone seeing you as you weep
may well say: 'That woman is Hector's wife.
He was the finest warrior in battle     

of all horse-taming Trojans in that war
when they fought for Troy.'  Someone will say that,
and it will bring still more grief to you,
to be without a man like that to save you
from days of servitude.  May I lie dead, 

hidden deep under a burial mound, 
before I hear about your screaming,                                      
as you are dragged away."                                                     

                                                        With these words,
glorious Hector stretched his hands out for his son.
The boy immediately shrank back against the breast
of the finely girdled nurse, crying out, terrified                                           
to see his own dear father, scared at the sight of bronze, 
the horse-hair plume nodding fearfully from his helmet top. 

The child's loving father laughed, his noble mother, too.  
Glorious Hector pulled the glittering helmet off  

and set it on the ground.  Then he kissed his dear son,
holding him in his arms.

Source

  • Homer. Iliad VI, 390–430;
  • Apollodorus. Bibliotheke III, xii, 6;
  • Apollodorus. Epitome V, 23; VI, 12;
  • Euripides. Andromache;
  • Virgil. Aeneid III, 294–355.

Andromache and Astyanax, Prud'hon, Pierre-Paul 1758-1823) Completed by Charles Boulanger de Boisfremont after Prud'hon's death, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Andromache is the subject of a tragedy by French classical playwright Jean Racine (1639-1699), entitled Andromaque.

Princess Andromache is working as a slave (Leighton)

Andromache after witnessing the death of Hector

Andromache and Astyanax. Pierre-Paul Prud'hon

a study of Andromache and Astyanax , Prud'hon

"A study for a painting, Hector, about to depart for his combat with Ajax, and having bidden farewell to Andromache, his wife, desires to embrace his son. But the child, frightened at the emotion of which he is witness, takes refuge in his mother's arms"


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175 Andromache is an asteroid.


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