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Prophet of evil, when have you ever said
good things to me? You love to foretell the worst,
always the worst! You never show good news.  
Achilles to Calchas, Homer, Iliad Book 1

Detail of Calchas from the Pompeii painting based on the work of Timanthes

In Greek mythology, Kalkhas Thestórides, or Calchas ("brazen") for short, was a powerful prophet.

Through a prophecy, he told the Greeks several conditions needed to be met in order to achieve victory in the Trojan War, which he had already predicted and would take ten years. The first condition was that Achilles (who had been hidden away by his mother, Thetis, by enchantment) was necessary for victory. The next condition was that Chryseis was to return her father Chryses in order to get Apollo to stop sending arrows to them. That last was that in order to gain a favourable wind to deploy the Greek ships, Agamemnon would need to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigeneia, to Artemis Artemis, whom Agamemnon had offended.

Calchas died of shame after the prophet Mopsus beat him in a contest of soothsaying.


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