In Greek mythology, Hector (Έκτορας) ("holding fast"), or Hektor, was a Trojan prince and one of the greatest fighters in the Trojan War, equal to Ajax and surpassed only by Achilles.

He was the eldest son of Priam and Hecuba. In the Iliad, Homer calls him "breaker of horses," largely to maintain the meter of his lines and because Troy in general was known for horse raising. Hector is never specifically shown breaking horses. With his wife, Andromache, he fathered Astyanax. He had a horse named Lampos and friends named Misenus and Poludamas. His charioteer was Cebriones, his half-brother.

Hector provides a stark contrast for Achilles, who was from first to last a man of war. Hector represents Troy and what it stood for. Some modern scholars have even suggested that he, not Achilles, is the true hero of the Iliad. Hector was fighting, not for personal glory, but in defense of his homeland. His rebuke to Poludamas, "Fight for your country - that is the first and only omen" became a proverb to patriotic Greeks. Through him we can see glimpses of what life in Troy and elsewhere in the Bronze Age Mediterranean civilization depicted by Homer might have been like in more peaceful times. The scene where he bids farewell to his wife Andromache and his infant son is one of the more moving scenes in the Iliad.


Hector takes the armor from his parents Priam and Hecuba, Euthymides painter

During the Trojan War, Hector killed Protesilaus and was wounded by Ajax. In the portion of the war described in the Iliad, he fights with many of the Greek warriors and usually (but not always) succeeds in killing or wounding his opponent.

Nonetheless, Hector's fate is never in doubt. Achilles, raging over the death of Patroclus, kills him and drags his body around the walls of Troy. Ultimately, with the assistance of the god Hermes, Priam convinces Achilles to permit him to bury Hector. The final passage in the Iliad is his funeral, after which the doom of Troy is just a matter of time. In the final sack of Troy, as described in Book II of the Aeneid, his father and many of his brothers are killed, his son is hurled from the walls in fear that he would avenge Hector, and his wife is carried off by Neoptolemus to live as a slave.

Greek Mythology

Hector and Andromache with Astyanax, MN Jatta

Greek Mythology

Hector and Cassandra, Pomarici Santomasi, Eretria Painter

Greek Mythology

Departure of Hector, Hecuba , Priam , Cebriones and others

Greek Mythology

Death of Hector

Homer. Iliad; Apollodorus. Bibliotheke III, xii, 5-6; Apollodorus. Epitome IV, 2.

In the Middle Ages Hector's legend was held so highly that Jean de Longuyon included him as one of the Nine Worthies. In the Divine Comedy Dante sees the shade of Hector with the other noble Roman and Trojan personages in the portion of Limbo reserved for the most virtuous pagans.


Hector's corpse brought back to Troy (detail). Roman artwork (c. 180–200 AD), relief ornating a sarcophagus, marble. Part of the Borghese collection. (Wikipedia)

Hector and Andromache ( Friedrich Schiller)

Iliad in Stamps

Trojan asteroid 624 Hektor


Achilles and Hector, Louvre G153

Greek Mythology

Euphorbus, BM GR1860.4-4.1

Greek Mythology

Hector, Hartmann Schedel , Die Schedelsche Weltchronik , 1493

The Farewell Of Hector To Andromache And Astyanax Print by Carl Friedrich Deckler

The Farewell of Hector to Andromache and Astyanax, Carl Friedrich Deckler

Hector's Farewell To Andromache Print by Heinrich Friedrich Fuger

Hector's Farewell to Andromache, Heinrich Friedrich Fuger

Apollo Preceding Hector With His Aegis And Dispersing The Greeks. Fuseli's Lectures Print by John Flaxman

Apollo Preceding Hector with His Aegis and Dispersing the Greeks. Fuseli's Lectures, John Flaxman

Hector Exposed On The Banks Of The Xanthus River Print by Jean-Baptiste-Henri Deshays

Hector Exposed on the Banks of the Xanthus River, Jean-Baptiste-Henri Deshays

Hector Taking Leave Of Andromache Print by Jean II Restout

Hector Taking Leave of Andromache, Jean II Restout

Achilles Confronting Hector Outside Troy Print by Juan de la Corte

Achilles confronting Hector outside Troy, Juan de la Corte

Andromache Lamenting The Death Of Hector Print by Circle of Heinrich Friedrich Fuger

Andromache lamenting the Death of Hector, Circle of Heinrich Friedrich Fuger

King Priam Retrieving The Body Of His Son Hector Print by Giovanni Battista Langetti

King Priam retrieving the Body of his Son Hector, Giovanni Battista Langetti

Greek Mythology

Hector’s Parting from Andromache Anton Pavlovich Losenko

Greek Mythology

Hector and Andromache , Giorgio de Chirico

Nature and culture in the Iliad: the tragedy of Hector, James M. Redfield


James M. Redfield Nature and Culture in the Iliad: The Tragedy of Hector , Duke University Press; Expanded edition (June, 1994)

Homer, The Iliad , Bernard Knox (Introduction), Robert Fagles (Translator) Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (November 1, 1998) ISBN: 0140275363

The Heroes of the Greeks, Carl Kerenyi

Apollodorus, The Library of Greek Mythology, Robin Hard (Translator), Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (January, 1999) ISBN: 0192839241

Greek Mythology

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