Achilles' Death (Muerte de Aquiles)

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Achilles' Death (Muerte de Aquiles)

This tapestry is particularly important since there is no replica in any of the other series, besides the one in Zamora. The whole piece is crowded with fighting warriors, except for the central building, the Trojan Temple of Apollo, and a narrow strip on the top right, in which the walls of the city of Ilium can be glimpsed. There is barely space for vegetation.

The heat of the battle

The left scene represents the 18th and 19th battles, in which Trojans charged against the besiegers, according to Benoît de Sainte-Maure. The death of Troilus is the most prominent. Achilles cuts his neck, and ties his beheaded body to his horse by his feet, dragging it along the battlefield. The names over the characters: ’Troillus’, ‘Agamenón’, ‘Menelaus’, etc. make it possible to keep track among the maelstrom of fighting figures. The inscriptions narrating the death of the youngest of Priam's sons are also helpful.

Achilles' Death

The fight also continues in the Temple of Apollo, in which the scene which gives its name to the tapestry takes place: Achilles is brought along by Hecuba, who had promised him the hand of her daughter Polyxena; he is ambushed there by Paris, who hits him on the heel with a dart and, once paralyzed, finishes him off with other arrows on his chest and forehead. The tragedy continues on the right-hand side: according to the medieval retelling, Paris succumbs to a powerful slash on the face by Ajax, who can be identified by the name on his sword. At the same time, Ajax is mortally wounded by an arrow thrown by his opponent.

No coat of arms

Like the other tapestries, and as is typical of the period, it lacks a border. Also, it is the only one out of the four kept in Zamora which does not have the escutcheon of the Count of Tendilla.

Series The Trojan War

Eighth tapestry in the series

Model Coëtivy Master (Henry or Conrard de Vulcop)

Manufacture Tournai workshops, c. 1470

Fabric Wool and silk, 6/7 warps per cm

Size 482 x 942 cm

Location Cathedral of Zamora, Cathedral Museum

Origin A donation of Count Alba de Aliste, it arrived at the cathedral in 1608

On display Located in the facilities of the Cathedral Museum annexed to the temple. Its remarkable size prevents contemplation from adequate distance, even more so as it probably the tapestry with the most characters in the whole series.


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