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Metamorphoses: Book 12: Achilles’ Victory Celebration Summary & Analysis

After a long fight, the Trojans and the Greeks suspend the war to rest. The Greeks sacrifice to Pallas and sit down for a banquet. They entertain themselves by talking of courage and manliness and retelling Achilles’s defeat of Cycnus. The Greeks are baffled by Cycnus’s inability to be wounded. Nestor, one of the Greeks, comments that he once knew a man (who was born a woman) who survived a thousand blows unwounded. The soldiers ask Nestor for the full story.
Achilles and his victorious fellow soldiers discuss manliness and courage and how these virtues helped Achilles defeat Cycnus. These virtues seem to be uniquely human virtues that the gods don’t necessarily possess. In any case, they are virtues that humans have learned to use to their advantage in the absence of divine powers.
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