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Briseis, whose real name was Hippodamia, was the daughter of Brises, a priest from the town of Lyrnessus which was captured and looted by Achilles. Brises was the brother of Chryses, the father of Chryseis. Hippodamia, who was called Briseis after her father, was married to Mynes. He was killed by Achilles and Briseis was carried off by Achilles. To comfort her, Patroclus promised to make sure that Achilles married her, and in effect she became Achilles' favourite slave, dearly loved by him.

When the assembly of the Greeks compelled Agamemnon to return Chryseis to her father and Agamemnon demanded in return that Achilles should hand over Briseis, Achilles, in his grief and anger, refused to fight. Agamemnon promised to hand her over first when he sent an embassy in an attempt to appease Achilles; and it was she, and she alone, whom Achilles accepted at the time of his reconciliation with the son of Atreus.

Traditions subsequent to Homer portray her as a tall, dark well-dressed woman with sparkling eyes, a clear complexion and eyebrows that nearly met. She is said to have offered the tributes at the funeral of Achilles.


Table of Sources
- Hom. Il. 1, 319ff.; 2, 688ff.; 19, 291ff.
- Quint. Smyrn. Posthom. 3, 551ff.
- schol. on Hom. Il. 1, 392
- Eustath. on Hom. p. 77, 30
- Tzetzes on Lyc. Alex. 365; Antehom. 350ff.
- Paus. 5, 24, 11; 10, 25, 4
- Ovid, Her. 3