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The Achaeans is the name of the people inhabiting in the area of Achaea in Greece. However, its definition changed throughout history. Homer used the term in his epics, Iliad and Odyssey, to collectively describe the Greeks.

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Other collective names were also used, the most common being Danaans and Argives. The Greeks Homer referred to probably belonged to the Mycenaean civilisation that was prevalent in Greece from 1600 BC until 1100 BC.

There has been no consensus among scholars as to who the Homeric Achaeans really were and whether they had a connection to the historic Achaeans and inhabitants of Achaea. In Greek mythology, the Achaeans were the descendants of Achaeus, grandson of Hellen and father of all Greeks.

According to Hyginus, during the ten year conflict in Troy, 22 Achaeans killed 362 Trojans.

The Achaeans begin to nurture some hope for the future when a nighttime reconnaissance mission by Diomedes and Odysseus yields information about the Trojans' plans, but the next day brings disaster.

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Several Achaean commanders became wounded, and the Trojans break through the Achaean ramparts.

Photo by BenPonsford

They advance all the way up to the boundary of the Achaean camp and set fire to one of the ships.

Photo by francoisaix

The Trojans pushed the Achaeans back, forcing them to take refuge behind the ramparts that protect their ships.

In the historical period, the Achaeans were the inhabitants of the region of Achaea, a region in the north-central part of the Peloponnese. The city-states of this region later formed a confederation known as the Achaean League, which was influential during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

Photo by pviverito