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In his youth, Patroclus accidentally killed his friend, Clysonymus, during an argument over a game of dice. His father fled with Patroclus into exile to evade revenge, and they took shelter at the palace of their kinsman King Peleus of Phthia. There Patroclus apparently first met Peleus's son Achilles. Patroclus was somewhat older than Achilles.[full citation needed][non-primary source needed] Peleus sent the boys to live in the wilderness and be raised by Chiron, the cave-dwelling wise King of the Centaurs.
The body of Patroclus is lifted by Menelaus and Meriones while Odysseus and others look on (Etruscan relief, 2nd century BC)
When the tide of war turned away from the Acheans, and the Trojans threatened their ships, Patroclus convinced Achilles to let him don Achilles's armor and lead the Myrmidons into combat. In his lust for combat, Patroclus pursued the Trojans all the way back to the gates of Troy, defying Achilles's order to break off combat once the ships were saved. Patroclus killed many Trojans and allies, including the Lycian hero Sarpedon (a great grandson of Zeus) and Cebriones (the chariot driver of Hector and illegitimate son of Priam). Patroclus was stunned by Apollo, wounded by Euphorbos, and finished off by Hector. At the time of his death, Patroclus had killed 53 enemy soldiers.[full citation needed][non-primary source needed]
After retrieving his body, which had been protected on the field by Menelaus and Ajax,[full citation needed][non-primary source needed] the enraged Achilles returned to battle and avenged his companion's death by killing Hector. Achilles then desecrated Hector's body by dragging it behind his chariot instead of allowing the Trojans to honorably dispose of it by burning it. Achilles's grief was great, and for some time, he refused to dispose of Patroclus's body, but he was persuaded to do so by an apparition of Patroclus, who told Achilles he could not enter Hades without a proper cremation. Achilles sheared off his hair and sacrificed horses, dogs, and 12 Trojan captives before placing Patroclus's body on the funeral pyre.
In the Iliad, the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is a vital part of the story. The relationship contributes to the overall theme of the humanization of Achilles. While Homer's Iliad never once explicitly stated that Achilles and his close friend Patroclus were lovers, this concept was asserted by some later authors. In later Greek writings such as Plato's Symposium, the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is held up as a model of romantic love.[full citation needed][non-primary source needed] However, Xenophon, in his Symposium, had Socrates argue that it was inaccurate to label their relationship as romantic. Nevertheless, their relationship is said to have inspired Alexander the Great in his close relationship with his companion Hephaestion. After Patroclus killed Clysonymus, Patroclus and his father fled to Peleus palace. Patroclus then grew up with Achilles. Their relationship was so strong that it was as if they were more than brothers (not being so). Peleus made Patroclus Achilles' squire to allow Patroclus a right to fight with Achilles in the Trojan War 
The funeral of Patroclus is described in the Iliad;[full citation needed][non-primary source needed] Patroclus is cremated on a funeral pyre, and his bones are collected into a golden urn in two layers of fat. The barrow is built on the location of the pyre. Achilles then sponsors funeral games, consisting of a chariot race, boxing, wrestling, running, a duel between two champions to the first blood, discus throwing, archery and spear throwing.
The death of Achilles is given in sources other than the Iliad.[clarification needed] His bones were mingled with those of Patroclus so that the two would be companions in death as in life and the remains were transferred to Leuke, an island in the Black Sea. Their souls are reportedly seen wandering the island at times.
A general of Croton identified either as Autoleon or Leonymus reportedly visited the island of Leuke while recovering from wounds received in battle against the Locri Epizefiri. The event was placed during or after the 7th century BC. He reported having seen Patroclus in the company of Achilles, Ajax the Lesser, Telamonian Ajax, Antilochus, and Helen.
^ abMartin, Thomas R. (2012). Alexander the Great: The Story of an Ancient Life. Cambridge, ENG: Cambridge University Press. pp. 99–100. ISBN0521148448. [See next reference for a relevant quotation.]
^As Martin (2012), op. cit., argues (see preceding footnote), "The ancient sources do not report, however, what modern scholars have asserted: that Alexander and his very close friend Hephaestion were lovers. Achilles and his equally close friend Patroclus provided the legendary model for this friendship, but Homer in the Iliad never suggested that they had sex with each other. (That came from later authors.) If Alexander and Hephaestion did have a sexual relationship, it would have been transgressive by majority Greek standards…" (p. 99f).