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Aeneas was one of the combatants of the Trojan War. Aeneas was born from the union of a mortal and a goddess, respectively Anchises and Aphrodite. Some say that it was Zeus himself who aroused in Aphrodite the desire to be joined with a mortal man, so to prevent her from saying mockingly that she had succeeded in joining all the gods to mortals. Aphrodite came to Anchises in the form of a beautiful maiden, asserting that she was a mortal woman—the daughter of one Otreus. She explained to the incredulous Anchises that she spoke his language because she had been brought up by a Trojan nurse. Anchises was taken by desire; but when they had made love Aphrodite revealed her true identity and Anchises feared that the gods would destroy him for having slept with a goddess. But Aphrodite, who herself grieved for having laid in the bed of a mortal man, assured him that he was dear to the gods and that nothing would happen to him, provided he would say their child was the offspring of a nymph. Aphrodite disposed that the Nymphs would rear Aeneas and, as soon as he was a boy, he would be restored to his father.
According to some; Anchises, having drunk much wine, told his friends that he was the lover of the goddess, and for this reason he was struck by Zeus's thunderbolt. Others say, however, that he killed himself, and still others assert that the thunderbolt just crippled him. During the Trojan War, Aeneas who some time before had been driven from Mount Ida by Achilles, was wounded by Diomedes and, having fainted, would have died if his mother had not come to his rescue. Aphrodite herself was wounded by Diomedes on this occasion, but then Apollo took over the protection of Aeneas, removing him from the battle to the citadel, where his temple stood. In the sanctuary, Leto and Artemis healed Aeneas and made him even stronger. However, for those fighting, Apollo fashioned a phantom of Aeneas, so that Achaeans and Trojans killed each other round it, until the real Aeneas, having recovered, returned to the field. On another occasion, when the gods had become more involved in the fighting, Apollo urged Aeneas to challenge Achilles and to fight with him in single combat. Aeneas was almost killed, but Poseidon rescued him.