The son of Achilles and Deidamea. The name of Pyrrhus is said to have been given to him by Lycomedes, because he had fair (πυρρός) hair, or because Achilles, while disguised as a girl, had borne the name of Pyrrha.1

He was called Neoptolemus ("new war") because either Achilles or Pyrrhus himself had fought in early youth.2

The phrase a Pyrrhic victory is named for Pyrrhus and means "a victory won at such great cost to the victor that it is tantamount to a defeat."



  1. Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 26.1; Hyginus. Fabulae, 97; Eustathius on Homer, p. 1187; Servius on Virgil's Aeneid ii,. 469.
  2. Eustathius, l.c.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.