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My name is Polyxena. I am the last of the five daughters born to Hecuba, second wife of King Priam of Troy. My older sisters are Ilione, wife of the Thracian lord, Polymnestor; the chaste Cassandra; Creusa, wife of Aeneas of the Dardanians, allies of our city in our long war with the Greeks; and the lovely Laodice, married to the Greek Telephus of the Tegeans so he would not involve himself in this costly war. Were it not for Laodice, I would be regarded the most beautiful of King Priam’s daughters.

I have many brothers: Hector, Paris, Helenus, Deiphobus, Polites, Troilus, and Polydorus being the more notable among them. Rather I should say I have but one brother, for the others were slain, three by none other than great Achilles himself. Troilus fell earlier in the war, slain by Achilles before his famed falling-out with Agamemnon. Polydorus, the youngest and most beloved of my parents, who was forbidden to participate in the fighting but inadvertently found himself caught up among our warriors during one of the many battles waged back and forth before the city, was struck down by a spear cast by that mighty Greek.

And there was Hector, the hope of our city, whose prowess and strength endeared him to all, most especially to my father—oh, how we depended on him!—slain before the city walls in single combat with Achilles, in full view of us. Who can forget the sight of his body dragged behind the wheels of the victor’s chariot? Then Paris fell, and later Deiphobus, when our….

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