|Disclaimer: While it is the intention of the foremost members of this website to keep pages as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be taken fully as mythical, legendary or folkloric canon (let alone as a resource for any paper, report or journal). Cite pages at your own peril.|
The Myrmidon is one of a race with origins in Greek mythology, legend and folklore. Though, while their exploits are well known and widely retold, especially in the accounts of Homer's Iliad, their origins seem to remain up for something of a debate.
True enough, the name Myrmidon comes from the Greek μυρμηδών or 'murmedon', meaning 'ant bed' or 'ant's nest' (which is derived from the Greek word for 'ant', μύρμηξ or 'myrmex'), but many people disagree as to which of the two separate origin stories accurately account for how the first Myrmidons came into existence.
One myth states that they descend from a princess, Eurymedusa of Phthia (in Greece's Thessaly), daughter of either a mortal king, or of the river god Achelous. Zeus visited her in the form of an ant (or in the form of her mortal husband), seduced her into an affair, and temporarily transformed himself and her into ants, so they could be together without being spied by Hera. The result of their union was conceiving a Demigod son, King Myrmidon, after whom his tribe of descendants would later be named.
Though, another myth (related by Ovid) suggests that the land of Aegina suffered a great plague, resulting in many deaths. Aeacus, the current king at that time (as well as father of Peleus, and thus grandfather to Achilles), prayed to Zeus to restore the population of his people; in response, Zeus said that the king's people would number the ants whose home resided on his sacred tree, the mighty oak. From the nearest ant-bed on the nearest oak, ants rose up from small insects into strong, brave and diligent people.
Many believe that one story is true over the other, yet it is actually quite possible that both myths are true, and that each is just an extension of a tribe with a common ancestor (Zeus). This is supported by the fact that, after the time of the respective Myrmidon tribes' origins, the ant became a sacred animal in the Greek lands of both Thessaly and Aegina.
Seemingly no more than handsome humans in appearance, their eyes are always a shade of gray or silver. And a Myrmidon's natural appearance seems more athletic than a normal human's, with much less effort required to maintain an enviable physique of peak conditioning.
Unsurprisingly for so militaristic a people, Myrmidons are disciplined and focused. They obey orders without question, quickly and efficiently doing whatever they are told. A Myrmidon would sooner die than disobey an order or break a promise. Anyone or anything that gets in the way of those orders will be swiftly dealt with.
They are very pragmatic, doing whatever they see needs doing in order to survive, even if it means elimination. And while they work best in groups, smaller numbers and even singular Myrmidons still think quite well on their feet, making for daunting strategists and deadly combatants.
Myrmidons have an innate understanding of weapons, fighting and tactics. They are also at least slightly stronger, faster and more durable than a normal human, with a stronger and faster metabolism.
And due to their unique divinely-influenced psychology, they are resistant to most mind-manipulating effects (be they psychic, or the result of drugs or alcohol), as well as completely immune to any kind of mind control that would make them compromise their moral integrity.
Particularly atavistic myrmidons have also been known to possess a psychic rapport with their ant ancestors, allowing them to communicate with them, vocally and psychically, perhaps also command them.
They might also possibly channel the proportionate strength ants possess, allowing them to lift/press as much as twenty, fifty, even one hundred times their own body weight (and naturally, their strength and fitness would only develop further with proper diet and exercise).