In an Arcadian scene, a young girl grasps a sword while her companions examine the jewels, fabrics, and mirrors offered by two merchants. As she vigorously draws the blade from its scabbard she looks confidently at the turbaned man before her with a slight smile.
The men are actually the young Achilles and Ulysses, the King of Ithaca. Hero of the Trojan War, as recounted by Homer in the Iliad, Achilles had been hidden by his mother, the nymph Thetis, who had been warned by an oracle that her son would die in front of the walls of Troy. Dressed as a girl, he shared the life of the daughters of King Lycomedes for nine years, until Ulysses unmasked him. He joined the war against Troy, where he died, shot in the heel by an arrow fired by Paris and guided by Apollo.