in Last Chronicle of Barset

Chapter 84 – Conclusion


A word based on the Greek word for “ant” which came to be the name of the people who inhabited the kingdom of Phthia in southern Thessaly.  (According to mythology, they had originally been metamorphosed from ants into humans.)  The Myrmidons were also led by Achilles to fight in the Trojan War and were known as some of the fiercest of the Achaean fighters.  Trollope uses this term to refer to Mr. Musselboro in relation to his patron Mrs. Van Siever.  Referring to Mr. Musselboro as Mrs. Van Siever’s “myrmidon” describes Mr. Musselboro’s function as a worker, specifically Mrs. Van Siever’s worker. In this context, “myrmidon” can be meant to refer to Mr. Musselboro as worker ant. Myrmidon can also mean someone who is a faithful follower or attendant.  [AM & RR 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


Had I written an epic about clergymen

Trollope comments that he did not write an epic when he wrote the Barsetshire novels.  Trollope states that if he had been writing an epic, he would have taken St. Paul for a model, but instead he was inspired by the people of his times.  Trollope concludes that he did not write an epic because he used material from the real world involving not larger-than-life heroes but rather people, including clergy, with secular concerns and regular human foibles.  [AM & RR 2006; rev. 2011]