Rendered into English Prose for
the use of those who cannot
read the original


Samuel Butler


The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws
from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help
the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought
countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send
hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and
vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on
which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell
out with one another.

And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was the
son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent a
pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son of
Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had come to the
ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had brought with him a
great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the sceptre of Apollo
wreathed with a suppliant's wreath, and he besought the Achaeans, but
most of all the two sons of Atreus, who were their chiefs.

"Sons of Atreus," he cried, "and all other Achaeans, may the gods who
dwell in Olympus grant you to sack the city of Priam, and to reach your
homes in safety; but free my daughter, and accept a ransom for her, in
reverence to Apollo, son of Jove."

On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for respecting the
priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but not so Agamemnon, who
spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly away. "Old man," said he,
"let me not find you tarrying about our ships, nor yet coming
hereafter. Your sceptre of the god and your wreath shall profit you
nothing. I will not free her. She shall grow old in my house at Argos
far from her own home, busying herself with her loom and visiting my
couch; so go, and do not provoke me or it shall be the worse for you."

The old man feared him and obeyed. Not a word he spoke, but went by the
shore of the sounding sea and prayed apart to King Apollo whom lovely
Leto had borne. "Hear me," he cried, "O god of the silver bow, that
protectest Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest Tenedos with thy might,
hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have ever decked your temple with
garlands, or burned your thigh-bones in fat of bulls or goats, grant my
prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He came down furious
from the summits of Olympus, with his bow and his quiver upon his
shoulder, and the arrows rattled on his back with the rage that
trembled within him. He sat himself down away from the ships with a
face as dark as night, and his silver bow rang death as he shot his
arrow in the midst of them. First he smote their mules and their
hounds, but presently he aimed his shafts at the people themselves, and
all day long the pyres of the dead were burning.

For nine whole days he shot his arrows among the people, but upon the
tenth day Achilles called them in assembly--moved thereto by Juno, who
saw the Achaeans in their death-throes and had compassion upon them.
Then, when they were got together, he rose and spoke among them.

"Son of Atreus," said he, "I deem that we should now turn roving home
if we would escape destruction, for we are being cut down by war and
pestilence at once. Let us ask some priest or prophet, or some reader
of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Jove) who can tell us why Phoebus
Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some vow that we have
broken, or hecatomb that we have not offered, and whether he will
accept the savour of lambs and goats without blemish, so as to take
away the plague from us."

With these words he sat down, and Calchas son of Thestor, wisest of
augurs, who knew things past present and to come, rose to speak. He it
was who had guided the Achaeans with their fleet to Ilius, through the
prophesyings with which Phoebus Apollo had inspired him. With all
sincerity and goodwill he addressed them thus:--

"Achilles, loved of heaven, you bid me tell you about the anger of King
Apollo, I will therefore do so; but consider first and swear that you
will stand by me heartily in word and deed, for I know that I shall
offend one who rules the Argives with might, to whom all the Achaeans
are in subjection. A plain man cannot stand against the anger of a
king, who if he swallow his displeasure now, will yet nurse revenge
till he has wreaked it. Consider, therefore, whether or no you will
protect me."

And Achilles answered, "Fear not, but speak as it is borne in upon you
from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray, and whose
oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships shall lay his hand
upon you, while I yet live to look upon the face of the earth--no, not
though you name Agamemnon himself, who is by far the foremost of the

Thereon the seer spoke boldly. "The god," he said, "is angry neither
about vow nor hecatomb, but for his priest's sake, whom Agamemnon has
dishonoured, in that he would not free his daughter nor take a ransom
for her; therefore has he sent these evils upon us, and will yet send
others. He will not deliver the Danaans from this pestilence till
Agamemnon has restored the girl without fee or ransom to her father,
and has sent a holy hecatomb to Chryse. Thus we may perhaps appease

With these words he sat down, and Agamemnon rose in anger. His heart
was black with rage, and his eyes flashed fire as he scowled on Calchas
and said, "Seer of evil, you never yet prophesied smooth things
concerning me, but have ever loved to foretell that which was evil. You
have brought me neither comfort nor performance; and now you come
seeing among Danaans, and saying that Apollo has plagued us because I
would not take a ransom for this girl, the daughter of Chryses. I have
set my heart on keeping her in my own house, for I love her better even
than my own wife Clytemnestra, whose peer she is alike in form and
feature, in understanding and accomplishments. Still I will give her up
if I must, for I would have the people live, not die; but you must find
me a prize instead, or I alone among the Argives shall be without one.
This is not well; for you behold, all of you, that my prize is to go

And Achilles answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, covetous beyond all
mankind, how shall the Achaeans find you another prize? We have no
common store from which to take one. Those we took from the cities have
been awarded; we cannot disallow the awards that have been made
already. Give this girl, therefore, to the god, and if ever Jove grants
us to sack the city of Troy we will requite you three and fourfold."

Then Agamemnon said, "Achilles, valiant though you be, you shall not
thus outwit me. You shall not overreach and you shall not persuade me.
Are you to keep your own prize, while I sit tamely under my loss and
give up the girl at your bidding? Let the Achaeans find me a prize in
fair exchange to my liking, or I will come and take your own, or that
of Ajax or of Ulysses; and he to whomsoever I may come shall rue my
coming. But of this we will take thought hereafter; for the present,
let us draw a ship into the sea, and find a crew for her expressly; let
us put a hecatomb on board, and let us send Chryseis also; further, let
some chief man among us be in command, either Ajax, or Idomeneus, or
yourself, son of Peleus, mighty warrior that you are, that we may offer
sacrifice and appease the anger of the god."

Achilles scowled at him and answered, "You are steeped in insolence and
lust of gain. With what heart can any of the Achaeans do your bidding,
either on foray or in open fighting? I came not warring here for any
ill the Trojans had done me. I have no quarrel with them. They have not
raided my cattle nor my horses, nor cut down my harvests on the rich
plains of Phthia; for between me and them there is a great space, both
mountain and sounding sea. We have followed you, Sir Insolence! for
your pleasure, not ours--to gain satisfaction from the Trojans for your
shameless self and for Menelaus. You forget this, and threaten to rob
me of the prize for which I have toiled, and which the sons of the
Achaeans have given me. Never when the Achaeans sack any rich city of
the Trojans do I receive so good a prize as you do, though it is my
hands that do the better part of the fighting. When the sharing comes,
your share is far the largest, and I, forsooth, must go back to my
ships, take what I can get and be thankful, when my labour of fighting
is done. Now, therefore, I shall go back to Phthia; it will be much
better for me to return home with my ships, for I will not stay here
dishonoured to gather gold and substance for you."

And Agamemnon answered, "Fly if you will, I shall make you no prayers
to stay you. I have others here who will do me honour, and above all
Jove, the lord of counsel. There is no king here so hateful to me as
you are, for you are ever quarrelsome and ill-affected. What though you
be brave? Was it not heaven that made you so? Go home, then, with your
ships and comrades to lord it over the Myrmidons. I care neither for
you nor for your anger; and thus will I do: since Phoebus Apollo is
taking Chryseis from me, I shall send her with my ship and my
followers, but I shall come to your tent and take your own prize
Briseis, that you may learn how much stronger I am than you are, and
that another may fear to set himself up as equal or comparable with me."

The son of Peleus was furious, and his heart within his shaggy breast
was divided whether to draw his sword, push the others aside, and kill
the son of Atreus, or to restrain himself and check his anger. While he
was thus in two minds, and was drawing his mighty sword from its
scabbard, Minerva came down from heaven (for Juno had sent her in the
love she bore to them both), and seized the son of Peleus by his yellow
hair, visible to him alone, for of the others no man could see her.
Achilles turned in amaze, and by the fire that flashed from her eyes at
once knew that she was Minerva. "Why are you here," said he, "daughter
of aegis-bearing Jove? To see the pride of Agamemnon, son of Atreus?
Let me tell you--and it shall surely be--he shall pay for this
insolence with his life."

And Minerva said, "I come from heaven, if you will hear me, to bid you
stay your anger. Juno has sent me, who cares for both of you alike.
Cease, then, this brawling, and do not draw your sword; rail at him if
you will, and your railing will not be vain, for I tell you--and it
shall surely be--that you shall hereafter receive gifts three times as
splendid by reason of this present insult. Hold, therefore, and obey."

"Goddess," answered Achilles, "however angry a man may be, he must do
as you two command him. This will be best, for the gods ever hear the
prayers of him who has obeyed them."

He stayed his hand on the silver hilt of his sword, and thrust it back
into the scabbard as Minerva bade him. Then she went back to Olympus
among the other gods, and to the house of aegis-bearing Jove.

But the son of Peleus again began railing at the son of Atreus, for he
was still in a rage. "Wine-bibber," he cried, "with the face of a dog
and the heart of a hind, you never dare to go out with the host in
fight, nor yet with our chosen men in ambuscade. You shun this as you
do death itself. You had rather go round and rob his prizes from any
man who contradicts you. You devour your people, for you are king over
a feeble folk; otherwise, son of Atreus, henceforward you would insult
no man. Therefore I say, and swear it with a great oath--nay, by this
my sceptre which shalt sprout neither leaf nor shoot, nor bud anew from
the day on which it left its parent stem upon the mountains--for the
axe stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans bear
it as judges and guardians of the decrees of heaven--so surely and
solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall look fondly for Achilles
and shall not find him. In the day of your distress, when your men fall
dying by the murderous hand of Hector, you shall not know how to help
them, and shall rend your heart with rage for the hour when you offered
insult to the bravest of the Achaeans."

With this the son of Peleus dashed his gold-bestudded sceptre on the
ground and took his seat, while the son of Atreus was beginning
fiercely from his place upon the other side. Then uprose smooth-tongued
Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians, and the words fell from his
lips sweeter than honey. Two generations of men born and bred in Pylos
had passed away under his rule, and he was now reigning over the third.
With all sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Of a truth," he said, "a great sorrow has befallen the Achaean land.
Surely Priam with his sons would rejoice, and the Trojans be glad at
heart if they could hear this quarrel between you two, who are so
excellent in fight and counsel. I am older than either of you;
therefore be guided by me. Moreover I have been the familiar friend of
men even greater than you are, and they did not disregard my counsels.
Never again can I behold such men as Pirithous and Dryas shepherd of
his people, or as Caeneus, Exadius, godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus son
of Aegeus, peer of the immortals. These were the mightiest men ever
born upon this earth: mightiest were they, and when they fought the
fiercest tribes of mountain savages they utterly overthrew them. I came
from distant Pylos, and went about among them, for they would have me
come, and I fought as it was in me to do. Not a man now living could
withstand them, but they heard my words, and were persuaded by them. So
be it also with yourselves, for this is the more excellent way.
Therefore, Agamemnon, though you be strong, take not this girl away,
for the sons of the Achaeans have already given her to Achilles; and
you, Achilles, strive not further with the king, for no man who by the
grace of Jove wields a sceptre has like honour with Agamemnon. You are
strong, and have a goddess for your mother; but Agamemnon is stronger
than you, for he has more people under him. Son of Atreus, check your
anger, I implore you; end this quarrel with Achilles, who in the day of
battle is a tower of strength to the Achaeans."

And Agamemnon answered, "Sir, all that you have said is true, but this
fellow must needs become our lord and master: he must be lord of all,
king of all, and captain of all, and this shall hardly be. Granted that
the gods have made him a great warrior, have they also given him the
right to speak with railing?"

Achilles interrupted him. "I should be a mean coward," he cried, "were
I to give in to you in all things. Order other people about, not me,
for I shall obey no longer. Furthermore I say--and lay my saying to
your heart--I shall fight neither you nor any man about this girl, for
those that take were those also that gave. But of all else that is at
my ship you shall carry away nothing by force. Try, that others may
see; if you do, my spear shall be reddened with your blood."

When they had quarrelled thus angrily, they rose, and broke up the
assembly at the ships of the Achaeans. The son of Peleus went back to
his tents and ships with the son of Menoetius and his company, while
Agamemnon drew a vessel into the water and chose a crew of twenty
oarsmen. He escorted Chryseis on board and sent moreover a hecatomb for
the god. And Ulysses went as captain.

These, then, went on board and sailed their ways over the sea. But the
son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves; so they purified
themselves and cast their filth into the sea. Then they offered
hecatombs of bulls and goats without blemish on the sea-shore, and the
smoke with the savour of their sacrifice rose curling up towards heaven.

Thus did they busy themselves throughout the host. But Agamemnon did
not forget the threat that he had made Achilles, and called his trusty
messengers and squires Talthybius and Eurybates. "Go," said he, "to the
tent of Achilles, son of Peleus; take Briseis by the hand and bring her
hither; if he will not give her I shall come with others and take
her--which will press him harder."

He charged them straightly further and dismissed them, whereon they
went their way sorrowfully by the seaside, till they came to the tents
and ships of the Myrmidons. They found Achilles sitting by his tent and
his ships, and ill-pleased he was when he beheld them. They stood
fearfully and reverently before him, and never a word did they speak,
but he knew them and said, "Welcome, heralds, messengers of gods and
men; draw near; my quarrel is not with you but with Agamemnon who has
sent you for the girl Briseis. Therefore, Patroclus, bring her and give
her to them, but let them be witnesses by the blessed gods, by mortal
men, and by the fierceness of Agamemnon's anger, that if ever again
there be need of me to save the people from ruin, they shall seek and
they shall not find. Agamemnon is mad with rage and knows not how to
look before and after that the Achaeans may fight by their ships in

Patroclus did as his dear comrade had bidden him. He brought Briseis
from the tent and gave her over to the heralds, who took her with them
to the ships of the Achaeans--and the woman was loth to go. Then
Achilles went all alone by the side of the hoar sea, weeping and
looking out upon the boundless waste of waters. He raised his hands in
prayer to his immortal mother, "Mother," he cried, "you bore me doomed
to live but for a little season; surely Jove, who thunders from
Olympus, might have made that little glorious. It is not so. Agamemnon,
son of Atreus, has done me dishonour, and has robbed me of my prize by

As he spoke he wept aloud, and his mother heard him where she was
sitting in the depths of the sea hard by the old man her father.
Forthwith she rose as it were a grey mist out of the waves, sat down
before him as he stood weeping, caressed him with her hand, and said,
"My son, why are you weeping? What is it that grieves you? Keep it not
from me, but tell me, that we may know it together."

Achilles drew a deep sigh and said, "You know it; why tell you what you
know well already? We went to Thebe the strong city of Eetion, sacked
it, and brought hither the spoil. The sons of the Achaeans shared it
duly among themselves, and chose lovely Chryseis as the meed of
Agamemnon; but Chryses, priest of Apollo, came to the ships of the
Achaeans to free his daughter, and brought with him a great ransom:
moreover he bore in his hand the sceptre of Apollo, wreathed with a
suppliant's wreath, and he besought the Achaeans, but most of all the
two sons of Atreus who were their chiefs.

"On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for respecting
the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but not so Agamemnon,
who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly away. So he went back in
anger, and Apollo, who loved him dearly, heard his prayer. Then the god
sent a deadly dart upon the Argives, and the people died thick on one
another, for the arrows went everywhither among the wide host of the
Achaeans. At last a seer in the fulness of his knowledge declared to us
the oracles of Apollo, and I was myself first to say that we should
appease him. Whereon the son of Atreus rose in anger, and threatened
that which he has since done. The Achaeans are now taking the girl in a
ship to Chryse, and sending gifts of sacrifice to the god; but the
heralds have just taken from my tent the daughter of Briseus, whom the
Achaeans had awarded to myself.

"Help your brave son, therefore, if you are able. Go to Olympus, and if
you have ever done him service in word or deed, implore the aid of
Jove. Ofttimes in my father's house have I heard you glory in that you
alone of the immortals saved the son of Saturn from ruin, when the
others, with Juno, Neptune, and Pallas Minerva would have put him in
bonds. It was you, goddess, who delivered him by calling to Olympus the
hundred-handed monster whom gods call Briareus, but men Aegaeon, for he
is stronger even than his father; when therefore he took his seat
all-glorious beside the son of Saturn, the other gods were afraid, and
did not bind him. Go, then, to him, remind him of all this, clasp his
knees, and bid him give succour to the Trojans. Let the Achaeans be
hemmed in at the sterns of their ships, and perish on the sea-shore,
that they may reap what joy they may of their king, and that Agamemnon
may rue his blindness in offering insult to the foremost of the

Thetis wept and answered, "My son, woe is me that I should have borne
or suckled you. Would indeed that you had lived your span free from all
sorrow at your ships, for it is all too brief; alas, that you should be
at once short of life and long of sorrow above your peers: woe,
therefore, was the hour in which I bore you; nevertheless I will go to
the snowy heights of Olympus, and tell this tale to Jove, if he will
hear our prayer: meanwhile stay where you are with your ships, nurse
your anger against the Achaeans, and hold aloof from fight. For Jove
went yesterday to Oceanus, to a feast among the Ethiopians, and the
other gods went with him. He will return to Olympus twelve days hence;
I will then go to his mansion paved with bronze and will beseech him;
nor do I doubt that I shall be able to persuade him."

On this she left him, still furious at the loss of her that had been
taken from him. Meanwhile Ulysses reached Chryse with the hecatomb.
When they had come inside the harbour they furled the sails and laid
them in the ship's hold; they slackened the forestays, lowered the mast
into its place, and rowed the ship to the place where they would have
her lie; there they cast out their mooring-stones and made fast the
hawsers. They then got out upon the sea-shore and landed the hecatomb
for Apollo; Chryseis also left the ship, and Ulysses led her to the
altar to deliver her into the hands of her father. "Chryses," said he,
"King Agamemnon has sent me to bring you back your child, and to offer
sacrifice to Apollo on behalf of the Danaans, that we may propitiate
the god, who has now brought sorrow upon the Argives."

So saying he gave the girl over to her father, who received her gladly,
and they ranged the holy hecatomb all orderly round the altar of the
god. They washed their hands and took up the barley-meal to sprinkle
over the victims, while Chryses lifted up his hands and prayed aloud on
their behalf. "Hear me," he cried, "O god of the silver bow, that
protectest Chryse and holy Cilla, and rulest Tenedos with thy might.
Even as thou didst hear me aforetime when I prayed, and didst press
hardly upon the Achaeans, so hear me yet again, and stay this fearful
pestilence from the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. When they had done
praying and sprinkling the barley-meal, they drew back the heads of the
victims and killed and flayed them. They cut out the thigh-bones,
wrapped them round in two layers of fat, set some pieces of raw meat on
the top of them, and then Chryses laid them on the wood fire and poured
wine over them, while the young men stood near him with five-pronged
spits in their hands. When the thigh-bones were burned and they had
tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put the pieces
upon the spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew them off:
then, when they had finished their work and the feast was ready, they
ate it, and every man had his full share, so that all were satisfied.
As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, pages filled the
mixing-bowl with wine and water and handed it round, after giving every
man his drink-offering.

Thus all day long the young men worshipped the god with song, hymning
him and chaunting the joyous paean, and the god took pleasure in their
voices; but when the sun went down, and it came on dark, they laid
themselves down to sleep by the stern cables of the ship, and when the
child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared they again set sail for
the host of the Achaeans. Apollo sent them a fair wind, so they raised
their mast and hoisted their white sails aloft. As the sail bellied
with the wind the ship flew through the deep blue water, and the foam
hissed against her bows as she sped onward. When they reached the
wide-stretching host of the Achaeans, they drew the vessel ashore, high
and dry upon the sands, set her strong props beneath her, and went
their ways to their own tents and ships.

But Achilles abode at his ships and nursed his anger. He went not to
the honourable assembly, and sallied not forth to fight, but gnawed at
his own heart, pining for battle and the war-cry.

Now after twelve days the immortal gods came back in a body to Olympus,
and Jove led the way. Thetis was not unmindful of the charge her son
had laid upon her, so she rose from under the sea and went through
great heaven with early morning to Olympus, where she found the mighty
son of Saturn sitting all alone upon its topmost ridges. She sat
herself down before him, and with her left hand seized his knees, while
with her right she caught him under the chin, and besought him,

"Father Jove, if I ever did you service in word or deed among the
immortals, hear my prayer, and do honour to my son, whose life is to be
cut short so early. King Agamemnon has dishonoured him by taking his
prize and keeping her. Honour him then yourself, Olympian lord of
counsel, and grant victory to the Trojans, till the Achaeans give my
son his due and load him with riches in requital."

Jove sat for a while silent, and without a word, but Thetis still kept
firm hold of his knees, and besought him a second time. "Incline your
head," said she, "and promise me surely, or else deny me--for you have
nothing to fear--that I may learn how greatly you disdain me."

At this Jove was much troubled and answered, "I shall have trouble if
you set me quarrelling with Juno, for she will provoke me with her
taunting speeches; even now she is always railing at me before the
other gods and accusing me of giving aid to the Trojans. Go back now,
lest she should find out. I will consider the matter, and will bring it
about as you wish. See, I incline my head that you may believe me. This
is the most solemn promise that I can give to any god. I never recall
my word, or deceive, or fail to do what I say, when I have nodded my

As he spoke the son of Saturn bowed his dark brows, and the ambrosial
locks swayed on his immortal head, till vast Olympus reeled.

When the pair had thus laid their plans, they parted--Jove to his
house, while the goddess quitted the splendour of Olympus, and plunged
into the depths of the sea. The gods rose from their seats, before the
coming of their sire. Not one of them dared to remain sitting, but all
stood up as he came among them. There, then, he took his seat. But
Juno, when she saw him, knew that he and the old merman's daughter,
silver-footed Thetis, had been hatching mischief, so she at once began
to upbraid him. "Trickster," she cried, "which of the gods have you
been taking into your counsels now? You are always settling matters in
secret behind my back, and have never yet told me, if you could help
it, one word of your intentions."

"Juno," replied the sire of gods and men, "you must not expect to be
informed of all my counsels. You are my wife, but you would find it
hard to understand them. When it is proper for you to hear, there is no
one, god or man, who will be told sooner, but when I mean to keep a
matter to myself, you must not pry nor ask questions."

"Dread son of Saturn," answered Juno, "what are you talking about? I?
Pry and ask questions? Never. I let you have your own way in
everything. Still, I have a strong misgiving that the old merman's
daughter Thetis has been talking you over, for she was with you and had
hold of your knees this self-same morning. I believe, therefore, that
you have been promising her to give glory to Achilles, and to kill much
people at the ships of the Achaeans."

"Wife," said Jove, "I can do nothing but you suspect me and find it
out. You will take nothing by it, for I shall only dislike you the
more, and it will go harder with you. Granted that it is as you say; I
mean to have it so; sit down and hold your tongue as I bid you for if I
once begin to lay my hands about you, though all heaven were on your
side it would profit you nothing."

On this Juno was frightened, so she curbed her stubborn will and sat
down in silence. But the heavenly beings were disquieted throughout the
house of Jove, till the cunning workman Vulcan began to try and pacify
his mother Juno. "It will be intolerable," said he, "if you two fall to
wrangling and setting heaven in an uproar about a pack of mortals. If
such ill counsels are to prevail, we shall have no pleasure at our
banquet. Let me then advise my mother--and she must herself know that
it will be better--to make friends with my dear father Jove, lest he
again scold her and disturb our feast. If the Olympian Thunderer wants
to hurl us all from our seats, he can do so, for he is far the
strongest, so give him fair words, and he will then soon be in a good
humour with us."

As he spoke, he took a double cup of nectar, and placed it in his
mother's hand. "Cheer up, my dear mother," said he, "and make the best
of it. I love you dearly, and should be very sorry to see you get a
thrashing; however grieved I might be, I could not help, for there is
no standing against Jove. Once before when I was trying to help you, he
caught me by the foot and flung me from the heavenly threshold. All day
long from morn till eve, was I falling, till at sunset I came to ground
in the island of Lemnos, and there I lay, with very little life left in
me, till the Sintians came and tended me."

Juno smiled at this, and as she smiled she took the cup from her son's
hands. Then Vulcan drew sweet nectar from the mixing-bowl, and served
it round among the gods, going from left to right; and the blessed gods
laughed out a loud applause as they saw him bustling about the heavenly

Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun they
feasted, and every one had his full share, so that all were satisfied.
Apollo struck his lyre, and the Muses lifted up their sweet voices,
calling and answering one another. But when the sun's glorious light
had faded, they went home to bed, each in his own abode, which lame
Vulcan with his consummate skill had fashioned for them. So Jove, the
Olympian Lord of Thunder, hied him to the bed in which he always slept;
and when he had got on to it he went to sleep, with Juno of the golden
throne by his side.


Jove sends a lying dream to Agamemnon, who thereon calls the
chiefs in assembly, and proposes to sound the mind of his
army--In the end they march to fight--Catalogue of the
Achaean and Trojan forces.

Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept soundly,
but Jove was wakeful, for he was thinking how to do honour to Achilles,
and destroyed much people at the ships of the Achaeans. In the end he
deemed it would be best to send a lying dream to King Agamemnon; so he
called one to him and said to it, "Lying Dream, go to the ships of the
Achaeans, into the tent of Agamemnon, and say to him word for word as I
now bid you. Tell him to get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for he
shall take Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods;
Juno has brought them to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans."

The dream went when it had heard its message, and soon reached the
ships of the Achaeans. It sought Agamemnon son of Atreus and found him
in his tent, wrapped in a profound slumber. It hovered over his head in
the likeness of Nestor, son of Neleus, whom Agamemnon honoured above
all his councillors, and said:--

"You are sleeping, son of Atreus; one who has the welfare of his host
and so much other care upon his shoulders should dock his sleep. Hear
me at once, for I come as a messenger from Jove, who, though he be not
near, yet takes thought for you and pities you. He bids you get the
Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall take Troy. There are no
longer divided counsels among the gods; Juno has brought them over to
her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans at the hands of Jove.
Remember this, and when you wake see that it does not escape you."

The dream then left him, and he thought of things that were, surely not
to be accomplished. He thought that on that same day he was to take the
city of Priam, but he little knew what was in the mind of Jove, who had
many another hard-fought fight in store alike for Danaans and Trojans.
Then presently he woke, with the divine message still ringing in his
ears; so he sat upright, and put on his soft shirt so fair and new, and
over this his heavy cloak. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet,
and slung his silver-studded sword about his shoulders; then he took
the imperishable staff of his father, and sallied forth to the ships of
the Achaeans.

The goddess Dawn now wended her way to vast Olympus that she might
herald day to Jove and to the other immortals, and Agamemnon sent the
criers round to call the people in assembly; so they called them and
the people gathered thereon. But first he summoned a meeting of the
elders at the ship of Nestor king of Pylos, and when they were
assembled he laid a cunning counsel before them.

"My friends," said he, "I have had a dream from heaven in the dead of
night, and its face and figure resembled none but Nestor's. It hovered
over my head and said, 'You are sleeping, son of Atreus; one who has
the welfare of his host and so much other care upon his shoulders
should dock his sleep. Hear me at once, for I am a messenger from Jove,
who, though he be not near, yet takes thought for you and pities you.
He bids you get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall take
Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods; Juno has
brought them over to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans at the
hands of Jove. Remember this.' The dream then vanished and I awoke. Let
us now, therefore, arm the sons of the Achaeans. But it will be well
that I should first sound them, and to this end I will tell them to fly
with their ships; but do you others go about among the host and prevent
their doing so."

He then sat down, and Nestor the prince of Pylos with all sincerity and
goodwill addressed them thus: "My friends," said he, "princes and
councillors of the Argives, if any other man of the Achaeans had told
us of this dream we should have declared it false, and would have had
nothing to do with it. But he who has seen it is the foremost man among
us; we must therefore set about getting the people under arms."

With this he led the way from the assembly, and the other sceptred
kings rose with him in obedience to the word of Agamemnon; but the
people pressed forward to hear. They swarmed like bees that sally from
some hollow cave and flit in countless throng among the spring flowers,
bunched in knots and clusters; even so did the mighty multitude pour
from ships and tents to the assembly, and range themselves upon the
wide-watered shore, while among them ran Wildfire Rumour, messenger of
Jove, urging them ever to the fore. Thus they gathered in a pell-mell
of mad confusion, and the earth groaned under the tramp of men as the
people sought their places. Nine heralds went crying about among them
to stay their tumult and bid them listen to the kings, till at last
they were got into their several places and ceased their clamour. Then
King Agamemnon rose, holding his sceptre. This was the work of Vulcan,
who gave it to Jove the son of Saturn. Jove gave it to Mercury, slayer
of Argus, guide and guardian. King Mercury gave it to Pelops, the
mighty charioteer, and Pelops to Atreus, shepherd of his people.
Atreus, when he died, left it to Thyestes, rich in flocks, and Thyestes
in his turn left it to be borne by Agamemnon, that he might be lord of
all Argos and of the isles. Leaning, then, on his sceptre, he addressed
the Argives.

"My friends," he said, "heroes, servants of Mars, the hand of heaven
has been laid heavily upon me. Cruel Jove gave me his solemn promise
that I should sack the city of Priam before returning, but he has
played me false, and is now bidding me go ingloriously back to Argos
with the loss of much people. Such is the will of Jove, who has laid
many a proud city in the dust, as he will yet lay others, for his power
is above all. It will be a sorry tale hereafter that an Achaean host,
at once so great and valiant, battled in vain against men fewer in
number than themselves; but as yet the end is not in sight. Think that
the Achaeans and Trojans have sworn to a solemn covenant, and that they
have each been numbered--the Trojans by the roll of their householders,
and we by companies of ten; think further that each of our companies
desired to have a Trojan householder to pour out their wine; we are so
greatly more in number that full many a company would have to go
without its cup-bearer. But they have in the town allies from other
places, and it is these that hinder me from being able to sack the rich
city of Ilius. Nine of Jove's years are gone; the timbers of our ships
have rotted; their tackling is sound no longer. Our wives and little
ones at home look anxiously for our coming, but the work that we came
hither to do has not been done. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say:
let us sail back to our own land, for we shall not take Troy."

With these words he moved the hearts of the multitude, so many of them
as knew not the cunning counsel of Agamemnon. They surged to and fro
like the waves of the Icarian Sea, when the east and south winds break
from heaven's clouds to lash them; or as when the west wind sweeps over
a field of corn and the ears bow beneath the blast, even so were they
swayed as they flew with loud cries towards the ships, and the dust
from under their feet rose heavenward. They cheered each other on to
draw the ships into the sea; they cleared the channels in front of
them; they began taking away the stays from underneath them, and the
welkin rang with their glad cries, so eager were they to return.

Then surely the Argives would have returned after a fashion that was
not fated. But Juno said to Minerva, "Alas, daughter of aegis-bearing
Jove, unweariable, shall the Argives fly home to their own land over
the broad sea, and leave Priam and the Trojans the glory of still
keeping Helen, for whose sake so many of the Achaeans have died at
Troy, far from their homes? Go about at once among the host, and speak
fairly to them, man by man, that they draw not their ships into the

Minerva was not slack to do her bidding. Down she darted from the
topmost summits of Olympus, and in a moment she was at the ships of the
Achaeans. There she found Ulysses, peer of Jove in counsel, standing
alone. He had not as yet laid a hand upon his ship, for he was grieved
and sorry; so she went close up to him and said, "Ulysses, noble son of
Laertes, are you going to fling yourselves into your ships and be off
home to your own land in this way? Will you leave Priam and the Trojans
the glory of still keeping Helen, for whose sake so many of the
Achaeans have died at Troy, far from their homes? Go about at once
among the host, and speak fairly to them, man by man, that they draw
not their ships into the sea."

Ulysses knew the voice as that of the goddess: he flung his cloak from
him and set off to run. His servant Eurybates, a man of Ithaca, who
waited on him, took charge of the cloak, whereon Ulysses went straight
up to Agamemnon and received from him his ancestral, imperishable
staff. With this he went about among the ships of the Achaeans.

Whenever he met a king or chieftain, he stood by him and spoke him
fairly. "Sir," said he, "this flight is cowardly and unworthy. Stand to
your post, and bid your people also keep their places. You do not yet
know the full mind of Agamemnon; he was sounding us, and ere long will
visit the Achaeans with his displeasure. We were not all of us at the
council to hear what he then said; see to it lest he be angry and do us
a mischief; for the pride of kings is great, and the hand of Jove is
with them."

But when he came across any common man who was making a noise, he
struck him with his staff and rebuked him, saying, "Sirrah, hold your
peace, and listen to better men than yourself. You are a coward and no
soldier; you are nobody either in fight or council; we cannot all be
kings; it is not well that there should be many masters; one man must
be supreme--one king to whom the son of scheming Saturn has given the
sceptre of sovereignty over you all."

Thus masterfully did he go about among the host, and the people hurried
back to the council from their tents and ships with a sound as the
thunder of surf when it comes crashing down upon the shore, and all the
sea is in an uproar.

The rest now took their seats and kept to their own several places, but
Thersites still went on wagging his unbridled tongue--a man of many
words, and those unseemly; a monger of sedition, a railer against all
who were in authority, who cared not what he said, so that he might set
the Achaeans in a laugh. He was the ugliest man of all those that came
before Troy--bandy-legged, lame of one foot, with his two shoulders
rounded and hunched over his chest. His head ran up to a point, but
there was little hair on the top of it. Achilles and Ulysses hated him
worst of all, for it was with them that he was most wont to wrangle;
now, however, with a shrill squeaky voice he began heaping his abuse on
Agamemnon. The Achaeans were angry and disgusted, yet none the less he
kept on brawling and bawling at the son of Atreus.

"Agamemnon," he cried, "what ails you now, and what more do you want?
Your tents are filled with bronze and with fair women, for whenever we
take a town we give you the pick of them. Would you have yet more gold,
which some Trojan is to give you as a ransom for his son, when I or
another Achaean has taken him prisoner? or is it some young girl to
hide and lie with? It is not well that you, the ruler of the Achaeans,
should bring them into such misery. Weakling cowards, women rather than
men, let us sail home, and leave this fellow here at Troy to stew in
his own meeds of honour, and discover whether we were of any service to
him or no. Achilles is a much better man than he is, and see how he has
treated him--robbing him of his prize and keeping it himself. Achilles
takes it meekly and shows no fight; if he did, son of Atreus, you would
never again insult him."

Thus railed Thersites, but Ulysses at once went up to him and rebuked
him sternly. "Check your glib tongue, Thersites," said be, "and babble
not a word further. Chide not with princes when you have none to back
you. There is no viler creature come before Troy with the sons of
Atreus. Drop this chatter about kings, and neither revile them nor keep
harping about going home. We do not yet know how things are going to
be, nor whether the Achaeans are to return with good success or evil.
How dare you gibe at Agamemnon because the Danaans have awarded him so
many prizes? I tell you, therefore--and it shall surely be--that if I
again catch you talking such nonsense, I will either forfeit my own
head and be no more called father of Telemachus, or I will take you,
strip you stark naked, and whip you out of the assembly till you go
blubbering back to the ships."

On this he beat him with his staff about the back and shoulders till he
dropped and fell a-weeping. The golden sceptre raised a bloody weal on
his back, so he sat down frightened and in pain, looking foolish as he
wiped the tears from his eyes. The people were sorry for him, yet they
laughed heartily, and one would turn to his neighbour saying, "Ulysses
has done many a good thing ere now in fight and council, but he never
did the Argives a better turn than when he stopped this fellow's mouth
from prating further. He will give the kings no more of his insolence."

Thus said the people. Then Ulysses rose, sceptre in hand, and Minerva
in the likeness of a herald bade the people be still, that those who
were far off might hear him and consider his council. He therefore with
all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus:--

"King Agamemnon, the Achaeans are for making you a by-word among all
mankind. They forget the promise they made you when they set out from
Argos, that you should not return till you had sacked the town of Troy,
and, like children or widowed women, they murmur and would set off
homeward. True it is that they have had toil enough to be disheartened.
A man chafes at having to stay away from his wife even for a single
month, when he is on shipboard, at the mercy of wind and sea, but it is
now nine long years that we have been kept here; I cannot, therefore,
blame the Achaeans if they turn restive; still we shall be shamed if we
go home empty after so long a stay--therefore, my friends, be patient
yet a little longer that we may learn whether the prophesyings of
Calchas were false or true.

"All who have not since perished must remember as though it were
yesterday or the day before, how the ships of the Achaeans were
detained in Aulis when we were on our way hither to make war on Priam
and the Trojans. We were ranged round about a fountain offering
hecatombs to the gods upon their holy altars, and there was a fine
plane-tree from beneath which there welled a stream of pure water. Then
we saw a prodigy; for Jove sent a fearful serpent out of the ground,
with blood-red stains upon its back, and it darted from under the altar
on to the plane-tree. Now there was a brood of young sparrows, quite
small, upon the topmost bough, peeping out from under the leaves, eight
in all, and their mother that hatched them made nine. The serpent ate
the poor cheeping things, while the old bird flew about lamenting her
little ones; but the serpent threw his coils about her and caught her
by the wing as she was screaming. Then, when he had eaten both the
sparrow and her young, the god who had sent him made him become a sign;
for the son of scheming Saturn turned him into stone, and we stood
there wondering at that which had come to pass. Seeing, then, that such
a fearful portent had broken in upon our hecatombs, Calchas forthwith
declared to us the oracles of heaven. 'Why, Achaeans,' said he, 'are
you thus speechless? Jove has sent us this sign, long in coming, and
long ere it be fulfilled, though its fame shall last for ever. As the
serpent ate the eight fledglings and the sparrow that hatched them,
which makes nine, so shall we fight nine years at Troy, but in the
tenth shall take the town.' This was what he said, and now it is all
coming true. Stay here, therefore, all of you, till we take the city of

On this the Argives raised a shout, till the ships rang again with the
uproar. Nestor, knight of Gerene, then addressed them. "Shame on you,"
he cried, "to stay talking here like children, when you should fight
like men. Where are our covenants now, and where the oaths that we have
taken? Shall our counsels be flung into the fire, with our
drink-offerings and the right hands of fellowship wherein we have put
our trust? We waste our time in words, and for all our talking here
shall be no further forward. Stand, therefore, son of Atreus, by your
own steadfast purpose; lead the Argives on to battle, and leave this
handful of men to rot, who scheme, and scheme in vain, to get back to
Argos ere they have learned whether Jove be true or a liar. For the
mighty son of Saturn surely promised that we should succeed, when we
Argives set sail to bring death and destruction upon the Trojans. He
showed us favourable signs by flashing his lightning on our right
hands; therefore let none make haste to go till he has first lain with
the wife of some Trojan, and avenged the toil and sorrow that he has
suffered for the sake of Helen. Nevertheless, if any man is in such
haste to be at home again, let him lay his hand to his ship that he may
meet his doom in the sight of all. But, O king, consider and give ear
to my counsel, for the word that I say may not be neglected lightly.
Divide your men, Agamemnon, into their several tribes and clans, that
clans and tribes may stand by and help one another. If you do this, and
if the Achaeans obey you, you will find out who, both chiefs and
peoples, are brave, and who are cowards; for they will vie against the
other. Thus you shall also learn whether it is through the counsel of
heaven or the cowardice of man that you shall fail to take the town."

And Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, you have again outdone the sons of the
Achaeans in counsel. Would, by Father Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, that I
had among them ten more such councillors, for the city of King Priam
would then soon fall beneath our hands, and we should sack it. But the
son of Saturn afflicts me with bootless wranglings and strife. Achilles
and I are quarrelling about this girl, in which matter I was the first
to offend; if we can be of one mind again, the Trojans will not stave
off destruction for a day. Now, therefore, get your morning meal, that
our hosts join in fight. Whet well your spears; see well to the
ordering of your shields; give good feeds to your horses, and look your
chariots carefully over, that we may do battle the livelong day; for we
shall have no rest, not for a moment, till night falls to part us. The
bands that bear your shields shall be wet with the sweat upon your
shoulders, your hands shall weary upon your spears, your horses shall
steam in front of your chariots, and if I see any man shirking the
fight, or trying to keep out of it at the ships, there shall be no help
for him, but he shall be a prey to dogs and vultures."

Thus he spoke, and the Achaeans roared applause. As when the waves run
high before the blast of the south wind and break on some lofty
headland, dashing against it and buffeting it without ceasing, as the
storms from every quarter drive them, even so did the Achaeans rise and
hurry in all directions to their ships. There they lighted their fires
at their tents and got dinner, offering sacrifice every man to one or
other of the gods, and praying each one of them that he might live to
come out of the fight. Agamemnon, king of men, sacrificed a fat
five-year-old bull to the mighty son of Saturn, and invited the princes
and elders of his host. First he asked Nestor and King Idomeneus, then
the two Ajaxes and the son of Tydeus, and sixthly Ulysses, peer of gods
in counsel; but Menelaus came of his own accord, for he knew how busy
his brother then was. They stood round the bull with the barley-meal in
their hands, and Agamemnon prayed, saying, "Jove, most glorious,
supreme, that dwellest in heaven, and ridest upon the storm-cloud,
grant that the sun may not go down, nor the night fall, till the palace
of Priam is laid low, and its gates are consumed with fire. Grant that
my sword may pierce the shirt of Hector about his heart, and that full
many of his comrades may bite the dust as they fall dying round him."

Thus he prayed, but the son of Saturn would not fulfil his prayer. He
accepted the sacrifice, yet none the less increased their toil
continually. When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley-meal
upon the victim, they drew back its head, killed it, and then flayed
it. They cut out the thigh-bones, wrapped them round in two layers of
fat, and set pieces of raw meat on the top of them. These they burned
upon the split logs of firewood, but they spitted the inward meats, and
held them in the flames to cook. When the thigh-bones were burned, and
they had tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put the
pieces upon spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew them off;
then, when they had finished their work and the feast was ready, they
ate it, and every man had his full share, so that all were satisfied.
As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, Nestor, knight of
Gerene, began to speak. "King Agamemnon," said he, "let us not stay
talking here, nor be slack in the work that heaven has put into our
hands. Let the heralds summon the people to gather at their several
ships; we will then go about among the host, that we may begin fighting
at once."

Thus did he speak, and Agamemnon heeded his words. He at once sent the
criers round to call the people in assembly. So they called them, and
the people gathered thereon. The chiefs about the son of Atreus chose
their men and marshalled them, while Minerva went among them holding
her priceless aegis that knows neither age nor death. From it there
waved a hundred tassels of pure gold, all deftly woven, and each one of
them worth a hundred oxen. With this she darted furiously everywhere
among the hosts of the Achaeans, urging them forward, and putting
courage into the heart of each, so that he might fight and do battle
without ceasing. Thus war became sweeter in their eyes even than
returning home in their ships. As when some great forest fire is raging
upon a mountain top and its light is seen afar, even so as they marched
the gleam of their armour flashed up into the firmament of heaven.

They were like great flocks of geese, or cranes, or swans on the plain
about the waters of Cayster, that wing their way hither and thither,
glorying in the pride of flight, and crying as they settle till the fen
is alive with their screaming. Even thus did their tribes pour from
ships and tents on to the plain of the Scamander, and the ground rang
as brass under the feet of men and horses. They stood as thick upon the
flower-bespangled field as leaves that bloom in summer.

As countless swarms of flies buzz around a herdsman's homestead in the
time of spring when the pails are drenched with milk, even so did the
Achaeans swarm on to the plain to charge the Trojans and destroy them.

The chiefs disposed their men this way and that before the fight began,
drafting them out as easily as goatherds draft their flocks when they
have got mixed while feeding; and among them went King Agamemnon, with
a head and face like Jove the lord of thunder, a waist like Mars, and a
chest like that of Neptune. As some great bull that lords it over the
herds upon the plain, even so did Jove make the son of Atreus stand
peerless among the multitude of heroes.

And now, O Muses, dwellers in the mansions of Olympus, tell me--for you
are goddesses and are in all places so that you see all things, while
we know nothing but by report--who were the chiefs and princes of the
Danaans? As for the common soldiers, they were so that I could not name
every single one of them though I had ten tongues, and though my voice
failed not and my heart were of bronze within me, unless you, O
Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Jove, were to recount them
to me. Nevertheless, I will tell the captains of the ships and all the
fleet together.

Peneleos, Leitus, Arcesilaus, Prothoenor, and Clonius were captains of
the Boeotians. These were they that dwelt in Hyria and rocky Aulis, and
who held Schoenus, Scolus, and the highlands of Eteonus, with Thespeia,
Graia, and the fair city of Mycalessus. They also held Harma, Eilesium,
and Erythrae; and they had Eleon, Hyle, and Peteon; Ocalea and the
strong fortress of Medeon; Copae, Eutresis, and Thisbe the haunt of
doves; Coronea, and the pastures of Haliartus; Plataea and Glisas; the
fortress of Thebes the less; holy Onchestus with its famous grove of
Neptune; Arne rich in vineyards; Midea, sacred Nisa, and Anthedon upon
the sea. From these there came fifty ships, and in each there were a
hundred and twenty young men of the Boeotians.

Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, sons of Mars, led the people that dwelt in
Aspledon and Orchomenus the realm of Minyas. Astyoche a noble maiden
bore them in the house of Actor son of Azeus; for she had gone with
Mars secretly into an upper chamber, and he had lain with her. With
these there came thirty ships.

The Phoceans were led by Schedius and Epistrophus, sons of mighty
Iphitus the son of Naubolus. These were they that held Cyparissus,
rocky Pytho, holy Crisa, Daulis, and Panopeus; they also that dwelt in
Anemorea and Hyampolis, and about the waters of the river Cephissus,
and Lilaea by the springs of the Cephissus; with their chieftains came
forty ships, and they marshalled the forces of the Phoceans, which were
stationed next to the Boeotians, on their left.

Ajax, the fleet son of Oileus, commanded the Locrians. He was not so
great, nor nearly so great, as Ajax the son of Telamon. He was a little
man, and his breastplate was made of linen, but in use of the spear he
excelled all the Hellenes and the Achaeans. These dwelt in Cynus,
Opous, Calliarus, Bessa, Scarphe, fair Augeae, Tarphe, and Thronium
about the river Boagrius. With him there came forty ships of the
Locrians who dwell beyond Euboea.

The fierce Abantes held Euboea with its cities, Chalcis, Eretria,
Histiaea rich in vines, Cerinthus upon the sea, and the rock-perched
town of Dium; with them were also the men of Carystus and Styra;
Elephenor of the race of Mars was in command of these; he was son of
Chalcodon, and chief over all the Abantes. With him they came, fleet of
foot and wearing their hair long behind, brave warriors, who would ever
strive to tear open the corslets of their foes with their long ashen
spears. Of these there came fifty ships.

And they that held the strong city of Athens, the people of great
Erechtheus, who was born of the soil itself, but Jove's daughter,
Minerva, fostered him, and established him at Athens in her own rich
sanctuary. There, year by year, the Athenian youths worship him with
sacrifices of bulls and rams. These were commanded by Menestheus, son
of Peteos. No man living could equal him in the marshalling of chariots
and foot soldiers. Nestor could alone rival him, for he was older. With
him there came fifty ships.

Ajax brought twelve ships from Salamis, and stationed them alongside
those of the Athenians.

The men of Argos, again, and those who held the walls of Tiryns, with
Hermione, and Asine upon the gulf; Troezene, Eionae, and the vineyard
lands of Epidaurus; the Achaean youths, moreover, who came from Aegina
and Mases; these were led by Diomed of the loud battle-cry, and
Sthenelus son of famed Capaneus. With them in command was Euryalus, son
of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus; but Diomed was chief over them all.
With these there came eighty ships.

Those who held the strong city of Mycenae, rich Corinth and Cleonae;
Orneae, Araethyrea, and Licyon, where Adrastus reigned of old;
Hyperesia, high Gonoessa, and Pellene; Aegium and all the coast-land
round about Helice; these sent a hundred ships under the command of
King Agamemnon, son of Atreus. His force was far both finest and most
numerous, and in their midst was the king himself, all glorious in his
armour of gleaming bronze--foremost among the heroes, for he was the
greatest king, and had most men under him.

And those that dwelt in Lacedaemon, lying low among the hills, Pharis,
Sparta, with Messe the haunt of doves; Bryseae, Augeae, Amyclae, and
Helos upon the sea; Laas, moreover, and Oetylus; these were led by
Menelaus of the loud battle-cry, brother to Agamemnon, and of them
there were sixty ships, drawn up apart from the others. Among them went
Menelaus himself, strong in zeal, urging his men to fight; for he
longed to avenge the toil and sorrow that he had suffered for the sake
of Helen.

The men of Pylos and Arene, and Thryum where is the ford of the river
Alpheus; strong Aipy, Cyparisseis, and Amphigenea; Pteleum, Helos, and
Dorium, where the Muses met Thamyris, and stilled his minstrelsy for
ever. He was returning from Oechalia, where Eurytus lived and reigned,
and boasted that he would surpass even the Muses, daughters of
aegis-bearing Jove, if they should sing against him; whereon they were
angry, and maimed him. They robbed him of his divine power of song, and
thenceforth he could strike the lyre no more. These were commanded by
Nestor, knight of Gerene, and with him there came ninety ships.

And those that held Arcadia, under the high mountain of Cyllene, near
the tomb of Aepytus, where the people fight hand to hand; the men of
Pheneus also, and Orchomenus rich in flocks; of Rhipae, Stratie, and
bleak Enispe; of Tegea and fair Mantinea; of Stymphelus and Parrhasia;
of these King Agapenor son of Ancaeus was commander, and they had sixty
ships. Many Arcadians, good soldiers, came in each one of them, but
Agamemnon found them the ships in which to cross the sea, for they were
not a people that occupied their business upon the waters.

The men, moreover, of Buprasium and of Elis, so much of it as is
enclosed between Hyrmine, Myrsinus upon the sea-shore, the rock Olene
and Alesium. These had four leaders, and each of them had ten ships,
with many Epeans on board. Their captains were Amphimachus and
Thalpius--the one, son of Cteatus, and the other, of Eurytus--both of
the race of Actor. The two others were Diores, son of Amarynces, and
Polyxenus, son of King Agasthenes, son of Augeas.

And those of Dulichium with the sacred Echinean islands, who dwelt
beyond the sea off Elis; these were led by Meges, peer of Mars, and the
son of valiant Phyleus, dear to Jove, who quarrelled with his father,
and went to settle in Dulichium. With him there came forty ships.

Ulysses led the brave Cephallenians, who held Ithaca, Neritum with its
forests, Crocylea, rugged Aegilips, Samos and Zacynthus, with the
mainland also that was over against the islands. These were led by
Ulysses, peer of Jove in counsel, and with him there came twelve ships.

Thoas, son of Andraemon, commanded the Aetolians, who dwelt in Pleuron,
Olenus, Pylene, Chalcis by the sea, and rocky Calydon, for the great
king Oeneus had now no sons living, and was himself dead, as was also
golden-haired Meleager, who had been set over the Aetolians to be their
king. And with Thoas there came forty ships.

The famous spearsman Idomeneus led the Cretans, who held Cnossus, and
the well-walled city of Gortys; Lyctus also, Miletus and Lycastus that
lies upon the chalk; the populous towns of Phaestus and Rhytium, with
the other peoples that dwelt in the hundred cities of Crete. All these
were led by Idomeneus, and by Meriones, peer of murderous Mars. And
with these there came eighty ships.

Tlepolemus, son of Hercules, a man both brave and large of stature,
brought nine ships of lordly warriors from Rhodes. These dwelt in
Rhodes which is divided among the three cities of Lindus, Ielysus, and
Cameirus, that lies upon the chalk. These were commanded by Tlepolemus,
son of Hercules by Astyochea, whom he had carried off from Ephyra, on
the river Selleis, after sacking many cities of valiant warriors. When
Tlepolemus grew up, he killed his father's uncle Licymnius, who had
been a famous warrior in his time, but was then grown old. On this he
built himself a fleet, gathered a great following, and fled beyond the
sea, for he was menaced by the other sons and grandsons of Hercules.
After a voyage, during which he suffered great hardship, he came to
Rhodes, where the people divided into three communities, according to
their tribes, and were dearly loved by Jove, the lord of gods and men;
wherefore the son of Saturn showered down great riches upon them.

And Nireus brought three ships from Syme--Nireus, who was the
handsomest man that came up under Ilius of all the Danaans after the
son of Peleus--but he was a man of no substance, and had but a small

And those that held Nisyrus, Crapathus, and Casus, with Cos, the city
of Eurypylus, and the Calydnian islands, these were commanded by
Pheidippus and Antiphus, two sons of King Thessalus the son of
Hercules. And with them there came thirty ships.

Those again who held Pelasgic Argos, Alos, Alope, and Trachis; and
those of Phthia and Hellas the land of fair women, who were called
Myrmidons, Hellenes, and Achaeans; these had fifty ships, over which
Achilles was in command. But they now took no part in the war, inasmuch
as there was no one to marshal them; for Achilles stayed by his ships,
furious about the loss of the girl Briseis, whom he had taken from
Lyrnessus at his own great peril, when he had sacked Lyrnessus and
Thebe, and had overthrown Mynes and Epistrophus, sons of king Evenor,
son of Selepus. For her sake Achilles was still grieving, but ere long
he was again to join them.

And those that held Phylace and the flowery meadows of Pyrasus,
sanctuary of Ceres; Iton, the mother of sheep; Antrum upon the sea, and
Pteleum that lies upon the grass lands. Of these brave Protesilaus had
been captain while he was yet alive, but he was now lying under the
earth. He had left a wife behind him in Phylace to tear her cheeks in
sorrow, and his house was only half finished, for he was slain by a
Dardanian warrior while leaping foremost of the Achaeans upon the soil
of Troy. Still, though his people mourned their chieftain, they were
not without a leader, for Podarces, of the race of Mars, marshalled
them; he was son of Iphiclus, rich in sheep, who was the son of
Phylacus, and he was own brother to Protesilaus, only younger,
Protesilaus being at once the elder and the more valiant. So the people
were not without a leader, though they mourned him whom they had lost.
With him there came forty ships.

And those that held Pherae by the Boebean lake, with Boebe, Glaphyrae,
and the populous city of Iolcus, these with their eleven ships were led
by Eumelus, son of Admetus, whom Alcestis bore to him, loveliest of the
daughters of Pelias.

And those that held Methone and Thaumacia, with Meliboea and rugged
Olizon, these were led by the skilful archer Philoctetes, and they had
seven ships, each with fifty oarsmen all of them good archers; but
Philoctetes was lying in great pain in the Island of Lemnos, where the
sons of the Achaeans left him, for he had been bitten by a poisonous
water snake. There he lay sick and sorry, and full soon did the Argives
come to miss him. But his people, though they felt his loss were not
leaderless, for Medon, the bastard son of Oileus by Rhene, set them in

Those, again, of Tricca and the stony region of Ithome, and they that
held Oechalia, the city of Oechalian Eurytus, these were commanded by
the two sons of Aesculapius, skilled in the art of healing, Podalirius
and Machaon. And with them there came thirty ships.

The men, moreover, of Ormenius, and by the fountain of Hypereia, with
those that held Asterius, and the white crests of Titanus, these were
led by Eurypylus, the son of Euaemon, and with them there came forty

Those that held Argissa and Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, and the white city
of Oloosson, of these brave Polypoetes was leader. He was son of
Pirithous, who was son of Jove himself, for Hippodameia bore him to
Pirithous on the day when he took his revenge on the shaggy mountain
savages and drove them from Mt. Pelion to the Aithices. But Polypoetes
was not sole in command, for with him was Leonteus, of the race of
Mars, who was son of Coronus, the son of Caeneus. And with these there
came forty ships.

Guneus brought two and twenty ships from Cyphus, and he was followed by
the Enienes and the valiant Peraebi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona, and
held the lands round the lovely river Titaresius, which sends its
waters into the Peneus. They do not mingle with the silver eddies of
the Peneus, but flow on the top of them like oil; for the Titaresius is
a branch of dread Orcus and of the river Styx.

Of the Magnetes, Prothous son of Tenthredon was commander. They were
they that dwelt about the river Peneus and Mt. Pelion. Prothous, fleet
of foot, was their leader, and with him there came forty ships.

Such were the chiefs and princes of the Danaans. Who, then, O Muse, was
the foremost, whether man or horse, among those that followed after the
sons of Atreus?

Of the horses, those of the son of Pheres were by far the finest. They
were driven by Eumelus, and were as fleet as birds. They were of the
same age and colour, and perfectly matched in height. Apollo, of the
silver bow, had bred them in Perea--both of them mares, and terrible as
Mars in battle. Of the men, Ajax, son of Telamon, was much the foremost
so long as Achilles' anger lasted, for Achilles excelled him greatly
and he had also better horses; but Achilles was now holding aloof at
his ships by reason of his quarrel with Agamemnon, and his people
passed their time upon the sea shore, throwing discs or aiming with
spears at a mark, and in archery. Their horses stood each by his own
chariot, champing lotus and wild celery. The chariots were housed under
cover, but their owners, for lack of leadership, wandered hither and
thither about the host and went not forth to fight.

Thus marched the host like a consuming fire, and the earth groaned
beneath them when the lord of thunder is angry and lashes the land
about Typhoeus among the Arimi, where they say Typhoeus lies. Even so
did the earth groan beneath them as they sped over the plain.

And now Iris, fleet as the wind, was sent by Jove to tell the bad news
among the Trojans. They were gathered in assembly, old and young, at
Priam's gates, and Iris came close up to Priam, speaking with the voice
of Priam's son Polites, who, being fleet of foot, was stationed as
watchman for the Trojans on the tomb of old Aesyetes, to look out for
any sally of the Achaeans. In his likeness Iris spoke, saying, "Old
man, you talk idly, as in time of peace, while war is at hand. I have
been in many a battle, but never yet saw such a host as is now
advancing. They are crossing the plain to attack the city as thick as
leaves or as the sands of the sea. Hector, I charge you above all
others, do as I say. There are many allies dispersed about the city of
Priam from distant places and speaking divers tongues. Therefore, let
each chief give orders to his own people, setting them severally in
array and leading them forth to battle."

Thus she spoke, but Hector knew that it was the goddess, and at once
broke up the assembly. The men flew to arms; all the gates were opened,
and the people thronged through them, horse and foot, with the tramp as
of a great multitude.

Now there is a high mound before the city, rising by itself upon the
plain. Men call it Batieia, but the gods know that it is the tomb of
lithe Myrine. Here the Trojans and their allies divided their forces.

Priam's son, great Hector of the gleaming helmet, commanded the
Trojans, and with him were arrayed by far the greater number and most
valiant of those who were longing for the fray.

The Dardanians were led by brave Aeneas, whom Venus bore to Anchises,
when she, goddess though she was, had lain with him upon the mountain
slopes of Ida. He was not alone, for with him were the two sons of
Antenor, Archilochus and Acamas, both skilled in all the arts of war.

They that dwelt in Telea under the lowest spurs of Mt. Ida, men of
substance, who drink the limpid waters of the Aesepus, and are of
Trojan blood--these were led by Pandarus son of Lycaon, whom Apollo had
taught to use the bow.

They that held Adresteia and the land of Apaesus, with Pityeia, and the
high mountain of Tereia--these were led by Adrestus and Amphius, whose
breastplate was of linen. These were the sons of Merops of Percote, who
excelled in all kinds of divination. He told them not to take part in
the war, but they gave him no heed, for fate lured them to destruction.

They that dwelt about Percote and Practius, with Sestos, Abydos, and
Arisbe--these were led by Asius, son of Hyrtacus, a brave
commander--Asius, the son of Hyrtacus, whom his powerful dark bay
steeds, of the breed that comes from the river Selleis, had brought
from Arisbe.

Hippothous led the tribes of Pelasgian spearsmen, who dwelt in fertile
Larissa--Hippothous, and Pylaeus of the race of Mars, two sons of the
Pelasgian Lethus, son of Teutamus.

Acamas and the warrior Peirous commanded the Thracians and those that
came from beyond the mighty stream of the Hellespont.

Euphemus, son of Troezenus, the son of Ceos, was captain of the
Ciconian spearsmen.

Pyraechmes led the Paeonian archers from distant Amydon, by the broad
waters of the river Axius, the fairest that flow upon the earth.

The Paphlagonians were commanded by stout-hearted Pylaemanes from
Enetae, where the mules run wild in herds. These were they that held
Cytorus and the country round Sesamus, with the cities by the river
Parthenius, Cromna, Aegialus, and lofty Erithini.

Odius and Epistrophus were captains over the Halizoni from distant
Alybe, where there are mines of silver.

Chromis, and Ennomus the augur, led the Mysians, but his skill in
augury availed not to save him from destruction, for he fell by the
hand of the fleet descendant of Aeacus in the river, where he slew
others also of the Trojans.

Phorcys, again, and noble Ascanius led the Phrygians from the far
country of Ascania, and both were eager for the fray.

Mesthles and Antiphus commanded the Meonians, sons of Talaemenes, born
to him of the Gygaean lake. These led the Meonians, who dwelt under Mt.

Nastes led the Carians, men of a strange speech. These held Miletus and
the wooded mountain of Phthires, with the water of the river Maeander
and the lofty crests of Mt. Mycale. These were commanded by Nastes and
Amphimachus, the brave sons of Nomion. He came into the fight with gold
about him, like a girl; fool that he was, his gold was of no avail to
save him, for he fell in the river by the hand of the fleet descendant
of Aeacus, and Achilles bore away his gold.

Sarpedon and Glaucus led the Lycians from their distant land, by the
eddying waters of the Xanthus.


Alexandria, also called Paris, challenges Menelaus--Helen and
Priam view the Achaeans from the wall--The covenant--Paris
and Menelaus fight, and Paris is worsted--Venus carries him
off to save him--Scene between him and Helen.

When the companies were thus arrayed, each under its own captain, the
Trojans advanced as a flight of wild fowl or cranes that scream
overhead when rain and winter drive them over the flowing waters of
Oceanus to bring death and destruction on the Pygmies, and they wrangle
in the air as they fly; but the Achaeans marched silently, in high
heart, and minded to stand by one another.

As when the south wind spreads a curtain of mist upon the mountain
tops, bad for shepherds but better than night for thieves, and a man
can see no further than he can throw a stone, even so rose the dust
from under their feet as they made all speed over the plain.

When they were close up with one another, Alexandrus came forward as
champion on the Trojan side. On his shoulders he bore the skin of a
panther, his bow, and his sword, and he brandished two spears shod with
bronze as a challenge to the bravest of the Achaeans to meet him in
single fight. Menelaus saw him thus stride out before the ranks, and
was glad as a hungry lion that lights on the carcase of some goat or
horned stag, and devours it there and then, though dogs and youths set
upon him. Even thus was Menelaus glad when his eyes caught sight of
Alexandrus, for he deemed that now he should be revenged. He sprang,
therefore, from his chariot, clad in his suit of armour.

Alexandrus quailed as he saw Menelaus come forward, and shrank in fear
of his life under cover of his men. As one who starts back affrighted,
trembling and pale, when he comes suddenly upon a serpent in some
mountain glade, even so did Alexandrus plunge into the throng of Trojan
warriors, terror-stricken at the sight of the son of Atreus.

Then Hector upbraided him. "Paris," said he, "evil-hearted Paris, fair
to see, but woman-mad, and false of tongue, would that you had never
been born, or that you had died unwed. Better so, than live to be
disgraced and looked askance at. Will not the Achaeans mock at us and
say that we have sent one to champion us who is fair to see but who has
neither wit nor courage? Did you not, such as you are, get your
following together and sail beyond the seas? Did you not from your a
far country carry off a lovely woman wedded among a people of
warriors--to bring sorrow upon your father, your city, and your whole
country, but joy to your enemies, and hang-dog shamefacedness to
yourself? And now can you not dare face Menelaus and learn what manner
of man he is whose wife you have stolen? Where indeed would be your
lyre and your love-tricks, your comely locks and your fair favour, when
you were lying in the dust before him? The Trojans are a weak-kneed
people, or ere this you would have had a shirt of stones for the wrongs
you have done them."

And Alexandrus answered, "Hector, your rebuke is just. You are hard as
the axe which a shipwright wields at his work, and cleaves the timber
to his liking. As the axe in his hand, so keen is the edge of your
scorn. Still, taunt me not with the gifts that golden Venus has given
me; they are precious; let not a man disdain them, for the gods give
them where they are minded, and none can have them for the asking. If
you would have me do battle with Menelaus, bid the Trojans and Achaeans
take their seats, while he and I fight in their midst for Helen and all
her wealth. Let him who shall be victorious and prove to be the better
man take the woman and all she has, to bear them to his home, but let
the rest swear to a solemn covenant of peace whereby you Trojans shall
stay here in Troy, while the others go home to Argos and the land of
the Achaeans."

When Hector heard this he was glad, and went about among the Trojan
ranks holding his spear by the middle to keep them back, and they all
sat down at his bidding: but the Achaeans still aimed at him with
stones and arrows, till Agamemnon shouted to them saying, "Hold,
Argives, shoot not, sons of the Achaeans; Hector desires to speak."

They ceased taking aim and were still, whereon Hector spoke. "Hear from
my mouth," said he, "Trojans and Achaeans, the saying of Alexandrus,
through whom this quarrel has come about. He bids the Trojans and
Achaeans lay their armour upon the ground, while he and Menelaus fight
in the midst of you for Helen and all her wealth. Let him who shall be
victorious and prove to be the better man take the woman and all she
has, to bear them to his own home, but let the rest swear to a solemn
covenant of peace."

Thus he spoke, and they all held their peace, till Menelaus of the loud
battle-cry addressed them. "And now," he said, "hear me too, for it is
I who am the most aggrieved. I deem that the parting of Achaeans and
Trojans is at hand, as well it may be, seeing how much have suffered
for my quarrel with Alexandrus and the wrong he did me. Let him who
shall die, die, and let the others fight no more. Bring, then, two
lambs, a white ram and a black ewe, for Earth and Sun, and we will
bring a third for Jove. Moreover, you shall bid Priam come, that he may
swear to the covenant himself; for his sons are high-handed and ill to
trust, and the oaths of Jove must not be transgressed or taken in vain.
Young men's minds are light as air, but when an old man comes he looks
before and after, deeming that which shall be fairest upon both sides."

The Trojans and Achaeans were glad when they heard this, for they
thought that they should now have rest. They backed their chariots
toward the ranks, got out of them, and put off their armour, laying it
down upon the ground; and the hosts were near to one another with a
little space between them. Hector sent two messengers to the city to
bring the lambs and to bid Priam come, while Agamemnon told Talthybius
to fetch the other lamb from the ships, and he did as Agamemnon had

Meanwhile Iris went to Helen in the form of her sister-in-law, wife of
the son of Antenor, for Helicaon, son of Antenor, had married Laodice,
the fairest of Priam's daughters. She found her in her own room,
working at a great web of purple linen, on which she was embroidering
the battles between Trojans and Achaeans, that Mars had made them fight
for her sake. Iris then came close up to her and said, "Come hither,
child, and see the strange doings of the Trojans and Achaeans. Till now
they have been warring upon the plain, mad with lust of battle, but now
they have left off fighting, and are leaning upon their shields,
sitting still with their spears planted beside them. Alexandrus and
Menelaus are going to fight about yourself, and you are to be the wife
of him who is the victor."

Thus spoke the goddess, and Helen's heart yearned after her former
husband, her city, and her parents. She threw a white mantle over her
head, and hurried from her room, weeping as she went, not alone, but
attended by two of her handmaids, Aethrae, daughter of Pittheus, and
Clymene. And straightway they were at the Scaean gates.

The two sages, Ucalegon and Antenor, elders of the people, were seated
by the Scaean gates, with Priam, Panthous, Thymoetes, Lampus, Clytius,
and Hiketaon of the race of Mars. These were too old to fight, but they
were fluent orators, and sat on the tower like cicales that chirrup
delicately from the boughs of some high tree in a wood. When they saw
Helen coming towards the tower, they said softly to one another, "Small
wonder that Trojans and Achaeans should endure so much and so long, for
the sake of a woman so marvellously and divinely lovely. Still, fair
though she be, let them take her and go, or she will breed sorrow for
us and for our children after us."

But Priam bade her draw nigh. "My child," said he, "take your seat in
front of me that you may see your former husband, your kinsmen and your
friends. I lay no blame upon you, it is the gods, not you who are to
blame. It is they that have brought about this terrible war with the
Achaeans. Tell me, then, who is yonder huge hero so great and goodly? I
have seen men taller by a head, but none so comely and so royal. Surely
he must be a king."

"Sir," answered Helen, "father of my husband, dear and reverend in my
eyes, would that I had chosen death rather than to have come here with
your son, far from my bridal chamber, my friends, my darling daughter,
and all the companions of my girlhood. But it was not to be, and my lot
is one of tears and sorrow. As for your question, the hero of whom you
ask is Agamemnon, son of Atreus, a good king and a brave soldier,
brother-in-law as surely as that he lives, to my abhorred and miserable

The old man marvelled at him and said, "Happy son of Atreus, child of
good fortune. I see that the Achaeans are subject to you in great
multitudes. When I was in Phrygia I saw much horsemen, the people of
Otreus and of Mygdon, who were camping upon the banks of the river
Sangarius; I was their ally, and with them when the Amazons, peers of
men, came up against them, but even they were not so many as the

The old man next looked upon Ulysses; "Tell me," he said, "who is that
other, shorter by a head than Agamemnon, but broader across the chest
and shoulders? His armour is laid upon the ground, and he stalks in
front of the ranks as it were some great woolly ram ordering his ewes."

And Helen answered, "He is Ulysses, a man of great craft, son of
Laertes. He was born in rugged Ithaca, and excels in all manner of
stratagems and subtle cunning."

On this Antenor said, "Madam, you have spoken truly. Ulysses once came
here as envoy about yourself, and Menelaus with him. I received them in
my own house, and therefore know both of them by sight and
conversation. When they stood up in presence of the assembled Trojans,
Menelaus was the broader shouldered, but when both were seated Ulysses
had the more royal presence. After a time they delivered their message,
and the speech of Menelaus ran trippingly on the tongue; he did not say
much, for he was a man of few words, but he spoke very clearly and to
the point, though he was the younger man of the two; Ulysses, on the
other hand, when he rose to speak, was at first silent and kept his
eyes fixed upon the ground. There was no play nor graceful movement of
his sceptre; he kept it straight and stiff like a man unpractised in
oratory--one might have taken him for a mere churl or simpleton; but
when he raised his voice, and the words came driving from his deep
chest like winter snow before the wind, then there was none to touch
him, and no man thought further of what he looked like."

Priam then caught sight of Ajax and asked, "Who is that great and
goodly warrior whose head and broad shoulders tower above the rest of
the Argives?"

"That," answered Helen, "is huge Ajax, bulwark of the Achaeans, and on
the other side of him, among the Cretans, stands Idomeneus looking like
a god, and with the captains of the Cretans round him. Often did
Menelaus receive him as a guest in our house when he came visiting us
from Crete. I see, moreover, many other Achaeans whose names I could
tell you, but there are two whom I can nowhere find, Castor, breaker of
horses, and Pollux the mighty boxer; they are children of my mother,
and own brothers to myself. Either they have not left Lacedaemon, or
else, though they have brought their ships, they will not show
themselves in battle for the shame and disgrace that I have brought
upon them."

She knew not that both these heroes were already lying under the earth
in their own land of Lacedaemon.

Meanwhile the heralds were bringing the holy oath-offerings through the
city--two lambs and a goatskin of wine, the gift of earth; and Idaeus
brought the mixing bowl and the cups of gold. He went up to Priam and
said, "Son of Laomedon, the princes of the Trojans and Achaeans bid you
come down on to the plain and swear to a solemn covenant. Alexandrus
and Menelaus are to fight for Helen in single combat, that she and all
her wealth may go with him who is the victor. We are to swear to a
solemn covenant of peace whereby we others shall dwell here in Troy,
while the Achaeans return to Argos and the land of the Achaeans."

The old man trembled as he heard, but bade his followers yoke the
horses, and they made all haste to do so. He mounted the chariot,
gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor took his seat beside him;
they then drove through the Scaean gates on to the plain. When they
reached the ranks of the Trojans and Achaeans they left the chariot,
and with measured pace advanced into the space between the hosts.

Agamemnon and Ulysses both rose to meet them. The attendants brought on
the oath-offerings and mixed the wine in the mixing-bowls; they poured
water over the hands of the chieftains, and the son of Atreus drew the
dagger that hung by his sword, and cut wool from the lambs' heads; this
the men-servants gave about among the Trojan and Achaean princes, and
the son of Atreus lifted up his hands in prayer. "Father Jove," he
cried, "that rulest in Ida, most glorious in power, and thou oh Sun,
that seest and givest ear to all things, Earth and Rivers, and ye who
in the realms below chastise the soul of him that has broken his oath,
witness these rites and guard them, that they be not vain. If
Alexandrus kills Menelaus, let him keep Helen and all her wealth, while
we sail home with our ships; but if Menelaus kills Alexandrus, let the
Trojans give back Helen and all that she has; let them moreover pay
such fine to the Achaeans as shall be agreed upon, in testimony among
those that shall be born hereafter. And if Priam and his sons refuse
such fine when Alexandrus has fallen, then will I stay here and fight
on till I have got satisfaction."

As he spoke he drew his knife across the throats of the victims, and
laid them down gasping and dying upon the ground, for the knife had
reft them of their strength. Then they poured wine from the mixing-bowl
into the cups, and prayed to the everlasting gods, saying, Trojans and
Achaeans among one another, "Jove, most great and glorious, and ye
other everlasting gods, grant that the brains of them who shall first
sin against their oaths--of them and their children--may be shed upon
the ground even as this wine, and let their wives become the slaves of

Thus they prayed, but not as yet would Jove grant them their prayer.
Then Priam, descendant of Dardanus, spoke, saying, "Hear me, Trojans
and Achaeans, I will now go back to the wind-beaten city of Ilius: I
dare not with my own eyes witness this fight between my son and
Menelaus, for Jove and the other immortals alone know which shall fall."

On this he laid the two lambs on his chariot and took his seat. He
gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor sat beside him; the two
then went back to Ilius. Hector and Ulysses measured the ground, and
cast lots from a helmet of bronze to see which should take aim first.
Meanwhile the two hosts lifted up their hands and prayed saying,
"Father Jove, that rulest from Ida, most glorious in power, grant that
he who first brought about this war between us may die, and enter the
house of Hades, while we others remain at peace and abide by our oaths."

Great Hector now turned his head aside while he shook the helmet, and
the lot of Paris flew out first. The others took their several
stations, each by his horses and the place where his arms were lying,
while Alexandrus, husband of lovely Helen, put on his goodly armour.
First he greaved his legs with greaves of good make and fitted with
ancle-clasps of silver; after this he donned the cuirass of his brother
Lycaon, and fitted it to his own body; he hung his silver-studded sword
of bronze about his shoulders, and then his mighty shield. On his
comely head he set his helmet, well-wrought, with a crest of horse-hair
that nodded menacingly above it, and he grasped a redoubtable spear
that suited his hands. In like fashion Menelaus also put on his armour.

When they had thus armed, each amid his own people, they strode fierce
of aspect into the open space, and both Trojans and Achaeans were
struck with awe as they beheld them. They stood near one another on the
measured ground, brandishing their spears, and each furious against the
other. Alexandrus aimed first, and struck the round shield of the son
of Atreus, but the spear did not pierce it, for the shield turned its
point. Menelaus next took aim, praying to Father Jove as he did so.
"King Jove," he said, "grant me revenge on Alexandrus who has wronged
me; subdue him under my hand that in ages yet to come a man may shrink
from doing ill deeds in the house of his host."

He poised his spear as he spoke, and hurled it at the shield of
Alexandrus. Through shield and cuirass it went, and tore the shirt by
his flank, but Alexandrus swerved aside, and thus saved his life. Then
the son of Atreus drew his sword, and drove at the projecting part of
his helmet, but the sword fell shivered in three or four pieces from
his hand, and he cried, looking towards Heaven, "Father Jove, of all
gods thou art the most despiteful; I made sure of my revenge, but the
sword has broken in my hand, my spear has been hurled in vain, and I
have not killed him."

With this he flew at Alexandrus, caught him by the horsehair plume of
his helmet, and began dragging him towards the Achaeans. The strap of
the helmet that went under his chin was choking him, and Menelaus would
have dragged him off to his own great glory had not Jove's daughter
Venus been quick to mark and to break the strap of oxhide, so that the
empty helmet came away in his hand. This he flung to his comrades among
the Achaeans, and was again springing upon Alexandrus to run him
through with a spear, but Venus snatched him up in a moment (as a god
can do), hid him under a cloud of darkness, and conveyed him to his own

Then she went to call Helen, and found her on a high tower with the
Trojan women crowding round her. She took the form of an old woman who
used to dress wool for her when she was still in Lacedaemon, and of
whom she was very fond. Thus disguised she plucked her by perfumed robe
and said, "Come hither; Alexandrus says you are to go to the house; he
is on his bed in his own room, radiant with beauty and dressed in
gorgeous apparel. No one would think he had just come from fighting,
but rather that he was going to a dance, or had done dancing and was
sitting down."

With these words she moved the heart of Helen to anger. When she marked
the beautiful neck of the goddess, her lovely bosom, and sparkling
eyes, she marvelled at her and said, "Goddess, why do you thus beguile
me? Are you going to send me afield still further to some man whom you
have taken up in Phrygia or fair Meonia? Menelaus has just vanquished
Alexandrus, and is to take my hateful self back with him. You are come
here to betray me. Go sit with Alexandrus yourself; henceforth be
goddess no longer; never let your feet carry you back to Olympus; worry
about him and look after him till he make you his wife, or, for the
matter of that, his slave--but me? I shall not go; I can garnish his
bed no longer; I should be a by-word among all the women of Troy.
Besides, I have trouble on my mind."

Venus was very angry, and said, "Bold hussy, do not provoke me; if you
do, I shall leave you to your fate and hate you as much as I have loved
you. I will stir up fierce hatred between Trojans and Achaeans, and you
shall come to a bad end."

At this Helen was frightened. She wrapped her mantle about her and went
in silence, following the goddess and unnoticed by the Trojan women.

When they came to the house of Alexandrus the maid-servants set about
their work, but Helen went into her own room, and the laughter-loving
goddess took a seat and set it for her facing Alexandrus. On this
Helen, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, sat down, and with eyes askance
began to upbraid her husband.

"So you are come from the fight," said she; "would that you had fallen
rather by the hand of that brave man who was my husband. You used to
brag that you were a better man with hands and spear than Menelaus. Go,
then, and challenge him again--but I should advise you not to do so,
for if you are foolish enough to meet him in single combat, you will
soon fall by his spear."

And Paris answered, "Wife, do not vex me with your reproaches. This
time, with the help of Minerva, Menelaus has vanquished me; another
time I may myself be victor, for I too have gods that will stand by me.
Come, let us lie down together and make friends. Never yet was I so
passionately enamoured of you as at this moment--not even when I first
carried you off from Lacedaemon and sailed away with you--not even when
I had converse with you upon the couch of love in the island of Cranae
was I so enthralled by desire of you as now." On this he led her
towards the bed, and his wife went with him.

Thus they laid themselves on the bed together; but the son of Atreus
strode among the throng, looking everywhere for Alexandrus, and no man,
neither of the Trojans nor of the allies, could find him. If they had
seen him they were in no mind to hide him, for they all of them hated
him as they did death itself. Then Agamemnon, king of men, spoke,
saying, "Hear me, Trojans, Dardanians, and allies. The victory has been
with Menelaus; therefore give back Helen with all her wealth, and pay
such fine as shall be agreed upon, in testimony among them that shall
be born hereafter."

Thus spoke the son of Atreus, and the Achaeans shouted in applause.


A quarrel in Olympus--Minerva goes down and persuades Fandarus
to violate the oaths by wounding Menelaus with an arrow--Agamemnon
makes a speech and sends for Machaon--He then
goes about among his captains and upbraids Ulysses and
Sthenelus, who each of them retort fiercely--Diomed checks
Sthenelus, and the two hosts then engage, with great slaughter
on either side.

Now the gods were sitting with Jove in council upon the golden floor
while Hebe went round pouring out nectar for them to drink, and as they
pledged one another in their cups of gold they looked down upon the
town of Troy. The son of Saturn then began to tease Juno, talking at
her so as to provoke her. "Menelaus," said he, "has two good friends
among the goddesses, Juno of Argos, and Minerva of Alalcomene, but they
only sit still and look on, while Venus keeps ever by Alexandrus' side
to defend him in any danger; indeed she has just rescued him when he
made sure that it was all over with him--for the victory really did lie
with Menelaus. We must consider what we shall do about all this; shall
we set them fighting anew or make peace between them? If you will agree
to this last Menelaus can take back Helen and the city of Priam may
remain still inhabited."

Minerva and Juno muttered their discontent as they sat side by side
hatching mischief for the Trojans. Minerva scowled at her father, for
she was in a furious passion with him, and said nothing, but Juno could
not contain herself. "Dread son of Saturn," said she, "what, pray, is
the meaning of all this? Is my trouble, then, to go for nothing, and
the sweat that I have sweated, to say nothing of my horses, while
getting the people together against Priam and his children? Do as you
will, but we other gods shall not all of us approve your counsel."

Jove was angry and answered, "My dear, what harm have Priam and his
sons done you that you are so hotly bent on sacking the city of Ilius?
Will nothing do for you but you must within their walls and eat Priam
raw, with his sons and all the other Trojans to boot? Have it your own
way then; for I would not have this matter become a bone of contention
between us. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart, if ever I
want to sack a city belonging to friends of yours, you must not try to
stop me; you will have to let me do it, for I am giving in to you
sorely against my will. Of all inhabited cities under the sun and stars
of heaven, there was none that I so much respected as Ilius with Priam
and his whole people. Equitable feasts were never wanting about my
altar, nor the savour of burning fat, which is honour due to ourselves."

"My own three favourite cities," answered Juno, "are Argos, Sparta, and
Mycenae. Sack them whenever you may be displeased with them. I shall
not defend them and I shall not care. Even if I did, and tried to stay
you, I should take nothing by it, for you are much stronger than I am,
but I will not have my own work wasted. I too am a god and of the same
race with yourself. I am Saturn's eldest daughter, and am honourable
not on this ground only, but also because I am your wife, and you are
king over the gods. Let it be a case, then, of give-and-take between
us, and the rest of the gods will follow our lead. Tell Minerva to go
and take part in the fight at once, and let her contrive that the
Trojans shall be the first to break their oaths and set upon the

The sire of gods and men heeded her words, and said to Minerva, "Go at
once into the Trojan and Achaean hosts, and contrive that the Trojans
shall be the first to break their oaths and set upon the Achaeans."

This was what Minerva was already eager to do, so down she darted from
the topmost summits of Olympus. She shot through the sky as some
brilliant meteor which the son of scheming Saturn has sent as a sign to
mariners or to some great army, and a fiery train of light follows in
its wake. The Trojans and Achaeans were struck with awe as they beheld,
and one would turn to his neighbour, saying, "Either we shall again
have war and din of combat, or Jove the lord of battle will now make
peace between us."

Thus did they converse. Then Minerva took the form of Laodocus, son of
Antenor, and went through the ranks of the Trojans to find Pandarus,
the redoubtable son of Lycaon. She found him standing among the
stalwart heroes who had followed him from the banks of the Aesopus, so
she went close up to him and said, "Brave son of Lycaon, will you do as
I tell you? If you dare send an arrow at Menelaus you will win honour
and thanks from all the Trojans, and especially from prince
Alexandrus--he would be the first to requite you very handsomely if he
could see Menelaus mount his funeral pyre, slain by an arrow from your
hand. Take your home aim then, and pray to Lycian Apollo, the famous
archer; vow that when you get home to your strong city of Zelea you
will offer a hecatomb of firstling lambs in his honour."

His fool's heart was persuaded, and he took his bow from its case. This
bow was made from the horns of a wild ibex which he had killed as it
was bounding from a rock; he had stalked it, and it had fallen as the
arrow struck it to the heart. Its horns were sixteen palms long, and a
worker in horn had made them into a bow, smoothing them well down, and
giving them tips of gold. When Pandarus had strung his bow he laid it
carefully on the ground, and his brave followers held their shields
before him lest the Achaeans should set upon him before he had shot
Menelaus. Then he opened the lid of his quiver and took out a winged
arrow that had not yet been shot, fraught with the pangs of death. He
laid the arrow on the string and prayed to Lycian Apollo, the famous
archer, vowing that when he got home to his strong city of Zelea he
would offer a hecatomb of firstling lambs in his honour. He laid the
notch of the arrow on the oxhide bowstring, and drew both notch and
string to his breast till the arrow-head was near the bow; then when
the bow was arched into a half-circle he let fly, and the bow twanged,
and the string sang as the arrow flew gladly on over the heads of the

But the blessed gods did not forget thee, O Menelaus, and Jove's
daughter, driver of the spoil, was the first to stand before thee and
ward off the piercing arrow. She turned it from his skin as a mother
whisks a fly from off her child when it is sleeping sweetly; she guided
it to the part where the golden buckles of the belt that passed over
his double cuirass were fastened, so the arrow struck the belt that
went tightly round him. It went right through this and through the
cuirass of cunning workmanship; it also pierced the belt beneath it,
which he wore next his skin to keep out darts or arrows; it was this
that served him in the best stead, nevertheless the arrow went through
it and grazed the top of the skin, so that blood began flowing from the

As when some woman of Meonia or Caria strains purple dye on to a piece
of ivory that is to be the cheek-piece of a horse, and is to be laid up
in a treasure house--many a knight is fain to bear it, but the king
keeps it as an ornament of which both horse and driver may be
proud--even so, O Menelaus, were your shapely thighs and your legs down
to your fair ancles stained with blood.

When King Agamemnon saw the blood flowing from the wound he was afraid,
and so was brave Menelaus himself till he saw that the barbs of the
arrow and the thread that bound the arrow-head to the shaft were still
outside the wound. Then he took heart, but Agamemnon heaved a deep sigh
as he held Menelaus's hand in his own, and his comrades made moan in
concert. "Dear brother," he cried, "I have been the death of you in
pledging this covenant and letting you come forward as our champion.
The Trojans have trampled on their oaths and have wounded you;
nevertheless the oath, the blood of lambs, the drink-offerings and the
right hands of fellowship in which we have put our trust shall not be
vain. If he that rules Olympus fulfil it not here and now, he will yet
fulfil it hereafter, and they shall pay dearly with their lives and
with their wives and children. The day will surely come when mighty
Ilius shall be laid low, with Priam and Priam's people, when the son of
Saturn from his high throne shall overshadow them with his awful aegis
in punishment of their present treachery. This shall surely be; but
how, Menelaus, shall I mourn you, if it be your lot now to die? I
should return to Argos as a by-word, for the Achaeans will at once go
home. We shall leave Priam and the Trojans the glory of still keeping
Helen, and the earth will rot your bones as you lie here at Troy with
your purpose not fulfilled. Then shall some braggart Trojan leap upon
your tomb and say, 'Ever thus may Agamemnon wreak his vengeance; he
brought his army in vain; he is gone home to his own land with empty
ships, and has left Menelaus behind him.' Thus will one of them say,
and may the earth then swallow me."

But Menelaus reassured him and said, "Take heart, and do not alarm the
people; the arrow has not struck me in a mortal part, for my outer belt
of burnished metal first stayed it, and under this my cuirass and the
belt of mail which the bronze-smiths made me."

And Agamemnon answered, "I trust, dear Menelaus, that it may be even
so, but the surgeon shall examine your wound and lay herbs upon it to
relieve your pain."

He then said to Talthybius, "Talthybius, tell Machaon, son to the great
physician, Aesculapius, to come and see Menelaus immediately. Some
Trojan or Lycian archer has wounded him with an arrow to our dismay,
and to his own great glory."

Talthybius did as he was told, and went about the host trying to find
Machaon. Presently he found standing amid the brave warriors who had
followed him from Tricca; thereon he went up to him and said, "Son of
Aesculapius, King Agamemnon says you are to come and see Menelaus
immediately. Some Trojan or Lycian archer has wounded him with an arrow
to our dismay and to his own great glory."

Thus did he speak, and Machaon was moved to go. They passed through the
spreading host of the Achaeans and went on till they came to the place
where Menelaus had been wounded and was lying with the chieftains
gathered in a circle round him. Machaon passed into the middle of the
ring and at once drew the arrow from the belt, bending its barbs back
through the force with which he pulled it out. He undid the burnished
belt, and beneath this the cuirass and the belt of mail which the
bronze-smiths had made; then, when he had seen the wound, he wiped away
the blood and applied some soothing drugs which Chiron had given to
Aesculapius out of the good will he bore him.

While they were thus busy about Menelaus, the Trojans came forward
against them, for they had put on their armour, and now renewed the

You would not have then found Agamemnon asleep nor cowardly and
unwilling to fight, but eager rather for the fray. He left his chariot
rich with bronze and his panting steeds in charge of Eurymedon, son of
Ptolemaeus the son of Peiraeus, and bade him hold them in readiness
against the time his limbs should weary of going about and giving
orders to so many, for he went among the ranks on foot. When he saw men
hasting to the front he stood by them and cheered them on. "Argives,"
said he, "slacken not one whit in your onset; father Jove will be no
helper of liars; the Trojans have been the first to break their oaths
and to attack us; therefore they shall be devoured of vultures; we
shall take their city and carry off their wives and children in our

But he angrily rebuked those whom he saw shirking and disinclined to
fight. "Argives," he cried, "cowardly miserable creatures, have you no
shame to stand here like frightened fawns who, when they can no longer
scud over the plain, huddle together, but show no fight? You are as
dazed and spiritless as deer. Would you wait till the Trojans reach the
sterns of our ships as they lie on the shore, to see whether the son of
Saturn will hold his hand over you to protect you?"

Thus did he go about giving his orders among the ranks. Passing through
the crowd, he came presently on the Cretans, arming round Idomeneus,
who was at their head, fierce as a wild boar, while Meriones was
bringing up the battalions that were in the rear. Agamemnon was glad
when he saw him, and spoke him fairly. "Idomeneus," said he, "I treat
you with greater distinction than I do any others of the Achaeans,
whether in war or in other things, or at table. When the princes are
mixing my choicest wines in the mixing-bowls, they have each of them a
fixed allowance, but your cup is kept always full like my own, that you
may drink whenever you are minded. Go, therefore, into battle, and show
yourself the man you have been always proud to be."

Idomeneus answered, "I will be a trusty comrade, as I promised you from
the first I would be. Urge on the other Achaeans, that we may join
battle at once, for the Trojans have trampled upon their covenants.
Death and destruction shall be theirs, seeing they have been the first
to break their oaths and to attack us."

The son of Atreus went on, glad at heart, till he came upon the two
Ajaxes arming themselves amid a host of foot-soldiers. As when a
goat-herd from some high post watches a storm drive over the deep
before the west wind--black as pitch is the offing and a mighty
whirlwind draws towards him, so that he is afraid and drives his flock
into a cave--even thus did the ranks of stalwart youths move in a dark
mass to battle under the Ajaxes, horrid with shield and spear. Glad was
King Agamemnon when he saw them. "No need," he cried, "to give orders
to such leaders of the Argives as you are, for of your own selves you
spur your men on to fight with might and main. Would, by father Jove,
Minerva, and Apollo that all were so minded as you are, for the city of
Priam would then soon fall beneath our hands, and we should sack it."

With this he left them and went onward to Nestor, the facile speaker of
the Pylians, who was marshalling his men and urging them on, in company
with Pelagon, Alastor, Chromius, Haemon, and Bias shepherd of his
people. He placed his knights with their chariots and horses in the
front rank, while the foot-soldiers, brave men and many, whom he could
trust, were in the rear. The cowards he drove into the middle, that
they might fight whether they would or no. He gave his orders to the
knights first, bidding them hold their horses well in hand, so as to
avoid confusion. "Let no man," he said, "relying on his strength or
horsemanship, get before the others and engage singly with the Trojans,
nor yet let him lag behind or you will weaken your attack; but let each
when he meets an enemy's chariot throw his spear from his own; this be
much the best; this is how the men of old took towns and strongholds;
in this wise were they minded."

Thus did the old man charge them, for he had been in many a fight, and
King Agamemnon was glad. "I wish," he said to him, "that your limbs
were as supple and your strength as sure as your judgment is; but age,
the common enemy of mankind, has laid his hand upon you; would that it
had fallen upon some other, and that you were still young."

And Nestor, knight of Gerene, answered, "Son of Atreus, I too would
gladly be the man I was when I slew mighty Ereuthalion; but the gods
will not give us everything at one and the same time. I was then young,
and now I am old; still I can go with my knights and give them that
counsel which old men have a right to give. The wielding of the spear I
leave to those who are younger and stronger than myself."

Agamemnon went his way rejoicing, and presently found Menestheus, son
of Peteos, tarrying in his place, and with him were the Athenians loud
of tongue in battle. Near him also tarried cunning Ulysses, with his
sturdy Cephallenians round him; they had not yet heard the battle-cry,
for the ranks of Trojans and Achaeans had only just begun to move, so
they were standing still, waiting for some other columns of the
Achaeans to attack the Trojans and begin the fighting. When he saw this
Agamemnon rebuked them and said, "Son of Peteos, and you other, steeped
in cunning, heart of guile, why stand you here cowering and waiting on
others? You two should be of all men foremost when there is hard
fighting to be done, for you are ever foremost to accept my invitation
when we councillors of the Achaeans are holding feast. You are glad
enough then to take your fill of roast meats and to drink wine as long
as you please, whereas now you would not care though you saw ten
columns of Achaeans engage the enemy in front of you."

Ulysses glared at him and answered, "Son of Atreus, what are you
talking about? How can you say that we are slack? When the Achaeans are
in full fight with the Trojans, you shall see, if you care to do so,
that the father of Telemachus will join battle with the foremost of
them. You are talking idly."

When Agamemnon saw that Ulysses was angry, he smiled pleasantly at him
and withdrew his words. "Ulysses," said he, "noble son of Laertes,
excellent in all good counsel, I have neither fault to find nor orders
to give you, for I know your heart is right, and that you and I are of
a mind. Enough; I will make you amends for what I have said, and if any
ill has now been spoken may the gods bring it to nothing."

He then left them and went on to others. Presently he saw the son of
Tydeus, noble Diomed, standing by his chariot and horses, with
Sthenelus the son of Capaneus beside him; whereon he began to upbraid
him. "Son of Tydeus," he said, "why stand you cowering here upon the
brink of battle? Tydeus did not shrink thus, but was ever ahead of his
men when leading them on against the foe--so, at least, say they that
saw him in battle, for I never set eyes upon him myself. They say that
there was no man like him. He came once to Mycenae, not as an enemy but
as a guest, in company with Polynices to recruit his forces, for they
were levying war against the strong city of Thebes, and prayed our
people for a body of picked men to help them. The men of Mycenae were
willing to let them have one, but Jove dissuaded them by showing them
unfavourable omens. Tydeus, therefore, and Polynices went their way.
When they had got as far the deep-meadowed and rush-grown banks of the
Aesopus, the Achaeans sent Tydeus as their envoy, and he found the
Cadmeans gathered in great numbers to a banquet in the house of
Eteocles. Stranger though he was, he knew no fear on finding himself
single-handed among so many, but challenged them to contests of all
kinds, and in each one of them was at once victorious, so mightily did
Minerva help him. The Cadmeans were incensed at his success, and set a
force of fifty youths with two captains--the godlike hero Maeon, son of
Haemon, and Polyphontes, son of Autophonus--at their head, to lie in
wait for him on his return journey; but Tydeus slew every man of them,
save only Maeon, whom he let go in obedience to heaven's omens. Such
was Tydeus of Aetolia. His son can talk more glibly, but he cannot
fight as his father did."

Diomed made no answer, for he was shamed by the rebuke of Agamemnon;
but the son of Capaneus took up his words and said, "Son of Atreus,
tell no lies, for you can speak truth if you will. We boast ourselves
as even better men than our fathers; we took seven-gated Thebes, though
the wall was stronger and our men were fewer in number, for we trusted
in the omens of the gods and in the help of Jove, whereas they perished
through their own sheer folly; hold not, then, our fathers in like
honour with us."

Diomed looked sternly at him and said, "Hold your peace, my friend, as
I bid you. It is not amiss that Agamemnon should urge the Achaeans
forward, for the glory will be his if we take the city, and his the
shame if we are vanquished. Therefore let us acquit ourselves with

As he spoke he sprang from his chariot, and his armour rang so fiercely
about his body that even a brave man might well have been scared to
hear it.

As when some mighty wave that thunders on the beach when the west wind
has lashed it into fury--it has reared its head afar and now comes
crashing down on the shore; it bows its arching crest high over the
jagged rocks and spews its salt foam in all directions--even so did the
serried phalanxes of the Danaans march steadfastly to battle. The
chiefs gave orders each to his own people, but the men said never a
word; no man would think it, for huge as the host was, it seemed as
though there was not a tongue among them, so silent were they in their
obedience; and as they marched the armour about their bodies glistened
in the sun. But the clamour of the Trojan ranks was as that of many
thousand ewes that stand waiting to be milked in the yards of some rich
flockmaster, and bleat incessantly in answer to the bleating of their
lambs; for they had not one speech nor language, but their tongues were
diverse, and they came from many different places. These were inspired
of Mars, but the others by Minerva--and with them came Panic, Rout, and
Strife whose fury never tires, sister and friend of murderous Mars,
who, from being at first but low in stature, grows till she uprears her
head to heaven, though her feet are still on earth. She it was that
went about among them and flung down discord to the waxing of sorrow
with even hand between them.

When they were got together in one place shield clashed with shield and
spear with spear in the rage of battle. The bossed shields beat one
upon another, and there was a tramp as of a great multitude--death-cry
and shout of triumph of slain and slayers, and the earth ran red with
blood. As torrents swollen with rain course madly down their deep
channels till the angry floods meet in some gorge, and the shepherd on
the hillside hears their roaring from afar--even such was the toil and
uproar of the hosts as they joined in battle.

First Antilochus slew an armed warrior of the Trojans, Echepolus, son
of Thalysius, fighting in the foremost ranks. He struck at the
projecting part of his helmet and drove the spear into his brow; the
point of bronze pierced the bone, and darkness veiled his eyes;
headlong as a tower he fell amid the press of the fight, and as he
dropped King Elephenor, son of Chalcodon and captain of the proud
Abantes began dragging him out of reach of the darts that were falling
around him, in haste to strip him of his armour. But his purpose was
not for long; Agenor saw him haling the body away, and smote him in the
side with his bronze-shod spear--for as he stooped his side was left
unprotected by his shield--and thus he perished. Then the fight between
Trojans and Achaeans grew furious over his body, and they flew upon
each other like wolves, man and man crushing one upon the other.

Forthwith Ajax, son of Telamon, slew the fair youth Simoeisius, son of
Anthemion, whom his mother bore by the banks of the Simois, as she was
coming down from Mt. Ida, where she had been with her parents to see
their flocks. Therefore he was named Simoeisius, but he did not live to
pay his parents for his rearing, for he was cut off untimely by the
spear of mighty Ajax, who struck him in the breast by the right nipple
as he was coming on among the foremost fighters; the spear went right
through his shoulder, and he fell as a poplar that has grown straight
and tall in a meadow by some mere, and its top is thick with branches.
Then the wheelwright lays his axe to its roots that he may fashion a
felloe for the wheel of some goodly chariot, and it lies seasoning by
the waterside. In such wise did Ajax fell to earth Simoeisius, son of
Anthemion. Thereon Antiphus of the gleaming corslet, son of Priam,
hurled a spear at Ajax from amid the crowd and missed him, but he hit
Leucus, the brave comrade of Ulysses, in the groin, as he was dragging
the body of Simoeisius over to the other side; so he fell upon the body
and loosed his hold upon it. Ulysses was furious when he saw Leucus
slain, and strode in full armour through the front ranks till he was
quite close; then he glared round about him and took aim, and the
Trojans fell back as he did so. His dart was not sped in vain, for it
struck Democoon, the bastard son of Priam, who had come to him from
Abydos, where he had charge of his father's mares. Ulysses, infuriated
by the death of his comrade, hit him with his spear on one temple, and
the bronze point came through on the other side of his forehead.
Thereon darkness veiled his eyes, and his armour rang rattling round
him as he fell heavily to the ground. Hector, and they that were in
front, then gave round while the Argives raised a shout and drew off
the dead, pressing further forward as they did so. But Apollo looked
down from Pergamus and called aloud to the Trojans, for he was
displeased. "Trojans," he cried, "rush on the foe, and do not let
yourselves be thus beaten by the Argives. Their skins are not stone nor
iron that when hit them you do them no harm. Moreover, Achilles, the
son of lovely Thetis, is not fighting, but is nursing his anger at the

Thus spoke the mighty god, crying to them from the city, while Jove's
redoubtable daughter, the Trito-born, went about among the host of the
Achaeans, and urged them forward whenever she beheld them slackening.

Then fate fell upon Diores, son of Amarynceus, for he was struck by a
jagged stone near the ancle of his right leg. He that hurled it was
Peirous, son of Imbrasus, captain of the Thracians, who had come from
Aenus; the bones and both the tendons were crushed by the pitiless
stone. He fell to the ground on his back, and in his death throes
stretched out his hands towards his comrades. But Peirous, who had
wounded him, sprang on him and thrust a spear into his belly, so that
his bowels came gushing out upon the ground, and darkness veiled his
eyes. As he was leaving the body, Thoas of Aetolia struck him in the
chest near the nipple, and the point fixed itself in his lungs. Thoas
came close up to him, pulled the spear out of his chest, and then
drawing his sword, smote him in the middle of the belly so that he
died; but he did not strip him of his armour, for his Thracian
comrades, men who wear their hair in a tuft at the top of their heads,
stood round the body and kept him off with their long spears for all
his great stature and valour; so he was driven back. Thus the two
corpses lay stretched on earth near to one another, the one captain of
the Thracians and the other of the Epeans; and many another fell round

And now no man would have made light of the fighting if he could have
gone about among it scatheless and unwounded, with Minerva leading him
by the hand, and protecting him from the storm of spears and arrows.
For many Trojans and Achaeans on that day lay stretched side by side
face downwards upon the earth.


The exploits of Diomed, who, though wounded by Pandarus,
continues fighting--He kills Pandarus and wounds AEneas--Venus
rescues AEneas, but being wounded by Diomed, commits him
to the care of Apollo and goes to Olympus, where she is tended
by her mother Dione--Mars encourages the Trojans, and
AEneas returns to the fight cured of his wound--Minerva and
Juno help the Achaeans, and by the advice of the former
Diomed wounds Mars, who returns to Olympus to get cured.

Then Pallas Minerva put valour into the heart of Diomed, son of Tydeus,
that he might excel all the other Argives, and cover himself with
glory. She made a stream of fire flare from his shield and helmet like
the star that shines most brilliantly in summer after its bath in the
waters of Oceanus--even such a fire did she kindle upon his head and
shoulders as she bade him speed into the thickest hurly-burly of the

Now there was a certain rich and honourable man among the Trojans,
priest of Vulcan, and his name was Dares. He had two sons, Phegeus and
Idaeus, both of them skilled in all the arts of war. These two came
forward from the main body of Trojans, and set upon Diomed, he being on
foot, while they fought from their chariot. When they were close up to
one another, Phegeus took aim first, but his spear went over Diomed's
left shoulder without hitting him. Diomed then threw, and his spear
sped not in vain, for it hit Phegeus on the breast near the nipple, and
he fell from his chariot. Idaeus did not dare to bestride his brother's
body, but sprang from the chariot and took to flight, or he would have
shared his brother's fate; whereon Vulcan saved him by wrapping him in
a cloud of darkness, that his old father might not be utterly
overwhelmed with grief; but the son of Tydeus drove off with the
horses, and bade his followers take them to the ships. The Trojans were
scared when they saw the two sons of Dares, one of them in fright and
the other lying dead by his chariot. Minerva, therefore, took Mars by
the hand and said, "Mars, Mars, bane of men, bloodstained stormer of
cities, may we not now leave the Trojans and Achaeans to fight it out,
and see to which of the two Jove will vouchsafe the victory? Let us go
away, and thus avoid his anger."

So saying, she drew Mars out of the battle, and set him down upon the
steep banks of the Scamander. Upon this the Danaans drove the Trojans
back, and each one of their chieftains killed his man. First King
Agamemnon flung mighty Odius, captain of the Halizoni, from his
chariot. The spear of Agamemnon caught him on the broad of his back,
just as he was turning in flight; it struck him between the shoulders
and went right through his chest, and his armour rang rattling round
him as he fell heavily to the ground.

Then Idomeneus killed Phaesus, son of Borus the Meonian, who had come
from Varne. Mighty Idomeneus speared him on the right shoulder as he
was mounting his chariot, and the darkness of death enshrouded him as
he fell heavily from the car.

The squires of Idomeneus spoiled him of his armour, while Menelaus, son
of Atreus, killed Scamandrius the son of Strophius, a mighty huntsman
and keen lover of the chase. Diana herself had taught him how to kill
every kind of wild creature that is bred in mountain forests, but
neither she nor his famed skill in archery could now save him, for the
spear of Menelaus struck him in the back as he was flying; it struck
him between the shoulders and went right through his chest, so that he
fell headlong and his armour rang rattling round him.

Meriones then killed Phereclus the son of Tecton, who was the son of
Hermon, a man whose hand was skilled in all manner of cunning
workmanship, for Pallas Minerva had dearly loved him. He it was that
made the ships for Alexandrus, which were the beginning of all
mischief, and brought evil alike both on the Trojans and on Alexandrus
himself; for he heeded not the decrees of heaven. Meriones overtook him
as he was flying, and struck him on the right buttock. The point of the
spear went through the bone into the bladder, and death came upon him
as he cried aloud and fell forward on his knees.

Meges, moreover, slew Pedaeus, son of Antenor, who, though he was a
bastard, had been brought up by Theano as one of her own children, for
the love she bore her husband. The son of Phyleus got close up to him
and drove a spear into the nape of his neck: it went under his tongue
all among his teeth, so he bit the cold bronze, and fell dead in the

And Eurypylus, son of Euaemon, killed Hypsenor, the son of noble
Dolopion, who had been made priest of the river Scamander, and was
honoured among the people as though he were a god. Eurypylus gave him
chase as he was flying before him, smote him with his sword upon the
arm, and lopped his strong hand from off it. The bloody hand fell to
the ground, and the shades of death, with fate that no man can
withstand, came over his eyes.

Thus furiously did the battle rage between them. As for the son of
Tydeus, you could not say whether he was more among the Achaeans or the
Trojans. He rushed across the plain like a winter torrent that has
burst its barrier in full flood; no dykes, no walls of fruitful
vineyards can embank it when it is swollen with rain from heaven, but
in a moment it comes tearing onward, and lays many a field waste that
many a strong man's hand has reclaimed--even so were the dense
phalanxes of the Trojans driven in rout by the son of Tydeus, and many
though they were, they dared not abide his onslaught.

Now when the son of Lycaon saw him scouring the plain and driving the
Trojans pell-mell before him, he aimed an arrow and hit the front part
of his cuirass near the shoulder: the arrow went right through the
metal and pierced the flesh, so that the cuirass was covered with
blood. On this the son of Lycaon shouted in triumph, "Knights Trojans,
come on; the bravest of the Achaeans is wounded, and he will not hold
out much longer if King Apollo was indeed with me when I sped from
Lycia hither."

Thus did he vaunt; but his arrow had not killed Diomed, who withdrew
and made for the chariot and horses of Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus.
"Dear son of Capaneus," said he, "come down from your chariot, and draw
the arrow out of my shoulder."

Sthenelus sprang from his chariot, and drew the arrow from the wound,
whereon the blood came spouting out through the hole that had been made
in his shirt. Then Diomed prayed, saying, "Hear me, daughter of
aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, if ever you loved my father well and
stood by him in the thick of a fight, do the like now by me; grant me
to come within a spear's throw of that man and kill him. He has been
too quick for me and has wounded me; and now he is boasting that I
shall not see the light of the sun much longer."

Thus he prayed, and Pallas Minerva heard him; she made his limbs supple
and quickened his hands and his feet. Then she went up close to him and
said, "Fear not, Diomed, to do battle with the Trojans, for I have set
in your heart the spirit of your knightly father Tydeus. Moreover, I
have withdrawn the veil from your eyes, that you know gods and men
apart. If, then, any other god comes here and offers you battle, do not
fight him; but should Jove's daughter Venus come, strike her with your
spear and wound her."

When she had said this Minerva went away, and the son of Tydeus again
took his place among the foremost fighters, three times more fierce
even than he had been before. He was like a lion that some mountain
shepherd has wounded, but not killed, as he is springing over the wall
of a sheep-yard to attack the sheep. The shepherd has roused the brute
to fury but cannot defend his flock, so he takes shelter under cover of
the buildings, while the sheep, panic-stricken on being deserted, are
smothered in heaps one on top of the other, and the angry lion leaps
out over the sheep-yard wall. Even thus did Diomed go furiously about
among the Trojans.

He killed Astynous, and Hypeiron shepherd of his people, the one with a
thrust of his spear, which struck him above the nipple, the other with
a sword-cut on the collar-bone, that severed his shoulder from his neck
and back. He let both of them lie, and went in pursuit of Abas and
Polyidus, sons of the old reader of dreams Eurydamas: they never came
back for him to read them any more dreams, for mighty Diomed made an
end of them. He then gave chase to Xanthus and Thoon, the two sons of
Phaenops, both of them very dear to him, for he was now worn out with
age, and begat no more sons to inherit his possessions. But Diomed took
both their lives and left their father sorrowing bitterly, for he
nevermore saw them come home from battle alive, and his kinsmen divided
his wealth among themselves.

Then he came upon two sons of Priam, Echemmon and Chromius, as they
were both in one chariot. He sprang upon them as a lion fastens on the
neck of some cow or heifer when the herd is feeding in a coppice. For
all their vain struggles he flung them both from their chariot and
stripped the armour from their bodies. Then he gave their horses to his
comrades to take them back to the ships.

When Aeneas saw him thus making havoc among the ranks, he went through
the fight amid the rain of spears to see if he could find Pandarus.
When he had found the brave son of Lycaon he said, "Pandarus, where is
now your bow, your winged arrows, and your renown as an archer, in
respect of which no man here can rival you nor is there any in Lycia
that can beat you? Lift then your hands to Jove and send an arrow at
this fellow who is going so masterfully about, and has done such deadly
work among the Trojans. He has killed many a brave man--unless indeed
he is some god who is angry with the Trojans about their sacrifices,
and and has set his hand against them in his displeasure."

And the son of Lycaon answered, "Aeneas, I take him for none other than
the son of Tydeus. I know him by his shield, the visor of his helmet,
and by his horses. It is possible that he may be a god, but if he is
the man I say he is, he is not making all this havoc without heaven's
help, but has some god by his side who is shrouded in a cloud of
darkness, and who turned my arrow aside when it had hit him. I have
taken aim at him already and hit him on the right shoulder; my arrow
went through the breastpiece of his cuirass; and I made sure I should
send him hurrying to the world below, but it seems that I have not
killed him. There must be a god who is angry with me. Moreover I have
neither horse nor chariot. In my father's stables there are eleven
excellent chariots, fresh from the builder, quite new, with cloths
spread over them; and by each of them there stand a pair of horses,
champing barley and rye; my old father Lycaon urged me again and again
when I was at home and on the point of starting, to take chariots and
horses with me that I might lead the Trojans in battle, but I would not
listen to him; it would have been much better if I had done so, but I
was thinking about the horses, which had been used to eat their fill,
and I was afraid that in such a great gathering of men they might be
ill-fed, so I left them at home and came on foot to Ilius armed only
with my bow and arrows. These it seems, are of no use, for I have
already hit two chieftains, the sons of Atreus and of Tydeus, and
though I drew blood surely enough, I have only made them still more
furious. I did ill to take my bow down from its peg on the day I led my
band of Trojans to Ilius in Hector's service, and if ever I get home
again to set eyes on my native place, my wife, and the greatness of my
house, may some one cut my head off then and there if I do not break
the bow and set it on a hot fire--such pranks as it plays me."

Aeneas answered, "Say no more. Things will not mend till we two go
against this man with chariot and horses and bring him to a trial of
arms. Mount my chariot, and note how cleverly the horses of Tros can
speed hither and thither over the plain in pursuit or flight. If Jove
again vouchsafes glory to the son of Tydeus they will carry us safely
back to the city. Take hold, then, of the whip and reins while I stand
upon the car to fight, or else do you wait this man's onset while I
look after the horses."

"Aeneas," replied the son of Lycaon, "take the reins and drive; if we
have to fly before the son of Tydeus the horses will go better for
their own driver. If they miss the sound of your voice when they expect
it they may be frightened, and refuse to take us out of the fight. The
son of Tydeus will then kill both of us and take the horses. Therefore
drive them yourself and I will be ready for him with my spear."

They then mounted the chariot and drove full-speed towards the son of
Tydeus. Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, saw them coming and said to Diomed,
"Diomed, son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, I see two heroes
speeding towards you, both of them men of might the one a skilful
archer, Pandarus son of Lycaon, the other, Aeneas, whose sire is
Anchises, while his mother is Venus. Mount the chariot and let us
retreat. Do not, I pray you, press so furiously forward, or you may get

Diomed looked angrily at him and answered: "Talk not of flight, for I
shall not listen to you: I am of a race that knows neither flight nor
fear, and my limbs are as yet unwearied. I am in no mind to mount, but
will go against them even as I am; Pallas Minerva bids me be afraid of
no man, and even though one of them escape, their steeds shall not take
both back again. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart--if
Minerva sees fit to vouchsafe me the glory of killing both, stay your
horses here and make the reins fast to the rim of the chariot; then be
sure you spring Aeneas' horses and drive them from the Trojan to the
Achaean ranks. They are of the stock that great Jove gave to Tros in
payment for his son Ganymede, and are the finest that live and move
under the sun. King Anchises stole the blood by putting his mares to
them without Laomedon's knowledge, and they bore him six foals. Four
are still in his stables, but he gave the other two to Aeneas. We shall
win great glory if we can take them."

Thus did they converse, but the other two had now driven close up to
them, and the son of Lycaon spoke first. "Great and mighty son," said
he, "of noble Tydeus, my arrow failed to lay you low, so I will now try
with my spear."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it from him. It struck the
shield of the son of Tydeus; the bronze point pierced it and passed on
till it reached the breastplate. Thereon the son of Lycaon shouted out
and said, "You are hit clean through the belly; you will not stand out
for long, and the glory of the fight is mine."

But Diomed all undismayed made answer, "You have missed, not hit, and
before you two see the end of this matter one or other of you shall
glut tough-shielded Mars with his blood."

With this he hurled his spear, and Minerva guided it on to Pandarus's
nose near the eye. It went crashing in among his white teeth; the
bronze point cut through the root of his tongue, coming out under his
chin, and his glistening armour rang rattling round him as he fell
heavily to the ground. The horses started aside for fear, and he was
reft of life and strength.

Aeneas sprang from his chariot armed with shield and spear, fearing
lest the Achaeans should carry off the body. He bestrode it as a lion
in the pride of strength, with shield and spear before him and a cry of
battle on his lips resolute to kill the first that should dare face
him. But the son of Tydeus caught up a mighty stone, so huge and great
that as men now are it would take two to lift it; nevertheless he bore
it aloft with ease unaided, and with this he struck Aeneas on the groin
where the hip turns in the joint that is called the "cup-bone." The
stone crushed this joint, and broke both the sinews, while its jagged
edges tore away all the flesh. The hero fell on his knees, and propped
himself with his hand resting on the ground till the darkness of night
fell upon his eyes. And now Aeneas, king of men, would have perished
then and there, had not his mother, Jove's daughter Venus, who had
conceived him by Anchises when he was herding cattle, been quick to
mark, and thrown her two white arms about the body of her dear son. She
protected him by covering him with a fold of her own fair garment, lest
some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast and kill him.

Thus, then, did she bear her dear son out of the fight. But the son of
Capaneus was not unmindful of the orders that Diomed had given him. He
made his own horses fast, away from the hurly-burly, by binding the
reins to the rim of the chariot. Then he sprang upon Aeneas's horses
and drove them from the Trojan to the Achaean ranks. When he had so
done he gave them over to his chosen comrade Deipylus, whom he valued
above all others as the one who was most like-minded with himself, to
take them on to the ships. He then remounted his own chariot, seized
the reins, and drove with all speed in search of the son of Tydeus.

Now the son of Tydeus was in pursuit of the Cyprian goddess, spear in
hand, for he knew her to be feeble and not one of those goddesses that
can lord it among men in battle like Minerva or Enyo the waster of
cities, and when at last after a long chase he caught her up, he flew
at her and thrust his spear into the flesh of her delicate hand. The
point tore through the ambrosial robe which the Graces had woven for
her, and pierced the skin between her wrist and the palm of her hand,
so that the immortal blood, or ichor, that flows in the veins of the
blessed gods, came pouring from the wound; for the gods do not eat
bread nor drink wine, hence they have no blood such as ours, and are
immortal. Venus screamed aloud, and let her son fall, but Phoebus
Apollo caught him in his arms, and hid him in a cloud of darkness, lest
some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast and kill him; and
Diomed shouted out as he left her, "Daughter of Jove, leave war and
battle alone, can you not be contented with beguiling silly women? If
you meddle with fighting you will get what will make you shudder at the
very name of war."

The goddess went dazed and discomfited away, and Iris, fleet as the
wind, drew her from the throng, in pain and with her fair skin all
besmirched. She found fierce Mars waiting on the left of the battle,
with his spear and his two fleet steeds resting on a cloud; whereon she
fell on her knees before her brother and implored him to let her have
his horses. "Dear brother," she cried, "save me, and give me your
horses to take me to Olympus where the gods dwell. I am badly wounded
by a mortal, the son of Tydeus, who would now fight even with father

Thus she spoke, and Mars gave her his gold-bedizened steeds. She
mounted the chariot sick and sorry at heart, while Iris sat beside her
and took the reins in her hand. She lashed her horses on and they flew
forward nothing loth, till in a trice they were at high Olympus, where
the gods have their dwelling. There she stayed them, unloosed them from
the chariot, and gave them their ambrosial forage; but Venus flung
herself on to the lap of her mother Dione, who threw her arms about her
and caressed her, saying, "Which of the heavenly beings has been
treating you in this way, as though you had been doing something wrong
in the face of day?"

And laughter-loving Venus answered, "Proud Diomed, the son of Tydeus,
wounded me because I was bearing my dear son Aeneas, whom I love best
of all mankind, out of the fight. The war is no longer one between
Trojans and Achaeans, for the Danaans have now taken to fighting with
the immortals."

"Bear it, my child," replied Dione, "and make the best of it. We
dwellers in Olympus have to put up with much at the hands of men, and
we lay much suffering on one another. Mars had to suffer when Otus and
Ephialtes, children of Aloeus, bound him in cruel bonds, so that he lay
thirteen months imprisoned in a vessel of bronze. Mars would have then
perished had not fair Eeriboea, stepmother to the sons of Aloeus, told
Mercury, who stole him away when he was already well-nigh worn out by
the severity of his bondage. Juno, again, suffered when the mighty son
of Amphitryon wounded her on the right breast with a three-barbed
arrow, and nothing could assuage her pain. So, also, did huge Hades,
when this same man, the son of aegis-bearing Jove, hit him with an
arrow even at the gates of hell, and hurt him badly. Thereon Hades went
to the house of Jove on great Olympus, angry and full of pain; and the
arrow in his brawny shoulder caused him great anguish till Paeeon
healed him by spreading soothing herbs on the wound, for Hades was not
of mortal mould. Daring, head-strong, evildoer who recked not of his
sin in shooting the gods that dwell in Olympus. And now Minerva has
egged this son of Tydeus on against yourself, fool that he is for not
reflecting that no man who fights with gods will live long or hear his
children prattling about his knees when he returns from battle. Let,
then, the son of Tydeus see that he does not have to fight with one who
is stronger than you are. Then shall his brave wife Aegialeia, daughter
of Adrestus, rouse her whole house from sleep, wailing for the loss of
her wedded lord, Diomed the bravest of the Achaeans."

So saying, she wiped the ichor from the wrist of her daughter with both
hands, whereon the pain left her, and her hand was healed. But Minerva
and Juno, who were looking on, began to taunt Jove with their mocking
talk, and Minerva was first to speak. "Father Jove," said she, "do not
be angry with me, but I think the Cyprian must have been persuading
some one of the Achaean women to go with the Trojans of whom she is so
very fond, and while caressing one or other of them she must have torn
her delicate hand with the gold pin of the woman's brooch."

The sire of gods and men smiled, and called golden Venus to his side.
"My child," said he, "it has not been given you to be a warrior.
Attend, henceforth, to your own delightful matrimonial duties, and
leave all this fighting to Mars and to Minerva."

Thus did they converse. But Diomed sprang upon Aeneas, though he knew
him to be in the very arms of Apollo. Not one whit did he fear the
mighty god, so set was he on killing Aeneas and stripping him of his
armour. Thrice did he spring forward with might and main to slay him,
and thrice did Apollo beat back his gleaming shield. When he was coming
on for the fourth time, as though he were a god, Apollo shouted to him
with an awful voice and said, "Take heed, son of Tydeus, and draw off;
think not to match yourself against gods, for men that walk the earth
cannot hold their own with the immortals."

The son of Tydeus then gave way for a little space, to avoid the anger
of the god, while Apollo took Aeneas out of the crowd and set him in
sacred Pergamus, where his temple stood. There, within the mighty
sanctuary, Latona and Diana healed him and made him glorious to behold,
while Apollo of the silver bow fashioned a wraith in the likeness of
Aeneas, and armed as he was. Round this the Trojans and Achaeans hacked
at the bucklers about one another's breasts, hewing each other's round
shields and light hide-covered targets. Then Phoebus Apollo said to
Mars, "Mars, Mars, bane of men, blood-stained stormer of cities, can
you not go to this man, the son of Tydeus, who would now fight even
with father Jove, and draw him out of the battle? He first went up to
the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand near her wrist, and afterwards
sprang upon me too, as though he were a god."

He then took his seat on the top of Pergamus, while murderous Mars went
about among the ranks of the Trojans, cheering them on, in the likeness
of fleet Acamas chief of the Thracians. "Sons of Priam," said he, "how
long will you let your people be thus slaughtered by the Achaeans?
Would you wait till they are at the walls of Troy? Aeneas the son of
Anchises has fallen, he whom we held in as high honour as Hector
himself. Help me, then, to rescue our brave comrade from the stress of
the fight."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Then Sarpedon
rebuked Hector very sternly. "Hector," said he, "where is your prowess
now? You used to say that though you had neither people nor allies you
could hold the town alone with your brothers and brothers-in-law. I see
not one of them here; they cower as hounds before a lion; it is we,
your allies, who bear the brunt of the battle. I have come from afar,
even from Lycia and the banks of the river Xanthus, where I have left
my wife, my infant son, and much wealth to tempt whoever is needy;
nevertheless, I head my Lycian soldiers and stand my ground against any
who would fight me though I have nothing here for the Achaeans to
plunder, while you look on, without even bidding your men stand firm in
defence of their wives. See that you fall not into the hands of your
foes as men caught in the meshes of a net, and they sack your fair city
forthwith. Keep this before your mind night and day, and beseech the
captains of your allies to hold on without flinching, and thus put away
their reproaches from you."

So spoke Sarpedon, and Hector smarted under his words. He sprang from
his chariot clad in his suit of armour, and went about among the host
brandishing his two spears, exhorting the men to fight and raising the
terrible cry of battle. Then they rallied and again faced the Achaeans,
but the Argives stood compact and firm, and were not driven back. As
the breezes sport with the chaff upon some goodly threshing-floor, when
men are winnowing--while yellow Ceres blows with the wind to sift the
chaff from the grain, and the chaff-heaps grow whiter and whiter--even
so did the Achaeans whiten in the dust which the horses' hoofs raised
to the firmament of heaven, as their drivers turned them back to
battle, and they bore down with might upon the foe. Fierce Mars, to
help the Trojans, covered them in a veil of darkness, and went about
everywhere among them, inasmuch as Phoebus Apollo had told him that
when he saw Pallas, Minerva leave the fray he was to put courage into
the hearts of the Trojans--for it was she who was helping the Danaans.
Then Apollo sent Aeneas forth from his rich sanctuary, and filled his
heart with valour, whereon he took his place among his comrades, who
were overjoyed at seeing him alive, sound, and of a good courage; but
they could not ask him how it had all happened, for they were too busy
with the turmoil raised by Mars and by Strife, who raged insatiably in
their midst.

The two Ajaxes, Ulysses and Diomed, cheered the Danaans on, fearless of
the fury and onset of the Trojans. They stood as still as clouds which
the son of Saturn has spread upon the mountain tops when there is no
air and fierce Boreas sleeps with the other boisterous winds whose
shrill blasts scatter the clouds in all directions--even so did the
Danaans stand firm and unflinching against the Trojans. The son of
Atreus went about among them and exhorted them. "My friends," said he,
"quit yourselves like brave men, and shun dishonour in one another's
eyes amid the stress of battle. They that shun dishonour more often
live than get killed, but they that fly save neither life nor name."

As he spoke he hurled his spear and hit one of those who were in the
front rank, the comrade of Aeneas, Deicoon son of Pergasus, whom the
Trojans held in no less honour than the sons of Priam, for he was ever
quick to place himself among the foremost. The spear of King Agamemnon
struck his shield and went right through it, for the shield stayed it
not. It drove through his belt into the lower part of his belly, and
his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.

Then Aeneas killed two champions of the Danaans, Crethon and
Orsilochus. Their father was a rich man who lived in the strong city of
Phere and was descended from the river Alpheus, whose broad stream
flows through the land of the Pylians. The river begat Orsilochus, who
ruled over much people and was father to Diocles, who in his turn begat
twin sons, Crethon and Orsilochus, well skilled in all the arts of war.
These, when they grew up, went to Ilius with the Argive fleet in the
cause of Menelaus and Agamemnon sons of Atreus, and there they both of
them fell. As two lions whom their dam has reared in the depths of some
mountain forest to plunder homesteads and carry off sheep and cattle
till they get killed by the hand of man, so were these two vanquished
by Aeneas, and fell like high pine-trees to the ground.

Brave Menelaus pitied them in their fall, and made his way to the
front, clad in gleaming bronze and brandishing his spear, for Mars
egged him on to do so with intent that he should be killed by Aeneas;
but Antilochus the son of Nestor saw him and sprang forward, fearing
that the king might come to harm and thus bring all their labour to
nothing; when, therefore Aeneas and Menelaus were setting their hands
and spears against one another eager to do battle, Antilochus placed
himself by the side of Menelaus. Aeneas, bold though he was, drew back
on seeing the two heroes side by side in front of him, so they drew the
bodies of Crethon and Orsilochus to the ranks of the Achaeans and
committed the two poor fellows into the hands of their comrades. They
then turned back and fought in the front ranks.

They killed Pylaemenes peer of Mars, leader of the Paphlagonian
warriors. Menelaus struck him on the collar-bone as he was standing on
his chariot, while Antilochus hit his charioteer and squire Mydon, the
son of Atymnius, who was turning his horses in flight. He hit him with
a stone upon the elbow, and the reins, enriched with white ivory, fell
from his hands into the dust. Antilochus rushed towards him and struck
him on the temples with his sword, whereon he fell head first from the
chariot to the ground. There he stood for a while with his head and
shoulders buried deep in the dust--for he had fallen on sandy soil till
his horses kicked him and laid him flat on the ground, as Antilochus
lashed them and drove them off to the host of the Achaeans.

But Hector marked them from across the ranks, and with a loud cry
rushed towards them, followed by the strong battalions of the Trojans.
Mars and dread Enyo led them on, she fraught with ruthless turmoil of
battle, while Mars wielded a monstrous spear, and went about, now in
front of Hector and now behind him.

Diomed shook with passion as he saw them. As a man crossing a wide
plain is dismayed to find himself on the brink of some great river
rolling swiftly to the sea--he sees its boiling waters and starts back
in fear--even so did the son of Tydeus give ground. Then he said to his
men, "My friends, how can we wonder that Hector wields the spear so
well? Some god is ever by his side to protect him, and now Mars is with
him in the likeness of mortal man. Keep your faces therefore towards
the Trojans, but give ground backwards, for we dare not fight with

As he spoke the Trojans drew close up, and Hector killed two men, both
in one chariot, Menesthes and Anchialus, heroes well versed in war.
Ajax son of Telamon pitied them in their fall; he came close up and
hurled his spear, hitting Amphius the son of Selagus, a man of great
wealth who lived in Paesus and owned much corn-growing land, but his
lot had led him to come to the aid of Priam and his sons. Ajax struck
him in the belt; the spear pierced the lower part of his belly, and he
fell heavily to the ground. Then Ajax ran towards him to strip him of
his armour, but the Trojans rained spears upon him, many of which fell
upon his shield. He planted his heel upon the body and drew out his
spear, but the darts pressed so heavily upon him that he could not
strip the goodly armour from his shoulders. The Trojan chieftains,
moreover, many and valiant, came about him with their spears, so that
he dared not stay; great, brave and valiant though he was, they drove
him from them and he was beaten back.

Thus, then, did the battle rage between them. Presently the strong hand
of fate impelled Tlepolemus, the son of Hercules, a man both brave and
of great stature, to fight Sarpedon; so the two, son and grandson of
great Jove, drew near to one another, and Tlepolemus spoke first.
"Sarpedon," said he, "councillor of the Lycians, why should you come
skulking here you who are a man of peace? They lie who call you son of
aegis-bearing Jove, for you are little like those who were of old his
children. Far other was Hercules, my own brave and lion-hearted father,
who came here for the horses of Laomedon, and though he had six ships
only, and few men to follow him, sacked the city of Ilius and made a
wilderness of her highways. You are a coward, and your people are
falling from you. For all your strength, and all your coming from
Lycia, you will be no help to the Trojans but will pass the gates of
Hades vanquished by my hand."

And Sarpedon, captain of the Lycians, answered, "Tlepolemus, your
father overthrew Ilius by reason of Laomedon's folly in refusing
payment to one who had served him well. He would not give your father
the horses which he had come so far to fetch. As for yourself, you
shall meet death by my spear. You shall yield glory to myself, and your
soul to Hades of the noble steeds."

Thus spoke Sarpedon, and Tlepolemus upraised his spear. They threw at
the same moment, and Sarpedon struck his foe in the middle of his
throat; the spear went right through, and the darkness of death fell
upon his eyes. Tlepolemus's spear struck Sarpedon on the left thigh
with such force that it tore through the flesh and grazed the bone, but
his father as yet warded off destruction from him.

His comrades bore Sarpedon out of the fight, in great pain by the
weight of the spear that was dragging from his wound. They were in such
haste and stress as they bore him that no one thought of drawing the
spear from his thigh so as to let him walk uprightly. Meanwhile the
Achaeans carried off the body of Tlepolemus, whereon Ulysses was moved
to pity, and panted for the fray as he beheld them. He doubted whether
to pursue the son of Jove, or to make slaughter of the Lycian rank and
file; it was not decreed, however, that he should slay the son of Jove;
Minerva, therefore, turned him against the main body of the Lycians. He
killed Coeranus, Alastor, Chromius, Alcandrus, Halius, Noemon, and
Prytanis, and would have slain yet more, had not great Hector marked
him, and sped to the front of the fight clad in his suit of mail,
filling the Danaans with terror. Sarpedon was glad when he saw him
coming, and besought him, saying, "Son of Priam, let me not be here to
fall into the hands of the Danaans. Help me, and since I may not return
home to gladden the hearts of my wife and of my infant son, let me die
within the walls of your city."

Hector made him no answer, but rushed onward to fall at once upon the
Achaeans and kill many among them. His comrades then bore Sarpedon away
and laid him beneath Jove's spreading oak tree. Pelagon, his friend and
comrade, drew the spear out of his thigh, but Sarpedon fainted and a
mist came over his eyes. Presently he came to himself again, for the
breath of the north wind as it played upon him gave him new life, and
brought him out of the deep swoon into which he had fallen.

Meanwhile the Argives were neither driven towards their ships by Mars
and Hector, nor yet did they attack them; when they knew that Mars was
with the Trojans they retreated, but kept their faces still turned
towards the foe. Who, then, was first and who last to be slain by Mars
and Hector? They were valiant Teuthras, and Orestes the renowned
charioteer, Trechus the Aetolian warrior, Oenomaus, Helenus the son of
Oenops, and Oresbius of the gleaming girdle, who was possessed of great
wealth, and dwelt by the Cephisian lake with the other Boeotians who
lived near him, owners of a fertile country.

Now when the goddess Juno saw the Argives thus falling, she said to
Minerva, "Alas, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, the
promise we made Menelaus that he should not return till he had sacked
the city of Ilius will be of no effect if we let Mars rage thus
furiously. Let us go into the fray at once."

Minerva did not gainsay her. Thereon the august goddess, daughter of
great Saturn, began to harness her gold-bedizened steeds. Hebe with all
speed fitted on the eight-spoked wheels of bronze that were on either
side of the iron axle-tree. The felloes of the wheels were of gold,
imperishable, and over these there was a tire of bronze, wondrous to
behold. The naves of the wheels were silver, turning round the axle
upon either side. The car itself was made with plaited bands of gold
and silver, and it had a double top-rail running all round it. From the
body of the car there went a pole of silver, on to the end of which she
bound the golden yoke, with the bands of gold that were to go under the
necks of the horses Then Juno put her steeds under the yoke, eager for
battle and the war-cry.

Meanwhile Minerva flung her richly embroidered vesture, made with her
own hands, on to her father's threshold, and donned the shirt of Jove,
arming herself for battle. She threw her tasselled aegis about her
shoulders, wreathed round with Rout as with a fringe, and on it were
Strife, and Strength, and Panic whose blood runs cold; moreover there
was the head of the dread monster Gorgon, grim and awful to behold,
portent of aegis-bearing Jove. On her head she set her helmet of gold,
with four plumes, and coming to a peak both in front and behind--decked
with the emblems of a hundred cities; then she stepped into her flaming
chariot and grasped the spear, so stout and sturdy and strong, with
which she quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her. Juno
lashed the horses on, and the gates of heaven bellowed as they flew
open of their own accord--gates over which the Hours preside, in whose
hands are Heaven and Olympus, either to open the dense cloud that hides
them, or to close it. Through these the goddesses drove their obedient
steeds, and found the son of Saturn sitting all alone on the topmost
ridges of Olympus. There Juno stayed her horses, and spoke to Jove the
son of Saturn, lord of all. "Father Jove," said she, "are you not angry
with Mars for these high doings? how great and goodly a host of the
Achaeans he has destroyed to my great grief, and without either right
or reason, while the Cyprian and Apollo are enjoying it all at their
ease and setting this unrighteous madman on to do further mischief. I
hope, Father Jove, that you will not be angry if I hit Mars hard, and
chase him out of the battle."

And Jove answered, "Set Minerva on to him, for she punishes him more
often than any one else does."

Juno did as he had said. She lashed her horses, and they flew forward
nothing loth midway betwixt earth and sky. As far as a man can see when
he looks out upon the sea from some high beacon, so far can the
loud-neighing horses of the gods spring at a single bound. When they
reached Troy and the place where its two flowing streams Simois and
Scamander meet, there Juno stayed them and took them from the chariot.
She hid them in a thick cloud, and Simois made ambrosia spring up for
them to eat; the two goddesses then went on, flying like turtledoves in
their eagerness to help the Argives. When they came to the part where
the bravest and most in number were gathered about mighty Diomed,
fighting like lions or wild boars of great strength and endurance,
there Juno stood still and raised a shout like that of brazen-voiced
Stentor, whose cry was as loud as that of fifty men together.
"Argives," she cried; "shame on cowardly creatures, brave in semblance
only; as long as Achilles was fighting, if his spear was so deadly that
the Trojans dared not show themselves outside the Dardanian gates, but
now they sally far from the city and fight even at your ships."

With these words she put heart and soul into them all, while Minerva
sprang to the side of the son of Tydeus, whom she found near his
chariot and horses, cooling the wound that Pandarus had given him. For
the sweat caused by the hand that bore the weight of his shield
irritated the hurt: his arm was weary with pain, and he was lifting up
the strap to wipe away the blood. The goddess laid her hand on the yoke
of his horses and said, "The son of Tydeus is not such another as his
father. Tydeus was a little man, but he could fight, and rushed madly
into the fray even when I told him not to do so. When he went all
unattended as envoy to the city of Thebes among the Cadmeans, I bade
him feast in their houses and be at peace; but with that high spirit
which was ever present with him, he challenged the youth of the
Cadmeans, and at once beat them in all that he attempted, so mightily
did I help him. I stand by you too to protect you, and I bid you be
instant in fighting the Trojans; but either you are tired out, or you
are afraid and out of heart, and in that case I say that you are no
true son of Tydeus the son of Oeneus."

Diomed answered, "I know you, goddess, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove,
and will hide nothing from you. I am not afraid nor out of heart, nor
is there any slackness in me. I am only following your own
instructions; you told me not to fight any of the blessed gods; but if
Jove's daughter Venus came into battle I was to wound her with my
spear. Therefore I am retreating, and bidding the other Argives gather
in this place, for I know that Mars is now lording it in the field."

"Diomed, son of Tydeus," replied Minerva, "man after my own heart, fear
neither Mars nor any other of the immortals, for I will befriend you.
Nay, drive straight at Mars, and smite him in close combat; fear not
this raging madman, villain incarnate, first on one side and then on
the other. But now he was holding talk with Juno and myself, saying he
would help the Argives and attack the Trojans; nevertheless he is with
the Trojans, and has forgotten the Argives."

With this she caught hold of Sthenelus and lifted him off the chariot
on to the ground. In a second he was on the ground, whereupon the
goddess mounted the car and placed herself by the side of Diomed. The
oaken axle groaned aloud under the burden of the awful goddess and the
hero; Pallas Minerva took the whip and reins, and drove straight at
Mars. He was in the act of stripping huge Periphas, son of Ochesius and
bravest of the Aetolians. Bloody Mars was stripping him of his armour,
and Minerva donned the helmet of Hades, that he might not see her;
when, therefore, he saw Diomed, he made straight for him and let
Periphas lie where he had fallen. As soon as they were at close
quarters he let fly with his bronze spear over the reins and yoke,
thinking to take Diomed's life, but Minerva caught the spear in her
hand and made it fly harmlessly over the chariot. Diomed then threw,
and Pallas Minerva drove the spear into the pit of Mars's stomach where
his under-girdle went round him. There Diomed wounded him, tearing his
fair flesh and then drawing his spear out again. Mars roared as loudly
as nine or ten thousand men in the thick of a fight, and the Achaeans
and Trojans were struck with panic, so terrible was the cry he raised.

As a dark cloud in the sky when it comes on to blow after heat, even so
did Diomed son of Tydeus see Mars ascend into the broad heavens. With
all speed he reached high Olympus, home of the gods, and in great pain
sat down beside Jove the son of Saturn. He showed Jove the immortal
blood that was flowing from his wound, and spoke piteously, saying,
"Father Jove, are you not angered by such doings? We gods are
continually suffering in the most cruel manner at one another's hands
while helping mortals; and we all owe you a grudge for having begotten
that mad termagant of a daughter, who is always committing outrage of
some kind. We other gods must all do as you bid us, but her you neither
scold nor punish; you encourage her because the pestilent creature is
your daughter. See how she has been inciting proud Diomed to vent his
rage on the immortal gods. First he went up to the Cyprian and wounded
her in the hand near her wrist, and then he sprang upon me too as
though he were a god. Had I not run for it I must either have lain
there for long enough in torments among the ghastly corpses, or have
been eaten alive with spears till I had no more strength left in me."

Jove looked angrily at him and said, "Do not come whining here, Sir
Facing-both-ways. I hate you worst of all the gods in Olympus, for you
are ever fighting and making mischief. You have the intolerable and
stubborn spirit of your mother Juno: it is all I can do to manage her,
and it is her doing that you are now in this plight: still, I cannot
let you remain longer in such great pain; you are my own offspring, and
it was by me that your mother conceived you; if, however, you had been
the son of any other god, you are so destructive that by this time you
should have been lying lower than the Titans."

He then bade Paeeon heal him, whereon Paeeon spread pain-killing herbs
upon his wound and cured him, for he was not of mortal mould. As the
juice of the fig-tree curdles milk, and thickens it in a moment though
it is liquid, even so instantly did Paeeon cure fierce Mars. Then Hebe
washed him, and clothed him in goodly raiment, and he took his seat by
his father Jove all glorious to behold.

But Juno of Argos and Minerva of Alalcomene, now that they had put a
stop to the murderous doings of Mars, went back again to the house of


Glaucus and Diomed--The story of Bellerophon--Hector
and Andromache.

THE fight between Trojans and Achaeans was now left to rage as it
would, and the tide of war surged hither and thither over the plain as
they aimed their bronze-shod spears at one another between the streams
of Simois and Xanthus.

First, Ajax son of Telamon, tower of strength to the Achaeans, broke a
phalanx of the Trojans, and came to the assistance of his comrades by
killing Acamas son of Eussorus, the best man among the Thracians, being
both brave and of great stature. The spear struck the projecting peak
of his helmet: its bronze point then went through his forehead into the
brain, and darkness veiled his eyes.

Then Diomed killed Axylus son of Teuthranus, a rich man who lived in
the strong city of Arisbe, and was beloved by all men; for he had a
house by the roadside, and entertained every one who passed; howbeit
not one of his guests stood before him to save his life, and Diomed
killed both him and his squire Calesius, who was then his
charioteer--so the pair passed beneath the earth.

Euryalus killed Dresus and Opheltius, and then went in pursuit of
Aesepus and Pedasus, whom the naiad nymph Abarbarea had borne to noble
Bucolion. Bucolion was eldest son to Laomedon, but he was a bastard.
While tending his sheep he had converse with the nymph, and she
conceived twin sons; these the son of Mecisteus now slew, and he
stripped the armour from their shoulders. Polypoetes then killed
Astyalus, Ulysses Pidytes of Percote, and Teucer Aretaon. Ablerus fell
by the spear of Nestor's son Antilochus, and Agamemnon, king of men,
killed Elatus who dwelt in Pedasus by the banks of the river Satnioeis.
Leitus killed Phylacus as he was flying, and Eurypylus slew Melanthus.

Then Menelaus of the loud war-cry took Adrestus alive, for his horses
ran into a tamarisk bush, as they were flying wildly over the plain,
and broke the pole from the car; they went on towards the city along
with the others in full flight, but Adrestus rolled out, and fell in
the dust flat on his face by the wheel of his chariot; Menelaus came up
to him spear in hand, but Adrestus caught him by the knees begging for
his life. "Take me alive," he cried, "son of Atreus, and you shall have
a full ransom for me: my father is rich and has much treasure of gold,
bronze, and wrought iron laid by in his house. From this store he will
give you a large ransom should he hear of my being alive and at the
ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did he plead, and Menelaus was for yielding and giving him to a
squire to take to the ships of the Achaeans, but Agamemnon came running
up to him and rebuked him. "My good Menelaus," said he, "this is no
time for giving quarter. Has, then, your house fared so well at the
hands of the Trojans? Let us not spare a single one of them--not even
the child unborn and in its mother's womb; let not a man of them be
left alive, but let all in Ilius perish, unheeded and forgotten."

Thus did he speak, and his brother was persuaded by him, for his words
were just. Menelaus, therefore, thrust Adrestus from him, whereon King
Agamemnon struck him in the flank, and he fell: then the son of Atreus
planted his foot upon his breast to draw his spear from the body.

Meanwhile Nestor shouted to the Argives, saying, "My friends, Danaan
warriors, servants of Mars, let no man lag that he may spoil the dead,
and bring back much booty to the ships. Let us kill as many as we can;
the bodies will lie upon the plain, and you can despoil them later at
your leisure."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. And now the
Trojans would have been routed and driven back into Ilius, had not
Priam's son Helenus, wisest of augurs, said to Hector and Aeneas,
"Hector and Aeneas, you two are the mainstays of the Trojans and
Lycians, for you are foremost at all times, alike in fight and counsel;
hold your ground here, and go about among the host to rally them in
front of the gates, or they will fling themselves into the arms of
their wives, to the great joy of our foes. Then, when you have put
heart into all our companies, we will stand firm here and fight the
Danaans however hard they press us, for there is nothing else to be
done. Meanwhile do you, Hector, go to the city and tell our mother what
is happening. Tell her to bid the matrons gather at the temple of
Minerva in the acropolis; let her then take her key and open the doors
of the sacred building; there, upon the knees of Minerva, let her lay
the largest, fairest robe she has in her house--the one she sets most
store by; let her, moreover, promise to sacrifice twelve yearling
heifers that have never yet felt the goad, in the temple of the
goddess, if she will take pity on the town, with the wives and little
ones of the Trojans, and keep the son of Tydeus from falling on the
goodly city of Ilius; for he fights with fury and fills men's souls
with panic. I hold him mightiest of them all; we did not fear even
their great champion Achilles, son of a goddess though he be, as we do
this man: his rage is beyond all bounds, and there is none can vie with
him in prowess."

Hector did as his brother bade him. He sprang from his chariot, and
went about everywhere among the host, brandishing his spears, urging
the men on to fight, and raising the dread cry of battle. Thereon they
rallied and again faced the Achaeans, who gave ground and ceased their
murderous onset, for they deemed that some one of the immortals had
come down from starry heaven to help the Trojans, so strangely had they
rallied. And Hector shouted to the Trojans, "Trojans and allies, be
men, my friends, and fight with might and main, while I go to Ilius and
tell the old men of our council and our wives to pray to the gods and
vow hecatombs in their honour."

With this he went his way, and the black rim of hide that went round
his shield beat against his neck and his ancles.

Then Glaucus son of Hippolochus, and the son of Tydeus went into the
open space between the hosts to fight in single combat. When they were
close up to one another Diomed of the loud war-cry was the first to
speak. "Who, my good sir," said he, "who are you among men? I have
never seen you in battle until now, but you are daring beyond all
others if you abide my onset. Woe to those fathers whose sons face my
might. If, however, you are one of the immortals and have come down
from heaven, I will not fight you; for even valiant Lycurgus, son of
Dryas, did not live long when he took to fighting with the gods. He it
was that drove the nursing women who were in charge of frenzied Bacchus
through the land of Nysa, and they flung their thyrsi on the ground as
murderous Lycurgus beat them with his oxgoad. Bacchus himself plunged
terror-stricken into the sea, and Thetis took him to her bosom to
comfort him, for he was scared by the fury with which the man reviled
him. Thereon the gods who live at ease were angry with Lycurgus and the
son of Saturn struck him blind, nor did he live much longer after he
had become hateful to the immortals. Therefore I will not fight with
the blessed gods; but if you are of them that eat the fruit of the
ground, draw near and meet your doom."

And the son of Hippolochus answered, son of Tydeus, why ask me of my
lineage? Men come and go as leaves year by year upon the trees. Those
of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but when spring returns the
forest buds forth with fresh vines. Even so is it with the generations
of mankind, the new spring up as the old are passing away. If, then,
you would learn my descent, it is one that is well known to many. There
is a city in the heart of Argos, pasture land of horses, called Ephyra,
where Sisyphus lived, who was the craftiest of all mankind. He was the
son of Aeolus, and had a son named Glaucus, who was father to
Bellerophon, whom heaven endowed with the most surpassing comeliness
and beauty. But Proetus devised his ruin, and being stronger than he,
drove him from the land of the Argives, over which Jove had made him
ruler. For Antea, wife of Proetus, lusted after him, and would have had
him lie with her in secret; but Bellerophon was an honourable man and
would not, so she told lies about him to Proteus. 'Proetus,' said she,
'kill Bellerophon or die, for he would have had converse with me
against my will.' The king was angered, but shrank from killing
Bellerophon, so he sent him to Lycia with lying letters of
introduction, written on a folded tablet, and containing much ill
against the bearer. He bade Bellerophon show these letters to his
father-in-law, to the end that he might thus perish; Bellerophon
therefore went to Lycia, and the gods convoyed him safely.

"When he reached the river Xanthus, which is in Lycia, the king
received him with all goodwill, feasted him nine days, and killed nine
heifers in his honour, but when rosy-fingered morning appeared upon the
tenth day, he questioned him and desired to see the letter from his
son-in-law Proetus. When he had received the wicked letter he first
commanded Bellerophon to kill that savage monster, the Chimaera, who
was not a human being, but a goddess, for she had the head of a lion
and the tail of a serpent, while her body was that of a goat, and she
breathed forth flames of fire; but Bellerophon slew her, for he was
guided by signs from heaven. He next fought the far-famed Solymi, and
this, he said, was the hardest of all his battles. Thirdly, he killed
the Amazons, women who were the peers of men, and as he was returning
thence the king devised yet another plan for his destruction; he picked
the bravest warriors in all Lycia, and placed them in ambuscade, but
not a man ever came back, for Bellerophon killed every one of them.
Then the king knew that he must be the valiant offspring of a god, so
he kept him in Lycia, gave him his daughter in marriage, and made him
of equal honour in the kingdom with himself; and the Lycians gave him a
piece of land, the best in all the country, fair with vineyards and
tilled fields, to have and to hold.

"The king's daughter bore Bellerophon three children, Isander,
Hippolochus, and Laodameia. Jove, the lord of counsel, lay with
Laodameia, and she bore him noble Sarpedon; but when Bellerophon came
to be hated by all the gods, he wandered all desolate and dismayed upon
the Alean plain, gnawing at his own heart, and shunning the path of
man. Mars, insatiate of battle, killed his son Isander while he was
fighting the Solymi; his daughter was killed by Diana of the golden
reins, for she was angered with her; but Hippolochus was father to
myself, and when he sent me to Troy he urged me again and again to
fight ever among the foremost and outvie my peers, so as not to shame
the blood of my fathers who were the noblest in Ephyra and in all
Lycia. This, then, is the descent I claim."

Thus did he speak, and the heart of Diomed was glad. He planted his
spear in the ground, and spoke to him with friendly words. "Then," he
said, "you are an old friend of my father's house. Great Oeneus once
entertained Bellerophon for twenty days, and the two exchanged
presents. Oeneus gave a belt rich with purple, and Bellerophon a double
cup, which I left at home when I set out for Troy. I do not remember
Tydeus, for he was taken from us while I was yet a child, when the army
of the Achaeans was cut to pieces before Thebes. Henceforth, however, I
must be your host in middle Argos, and you mine in Lycia, if I should
ever go there; let us avoid one another's spears even during a general
engagement; there are many noble Trojans and allies whom I can kill, if
I overtake them and heaven delivers them into my hand; so again with
yourself, there are many Achaeans whose lives you may take if you can;
we two, then, will exchange armour, that all present may know of the
old ties that subsist between us."

With these words they sprang from their chariots, grasped one another's
hands, and plighted friendship. But the son of Saturn made Glaucus take
leave of his wits, for he exchanged golden armour for bronze, the worth
of a hundred head of cattle for the worth of nine.

Now when Hector reached the Scaean gates and the oak tree, the wives
and daughters of the Trojans came running towards him to ask after
their sons, brothers, kinsmen, and husbands: he told them to set about
praying to the gods, and many were made sorrowful as they heard him.

Presently he reached the splendid palace of King Priam, adorned with
colonnades of hewn stone. In it there were fifty bedchambers--all of
hewn stone--built near one another, where the sons of Priam slept, each
with his wedded wife. Opposite these, on the other side the courtyard,
there were twelve upper rooms also of hewn stone for Priam's daughters,
built near one another, where his sons-in-law slept with their wives.
When Hector got there, his fond mother came up to him with Laodice the
fairest of her daughters. She took his hand within her own and said,
"My son, why have you left the battle to come hither? Are the Achaeans,
woe betide them, pressing you hard about the city that you have thought
fit to come and uplift your hands to Jove from the citadel? Wait till I
can bring you wine that you may make offering to Jove and to the other
immortals, and may then drink and be refreshed. Wine gives a man fresh
strength when he is wearied, as you now are with fighting on behalf of
your kinsmen."

And Hector answered, "Honoured mother, bring no wine, lest you unman me
and I forget my strength. I dare not make a drink-offering to Jove with
unwashed hands; one who is bespattered with blood and filth may not
pray to the son of Saturn. Get the matrons together, and go with
offerings to the temple of Minerva driver of the spoil; there, upon the
knees of Minerva, lay the largest and fairest robe you have in your
house--the one you set most store by; promise, moreover, to sacrifice
twelve yearling heifers that have never yet felt the goad, in the
temple of the goddess if she will take pity on the town, with the wives
and little ones of the Trojans, and keep the son of Tydeus from off the
goodly city of Ilius, for he fights with fury, and fills men's souls
with panic. Go, then, to the temple of Minerva, while I seek Paris and
exhort him, if he will hear my words. Would that the earth might open
her jaws and swallow him, for Jove bred him to be the bane of the
Trojans, and of Priam and Priam's sons. Could I but see him go down
into the house of Hades, my heart would forget its heaviness."

His mother went into the house and called her waiting-women who
gathered the matrons throughout the city. She then went down into her
fragrant store-room, where her embroidered robes were kept, the work of
Sidonian women, whom Alexandrus had brought over from Sidon when he
sailed the seas upon that voyage during which he carried off Helen.
Hecuba took out the largest robe, and the one that was most beautifully
enriched with embroidery, as an offering to Minerva: it glittered like
a star, and lay at the very bottom of the chest. With this she went on
her way and many matrons with her.

When they reached the temple of Minerva, lovely Theano, daughter of
Cisseus and wife of Antenor, opened the doors, for the Trojans had made
her priestess of Minerva. The women lifted up their hands to the
goddess with a loud cry, and Theano took the robe to lay it upon the
knees of Minerva, praying the while to the daughter of great Jove.
"Holy Minerva," she cried, "protectress of our city, mighty goddess,
break the spear of Diomed and lay him low before the Scaean gates. Do
this, and we will sacrifice twelve heifers that have never yet known
the goad, in your temple, if you will have pity upon the town, with the
wives and little ones of the Trojans." Thus she prayed, but Pallas
Minerva granted not her prayer.

While they were thus praying to the daughter of great Jove, Hector went
to the fair house of Alexandrus, which he had built for him by the
foremost builders in the land. They had built him his house,
storehouse, and courtyard near those of Priam and Hector on the
acropolis. Here Hector entered, with a spear eleven cubits long in his
hand; the bronze point gleamed in front of him, and was fastened to the
shaft of the spear by a ring of gold. He found Alexandrus within the
house, busied about his armour, his shield and cuirass, and handling
his curved bow; there, too, sat Argive Helen with her women, setting
them their several tasks; and as Hector saw him he rebuked him with
words of scorn. "Sir," said he, "you do ill to nurse this rancour; the
people perish fighting round this our town; you would yourself chide
one whom you saw shirking his part in the combat. Up then, or ere long
the city will be in a blaze."

And Alexandrus answered, "Hector, your rebuke is just; listen
therefore, and believe me when I tell you that I am not here so much
through rancour or ill-will towards the Trojans, as from a desire to
indulge my grief. My wife was even now gently urging me to battle, and
I hold it better that I should go, for victory is ever fickle. Wait,
then, while I put on my armour, or go first and I will follow. I shall
be sure to overtake you."

Hector made no answer, but Helen tried to soothe him. "Brother," said
she, "to my abhorred and sinful self, would that a whirlwind had caught
me up on the day my mother brought me forth, and had borne me to some
mountain or to the waves of the roaring sea that should have swept me
away ere this mischief had come about. But, since the gods have devised
these evils, would, at any rate, that I had been wife to a better
man--to one who could smart under dishonour and men's evil speeches.
This fellow was never yet to be depended upon, nor never will be, and
he will surely reap what he has sown. Still, brother, come in and rest
upon this seat, for it is you who bear the brunt of that toil that has
been caused by my hateful self and by the sin of Alexandrus--both of
whom Jove has doomed to be a theme of song among those that shall be
born hereafter."

And Hector answered, "Bid me not be seated, Helen, for all the goodwill
you bear me. I cannot stay. I am in haste to help the Trojans, who miss
me greatly when I am not among them; but urge your husband, and of his
own self also let him make haste to overtake me before I am out of the
city. I must go home to see my household, my wife and my little son,
for I know not whether I shall ever again return to them, or whether
the gods will cause me to fill by the hands of the Achaeans."

Then Hector left her, and forthwith was at his own house. He did not
find Andromache, for she was on the wall with her child and one of her
maids, weeping bitterly. Seeing, then, that she was not within, he
stood on the threshold of the women's rooms and said, "Women, tell me,
and tell me true, where did Andromache go when she left the house? Was
it to my sisters, or to my brothers' wives? or is she at the temple of
Minerva where the other women are propitiating the awful goddess?"

His good housekeeper answered, "Hector, since you bid me tell you
truly, she did not go to your sisters nor to your brothers' wives, nor
yet to the temple of Minerva, where the other women are propitiating
the awful goddess, but she is on the high wall of Ilius, for she had
heard the Trojans were being hard pressed, and that the Achaeans were
in great force: she went to the wall in frenzied haste, and the nurse
went with her carrying the child."

Hector hurried from the house when she had done speaking, and went down
the streets by the same way that he had come. When he had gone through
the city and had reached the Scaean gates through which he would go out
on to the plain, his wife came running towards him, Andromache,
daughter of great Eetion who ruled in Thebe under the wooded slopes of
Mt. Placus, and was king of the Cilicians. His daughter had married
Hector, and now came to meet him with a nurse who carried his little
child in her bosom--a mere babe. Hector's darling son, and lovely as a
star. Hector had named him Scamandrius, but the people called him
Astyanax, for his father stood alone as chief guardian of Ilius. Hector
smiled as he looked upon the boy, but he did not speak, and Andromache
stood by him weeping and taking his hand in her own. "Dear husband,"
said she, "your valour will bring you to destruction; think on your
infant son, and on my hapless self who ere long shall be your
widow--for the Achaeans will set upon you in a body and kill you. It
would be better for me, should I lose you, to lie dead and buried, for
I shall have nothing left to comfort me when you are gone, save only
sorrow. I have neither father nor mother now. Achilles slew my father
when he sacked Thebe the goodly city of the Cilicians. He slew him, but
did not for very shame despoil him; when he had burned him in his
wondrous armour, he raised a barrow over his ashes and the mountain
nymphs, daughters of aegis-bearing Jove, planted a grove of elms about
his tomb. I had seven brothers in my father's house, but on the same
day they all went within the house of Hades. Achilles killed them as
they were with their sheep and cattle. My mother--her who had been
queen of all the land under Mt. Placus--he brought hither with the
spoil, and freed her for a great sum, but the archer-queen Diana took
her in the house of your father. Nay--Hector--you who to me are father,
mother, brother, and dear husband--have mercy upon me; stay here upon
this wall; make not your child fatherless, and your wife a widow; as
for the host, place them near the fig-tree, where the city can be best
scaled, and the wall is weakest. Thrice have the bravest of them come
thither and assailed it, under the two Ajaxes, Idomeneus, the sons of
Atreus, and the brave son of Tydeus, either of their own bidding, or
because some soothsayer had told them."

And Hector answered, "Wife, I too have thought upon all this, but with
what face should I look upon the Trojans, men or women, if I shirked
battle like a coward? I cannot do so: I know nothing save to fight
bravely in the forefront of the Trojan host and win renown alike for my
father and myself. Well do I know that the day will surely come when
mighty Ilius shall be destroyed with Priam and Priam's people, but I
grieve for none of these--not even for Hecuba, nor King Priam, nor for
my brothers many and brave who may fall in the dust before their
foes--for none of these do I grieve as for yourself when the day shall
come on which some one of the Achaeans shall rob you for ever of your
freedom, and bear you weeping away. It may be that you will have to ply
the loom in Argos at the bidding of a mistress, or to fetch water from
the springs Messeis or Hypereia, treated brutally by some cruel
task-master; then will one say who sees you weeping, 'She was wife to
Hector, the bravest warrior among the Trojans during the war before
Ilius.' On this your tears will break forth anew for him who would have
put away the day of captivity from you. May I lie dead under the barrow
that is heaped over my body ere I hear your cry as they carry you into

He stretched his arms towards his child, but the boy cried and nestled
in his nurse's bosom, scared at the sight of his father's armour, and
at the horse-hair plume that nodded fiercely from his helmet. His
father and mother laughed to see him, but Hector took the helmet from
his head and laid it all gleaming upon the ground. Then he took his
darling child, kissed him, and dandled him in his arms, praying over
him the while to Jove and to all the gods. "Jove," he cried, "grant
that this my child may be even as myself, chief among the Trojans; let
him be not less excellent in strength, and let him rule Ilius with his
might. Then may one say of him as he comes from battle, 'The son is far
better than the father.' May he bring back the blood-stained spoils of
him whom he has laid low, and let his mother's heart be glad."

With this he laid the child again in the arms of his wife, who took him
to her own soft bosom, smiling through her tears. As her husband
watched her his heart yearned towards her and he caressed her fondly,
saying, "My own wife, do not take these things too bitterly to heart.
No one can hurry me down to Hades before my time, but if a man's hour
is come, be he brave or be he coward, there is no escape for him when
he has once been born. Go, then, within the house, and busy yourself
with your daily duties, your loom, your distaff, and the ordering of
your servants; for war is man's matter, and mine above all others of
them that have been born in Ilius."

He took his plumed helmet from the ground, and his wife went back again
to her house, weeping bitterly and often looking back towards him. When
she reached her home she found her maidens within, and bade them all
join in her lament; so they mourned Hector in his own house though he
was yet alive, for they deemed that they should never see him return
safe from battle, and from the furious hands of the Achaeans.

Paris did not remain long in his house. He donned his goodly armour
overlaid with bronze, and hasted through the city as fast as his feet
could take him. As a horse, stabled and fed, breaks loose and gallops
gloriously over the plain to the place where he is wont to bathe in the
fair-flowing river--he holds his head high, and his mane streams upon
his shoulders as he exults in his strength and flies like the wind to
the haunts and feeding ground of the mares--even so went forth Paris
from high Pergamus, gleaming like sunlight in his armour, and he
laughed aloud as he sped swiftly on his way. Forthwith he came upon his
brother Hector, who was then turning away from the place where he had
held converse with his wife, and he was himself the first to speak.
"Sir," said he, "I fear that I have kept you waiting when you are in
haste, and have not come as quickly as you bade me."

"My good brother," answered Hector, "you fight bravely, and no man with
any justice can make light of your doings in battle. But you are
careless and wilfully remiss. It grieves me to the heart to hear the
ill that the Trojans speak about you, for they have suffered much on
your account. Let us be going, and we will make things right hereafter,
should Jove vouchsafe us to set the cup of our deliverance before
ever-living gods of heaven in our own homes, when we have chased the
Achaeans from Troy."


Hector and Ajax fight--Hector is getting worsted when night
comes on and parts them--They exchange presents--The
burial of the dead, and the building of a wall round their
ships by the Achaeans--The Achaeans buy their wine of
Agamemnon and Menelaus.

WITH these words Hector passed through the gates, and his brother
Alexandrus with him, both eager for the fray. As when heaven sends a
breeze to sailors who have long looked for one in vain, and have
laboured at their oars till they are faint with toil, even so welcome
was the sight of these two heroes to the Trojans.

Thereon Alexandrus killed Menesthius the son of Areithous; he lived in
Arne, and was son of Areithous the Mace-man, and of Phylomedusa. Hector
threw a spear at Eioneus and struck him dead with a wound in the neck
under the bronze rim of his helmet. Glaucus, moreover, son of
Hippolochus, captain of the Lycians, in hard hand-to-hand fight smote
Iphinous son of Dexius on the shoulder, as he was springing on to his
chariot behind his fleet mares; so he fell to earth from the car, and
there was no life left in him.

When, therefore, Minerva saw these men making havoc of the Argives, she
darted down to Ilius from the summits of Olympus, and Apollo, who was
looking on from Pergamus, went out to meet her; for he wanted the
Trojans to be victorious. The pair met by the oak tree, and King Apollo
son of Jove was first to speak. "What would you have," said he,
"daughter of great Jove, that your proud spirit has sent you hither
from Olympus? Have you no pity upon the Trojans, and would you incline
the scales of victory in favour of the Danaans? Let me persuade
you--for it will be better thus--stay the combat for to-day, but let
them renew the fight hereafter till they compass the doom of Ilius,
since you goddesses have made up your minds to destroy the city."

And Minerva answered, "So be it, Far-Darter; it was in this mind that I
came down from Olympus to the Trojans and Achaeans. Tell me, then, how
do you propose to end this present fighting?"

Apollo, son of Jove, replied, "Let us incite great Hector to challenge
some one of the Danaans in single combat; on this the Achaeans will be
shamed into finding a man who will fight him."

Minerva assented, and Helenus son of Priam divined the counsel of the
gods; he therefore went up to Hector and said, "Hector son of Priam,
peer of gods in counsel, I am your brother, let me then persuade you.
Bid the other Trojans and Achaeans all of them take their seats, and
challenge the best man among the Achaeans to meet you in single combat.
I have heard the voice of the ever-living gods, and the hour of your
doom is not yet come."

Hector was glad when he heard this saying, and went in among the
Trojans, grasping his spear by the middle to hold them back, and they
all sat down. Agamemnon also bade the Achaeans be seated. But Minerva
and Apollo, in the likeness of vultures, perched on father Jove's high
oak tree, proud of their men; and the ranks sat close ranged together,
bristling with shield and helmet and spear. As when the rising west
wind furs the face of the sea and the waters grow dark beneath it, so
sat the companies of Trojans and Achaeans upon the plain. And Hector
spoke thus:--

"Hear me, Trojans and Achaeans, that I may speak even as I am minded;
Jove on his high throne has brought our oaths and covenants to nothing,
and foreshadows ill for both of us, till you either take the towers of
Troy, or are yourselves vanquished at your ships. The princes of the
Achaeans are here present in the midst of you; let him, then, that will
fight me stand forward as your champion against Hector. Thus I say, and
may Jove be witness between us. If your champion slay me, let him strip
me of my armour and take it to your ships, but let him send my body
home that the Trojans and their wives may give me my dues of fire when
I am dead. In like manner, if Apollo vouchsafe me glory and I slay your
champion, I will strip him of his armour and take it to the city of
Ilius, where I will hang it in the temple of Apollo, but I will give up
his body, that the Achaeans may bury him at their ships, and the build
him a mound by the wide waters of the Hellespont. Then will one say
hereafter as he sails his ship over the sea, 'This is the monument of
one who died long since a champion who was slain by mighty Hector.'
Thus will one say, and my fame shall not be lost."

Thus did he speak, but they all held their peace, ashamed to decline
the challenge, yet fearing to accept it, till at last Menelaus rose and
rebuked them, for he was angry. "Alas," he cried, "vain braggarts,
women forsooth not men, double-dyed indeed will be the stain upon us if
no man of the Danaans will now face Hector. May you be turned every man
of you into earth and water as you sit spiritless and inglorious in
your places. I will myself go out against this man, but the upshot of
the fight will be from on high in the hands of the immortal gods."

With these words he put on his armour; and then, O Menelaus, your life
would have come to an end at the hands of hands of Hector, for he was
far better the man, had not the princes of the Achaeans sprung upon you
and checked you. King Agamemnon caught him by the right hand and said,
"Menelaus, you are mad; a truce to this folly. Be patient in spite of
passion, do not think of fighting a man so much stronger than yourself
as Hector son of Priam, who is feared by many another as well as you.
Even Achilles, who is far more doughty than you are, shrank from
meeting him in battle. Sit down your own people, and the Achaeans will
send some other champion to fight Hector; fearless and fond of battle
though he be, I ween his knees will bend gladly under him if he comes
out alive from the hurly-burly of this fight."

With these words of reasonable counsel he persuaded his brother,
whereon his squires gladly stripped the armour from off his shoulders.
Then Nestor rose and spoke, "Of a truth," said he, "the Achaean land is
fallen upon evil times. The old knight Peleus, counsellor and orator
among the Myrmidons, loved when I was in his house to question me
concerning the race and lineage of all the Argives. How would it not
grieve him could he hear of them as now quailing before Hector? Many a
time would he lift his hands in prayer that his soul might leave his
body and go down within the house of Hades. Would, by father Jove,
Minerva, and Apollo, that I were still young and strong as when the
Pylians and Arcadians were gathered in fight by the rapid river Celadon
under the walls of Pheia, and round about the waters of the river
Iardanus. The godlike hero Ereuthalion stood forward as their champion,
with the armour of King Areithous upon his shoulders--Areithous whom
men and women had surnamed 'the Mace-man,' because he fought neither
with bow nor spear, but broke the battalions of the foe with his iron
mace. Lycurgus killed him, not in fair fight, but by entrapping him in
a narrow way where his mace served him in no stead; for Lycurgus was
too quick for him and speared him through the middle, so he fell to
earth on his back. Lycurgus then spoiled him of the armour which Mars
had given him, and bore it in battle thenceforward; but when he grew
old and stayed at home, he gave it to his faithful squire Ereuthalion,
who in this same armour challenged the foremost men among us. The
others quaked and quailed, but my high spirit bade me fight him though
none other would venture; I was the youngest man of them all; but when
I fought him Minerva vouchsafed me victory. He was the biggest and
strongest man that ever I killed, and covered much ground as he lay
sprawling upon the earth. Would that I were still young and strong as I
then was, for the son of Priam would then soon find one who would face
him. But you, foremost among the whole host though you be, have none of
you any stomach for fighting Hector."

Thus did the old man rebuke them, and forthwith nine men started to
their feet. Foremost of all uprose King Agamemnon, and after him brave
Diomed the son of Tydeus. Next were the two Ajaxes, men clothed in
valour as with a garment, and then Idomeneus, and Meriones his brother
in arms. After these Eurypylus son of Euaemon, Thoas the son of
Andraemon, and Ulysses also rose. Then Nestor knight of Gerene again
spoke, saying: "Cast lots among you to see who shall be chosen. If he
come alive out of this fight he will have done good service alike to
his own soul and to the Achaeans."

Thus he spoke, and when each of them had marked his lot, and had thrown
it into the helmet of Agamemnon son of Atreus, the people lifted their
hands in prayer, and thus would one of them say as he looked into the
vault of heaven, "Father Jove, grant that the lot fall on Ajax, or on
the son of Tydeus, or upon the king of rich Mycene himself."

As they were speaking, Nestor knight of Gerene shook the helmet, and
from it there fell the very lot which they wanted--the lot of Ajax. The
herald bore it about and showed it to all the chieftains of the
Achaeans, going from left to right; but they none of them owned it.
When, however, in due course he reached the man who had written upon it
and had put it into the helmet, brave Ajax held out his hand, and the
herald gave him the lot. When Ajax saw his mark he knew it and was
glad; he threw it to the ground and said, "My friends, the lot is mine,
and I rejoice, for I shall vanquish Hector. I will put on my armour;
meanwhile, pray to King Jove in silence among yourselves that the
Trojans may not hear you--or aloud if you will, for we fear no man.
None shall overcome me, neither by force nor cunning, for I was born
and bred in Salamis, and can hold my own in all things."

With this they fell praying to King Jove the son of Saturn, and thus
would one of them say as he looked into the vault of heaven, "Father
Jove that rulest from Ida, most glorious in power, vouchsafe victory to
Ajax, and let him win great glory: but if you wish well to Hector also
and would protect him, grant to each of them equal fame and prowess."

Thus they prayed, and Ajax armed himself in his suit of gleaming
bronze. When he was in full array he sprang forward as monstrous Mars
when he takes part among men whom Jove has set fighting with one
another--even so did huge Ajax, bulwark of the Achaeans, spring forward
with a grim smile on his face as he brandished his long spear and
strode onward. The Argives were elated as they beheld him, but the
Trojans trembled in every limb, and the heart even of Hector beat
quickly, but he could not now retreat and withdraw into the ranks
behind him, for he had been the challenger. Ajax came up bearing his
shield in front of him like a wall--a shield of bronze with seven folds
of oxhide--the work of Tychius, who lived in Hyle and was by far the
best worker in leather. He had made it with the hides of seven full-fed
bulls, and over these he had set an eighth layer of bronze. Holding
this shield before him, Ajax son of Telamon came close up to Hector,
and menaced him saying, "Hector, you shall now learn, man to man, what
kind of champions the Danaans have among them even besides lion-hearted
Achilles cleaver of the ranks of men. He now abides at the ships in
anger with Agamemnon shepherd of his people, but there are many of us
who are well able to face you; therefore begin the fight."

And Hector answered, "Noble Ajax, son of Telamon, captain of the host,
treat me not as though I were some puny boy or woman that cannot fight.
I have been long used to the blood and butcheries of battle. I am quick
to turn my leathern shield either to right or left, for this I deem the
main thing in battle. I can charge among the chariots and horsemen, and
in hand to hand fighting can delight the heart of Mars; howbeit I would
not take such a man as you are off his guard--but I will smite you
openly if I can."

He poised his spear as he spoke, and hurled it from him. It struck the
sevenfold shield in its outermost layer--the eighth, which was of
bronze--and went through six of the layers but in the seventh hide it
stayed. Then Ajax threw in his turn, and struck the round shield of the
son of Priam. The terrible spear went through his gleaming shield, and
pressed onward through his cuirass of cunning workmanship; it pierced
the shirt against his side, but he swerved and thus saved his life.
They then each of them drew out the spear from his shield, and fell on
one another like savage lions or wild boars of great strength and
endurance: the son of Priam struck the middle of Ajax's shield, but the
bronze did not break, and the point of his dart was turned. Ajax then
sprang forward and pierced the shield of Hector; the spear went through
it and staggered him as he was springing forward to attack; it gashed
his neck and the blood came pouring from the wound, but even so Hector
did not cease fighting; he gave ground, and with his brawny hand seized
a stone, rugged and huge, that was lying upon the plain; with this he
struck the shield of Ajax on the boss that was in its middle, so that
the bronze rang again. But Ajax in turn caught up a far larger stone,
swung it aloft, and hurled it with prodigious force. This millstone of
a rock broke Hector's shield inwards and threw him down on his back
with the shield crushing him under it, but Apollo raised him at once.
Thereon they would have hacked at one another in close combat with
their swords, had not heralds, messengers of gods and men, come
forward, one from the Trojans and the other from the
Achaeans--Talthybius and Idaeus both of them honourable men; these
parted them with their staves, and the good herald Idaeus said, "My
sons, fight no longer, you are both of you valiant, and both are dear
to Jove; we know this; but night is now falling, and the behests of
night may not be well gainsaid."

Ajax son of Telamon answered, "Idaeus, bid Hector say so, for it was he
that challenged our princes. Let him speak first and I will accept his

Then Hector said, "Ajax, heaven has vouchsafed you stature and
strength, and judgement; and in wielding the spear you excel all others
of the Achaeans. Let us for this day cease fighting; hereafter we will
fight anew till heaven decide between us, and give victory to one or to
the other; night is now falling, and the behests of night may not be
well gainsaid. Gladden, then, the hearts of the Achaeans at your ships,
and more especially those of your own followers and clansmen, while I,
in the great city of King Priam, bring comfort to the Trojans and their
women, who vie with one another in their prayers on my behalf. Let us,
moreover, exchange presents that it may be said among the Achaeans and
Trojans, 'They fought with might and main, but were reconciled and
parted in friendship.'"

On this he gave Ajax a silver-studded sword with its sheath and
leathern baldric, and in return Ajax gave him a girdle dyed with
purple. Thus they parted, the one going to the host of the Achaeans,
and the other to that of the Trojans, who rejoiced when they saw their
hero come to them safe and unharmed from the strong hands of mighty
Ajax. They led him, therefore, to the city as one that had been saved
beyond their hopes. On the other side the Achaeans brought Ajax elated
with victory to Agamemnon.

When they reached the quarters of the son of Atreus, Agamemnon
sacrificed for them a five-year-old bull in honour of Jove the son of
Saturn. They flayed the carcass, made it ready, and divided it into
joints; these they cut carefully up into smaller pieces, putting them
on the spits, roasting them sufficiently, and then drawing them off.
When they had done all this and had prepared the feast, they ate it,
and every man had his full and equal share, so that all were satisfied,
and King Agamemnon gave Ajax some slices cut lengthways down the loin,
as a mark of special honour. As soon as they had had enough to eat and
drink, old Nestor whose counsel was ever truest began to speak; with
all sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Son of Atreus, and other chieftains, inasmuch as many of the Achaeans
are now dead, whose blood Mars has shed by the banks of the Scamander,
and their souls have gone down to the house of Hades, it will be well
when morning comes that we should cease fighting; we will then wheel
our dead together with oxen and mules and burn them not far from the
ships, that when we sail hence we may take the bones of our comrades
home to their children. Hard by the funeral pyre we will build a barrow
that shall be raised from the plain for all in common; near this let us
set about building a high wall, to shelter ourselves and our ships, and
let it have well-made gates that there may be a way through them for
our chariots. Close outside we will dig a deep trench all round it to
keep off both horse and foot, that the Trojan chieftains may not bear
hard upon us."

Thus he spoke, and the princess shouted in applause. Meanwhile the
Trojans held a council, angry and full of discord, on the acropolis by
the gates of King Priam's palace; and wise Antenor spoke. "Hear me," he
said, "Trojans, Dardanians, and allies, that I may speak even as I am
minded. Let us give up Argive Helen and her wealth to the sons of
Atreus, for we are now fighting in violation of our solemn covenants,
and shall not prosper till we have done as I say."

He then sat down and Alexandrus husband of lovely Helen rose to speak.
"Antenor," said he, "your words are not to my liking; you can find a
better saying than this if you will; if, however, you have spoken in
good earnest, then indeed has heaven robbed you of your reason. I will
speak plainly, and hereby notify to the Trojans that I will not give up
the woman; but the wealth that I brought home with her from Argos I
will restore, and will add yet further of my own."

On this, when Paris had spoken and taken his seat, Priam of the race of
Dardanus, peer of gods in council, rose and with all sincerity and
goodwill addressed them thus: "Hear me, Trojans, Dardanians, and
allies, that I may speak even as I am minded. Get your suppers now as
hitherto throughout the city, but keep your watches and be wakeful. At
daybreak let Idaeus go to the ships, and tell Agamemnon and Menelaus
sons of Atreus the saying of Alexandrus through whom this quarrel has
come about; and let him also be instant with them that they now cease
fighting till we burn our dead; hereafter we will fight anew, till
heaven decide between us and give victory to one or to the other."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They took supper
in their companies and at daybreak Idaeus went his way to the ships. He
found the Danaans, servants of Mars, in council at the stern of
Agamemnon's ship, and took his place in the midst of them. "Son of
Atreus," he said, "and princes of the Achaean host, Priam and the other
noble Trojans have sent me to tell you the saying of Alexandrus through
whom this quarrel has come about, if so be that you may find it
acceptable. All the treasure he took with him in his ships to
Troy--would that he had sooner perished--he will restore, and will add
yet further of his own, but he will not give up the wedded wife of
Menelaus, though the Trojans would have him do so. Priam bade me
inquire further if you will cease fighting till we burn our dead;
hereafter we will fight anew, till heaven decide between us and give
victory to one or to the other."

They all held their peace, but presently Diomed of the loud war-cry
spoke, saying, "Let there be no taking, neither treasure, nor yet
Helen, for even a child may see that the doom of the Trojans is at

The sons of the Achaeans shouted applause at the words that Diomed had
spoken, and thereon King Agamemnon said to Idaeus, "Idaeus, you have
heard the answer the Achaeans make you-and I with them. But as
concerning the dead, I give you leave to burn them, for when men are
once dead there should be no grudging them the rites of fire. Let Jove
the mighty husband of Juno be witness to this covenant."

As he spoke he upheld his sceptre in the sight of all the gods, and
Idaeus went back to the strong city of Ilius. The Trojans and
Dardanians were gathered in council waiting his return; when he came,
he stood in their midst and delivered his message. As soon as they
heard it they set about their twofold labour, some to gather the
corpses, and others to bring in wood. The Argives on their part also
hastened from their ships, some to gather the corpses, and others to
bring in wood.

The sun was beginning to beat upon the fields, fresh risen into the
vault of heaven from the slow still currents of deep Oceanus, when the
two armies met. They could hardly recognise their dead, but they washed
the clotted gore from off them, shed tears over them, and lifted them
upon their waggons. Priam had forbidden the Trojans to wail aloud, so
they heaped their dead sadly and silently upon the pyre, and having
burned them went back to the city of Ilius. The Achaeans in like manner
heaped their dead sadly and silently on the pyre, and having burned
them went back to their ships.

Now in the twilight when it was not yet dawn, chosen bands of the
Achaeans were gathered round the pyre and built one barrow that was
raised in common for all, and hard by this they built a high wall to
shelter themselves and their ships; they gave it strong gates that
there might be a way through them for their chariots, and close outside
it they dug a trench deep and wide, and they planted it within with

Thus did the Achaeans toil, and the gods, seated by the side of Jove
the lord of lightning, marvelled at their great work; but Neptune, lord
of the earthquake, spoke, saying, "Father Jove, what mortal in the
whole world will again take the gods into his counsel? See you not how
the Achaeans have built a wall about their ships and driven a trench
all round it, without offering hecatombs to the gods? The fame of this
wall will reach as far as dawn itself, and men will no longer think
anything of the one which Phoebus Apollo and myself built with so much
labour for Laomedon."

Jove was displeased and answered, "What, O shaker of the earth, are you
talking about? A god less powerful than yourself might be alarmed at
what they are doing, but your fame reaches as far as dawn itself.
Surely when the Achaeans have gone home with their ships, you can
shatter their wall and fling it into the sea; you can cover the beach
with sand again, and the great wall of the Achaeans will then be
utterly effaced."

Thus did they converse, and by sunset the work of the Achaeans was
completed; they then slaughtered oxen at their tents and got their
supper. Many ships had come with wine from Lemnos, sent by Euneus the
son of Jason, born to him by Hypsipyle. The son of Jason freighted them
with ten thousand measures of wine, which he sent specially to the sons
of Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus. From this supply the Achaeans bought
their wine, some with bronze, some with iron, some with hides, some
with whole heifers, and some again with captives. They spread a goodly
banquet and feasted the whole night through, as also did the Trojans
and their allies in the city. But all the time Jove boded them ill and
roared with his portentous thunder. Pale fear got hold upon them, and
they spilled the wine from their cups on to the ground, nor did any
dare drink till he had made offerings to the most mighty son of Saturn.
Then they laid themselves down to rest and enjoyed the boon of sleep.


Jove forbids the gods to interfere further--There is an even
fight till midday, but then Jove inclines the scales of victory
in favour of the Trojans, who eventually chase the Achaeans
within their wall--Juno and Minerva set out to help the
Trojans: Jove sends Iris to turn them back, but later on
he promises Juno that she shall have her way in the end--Hector's
triumph is stayed by nightfall--The Trojans bivouac on the plain.

NOW when Morning, clad in her robe of saffron, had begun to suffuse
light over the earth, Jove called the gods in council on the topmost
crest of serrated Olympus. Then he spoke and all the other gods gave
ear. "Hear me," said he, "gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as
I am minded. Let none of you neither goddess nor god try to cross me,
but obey me every one of you that I may bring this matter to an end. If
I see anyone acting apart and helping either Trojans or Danaans, he
shall be beaten inordinately ere he come back again to Olympus; or I
will hurl him down into dark Tartarus far into the deepest pit under
the earth, where the gates are iron and the floor bronze, as far
beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth, that you may learn how
much the mightiest I am among you. Try me and find out for yourselves.
Hangs me a golden chain from heaven, and lay hold of it all of you,
gods and goddesses together--tug as you will, you will not drag Jove
the supreme counsellor from heaven to earth; but were I to pull at it
myself I should draw you up with earth and sea into the bargain, then
would I bind the chain about some pinnacle of Olympus and leave you all
dangling in the mid firmament. So far am I above all others either of
gods or men."

They were frightened and all of them of held their peace, for he had
spoken masterfully; but at last Minerva answered, "Father, son of
Saturn, king of kings, we all know that your might is not to be
gainsaid, but we are also sorry for the Danaan warriors, who are
perishing and coming to a bad end. We will, however, since you so bid
us, refrain from actual fighting, but we will make serviceable
suggestions to the Argives that they may not all of them perish in your

Jove smiled at her and answered, "Take heart, my child, Trito-born; I
am not really in earnest, and I wish to be kind to you."

With this he yoked his fleet horses, with hoofs of bronze and manes of
glittering gold. He girded himself also with gold about the body,
seized his gold whip and took his seat in his chariot. Thereon he
lashed his horses and they flew forward nothing loth midway twixt earth
and starry heaven. After a while he reached many-fountained Ida, mother
of wild beasts, and Gargarus, where are his grove and fragrant altar.
There the father of gods and men stayed his horses, took them from the
chariot, and hid them in a thick cloud; then he took his seat all
glorious upon the topmost crests, looking down upon the city of Troy
and the ships of the Achaeans.

The Achaeans took their morning meal hastily at the ships, and
afterwards put on their armour. The Trojans on the other hand likewise
armed themselves throughout the city, fewer in numbers but nevertheless
eager perforce to do battle for their wives and children. All the gates
were flung wide open, and horse and foot sallied forth with the tramp
as of a great multitude.

When they were got together in one place, shield clashed with shield,
and spear with spear, in the conflict of mail-clad men. Mighty was the
din as the bossed shields pressed hard on one another--death--cry and
shout of triumph of slain and slayers, and the earth ran red with blood.

Now so long as the day waxed and it was still morning their weapons
beat against one another, and the people fell, but when the sun had
reached mid-heaven, the sire of all balanced his golden scales, and put
two fates of death within them, one for the Trojans and the other for
the Achaeans. He took the balance by the middle, and when he lifted it
up the day of the Achaeans sank; the death-fraught scale of the
Achaeans settled down upon the ground, while that of the Trojans rose
heavenwards. Then he thundered aloud from Ida, and sent the glare of
his lightning upon the Achaeans; when they saw this, pale fear fell
upon them and they were sore afraid.

Idomeneus dared not stay nor yet Agamemnon, nor did the two Ajaxes,
servants of Mars, hold their ground. Nestor knight of Gerene alone
stood firm, bulwark of the Achaeans, not of his own will, but one of
his horses was disabled. Alexandrus husband of lovely Helen had hit it
with an arrow just on the top of its head where the mane begins to grow
away from the skull, a very deadly place. The horse bounded in his
anguish as the arrow pierced his brain, and his struggles threw others
into confusion. The old man instantly began cutting the traces with his
sword, but Hector's fleet horses bore down upon him through the rout
with their bold charioteer, even Hector himself, and the old man would
have perished there and then had not Diomed been quick to mark, and
with a loud cry called Ulysses to help him.

"Ulysses," he cried, "noble son of Laertes where are you flying to,
with your back turned like a coward? See that you are not struck with a
spear between the shoulders. Stay here and help me to defend Nestor
from this man's furious onset."

Ulysses would not give ear, but sped onward to the ships of the
Achaeans, and the son of Tydeus flinging himself alone into the thick
of the fight took his stand before the horses of the son of Neleus.
"Sir," said he, "these young warriors are pressing you hard, your force
is spent, and age is heavy upon you, your squire is naught, and your
horses are slow to move. Mount my chariot and see what the horses of
Tros can do--how cleverly they can scud hither and thither over the
plain either in flight or in pursuit. I took them from the hero Aeneas.
Let our squires attend to your own steeds, but let us drive mine
straight at the Trojans, that Hector may learn how furiously I too can
wield my spear."

Nestor knight of Gerene hearkened to his words. Thereon the doughty
squires, Sthenelus and kind-hearted Eurymedon, saw to Nestor's horses,
while the two both mounted Diomed's chariot. Nestor took the reins in
his hands and lashed the horses on; they were soon close up with
Hector, and the son of Tydeus aimed a spear at him as he was charging
full speed towards them. He missed him, but struck his charioteer and
squire Eniopeus son of noble Thebaeus in the breast by the nipple while
the reins were in his hands, so that he died there and then, and the
horses swerved as he fell headlong from the chariot. Hector was greatly
grieved at the loss of his charioteer, but let him lie for all his
sorrow, while he went in quest of another driver; nor did his steeds
have to go long without one, for he presently found brave Archeptolemus
the son of Iphitus, and made him get up behind the horses, giving the
reins into his hand.

All had then been lost and no help for it, for they would have been
penned up in Ilius like sheep, had not the sire of gods and men been
quick to mark, and hurled a fiery flaming thunderbolt which fell just
in front of Diomed's horses with a flare of burning brimstone. The
horses were frightened and tried to back beneath the car, while the
reins dropped from Nestor's hands. Then he was afraid and said to
Diomed, "Son of Tydeus, turn your horses in flight; see you not that
the hand of Jove is against you? To-day he vouchsafes victory to
Hector; to-morrow, if it so please him, he will again grant it to
ourselves; no man, however brave, may thwart the purpose of Jove, for
he is far stronger than any."

Diomed answered, "All that you have said is true; there is a grief
however which pierces me to the very heart, for Hector will talk among
the Trojans and say, 'The son of Tydeus fled before me to the ships.'
This is the vaunt he will make, and may earth then swallow me."

"Son of Tydeus," replied Nestor, "what mean you? Though Hector say that
you are a coward the Trojans and Dardanians will not believe him, nor
yet the wives of the mighty warriors whom you have laid low."

So saying he turned the horses back through the thick of the battle,
and with a cry that rent the air the Trojans and Hector rained their
darts after them. Hector shouted to him and said, "Son of Tydeus, the
Danaans have done you honour hitherto as regards your place at table,
the meals they give you, and the filling of your cup with wine.
Henceforth they will despise you, for you are become no better than a
woman. Be off, girl and coward that you are, you shall not scale our
walls through any flinching upon my part; neither shall you carry off
our wives in your ships, for I shall kill you with my own hand."

The son of Tydeus was in two minds whether or no to turn his horses
round again and fight him. Thrice did he doubt, and thrice did Jove
thunder from the heights of Ida in token to the Trojans that he would
turn the battle in their favour. Hector then shouted to them and said,
"Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians, lovers of close fighting, be men, my
friends, and fight with might and with main; I see that Jove is minded
to vouchsafe victory and great glory to myself, while he will deal
destruction upon the Danaans. Fools, for having thought of building
this weak and worthless wall. It shall not stay my fury; my horses will
spring lightly over their trench, and when I am at their ships forget
not to bring me fire that I may burn them, while I slaughter the
Argives who will be all dazed and bewildered by the smoke."

Then he cried to his horses, "Xanthus and Podargus, and you Aethon and
goodly Lampus, pay me for your keep now and for all the honey-sweet
corn with which Andromache daughter of great Eetion has fed you, and
for she has mixed wine and water for you to drink whenever you would,
before doing so even for me who am her own husband. Haste in pursuit,
that we may take the shield of Nestor, the fame of which ascends to
heaven, for it is of solid gold, arm-rods and all, and that we may
strip from the shoulders of Diomed the cuirass which Vulcan made him.
Could we take these two things, the Achaeans would set sail in their
ships this self-same night."

Thus did he vaunt, but Queen Juno made high Olympus quake as she shook
with rage upon her throne. Then said she to the mighty god of Neptune,
"What now, wide ruling lord of the earthquake? Can you find no
compassion in your heart for the dying Danaans, who bring you many a
welcome offering to Helice and to Aegae? Wish them well then. If all of
us who are with the Danaans were to drive the Trojans back and keep
Jove from helping them, he would have to sit there sulking alone on

King Neptune was greatly troubled and answered, "Juno, rash of tongue,
what are you talking about? We other gods must not set ourselves
against Jove, for he is far stronger than we are."

Thus did they converse; but the whole space enclosed by the ditch, from
the ships even to the wall, was filled with horses and warriors, who
were pent up there by Hector son of Priam, now that the hand of Jove
was with him. He would even have set fire to the ships and burned them,
had not Queen Juno put it into the mind of Agamemnon, to bestir himself
and to encourage the Achaeans. To this end he went round the ships and
tents carrying a great purple cloak, and took his stand by the huge
black hull of Ulysses' ship, which was middlemost of all; it was from
this place that his voice would carry farthest, on the one hand towards
the tents of Ajax son of Telamon, and on the other towards those of
Achilles--for these two heroes, well assured of their own strength, had
valorously drawn up their ships at the two ends of the line. From this
spot then, with a voice that could be heard afar, he shouted to the
Danaans, saying, "Argives, shame on you cowardly creatures, brave in
semblance only; where are now our vaunts that we should prove
victorious--the vaunts we made so vaingloriously in Lemnos, when we ate
the flesh of horned cattle and filled our mixing-bowls to the brim? You
vowed that you would each of you stand against a hundred or two hundred
men, and now you prove no match even for one--for Hector, who will be
ere long setting our ships in a blaze. Father Jove, did you ever so
ruin a great king and rob him so utterly of his greatness? Yet, when to
my sorrow I was coming hither, I never let my ship pass your altars
without offering the fat and thigh-bones of heifers upon every one of
them, so eager was I to sack the city of Troy. Vouchsafe me then this
prayer--suffer us to escape at any rate with our lives, and let not the
Achaeans be so utterly vanquished by the Trojans."

Thus did he pray, and father Jove pitying his tears vouchsafed him that
his people should live, not die; forthwith he sent them an eagle, most
unfailingly portentous of all birds, with a young fawn in its talons;
the eagle dropped the fawn by the altar on which the Achaeans
sacrificed to Jove the lord of omens; when, therefore, the people saw
that the bird had come from Jove, they sprang more fiercely upon the
Trojans and fought more boldly.

There was no man of all the many Danaans who could then boast that he
had driven his horses over the trench and gone forth to fight sooner
than the son of Tydeus; long before any one else could do so he slew an
armed warrior of the Trojans, Agelaus the son of Phradmon. He had
turned his horses in flight, but the spear struck him in the back
midway between his shoulders and went right through his chest, and his
armour rang rattling round him as he fell forward from his chariot.

After him came Agamemnon and Menelaus, sons of Atreus, the two Ajaxes
clothed in valour as with a garment, Idomeneus and his companion in
arms Meriones, peer of murderous Mars, and Eurypylus the brave son of
Euaemon. Ninth came Teucer with his bow, and took his place under cover
of the shield of Ajax son of Telamon. When Ajax lifted his shield
Teucer would peer round, and when he had hit any one in the throng, the
man would fall dead; then Teucer would hie back to Ajax as a child to
its mother, and again duck down under his shield.

Which of the Trojans did brave Teucer first kill? Orsilochus, and then
Ormenus and Ophelestes, Daetor, Chromius, and godlike Lycophontes,
Amopaon son of Polyaemon, and Melanippus. All these in turn did he lay
low upon the earth, and King Agamemnon was glad when he saw him making
havoc of the Trojans with his mighty bow. He went up to him and said,
"Teucer, man after my own heart, son of Telamon, captain among the
host, shoot on, and be at once the saving of the Danaans and the glory
of your father Telamon, who brought you up and took care of you in his
own house when you were a child, bastard though you were. Cover him
with glory though he is far off; I will promise and I will assuredly
perform; if aegis-bearing Jove and Minerva grant me to sack the city of
Ilius, you shall have the next best meed of honour after my own--a
tripod, or two horses with their chariot, or a woman who shall go up
into your bed."

And Teucer answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, you need not urge me;
from the moment we began to drive them back to Ilius, I have never
ceased so far as in me lies to look out for men whom I can shoot and
kill; I have shot eight barbed shafts, and all of them have been buried
in the flesh of warlike youths, but this mad dog I cannot hit."

As he spoke he aimed another arrow straight at Hector, for he was bent
on hitting him; nevertheless he missed him, and the arrow hit Priam's
brave son Gorgythion in the breast. His mother, fair Castianeira,
lovely as a goddess, had been married from Aesyme, and now he bowed his
head as a garden poppy in full bloom when it is weighed down by showers
in spring--even thus heavy bowed his head beneath the weight of his

Again he aimed at Hector, for he was longing to hit him, and again his
arrow missed, for Apollo turned it aside; but he hit Hector's brave
charioteer Archeptolemus in the breast, by the nipple, as he was
driving furiously into the fight. The horses swerved aside as he fell
headlong from the chariot, and there was no life left in him. Hector
was greatly grieved at the loss of his charioteer, but for all his
sorrow he let him lie where he fell, and bade his brother Cebriones,
who was hard by, take the reins. Cebriones did as he had said. Hector
thereon with a loud cry sprang from his chariot to the ground, and
seizing a great stone made straight for Teucer with intent kill him.
Teucer had just taken an arrow from his quiver and had laid it upon the
bow-string, but Hector struck him with the jagged stone as he was
taking aim and drawing the string to his shoulder; he hit him just
where the collar-bone divides the neck from the chest, a very deadly
place, and broke the sinew of his arm so that his wrist was less, and
the bow dropped from his hand as he fell forward on his knees. Ajax saw
that his brother had fallen, and running towards him bestrode him and
sheltered him with his shield. Meanwhile his two trusty squires,
Mecisteus son of Echius, and Alastor, came up and bore him to the ships
groaning in his great pain.

Jove now again put heart into the Trojans, and they drove the Achaeans
to their deep trench with Hector in all his glory at their head. As a
hound grips a wild boar or lion in flank or buttock when he gives him
chase, and watches warily for his wheeling, even so did Hector follow
close upon the Achaeans, ever killing the hindmost as they rushed
panic-stricken onwards. When they had fled through the set stakes and
trench and many Achaeans had been laid low at the hands of the Trojans,
they halted at their ships, calling upon one another and praying every
man instantly as they lifted up their hands to the gods; but Hector
wheeled his horses this way and that, his eyes glaring like those of
Gorgo or murderous Mars.

Juno when she saw them had pity upon them, and at once said to Minerva,
"Alas, child of aegis-bearing Jove, shall you and I take no more
thought for the dying Danaans, though it be the last time we ever do
so? See how they perish and come to a bad end before the onset of but a
single man. Hector the son of Priam rages with intolerable fury, and
has already done great mischief."

Minerva answered, "Would, indeed, this fellow might die in his own
land, and fall by the hands of the Achaeans; but my father Jove is mad
with spleen, ever foiling me, ever headstrong and unjust. He forgets
how often I saved his son when he was worn out by the labours
Eurystheus had laid on him. He would weep till his cry came up to
heaven, and then Jove would send me down to help him; if I had had the
sense to foresee all this, when Eurystheus sent him to the house of
Hades, to fetch the hell-hound from Erebus, he would never have come
back alive out of the deep waters of the river Styx. And now Jove hates
me, while he lets Thetis have her way because she kissed his knees and
took hold of his beard, when she was begging him to do honour to
Achilles. I shall know what to do next time he begins calling me his
grey-eyed darling. Get our horses ready, while I go within the house of
aegis-bearing Jove and put on my armour; we shall then find out whether
Priam's son Hector will be glad to meet us in the highways of battle,
or whether the Trojans will glut hounds and vultures with the fat of
their flesh as they be dead by the ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did she speak and white-armed Juno, daughter of great Saturn,
obeyed her words; she set about harnessing her gold-bedizened steeds,
while Minerva daughter of aegis-bearing Jove flung her richly vesture,
made with her own hands, on to the threshold of her father, and donned
the shirt of Jove, arming herself for battle. Then she stepped into her
flaming chariot, and grasped the spear so stout and sturdy and strong
with which she quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her. Juno
lashed her horses, and the gates of heaven bellowed as they flew open
of their own accord--gates over which the Hours preside, in whose hands
are heaven and Olympus, either to open the dense cloud that hides them
or to close it. Through these the goddesses drove their obedient steeds.

But father Jove when he saw them from Ida was very angry, and sent
winged Iris with a message to them. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, turn
them back, and see that they do not come near me, for if we come to
fighting there will be mischief. This is what I say, and this is what I
mean to do. I will lame their horses for them; I will hurl them from
their chariot, and will break it in pieces. It will take them all ten
years to heal the wounds my lightning shall inflict upon them; my
grey-eyed daughter will then learn what quarrelling with her father
means. I am less surprised and angry with Juno, for whatever I say she
always contradicts me."

With this Iris went her way, fleet as the wind, from the heights of Ida
to the lofty summits of Olympus. She met the goddesses at the outer
gates of its many valleys and gave them her message. "What," said she,
"are you about? Are you mad? The son of Saturn forbids going. This is
what he says, and this is he means to do, he will lame your horses for
you, he will hurl you from your chariot, and will break it in pieces.
It will take you all ten years to heal the wounds his lightning will
inflict upon you, that you may learn, grey-eyed goddess, what
quarrelling with your father means. He is less hurt and angry with
Juno, for whatever he says she always contradicts him but you, bold
hussy, will you really dare to raise your huge spear in defiance of

With this she left them, and Juno said to Minerva, "Of a truth, child
of aegis-bearing Jove, I am not for fighting men's battles further in
defiance of Jove. Let them live or die as luck will have it, and let
Jove mete out his judgements upon the Trojans and Danaans according to
his own pleasure."

She turned her steeds; the Hours presently unyoked them, made them fast
to their ambrosial mangers, and leaned the chariot against the end wall
of the courtyard. The two goddesses then sat down upon their golden
thrones, amid the company of the other gods; but they were very angry.

Presently father Jove drove his chariot to Olympus, and entered the
assembly of gods. The mighty lord of the earthquake unyoked his horses
for him, set the car upon its stand, and threw a cloth over it. Jove
then sat down upon his golden throne and Olympus reeled beneath him.
Minerva and Juno sat alone, apart from Jove, and neither spoke nor
asked him questions, but Jove knew what they meant, and said, "Minerva
and Juno, why are you so angry? Are you fatigued with killing so many
of your dear friends the Trojans? Be this as it may, such is the might
of my hands that all the gods in Olympus cannot turn me; you were both
of you trembling all over ere ever you saw the fight and its terrible
doings. I tell you therefore-and it would have surely been--I should
have struck you with lighting, and your chariots would never have
brought you back again to Olympus."

Minerva and Juno groaned in spirit as they sat side by side and brooded
mischief for the Trojans. Minerva sat silent without a word, for she
was in a furious passion and bitterly incensed against her father; but
Juno could not contain herself and said, "What, dread son of Saturn,
are you talking about? We know how great your power is, nevertheless we
have compassion upon the Danaan warriors who are perishing and coming
to a bad end. We will, however, since you so bid us, refrain from
actual fighting, but we will make serviceable suggestions to the
Argives, that they may not all of them perish in your displeasure."

And Jove answered, "To-morrow morning, Juno, if you choose to do so,
you will see the son of Saturn destroying large numbers of the Argives,
for fierce Hector shall not cease fighting till he has roused the son
of Peleus when they are fighting in dire straits at their ships' sterns
about the body of Patroclus. Like it or no, this is how it is decreed;
for aught I care, you may go to the lowest depths beneath earth and
sea, where Iapetus and Saturn dwell in lone Tartarus with neither ray
of light nor breath of wind to cheer them. You may go on and on till
you get there, and I shall not care one whit for your displeasure; you
are the greatest vixen living."

Juno made him no answer. The sun's glorious orb now sank into Oceanus
and drew down night over the land. Sorry indeed were the Trojans when
light failed them, but welcome and thrice prayed for did darkness fall
upon the Achaeans.

Then Hector led the Trojans back from the ships, and held a council on
the open space near the river, where there was a spot clear of corpses.
They left their chariots and sat down on the ground to hear the speech
he made them. He grasped a spear eleven cubits long, the bronze point
of which gleamed in front of it, while the ring round the spear-head
was of gold. Spear in hand he spoke. "Hear me," said he, "Trojans,
Dardanians, and allies. I deemed but now that I should destroy the
ships and all the Achaeans with them ere I went back to Ilius, but
darkness came on too soon. It was this alone that saved them and their
ships upon the seashore. Now, therefore, let us obey the behests of
night, and prepare our suppers. Take your horses out of their chariots
and give them their feeds of corn; then make speed to bring sheep and
cattle from the city; bring wine also and corn for your horses and
gather much wood, that from dark till dawn we may burn watchfires whose
flare may reach to heaven. For the Achaeans may try to fly beyond the
sea by night, and they must not embark scatheless and unmolested; many
a man among them must take a dart with him to nurse at home, hit with
spear or arrow as he is leaping on board his ship, that others may fear
to bring war and weeping upon the Trojans. Moreover let the heralds
tell it about the city that the growing youths and grey-bearded men are
to camp upon its heaven-built walls. Let the women each of them light a
great fire in her house, and let watch be safely kept lest the town be
entered by surprise while the host is outside. See to it, brave
Trojans, as I have said, and let this suffice for the moment; at
daybreak I will instruct you further. I pray in hope to Jove and to the
gods that we may then drive those fate-sped hounds from our land, for
'tis the fates that have borne them and their ships hither. This night,
therefore, let us keep watch, but with early morning let us put on our
armour and rouse fierce war at the ships of the Achaeans; I shall then
know whether brave Diomed the son of Tydeus will drive me back from the
ships to the wall, or whether I shall myself slay him and carry off his
bloodstained spoils. To-morrow let him show his mettle, abide my spear
if he dare. I ween that at break of day, he shall be among the first to
fall and many another of his comrades round him. Would that I were as
sure of being immortal and never growing old, and of being worshipped
like Minerva and Apollo, as I am that this day will bring evil to the

Thus spoke Hector and the Trojans shouted applause. They took their
sweating steeds from under the yoke, and made them fast each by his own
chariot. They made haste to bring sheep and cattle from the city, they
brought wine also and corn from their houses and gathered much wood.
They then offered unblemished hecatombs to the immortals, and the wind
carried the sweet savour of sacrifice to heaven--but the blessed gods
partook not thereof, for they bitterly hated Ilius with Priam and
Priam's people. Thus high in hope they sat through the livelong night
by the highways of war, and many a watchfire did they kindle. As when
the stars shine clear, and the moon is bright--there is not a breath of
air, not a peak nor glade nor jutting headland but it stands out in the
ineffable radiance that breaks from the serene of heaven; the stars can
all of them be told and the heart of the shepherd is glad--even thus
shone the watchfires of the Trojans before Ilius midway between the
ships and the river Xanthus. A thousand camp-fires gleamed upon the
plain, and in the glow of each there sat fifty men, while the horses,
champing oats and corn beside their chariots, waited till dawn should


The Embassy to Achilles.

THUS did the Trojans watch. But Panic, comrade of blood-stained Rout,
had taken fast hold of the Achaeans, and their princes were all of them
in despair. As when the two winds that blow from Thrace--the north and
the northwest--spring up of a sudden and rouse the fury of the main--in
a moment the dark waves uprear their heads and scatter their sea-wrack
in all directions--even thus troubled were the hearts of the Achaeans.

The son of Atreus in dismay bade the heralds call the people to a
council man by man, but not to cry the matter aloud; he made haste also
himself to call them, and they sat sorry at heart in their assembly.
Agamemnon shed tears as it were a running stream or cataract on the
side of some sheer cliff; and thus, with many a heavy sigh he spoke to
the Achaeans. "My friends," said he, "princes and councillors Of the
Argives, the hand of heaven has been laid heavily upon me. Cruel Jove
gave me his solemn promise that I should sack the city of Troy before
returning, but he has played me false, and is now bidding me go
ingloriously back to Argos with the loss of much people. Such is the
will of Jove, who has laid many a proud city in the dust as he will yet
lay others, for his power is above all. Now, therefore, let us all do
as I say and sail back to our own country, for we shall not take Troy."

Thus he spoke, and the sons of the Achaeans for a long while sat
sorrowful there, but they all held their peace, till at last Diomed of
the loud battle-cry made answer saying, "Son of Atreus, I will chide
your folly, as is my right in council. Be not then aggrieved that I
should do so. In the first place you attacked me before all the Danaans
and said that I was a coward and no soldier. The Argives young and old
know that you did so. But the son of scheming Saturn endowed you by
halves only. He gave you honour as the chief ruler over us, but valour,
which is the highest both right and might he did not give you. Sir,
think you that the sons of the Achaeans are indeed as unwarlike and
cowardly as you say they are? If your own mind is set upon going
home--go--the way is open to you; the many ships that followed you from
Mycene stand ranged upon the seashore; but the rest of us stay here
till we have sacked Troy. Nay though these too should turn homeward
with their ships, Sthenelus and myself will still fight on till we
reach the goal of Ilius, for heaven was with us when we came."

The sons of the Achaeans shouted applause at the words of Diomed, and
presently Nestor rose to speak. "Son of Tydeus," said he, "in war your
prowess is beyond question, and in council you excel all who are of
your own years; no one of the Achaeans can make light of what you say
nor gainsay it, but you have not yet come to the end of the whole
matter. You are still young--you might be the youngest of my own
children--still you have spoken wisely and have counselled the chief of
the Achaeans not without discretion; nevertheless I am older than you
and I will tell you everything; therefore let no man, not even King
Agamemnon, disregard my saying, for he that foments civil discord is a
clanless, hearthless outlaw.

"Now, however, let us obey the behests of night and get our suppers,
but let the sentinels every man of them camp by the trench that is
without the wall. I am giving these instructions to the young men; when
they have been attended to, do you, son of Atreus, give your orders,
for you are the most royal among us all. Prepare a feast for your
councillors; it is right and reasonable that you should do so; there is
abundance of wine in your tents, which the ships of the Achaeans bring
from Thrace daily. You have everything at your disposal wherewith to
entertain guests, and you have many subjects. When many are got
together, you can be guided by him whose counsel is wisest--and sorely
do we need shrewd and prudent counsel, for the foe has lit his
watchfires hard by our ships. Who can be other than dismayed? This
night will either be the ruin of our host, or save it."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. The sentinels went
out in their armour under command of Nestor's son Thrasymedes, a
captain of the host, and of the bold warriors Ascalaphus and Ialmenus:
there were also Meriones, Aphareus and Deipyrus, and the son of Creion,
noble Lycomedes. There were seven captains of the sentinels, and with
each there went a hundred youths armed with long spears: they took
their places midway between the trench and the wall, and when they had
done so they lit their fires and got every man his supper.

The son of Atreus then bade many councillors of the Achaeans to his
quarters prepared a great feast in their honour. They laid their hands
on the good things that were before them, and as soon as they had
enough to eat and drink, old Nestor, whose counsel was ever truest, was
the first to lay his mind before them. He, therefore, with all
sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus.

"With yourself, most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon, will
I both begin my speech and end it, for you are king over much people.
Jove, moreover, has vouchsafed you to wield the sceptre and to uphold
righteousness, that you may take thought for your people under you;
therefore it behooves you above all others both to speak and to give
ear, and to out the counsel of another who shall have been minded to
speak wisely. All turns on you and on your commands, therefore I will
say what I think will be best. No man will be of a truer mind than that
which has been mine from the hour when you, sir, angered Achilles by
taking the girl Briseis from his tent against my judgment. I urged you
not to do so, but you yielded to your own pride, and dishonoured a hero
whom heaven itself had honoured--for you still hold the prize that had
been awarded to him. Now, however, let us think how we may appease him,
both with presents and fair speeches that may conciliate him."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Sir, you have reproved my folly justly. I
was wrong. I own it. One whom heaven befriends is in himself a host,
and Jove has shown that he befriends this man by destroying much people
of the Achaeans. I was blinded with passion and yielded to my worser
mind; therefore I will make amends, and will give him great gifts by
way of atonement. I will tell them in the presence of you all. I will
give him seven tripods that have never yet been on the fire, and ten
talents of gold. I will give him twenty iron cauldrons and twelve
strong horses that have won races and carried off prizes. Rich, indeed,
both in land and gold is he that has as many prizes as my horses have
won me. I will give him seven excellent workwomen, Lesbians, whom I
chose for myself when he took Lesbos--all of surpassing beauty. I will
give him these, and with them her whom I erewhile took from him, the
daughter of Briseus; and I swear a great oath that I never went up into
her couch, nor have been with her after the manner of men and women.

"All these things will I give him now, and if hereafter the gods
vouchsafe me to sack the city of Priam, let him come when we Achaeans
are dividing the spoil, and load his ship with gold and bronze to his
liking; furthermore let him take twenty Trojan women, the loveliest
after Helen herself. Then, when we reach Achaean Argos, wealthiest of
all lands, he shall be my son-in-law and I will show him like honour
with my own dear son Orestes, who is being nurtured in all abundance. I
have three daughters, Chrysothemis, Laodice, and Iphianassa, let him
take the one of his choice, freely and without gifts of wooing, to the
house of Peleus; I will add such dower to boot as no man ever yet gave
his daughter, and will give him seven well established cities,
Cardamyle, Enope, and Hire, where there is grass; holy Pherae and the
rich meadows of Anthea; Aepea also, and the vine-clad slopes of
Pedasus, all near the sea, and on the borders of sandy Pylos. The men
that dwell there are rich in cattle and sheep; they will honour him
with gifts as though he were a god, and be obedient to his comfortable
ordinances. All this will I do if he will now forgo his anger. Let him
then yield; it is only Hades who is utterly ruthless and
unyielding--and hence he is of all gods the one most hateful to
mankind. Moreover I am older and more royal than himself. Therefore,
let him now obey me."

Then Nestor answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men,
Agamemnon. The gifts you offer are no small ones, let us then send
chosen messengers, who may go to the tent of Achilles son of Peleus
without delay. Let those go whom I shall name. Let Phoenix, dear to
Jove, lead the way; let Ajax and Ulysses follow, and let the heralds
Odius and Eurybates go with them. Now bring water for our hands, and
bid all keep silence while we pray to Jove the son of Saturn, if so be
that he may have mercy upon us."

Thus did he speak, and his saying pleased them well. Men-servants
poured water over the hands of the guests, while pages filled the
mixing-bowls with wine and water, and handed it round after giving
every man his drink-offering; then, when they had made their offerings,
and had drunk each as much as he was minded, the envoys set out from
the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus; and Nestor, looking first to one
and then to another, but most especially at Ulysses, was instant with
them that they should prevail with the noble son of Peleus.

They went their way by the shore of the sounding sea, and prayed
earnestly to earth-encircling Neptune that the high spirit of the son
of Aeacus might incline favourably towards them. When they reached the
ships and tents of the Myrmidons, they found Achilles playing on a
lyre, fair, of cunning workmanship, and its cross-bar was of silver. It
was part of the spoils which he had taken when he sacked the city of
Eetion, and he was now diverting himself with it and singing the feats
of heroes. He was alone with Patroclus, who sat opposite to him and
said nothing, waiting till he should cease singing. Ulysses and Ajax
now came in--Ulysses leading the way--and stood before him. Achilles
sprang from his seat with the lyre still in his hand, and Patroclus,
when he saw the strangers, rose also. Achilles then greeted them
saying, "All hail and welcome--you must come upon some great matter,
you, who for all my anger are still dearest to me of the Achaeans."

With this he led them forward, and bade them sit on seats covered with
purple rugs; then he said to Patroclus who was close by him, "Son of
Menoetius, set a larger bowl upon the table, mix less water with the
wine, and give every man his cup, for these are very dear friends, who
are now under my roof."

Patroclus did as his comrade bade him; he set the chopping-block in
front of the fire, and on it he laid the loin of a sheep, the loin also
of a goat, and the chine of a fat hog. Automedon held the meat while
Achilles chopped it; he then sliced the pieces and put them on spits
while the son of Menoetius made the fire burn high. When the flame had
died down, he spread the embers, laid the spits on top of them, lifting
them up and setting them upon the spit-racks; and he sprinkled them
with salt. When the meat was roasted, he set it on platters, and handed
bread round the table in fair baskets, while Achilles dealt them their
portions. Then Achilles took his seat facing Ulysses against the
opposite wall, and bade his comrade Patroclus offer sacrifice to the
gods; so he cast the offerings into the fire, and they laid their hands
upon the good things that were before them. As soon as they had had
enough to eat and drink, Ajax made a sign to Phoenix, and when he saw
this, Ulysses filled his cup with wine and pledged Achilles.

"Hail," said he, "Achilles, we have had no scant of good cheer, neither
in the tent of Agamemnon, nor yet here; there has been plenty to eat
and drink, but our thought turns upon no such matter. Sir, we are in
the face of great disaster, and without your help know not whether we
shall save our fleet or lose it. The Trojans and their allies have
camped hard by our ships and by the wall; they have lit watchfires
throughout their host and deem that nothing can now prevent them from
falling on our fleet. Jove, moreover, has sent his lightnings on their
right; Hector, in all his glory, rages like a maniac; confident that
Jove is with him he fears neither god nor man, but is gone raving mad,
and prays for the approach of day. He vows that he will hew the high
sterns of our ships in pieces, set fire to their hulls, and make havoc
of the Achaeans while they are dazed and smothered in smoke; I much
fear that heaven will make good his boasting, and it will prove our lot
to perish at Troy far from our home in Argos. Up, then, and late though
it be, save the sons of the Achaeans who faint before the fury of the
Trojans. You will repent bitterly hereafter if you do not, for when the
harm is done there will be no curing it; consider ere it be too late,
and save the Danaans from destruction.

"My good friend, when your father Peleus sent you from Phthia to
Agamemnon, did he not charge you saying, 'Son, Minerva and Juno will
make you strong if they choose, but check your high temper, for the
better part is in goodwill. Eschew vain quarrelling, and the Achaeans
old and young will respect you more for doing so.' These were his
words, but you have forgotten them. Even now, however, be appeased, and
put away your anger from you. Agamemnon will make you great amends if
you will forgive him; listen, and I will tell you what he has said in
his tent that he will give you. He will give you seven tripods that
have never yet been on the fire, and ten talents of gold; twenty iron
cauldrons, and twelve strong horses that have won races and carried off
prizes. Rich indeed both in land and gold is he who has as many prizes
as these horses have won for Agamemnon. Moreover he will give you seven
excellent workwomen, Lesbians, whom he chose for himself, when you took
Lesbos--all of surpassing beauty. He will give you these, and with them
her whom he erewhile took from you, the daughter of Briseus, and he
will swear a great oath, he has never gone up into her couch nor been
with her after the manner of men and women. All these things will he
give you now down, and if hereafter the gods vouchsafe him to sack the
city of Priam, you can come when we Achaeans are dividing the spoil,
and load your ship with gold and bronze to your liking. You can take
twenty Trojan women, the loveliest after Helen herself. Then, when we
reach Achaean Argos, wealthiest of all lands, you shall be his
son-in-law, and he will show you like honour with his own dear son
Orestes, who is being nurtured in all abundance. Agamemnon has three
daughters, Chrysothemis, Laodice, and Iphianassa; you may take the one
of your choice, freely and without gifts of wooing, to the house of
Peleus; he will add such dower to boot as no man ever yet gave his
daughter, and will give you seven well-established cities, Cardamyle,
Enope, and Hire where there is grass; holy Pheras and the rich meadows
of Anthea; Aepea also, and the vine-clad slopes of Pedasus, all near
the sea, and on the borders of sandy Pylos. The men that dwell there
are rich in cattle and sheep; they will honour you with gifts as though
were a god, and be obedient to your comfortable ordinances. All this
will he do if you will now forgo your anger. Moreover, though you hate
both him and his gifts with all your heart, yet pity the rest of the
Achaeans who are being harassed in all their host; they will honour you
as a god, and you will earn great glory at their hands. You might even
kill Hector; he will come within your reach, for he is infatuated, and
declares that not a Danaan whom the ships have brought can hold his own
against him."

Achilles answered, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, I should give you
formal notice plainly and in all fixity of purpose that there be no
more of this cajoling, from whatsoever quarter it may come. Him do I
hate even as the gates of hell who says one thing while he hides
another in his heart; therefore I will say what I mean. I will be
appeased neither by Agamemnon son of Atreus nor by any other of the
Danaans, for I see that I have no thanks for all my fighting. He that
fights fares no better than he that does not; coward and hero are held
in equal honour, and death deals like measure to him who works and him
who is idle. I have taken nothing by all my hardships--with my life
ever in my hand; as a bird when she has found a morsel takes it to her
nestlings, and herself fares hardly, even so many a long night have I
been wakeful, and many a bloody battle have I waged by day against
those who were fighting for their women. With my ships I have taken
twelve cities, and eleven round about Troy have I stormed with my men
by land; I took great store of wealth from every one of them, but I
gave all up to Agamemnon son of Atreus. He stayed where he was by his
ships, yet of what came to him he gave little, and kept much himself.

"Nevertheless he did distribute some meeds of honour among the
chieftains and kings, and these have them still; from me alone of the
Achaeans did he take the woman in whom I delighted--let him keep her
and sleep with her. Why, pray, must the Argives needs fight the
Trojans? What made the son of Atreus gather the host and bring them?
Was it not for the sake of Helen? Are the sons of Atreus the only men
in the world who love their wives? Any man of common right feeling will
love and cherish her who is his own, as I this woman, with my whole
heart, though she was but a fruitling of my spear. Agamemnon has taken
her from me; he has played me false; I know him; let him tempt me no
further, for he shall not move me. Let him look to you, Ulysses, and to
the other princes to save his ships from burning. He has done much
without me already. He has built a wall; he has dug a trench deep and
wide all round it, and he has planted it within with stakes; but even
so he stays not the murderous might of Hector. So long as I fought the
Achaeans Hector suffered not the battle range far from the city walls;
he would come to the Scaean gates and to the oak tree, but no further.
Once he stayed to meet me and hardly did he escape my onset: now,
however, since I am in no mood to fight him, I will to-morrow offer
sacrifice to Jove and to all the gods; I will draw my ships into the
water and then victual them duly; to-morrow morning, if you care to
look, you will see my ships on the Hellespont, and my men rowing out to
sea with might and main. If great Neptune vouchsafes me a fair passage,
in three days I shall be in Phthia. I have much there that I left
behind me when I came here to my sorrow, and I shall bring back still
further store of gold, of red copper, of fair women, and of iron, my
share of the spoils that we have taken; but one prize, he who gave has
insolently taken away. Tell him all as I now bid you, and tell him in
public that the Achaeans may hate him and beware of him should he think
that he can yet dupe others for his effrontery never fails him.

"As for me, hound that he is, he dares not look me in the face. I will
take no counsel with him, and will undertake nothing in common with
him. He has wronged me and deceived me enough, he shall not cozen me
further; let him go his own way, for Jove has robbed him of his reason.
I loathe his presents, and for himself care not one straw. He may offer
me ten or even twenty times what he has now done, nay--not though it be
all that he has in the world, both now or ever shall have; he may
promise me the wealth of Orchomenus or of Egyptian Thebes, which is the
richest city in the whole world, for it has a hundred gates through
each of which two hundred men may drive at once with their chariots and
horses; he may offer me gifts as the sands of the sea or the dust of
the plain in multitude, but even so he shall not move me till I have
been revenged in full for the bitter wrong he has done me. I will not
marry his daughter; she may be fair as Venus, and skilful as Minerva,
but I will have none of her: let another take her, who may be a good
match for her and who rules a larger kingdom. If the gods spare me to
return home, Peleus will find me a wife; there are Achaean women in
Hellas and Phthia, daughters of kings that have cities under them; of
these I can take whom I will and marry her. Many a time was I minded
when at home in Phthia to woo and wed a woman who would make me a
suitable wife, and to enjoy the riches of my old father Peleus. My life
is more to me than all the wealth of Ilius while it was yet at peace
before the Achaeans went there, or than all the treasure that lies on
the stone floor of Apollo's temple beneath the cliffs of Pytho. Cattle
and sheep are to be had for harrying, and a man buy both tripods and
horses if he wants them, but when his life has once left him it can
neither be bought nor harried back again.

"My mother Thetis tells me that there are two ways in which I may meet
my end. If I stay here and fight, I shall not return alive but my name
will live for ever: whereas if I go home my name will die, but it will
be long ere death shall take me. To the rest of you, then, I say, 'Go
home, for you will not take Ilius.' Jove has held his hand over her to
protect her, and her people have taken heart. Go, therefore, as in duty
bound, and tell the princes of the Achaeans the message that I have
sent them; tell them to find some other plan for the saving of their
ships and people, for so long as my displeasure lasts the one that they
have now hit upon may not be. As for Phoenix, let him sleep here that
he may sail with me in the morning if he so will. But I will not take
him by force."

They all held their peace, dismayed at the sternness with which he had
denied them, till presently the old knight Phoenix in his great fear
for the ships of the Achaeans, burst into tears and said, "Noble
Achilles, if you are now minded to return, and in the fierceness of
your anger will do nothing to save the ships from burning, how, my son,
can I remain here without you? Your father Peleus bade me go with you
when he sent you as a mere lad from Phthia to Agamemnon. You knew
nothing neither of war nor of the arts whereby men make their mark in
council, and he sent me with you to train you in all excellence of
speech and action. Therefore, my son, I will not stay here without
you--no, not though heaven itself vouchsafe to strip my years from off
me, and make me young as I was when I first left Hellas the land of
fair women. I was then flying the anger of father Amyntor, son of
Ormenus, who was furious with me in the matter of his concubine, of
whom he was enamoured to the wronging of his wife my mother. My mother,
therefore, prayed me without ceasing to lie with the woman myself, that
so she hate my father, and in the course of time I yielded. But my
father soon came to know, and cursed me bitterly, calling the dread
Erinyes to witness. He prayed that no son of mine might ever sit upon
knees--and the gods, Jove of the world below and awful Proserpine,
fulfilled his curse. I took counsel to kill him, but some god stayed my
rashness and bade me think on men's evil tongues and how I should be
branded as the murderer of my father; nevertheless I could not bear to
stay in my father's house with him so bitter a against me. My cousins
and clansmen came about me, and pressed me sorely to remain; many a
sheep and many an ox did they slaughter, and many a fat hog did they
set down to roast before the fire; many a jar, too, did they broach of
my father's wine. Nine whole nights did they set a guard over me taking
it in turns to watch, and they kept a fire always burning, both in the
cloister of the outer court and in the inner court at the doors of the
room wherein I lay; but when the darkness of the tenth night came, I
broke through the closed doors of my room, and climbed the wall of the
outer court after passing quickly and unperceived through the men on
guard and the women servants. I then fled through Hellas till I came to
fertile Phthia, mother of sheep, and to King Peleus, who made me
welcome and treated me as a father treats an only son who will be heir
to all his wealth. He made me rich and set me over much people,
establishing me on the borders of Phthia where I was chief ruler over
the Dolopians.

"It was I, Achilles, who had the making of you; I loved you with all my
heart: for you would eat neither at home nor when you had gone out
elsewhere, till I had first set you upon my knees, cut up the dainty
morsel that you were to eat, and held the wine-cup to your lips. Many a
time have you slobbered your wine in baby helplessness over my shirt; I
had infinite trouble with you, but I knew that heaven had vouchsafed me
no offspring of my own, and I made a son of you, Achilles, that in my
hour of need you might protect me. Now, therefore, I say battle with
your pride and beat it; cherish not your anger for ever; the might and
majesty of heaven are more than ours, but even heaven may be appeased;
and if a man has sinned he prays the gods, and reconciles them to
himself by his piteous cries and by frankincense, with drink-offerings
and the savour of burnt sacrifice. For prayers are as daughters to
great Jove; halt, wrinkled, with eyes askance, they follow in the
footsteps of sin, who, being fierce and fleet of foot, leaves them far
behind him, and ever baneful to mankind outstrips them even to the ends
of the world; but nevertheless the prayers come hobbling and healing
after. If a man has pity upon these daughters of Jove when they draw
near him, they will bless him and hear him too when he is praying; but
if he deny them and will not listen to them, they go to Jove the son of
Saturn and pray that he may presently fall into sin--to his ruing
bitterly hereafter. Therefore, Achilles, give these daughters of Jove
due reverence, and bow before them as all good men will bow. Were not
the son of Atreus offering you gifts and promising others later--if he
were still furious and implacable--I am not he that would bid you throw
off your anger and help the Achaeans, no matter how great their need;
but he is giving much now, and more hereafter; he has sent his captains
to urge his suit, and has chosen those who of all the Argives are most
acceptable to you; make not then their words and their coming to be of
none effect. Your anger has been righteous so far. We have heard in
song how heroes of old time quarrelled when they were roused to fury,
but still they could be won by gifts, and fair words could soothe them.

"I have an old story in my mind--a very old one--but you are all
friends and I will tell it. The Curetes and the Aetolians were fighting
and killing one another round Calydon--the Aetolians defending the city
and the Curetes trying to destroy it. For Diana of the golden throne
was angry and did them hurt because Oeneus had not offered her his
harvest first-fruits. The other gods had all been feasted with
hecatombs, but to the daughter of great Jove alone he had made no
sacrifice. He had forgotten her, or somehow or other it had escaped
him, and this was a grievous sin. Thereon the archer goddess in her
displeasure sent a prodigious creature against him--a savage wild boar
with great white tusks that did much harm to his orchard lands,
uprooting apple-trees in full bloom and throwing them to the ground.
But Meleager son of Oeneus got huntsmen and hounds from many cities and
killed it--for it was so monstrous that not a few were needed, and many
a man did it stretch upon his funeral pyre. On this the goddess set the
Curetes and the Aetolians fighting furiously about the head and skin of
the boar.

"So long as Meleager was in the field things went badly with the
Curetes, and for all their numbers they could not hold their ground
under the city walls; but in the course of time Meleager was angered as
even a wise man will sometimes be. He was incensed with his mother
Althaea, and therefore stayed at home with his wedded wife fair
Cleopatra, who was daughter of Marpessa daughter of Euenus, and of Ides
the man then living. He it was who took his bow and faced King Apollo
himself for fair Marpessa's sake; her father and mother then named her
Alcyone, because her mother had mourned with the plaintive strains of
the halcyon-bird when Phoebus Apollo had carried her off. Meleager,
then, stayed at home with Cleopatra, nursing the anger which he felt by
reason of his mother's curses. His mother, grieving for the death of
her brother, prayed the gods, and beat the earth with her hands,
calling upon Hades and on awful Proserpine; she went down upon her
knees and her bosom was wet with tears as she prayed that they would
kill her son--and Erinys that walks in darkness and knows no ruth heard
her from Erebus.

"Then was heard the din of battle about the gates of Calydon, and the
dull thump of the battering against their walls. Thereon the elders of
the Aetolians besought Meleager; they sent the chiefest of their
priests, and begged him to come out and help them, promising him a
great reward. They bade him choose fifty plough-gates, the most fertile
in the plain of Calydon, the one-half vineyard and the other open
plough-land. The old warrior Oeneus implored him, standing at the
threshold of his room and beating the doors in supplication. His
sisters and his mother herself besought him sore, but he the more
refused them; those of his comrades who were nearest and dearest to him
also prayed him, but they could not move him till the foe was battering
at the very doors of his chamber, and the Curetes had scaled the walls
and were setting fire to the city. Then at last his sorrowing wife
detailed the horrors that befall those whose city is taken; she
reminded him how the men are slain, and the city is given over to the
flames, while the women and children are carried into captivity; when
he heard all this, his heart was touched, and he donned his armour to
go forth. Thus of his own inward motion he saved the city of the
Aetolians; but they now gave him nothing of those rich rewards that
they had offered earlier, and though he saved the city he took nothing
by it. Be not then, my son, thus minded; let not heaven lure you into
any such course. When the ships are burning it will be a harder matter
to save them. Take the gifts, and go, for the Achaeans will then honour
you as a god; whereas if you fight without taking them, you may beat
the battle back, but you will not be held in like honour."

And Achilles answered, "Phoenix, old friend and father, I have no need
of such honour. I have honour from Jove himself, which will abide with
me at my ships while I have breath in my body, and my limbs are strong.
I say further--and lay my saying to your heart--vex me no more with
this weeping and lamentation, all in the cause of the son of Atreus.
Love him so well, and you may lose the love I bear you. You ought to
help me rather in troubling those that trouble me; be king as much as I
am, and share like honour with myself; the others shall take my answer;
stay here yourself and sleep comfortably in your bed; at daybreak we
will consider whether to remain or go."

On this he nodded quietly to Patroclus as a sign that he was to prepare
a bed for Phoenix, and that the others should take their leave. Ajax
son of Telamon then said, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, let us be
gone, for I see that our journey is vain. We must now take our answer,
unwelcome though it be, to the Danaans who are waiting to receive it.
Achilles is savage and remorseless; he is cruel, and cares nothing for
the love his comrades lavished upon him more than on all the others. He
is implacable--and yet if a man's brother or son has been slain he will
accept a fine by way of amends from him that killed him, and the
wrong-doer having paid in full remains in peace among his own people;
but as for you, Achilles, the gods have put a wicked unforgiving spirit
in your heart, and this, all about one single girl, whereas we now
offer you the seven best we have, and much else into the bargain. Be
then of a more gracious mind, respect the hospitality of your own roof.
We are with you as messengers from the host of the Danaans, and would
fain he held nearest and dearest to yourself of all the Achaeans."

"Ajax," replied Achilles, "noble son of Telamon, you have spoken much
to my liking, but my blood boils when I think it all over, and remember
how the son of Atreus treated me with contumely as though I were some
vile tramp, and that too in the presence of the Argives. Go, then, and
deliver your message; say that I will have no concern with fighting
till Hector, son of noble Priam, reaches the tents of the Myrmidons in
his murderous course, and flings fire upon their ships. For all his
lust of battle, I take it he will be held in check when he is at my own
tent and ship."

On this they took every man his double cup, made their drink-offerings,
and went back to the ships, Ulysses leading the way. But Patroclus told
his men and the maid-servants to make ready a comfortable bed for
Phoenix; they therefore did so with sheepskins, a rug, and a sheet of
fine linen. The old man then laid himself down and waited till morning
came. But Achilles slept in an inner room, and beside him the daughter
of Phorbas lovely Diomede, whom he had carried off from Lesbos.
Patroclus lay on the other side of the room, and with him fair Iphis
whom Achilles had given him when he took Scyros the city of Enyeus.

When the envoys reached the tents of the son of Atreus, the Achaeans
rose, pledged them in cups of gold, and began to question them. King
Agamemnon was the first to do so. "Tell me, Ulysses," said he, "will he
save the ships from burning, or did he refuse, and is he still furious?"

Ulysses answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon,
Achilles will not be calmed, but is more fiercely angry than ever, and
spurns both you and your gifts. He bids you take counsel with the
Achaeans to save the ships and host as you best may; as for himself, he
said that at daybreak he should draw his ships into the water. He said
further that he should advise every one to sail home likewise, for that
you will not reach the goal of Ilius. 'Jove,' he said, 'has laid his
hand over the city to protect it, and the people have taken heart.'
This is what he said, and the others who were with me can tell you the
same story--Ajax and the two heralds, men, both of them, who may be
trusted. The old man Phoenix stayed where he was to sleep, for so
Achilles would have it, that he might go home with him in the morning
if he so would; but he will not take him by force."

They all held their peace, sitting for a long time silent and dejected,
by reason of the sternness with which Achilles had refused them, till
presently Diomed said, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men,
Agamemnon, you ought not to have sued the son of Peleus nor offered him
gifts. He is proud enough as it is, and you have encouraged him in his
pride still further. Let him stay or go as he will. He will fight later
when he is in the humour, and heaven puts it in his mind to do so. Now,
therefore, let us all do as I say; we have eaten and drunk our fill,
let us then take our rest, for in rest there is both strength and stay.
But when fair rosy-fingered morn appears, forthwith bring out your host
and your horsemen in front of the ships, urging them on, and yourself
fighting among the foremost."

Thus he spoke, and the other chieftains approved his words. They then
made their drink-offerings and went every man to his own tent, where
they laid down to rest and enjoyed the boon of sleep.


Ulysses and Diomed go out as spies, and meet Dolon, who gives
them information: they then kill him, and profiting by what
he had told them, kill Rhesus king of the Thracians and take
his horses.

NOW the other princes of the Achaeans slept soundly the whole night
through, but Agamemnon son of Atreus was troubled, so that he could get
no rest. As when fair Juno's lord flashes his lightning in token of
great rain or hail or snow when the snow-flakes whiten the ground, or
again as a sign that he will open the wide jaws of hungry war, even so
did Agamemnon heave many a heavy sigh, for his soul trembled within
him. When he looked upon the plain of Troy he marvelled at the many
watchfires burning in front of Ilius, and at the sound of pipes and
flutes and of the hum of men, but when presently he turned towards the
ships and hosts of the Achaeans, he tore his hair by handfuls before
Jove on high, and groaned aloud for the very disquietness of his soul.
In the end he deemed it best to go at once to Nestor son of Neleus, and
see if between them they could find any way of the Achaeans from
destruction. He therefore rose, put on his shirt, bound his sandals
about his comely feet, flung the skin of a huge tawny lion over his
shoulders--a skin that reached his feet--and took his spear in his hand.

Neither could Menelaus sleep, for he, too, boded ill for the Argives
who for his sake had sailed from far over the seas to fight the
Trojans. He covered his broad back with the skin of a spotted panther,
put a casque of bronze upon his head, and took his spear in his brawny
hand. Then he went to rouse his brother, who was by far the most
powerful of the Achaeans, and was honoured by the people as though he
were a god. He found him by the stern of his ship already putting his
goodly array about his shoulders, and right glad was he that his
brother had come.

Menelaus spoke first. "Why," said he, "my dear brother, are you thus
arming? Are you going to send any of our comrades to exploit the
Trojans? I greatly fear that no one will do you this service, and spy
upon the enemy alone in the dead of night. It will be a deed of great

And King Agamemnon answered, "Menelaus, we both of us need shrewd
counsel to save the Argives and our ships, for Jove has changed his
mind, and inclines towards Hector's sacrifices rather than ours. I
never saw nor heard tell of any man as having wrought such ruin in one
day as Hector has now wrought against the sons of the Achaeans--and
that too of his own unaided self, for he is son neither to god nor
goddess. The Argives will rue it long and deeply. Run, therefore, with
all speed by the line of the ships, and call Ajax and Idomeneus.
Meanwhile I will go to Nestor, and bid him rise and go about among the
companies of our sentinels to give them their instructions; they will
listen to him sooner than to any man, for his own son, and Meriones
brother in arms to Idomeneus, are captains over them. It was to them
more particularly that we gave this charge."

Menelaus replied, "How do I take your meaning? Am I to stay with them
and wait your coming, or shall I return here as soon as I have given
your orders?" "Wait," answered King Agamemnon, "for there are so many
paths about the camp that we might miss one another. Call every man on
your way, and bid him be stirring; name him by his lineage and by his
father's name, give each all titular observance, and stand not too much
upon your own dignity; we must take our full share of toil, for at our
birth Jove laid this heavy burden upon us."

With these instructions he sent his brother on his way, and went on to
Nestor shepherd of his people. He found him sleeping in his tent hard
by his own ship; his goodly armour lay beside him--his shield, his two
spears and his helmet; beside him also lay the gleaming girdle with
which the old man girded himself when he armed to lead his people into
battle--for his age stayed him not. He raised himself on his elbow and
looked up at Agamemnon. "Who is it," said he, "that goes thus about the
host and the ships alone and in the dead of night, when men are
sleeping? Are you looking for one of your mules or for some comrade? Do
not stand there and say nothing, but speak. What is your business?"

And Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, son of Neleus, honour to the Achaean
name, it is I, Agamemnon son of Atreus, on whom Jove has laid labour
and sorrow so long as there is breath in my body and my limbs carry me.
I am thus abroad because sleep sits not upon my eyelids, but my heart
is big with war and with the jeopardy of the Achaeans. I am in great
fear for the Danaans. I am at sea, and without sure counsel; my heart
beats as though it would leap out of my body, and my limbs fail me. If
then you can do anything--for you too cannot sleep--let us go the round
of the watch, and see whether they are drowsy with toil and sleeping to
the neglect of their duty. The enemy is encamped hard and we know not
but he may attack us by night."

Nestor replied, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon, Jove
will not do all for Hector that Hector thinks he will; he will have
troubles yet in plenty if Achilles will lay aside his anger. I will go
with you, and we will rouse others, either the son of Tydeus, or
Ulysses, or fleet Ajax and the valiant son of Phyleus. Some one had
also better go and call Ajax and King Idomeneus, for their ships are
not near at hand but the farthest of all. I cannot however refrain from
blaming Menelaus, much as I love him and respect him--and I will say so
plainly, even at the risk of offending you--for sleeping and leaving
all this trouble to yourself. He ought to be going about imploring aid
from all the princes of the Achaeans, for we are in extreme danger."

And Agamemnon answered, "Sir, you may sometimes blame him justly, for
he is often remiss and unwilling to exert himself--not indeed from
sloth, nor yet heedlessness, but because he looks to me and expects me
to take the lead. On this occasion, however, he was awake before I was,
and came to me of his own accord. I have already sent him to call the
very men whom you have named. And now let us be going. We shall find
them with the watch outside the gates, for it was there I said that we
would meet them."

"In that case," answered Nestor, "the Argives will not blame him nor
disobey his orders when he urges them to fight or gives them

With this he put on his shirt, and bound his sandals about his comely
feet. He buckled on his purple coat, of two thicknesses, large, and of
a rough shaggy texture, grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod spear, and
wended his way along the line of the Achaean ships. First he called
loudly to Ulysses peer of gods in counsel and woke him, for he was soon
roused by the sound of the battle-cry. He came outside his tent and
said, "Why do you go thus alone about the host, and along the line of
the ships in the stillness of the night? What is it that you find so
urgent?" And Nestor knight of Gerene answered, "Ulysses, noble son of
Laertes, take it not amiss, for the Achaeans are in great straits. Come
with me and let us wake some other, who may advise well with us whether
we shall fight or fly."

On this Ulysses went at once into his tent, put his shield about his
shoulders and came out with them. First they went to Diomed son of
Tydeus, and found him outside his tent clad in his armour with his
comrades sleeping round him and using their shields as pillows; as for
their spears, they stood upright on the spikes of their butts that were
driven into the ground, and the burnished bronze flashed afar like the
lightning of father Jove. The hero was sleeping upon the skin of an ox,
with a piece of fine carpet under his head; Nestor went up to him and
stirred him with his heel to rouse him, upbraiding him and urging him
to bestir himself. "Wake up," he exclaimed, "son of Tydeus. How can you
sleep on in this way? Can you not see that the Trojans are encamped on
the brow of the plain hard by our ships, with but a little space
between us and them?"

On these words Diomed leaped up instantly and said, "Old man, your
heart is of iron; you rest not one moment from your labours. Are there
no younger men among the Achaeans who could go about to rouse the
princes? There is no tiring you."

And Nestor knight of Gerene made answer, "My son, all that you have
said is true. I have good sons, and also much people who might call the
chieftains, but the Achaeans are in the gravest danger; life and death
are balanced as it were on the edge of a razor. Go then, for you are
younger than I, and of your courtesy rouse Ajax and the fleet son of

Diomed threw the skin of a great tawny lion about his shoulders--a skin
that reached his feet--and grasped his spear. When he had roused the
heroes, he brought them back with him; they then went the round of
those who were on guard, and found the captains not sleeping at their
posts but wakeful and sitting with their arms about them. As sheep dogs
that watch their flocks when they are yarded, and hear a wild beast
coming through the mountain forest towards them--forthwith there is a
hue and cry of dogs and men, and slumber is broken--even so was sleep
chased from the eyes of the Achaeans as they kept the watches of the
wicked night, for they turned constantly towards the plain whenever
they heard any stir among the Trojans. The old man was glad and bade
them be of good cheer. "Watch on, my children," said he, "and let not
sleep get hold upon you, lest our enemies triumph over us."

With this he passed the trench, and with him the other chiefs of the
Achaeans who had been called to the council. Meriones and the brave son
of Nestor went also, for the princes bade them. When they were beyond
the trench that was dug round the wall they held their meeting on the
open ground where there was a space clear of corpses, for it was here
that when night fell Hector had turned back from his onslaught on the
Argives. They sat down, therefore, and held debate with one another.

Nestor spoke first. "My friends," said he, "is there any man bold
enough to venture among the Trojans, and cut off some straggler, or
bring us news of what the enemy mean to do whether they will stay here
by the ships away from the city, or whether, now that they have worsted
the Achaeans, they will retire within their walls. If he could learn
all this and come back safely here, his fame would be high as heaven in
the mouths of all men, and he would be rewarded richly; for the chiefs
from all our ships would each of them give him a black ewe with her
lamb--which is a present of surpassing value--and he would be asked as
a guest to all feasts and clan-gatherings."

They all held their peace, but Diomed of the loud war-cry spoke saying,
"Nestor, gladly will I visit the host of the Trojans over against us,
but if another will go with me I shall do so in greater confidence and
comfort. When two men are together, one of them may see some
opportunity which the other has not caught sight of; if a man is alone
he is less full of resource, and his wit is weaker."

On this several offered to go with Diomed. The two Ajaxes, servants of
Mars, Meriones, and the son of Nestor all wanted to go, so did Menelaus
son of Atreus; Ulysses also wished to go among the host of the Trojans,
for he was ever full of daring, and thereon Agamemnon king of men spoke
thus: "Diomed," said he, "son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, choose
your comrade for yourself--take the best man of those that have
offered, for many would now go with you. Do not through delicacy reject
the better man, and take the worst out of respect for his lineage,
because he is of more royal blood."

He said this because he feared for Menelaus. Diomed answered, "If you
bid me take the man of my own choice, how in that case can I fail to
think of Ulysses, than whom there is no man more eager to face all
kinds of danger--and Pallas Minerva loves him well? If he were to go
with me we should pass safely through fire itself, for he is quick to
see and understand."

"Son of Tydeus," replied Ulysses, "say neither good nor ill about me,
for you are among Argives who know me well. Let us be going, for the
night wanes and dawn is at hand. The stars have gone forward,
two-thirds of the night are already spent, and the third is alone left

They then put on their armour. Brave Thrasymedes provided the son of
Tydeus with a sword and a shield (for he had left his own at his ship)
and on his head he set a helmet of bull's hide without either peak or
crest; it is called a skull-cap and is a common headgear. Meriones
found a bow and quiver for Ulysses, and on his head he set a leathern
helmet that was lined with a strong plaiting of leathern thongs, while
on the outside it was thickly studded with boar's teeth, well and
skilfully set into it; next the head there was an inner lining of felt.
This helmet had been stolen by Autolycus out of Eleon when he broke
into the house of Amyntor son of Ormenus. He gave it to Amphidamas of
Cythera to take to Scandea, and Amphidamas gave it as a guest-gift to
Molus, who gave it to his son Meriones; and now it was set upon the
head of Ulysses.

When the pair had armed, they set out, and left the other chieftains
behind them. Pallas Minerva sent them a heron by the wayside upon their
right hands; they could not see it for the darkness, but they heard its
cry. Ulysses was glad when he heard it and prayed to Minerva: "Hear
me," he cried, "daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, you who spy out all my
ways and who are with me in all my hardships; befriend me in this mine
hour, and grant that we may return to the ships covered with glory
after having achieved some mighty exploit that shall bring sorrow to
the Trojans."

Then Diomed of the loud war-cry also prayed: "Hear me too," said he,
"daughter of Jove, unweariable; be with me even as you were with my
noble father Tydeus when he went to Thebes as envoy sent by the
Achaeans. He left the Achaeans by the banks of the river Aesopus, and
went to the city bearing a message of peace to the Cadmeians; on his
return thence, with your help, goddess, he did great deeds of daring,
for you were his ready helper. Even so guide me and guard me now, and
in return I will offer you in sacrifice a broad-browed heifer of a year
old, unbroken, and never yet brought by man under the yoke. I will gild
her horns and will offer her up to you in sacrifice."

Thus they prayed, and Pallas Minerva heard their prayer. When they had
done praying to the daughter of great Jove, they went their way like
two lions prowling by night amid the armour and blood-stained bodies of
them that had fallen.

Neither again did Hector let the Trojans sleep; for he too called the
princes and councillors of the Trojans that he might set his counsel
before them. "Is there one," said he, "who for a great reward will do
me the service of which I will tell you? He shall be well paid if he
will. I will give him a chariot and a couple of horses, the fleetest
that can be found at the ships of the Achaeans, if he will dare this
thing; and he will win infinite honour to boot; he must go to the ships
and find out whether they are still guarded as heretofore, or whether
now that we have beaten them the Achaeans design to fly, and through
sheer exhaustion are neglecting to keep their watches."

They all held their peace; but there was among the Trojans a certain
man named Dolon, son of Eumedes, the famous herald--a man rich in gold
and bronze. He was ill-favoured, but a good runner, and was an only son
among five sisters. He it was that now addressed the Trojans. "I,
Hector," said he, "Will to the ships and will exploit them. But first
hold up your sceptre and swear that you will give me the chariot,
bedight with bronze, and the horses that now carry the noble son of
Peleus. I will make you a good scout, and will not fail you. I will go
through the host from one end to the other till I come to the ship of
Agamemnon, where I take it the princes of the Achaeans are now
consulting whether they shall fight or fly."

When he had done speaking Hector held up his sceptre, and swore him his
oath saying, "May Jove the thundering husband of Juno bear witness that
no other Trojan but yourself shall mount those steeds, and that you
shall have your will with them for ever."

The oath he swore was bootless, but it made Dolon more keen on going.
He hung his bow over his shoulder, and as an overall he wore the skin
of a grey wolf, while on his head he set a cap of ferret skin. Then he
took a pointed javelin, and left the camp for the ships, but he was not
to return with any news for Hector. When he had left the horses and the
troops behind him, he made all speed on his way, but Ulysses perceived
his coming and said to Diomed, "Diomed, here is some one from the camp;
I am not sure whether he is a spy, or whether it is some thief who
would plunder the bodies of the dead; let him get a little past us, we
can then spring upon him and take him. If, however, he is too quick for
us, go after him with your spear and hem him in towards the ships away
from the Trojan camp, to prevent his getting back to the town."

With this they turned out of their way and lay down among the corpses.
Dolon suspected nothing and soon passed them, but when he had got about
as far as the distance by which a mule-plowed furrow exceeds one that
has been ploughed by oxen (for mules can plow fallow land quicker than
oxen) they ran after him, and when he heard their footsteps he stood
still, for he made sure they were friends from the Trojan camp come by
Hector's orders to bid him return; when, however, they were only a
spear's cast, or less, away from him, he saw that they were enemies as
fast as his legs could take him. The others gave chase at once, and as
a couple of well-trained hounds press forward after a doe or hare that
runs screaming in front of them, even so did the son of Tydeus and
Ulysses pursue Dolon and cut him off from his own people. But when he
had fled so far towards the ships that he would soon have fallen in
with the outposts, Minerva infused fresh strength into the son of
Tydeus for fear some other of the Achaeans might have the glory of
being first to hit him, and he might himself be only second; he
therefore sprang forward with his spear and said, "Stand, or I shall
throw my spear, and in that case I shall soon make an end of you."

He threw as he spoke, but missed his aim on purpose. The dart flew over
the man's right shoulder, and then stuck in the ground. He stood stock
still, trembling and in great fear; his teeth chattered, and he turned
pale with fear. The two came breathless up to him and seized his hands,
whereon he began to weep and said, "Take me alive; I will ransom
myself; we have great store of gold, bronze, and wrought iron, and from
this my father will satisfy you with a very large ransom, should he
hear of my being alive at the ships of the Achaeans."

"Fear not," replied Ulysses, "let no thought of death be in your mind;
but tell me, and tell me true, why are you thus going about alone in
the dead of night away from your camp and towards the ships, while
other men are sleeping? Is it to plunder the bodies of the slain, or
did Hector send you to spy out what was going on at the ships? Or did
you come here of your own mere notion?"

Dolon answered, his limbs trembling beneath him: "Hector, with his vain
flattering promises, lured me from my better judgement. He said he
would give me the horses of the noble son of Peleus and his
bronze-bedizened chariot; he bade me go through the darkness of the
flying night, get close to the enemy, and find out whether the ships
are still guarded as heretofore, or whether, now that we have beaten
them, the Achaeans design to fly, and through sheer exhaustion are
neglecting to keep their watches."

Ulysses smiled at him and answered, "You had indeed set your heart upon
a great reward, but the horses of the descendant of Aeacus are hardly
to be kept in hand or driven by any other mortal man than Achilles
himself, whose mother was an immortal. But tell me, and tell me true,
where did you leave Hector when you started? Where lies his armour and
his horses? How, too, are the watches and sleeping-ground of the
Trojans ordered? What are their plans? Will they stay here by the ships
and away from the city, or now that they have worsted the Achaeans,
will they retire within their walls?"

And Dolon answered, "I will tell you truly all. Hector and the other
councillors are now holding conference by the monument of great Ilus,
away from the general tumult; as for the guards about which you ask me,
there is no chosen watch to keep guard over the host. The Trojans have
their watchfires, for they are bound to have them; they, therefore, are
awake and keep each other to their duty as sentinels; but the allies
who have come from other places are asleep and leave it to the Trojans
to keep guard, for their wives and children are not here."

Ulysses then said, "Now tell me; are they sleeping among the Trojan
troops, or do they lie apart? Explain this that I may understand it."

"I will tell you truly all," replied Dolon. "To the seaward lie the
Carians, the Paeonian bowmen, the Leleges, the Cauconians, and the
noble Pelasgi. The Lysians and proud Mysians, with the Phrygians and
Meonians, have their place on the side towards Thymbra; but why ask
about all this? If you want to find your way into the host of the
Trojans, there are the Thracians, who have lately come here and lie
apart from the others at the far end of the camp; and they have Rhesus
son of Eioneus for their king. His horses are the finest and strongest
that I have ever seen, they are whiter than snow and fleeter than any
wind that blows. His chariot is bedight with silver and gold, and he
has brought his marvellous golden armour, of the rarest
workmanship--too splendid for any mortal man to carry, and meet only
for the gods. Now, therefore, take me to the ships or bind me securely
here, until you come back and have proved my words whether they be
false or true."

Diomed looked sternly at him and answered, "Think not, Dolon, for all
the good information you have given us, that you shall escape now you
are in our hands, for if we ransom you or let you go, you will come
some second time to the ships of the Achaeans either as a spy or as an
open enemy, but if I kill you and an end of you, you will give no more

On this Dolon would have caught him by the beard to beseech him
further, but Diomed struck him in the middle of his neck with his sword
and cut through both sinews so that his head fell rolling in the dust
while he was yet speaking. They took the ferret-skin cap from his head,
and also the wolf-skin, the bow, and his long spear. Ulysses hung them
up aloft in honour of Minerva the goddess of plunder, and prayed
saying, "Accept these, goddess, for we give them to you in preference
to all the gods in Olympus: therefore speed us still further towards
the horses and sleeping-ground of the Thracians."

With these words he took the spoils and set them upon a tamarisk tree,
and they marked the place by pulling up reeds and gathering boughs of
tamarisk that they might not miss it as they came back through the
flying hours of darkness. The two then went onwards amid the fallen
armour and the blood, and came presently to the company of Thracian
soldiers, who were sleeping, tired out with their day's toil; their
goodly armour was lying on the ground beside them all orderly in three
rows, and each man had his yoke of horses beside him. Rhesus was
sleeping in the middle, and hard by him his horses were made fast to
the topmost rim of his chariot. Ulysses from some way off saw him and
said, "This, Diomed, is the man, and these are the horses about which
Dolon whom we killed told us. Do your very utmost; dally not about your
armour, but loose the horses at once--or else kill the men yourself,
while I see to the horses."

Thereon Minerva put courage into the heart of Diomed, and he smote them
right and left. They made a hideous groaning as they were being hacked
about, and the earth was red with their blood. As a lion springs
furiously upon a flock of sheep or goats when he finds them without
their shepherd, so did the son of Tydeus set upon the Thracian soldiers
till he had killed twelve. As he killed them Ulysses came and drew them
aside by their feet one by one, that the horses might go forward freely
without being frightened as they passed over the dead bodies, for they
were not yet used to them. When the son of Tydeus came to the king, he
killed him too (which made thirteen), as he was breathing hard, for by
the counsel of Minerva an evil dream, the seed of Oeneus, hovered that
night over his head. Meanwhile Ulysses untied the horses, made them
fast one to another and drove them off, striking them with his bow, for
he had forgotten to take the whip from the chariot. Then he whistled as
a sign to Diomed.

But Diomed stayed where he was, thinking what other daring deed he
might accomplish. He was doubting whether to take the chariot in which
the king's armour was lying, and draw it out by the pole, or to lift
the armour out and carry it off; or whether again, he should not kill
some more Thracians. While he was thus hesitating Minerva came up to
him and said, "Get back, Diomed, to the ships or you may be driven
thither, should some other god rouse the Trojans."

Diomed knew that it was the goddess, and at once sprang upon the
horses. Ulysses beat them with his bow and they flew onward to the
ships of the Achaeans.

But Apollo kept no blind look-out when he saw Minerva with the son of
Tydeus. He was angry with her, and coming to the host of the Trojans he
roused Hippocoon, a counsellor of the Thracians and a noble kinsman of
Rhesus. He started up out of his sleep and saw that the horses were no
longer in their place, and that the men were gasping in their
death-agony; on this he groaned aloud, and called upon his friend by
name. Then the whole Trojan camp was in an uproar as the people kept
hurrying together, and they marvelled at the deeds of the heroes who
had now got away towards the ships.

When they reached the place where they had killed Hector's scout,
Ulysses stayed his horses, and the son of Tydeus, leaping to the
ground, placed the blood-stained spoils in the hands of Ulysses and
remounted: then he lashed the horses onwards, and they flew forward
nothing loth towards the ships as though of their own free will. Nestor
was first to hear the tramp of their feet. "My friends," said he,
"princes and counsellors of the Argives, shall I guess right or
wrong?--but I must say what I think: there is a sound in my ears as of
the tramp of horses. I hope it may be Diomed and Ulysses driving in
horses from the Trojans, but I much fear that the bravest of the
Argives may have come to some harm at their hands."

He had hardly done speaking when the two men came in and dismounted,
whereon the others shook hands right gladly with them and congratulated
them. Nestor knight of Gerene was first to question them. "Tell me,"
said he, "renowned Ulysses, how did you two come by these horses? Did
you steal in among the Trojan forces, or did some god meet you and give
them to you? They are like sunbeams. I am well conversant with the
Trojans, for old warrior though I am I never hold back by the ships,
but I never yet saw or heard of such horses as these are. Surely some
god must have met you and given them to you, for you are both of you
dear to Jove, and to Jove's daughter Minerva."

And Ulysses answered, "Nestor son of Neleus, honour to the Achaean
name, heaven, if it so will, can give us even better horses than these,
for the gods are far mightier than we are. These horses, however, about
which you ask me, are freshly come from Thrace. Diomed killed their
king with the twelve bravest of his companions. Hard by the ships we
took a thirteenth man--a scout whom Hector and the other Trojans had
sent as a spy upon our ships."

He laughed as he spoke and drove the horses over the ditch, while the
other Achaeans followed him gladly. When they reached the strongly
built quarters of the son of Tydeus, they tied the horses with thongs
of leather to the manger, where the steeds of Diomed stood eating their
sweet corn, but Ulysses hung the blood-stained spoils of Dolon at the
stern of his ship, that they might prepare a sacred offering to
Minerva. As for themselves, they went into the sea and washed the sweat
from their bodies, and from their necks and thighs. When the sea-water
had taken all the sweat from off them, and had refreshed them, they
went into the baths and washed themselves. After they had so done and
had anointed themselves with oil, they sat down to table, and drawing
from a full mixing-bowl, made a drink-offering of wine to Minerva.


In the forenoon the fight is equal, but Agamemnon turns the
fortune of the day towards the Achaeans until he gets
wounded and leaves the field--Hector then drives everything
before him till he is wounded by Diomed--Paris wounds
Diomed--Ulysses, Nestor, and Idomeneus perform prodigies
of valour--Machaon is wounded--Nestor drives him off in
his chariot--Achilles sees the pair driving towards the camp
and sends Patroclus to ask who it is that is wounded--This
is the beginning of evil for Patroclus--Nestor makes a long

AND now as Dawn rose from her couch beside Tithonus, harbinger of light
alike to mortals and immortals, Jove sent fierce Discord with the
ensign of war in her hands to the ships of the Achaeans. She took her
stand by the huge black hull of Ulysses' ship which was middlemost of
all, so that her voice might carry farthest on either side, on the one
hand towards the tents of Ajax son of Telamon, and on the other towards
those of Achilles--for these two heroes, well-assured of their own
strength, had valorously drawn up their ships at the two ends of the
line. There she took her stand, and raised a cry both loud and shrill
that filled the Achaeans with courage, giving them heart to fight
resolutely and with all their might, so that they had rather stay there
and do battle than go home in their ships.

The son of Atreus shouted aloud and bade the Argives gird themselves
for battle while he put on his armour. First he girded his goodly
greaves about his legs, making them fast with ankle-clasps of silver;
and about his chest he set the breastplate which Cinyras had once given
him as a guest-gift. It had been noised abroad as far as Cyprus that
the Achaeans were about to sail for Troy, and therefore he gave it to
the king. It had ten courses of dark cyanus, twelve of gold, and ten of
tin. There were serpents of cyanus that reared themselves up towards
the neck, three upon either side, like the rainbows which the son of
Saturn has set in heaven as a sign to mortal men. About his shoulders
he threw his sword, studded with bosses of gold; and the scabbard was
of silver with a chain of gold wherewith to hang it. He took moreover
the richly-dight shield that covered his body when he was in
battle--fair to see, with ten circles of bronze running all round it.
On the body of the shield there were twenty bosses of white tin, with
another of dark cyanus in the middle: this last was made to show a
Gorgon's head, fierce and grim, with Rout and Panic on either side. The
band for the arm to go through was of silver, on which there was a
writhing snake of cyanus with three heads that sprang from a single
neck, and went in and out among one another. On his head Agamemnon set
a helmet, with a peak before and behind, and four plumes of horse-hair
that nodded menacingly above it; then he grasped two redoubtable
bronze-shod spears, and the gleam of his armour shot from him as a
flame into the firmament, while Juno and Minerva thundered in honour of
the king of rich Mycene.

Every man now left his horses in charge of his charioteer to hold them
in readiness by the trench, while he went into battle on foot clad in
full armour, and a mighty uproar rose on high into the dawning. The
chiefs were armed and at the trench before the horses got there, but
these came up presently. The son of Saturn sent a portent of evil sound
about their host, and the dew fell red with blood, for he was about to
send many a brave man hurrying down to Hades.

The Trojans, on the other side upon the rising slope of the plain, were
gathered round great Hector, noble Polydamas, Aeneas who was honoured
by the Trojans like an immortal, and the three sons of Antenor,
Polybus, Agenor, and young Acamas beauteous as a god. Hector's round
shield showed in the front rank, and as some baneful star that shines
for a moment through a rent in the clouds and is again hidden beneath
them; even so was Hector now seen in the front ranks and now again in
the hindermost, and his bronze armour gleamed like the lightning of
aegis-bearing Jove.

And now as a band of reapers mow swathes of wheat or barley upon a rich
man's land, and the sheaves fall thick before them, even so did the
Trojans and Achaeans fall upon one another; they were in no mood for
yielding but fought like wolves, and neither side got the better of the
other. Discord was glad as she beheld them, for she was the only god
that went among them; the others were not there, but stayed quietly
each in his own home among the dells and valleys of Olympus. All of
them blamed the son of Saturn for wanting to give victory to the
Trojans, but father Jove heeded them not: he held aloof from all, and
sat apart in his all-glorious majesty, looking down upon the city of
the Trojans, the ships of the Achaeans, the gleam of bronze, and alike
upon the slayers and on the slain.

Now so long as the day waxed and it was still morning, their darts
rained thick on one another and the people perished, but as the hour
drew nigh when a woodman working in some mountain forest will get his
midday meal--for he has felled till his hands are weary; he is tired
out, and must now have food--then the Danaans with a cry that rang
through all their ranks, broke the battalions of the enemy. Agamemnon
led them on, and slew first Bienor, a leader of his people, and
afterwards his comrade and charioteer Oileus, who sprang from his
chariot and was coming full towards him; but Agamemnon struck him on
the forehead with his spear; his bronze visor was of no avail against
the weapon, which pierced both bronze and bone, so that his brains were
battered in and he was killed in full fight.

Agamemnon stripped their shirts from off them and left them with their
breasts all bare to lie where they had fallen. He then went on to kill
Isus and Antiphus two sons of Priam, the one a bastard, the other born
in wedlock; they were in the same chariot--the bastard driving, while
noble Antiphus fought beside him. Achilles had once taken both of them
prisoners in the glades of Ida, and had bound them with fresh withes as
they were shepherding, but he had taken a ransom for them; now,
however, Agamemnon son of Atreus smote Isus in the chest above the
nipple with his spear, while he struck Antiphus hard by the ear and
threw him from his chariot. Forthwith he stripped their goodly armour
from off them and recognized them, for he had already seen them at
ships when Achilles brought them in from Ida. As a lion fastens on the
fawns of a hind and crushes them in his great jaws, robbing them of
their tender life while he on his way back to his lair--the hind can do
nothing for them even though she be close by, for she is in an agony of
fear, and flies through the thick forest, sweating, and at her utmost
speed before the mighty monster--so, no man of the Trojans could help
Isus and Antiphus, for they were themselves flying in panic before the

Then King Agamemnon took the two sons of Antimachus, Pisander and brave
Hippolochus. It was Antimachus who had been foremost in preventing
Helen's being restored to Menelaus, for he was largely bribed by
Alexandrus; and now Agamemnon took his two sons, both in the same
chariot, trying to bring their horses to a stand--for they had lost
hold of the reins and the horses were mad with fear. The son of Atreus
sprang upon them like a lion, and the pair besought him from their
chariot. "Take us alive," they cried, "son of Atreus, and you shall
receive a great ransom for us. Our father Antimachus has great store of
gold, bronze, and wrought iron, and from this he will satisfy you with
a very large ransom should he hear of our being alive at the ships of
the Achaeans."

With such piteous words and tears did they beseech the king, but they
heard no pitiful answer in return. "If," said Agamemnon, "you are sons
of Antimachus, who once at a council of Trojans proposed that Menelaus
and Ulysses, who had come to you as envoys, should be killed and not
suffered to return, you shall now pay for the foul iniquity of your

As he spoke he felled Pisander from his chariot to the earth, smiting
him on the chest with his spear, so that he lay face uppermost upon the
ground. Hippolochus fled, but him too did Agamemnon smite; he cut off
his hands and his head--which he sent rolling in among the crowd as
though it were a ball. There he let them both lie, and wherever the
ranks were thickest thither he flew, while the other Achaeans followed.
Foot soldiers drove the foot soldiers of the foe in rout before them,
and slew them; horsemen did the like by horsemen, and the thundering
tramp of the horses raised a cloud of dust from off the plain. King
Agamemnon followed after, ever slaying them and cheering on the
Achaeans. As when some mighty forest is all ablaze--the eddying gusts
whirl fire in all directions till the thickets shrivel and are consumed
before the blast of the flame--even so fell the heads of the flying
Trojans before Agamemnon son of Atreus, and many a noble pair of steeds
drew an empty chariot along the highways of war, for lack of drivers
who were lying on the plain, more useful now to vultures than to their

Jove drew Hector away from the darts and dust, with the carnage and din
of battle; but the son of Atreus sped onwards, calling out lustily to
the Danaans. They flew on by the tomb of old Ilus, son of Dardanus, in
the middle of the plain, and past the place of the wild fig-tree making
always for the city--the son of Atreus still shouting, and with hands
all bedrabbled in gore; but when they had reached the Scaean gates and
the oak tree, there they halted and waited for the others to come up.
Meanwhile the Trojans kept on flying over the middle of the plain like
a herd of cows maddened with fright when a lion has attacked them in
the dead of night--he springs on one of them, seizes her neck in the
grip of his strong teeth and then laps up her blood and gorges himself
upon her entrails--even so did King Agamemnon son of Atreus pursue the
foe, ever slaughtering the hindmost as they fled pell-mell before him.
Many a man was flung headlong from his chariot by the hand of the son
of Atreus, for he wielded his spear with fury.

But when he was just about to reach the high wall and the city, the
father of gods and men came down from heaven and took his seat,
thunderbolt in hand, upon the crest of many-fountained Ida. He then
told Iris of the golden wings to carry a message for him. "Go," said
he, "fleet Iris, and speak thus to Hector--say that so long as he sees
Agamemnon heading his men and making havoc of the Trojan ranks, he is
to keep aloof and bid the others bear the brunt of the battle, but when
Agamemnon is wounded either by spear or arrow, and takes to his
chariot, then will I vouchsafe him strength to slay till he reach the
ships and night falls at the going down of the sun."

Iris hearkened and obeyed. Down she went to strong Ilius from the
crests of Ida, and found Hector son of Priam standing by his chariot
and horses. Then she said, "Hector son of Priam, peer of gods in
counsel, father Jove has sent me to bear you this message--so long as
you see Agamemnon heading his men and making havoc of the Trojan ranks,
you are to keep aloof and bid the others bear the brunt of the battle,
but when Agamemnon is wounded either by spear or arrow, and takes to
his chariot, then will Jove vouchsafe you strength to slay till you
reach the ships, and till night falls at the going down of the sun."

When she had thus spoken Iris left him, and Hector sprang full armed
from his chariot to the ground, brandishing his spear as he went about
everywhere among the host, cheering his men on to fight, and stirring
the dread strife of battle. The Trojans then wheeled round, and again
met the Achaeans, while the Argives on their part strengthened their
battalions. The battle was now in array and they stood face to face
with one another, Agamemnon ever pressing forward in his eagerness to
be ahead of all others.

Tell me now ye Muses that dwell in the mansions of Olympus, who,
whether of the Trojans or of their allies, was first to face Agamemnon?
It was Iphidamas son of Antenor, a man both brave and of great stature,
who was brought up in fertile Thrace, the mother of sheep. Cisses, his
mother's father, brought him up in his own house when he was a
child--Cisses, father to fair Theano. When he reached manhood, Cisses
would have kept him there, and was for giving him his daughter in
marriage, but as soon as he had married he set out to fight the
Achaeans with twelve ships that followed him: these he had left at
Percote and had come on by land to Ilius. He it was that now met
Agamemnon son of Atreus. When they were close up with one another, the
son of Atreus missed his aim, and Iphidamas hit him on the girdle below
the cuirass and then flung himself upon him, trusting to his strength
of arm; the girdle, however, was not pierced, nor nearly so, for the
point of the spear struck against the silver and was turned aside as
though it had been lead: King Agamemnon caught it from his hand, and
drew it towards him with the fury of a lion; he then drew his sword,
and killed Iphidamas by striking him on the neck. So there the poor
fellow lay, sleeping a sleep as it were of bronze, killed in the
defence of his fellow-citizens, far from his wedded wife, of whom he
had had no joy though he had given much for her: he had given a
hundred-head of cattle down, and had promised later on to give a
thousand sheep and goats mixed, from the countless flocks of which he
was possessed. Agamemnon son of Atreus then despoiled him, and carried
off his armour into the host of the Achaeans.

When noble Coon, Antenor's eldest son, saw this, sore indeed were his
eyes at the sight of his fallen brother. Unseen by Agamemnon he got
beside him, spear in hand, and wounded him in the middle of his arm
below the elbow, the point of the spear going right through the arm.
Agamemnon was convulsed with pain, but still not even for this did he
leave off struggling and fighting, but grasped his spear that flew as
fleet as the wind, and sprang upon Coon who was trying to drag off the
body of his brother--his father's son--by the foot, and was crying for
help to all the bravest of his comrades; but Agamemnon struck him with
a bronze-shod spear and killed him as he was dragging the dead body
through the press of men under cover of his shield: he then cut off his
head, standing over the body of Iphidamas. Thus did the sons of Antenor
meet their fate at the hands of the son of Atreus, and go down into the
house of Hades.

As long as the blood still welled warm from his wound Agamemnon went
about attacking the ranks of the enemy with spear and sword and with
great handfuls of stone, but when the blood had ceased to flow and the
wound grew dry, the pain became great. As the sharp pangs which the
Eilithuiae, goddesses of childbirth, daughters of Juno and dispensers
of cruel pain, send upon a woman when she is in labour--even so sharp
were the pangs of the son of Atreus. He sprang on to his chariot, and
bade his charioteer drive to the ships, for he was in great agony. With
a loud clear voice he shouted to the Danaans, "My friends, princes and
counsellors of the Argives, defend the ships yourselves, for Jove has
not suffered me to fight the whole day through against the Trojans."

With this the charioteer turned his horses towards the ships, and they
flew forward nothing loth. Their chests were white with foam and their
bellies with dust, as they drew the wounded king out of the battle.

When Hector saw Agamemnon quit the field, he shouted to the Trojans and
Lycians saying, "Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanian warriors, be men, my
friends, and acquit yourselves in battle bravely; their best man has
left them, and Jove has vouchsafed me a great triumph; charge the foe
with your chariots that you may win still greater glory."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and as a huntsman
hounds his dogs on against a lion or wild boar, even so did Hector,
peer of Mars, hound the proud Trojans on against the Achaeans. Full of
hope he plunged in among the foremost, and fell on the fight like some
fierce tempest that swoops down upon the sea, and lashes its deep blue
waters into fury.

What, then is the full tale of those whom Hector son of Priam killed in
the hour of triumph which Jove then vouchsafed him? First Asaeus,
Autonous, and Opites; Dolops son of Clytius, Opheltius and Agelaus;
Aesymnus, Orus and Hipponous steadfast in battle; these chieftains of
the Achaeans did Hector slay, and then he fell upon the rank and file.
As when the west wind hustles the clouds of the white south and beats
them down with the fierceness of its fury--the waves of the sea roll
high, and the spray is flung aloft in the rage of the wandering
wind--even so thick were the heads of them that fell by the hand of

All had then been lost and no help for it, and the Achaeans would have
fled pell-mell to their ships, had not Ulysses cried out to Diomed,
"Son of Tydeus, what has happened to us that we thus forget our
prowess? Come, my good fellow, stand by my side and help me, we shall
be shamed for ever if Hector takes the ships."

And Diomed answered, "Come what may, I will stand firm; but we shall
have scant joy of it, for Jove is minded to give victory to the Trojans
rather than to us."

With these words he struck Thymbraeus from his chariot to the ground,
smiting him in the left breast with his spear, while Ulysses killed
Molion who was his squire. These they let lie, now that they had
stopped their fighting; the two heroes then went on playing havoc with
the foe, like two wild boars that turn in fury and rend the hounds that
hunt them. Thus did they turn upon the Trojans and slay them, and the
Achaeans were thankful to have breathing time in their flight from

They then took two princes with their chariot, the two sons of Merops
of Percote, who excelled all others in the arts of divination. He had
forbidden his sons to go to the war, but they would not obey him, for
fate lured them to their fall. Diomed son of Tydeus slew them both and
stripped them of their armour, while Ulysses killed Hippodamus and

And now the son of Saturn as he looked down from Ida ordained that
neither side should have the advantage, and they kept on killing one
another. The son of Tydeus speared Agastrophus son of Paeon in the
hip-joint with his spear. His chariot was not at hand for him to fly
with, so blindly confident had he been. His squire was in charge of it
at some distance and he was fighting on foot among the foremost until
he lost his life. Hector soon marked the havoc Diomed and Ulysses were
making, and bore down upon them with a loud cry, followed by the Trojan
ranks; brave Diomed was dismayed when he saw them, and said to Ulysses
who was beside him, "Great Hector is bearing down upon us and we shall
be undone; let us stand firm and wait his onset."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it, nor did he miss his
mark. He had aimed at Hector's head near the top of his helmet, but
bronze was turned by bronze, and Hector was untouched, for the spear
was stayed by the visored helm made with three plates of metal, which
Phoebus Apollo had given him. Hector sprang back with a great bound
under cover of the ranks; he fell on his knees and propped himself with
his brawny hand leaning on the ground, for darkness had fallen on his
eyes. The son of Tydeus having thrown his spear dashed in among the
foremost fighters, to the place where he had seen it strike the ground;
meanwhile Hector recovered himself and springing back into his chariot
mingled with the crowd, by which means he saved his life. But Diomed
made at him with his spear and said, "Dog, you have again got away
though death was close on your heels. Phoebus Apollo, to whom I ween
you pray ere you go into battle, has again saved you, nevertheless I
will meet you and make an end of you hereafter, if there is any god who
will stand by me too and be my helper. For the present I must pursue
those I can lay hands on."

As he spoke he began stripping the spoils from the son of Paeon, but
Alexandrus husband of lovely Helen aimed an arrow at him, leaning
against a pillar of the monument which men had raised to Ilus son of
Dardanus, a ruler in days of old. Diomed had taken the cuirass from off
the breast of Agastrophus, his heavy helmet also, and the shield from
off his shoulders, when Paris drew his bow and let fly an arrow that
sped not from his hand in vain, but pierced the flat of Diomed's right
foot, going right through it and fixing itself in the ground. Thereon
Paris with a hearty laugh sprang forward from his hiding-place, and
taunted him saying, "You are wounded--my arrow has not been shot in
vain; would that it had hit you in the belly and killed you, for thus
the Trojans, who fear you as goats fear a lion, would have had a truce
from evil."

Diomed all undaunted answered, "Archer, you who without your bow are
nothing, slanderer and seducer, if you were to be tried in single
combat fighting in full armour, your bow and your arrows would serve
you in little stead. Vain is your boast in that you have scratched the
sole of my foot. I care no more than if a girl or some silly boy had
hit me. A worthless coward can inflict but a light wound; when I wound
a man though I but graze his skin it is another matter, for my weapon
will lay him low. His wife will tear her cheeks for grief and his
children will be fatherless: there will he rot, reddening the earth
with his blood, and vultures, not women, will gather round him."

Thus he spoke, but Ulysses came up and stood over him. Under this cover
he sat down to draw the arrow from his foot, and sharp was the pain he
suffered as he did so. Then he sprang on to his chariot and bade the
charioteer drive him to the ships, for he was sick at heart.

Ulysses was now alone; not one of the Argives stood by him, for they
were all panic-stricken. "Alas," said he to himself in his dismay,
"what will become of me? It is ill if I turn and fly before these odds,
but it will be worse if I am left alone and taken prisoner, for the son
of Saturn has struck the rest of the Danaans with panic. But why talk
to myself in this way? Well do I know that though cowards quit the
field, a hero, whether he wound or be wounded, must stand firm and hold
his own."

While he was thus in two minds, the ranks of the Trojans advanced and
hemmed him in, and bitterly did they come to rue it. As hounds and
lusty youths set upon a wild boar that sallies from his lair whetting
his white tusks--they attack him from every side and can hear the
gnashing of his jaws, but for all his fierceness they still hold their
ground--even so furiously did the Trojans attack Ulysses. First he
sprang spear in hand upon Deiopites and wounded him on the shoulder
with a downward blow; then he killed Thoon and Ennomus. After these he
struck Chersidamas in the loins under his shield as he had just sprung
down from his chariot; so he fell in the dust and clutched the earth in
the hollow of his hand. These he let lie, and went on to wound Charops
son of Hippasus own brother to noble Socus. Socus, hero that he was,
made all speed to help him, and when he was close to Ulysses he said,
"Far-famed Ulysses, insatiable of craft and toil, this day you shall
either boast of having killed both the sons of Hippasus and stripped
them of their armour, or you shall fall before my spear."

With these words he struck the shield of Ulysses. The spear went
through the shield and passed on through his richly wrought cuirass,
tearing the flesh from his side, but Pallas Minerva did not suffer it
to pierce the entrails of the hero. Ulysses knew that his hour was not
yet come, but he gave ground and said to Socus, "Wretch, you shall now
surely die. You have stayed me from fighting further with the Trojans,
but you shall now fall by my spear, yielding glory to myself, and your
soul to Hades of the noble steeds."

Socus had turned in flight, but as he did so, the spear struck him in
the back midway between the shoulders, and went right through his
chest. He fell heavily to the ground and Ulysses vaunted over him
saying, "O Socus, son of Hippasus tamer of horses, death has been too
quick for you and you have not escaped him: poor wretch, not even in
death shall your father and mother close your eyes, but the ravening
vultures shall enshroud you with the flapping of their dark wings and
devour you. Whereas even though I fall the Achaeans will give me my due
rites of burial."

So saying he drew Socus's heavy spear out of his flesh and from his
shield, and the blood welled forth when the spear was withdrawn so that
he was much dismayed. When the Trojans saw that Ulysses was bleeding
they raised a great shout and came on in a body towards him; he
therefore gave ground, and called his comrades to come and help him.
Thrice did he cry as loudly as man can cry, and thrice did brave
Menelaus hear him; he turned, therefore, to Ajax who was close beside
him and said, "Ajax, noble son of Telamon, captain of your people, the
cry of Ulysses rings in my ears, as though the Trojans had cut him off
and were worsting him while he is single-handed. Let us make our way
through the throng; it will be well that we defend him; I fear he may
come to harm for all his valour if he be left without support, and the
Danaans would miss him sorely."

He led the way and mighty Ajax went with him. The Trojans had gathered
round Ulysses like ravenous mountain jackals round the carcase of some
horned stag that has been hit with an arrow--the stag has fled at full
speed so long as his blood was warm and his strength has lasted, but
when the arrow has overcome him, the savage jackals devour him in the
shady glades of the forest. Then heaven sends a fierce lion thither,
whereon the jackals fly in terror and the lion robs them of their
prey--even so did Trojans many and brave gather round crafty Ulysses,
but the hero stood at bay and kept them off with his spear. Ajax then
came up with his shield before him like a wall, and stood hard by,
whereon the Trojans fled in all directions. Menelaus took Ulysses by
the hand, and led him out of the press while his squire brought up his
chariot, but Ajax rushed furiously on the Trojans and killed Doryclus,
a bastard son of Priam; then he wounded Pandocus, Lysandrus, Pyrasus,
and Pylartes; as some swollen torrent comes rushing in full flood from
the mountains on to the plain, big with the rain of heaven--many a dry
oak and many a pine does it engulf, and much mud does it bring down and
cast into the sea--even so did brave Ajax chase the foe furiously over
the plain, slaying both men and horses.

Hector did not yet know what Ajax was doing, for he was fighting on the
extreme left of the battle by the banks of the river Scamander, where
the carnage was thickest and the war-cry loudest round Nestor and brave
Idomeneus. Among these Hector was making great slaughter with his spear
and furious driving, and was destroying the ranks that were opposed to
him; still the Achaeans would have given no ground, had not Alexandrus
husband of lovely Helen stayed the prowess of Machaon, shepherd of his
people, by wounding him in the right shoulder with a triple-barbed
arrow. The Achaeans were in great fear that as the fight had turned
against them the Trojans might take him prisoner, and Idomeneus said to
Nestor, "Nestor son of Neleus, honour to the Achaean name, mount your
chariot at once; take Machaon with you and drive your horses to the
ships as fast as you can. A physician is worth more than several other
men put together, for he can cut out arrows and spread healing herbs."

Nestor knight of Gerene did as Idomeneus had counselled; he at once
mounted his chariot, and Machaon son of the famed physician
Aesculapius, went with him. He lashed his horses and they flew onward
nothing loth towards the ships, as though of their own free will.

Then Cebriones seeing the Trojans in confusion said to Hector from his
place beside him, "Hector, here are we two fighting on the extreme wing
of the battle, while the other Trojans are in pell-mell rout, they and
their horses. Ajax son of Telamon is driving them before him; I know
him by the breadth of his shield: let us turn our chariot and horses
thither, where horse and foot are fighting most desperately, and where
the cry of battle is loudest."

With this he lashed his goodly steeds, and when they felt the whip they
drew the chariot full speed among the Achaeans and Trojans, over the
bodies and shields of those that had fallen: the axle was bespattered
with blood, and the rail round the car was covered with splashes both
from the horses' hoofs and from the tyres of the wheels. Hector tore
his way through and flung himself into the thick of the fight, and his
presence threw the Danaans into confusion, for his spear was not long
idle; nevertheless though he went among the ranks with sword and spear,
and throwing great stones, he avoided Ajax son of Telamon, for Jove
would have been angry with him if he had fought a better man than

Then father Jove from his high throne struck fear into the heart of
Ajax, so that he stood there dazed and threw his shield behind
him--looking fearfully at the throng of his foes as though he were some
wild beast, and turning hither and thither but crouching slowly
backwards. As peasants with their hounds chase a lion from their
stockyard, and watch by night to prevent his carrying off the pick of
their herd--he makes his greedy spring, but in vain, for the darts from
many a strong hand fall thick around him, with burning brands that
scare him for all his fury, and when morning comes he slinks foiled and
angry away--even so did Ajax, sorely against his will, retreat angrily
before the Trojans, fearing for the ships of the Achaeans. Or as some
lazy ass that has had many a cudgel broken about his back, when he into
a field begins eating the corn--boys beat him but he is too many for
them, and though they lay about with their sticks they cannot hurt him;
still when he has had his fill they at last drive him from the
field--even so did the Trojans and their allies pursue great Ajax, ever
smiting the middle of his shield with their darts. Now and again he
would turn and show fight, keeping back the battalions of the Trojans,
and then he would again retreat; but he prevented any of them from
making his way to the ships. Single-handed he stood midway between the
Trojans and Achaeans: the spears that sped from their hands stuck some
of them in his mighty shield, while many, though thirsting for his
blood, fell to the ground ere they could reach him to the wounding of
his fair flesh.

Now when Eurypylus the brave son of Euaemon saw that Ajax was being
overpowered by the rain of arrows, he went up to him and hurled his
spear. He struck Apisaon son of Phausius in the liver below the
midriff, and laid him low. Eurypylus sprang upon him, and stripped the
armour from his shoulders; but when Alexandrus saw him, he aimed an
arrow at him which struck him in the right thigh; the arrow broke, but
the point that was left in the wound dragged on the thigh; he drew
back, therefore, under cover of his comrades to save his life, shouting
as he did so to the Danaans, "My friends, princes and counsellors of
the Argives, rally to the defence of Ajax who is being overpowered, and
I doubt whether he will come out of the fight alive. Hither, then, to
the rescue of great Ajax son of Telamon."

Even so did he cry when he was wounded; thereon the others came near,
and gathered round him, holding their shields upwards from their
shoulders so as to give him cover. Ajax then made towards them, and
turned round to stand at bay as soon as he had reached his men.

Thus then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the mares
of Neleus, all in a lather with sweat, were bearing Nestor out of the
fight, and with him Machaon shepherd of his people. Achilles saw and
took note, for he was standing on the stern of his ship watching the
hard stress and struggle of the fight. He called from the ship to his
comrade Patroclus, who heard him in the tent and came out looking like
Mars himself--here indeed was the beginning of the ill that presently
befell him. "Why," said he, "Achilles, do you call me? What do you want
with me?" And Achilles answered, "Noble son of Menoetius, man after my
own heart, I take it that I shall now have the Achaeans praying at my
knees, for they are in great straits; go, Patroclus, and ask Nestor who
it is that he is bearing away wounded from the field; from his back I
should say it was Machaon son of Aesculapius, but I could not see his
face for the horses went by me at full speed."

Patroclus did as his dear comrade had bidden him, and set off running
by the ships and tents of the Achaeans.

When Nestor and Machaon had reached the tents of the son of Neleus,
they dismounted, and an esquire, Eurymedon, took the horses from the
chariot. The pair then stood in the breeze by the seaside to dry the
sweat from their shirts, and when they had so done they came inside and
took their seats. Fair Hecamede, whom Nestor had had awarded to him
from Tenedos when Achilles took it, mixed them a mess; she was daughter
of wise Arsinous, and the Achaeans had given her to Nestor because he
excelled all of them in counsel. First she set for them a fair and
well-made table that had feet of cyanus; on it there was a vessel of
bronze and an onion to give relish to the drink, with honey and cakes
of barley-meal. There was also a cup of rare workmanship which the old
man had brought with him from home, studded with bosses of gold; it had
four handles, on each of which there were two golden doves feeding, and
it had two feet to stand on. Any one else would hardly have been able
to lift it from the table when it was full, but Nestor could do so
quite easily. In this the woman, as fair as a goddess, mixed them a
mess with Pramnian wine; she grated goat's milk cheese into it with a
bronze grater, threw in a handful of white barley-meal, and having thus
prepared the mess she bade them drink it. When they had done so and had
thus quenched their thirst, they fell talking with one another, and at
this moment Patroclus appeared at the door.

When the old man saw him he sprang from his seat, seized his hand, led
him into the tent, and bade him take his place among them; but
Patroclus stood where he was and said, "Noble sir, I may not stay, you
cannot persuade me to come in; he that sent me is not one to be trifled
with, and he bade me ask who the wounded man was whom you were bearing
away from the field. I can now see for myself that he is Machaon,
shepherd of his people. I must go back and tell Achilles. You, sir,
know what a terrible man he is, and how ready to blame even where no
blame should lie."

And Nestor answered, "Why should Achilles care to know how many of the
Achaeans may be wounded? He recks not of the dismay that reigns in our
host; our most valiant chieftains lie disabled, brave Diomed, son of
Tydeus, is wounded; so are Ulysses and Agamemnon; Eurypylus has been
hit with an arrow in the thigh, and I have just been bringing this man
from the field--he too wounded with an arrow. Nevertheless, Achilles,
so valiant though he be, cares not and knows no ruth. Will he wait till
the ships, do what we may, are in a blaze, and we perish one upon the
other? As for me, I have no strength nor stay in me any longer; would
that I were still young and strong as in the days when there was a
fight between us and the men of Elis about some cattle-raiding. I then
killed Itymoneus, the valiant son of Hypeirochus, a dweller in Elis, as
I was driving in the spoil; he was hit by a dart thrown by my hand
while fighting in the front rank in defence of his cows, so he fell and
the country people around him were in great fear. We drove off a vast
quantity of booty from the plain, fifty herds of cattle and as many
flocks of sheep; fifty droves also of pigs, and as many wide-spreading
flocks of goats. Of horses, moreover, we seized a hundred and fifty,
all of them mares, and many had foals running with them. All these did
we drive by night to Pylus, the city of Neleus, taking them within the
city; and the heart of Neleus was glad in that I had taken so much,
though it was the first time I had ever been in the field. At daybreak
the heralds went round crying that all in Elis to whom there was a debt
owing should come; and the leading Pylians assembled to divide the
spoils. There were many to whom the Epeans owed chattels, for we men of
Pylus were few and had been oppressed with wrong; in former years
Hercules had come, and had laid his hand heavy upon us, so that all our
best men had perished. Neleus had had twelve sons, but I alone was
left; the others had all been killed. The Epeans presuming upon all
this had looked down upon us and had done us much evil. My father chose
a herd of cattle and a great flock of sheep--three hundred in all--and
he took their shepherds with him, for there was a great debt due to him
in Elis, to wit four horses, winners of prizes. They and their chariots
with them had gone to the games and were to run for a tripod, but King
Augeas took them, and sent back their driver grieving for the loss of
his horses. Neleus was angered by what he had both said and done, and
took great value in return, but he divided the rest, that no man might
have less than his full share.

"Thus did we order all things, and offer sacrifices to the gods
throughout the city; but three days afterwards the Epeans came in a
body, many in number, they and their chariots, in full array, and with
them the two Moliones in their armour, though they were still lads and
unused to fighting. Now there is a certain town, Thryoessa, perched
upon a rock on the river Alpheus, the border city of Pylus. This they
would destroy, and pitched their camp about it, but when they had
crossed their whole plain, Minerva darted down by night from Olympus
and bade us set ourselves in array; and she found willing soldiers in
Pylos, for the men meant fighting. Neleus would not let me arm, and hid
my horses, for he said that as yet I could know nothing about war;
nevertheless Minerva so ordered the fight that, all on foot as I was, I
fought among our mounted forces and vied with the foremost of them.
There is a river Minyeius that falls into the sea near Arene, and there
they that were mounted (and I with them) waited till morning, when the
companies of foot soldiers came up with us in force. Thence in full
panoply and equipment we came towards noon to the sacred waters of the
Alpheus, and there we offered victims to almighty Jove, with a bull to
Alpheus, another to Neptune, and a herd-heifer to Minerva. After this
we took supper in our companies, and laid us down to rest each in his
armour by the river.

"The Epeans were beleaguering the city and were determined to take it,
but ere this might be there was a desperate fight in store for them.
When the sun's rays began to fall upon the earth we joined battle,
praying to Jove and to Minerva, and when the fight had begun, I was the
first to kill my man and take his horses--to wit the warrior Mulius. He
was son-in-law to Augeas, having married his eldest daughter,
golden-haired Agamede, who knew the virtues of every herb which grows
upon the face of the earth. I speared him as he was coming towards me,
and when he fell headlong in the dust, I sprang upon his chariot and
took my place in the front ranks. The Epeans fled in all directions
when they saw the captain of their horsemen (the best man they had)
laid low, and I swept down on them like a whirlwind, taking fifty
chariots--and in each of them two men bit the dust, slain by my spear.
I should have even killed the two Moliones, sons of Actor, unless their
real father, Neptune lord of the earthquake, had hidden them in a thick
mist and borne them out of the fight. Thereon Jove vouchsafed the
Pylians a great victory, for we chased them far over the plain, killing
the men and bringing in their armour, till we had brought our horses to
Buprasium, rich in wheat, and to the Olenian rock, with the hill that
is called Alision, at which point Minerva turned the people back. There
I slew the last man and left him; then the Achaeans drove their horses
back from Buprasium to Pylos and gave thanks to Jove among the gods,
and among mortal men to Nestor.

"Such was I among my peers, as surely as ever was, but Achilles is for
keeping all his valour for himself; bitterly will he rue it hereafter
when the host is being cut to pieces. My good friend, did not Menoetius
charge you thus, on the day when he sent you from Phthia to Agamemnon?
Ulysses and I were in the house, inside, and heard all that he said to
you; for we came to the fair house of Peleus while beating up recruits
throughout all Achaea, and when we got there we found Menoetius and
yourself, and Achilles with you. The old knight Peleus was in the outer
court, roasting the fat thigh-bones of a heifer to Jove the lord of
thunder; and he held a gold chalice in his hand from which he poured
drink-offerings of wine over the burning sacrifice. You two were busy
cutting up the heifer, and at that moment we stood at the gates,
whereon Achilles sprang to his feet, led us by the hand into the house,
placed us at table, and set before us such hospitable entertainment as
guests expect. When we had satisfied ourselves with meat and drink, I
said my say and urged both of you to join us. You were ready enough to
do so, and the two old men charged you much and straitly. Old Peleus
bade his son Achilles fight ever among the foremost and outvie his
peers, while Menoetius the son of Actor spoke thus to you: 'My son,'
said he, 'Achilles is of nobler birth than you are, but you are older
than he, though he is far the better man of the two. Counsel him
wisely, guide him in the right way, and he will follow you to his own
profit.' Thus did your father charge you, but you have forgotten;
nevertheless, even now, say all this to Achilles if he will listen to
you. Who knows but with heaven's help you may talk him over, for it is
good to take a friend's advice. If, however, he is fearful about some
oracle, or if his mother has told him something from Jove, then let him
send you, and let the rest of the Myrmidons follow with you, if
perchance you may bring light and saving to the Danaans. And let him
send you into battle clad in his own armour, that the Trojans may
mistake you for him and leave off fighting; the sons of the Achaeans
may thus have time to get their breath, for they are hard pressed and
there is little breathing time in battle. You, who are fresh, might
easily drive a tired enemy back to his walls and away from the tents
and ships."

With these words he moved the heart of Patroclus, who set off running
by the line of the ships to Achilles, descendant of Aeacus. When he had
got as far as the ships of Ulysses, where was their place of assembly
and court of justice, with their altars dedicated to the gods,
Eurypylus son of Euaemon, met him, wounded in the thigh with an arrow,
and limping out of the fight. Sweat rained from his head and shoulders,
and black blood welled from his cruel wound, but his mind did not
wander. The son of Menoetius when he saw him had compassion upon him
and spoke piteously saying, "O unhappy princes and counsellors of the
Danaans, are you then doomed to feed the hounds of Troy with your fat,
far from your friends and your native land? Say, noble Eurypylus, will
the Achaeans be able to hold great Hector in check, or will they fall
now before his spear?"

Wounded Eurypylus made answer, "Noble Patroclus, there is no hope left
for the Achaeans but they will perish at their ships. All they that
were princes among us are lying struck down and wounded at the hands of
the Trojans, who are waxing stronger and stronger. But save me and take
me to your ship; cut out the arrow from my thigh; wash the black blood
from off it with warm water, and lay upon it those gracious herbs
which, so they say, have been shown you by Achilles, who was himself
shown them by Chiron, most righteous of all the centaurs. For of the
physicians Podalirius and Machaon, I hear that the one is lying wounded
in his tent and is himself in need of healing, while the other is
fighting the Trojans upon the plain."

"Hero Eurypylus," replied the brave son of Menoetius, "how may these
things be? What can I do? I am on my way to bear a message to noble
Achilles from Nestor of Gerene, bulwark of the Achaeans, but even so I
will not be unmindful of your distress."

With this he clasped him round the middle and led him into the tent,
and a servant, when he saw him, spread bullock-skins on the ground for
him to lie on. He laid him at full length and cut out the sharp arrow
from his thigh; he washed the black blood from the wound with warm
water; he then crushed a bitter herb, rubbing it between his hands, and
spread it upon the wound; this was a virtuous herb which killed all
pain; so the wound presently dried and the blood left off flowing.


The Trojans and their allies break the wall, led on by Hector.

SO THE son of Menoetius was attending to the hurt of Eurypylus within
the tent, but the Argives and Trojans still fought desperately, nor
were the trench and the high wall above it, to keep the Trojans in
check longer. They had built it to protect their ships, and had dug the
trench all round it that it might safeguard both the ships and the rich
spoils which they had taken, but they had not offered hecatombs to the
gods. It had been built without the consent of the immortals, and
therefore it did not last. So long as Hector lived and Achilles nursed
his anger, and so long as the city of Priam remained untaken, the great
wall of the Achaeans stood firm; but when the bravest of the Trojans
were no more, and many also of the Argives, though some were yet left
alive--when, moreover, the city was sacked in the tenth year, and the
Argives had gone back with their ships to their own country--then
Neptune and Apollo took counsel to destroy the wall, and they turned on
to it the streams of all the rivers from Mount Ida into the sea,
Rhesus, Heptaporus, Caresus, Rhodius, Grenicus, Aesopus, and goodly
Scamander, with Simois, where many a shield and helm had fallen, and
many a hero of the race of demigods had bitten the dust. Phoebus Apollo
turned the mouths of all these rivers together and made them flow for
nine days against the wall, while Jove rained the whole time that he
might wash it sooner into the sea. Neptune himself, trident in hand,
surveyed the work and threw into the sea all the foundations of beams
and stones which the Achaeans had laid with so much toil; he made all
level by the mighty stream of the Hellespont, and then when he had
swept the wall away he spread a great beach of sand over the place
where it had been. This done he turned the rivers back into their old

This was what Neptune and Apollo were to do in after time; but as yet
battle and turmoil were still raging round the wall till its timbers
rang under the blows that rained upon them. The Argives, cowed by the
scourge of Jove, were hemmed in at their ships in fear of Hector the
mighty minister of Rout, who as heretofore fought with the force and
fury of a whirlwind. As a lion or wild boar turns fiercely on the dogs
and men that attack him, while these form a solid wall and shower their
javelins as they face him--his courage is all undaunted, but his high
spirit will be the death of him; many a time does he charge at his
pursuers to scatter them, and they fall back as often as he does
so--even so did Hector go about among the host exhorting his men, and
cheering them on to cross the trench.

But the horses dared not do so, and stood neighing upon its brink, for
the width frightened them. They could neither jump it nor cross it, for
it had overhanging banks all round upon either side, above which there
were the sharp stakes that the sons of the Achaeans had planted so
close and strong as a defence against all who would assail it; a horse,
therefore, could not get into it and draw his chariot after him, but
those who were on foot kept trying their very utmost. Then Polydamas
went up to Hector and said, "Hector, and you other captains of the
Trojans and allies, it is madness for us to try and drive our horses
across the trench; it will be very hard to cross, for it is full of
sharp stakes, and beyond these there is the wall. Our horses therefore
cannot get down into it, and would be of no use if they did; moreover
it is a narrow place and we should come to harm. If, indeed, great Jove
is minded to help the Trojans, and in his anger will utterly destroy
the Achaeans, I would myself gladly see them perish now and here far
from Argos; but if they should rally and we are driven back from the
ships pell-mell into the trench there will be not so much as a man get
back to the city to tell the tale. Now, therefore, let us all do as I
say; let our squires hold our horses by the trench, but let us follow
Hector in a body on foot, clad in full armour, and if the day of their
doom is at hand the Achaeans will not be able to withstand us."

Thus spoke Polydamas and his saying pleased Hector, who sprang in full
armour to the ground, and all the other Trojans, when they saw him do
so, also left their chariots. Each man then gave his horses over to his
charioteer in charge to hold them ready for him at the trench. Then
they formed themselves into companies, made themselves ready, and in
five bodies followed their leaders. Those that went with Hector and
Polydamas were the bravest and most in number, and the most determined
to break through the wall and fight at the ships. Cebriones was also
joined with them as third in command, for Hector had left his chariot
in charge of a less valiant soldier. The next company was led by Paris,
Alcathous, and Agenor; the third by Helenus and Deiphobus, two sons of
Priam, and with them was the hero Asius--Asius, the son of Hyrtacus,
whose great black horses of the breed that comes from the river Selleis
had brought him from Arisbe. Aeneas, the valiant son of Anchises, led
the fourth; he and the two sons of Antenor, Archelochus and Acamas, men
well versed in all the arts of war. Sarpedon was captain over the
allies, and took with him Glaucus and Asteropaeus whom he deemed most
valiant after himself--for he was far the best man of them all. These
helped to array one another in their ox-hide shields, and then charged
straight at the Danaans, for they felt sure that they would not hold
out longer and that they should themselves now fall upon the ships.

The rest of the Trojans and their allies now followed the counsel of
Polydamas but Asius, son of Hyrtacus, would not leave his horses and
his esquire behind him; in his foolhardiness he took them on with him
towards the ships, nor did he fail to come by his end in consequence.
Nevermore was he to return to wind-beaten Ilius, exulting in his
chariot and his horses; ere he could do so, death of ill-omened name
had overshadowed him and he had fallen by the spear of Idomeneus the
noble son of Deucalion. He had driven towards the left wing of the
ships, by which way the Achaeans used to return with their chariots and
horses from the plain. Hither he drove and found the gates with their
doors opened wide, and the great bar down--for the gatemen kept them
open so as to let those of their comrades enter who might be flying
towards the ships. Hither of set purpose did he direct his horses, and
his men followed him with a loud cry, for they felt sure that the
Achaeans would not hold out longer, and that they should now fall upon
the ships. Little did they know that at the gates they should find two
of the bravest chieftains, proud sons of the fighting Lapithae--the
one, Polypoetes, mighty son of Pirithous, and the other Leonteus, peer
of murderous Mars. These stood before the gates like two high oak trees
upon the mountains, that tower from their wide-spreading roots, and
year after year battle with wind and rain--even so did these two men
await the onset of great Asius confidently and without flinching. The
Trojans led by him and by Iamenus, Orestes, Adamas the son of Asius,
Thoon and Oenomaus, raised a loud cry of battle and made straight for
the wall, holding their shields of dry ox-hide above their heads; for a
while the two defenders remained inside and cheered the Achaeans on to
stand firm in the defence of their ships; when, however, they saw that
the Trojans were attacking the wall, while the Danaans were crying out
for help and being routed, they rushed outside and fought in front of
the gates like two wild boars upon the mountains that abide the attack
of men and dogs, and charging on either side break down the wood all
round them tearing it up by the roots, and one can hear the clattering
of their tusks, till some one hits them and makes an end of them--even
so did the gleaming bronze rattle about their breasts, as the weapons
fell upon them; for they fought with great fury, trusting to their own
prowess and to those who were on the wall above them. These threw great
stones at their assailants in defence of themselves their tents and
their ships. The stones fell thick as the flakes of snow which some
fierce blast drives from the dark clouds and showers down in sheets
upon the earth--even so fell the weapons from the hands alike of
Trojans and Achaeans. Helmet and shield rang out as the great stones
rained upon them, and Asius, the son of Hyrtacus, in his dismay cried
aloud and smote his two thighs. "Father Jove," he cried, "of a truth
you too are altogether given to lying. I made sure the Argive heroes
could not withstand us, whereas like slim-waisted wasps, or bees that
have their nests in the rocks by the wayside--they leave not the holes
wherein they have built undefended, but fight for their little ones
against all who would take them--even so these men, though they be but
two, will not be driven from the gates, but stand firm either to slay
or be slain."

He spoke, but moved not the mind of Jove, whose counsel it then was to
give glory to Hector. Meanwhile the rest of the Trojans were fighting
about the other gates; I, however, am no god to be able to tell about
all these things, for the battle raged everywhere about the stone wall
as it were a fiery furnace. The Argives, discomfited though they were,
were forced to defend their ships, and all the gods who were defending
the Achaeans were vexed in spirit; but the Lapithae kept on fighting
with might and main.

Thereon Polypoetes, mighty son of Pirithous, hit Damasus with a spear
upon his cheek-pierced helmet. The helmet did not protect him, for the
point of the spear went through it, and broke the bone, so that the
brain inside was scattered about, and he died fighting. He then slew
Pylon and Ormenus. Leonteus, of the race of Mars, killed Hippomachus
the son of Antimachus by striking him with his spear upon the girdle.
He then drew his sword and sprang first upon Antiphates whom he killed
in combat, and who fell face upwards on the earth. After him he killed
Menon, Iamenus, and Orestes, and laid them low one after the other.

While they were busy stripping the armour from these heroes, the youths
who were led on by Polydamas and Hector (and these were the greater
part and the most valiant of those that were trying to break through
the wall and fire the ships) were still standing by the trench,
uncertain what they should do; for they had seen a sign from heaven
when they had essayed to cross it--a soaring eagle that flew skirting
the left wing of their host, with a monstrous blood-red snake in its
talons still alive and struggling to escape. The snake was still bent
on revenge, wriggling and twisting itself backwards till it struck the
bird that held it, on the neck and breast; whereon the bird being in
pain, let it fall, dropping it into the middle of the host, and then
flew down the wind with a sharp cry. The Trojans were struck with
terror when they saw the snake, portent of aegis-bearing Jove, writhing
in the midst of them, and Polydamas went up to Hector and said,
"Hector, at our councils of war you are ever given to rebuke me, even
when I speak wisely, as though it were not well, forsooth, that one of
the people should cross your will either in the field or at the council
board; you would have them support you always: nevertheless I will say
what I think will be best; let us not now go on to fight the Danaans at
their ships, for I know what will happen if this soaring eagle which
skirted the left wing of our host with a monstrous blood-red snake in
its talons (the snake being still alive) was really sent as an omen to
the Trojans on their essaying to cross the trench. The eagle let go her
hold; she did not succeed in taking it home to her little ones, and so
will it be--with ourselves; even though by a mighty effort we break
through the gates and wall of the Achaeans, and they give way before
us, still we shall not return in good order by the way we came, but
shall leave many a man behind us whom the Achaeans will do to death in
defence of their ships. Thus would any seer who was expert in these
matters, and was trusted by the people, read the portent."

Hector looked fiercely at him and said, "Polydamas, I like not of your
reading. You can find a better saying than this if you will. If,
however, you have spoken in good earnest, then indeed has heaven robbed
you of your reason. You would have me pay no heed to the counsels of
Jove, nor to the promises he made me--and he bowed his head in
confirmation; you bid me be ruled rather by the flight of wild-fowl.
What care I whether they fly towards dawn or dark, and whether they be
on my right hand or on my left? Let us put our trust rather in the
counsel of great Jove, king of mortals and immortals. There is one
omen, and one only--that a man should fight for his country. Why are
you so fearful? Though we be all of us slain at the ships of the
Argives you are not likely to be killed yourself, for you are not
steadfast nor courageous. If you will not fight, or would talk others
over from doing so, you shall fall forthwith before my spear."

With these words he led the way, and the others followed after with a
cry that rent the air. Then Jove the lord of thunder sent the blast of
a mighty wind from the mountains of Ida, that bore the dust down
towards the ships; he thus lulled the Achaeans into security, and gave
victory to Hector and to the Trojans, who, trusting to their own might
and to the signs he had shown them, essayed to break through the great
wall of the Achaeans. They tore down the breastworks from the walls,
and overthrew the battlements; they upheaved the buttresses, which the
Achaeans had set in front of the wall in order to support it; when they
had pulled these down they made sure of breaking through the wall, but
the Danaans still showed no sign of giving ground; they still fenced
the battlements with their shields of ox-hide, and hurled their
missiles down upon the foe as soon as any came below the wall.

The two Ajaxes went about everywhere on the walls cheering on the
Achaeans, giving fair words to some while they spoke sharply to any one
whom they saw to be remiss. "My friends," they cried, "Argives one and
all--good bad and indifferent, for there was never fight yet, in which
all were of equal prowess--there is now work enough, as you very well
know, for all of you. See that you none of you turn in flight towards
the ships, daunted by the shouting of the foe, but press forward and
keep one another in heart, if it may so be that Olympian Jove the lord
of lightning will vouchsafe us to repel our foes, and drive them back
towards the city."

Thus did the two go about shouting and cheering the Achaeans on. As the
flakes that fall thick upon a winter's day, when Jove is minded to snow
and to display these his arrows to mankind--he lulls the wind to rest,
and snows hour after hour till he has buried the tops of the high
mountains, the headlands that jut into the sea, the grassy plains, and
the tilled fields of men; the snow lies deep upon the forelands, and
havens of the grey sea, but the waves as they come rolling in stay it
that it can come no further, though all else is wrapped as with a
mantle, so heavy are the heavens with snow--even thus thickly did the
stones fall on one side and on the other, some thrown at the Trojans,
and some by the Trojans at the Achaeans; and the whole wall was in an

Still the Trojans and brave Hector would not yet have broken down the
gates and the great bar, had not Jove turned his son Sarpedon against
the Argives as a lion against a herd of horned cattle. Before him he
held his shield of hammered bronze, that the smith had beaten so fair
and round, and had lined with ox hides which he had made fast with
rivets of gold all round the shield; this he held in front of him, and
brandishing his two spears came on like some lion of the wilderness,
who has been long famished for want of meat and will dare break even
into a well-fenced homestead to try and get at the sheep. He may find
the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks with dogs and spears, but
he is in no mind to be driven from the fold till he has had a try for
it; he will either spring on a sheep and carry it off, or be hit by a
spear from some strong hand--even so was Sarpedon fain to attack the
wall and break down its battlements. Then he said to Glaucus son of
Hippolochus, "Glaucus, why in Lycia do we receive especial honour as
regards our place at table? Why are the choicest portions served us and
our cups kept brimming, and why do men look up to us as though we were
gods? Moreover we hold a large estate by the banks of the river
Xanthus, fair with orchard lawns and wheat-growing land; it becomes us,
therefore, to take our stand at the head of all the Lycians and bear
the brunt of the fight, that one may say to another, 'Our princes in
Lycia eat the fat of the land and drink best of wine, but they are fine
fellows; they fight well and are ever at the front in battle.' My good
friend, if, when we were once out of this fight, we could escape old
age and death thenceforward and forever, I should neither press forward
myself nor bid you do so, but death in ten thousand shapes hangs ever
over our heads, and no man can elude him; therefore let us go forward
and either win glory for ourselves, or yield it to another."

Glaucus heeded his saying, and the pair forthwith led on the host of
Lycians. Menestheus son of Peteos was dismayed when he saw them, for it
was against his part of the wall that they came--bringing destruction
with them; he looked along the wall for some chieftain to support his
comrades and saw the two Ajaxes, men ever eager for the fray, and
Teucer, who had just come from his tent, standing near them; but he
could not make his voice heard by shouting to them, so great an uproar
was there from crashing shields and helmets and the battering of gates
with a din which reached the skies. For all the gates had been closed,
and the Trojans were hammering at them to try and break their way
through them. Menestheus, therefore, sent Thootes with a message to
Ajax. "Run, good Thootes," he said, "and call Ajax, or better still bid
both come, for it will be all over with us here directly; the leaders
of the Lycians are upon us, men who have ever fought desperately
heretofore. But if they have too much on their hands to let them come,
at any rate let Ajax son of Telamon do so, and let Teucer, the famous
bowman, come with him."

The messenger did as he was told, and set off running along the wall of
the Achaeans. When he reached the Ajaxes he said to them, "Sirs,
princes of the Argives, the son of noble Peteos bids you come to him
for a while and help him. You had better both come if you can, or it
will be all over with him directly; the leaders of the Lycians are upon
him, men who have ever fought desperately heretofore; if you have too
much on your hands to let both come, at any rate let Ajax, son of
Telamon, do so, and let Teucer, the famous bowman, come with him."

Great Ajax son of Telamon heeded the message, and at once spoke to the
son of Oileus. "Ajax," said he, "do you two, yourself and brave
Lycomedes, stay here and keep the Danaans in heart to fight their
hardest. I will go over yonder, and bear my part in the fray, but I
will come back here at once as soon as I have given them the help they

With this, Ajax son of Telamon set off, and Teucer, his brother by the
same father, went also, with Pandion to carry Teucer's bow. They went
along inside the wall, and when they came to the tower where Menestheus
was (and hard pressed indeed did they find him) the brave captains and
leaders of the Lycians were storming the battlements as it were a thick
dark cloud, fighting in close quarters, and raising the battle-cry

First, Ajax son of Telamon killed brave Epicles, a comrade of Sarpedon,
hitting him with a jagged stone that lay by the battlements at the very
top of the wall. As men now are, even one who is in the bloom of youth
could hardly lift it with his two hands, but Ajax raised it high aloft
and flung it down, smashing Epicles' four-crested helmet so that the
bones of his head were crushed to pieces, and he fell from the high
wall as though he were diving, with no more life left in him. Then
Teucer wounded Glaucus the brave son of Hippolochus as he was coming on
to attack the wall. He saw his shoulder bare and aimed an arrow at it,
which made Glaucus leave off fighting. Thereon he sprang covertly down
for fear some of the Achaeans might see that he was wounded and taunt
him. Sarpedon was stung with grief when he saw Glaucus leave him, still
he did not leave off fighting, but aimed his spear at Alcmaon the son
of Thestor and hit him. He drew his spear back again and Alcmaon came
down headlong after it with his bronzed armour rattling round him. Then
Sarpedon seized the battlement in his strong hands, and tugged at it
till it all gave way together, and a breach was made through which many
might pass.

Ajax and Teucer then both of them attacked him. Teucer hit him with an
arrow on the band that bore the shield which covered his body, but Jove
saved his son from destruction that he might not fall by the ships'
sterns. Meanwhile Ajax sprang on him and pierced his shield, but the
spear did not go clean through, though it hustled him back that he
could come on no further. He therefore retired a little space from the
battlement, yet without losing all his ground, for he still thought to
cover himself with glory. Then he turned round and shouted to the brave
Lycians saying, "Lycians, why do you thus fail me? For all my prowess I
cannot break through the wall and open a way to the ships
single-handed. Come close on behind me, for the more there are of us
the better."

The Lycians, shamed by his rebuke, pressed closer round him who was
their counsellor and their king. The Argives on their part got their
men in fighting order within the wall, and there was a deadly struggle
between them. The Lycians could not break through the wall and force
their way to the ships, nor could the Danaans drive the Lycians from
the wall now that they had once reached it. As two men, measuring-rods
in hand, quarrel about their boundaries in a field that they own in
common, and stickle for their rights though they be but in a mere
strip, even so did the battlements now serve as a bone of contention,
and they beat one another's round shields for their possession. Many a
man's body was wounded with the pitiless bronze, as he turned round and
bared his back to the foe, and many were struck clean through their
shields; the wall and battlements were everywhere deluged with the
blood alike of Trojans and of Achaeans. But even so the Trojans could
not rout the Achaeans, who still held on; and as some honest
hard-working woman weighs wool in her balance and sees that the scales
be true, for she would gain some pitiful earnings for her little ones,
even so was the fight balanced evenly between them till the time came
when Jove gave the greater glory to Hector son of Priam, who was first
to spring towards the wall of the Achaeans. When he had done so, he
cried aloud to the Trojans, "Up, Trojans, break the wall of the
Argives, and fling fire upon their ships."

Thus did he hound them on, and in one body they rushed straight at the
wall as he had bidden them, and scaled the battlements with sharp
spears in their hands. Hector laid hold of a stone that lay just
outside the gates and was thick at one end but pointed at the other;
two of the best men in a town, as men now are, could hardly raise it
from the ground and put it on to a waggon, but Hector lifted it quite
easily by himself, for the son of scheming Saturn made it light for
him. As a shepherd picks up a ram's fleece with one hand and finds it
no burden, so easily did Hector lift the great stone and drive it right
at the doors that closed the gates so strong and so firmly set. These
doors were double and high, and were kept closed by two cross-bars to
which there was but one key. When he had got close up to them, Hector
strode towards them that his blow might gain in force and struck them
in the middle, leaning his whole weight against them. He broke both
hinges, and the stone fell inside by reason of its great weight. The
portals re-echoed with the sound, the bars held no longer, and the
doors flew open, one one way, and the other the other, through the
force of the blow. Then brave Hector leaped inside with a face as dark
as that of flying night. The gleaming bronze flashed fiercely about his
body and he had two spears in his hand. None but a god could have
withstood him as he flung himself into the gateway, and his eyes glared
like fire. Then he turned round towards the Trojans and called on them
to scale the wall, and they did as he bade them--some of them at once
climbing over the wall, while others passed through the gates. The
Danaans then fled panic-stricken towards their ships, and all was
uproar and confusion.


Neptune helps the Achaeans--The feats of Idomeneus--Hector at
the ships.

NOW when Jove had thus brought Hector and the Trojans to the ships, he
left them to their never-ending toil, and turned his keen eyes away,
looking elsewhither towards the horse-breeders of Thrace, the Mysians,
fighters at close quarters, the noble Hippemolgi, who live on milk, and
the Abians, justest of mankind. He no longer turned so much as a glance
towards Troy, for he did not think that any of the immortals would go
and help either Trojans or Danaans.

But King Neptune had kept no blind look-out; he had been looking
admiringly on the battle from his seat on the topmost crests of wooded
Samothrace, whence he could see all Ida, with the city of Priam and the
ships of the Achaeans. He had come from under the sea and taken his
place here, for he pitied the Achaeans who were being overcome by the
Trojans; and he was furiously angry with Jove.

Presently he came down from his post on the mountain top, and as he
strode swiftly onwards the high hills and the forest quaked beneath the
tread of his immortal feet. Three strides he took, and with the fourth
he reached his goal--Aegae, where is his glittering golden palace,
imperishable, in the depths of the sea. When he got there, he yoked his
fleet brazen-footed steeds with their manes of gold all flying in the
wind; he clothed himself in raiment of gold, grasped his gold whip, and
took his stand upon his chariot. As he went his way over the waves the
sea-monsters left their lairs, for they knew their lord, and came
gambolling round him from every quarter of the deep, while the sea in
her gladness opened a path before his chariot. So lightly did the
horses fly that the bronze axle of the car was not even wet beneath it;
and thus his bounding steeds took him to the ships of the Achaeans.

Now there is a certain huge cavern in the depths of the sea midway
between Tenedos and rocky Imbrus; here Neptune lord of the earthquake
stayed his horses, unyoked them, and set before them their ambrosial
forage. He hobbled their feet with hobbles of gold which none could
either unloose or break, so that they might stay there in that place
until their lord should return. This done he went his way to the host
of the Achaeans.

Now the Trojans followed Hector son of Priam in close array like a
storm-cloud or flame of fire, fighting with might and main and raising
the cry battle; for they deemed that they should take the ships of the
Achaeans and kill all their chiefest heroes then and there. Meanwhile
earth-encircling Neptune lord of the earthquake cheered on the Argives,
for he had come up out of the sea and had assumed the form and voice of

First he spoke to the two Ajaxes, who were doing their best already,
and said, "Ajaxes, you two can be the saving of the Achaeans if you
will put out all your strength and not let yourselves be daunted. I am
not afraid that the Trojans, who have got over the wall in force, will
be victorious in any other part, for the Achaeans can hold all of them
in check, but I much fear that some evil will befall us here where
furious Hector, who boasts himself the son of great Jove himself, is
leading them on like a pillar of flame. May some god, then, put it into
your hearts to make a firm stand here, and to incite others to do the
like. In this case you will drive him from the ships even though he be
inspired by Jove himself."

As he spoke the earth-encircling lord of the earthquake struck both of
them with his sceptre and filled their hearts with daring. He made
their legs light and active, as also their hands and their feet. Then,
as the soaring falcon poises on the wing high above some sheer rock,
and presently swoops down to chase some bird over the plain, even so
did Neptune lord of the earthquake wing his flight into the air and
leave them. Of the two, swift Ajax son of Oileus was the first to know
who it was that had been speaking with them, and said to Ajax son of
Telamon, "Ajax, this is one of the gods that dwell on Olympus, who in
the likeness of the prophet is bidding us fight hard by our ships. It
was not Calchas the seer and diviner of omens; I knew him at once by
his feet and knees as he turned away, for the gods are soon recognised.
Moreover I feel the lust of battle burn more fiercely within me, while
my hands and my feet under me are more eager for the fray."

And Ajax son of Telamon answered, "I too feel my hands grasp my spear
more firmly; my strength is greater, and my feet more nimble; I long,
moreover, to meet furious Hector son of Priam, even in single combat."

Thus did they converse, exulting in the hunger after battle with which
the god had filled them. Meanwhile the earth-encircler roused the
Achaeans, who were resting in the rear by the ships overcome at once by
hard fighting and by grief at seeing that the Trojans had got over the
wall in force. Tears began falling from their eyes as they beheld them,
for they made sure that they should not escape destruction; but the
lord of the earthquake passed lightly about among them and urged their
battalions to the front.

First he went up to Teucer and Leitus, the hero Peneleos, and Thoas and
Deipyrus; Meriones also and Antilochus, valiant warriors; all did he
exhort. "Shame on you young Argives," he cried, "it was on your prowess
I relied for the saving of our ships; if you fight not with might and
main, this very day will see us overcome by the Trojans. Of a truth my
eyes behold a great and terrible portent which I had never thought to
see--the Trojans at our ships--they, who were heretofore like
panic-stricken hinds, the prey of jackals and wolves in a forest, with
no strength but in flight for they cannot defend themselves. Hitherto
the Trojans dared not for one moment face the attack of the Achaeans,
but now they have sallied far from their city and are fighting at our
very ships through the cowardice of our leader and the disaffection of
the people themselves, who in their discontent care not to fight in
defence of the ships but are being slaughtered near them. True, King
Agamemnon son of Atreus is the cause of our disaster by having insulted
the son of Peleus, still this is no reason why we should leave off
fighting. Let us be quick to heal, for the hearts of the brave heal
quickly. You do ill to be thus remiss, you, who are the finest soldiers
in our whole army. I blame no man for keeping out of battle if he is a
weakling, but I am indignant with such men as you are. My good friends,
matters will soon become even worse through this slackness; think, each
one of you, of his own honour and credit, for the hazard of the fight
is extreme. Great Hector is now fighting at our ships; he has broken
through the gates and the strong bolt that held them."

Thus did the earth-encircler address the Achaeans and urge them on.
Thereon round the two Ajaxes there gathered strong bands of men, of
whom not even Mars nor Minerva, marshaller of hosts could make light if
they went among them, for they were the picked men of all those who
were now awaiting the onset of Hector and the Trojans. They made a
living fence, spear to spear, shield to shield, buckler to buckler,
helmet to helmet, and man to man. The horse-hair crests on their
gleaming helmets touched one another as they nodded forward, so closely
serried were they; the spears they brandished in their strong hands
were interlaced, and their hearts were set on battle.

The Trojans advanced in a dense body, with Hector at their head
pressing right on as a rock that comes thundering down the side of some
mountain from whose brow the winter torrents have torn it; the
foundations of the dull thing have been loosened by floods of rain, and
as it bounds headlong on its way it sets the whole forest in an uproar;
it swerves neither to right nor left till it reaches level ground, but
then for all its fury it can go no further--even so easily did Hector
for a while seem as though he would career through the tents and ships
of the Achaeans till he had reached the sea in his murderous course;
but the closely serried battalions stayed him when he reached them, for
the sons of the Achaeans thrust at him with swords and spears pointed
at both ends, and drove him from them so that he staggered and gave
ground; thereon he shouted to the Trojans, "Trojans, Lycians, and
Dardanians, fighters in close combat, stand firm: the Achaeans have set
themselves as a wall against me, but they will not check me for long;
they will give ground before me if the mightiest of the gods, the
thundering spouse of Juno, has indeed inspired my onset."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Deiphobus son of
Priam went about among them intent on deeds of daring with his round
shield before him, under cover of which he strode quickly forward.
Meriones took aim at him with a spear, nor did he fail to hit the broad
orb of ox-hide; but he was far from piercing it for the spear broke in
two pieces long ere he could do so; moreover Deiphobus had seen it
coming and had held his shield well away from him. Meriones drew back
under cover of his comrades, angry alike at having failed to vanquish
Deiphobus, and having broken his spear. He turned therefore towards the
ships and tents to fetch a spear which he had left behind in his tent.

The others continued fighting, and the cry of battle rose up into the
heavens. Teucer son of Telamon was the first to kill his man, to wit,
the warrior Imbrius, son of Mentor, rich in horses. Until the Achaeans
came he had lived in Pedaeum, and had married Medesicaste, a bastard
daughter of Priam; but on the arrival of the Danaan fleet he had gone
back to Ilius, and was a great man among the Trojans, dwelling near
Priam himself, who gave him like honour with his own sons. The son of
Telamon now struck him under the ear with a spear which he then drew
back again, and Imbrius fell headlong as an ash-tree when it is felled
on the crest of some high mountain beacon, and its delicate green
foliage comes toppling down to the ground. Thus did he fall with his
bronze-dight armour ringing harshly round him, and Teucer sprang
forward with intent to strip him of his armour; but as he was doing so,
Hector took aim at him with a spear. Teucer saw the spear coming and
swerved aside, whereon it hit Amphimachus, son of Cteatus son of Actor,
in the chest as he was coming into battle, and his armour rang rattling
round him as he fell heavily to the ground. Hector sprang forward to
take Amphimachus's helmet from off his temples, and in a moment Ajax
threw a spear at him, but did not wound him, for he was encased all
over in his terrible armour; nevertheless the spear struck the boss of
his shield with such force as to drive him back from the two corpses,
which the Achaeans then drew off. Stichius and Menestheus, captains of
the Athenians, bore away Amphimachus to the host of the Achaeans, while
the two brave and impetuous Ajaxes did the like by Imbrius. As two
lions snatch a goat from the hounds that have it in their fangs, and
bear it through thick brushwood high above the ground in their jaws,
thus did the Ajaxes bear aloft the body of Imbrius, and strip it of its
armour. Then the son of Oileus severed the head from the neck in
revenge for the death of Amphimachus, and sent it whirling over the
crowd as though it had been a ball, till it fell in the dust at
Hector's feet.

Neptune was exceedingly angry that his grandson Amphimachus should have
fallen; he therefore went to the tents and ships of the Achaeans to
urge the Danaans still further, and to devise evil for the Trojans.
Idomeneus met him, as he was taking leave of a comrade, who had just
come to him from the fight, wounded in the knee. His fellow-soldiers
bore him off the field, and Idomeneus having given orders to the
physicians went on to his tent, for he was still thirsting for battle.
Neptune spoke in the likeness and with the voice of Thoas son of
Andraemon who ruled the Aetolians of all Pleuron and high Calydon, and
was honoured among his people as though he were a god. "Idomeneus,"
said he, "lawgiver to the Cretans, what has now become of the threats
with which the sons of the Achaeans used to threaten the Trojans?"

And Idomeneus chief among the Cretans answered, "Thoas, no one, so far
as I know, is in fault, for we can all fight. None are held back
neither by fear nor slackness, but it seems to be the will of almighty
Jove that the Achaeans should perish ingloriously here far from Argos:
you, Thoas, have been always staunch, and you keep others in heart if
you see any fail in duty; be not then remiss now, but exhort all to do
their utmost."

To this Neptune lord of the earthquake made answer, "Idomeneus, may he
never return from Troy, but remain here for dogs to batten upon, who is
this day wilfully slack in fighting. Get your armour and go, we must
make all haste together if we may be of any use, though we are only
two. Even cowards gain courage from companionship, and we two can hold
our own with the bravest."

Therewith the god went back into the thick of the fight, and Idomeneus
when he had reached his tent donned his armour, grasped his two spears,
and sallied forth. As the lightning which the son of Saturn brandishes
from bright Olympus when he would show a sign to mortals, and its gleam
flashes far and wide--even so did his armour gleam about him as he ran.
Meriones his sturdy squire met him while he was still near his tent
(for he was going to fetch his spear) and Idomeneus said:

"Meriones, fleet son of Molus, best of comrades, why have you left the
field? Are you wounded, and is the point of the weapon hurting you? or
have you been sent to fetch me? I want no fetching; I had far rather
fight than stay in my tent."

"Idomeneus," answered Meriones, "I come for a spear, if I can find one
in my tent; I have broken the one I had, in throwing it at the shield
of Deiphobus."

And Idomeneus captain of the Cretans answered, "You will find one
spear, or twenty if you so please, standing up against the end wall of
my tent. I have taken them from Trojans whom I have killed, for I am
not one to keep my enemy at arm's length; therefore I have spears,
bossed shields, helmets, and burnished corslets."

Then Meriones said, "I too in my tent and at my ship have spoils taken
from the Trojans, but they are not at hand. I have been at all times
valorous, and wherever there has been hard fighting have held my own
among the foremost. There may be those among the Achaeans who do not
know how I fight, but you know it well enough yourself."

Idomeneus answered, "I know you for a brave man: you need not tell me.
If the best men at the ships were being chosen to go on an ambush--and
there is nothing like this for showing what a man is made of; it comes
out then who is cowardly and who brave; the coward will change colour
at every touch and turn; he is full of fears, and keeps shifting his
weight first on one knee and then on the other; his heart beats fast as
he thinks of death, and one can hear the chattering of his teeth;
whereas the brave man will not change colour nor be frightened on
finding himself in ambush, but is all the time longing to go into
action--if the best men were being chosen for such a service, no one
could make light of your courage nor feats of arms. If you were struck
by a dart or smitten in close combat, it would not be from behind, in
your neck nor back, but the weapon would hit you in the chest or belly
as you were pressing forward to a place in the front ranks. But let us
no longer stay here talking like children, lest we be ill spoken of;
go, fetch your spear from the tent at once."

On this Meriones, peer of Mars, went to the tent and got himself a
spear of bronze. He then followed after Idomeneus, big with great deeds
of valour. As when baneful Mars sallies forth to battle, and his son
Panic so strong and dauntless goes with him, to strike terror even into
the heart of a hero--the pair have gone from Thrace to arm themselves
among the Ephyri or the brave Phlegyans, but they will not listen to
both the contending hosts, and will give victory to one side or to the
other--even so did Meriones and Idomeneus, captains of men, go out to
battle clad in their bronze armour. Meriones was first to speak. "Son
of Deucalion," said he, "where would you have us begin fighting? On the
right wing of the host, in the centre, or on the left wing, where I
take it the Achaeans will be weakest?"

Idomeneus answered, "There are others to defend the centre--the two
Ajaxes and Teucer, who is the finest archer of all the Achaeans, and is
good also in a hand-to-hand fight. These will give Hector son of Priam
enough to do; fight as he may, he will find it hard to vanquish their
indomitable fury, and fire the ships, unless the son of Saturn fling a
firebrand upon them with his own hand. Great Ajax son of Telamon will
yield to no man who is in mortal mould and eats the grain of Ceres, if
bronze and great stones can overthrow him. He would not yield even to
Achilles in hand-to-hand fight, and in fleetness of foot there is none
to beat him; let us turn therefore towards the left wing, that we may
know forthwith whether we are to give glory to some other, or he to us."

Meriones, peer of fleet Mars, then led the way till they came to the
part of the host which Idomeneus had named.

Now when the Trojans saw Idomeneus coming on like a flame of fire, him
and his squire clad in their richly wrought armour, they shouted and
made towards him all in a body, and a furious hand-to-hand fight raged
under the ships' sterns. Fierce as the shrill winds that whistle upon a
day when dust lies deep on the roads, and the gusts raise it into a
thick cloud--even such was the fury of the combat, and might and main
did they hack at each other with spear and sword throughout the host.
The field bristled with the long and deadly spears which they bore.
Dazzling was the sheen of their gleaming helmets, their fresh-burnished
breastplates, and glittering shields as they joined battle with one
another. Iron indeed must be his courage who could take pleasure in the
sight of such a turmoil, and look on it without being dismayed.

Thus did the two mighty sons of Saturn devise evil for mortal heroes.
Jove was minded to give victory to the Trojans and to Hector, so as to
do honour to fleet Achilles, nevertheless he did not mean to utterly
overthrow the Achaean host before Ilius, and only wanted to glorify
Thetis and her valiant son. Neptune on the other hand went about among
the Argives to incite them, having come up from the grey sea in secret,
for he was grieved at seeing them vanquished by the Trojans, and was
furiously angry with Jove. Both were of the same race and country, but
Jove was elder born and knew more, therefore Neptune feared to defend
the Argives openly, but in the likeness of man, he kept on encouraging
them throughout their host. Thus, then, did these two devise a knot of
war and battle, that none could unloose or break, and set both sides
tugging at it, to the failing of men's knees beneath them.

And now Idomeneus, though his hair was already flecked with grey,
called loud on the Danaans and spread panic among the Trojans as he
leaped in among them. He slew Othryoneus from Cabesus, a sojourner, who
had but lately come to take part in the war. He sought Cassandra, the
fairest of Priam's daughters, in marriage, but offered no gifts of
wooing, for he promised a great thing, to wit, that he would drive the
sons of the Achaeans willy nilly from Troy; old King Priam had given
his consent and promised her to him, whereon he fought on the strength
of the promises thus made to him. Idomeneus aimed a spear, and hit him
as he came striding on. His cuirass of bronze did not protect him, and
the spear stuck in his belly, so that he fell heavily to the ground.
Then Idomeneus vaunted over him saying, "Othryoneus, there is no one in
the world whom I shall admire more than I do you, if you indeed perform
what you have promised Priam son of Dardanus in return for his
daughter. We too will make you an offer; we will give you the loveliest
daughter of the son of Atreus, and will bring her from Argos for you to
marry, if you will sack the goodly city of Ilius in company with
ourselves; so come along with me, that we may make a covenant at the
ships about the marriage, and we will not be hard upon you about gifts
of wooing."

With this Idomeneus began dragging him by the foot through the thick of
the fight, but Asius came up to protect the body, on foot, in front of
his horses which his esquire drove so close behind him that he could
feel their breath upon his shoulder. He was longing to strike down
Idomeneus, but ere he could do so Idomeneus smote him with his spear in
the throat under the chin, and the bronze point went clean through it.
He fell as an oak, or poplar, or pine which shipwrights have felled for
ship's timber upon the mountains with whetted axes--even thus did he
lie full length in front of his chariot and horses, grinding his teeth
and clutching at the bloodstained dust. His charioteer was struck with
panic and did not dare turn his horses round and escape: thereupon
Antilochus hit him in the middle of his body with a spear; his cuirass
of bronze did not protect him, and the spear stuck in his belly. He
fell gasping from his chariot and Antilochus, great Nestor's son, drove
his horses from the Trojans to the Achaeans.

Deiphobus then came close up to Idomeneus to avenge Asius, and took aim
at him with a spear, but Idomeneus was on the look-out and avoided it,
for he was covered by the round shield he always bore--a shield of
oxhide and bronze with two arm-rods on the inside. He crouched under
cover of this, and the spear flew over him, but the shield rang out as
the spear grazed it, and the weapon sped not in vain from the strong
hand of Deiphobus, for it struck Hypsenor son of Hippasus, shepherd of
his people, in the liver under the midriff, and his limbs failed
beneath him. Deiphobus vaunted over him and cried with a loud voice
saying, "Of a truth Asius has not fallen unavenged; he will be glad
even while passing into the house of Hades, strong warden of the gate,
that I have sent some one to escort him."

Thus did he vaunt, and the Argives were stung by his saying. Noble
Antilochus was more angry than any one, but grief did not make him
forget his friend and comrade. He ran up to him, bestrode him, and
covered him with his shield; then two of his staunch comrades,
Mecisteus son of Echius, and Alastor, stooped down, and bore him away
groaning heavily to the ships. But Idomeneus ceased not his fury. He
kept on striving continually either to enshroud some Trojan in the
darkness of death, or himself to fall while warding off the evil day
from the Achaeans. Then fell Alcathous son of noble Aesyetes; he was
son-in-law to Anchises, having married his eldest daughter Hippodameia,
who was the darling of her father and mother, and excelled all her
generation in beauty, accomplishments, and understanding, wherefore the
bravest man in all Troy had taken her to wife--him did Neptune lay low
by the hand of Idomeneus, blinding his bright eyes and binding his
strong limbs in fetters so that he could neither go back nor to one
side, but stood stock still like pillar or lofty tree when Idomeneus
struck him with a spear in the middle of his chest. The coat of mail
that had hitherto protected his body was now broken, and rang harshly
as the spear tore through it. He fell heavily to the ground, and the
spear stuck in his heart, which still beat, and made the butt-end of
the spear quiver till dread Mars put an end to his life. Idomeneus
vaunted over him and cried with a loud voice saying, "Deiphobus, since
you are in a mood to vaunt, shall we cry quits now that we have killed
three men to your one? Nay, sir, stand in fight with me yourself, that
you may learn what manner of Jove-begotten man am I that have come
hither. Jove first begot Minos, chief ruler in Crete, and Minos in his
turn begot a son, noble Deucalion. Deucalion begot me to be a ruler
over many men in Crete, and my ships have now brought me hither, to be
the bane of yourself, your father, and the Trojans."

Thus did he speak, and Deiphobus was in two minds, whether to go back
and fetch some other Trojan to help him, or to take up the challenge
single-handed. In the end, he deemed it best to go and fetch Aeneas,
whom he found standing in the rear, for he had long been aggrieved with
Priam because in spite of his brave deeds he did not give him his due
share of honour. Deiphobus went up to him and said, "Aeneas, prince
among the Trojans, if you know any ties of kinship, help me now to
defend the body of your sister's husband; come with me to the rescue of
Alcathous, who being husband to your sister brought you up when you
were a child in his house, and now Idomeneus has slain him."

With these words he moved the heart of Aeneas, and he went in pursuit
of Idomeneus, big with great deeds of valour; but Idomeneus was not to
be thus daunted as though he were a mere child; he held his ground as a
wild boar at bay upon the mountains, who abides the coming of a great
crowd of men in some lonely place--the bristles stand upright on his
back, his eyes flash fire, and he whets his tusks in his eagerness to
defend himself against hounds and men--even so did famed Idomeneus hold
his ground and budge not at the coming of Aeneas. He cried aloud to his
comrades looking towards Ascalaphus, Aphareus, Deipyrus, Meriones, and
Antilochus, all of them brave soldiers--"Hither my friends," he cried,
"and leave me not single-handed--I go in great fear by fleet Aeneas,
who is coming against me, and is a redoubtable dispenser of death
battle. Moreover he is in the flower of youth when a man's strength is
greatest; if I was of the same age as he is and in my present mind,
either he or I should soon bear away the prize of victory."

On this, all of them as one man stood near him, shield on shoulder.
Aeneas on the other side called to his comrades, looking towards
Deiphobus, Paris, and Agenor, who were leaders of the Trojans along
with himself, and the people followed them as sheep follow the ram when
they go down to drink after they have been feeding, and the heart of
the shepherd is glad--even so was the heart of Aeneas gladdened when he
saw his people follow him.

Then they fought furiously in close combat about the body of Alcathous,
wielding their long spears; and the bronze armour about their bodies
rang fearfully as they took aim at one another in the press of the
fight, while the two heroes Aeneas and Idomeneus, peers of Mars,
outvied everyone in their desire to hack at each other with sword and
spear. Aeneas took aim first, but Idomeneus was on the lookout and
avoided the spear, so that it sped from Aeneas' strong hand in vain,
and fell quivering in the ground. Idomeneus meanwhile smote Oenomaus in
the middle of his belly, and broke the plate of his corslet, whereon
his bowels came gushing out and he clutched the earth in the palms of
his hands as he fell sprawling in the dust. Idomeneus drew his spear
out of the body, but could not strip him of the rest of his armour for
the rain of darts that were showered upon him: moreover his strength
was now beginning to fail him so that he could no longer charge, and
could neither spring forward to recover his own weapon nor swerve aside
to avoid one that was aimed at him; therefore, though he still defended
himself in hand-to-hand fight, his heavy feet could not bear him
swiftly out of the battle. Deiphobus aimed a spear at him as he was
retreating slowly from the field, for his bitterness against him was as
fierce as ever, but again he missed him, and hit Ascalaphus, the son of
Mars; the spear went through his shoulder, and he clutched the earth in
the palms of his hands as he fell sprawling in the dust.

Grim Mars of awful voice did not yet know that his son had fallen, for
he was sitting on the summits of Olympus under the golden clouds, by
command of Jove, where the other gods were also sitting, forbidden to
take part in the battle. Meanwhile men fought furiously about the body.
Deiphobus tore the helmet from off his head, but Meriones sprang upon
him, and struck him on the arm with a spear so that the visored helmet
fell from his hand and came ringing down upon the ground. Thereon
Meriones sprang upon him like a vulture, drew the spear from his
shoulder, and fell back under cover of his men. Then Polites, own
brother of Deiphobus passed his arms around his waist, and bore him
away from the battle till he got to his horses that were standing in
the rear of the fight with the chariot and their driver. These took him
towards the city groaning and in great pain, with the blood flowing
from his arm.

The others still fought on, and the battle-cry rose to heaven without
ceasing. Aeneas sprang on Aphareus son of Caletor, and struck him with
a spear in his throat which was turned towards him; his head fell on
one side, his helmet and shield came down along with him, and death,
life's foe, was shed around him. Antilochus spied his chance, flew
forward towards Thoon, and wounded him as he was turning round. He laid
open the vein that runs all the way up the back to the neck; he cut
this vein clean away throughout its whole course, and Thoon fell in the
dust face upwards, stretching out his hands imploringly towards his
comrades. Antilochus sprang upon him and stripped the armour from his
shoulders, glaring round him fearfully as he did so. The Trojans came
about him on every side and struck his broad and gleaming shield, but
could not wound his body, for Neptune stood guard over the son of
Nestor, though the darts fell thickly round him. He was never clear of
the foe, but was always in the thick of the fight; his spear was never
idle; he poised and aimed it in every direction, so eager was he to hit
someone from a distance or to fight him hand to hand.

As he was thus aiming among the crowd, he was seen by Adamas, son of
Asius, who rushed towards him and struck him with a spear in the middle
of his shield, but Neptune made its point without effect, for he
grudged him the life of Antilochus. One half, therefore, of the spear
stuck fast like a charred stake in Antilochus's shield, while the other
lay on the ground. Adamas then sought shelter under cover of his men,
but Meriones followed after and hit him with a spear midway between the
private parts and the navel, where a wound is particularly painful to
wretched mortals. There did Meriones transfix him, and he writhed
convulsively about the spear as some bull whom mountain herdsmen have
bound with ropes of withes and are taking away perforce. Even so did he
move convulsively for a while, but not for very long, till Meriones
came up and drew the spear out of his body, and his eyes were veiled in

Helenus then struck Deipyrus with a great Thracian sword, hitting him
on the temple in close combat and tearing the helmet from his head; the
helmet fell to the ground, and one of those who were fighting on the
Achaean side took charge of it as it rolled at his feet, but the eyes
of Deipyrus were closed in the darkness of death.

On this Menelaus was grieved, and made menacingly towards Helenus,
brandishing his spear; but Helenus drew his bow, and the two attacked
one another at one and the same moment, the one with his spear, and the
other with his bow and arrow. The son of Priam hit the breastplate of
Menelaus's corslet, but the arrow glanced from off it. As black beans
or pulse come pattering down on to a threshing-floor from the broad
winnowing-shovel, blown by shrill winds and shaken by the shovel--even
so did the arrow glance off and recoil from the shield of Menelaus, who
in his turn wounded the hand with which Helenus carried his bow; the
spear went right through his hand and stuck in the bow itself, so that
to his life he retreated under cover of his men, with his hand dragging
by his side--for the spear weighed it down till Agenor drew it out and
bound the hand carefully up in a woollen sling which his esquire had
with him.

Pisander then made straight at Menelaus--his evil destiny luring him on
to his doom, for he was to fall in fight with you, O Menelaus. When the
two were hard by one another the spear of the son of Atreus turned
aside and he missed his aim; Pisander then struck the shield of brave
Menelaus but could not pierce it, for the shield stayed the spear and
broke the shaft; nevertheless he was glad and made sure of victory;
forthwith, however, the son of Atreus drew his sword and sprang upon
him. Pisander then seized the bronze battle-axe, with its long and
polished handle of olive wood that hung by his side under his shield,
and the two made at one another. Pisander struck the peak of Menelaus's
crested helmet just under the crest itself, and Menelaus hit Pisander
as he was coming towards him, on the forehead, just at the rise of his
nose; the bones cracked and his two gore-bedrabbled eyes fell by his
feet in the dust. He fell backwards to the ground, and Menelaus set his
heel upon him, stripped him of his armour, and vaunted over him saying,
"Even thus shall you Trojans leave the ships of the Achaeans, proud and
insatiate of battle though you be, nor shall you lack any of the
disgrace and shame which you have heaped upon myself. Cowardly
she-wolves that you are, you feared not the anger of dread Jove,
avenger of violated hospitality, who will one day destroy your city;
you stole my wedded wife and wickedly carried off much treasure when
you were her guest, and now you would fling fire upon our ships, and
kill our heroes. A day will come when, rage as you may, you shall be
stayed. O father Jove, you, who they say art above all, both gods and
men, in wisdom, and from whom all things that befall us do proceed, how
can you thus favour the Trojans--men so proud and overweening, that
they are never tired of fighting? All things pall after a while--sleep,
love, sweet song, and stately dance--still these are things of which a
man would surely have his fill rather than of battle, whereas it is of
battle that the Trojans are insatiate."

So saying Menelaus stripped the blood-stained armour from the body of
Pisander, and handed it over to his men; then he again ranged himself
among those who were in the front of the fight.

Harpalion son of King Pylaemenes then sprang upon him; he had come to
fight at Troy along with his father, but he did not go home again. He
struck the middle of Menelaus's shield with his spear but could not
pierce it, and to save his life drew back under cover of his men,
looking round him on every side lest he should be wounded. But Meriones
aimed a bronze-tipped arrow at him as he was leaving the field, and hit
him on the right buttock; the arrow pierced the bone through and
through, and penetrated the bladder, so he sat down where he was and
breathed his last in the arms of his comrades, stretched like a worm
upon the ground and watering the earth with the blood that flowed from
his wound. The brave Paphlagonians tended him with all due care; they
raised him into his chariot, and bore him sadly off to the city of
Troy; his father went also with him weeping bitterly, but there was no
ransom that could bring his dead son to life again.

Paris was deeply grieved by the death of Harpalion, who was his host
when he went among the Paphlagonians; he aimed an arrow, therefore, in
order to avenge him. Now there was a certain man named Euchenor, son of
Polyidus the prophet, a brave man and wealthy, whose home was in
Corinth. This Euchenor had set sail for Troy well knowing that it would
be the death of him, for his good old father Polyidus had often told
him that he must either stay at home and die of a terrible disease, or
go with the Achaeans and perish at the hands of the Trojans; he chose,
therefore, to avoid incurring the heavy fine the Achaeans would have
laid upon him, and at the same time to escape the pain and suffering of
disease. Paris now smote him on the jaw under his ear, whereon the life
went out of him and he was enshrouded in the darkness of death.

Thus then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. But Hector had not
yet heard, and did not know that the Argives were making havoc of his
men on the left wing of the battle, where the Achaeans ere long would
have triumphed over them, so vigorously did Neptune cheer them on and
help them. He therefore held on at the point where he had first forced
his way through the gates and the wall, after breaking through the
serried ranks of Danaan warriors. It was here that the ships of Ajax
and Protesilaus were drawn up by the sea-shore; here the wall was at
its lowest, and the fight both of man and horse raged most fiercely.
The Boeotians and the Ionians with their long tunics, the Locrians, the
men of Phthia, and the famous force of the Epeans could hardly stay
Hector as he rushed on towards the ships, nor could they drive him from
them, for he was as a wall of fire. The chosen men of the Athenians
were in the van, led by Menestheus son of Peteos, with whom were also
Pheidas, Stichius, and stalwart Bias; Meges son of Phyleus, Amphion,
and Dracius commanded the Epeans, while Medon and staunch Podarces led
the men of Phthia. Of these, Medon was bastard son to Oileus and
brother of Ajax, but he lived in Phylace away from his own country, for
he had killed the brother of his stepmother Eriopis, the wife of
Oileus; the other, Podarces, was the son of Iphiclus, son of Phylacus.
These two stood in the van of the Phthians, and defended the ships
along with the Boeotians.

Ajax son of Oileus, never for a moment left the side of Ajax, son of
Telamon, but as two swart oxen both strain their utmost at the plough
which they are drawing in a fallow field, and the sweat steams upwards
from about the roots of their horns--nothing but the yoke divides them
as they break up the ground till they reach the end of the field--even
so did the two Ajaxes stand shoulder to shoulder by one another. Many
and brave comrades followed the son of Telamon, to relieve him of his
shield when he was overcome with sweat and toil, but the Locrians did
not follow so close after the son of Oileus, for they could not hold
their own in a hand-to-hand fight. They had no bronze helmets with
plumes of horse-hair, neither had they shields nor ashen spears, but
they had come to Troy armed with bows, and with slings of twisted wool
from which they showered their missiles to break the ranks of the
Trojans. The others, therefore, with their heavy armour bore the brunt
of the fight with the Trojans and with Hector, while the Locrians shot
from behind, under their cover; and thus the Trojans began to lose
heart, for the arrows threw them into confusion.

The Trojans would now have been driven in sorry plight from the ships
and tents back to windy Ilius, had not Polydamas presently said to
Hector, "Hector, there is no persuading you to take advice. Because
heaven has so richly endowed you with the arts of war, you think that
you must therefore excel others in counsel; but you cannot thus claim
preeminence in all things. Heaven has made one man an excellent
soldier; of another it has made a dancer or a singer and player on the
lyre; while yet in another Jove has implanted a wise understanding of
which men reap fruit to the saving of many, and he himself knows more
about it than any one; therefore I will say what I think will be best.
The fight has hemmed you in as with a circle of fire, and even now that
the Trojans are within the wall some of them stand aloof in full
armour, while others are fighting scattered and outnumbered near the
ships. Draw back, therefore, and call your chieftains round you, that
we may advise together whether to fall now upon the ships in the hope
that heaven may vouchsafe us victory, or to beat a retreat while we can
yet safely do so. I greatly fear that the Achaeans will pay us their
debt of yesterday in full, for there is one abiding at their ships who
is never weary of battle, and who will not hold aloof much longer."

Thus spoke Polydamas, and his words pleased Hector well. He sprang in
full armour from his chariot and said, "Polydamas, gather the
chieftains here; I will go yonder into the fight, but will return at
once when I have given them their orders."

He then sped onward, towering like a snowy mountain, and with a loud
cry flew through the ranks of the Trojans and their allies. When they
heard his voice they all hastened to gather round Polydamas, the
excellent son of Panthous, but Hector kept on among the foremost,
looking everywhere to find Deiphobus and prince Helenus, Adamas son of
Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus; living, indeed, and scatheless he
could no longer find them, for the two last were lying by the sterns of
the Achaean ships, slain by the Argives, while the others had been also
stricken and wounded by them; but upon the left wing of the dread
battle he found Alexandrus, husband of lovely Helen, cheering his men
and urging them on to fight. He went up to him and upbraided him.
"Paris," said he, "evil-hearted Paris, fair to see but woman-mad and
false of tongue, where are Deiphobus and King Helenus? Where are Adamas
son of Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus? Where too is Othryoneus? Ilius
is undone and will now surely fall!"

Alexandrus answered, "Hector, why find fault when there is no one to
find fault with? I should hold aloof from battle on any day rather than
this, for my mother bore me with nothing of the coward about me. From
the moment when you set our men fighting about the ships we have been
staying here and doing battle with the Danaans. Our comrades about whom
you ask me are dead; Deiphobus and King Helenus alone have left the
field, wounded both of them in the hand, but the son of Saturn saved
them alive. Now, therefore, lead on where you would have us go, and we
will follow with right goodwill; you shall not find us fail you in so
far as our strength holds out, but no man can do more than in him lies,
no matter how willing he may be."

With these words he satisfied his brother, and the two went towards the
part of the battle where the fight was thickest, about Cebriones, brave
Polydamas, Phalces, Orthaeus, godlike Polyphetes, Palmys, Ascanius, and
Morys son of Hippotion, who had come from fertile Ascania on the
preceding day to relieve other troops. Then Jove urged them on to
fight. They flew forth like the blasts of some fierce wind that strike
earth in the van of a thunderstorm--they buffet the salt sea into an
uproar; many and mighty are the great waves that come crashing in one
after the other upon the shore with their arching heads all crested
with foam--even so did rank behind rank of Trojans arrayed in gleaming
armour follow their leaders onward. The way was led by Hector son of
Priam, peer of murderous Mars, with his round shield before him--his
shield of ox-hides covered with plates of bronze--and his gleaming
helmet upon his temples. He kept stepping forward under cover of his
shield in every direction, making trial of the ranks to see if they
would give way before him, but he could not daunt the courage of the
Achaeans. Ajax was the first to stride out and challenge him. "Sir," he
cried, "draw near; why do you think thus vainly to dismay the Argives?
We Achaeans are excellent soldiers, but the scourge of Jove has fallen
heavily upon us. Your heart, forsooth, is set on destroying our ships,
but we too have hands that can keep you at bay, and your own fair town
shall be sooner taken and sacked by ourselves. The time is near when
you shall pray Jove and all the gods in your flight, that your steeds
may be swifter than hawks as they raise the dust on the plain and bear
you back to your city."

As he was thus speaking a bird flew by upon his right hand, and the
host of the Achaeans shouted, for they took heart at the omen. But
Hector answered, "Ajax, braggart and false of tongue, would that I were
as sure of being son for evermore to aegis-bearing Jove, with Queen
Juno for my mother, and of being held in like honour with Minerva and
Apollo, as I am that this day is big with the destruction of the
Achaeans; and you shall fall among them if you dare abide my spear; it
shall rend your fair body and bid you glut our hounds and birds of prey
with your fat and your flesh, as you fall by the ships of the Achaeans."

With these words he led the way and the others followed after with a
cry that rent the air, while the host shouted behind them. The Argives
on their part raised a shout likewise, nor did they forget their
prowess, but stood firm against the onslaught of the Trojan chieftains,
and the cry from both the hosts rose up to heaven and to the brightness
of Jove's presence.


Agamemnon proposes that the Achaeans should sail home, and
is rebuked by Ulysses--Juno beguiles Jupiter--Hector is

NESTOR was sitting over his wine, but the cry of battle did not escape
him, and he said to the son of Aesculapius, "What, noble Machaon, is
the meaning of all this? The shouts of men fighting by our ships grow
stronger and stronger; stay here, therefore, and sit over your wine,
while fair Hecamede heats you a bath and washes the clotted blood from
off you. I will go at once to the look-out station and see what it is
all about."

As he spoke he took up the shield of his son Thrasymedes that was lying
in his tent, all gleaming with bronze, for Thrasymedes had taken his
father's shield; he grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod spear, and as
soon as he was outside saw the disastrous rout of the Achaeans who, now
that their wall was overthrown, were flying pell-mell before the
Trojans. As when there is a heavy swell upon the sea, but the waves are
dumb--they keep their eyes on the watch for the quarter whence the
fierce winds may spring upon them, but they stay where they are and set
neither this way nor that, till some particular wind sweeps down from
heaven to determine them--even so did the old man ponder whether to
make for the crowd of Danaans, or go in search of Agamemnon. In the end
he deemed it best to go to the son of Atreus; but meanwhile the hosts
were fighting and killing one another, and the hard bronze rattled on
their bodies, as they thrust at one another with their swords and

The wounded kings, the son of Tydeus, Ulysses, and Agamemnon son of
Atreus, fell in with Nestor as they were coming up from their
ships--for theirs were drawn up some way from where the fighting was
going on, being on the shore itself inasmuch as they had been beached
first, while the wall had been built behind the hindermost. The stretch
of the shore, wide though it was, did not afford room for all the
ships, and the host was cramped for space, therefore they had placed
the ships in rows one behind the other, and had filled the whole
opening of the bay between the two points that formed it. The kings,
leaning on their spears, were coming out to survey the fight, being in
great anxiety, and when old Nestor met them they were filled with
dismay. Then King Agamemnon said to him, "Nestor son of Neleus, honour
to the Achaean name, why have you left the battle to come hither? I
fear that what dread Hector said will come true, when he vaunted among
the Trojans saying that he would not return to Ilius till he had fired
our ships and killed us; this is what he said, and now it is all coming
true. Alas! others of the Achaeans, like Achilles, are in anger with me
that they refuse to fight by the sterns of our ships."

Then Nestor knight of Gerene, answered, "It is indeed as you say; it is
all coming true at this moment, and even Jove who thunders from on high
cannot prevent it. Fallen is the wall on which we relied as an
impregnable bulwark both for us and our fleet. The Trojans are fighting
stubbornly and without ceasing at the ships; look where you may you
cannot see from what quarter the rout of the Achaeans is coming; they
are being killed in a confused mass and the battle-cry ascends to
heaven; let us think, if counsel can be of any use, what we had better
do; but I do not advise our going into battle ourselves, for a man
cannot fight when he is wounded."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, if the Trojans are indeed
fighting at the rear of our ships, and neither the wall nor the trench
has served us--over which the Danaans toiled so hard, and which they
deemed would be an impregnable bulwark both for us and our fleet--I see
it must be the will of Jove that the Achaeans should perish
ingloriously here, far from Argos. I knew when Jove was willing to
defend us, and I know now that he is raising the Trojans to like honour
with the gods, while us, on the other hand, he has bound hand and foot.
Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let us bring down the ships
that are on the beach and draw them into the water; let us make them
fast to their mooring-stones a little way out, against the fall of
night--if even by night the Trojans will desist from fighting; we may
then draw down the rest of the fleet. There is nothing wrong in flying
ruin even by night. It is better for a man that he should fly and be
saved than be caught and killed."

Ulysses looked fiercely at him and said, "Son of Atreus, what are you
talking about? Wretch, you should have commanded some other and baser
army, and not been ruler over us to whom Jove has allotted a life of
hard fighting from youth to old age, till we every one of us perish. Is
it thus that you would quit the city of Troy, to win which we have
suffered so much hardship? Hold your peace, lest some other of the
Achaeans hear you say what no man who knows how to give good counsel,
no king over so great a host as that of the Argives should ever have
let fall from his lips. I despise your judgement utterly for what you
have been saying. Would you, then, have us draw down our ships into the
water while the battle is raging, and thus play further into the hands
of the conquering Trojans? It would be ruin; the Achaeans will not go
on fighting when they see the ships being drawn into the water, but
will cease attacking and keep turning their eyes towards them; your
counsel, therefore, sir captain, would be our destruction."

Agamemnon answered, "Ulysses, your rebuke has stung me to the heart. I
am not, however, ordering the Achaeans to draw their ships into the sea
whether they will or no. Someone, it may be, old or young, can offer us
better counsel which I shall rejoice to hear."

Then said Diomed, "Such an one is at hand; he is not far to seek, if
you will listen to me and not resent my speaking though I am younger
than any of you. I am by lineage son to a noble sire, Tydeus, who lies
buried at Thebes. For Portheus had three noble sons, two of whom,
Agrius and Melas, abode in Pleuron and rocky Calydon. The third was the
knight Oeneus, my father's father, and he was the most valiant of them
all. Oeneus remained in his own country, but my father (as Jove and the
other gods ordained it) migrated to Argos. He married into the family
of Adrastus, and his house was one of great abundance, for he had large
estates of rich corn-growing land, with much orchard ground as well,
and he had many sheep; moreover he excelled all the Argives in the use
of the spear. You must yourselves have heard whether these things are
true or no; therefore when I say well despise not my words as though I
were a coward or of ignoble birth. I say, then, let us go to the fight
as we needs must, wounded though we be. When there, we may keep out of
the battle and beyond the range of the spears lest we get fresh wounds
in addition to what we have already, but we can spur on others, who
have been indulging their spleen and holding aloof from battle

Thus did he speak; whereon they did even as he had said and set out,
King Agamemnon leading the way.

Meanwhile Neptune had kept no blind look-out, and came up to them in
the semblance of an old man. He took Agamemnon's right hand in his own
and said, "Son of Atreus, I take it Achilles is glad now that he sees
the Achaeans routed and slain, for he is utterly without remorse--may
he come to a bad end and heaven confound him. As for yourself, the
blessed gods are not yet so bitterly angry with you but that the
princes and counsellors of the Trojans shall again raise the dust upon
the plain, and you shall see them flying from the ships and tents
towards their city."

With this he raised a mighty cry of battle, and sped forward to the
plain. The voice that came from his deep chest was as that of nine or
ten thousand men when they are shouting in the thick of a fight, and it
put fresh courage into the hearts of the Achaeans to wage war and do
battle without ceasing.

Juno of the golden throne looked down as she stood upon a peak of
Olympus and her heart was gladdened at the sight of him who was at once
her brother and her brother-in-law, hurrying hither and thither amid
the fighting. Then she turned her eyes to Jove as he sat on the topmost
crests of many-fountained Ida, and loathed him. She set herself to
think how she might hoodwink him, and in the end she deemed that it
would be best for her to go to Ida and array herself in rich attire, in
the hope that Jove might become enamoured of her, and wish to embrace
her. While he was thus engaged a sweet and careless sleep might be made
to steal over his eyes and senses.

She went, therefore, to the room which her son Vulcan had made her, and
the doors of which he had cunningly fastened by means of a secret key
so that no other god could open them. Here she entered and closed the
doors behind her. She cleansed all the dirt from her fair body with
ambrosia, then she anointed herself with olive oil, ambrosial, very
soft, and scented specially for herself--if it were so much as shaken
in the bronze-floored house of Jove, the scent pervaded the universe of
heaven and earth. With this she anointed her delicate skin, and then
she plaited the fair ambrosial locks that flowed in a stream of golden
tresses from her immortal head. She put on the wondrous robe which
Minerva had worked for her with consummate art, and had embroidered
with manifold devices; she fastened it about her bosom with golden
clasps, and she girded herself with a girdle that had a hundred
tassels: then she fastened her earrings, three brilliant pendants that
glistened most beautifully, through the pierced lobes of her ears, and
threw a lovely new veil over her head. She bound her sandals on to her
feet, and when she had arrayed herself perfectly to her satisfaction,
she left her room and called Venus to come aside and speak to her. "My
dear child," said she, "will you do what I am going to ask of you, or
will you refuse me because you are angry at my being on the Danaan
side, while you are on the Trojan?"

Jove's daughter Venus answered, "Juno, august queen of goddesses,
daughter of mighty Saturn, say what you want, and I will do it for you
at once, if I can, and if it can be done at all."

Then Juno told her a lying tale and said, "I want you to endow me with
some of those fascinating charms, the spells of which bring all things
mortal and immortal to your feet. I am going to the world's end to
visit Oceanus (from whom all we gods proceed) and mother Tethys: they
received me in their house, took care of me, and brought me up, having
taken me over from Rhaea when Jove imprisoned great Saturn in the
depths that are under earth and sea. I must go and see them that I may
make peace between them; they have been quarrelling, and are so angry
that they have not slept with one another this long while; if I can
bring them round and restore them to one another's embraces, they will
be grateful to me and love me for ever afterwards."

Thereon laughter-loving Venus said, "I cannot and must not refuse you,
for you sleep in the arms of Jove who is our king."

As she spoke she loosed from her bosom the curiously embroidered girdle
into which all her charms had been wrought--love, desire, and that
sweet flattery which steals the judgement even of the most prudent. She
gave the girdle to Juno and said, "Take this girdle wherein all my
charms reside and lay it in your bosom. If you will wear it I promise
you that your errand, be it what it may, will not be bootless."

When she heard this Juno smiled, and still smiling she laid the girdle
in her bosom.

Venus now went back into the house of Jove, while Juno darted down from
the summits of Olympus. She passed over Pieria and fair Emathia, and
went on and on till she came to the snowy ranges of the Thracian
horsemen, over whose topmost crests she sped without ever setting foot
to ground. When she came to Athos she went on over the waves of the sea
till she reached Lemnos, the city of noble Thoas. There she met Sleep,
own brother to Death, and caught him by the hand, saying, "Sleep, you
who lord it alike over mortals and immortals, if you ever did me a
service in times past, do one for me now, and I shall be grateful to
you ever after. Close Jove's keen eyes for me in slumber while I hold
him clasped in my embrace, and I will give you a beautiful golden seat,
that can never fall to pieces; my clubfooted son Vulcan shall make it
for you, and he shall give it a footstool for you to rest your fair
feet upon when you are at table."

Then Sleep answered, "Juno, great queen of goddesses, daughter of
mighty Saturn, I would lull any other of the gods to sleep without
compunction, not even excepting the waters of Oceanus from whom all of
them proceed, but I dare not go near Jove, nor send him to sleep unless
he bids me. I have had one lesson already through doing what you asked
me, on the day when Jove's mighty son Hercules set sail from Ilius
after having sacked the city of the Trojans. At your bidding I suffused
my sweet self over the mind of aegis-bearing Jove, and laid him to
rest; meanwhile you hatched a plot against Hercules, and set the blasts
of the angry winds beating upon the sea, till you took him to the
goodly city of Cos, away from all his friends. Jove was furious when he
awoke, and began hurling the gods about all over the house; he was
looking more particularly for myself, and would have flung me down
through space into the sea where I should never have been heard of any
more, had not Night who cows both men and gods protected me. I fled to
her and Jove left off looking for me in spite of his being so angry,
for he did not dare do anything to displease Night. And now you are
again asking me to do something on which I cannot venture."

And Juno said, "Sleep, why do you take such notions as those into your
head? Do you think Jove will be as anxious to help the Trojans, as he
was about his own son? Come, I will marry you to one of the youngest of
the Graces, and she shall be your own--Pasithea, whom you have always
wanted to marry."

Sleep was pleased when he heard this, and answered, "Then swear it to
me by the dread waters of the river Styx; lay one hand on the bounteous
earth, and the other on the sheen of the sea, so that all the gods who
dwell down below with Saturn may be our witnesses, and see that you
really do give me one of the youngest of the Graces--Pasithea, whom I
have always wanted to marry."

Juno did as he had said. She swore, and invoked all the gods of the
nether world, who are called Titans, to witness. When she had completed
her oath, the two enshrouded themselves in a thick mist and sped
lightly forward, leaving Lemnos and Imbrus behind them. Presently they
reached many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, and Lectum where
they left the sea to go on by land, and the tops of the trees of the
forest soughed under the going of their feet. Here Sleep halted, and
ere Jove caught sight of him he climbed a lofty pine-tree--the tallest
that reared its head towards heaven on all Ida. He hid himself behind
the branches and sat there in the semblance of the sweet-singing bird
that haunts the mountains and is called Chalcis by the gods, but men
call it Cymindis. Juno then went to Gargarus, the topmost peak of Ida,
and Jove, driver of the clouds, set eyes upon her. As soon as he did so
he became inflamed with the same passionate desire for her that he had
felt when they had first enjoyed each other's embraces, and slept with
one another without their dear parents knowing anything about it. He
went up to her and said, "What do you want that you have come hither
from Olympus--and that too with neither chariot nor horses to convey

Then Juno told him a lying tale and said, "I am going to the world's
end, to visit Oceanus, from whom all we gods proceed, and mother
Tethys; they received me into their house, took care of me, and brought
me up. I must go and see them that I may make peace between them: they
have been quarrelling, and are so angry that they have not slept with
one another this long time. The horses that will take me over land and
sea are stationed on the lowermost spurs of many-fountained Ida, and I
have come here from Olympus on purpose to consult you. I was afraid you
might be angry with me later on, if I went to the house of Oceanus
without letting you know."

And Jove said, "Juno, you can choose some other time for paying your
visit to Oceanus--for the present let us devote ourselves to love and
to the enjoyment of one another. Never yet have I been so overpowered
by passion neither for goddess nor mortal woman as I am at this moment
for yourself--not even when I was in love with the wife of Ixion who
bore me Pirithous, peer of gods in counsel, nor yet with Danae the
daintily-ancled daughter of Acrisius, who bore me the famed hero
Perseus. Then there was the daughter of Phoenix, who bore me Minos and
Rhadamanthus: there was Semele, and Alcmena in Thebes by whom I begot
my lion-hearted son Hercules, while Semele became mother to Bacchus the
comforter of mankind. There was queen Ceres again, and lovely Leto, and
yourself--but with none of these was I ever so much enamoured as I now
am with you."

Juno again answered him with a lying tale. "Most dread son of Saturn,"
she exclaimed, "what are you talking about? Would you have us enjoy one
another here on the top of Mount Ida, where everything can be seen?
What if one of the ever-living gods should see us sleeping together,
and tell the others? It would be such a scandal that when I had risen
from your embraces I could never show myself inside your house again;
but if you are so minded, there is a room which your son Vulcan has
made me, and he has given it good strong doors; if you would so have
it, let us go thither and lie down."

And Jove answered, "Juno, you need not be afraid that either god or man
will see you, for I will enshroud both of us in such a dense golden
cloud, that the very sun for all his bright piercing beams shall not
see through it."

With this the son of Saturn caught his wife in his embrace; whereon the
earth sprouted them a cushion of young grass, with dew-bespangled
lotus, crocus, and hyacinth, so soft and thick that it raised them well
above the ground. Here they laid themselves down and overhead they were
covered by a fair cloud of gold, from which there fell glittering

Thus, then, did the sire of all things repose peacefully on the crest
of Ida, overcome at once by sleep and love, and he held his spouse in
his arms. Meanwhile Sleep made off to the ships of the Achaeans, to
tell earth-encircling Neptune, lord of the earthquake. When he had
found him he said, "Now, Neptune, you can help the Danaans with a will,
and give them victory though it be only for a short time while Jove is
still sleeping. I have sent him into a sweet slumber, and Juno has
beguiled him into going to bed with her."

Sleep now departed and went his ways to and fro among mankind, leaving
Neptune more eager than ever to help the Danaans. He darted forward
among the first ranks and shouted saying, "Argives, shall we let Hector
son of Priam have the triumph of taking our ships and covering himself
with glory? This is what he says that he shall now do, seeing that
Achilles is still in dudgeon at his ship; we shall get on very well
without him if we keep each other in heart and stand by one another.
Now, therefore, let us all do as I say. Let us each take the best and
largest shield we can lay hold of, put on our helmets, and sally forth
with our longest spears in our hands; I will lead you on, and Hector
son of Priam, rage as he may, will not dare to hold out against us. If
any good staunch soldier has only a small shield, let him hand it over
to a worse man, and take a larger one for himself."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. The son of Tydeus,
Ulysses, and Agamemnon, wounded though they were, set the others in
array, and went about everywhere effecting the exchanges of armour; the
most valiant took the best armour, and gave the worse to the worse man.
When they had donned their bronze armour they marched on with Neptune
at their head. In his strong hand he grasped his terrible sword, keen
of edge and flashing like lightning; woe to him who comes across it in
the day of battle; all men quake for fear and keep away from it.

Hector on the other side set the Trojans in array. Thereon Neptune and
Hector waged fierce war on one another--Hector on the Trojan and
Neptune on the Argive side. Mighty was the uproar as the two forces
met; the sea came rolling in towards the ships and tents of the
Achaeans, but waves do not thunder on the shore more loudly when driven
before the blast of Boreas, nor do the flames of a forest fire roar
more fiercely when it is well alight upon the mountains, nor does the
wind bellow with ruder music as it tears on through the tops of when it
is blowing its hardest, than the terrible shout which the Trojans and
Achaeans raised as they sprang upon one another.

Hector first aimed his spear at Ajax, who was turned full towards him,
nor did he miss his aim. The spear struck him where two bands passed
over his chest--the band of his shield and that of his silver-studded
sword--and these protected his body. Hector was angry that his spear
should have been hurled in vain, and withdrew under cover of his men.
As he was thus retreating, Ajax son of Telamon, struck him with a
stone, of which there were many lying about under the men's feet as
they fought--brought there to give support to the ships' sides as they
lay on the shore. Ajax caught up one of them and struck Hector above
the rim of his shield close to his neck; the blow made him spin round
like a top and reel in all directions. As an oak falls headlong when
uprooted by the lightning flash of father Jove, and there is a terrible
smell of brimstone--no man can help being dismayed if he is standing
near it, for a thunderbolt is a very awful thing--even so did Hector
fall to earth and bite the dust. His spear fell from his hand, but his
shield and helmet were made fast about his body, and his bronze armour
rang about him.

The sons of the Achaeans came running with a loud cry towards him,
hoping to drag him away, and they showered their darts on the Trojans,
but none of them could wound him before he was surrounded and covered
by the princes Polydamas, Aeneas, Agenor, Sarpedon captain of the
Lycians, and noble Glaucus. Of the others, too, there was not one who
was unmindful of him, and they held their round shields over him to
cover him. His comrades then lifted him off the ground and bore him
away from the battle to the place where his horses stood waiting for
him at the rear of the fight with their driver and the chariot; these
then took him towards the city groaning and in great pain. When they
reached the ford of the fair stream of Xanthus, begotten of Immortal
Jove, they took him from off his chariot and laid him down on the
ground; they poured water over him, and as they did so he breathed
again and opened his eyes. Then kneeling on his knees he vomited blood,
but soon fell back on to the ground, and his eyes were again closed in
darkness for he was still stunned by the blow.

When the Argives saw Hector leaving the field, they took heart and set
upon the Trojans yet more furiously. Ajax fleet son of Oileus began by
springing on Satnius son of Enops, and wounding him with his spear: a
fair naiad nymph had borne him to Enops as he was herding cattle by the
banks of the river Satnioeis. The son of Oileus came up to him and
struck him in the flank so that he fell, and a fierce fight between
Trojans and Danaans raged round his body. Polydamas son of Panthous
drew near to avenge him, and wounded Prothoenor son of Areilycus on the
right shoulder; the terrible spear went right through his shoulder, and
he clutched the earth as he fell in the dust. Polydamas vaunted loudly
over him saying, "Again I take it that the spear has not sped in vain
from the strong hand of the son of Panthous; an Argive has caught it in
his body, and it will serve him for a staff as he goes down into the
house of Hades."

The Argives were maddened by this boasting. Ajax son of Telamon was
more angry than any, for the man had fallen close beside him; so he
aimed at Polydamas as he was retreating, but Polydamas saved himself by
swerving aside and the spear struck Archelochus son of Antenor, for
heaven counselled his destruction; it struck him where the head springs
from the neck at the top joint of the spine, and severed both the
tendons at the back of the head. His head, mouth, and nostrils reached
the ground long before his legs and knees could do so, and Ajax shouted
to Polydamas saying, "Think, Polydamas, and tell me truly whether this
man is not as well worth killing as Prothoenor was: he seems rich, and
of rich family, a brother, it may be, or son of the knight Antenor, for
he is very like him."

But he knew well who it was, and the Trojans were greatly angered.
Acamas then bestrode his brother's body and wounded Promachus the
Boeotian with his spear, for he was trying to drag his brother's body
away. Acamas vaunted loudly over him saying, "Argive archers, braggarts
that you are, toil and suffering shall not be for us only, but some of
you too shall fall here as well as ourselves. See how Promachus now
sleeps, vanquished by my spear; payment for my brother's blood has not
been long delayed; a man, therefore, may well be thankful if he leaves
a kinsman in his house behind him to avenge his fall."

His taunts infuriated the Argives, and Peneleos was more enraged than
any of them. He sprang towards Acamas, but Acamas did not stand his
ground, and he killed Ilioneus son of the rich flock-master Phorbas,
whom Mercury had favoured and endowed with greater wealth than any
other of the Trojans. Ilioneus was his only son, and Peneleos now
wounded him in the eye under his eyebrows, tearing the eye-ball from
its socket: the spear went right through the eye into the nape of the
neck, and he fell, stretching out both hands before him. Peneleos then
drew his sword and smote him on the neck, so that both head and helmet
came tumbling down to the ground with the spear still sticking in the
eye; he then held up the head, as though it had been a poppy-head, and
showed it to the Trojans, vaunting over them as he did so. "Trojans,"
he cried, "bid the father and mother of noble Ilioneus make moan for
him in their house, for the wife also of Promachus son of Alegenor will
never be gladdened by the coming of her dear husband--when we Argives
return with our ships from Troy."

As he spoke fear fell upon them, and every man looked round about to
see whither he might fly for safety.

Tell me now, O Muses that dwell on Olympus, who was the first of the
Argives to bear away blood-stained spoils after Neptune lord of the
earthquake had turned the fortune of war. Ajax son of Telamon was first
to wound Hyrtius son of Gyrtius, captain of the staunch Mysians.
Antilochus killed Phalces and Mermerus, while Meriones slew Morys and
Hippotion, Teucer also killed Prothoon and Periphetes. The son of
Atreus then wounded Hyperenor shepherd of his people, in the flank, and
the bronze point made his entrails gush out as it tore in among them;
on this his life came hurrying out of him at the place where he had
been wounded, and his eyes were closed in darkness. Ajax son of Oileus
killed more than any other, for there was no man so fleet as he to
pursue flying foes when Jove had spread panic among them.


Jove awakes, tells Apollo to heal Hector, and the Trojans
again become victorious.

BUT when their flight had taken them past the trench and the set
stakes, and many had fallen by the hands of the Danaans, the Trojans
made a halt on reaching their chariots, routed and pale with fear. Jove
now woke on the crests of Ida, where he was lying with golden-throned
Juno by his side, and starting to his feet he saw the Trojans and
Achaeans, the one thrown into confusion, and the others driving them
pell-mell before them with King Neptune in their midst. He saw Hector
lying on the ground with his comrades gathered round him, gasping for
breath, wandering in mind and vomiting blood, for it was not the
feeblest of the Achaeans who struck him.

The sire of gods and men had pity on him, and looked fiercely on Juno.
"I see, Juno," said he, "you mischief-making trickster, that your
cunning has stayed Hector from fighting and has caused the rout of his
host. I am in half a mind to thrash you, in which case you will be the
first to reap the fruits of your scurvy knavery. Do you not remember
how once upon a time I had you hanged? I fastened two anvils on to your
feet, and bound your hands in a chain of gold which none might break,
and you hung in mid-air among the clouds. All the gods in Olympus were
in a fury, but they could not reach you to set you free; when I caught
any one of them I gripped him and hurled him from the heavenly
threshold till he came fainting down to earth; yet even this did not
relieve my mind from the incessant anxiety which I felt about noble
Hercules whom you and Boreas had spitefully conveyed beyond the seas to
Cos, after suborning the tempests; but I rescued him, and
notwithstanding all his mighty labours I brought him back again to
Argos. I would remind you of this that you may learn to leave off being
so deceitful, and discover how much you are likely to gain by the
embraces out of which you have come here to trick me."

Juno trembled as he spoke, and said, "May heaven above and earth below
be my witnesses, with the waters of the river Styx--and this is the
most solemn oath that a blessed god can take--nay, I swear also by your
own almighty head and by our bridal bed--things over which I could
never possibly perjure myself--that Neptune is not punishing Hector and
the Trojans and helping the Achaeans through any doing of mine; it is
all of his own mere motion because he was sorry to see the Achaeans
hard pressed at their ships: if I were advising him, I should tell him
to do as you bid him."

The sire of gods and men smiled and answered, "If you, Juno, were
always to support me when we sit in council of the gods, Neptune, like
it or no, would soon come round to your and my way of thinking. If,
then, you are speaking the truth and mean what you say, go among the
rank and file of the gods, and tell Iris and Apollo lord of the bow,
that I want them--Iris, that she may go to the Achaean host and tell
Neptune to leave off fighting and go home, and Apollo, that he may send
Hector again into battle and give him fresh strength; he will thus
forget his present sufferings, and drive the Achaeans back in confusion
till they fall among the ships of Achilles son of Peleus. Achilles will
then send his comrade Patroclus into battle, and Hector will kill him
in front of Ilius after he has slain many warriors, and among them my
own noble son Sarpedon. Achilles will kill Hector to avenge Patroclus,
and from that time I will bring it about that the Achaeans shall
persistently drive the Trojans back till they fulfil the counsels of
Minerva and take Ilius. But I will not stay my anger, nor permit any
god to help the Danaans till I have accomplished the desire of the son
of Peleus, according to the promise I made by bowing my head on the day
when Thetis touched my knees and besought me to give him honour."

Juno heeded his words and went from the heights of Ida to great
Olympus. Swift as the thought of one whose fancy carries him over vast
continents, and he says to himself, "Now I will be here, or there," and
he would have all manner of things--even so swiftly did Juno wing her
way till she came to high Olympus and went in among the gods who were
gathered in the house of Jove. When they saw her they all of them came
up to her, and held out their cups to her by way of greeting. She let
the others be, but took the cup offered her by lovely Themis, who was
first to come running up to her. "Juno," said she, "why are you here?
And you seem troubled--has your husband the son of Saturn been
frightening you?"

And Juno answered, "Themis, do not ask me about it. You know what a
proud and cruel disposition my husband has. Lead the gods to table,
where you and all the immortals can hear the wicked designs which he
has avowed. Many a one, mortal and immortal, will be angered by them,
however peaceably he may be feasting now."

On this Juno sat down, and the gods were troubled throughout the house
of Jove. Laughter sat on her lips but her brow was furrowed with care,
and she spoke up in a rage. "Fools that we are," she cried, "to be thus
madly angry with Jove; we keep on wanting to go up to him and stay him
by force or by persuasion, but he sits aloof and cares for nobody, for
he knows that he is much stronger than any other of the immortals. Make
the best, therefore, of whatever ills he may choose to send each one of
you; Mars, I take it, has had a taste of them already, for his son
Ascalaphus has fallen in battle--the man whom of all others he loved
most dearly and whose father he owns himself to be."

When he heard this Mars smote his two sturdy thighs with the flat of
his hands, and said in anger, "Do not blame me, you gods that dwell in
heaven, if I go to the ships of the Achaeans and avenge the death of my
son, even though it end in my being struck by Jove's lightning and
lying in blood and dust among the corpses."

As he spoke he gave orders to yoke his horses Panic and Rout, while he
put on his armour. On this, Jove would have been roused to still more
fierce and implacable enmity against the other immortals, had not
Minerva, alarmed for the safety of the gods, sprung from her seat and
hurried outside. She tore the helmet from his head and the shield from
his shoulders, and she took the bronze spear from his strong hand and
set it on one side; then she said to Mars, "Madman, you are undone; you
have ears that hear not, or you have lost all judgement and
understanding; have you not heard what Juno has said on coming straight
from the presence of Olympian Jove? Do you wish to go through all kinds
of suffering before you are brought back sick and sorry to Olympus,
after having caused infinite mischief to all us others? Jove would
instantly leave the Trojans and Achaeans to themselves; he would come
to Olympus to punish us, and would grip us up one after another, guilty
or not guilty. Therefore lay aside your anger for the death of your
son; better men than he have either been killed already or will fall
hereafter, and one cannot protect every one's whole family."

With these words she took Mars back to his seat. Meanwhile Juno called
Apollo outside, with Iris the messenger of the gods. "Jove," she said
to them, "desires you to go to him at once on Mt. Ida; when you have
seen him you are to do as he may then bid you."

Thereon Juno left them and resumed her seat inside, while Iris and
Apollo made all haste on their way. When they reached many-fountained
Ida, mother of wild beasts, they found Jove seated on topmost Gargarus
with a fragrant cloud encircling his head as with a diadem. They stood
before his presence, and he was pleased with them for having been so
quick in obeying the orders his wife had given them.

He spoke to Iris first. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, tell King Neptune
what I now bid you--and tell him true. Bid him leave off fighting, and
either join the company of the gods, or go down into the sea. If he
takes no heed and disobeys me, let him consider well whether he is
strong enough to hold his own against me if I attack him. I am older
and much stronger than he is; yet he is not afraid to set himself up as
on a level with myself, of whom all the other gods stand in awe."

Iris, fleet as the wind, obeyed him, and as the cold hail or snowflakes
that fly from out the clouds before the blast of Boreas, even so did
she wing her way till she came close up to the great shaker of the
earth. Then she said, "I have come, O dark-haired king that holds the
world in his embrace, to bring you a message from Jove. He bids you
leave off fighting, and either join the company of the gods or go down
into the sea; if, however, you take no heed and disobey him, he says he
will come down here and fight you. He would have you keep out of his
reach, for he is older and much stronger than you are, and yet you are
not afraid to set yourself up as on a level with himself, of whom all
the other gods stand in awe."

Neptune was very angry and said, "Great heavens! strong as Jove may be,
he has said more than he can do if he has threatened violence against
me, who am of like honour with himself. We were three brothers whom
Rhea bore to Saturn--Jove, myself, and Hades who rules the world below.
Heaven and earth were divided into three parts, and each of us was to
have an equal share. When we cast lots, it fell to me to have my
dwelling in the sea for evermore; Hades took the darkness of the realms
under the earth, while air and sky and clouds were the portion that
fell to Jove; but earth and great Olympus are the common property of
all. Therefore I will not walk as Jove would have me. For all his
strength, let him keep to his own third share and be contented without
threatening to lay hands upon me as though I were nobody. Let him keep
his bragging talk for his own sons and daughters, who must perforce
obey him."

Iris fleet as the wind then answered, "Am I really, Neptune, to take
this daring and unyielding message to Jove, or will you reconsider your
answer? Sensible people are open to argument, and you know that the
Erinyes always range themselves on the side of the older person."

Neptune answered, "Goddess Iris, your words have been spoken in season.
It is well when a messenger shows so much discretion. Nevertheless it
cuts me to the very heart that any one should rebuke so angrily another
who is his own peer, and of like empire with himself. Now, however, I
will give way in spite of my displeasure; furthermore let me tell you,
and I mean what I say--if contrary to the desire of myself, Minerva
driver of the spoil, Juno, Mercury, and King Vulcan, Jove spares steep
Ilius, and will not let the Achaeans have the great triumph of sacking
it, let him understand that he will incur our implacable resentment."

Neptune now left the field to go down under the sea, and sorely did the
Achaeans miss him. Then Jove said to Apollo, "Go, dear Phoebus, to
Hector, for Neptune who holds the earth in his embrace has now gone
down under the sea to avoid the severity of my displeasure. Had he not
done so those gods who are below with Saturn would have come to hear of
the fight between us. It is better for both of us that he should have
curbed his anger and kept out of my reach, for I should have had much
trouble with him. Take, then, your tasselled aegis, and shake it
furiously, so as to set the Achaean heroes in a panic; take, moreover,
brave Hector, O Far-Darter, into your own care, and rouse him to deeds
of daring, till the Achaeans are sent flying back to their ships and to
the Hellespont. From that point I will think it well over, how the
Achaeans may have a respite from their troubles."

Apollo obeyed his father's saying, and left the crests of Ida, flying
like a falcon, bane of doves and swiftest of all birds. He found Hector
no longer lying upon the ground, but sitting up, for he had just come
to himself again. He knew those who were about him, and the sweat and
hard breathing had left him from the moment when the will of
aegis-bearing Jove had revived him. Apollo stood beside him and said,
"Hector son of Priam, why are you so faint, and why are you here away
from the others? Has any mishap befallen you?"

Hector in a weak voice answered, "And which, kind sir, of the gods are
you, who now ask me thus? Do you not know that Ajax struck me on the
chest with a stone as I was killing his comrades at the ships of the
Achaeans, and compelled me to leave off fighting? I made sure that this
very day I should breathe my last and go down into the house of Hades."

Then King Apollo said to him, "Take heart; the son of Saturn has sent
you a mighty helper from Ida to stand by you and defend you, even me,
Phoebus Apollo of the golden sword, who have been guardian hitherto not
only of yourself but of your city. Now, therefore, order your horsemen
to drive their chariots to the ships in great multitudes. I will go
before your horses to smooth the way for them, and will turn the
Achaeans in flight."

As he spoke he infused great strength into the shepherd of his people.
And as a horse, stabled and full-fed, breaks loose and gallops
gloriously over the plain to the place where he is wont to take his
bath in the river--he tosses his head, and his mane streams over his
shoulders as in all the pride of his strength he flies full speed to
the pastures where the mares are feeding--even so Hector, when he heard
what the god said, urged his horsemen on, and sped forward as fast as
his limbs could take him. As country peasants set their hounds on to a
homed stag or wild goat--he has taken shelter under rock or thicket,
and they cannot find him, but, lo, a bearded lion whom their shouts
have roused stands in their path, and they are in no further humour for
the chase--even so the Achaeans were still charging on in a body, using
their swords and spears pointed at both ends, but when they saw Hector
going about among his men they were afraid, and their hearts fell down
into their feet.

Then spoke Thoas son of Andraemon, leader of the Aetolians, a man who
could throw a good throw, and who was staunch also in close fight,
while few could surpass him in debate when opinions were divided. He
then with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "What, in
heaven's name, do I now see? Is it not Hector come to life again? Every
one made sure he had been killed by Ajax son of Telamon, but it seems
that one of the gods has again rescued him. He has killed many of us
Danaans already, and I take it will yet do so, for the hand of Jove
must be with him or he would never dare show himself so masterful in
the forefront of the battle. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say;
let us order the main body of our forces to fall back upon the ships,
but let those of us who profess to be the flower of the army stand
firm, and see whether we cannot hold Hector back at the point of our
spears as soon as he comes near us; I conceive that he will then think
better of it before he tries to charge into the press of the Danaans."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. Those who were
about Ajax and King Idomeneus, the followers moreover of Teucer,
Meriones, and Meges peer of Mars called all their best men about them
and sustained the fight against Hector and the Trojans, but the main
body fell back upon the ships of the Achaeans.

The Trojans pressed forward in a dense body, with Hector striding on at
their head. Before him went Phoebus Apollo shrouded in cloud about his
shoulders. He bore aloft the terrible aegis with its shaggy fringe,
which Vulcan the smith had given Jove to strike terror into the hearts
of men. With this in his hand he led on the Trojans.

The Argives held together and stood their ground. The cry of battle
rose high from either side, and the arrows flew from the bowstrings.
Many a spear sped from strong hands and fastened in the bodies of many
a valiant warrior, while others fell to earth midway, before they could
taste of man's fair flesh and glut themselves with blood. So long as
Phoebus Apollo held his aegis quietly and without shaking it, the
weapons on either side took effect and the people fell, but when he
shook it straight in the face of the Danaans and raised his mighty
battle-cry their hearts fainted within them and they forgot their
former prowess. As when two wild beasts spring in the dead of night on
a herd of cattle or a large flock of sheep when the herdsman is not
there--even so were the Danaans struck helpless, for Apollo filled them
with panic and gave victory to Hector and the Trojans.

The fight then became more scattered and they killed one another where
they best could. Hector killed Stichius and Arcesilaus, the one, leader
of the Boeotians, and the other, friend and comrade of Menestheus.
Aeneas killed Medon and Iasus. The first was bastard son to Oileus, and
brother to Ajax, but he lived in Phylace away from his own country, for
he had killed a man, a kinsman of his stepmother Eriopis whom Oileus
had married. Iasus had become a leader of the Athenians, and was son of
Sphelus the son of Boucolos. Polydamas killed Mecisteus, and Polites
Echius, in the front of the battle, while Agenor slew Clonius. Paris
struck Deiochus from behind in the lower part of the shoulder, as he
was flying among the foremost, and the point of the spear went clean
through him.

While they were spoiling these heroes of their armour, the Achaeans
were flying pell-mell to the trench and the set stakes, and were forced
back within their wall. Hector then cried out to the Trojans, "Forward
to the ships, and let the spoils be. If I see any man keeping back on
the other side the wall away from the ships I will have him killed: his
kinsmen and kinswomen shall not give him his dues of fire, but dogs
shall tear him in pieces in front of our city."

As he spoke he laid his whip about his horses' shoulders and called to
the Trojans throughout their ranks; the Trojans shouted with a cry that
rent the air, and kept their horses neck and neck with his own. Phoebus
Apollo went before, and kicked down the banks of the deep trench into
its middle so as to make a great broad bridge, as broad as the throw of
a spear when a man is trying his strength. The Trojan battalions poured
over the bridge, and Apollo with his redoubtable aegis led the way. He
kicked down the wall of the Achaeans as easily as a child who playing
on the sea-shore has built a house of sand and then kicks it down again
and destroys it--even so did you, O Apollo, shed toil and trouble upon
the Argives, filling them with panic and confusion.

Thus then were the Achaeans hemmed in at their ships, calling out to
one another and raising their hands with loud cries every man to
heaven. Nestor of Gerene, tower of strength to the Achaeans, lifted up
his hands to the starry firmament of heaven, and prayed more fervently
than any of them. "Father Jove," said he, "if ever any one in
wheat-growing Argos burned you fat thigh-bones of sheep or heifer and
prayed that he might return safely home, whereon you bowed your head to
him in assent, bear it in mind now, and suffer not the Trojans to
triumph thus over the Achaeans."

All-counselling Jove thundered loudly in answer to the prayer of the
aged son of Neleus. When they heard Jove thunder they flung themselves
yet more fiercely on the Achaeans. As a wave breaking over the bulwarks
of a ship when the sea runs high before a gale--for it is the force of
the wind that makes the waves so great--even so did the Trojans spring
over the wall with a shout, and drive their chariots onwards. The two
sides fought with their double-pointed spears in hand-to-hand
encounter-the Trojans from their chariots, and the Achaeans climbing up
into their ships and wielding the long pikes that were lying on the
decks ready for use in a sea-fight, jointed and shod with bronze.

Now Patroclus, so long as the Achaeans and Trojans were fighting about
the wall, but were not yet within it and at the ships, remained sitting
in the tent of good Eurypylus, entertaining him with his conversation
and spreading herbs over his wound to ease his pain. When, however, he
saw the Trojans swarming through the breach in the wall, while the
Achaeans were clamouring and struck with panic, he cried aloud, and
smote his two thighs with the flat of his hands. "Eurypylus," said he
in his dismay, "I know you want me badly, but I cannot stay with you
any longer, for there is hard fighting going on; a servant shall take
care of you now, for I must make all speed to Achilles, and induce him
to fight if I can; who knows but with heaven's help I may persuade him.
A man does well to listen to the advice of a friend."

When he had thus spoken he went his way. The Achaeans stood firm and
resisted the attack of the Trojans, yet though these were fewer in
number, they could not drive them back from the ships, neither could
the Trojans break the Achaean ranks and make their way in among the
tents and ships. As a carpenter's line gives a true edge to a piece of
ship's timber, in the hand of some skilled workman whom Minerva has
instructed in all kinds of useful arts--even so level was the issue of
the fight between the two sides, as they fought some round one and some
round another.

Hector made straight for Ajax, and the two fought fiercely about the
same ship. Hector could not force Ajax back and fire the ship, nor yet
could Ajax drive Hector from the spot to which heaven had brought him.

Then Ajax struck Caletor son of Clytius in the chest with a spear as he
was bringing fire towards the ship. He fell heavily to the ground and
the torch dropped from his hand. When Hector saw his cousin fallen in
front of the ship he shouted to the Trojans and Lycians saying,
"Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians good in close fight, bate not a jot,
but rescue the son of Clytius lest the Achaeans strip him of his armour
now that he has fallen."

He then aimed a spear at Ajax, and missed him, but he hit Lycophron a
follower of Ajax, who came from Cythera, but was living with Ajax
inasmuch as he had killed a man among the Cythereans. Hector's spear
struck him on the head below the ear, and he fell headlong from the
ship's prow on to the ground with no life left in him. Ajax shook with
rage and said to his brother, "Teucer, my good fellow, our trusty
comrade the son of Mastor has fallen, he came to live with us from
Cythera and whom we honoured as much as our own parents. Hector has
just killed him; fetch your deadly arrows at once and the bow which
Phoebus Apollo gave you."

Teucer heard him and hastened towards him with his bow and quiver in
his hands. Forthwith he showered his arrows on the Trojans, and hit
Cleitus the son of Pisenor, comrade of Polydamas the noble son of
Panthous, with the reins in his hands as he was attending to his
horses; he was in the middle of the very thickest part of the fight,
doing good service to Hector and the Trojans, but evil had now come
upon him, and not one of those who were fain to do so could avert it,
for the arrow struck him on the back of the neck. He fell from his
chariot and his horses shook the empty car as they swerved aside. King
Polydamas saw what had happened, and was the first to come up to the
horses; he gave them in charge to Astynous son of Protiaon, and ordered
him to look on, and to keep the horses near at hand. He then went back
and took his place in the front ranks.

Teucer then aimed another arrow at Hector, and there would have been no
more fighting at the ships if he had hit him and killed him then and
there: Jove, however, who kept watch over Hector, had his eyes on
Teucer, and deprived him of his triumph, by breaking his bowstring for
him just as he was drawing it and about to take his aim; on this the
arrow went astray and the bow fell from his hands. Teucer shook with
anger and said to his brother, "Alas, see how heaven thwarts us in all
we do; it has broken my bowstring and snatched the bow from my hand,
though I strung it this selfsame morning that it might serve me for
many an arrow."

Ajax son of Telamon answered, "My good fellow, let your bow and your
arrows be, for Jove has made them useless in order to spite the
Danaans. Take your spear, lay your shield upon your shoulder, and both
fight the Trojans yourself and urge others to do so. They may be
successful for the moment but if we fight as we ought they will find it
a hard matter to take the ships."

Teucer then took his bow and put it by in his tent. He hung a shield
four hides thick about his shoulders, and on his comely head he set his
helmet well wrought with a crest of horse-hair that nodded menacingly
above it; he grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod spear, and forthwith
he was by the side of Ajax.

When Hector saw that Teucer's bow was of no more use to him, he shouted
out to the Trojans and Lycians, "Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians good
in close fight, be men, my friends, and show your mettle here at the
ships, for I see the weapon of one of their chieftains made useless by
the hand of Jove. It is easy to see when Jove is helping people and
means to help them still further, or again when he is bringing them
down and will do nothing for them; he is now on our side, and is going
against the Argives. Therefore swarm round the ships and fight. If any
of you is struck by spear or sword and loses his life, let him die; he
dies with honour who dies fighting for his country; and he will leave
his wife and children safe behind him, with his house and allotment
unplundered if only the Achaeans can be driven back to their own land,
they and their ships."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Ajax on the other
side exhorted his comrades saying, "Shame on you Argives, we are now
utterly undone, unless we can save ourselves by driving the enemy from
our ships. Do you think, if Hector takes them, that you will be able to
get home by land? Can you not hear him cheering on his whole host to
fire our fleet, and bidding them remember that they are not at a dance
but in battle? Our only course is to fight them with might and main; we
had better chance it, life or death, once for all, than fight long and
without issue hemmed in at our ships by worse men than ourselves."

With these words he put life and soul into them all. Hector then killed
Schedius son of Perimedes, leader of the Phoceans, and Ajax killed
Laodamas captain of foot soldiers and son to Antenor. Polydamas killed
Otus of Cyllene a comrade of the son of Phyleus and chief of the proud
Epeans. When Meges saw this he sprang upon him, but Polydamas crouched
down, and he missed him, for Apollo would not suffer the son of
Panthous to fall in battle; but the spear hit Croesmus in the middle of
his chest, whereon he fell heavily to the ground, and Meges stripped
him of his armour. At that moment the valiant soldier Dolops son of
Lampus sprang upon Lampus was son of Laomedon and noted for his valour,
while his son Dolops was versed in all the ways of war. He then struck
the middle of the son of Phyleus' shield with his spear, setting on him
at close quarters, but his good corslet made with plates of metal saved
him; Phyleus had brought it from Ephyra and the river Selleis, where
his host, King Euphetes, had given it him to wear in battle and protect
him. It now served to save the life of his son. Then Meges struck the
topmost crest of Dolops's bronze helmet with his spear and tore away
its plume of horse-hair, so that all newly dyed with scarlet as it was
it tumbled down into the dust. While he was still fighting and
confident of victory, Menelaus came up to help Meges, and got by the
side of Dolops unperceived; he then speared him in the shoulder, from
behind, and the point, driven so furiously, went through into his
chest, whereon he fell headlong. The two then made towards him to strip
him of his armour, but Hector called on all his brothers for help, and
he especially upbraided brave Melanippus son of Hiketaon, who erewhile
used to pasture his herds of cattle in Percote before the war broke
out; but when the ships of the Danaans came, he went back to Ilius,
where he was eminent among the Trojans, and lived near Priam who
treated him as one of his own sons. Hector now rebuked him and said,
"Why, Melanippus, are we thus remiss? do you take no note of the death
of your kinsman, and do you not see how they are trying to take
Dolops's armour? Follow me; there must be no fighting the Argives from
a distance now, but we must do so in close combat till either we kill
them or they take the high wall of Ilius and slay her people."

He led on as he spoke, and the hero Melanippus followed after.
Meanwhile Ajax son of Telamon was cheering on the Argives. "My
friends," he cried, "be men, and fear dishonour; quit yourselves in
battle so as to win respect from one another. Men who respect each
other's good opinion are less likely to be killed than those who do
not, but in flight there is neither gain nor glory."

Thus did he exhort men who were already bent upon driving back the
Trojans. They laid his words to heart and hedged the ships as with a
wall of bronze, while Jove urged on the Trojans. Menelaus of the loud
battle-cry urged Antilochus on. "Antilochus," said he, "you are young
and there is none of the Achaeans more fleet of foot or more valiant
than you are. See if you cannot spring upon some Trojan and kill him."

He hurried away when he had thus spurred Antilochus, who at once darted
out from the front ranks and aimed a spear, after looking carefully
round him. The Trojans fell back as he threw, and the dart did not
speed from his hand without effect, for it struck Melanippus the proud
son of Hiketaon in the breast by the nipple as he was coming forward,
and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the
ground. Antilochus sprang upon him as a dog springs on a fawn which a
hunter has hit as it was breaking away from its covert, and killed it.
Even so, O Melanippus, did stalwart Antilochus spring upon you to strip
you of your armour; but noble Hector marked him, and came running up to
him through the thick of the battle. Antilochus, brave soldier though
he was, would not stay to face him, but fled like some savage creature
which knows it has done wrong, and flies, when it has killed a dog or a
man who is herding his cattle, before a body of men can be gathered to
attack it. Even so did the son of Nestor fly, and the Trojans and
Hector with a cry that rent the air showered their weapons after him;
nor did he turn round and stay his flight till he had reached his

The Trojans, fierce as lions, were still rushing on towards the ships
in fulfilment of the behests of Jove who kept spurring them on to new
deeds of daring, while he deadened the courage of the Argives and
defeated them by encouraging the Trojans. For he meant giving glory to
Hector son of Priam, and letting him throw fire upon the ships, till he
had fulfilled the unrighteous prayer that Thetis had made him; Jove,
therefore, bided his time till he should see the glare of a blazing
ship. From that hour he was about so to order that the Trojans should
be driven back from the ships and to vouchsafe glory to the Achaeans.
With this purpose he inspired Hector son of Priam, who was eager enough
already, to assail the ships. His fury was as that of Mars, or as when
a fire is raging in the glades of some dense forest upon the mountains;
he foamed at the mouth, his eyes glared under his terrible eye-brows,
and his helmet quivered on his temples by reason of the fury with which
he fought. Jove from heaven was with him, and though he was but one
against many, vouchsafed him victory and glory; for he was doomed to an
early death, and already Pallas Minerva was hurrying on the hour of his
destruction at the hands of the son of Peleus. Now, however, he kept
trying to break the ranks of the enemy wherever he could see them
thickest, and in the goodliest armour; but do what he might he could
not break through them, for they stood as a tower foursquare, or as
some high cliff rising from the grey sea that braves the anger of the
gale, and of the waves that thunder up against it. He fell upon them
like flames of fire from every quarter. As when a wave, raised mountain
high by wind and storm, breaks over a ship and covers it deep in foam,
the fierce winds roar against the mast, the hearts of the sailors fail
them for fear, and they are saved but by a very little from
destruction--even so were the hearts of the Achaeans fainting within
them. Or as a savage lion attacking a herd of cows while they are
feeding by thousands in the low-lying meadows by some wide-watered
shore--the herdsman is at his wit's end how to protect his herd and
keeps going about now in the van and now in the rear of his cattle,
while the lion springs into the thick of them and fastens on a cow so
that they all tremble for fear--even so were the Achaeans utterly
panic-stricken by Hector and father Jove. Nevertheless Hector only
killed Periphetes of Mycenae; he was son of Copreus who was wont to
take the orders of King Eurystheus to mighty Hercules, but the son was
a far better man than the father in every way; he was fleet of foot, a
valiant warrior, and in understanding ranked among the foremost men of
Mycenae. He it was who then afforded Hector a triumph, for as he was
turning back he stumbled against the rim of his shield which reached
his feet, and served to keep the javelins off him. He tripped against
this and fell face upward, his helmet ringing loudly about his head as
he did so. Hector saw him fall and ran up to him; he then thrust a
spear into his chest, and killed him close to his own comrades. These,
for all their sorrow, could not help him for they were themselves
terribly afraid of Hector.

They had now reached the ships and the prows of those that had been
drawn up first were on every side of them, but the Trojans came pouring
after them. The Argives were driven back from the first row of ships,
but they made a stand by their tents without being broken up and
scattered; shame and fear restrained them. They kept shouting
incessantly to one another, and Nestor of Gerene, tower of strength to
the Achaeans, was loudest in imploring every man by his parents, and
beseeching him to stand firm.

"Be men, my friends," he cried, "and respect one another's good
opinion. Think, all of you, on your children, your wives, your
property, and your parents whether these be alive or dead. On their
behalf though they are not here, I implore you to stand firm, and not
to turn in flight."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Minerva lifted
the thick veil of darkness from their eyes, and much light fell upon
them, alike on the side of the ships and on that where the fight was
raging. They could see Hector and all his men, both those in the rear
who were taking no part in the battle, and those who were fighting by
the ships.

Ajax could not bring himself to retreat along with the rest, but strode
from deck to deck with a great sea-pike in his hands twelve cubits long
and jointed with rings. As a man skilled in feats of horsemanship
couples four horses together and comes tearing full speed along the
public way from the country into some large town--many both men and
women marvel as they see him for he keeps all the time changing his
horse, springing from one to another without ever missing his feet
while the horses are at a gallop--even so did Ajax go striding from one
ship's deck to another, and his voice went up into the heavens. He kept
on shouting his orders to the Danaans and exhorting them to defend
their ships and tents; neither did Hector remain within the main body
of the Trojan warriors, but as a dun eagle swoops down upon a flock of
wild-fowl feeding near a river--geese, it may be, or cranes, or
long-necked swans--even so did Hector make straight for a dark-prowed
ship, rushing right towards it; for Jove with his mighty hand impelled
him forward, and roused his people to follow him.

And now the battle again raged furiously at the ships. You would have
thought the men were coming on fresh and unwearied, so fiercely did
they fight; and this was the mind in which they were--the Achaeans did
not believe they should escape destruction but thought themselves
doomed, while there was not a Trojan but his heart beat high with the
hope of firing the ships and putting the Achaean heroes to the sword.

Thus were the two sides minded. Then Hector seized the stern of the
good ship that had brought Protesilaus to Troy, but never bore him back
to his native land. Round this ship there raged a close hand-to-hand
fight between Danaans and Trojans. They did not fight at a distance
with bows and javelins, but with one mind hacked at one another in
close combat with their mighty swords and spears pointed at both ends;
they fought moreover with keen battle-axes and with hatchets. Many a
good stout blade hilted and scabbarded with iron, fell from hand or
shoulder as they fought, and the earth ran red with blood. Hector, when
he had seized the ship, would not loose his hold but held on to its
curved stern and shouted to the Trojans, "Bring fire, and raise the
battle-cry all of you with a single voice. Now has Jove vouchsafed us a
day that will pay us for all the rest; this day we shall take the ships
which came hither against heaven's will, and which have caused us such
infinite suffering through the cowardice of our councillors, who when I
would have done battle at the ships held me back and forbade the host
to follow me; if Jove did then indeed warp our judgements, himself now
commands me and cheers me on."

As he spoke thus the Trojans sprang yet more fiercely on the Achaeans,
and Ajax no longer held his ground, for he was overcome by the darts
that were flung at him, and made sure that he was doomed. Therefore he
left the raised deck at the stern, and stepped back on to the
seven-foot bench of the oarsmen. Here he stood on the look-out, and
with his spear held back any Trojan whom he saw bringing fire to the
ships. All the time he kept on shouting at the top of his voice and
exhorting the Danaans. "My friends," he cried, "Danaan heroes, servants
of Mars, be men my friends, and fight with might and with main. Can we
hope to find helpers hereafter, or a wall to shield us more surely than
the one we have? There is no strong city within reach, whence we may
draw fresh forces to turn the scales in our favour. We are on the plain
of the armed Trojans with the sea behind us, and far from our own
country. Our salvation, therefore, is in the might of our hands and in
hard fighting."

As he spoke he wielded his spear with still greater fury, and when any
Trojan made towards the ships with fire at Hector's bidding, he would
be on the look-out for him, and drive at him with his long spear.
Twelve men did he thus kill in hand-to-hand fight before the ships.


Fire being now thrown on the ship of Protesilaus, Patroclus
fights in the armour of Achilles--He drives the Trojans back,
but is in the end killed by Euphorbus and Hector.

THUS did they fight about the ship of Protesilaus. Then Patroclus drew
near to Achilles with tears welling from his eyes, as from some spring
whose crystal stream falls over the ledges of a high precipice. When
Achilles saw him thus weeping he was sorry for him and said, "Why,
Patroclus, do you stand there weeping like some silly child that comes
running to her mother, and begs to be taken up and carried--she catches
hold of her mother's dress to stay her though she is in a hurry, and
looks tearfully up until her mother carries her--even such tears,
Patroclus, are you now shedding. Have you anything to say to the
Myrmidons or to myself? or have you had news from Phthia which you
alone know? They tell me Menoetius son of Actor is still alive, as also
Peleus son of Aeacus, among the Myrmidons--men whose loss we two should
bitterly deplore; or are you grieving about the Argives and the way in
which they are being killed at the ships, through their own high-handed
doings? Do not hide anything from me but tell me that both of us may
know about it."

Then, O knight Patroclus, with a deep sigh you answered, "Achilles, son
of Peleus, foremost champion of the Achaeans, do not be angry, but I
weep for the disaster that has now befallen the Argives. All those who
have been their champions so far are lying at the ships, wounded by
sword or spear. Brave Diomed son of Tydeus has been hit with a spear,
while famed Ulysses and Agamemnon have received sword-wounds; Eurypylus
again has been struck with an arrow in the thigh; skilled apothecaries
are attending to these heroes, and healing them of their wounds; are
you still, O Achilles, so inexorable? May it never be my lot to nurse
such a passion as you have done, to the baning of your own good name.
Who in future story will speak well of you unless you now save the
Argives from ruin? You know no pity; knight Peleus was not your father
nor Thetis your mother, but the grey sea bore you and the sheer cliffs
begot you, so cruel and remorseless are you. If however you are kept
back through knowledge of some oracle, or if your mother Thetis has
told you something from the mouth of Jove, at least send me and the
Myrmidons with me, if I may bring deliverance to the Danaans. Let me
moreover wear your armour; the Trojans may thus mistake me for you and
quit the field, so that the hard-pressed sons of the Achaeans may have
breathing time--which while they are fighting may hardly be. We who are
fresh might soon drive tired men back from our ships and tents to their
own city."

He knew not what he was asking, nor that he was suing for his own
destruction. Achilles was deeply moved and answered, "What, noble
Patroclus, are you saying? I know no prophesyings which I am heeding,
nor has my mother told me anything from the mouth of Jove, but I am cut
to the very heart that one of my own rank should dare to rob me because
he is more powerful than I am. This, after all that I have gone
through, is more than I can endure. The girl whom the sons of the
Achaeans chose for me, whom I won as the fruit of my spear on having
sacked a city--her has King Agamemnon taken from me as though I were
some common vagrant. Still, let bygones be bygones: no man may keep his
anger for ever; I said I would not relent till battle and the cry of
war had reached my own ships; nevertheless, now gird my armour about
your shoulders, and lead the Myrmidons to battle, for the dark cloud of
Trojans has burst furiously over our fleet; the Argives are driven back
on to the beach, cooped within a narrow space, and the whole people of
Troy has taken heart to sally out against them, because they see not
the visor of my helmet gleaming near them. Had they seen this, there
would not have been a creek nor grip that had not been filled with
their dead as they fled back again. And so it would have been, if only
King Agamemnon had dealt fairly by me. As it is the Trojans have beset
our host. Diomed son of Tydeus no longer wields his spear to defend the
Danaans, neither have I heard the voice of the son of Atreus coming
from his hated head, whereas that of murderous Hector rings in my cars
as he gives orders to the Trojans, who triumph over the Achaeans and
fill the whole plain with their cry of battle. But even so, Patroclus,
fall upon them and save the fleet, lest the Trojans fire it and prevent
us from being able to return. Do, however, as I now bid you, that you
may win me great honour from all the Danaans, and that they may restore
the girl to me again and give me rich gifts into the bargain. When you
have driven the Trojans from the ships, come back again. Though Juno's
thundering husband should put triumph within your reach, do not fight
the Trojans further in my absence, or you will rob me of glory that
should be mine. And do not for lust of battle go on killing the Trojans
nor lead the Achaeans on to Ilius, lest one of the ever-living gods
from Olympus attack you--for Phoebus Apollo loves them well: return
when you have freed the ships from peril, and let others wage war upon
the plain. Would, by father Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, that not a
single man of all the Trojans might be left alive, nor yet of the
Argives, but that we two might be alone left to tear aside the mantle
that veils the brow of Troy."

Thus did they converse. But Ajax could no longer hold his ground for
the shower of darts that rained upon him; the will of Jove and the
javelins of the Trojans were too much for him; the helmet that gleamed
about his temples rang with the continuous clatter of the missiles that
kept pouring on to it and on to the cheek-pieces that protected his
face. Moreover his left shoulder was tired with having held his shield
so long, yet for all this, let fly at him as they would, they could not
make him give ground. He could hardly draw his breath, the sweat rained
from every pore of his body, he had not a moment's respite, and on all
sides he was beset by danger upon danger.

And now, tell me, O Muses that hold your mansions on Olympus, how fire
was thrown upon the ships of the Achaeans. Hector came close up and let
drive with his great sword at the ashen spear of Ajax. He cut it clean
in two just behind where the point was fastened on to the shaft of the
spear. Ajax, therefore, had now nothing but a headless spear, while the
bronze point flew some way off and came ringing down on to the ground.
Ajax knew the hand of heaven in this, and was dismayed at seeing that
Jove had now left him utterly defenceless and was willing victory for
the Trojans. Therefore he drew back, and the Trojans flung fire upon
the ship which was at once wrapped in flame.

The fire was now flaring about the ship's stern, whereon Achilles smote
his two thighs and said to Patroclus, "Up, noble knight, for I see the
glare of hostile fire at our fleet; up, lest they destroy our ships,
and there be no way by which we may retreat. Gird on your armour at
once while I call our people together."

As he spoke Patroclus put on his armour. First he greaved his legs with
greaves of good make, and fitted with ancle-clasps of silver; after
this he donned the cuirass of the son of Aeacus, richly inlaid and
studded. He hung his silver-studded sword of bronze about his
shoulders, and then his mighty shield. On his comely head he set his
helmet, well wrought, with a crest of horse-hair that nodded menacingly
above it. He grasped two redoubtable spears that suited his hands, but
he did not take the spear of noble Achilles, so stout and strong, for
none other of the Achaeans could wield it, though Achilles could do so
easily. This was the ashen spear from Mount Pelion, which Chiron had
cut upon a mountain top and had given to Peleus, wherewith to deal out
death among heroes. He bade Automedon yoke his horses with all speed,
for he was the man whom he held in honour next after Achilles, and on
whose support in battle he could rely most firmly. Automedon therefore
yoked the fleet horses Xanthus and Balius, steeds that could fly like
the wind: these were they whom the harpy Podarge bore to the west wind,
as she was grazing in a meadow by the waters of the river Oceanus. In
the side traces he set the noble horse Pedasus, whom Achilles had
brought away with him when he sacked the city of Eetion, and who,
mortal steed though he was, could take his place along with those that
were immortal.

Meanwhile Achilles went about everywhere among the tents, and bade his
Myrmidons put on their armour. Even as fierce ravening wolves that are
feasting upon a homed stag which they have killed upon the mountains,
and their jaws are red with blood--they go in a pack to lap water from
the clear spring with their long thin tongues; and they reek of blood
and slaughter; they know not what fear is, for it is hunger drives
them--even so did the leaders and counsellors of the Myrmidons gather
round the good squire of the fleet descendant of Aeacus, and among them
stood Achilles himself cheering on both men and horses.

Fifty ships had noble Achilles brought to Troy, and in each there was a
crew of fifty oarsmen. Over these he set five captains whom he could
trust, while he was himself commander over them all. Menesthius of the
gleaming corslet, son to the river Spercheius that streams from heaven,
was captain of the first company. Fair Polydora daughter of Peleus bore
him to ever-flowing Spercheius--a woman mated with a god--but he was
called son of Borus son of Perieres, with whom his mother was living as
his wedded wife, and who gave great wealth to gain her. The second
company was led by noble Eudorus, son to an unwedded woman. Polymele,
daughter of Phylas the graceful dancer, bore him; the mighty slayer of
Argos was enamoured of her as he saw her among the singing women at a
dance held in honour of Diana the rushing huntress of the golden
arrows; he therefore--Mercury, giver of all good--went with her into an
upper chamber, and lay with her in secret, whereon she bore him a noble
son Eudorus, singularly fleet of foot and in fight valiant. When
Ilithuia goddess of the pains of child-birth brought him to the light
of day, and he saw the face of the sun, mighty Echecles son of Actor
took the mother to wife, and gave great wealth to gain her, but her
father Phylas brought the child up, and took care of him, doting as
fondly upon him as though he were his own son. The third company was
led by Pisander son of Maemalus, the finest spearman among all the
Myrmidons next to Achilles' own comrade Patroclus. The old knight
Phoenix was captain of the fourth company, and Alcimedon, noble son of
Laerceus of the fifth.

When Achilles had chosen his men and had stationed them all with their
captains, he charged them straitly saying, "Myrmidons, remember your
threats against the Trojans while you were at the ships in the time of
my anger, and you were all complaining of me. 'Cruel son of Peleus,'
you would say, 'your mother must have suckled you on gall, so ruthless
are you. You keep us here at the ships against our will; if you are so
relentless it were better we went home over the sea.' Often have you
gathered and thus chided with me. The hour is now come for those high
feats of arms that you have so long been pining for, therefore keep
high hearts each one of you to do battle with the Trojans."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they serried
their companies yet more closely when they heard the words of their
king. As the stones which a builder sets in the wall of some high house
which is to give shelter from the winds--even so closely were the
helmets and bossed shields set against one another. Shield pressed on
shield, helm on helm, and man on man; so close were they that the
horse-hair plumes on the gleaming ridges of their helmets touched each
other as they bent their heads.

In front of them all two men put on their armour--Patroclus and
Automedon--two men, with but one mind to lead the Myrmidons. Then
Achilles went inside his tent and opened the lid of the strong chest
which silver-footed Thetis had given him to take on board ship, and
which she had filled with shirts, cloaks to keep out the cold, and good
thick rugs. In this chest he had a cup of rare workmanship, from which
no man but himself might drink, nor would he make offering from it to
any other god save only to father Jove. He took the cup from the chest
and cleansed it with sulphur; this done he rinsed it clean water, and
after he had washed his hands he drew wine. Then he stood in the middle
of the court and prayed, looking towards heaven, and making his
drink-offering of wine; nor was he unseen of Jove whose joy is in
thunder. "King Jove," he cried, "lord of Dodona, god of the Pelasgi,
who dwellest afar, you who hold wintry Dodona in your sway, where your
prophets the Selli dwell around you with their feet unwashed and their
couches made upon the ground--if you heard me when I prayed to you
aforetime, and did me honour while you sent disaster on the Achaeans,
vouchsafe me now the fulfilment of yet this further prayer. I shall
stay here where my ships are lying, but I shall send my comrade into
battle at the head of many Myrmidons. Grant, O all-seeing Jove, that
victory may go with him; put your courage into his heart that Hector
may learn whether my squire is man enough to fight alone, or whether
his might is only then so indomitable when I myself enter the turmoil
of war. Afterwards when he has chased the fight and the cry of battle
from the ships, grant that he may return unharmed, with his armour and
his comrades, fighters in close combat."

Thus did he pray, and all-counselling Jove heard his prayer. Part of it
he did indeed vouchsafe him--but not the whole. He granted that
Patroclus should thrust back war and battle from the ships, but refused
to let him come safely out of the fight.

When he had made his drink-offering and had thus prayed, Achilles went
inside his tent and put back the cup into his chest.

Then he again came out, for he still loved to look upon the fierce
fight that raged between the Trojans and Achaeans.

Meanwhile the armed band that was about Patroclus marched on till they
sprang high in hope upon the Trojans. They came swarming out like wasps
whose nests are by the roadside, and whom silly children love to tease,
whereon any one who happens to be passing may get stung--or again, if a
wayfarer going along the road vexes them by accident, every wasp will
come flying out in a fury to defend his little ones--even with such
rage and courage did the Myrmidons swarm from their ships, and their
cry of battle rose heavenwards. Patroclus called out to his men at the
top of his voice, "Myrmidons, followers of Achilles son of Peleus, be
men my friends, fight with might and with main, that we may win glory
for the son of Peleus, who is far the foremost man at the ships of the
Argives--he, and his close fighting followers. The son of Atreus King
Agamemnon will thus learn his folly in showing no respect to the
bravest of the Achaeans."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they fell in
a body upon the Trojans. The ships rang again with the cry which the
Achaeans raised, and when the Trojans saw the brave son of Menoetius
and his squire all gleaming in their armour, they were daunted and
their battalions were thrown into confusion, for they thought the fleet
son of Peleus must now have put aside his anger, and have been
reconciled to Agamemnon; every one, therefore, looked round about to
see whither he might fly for safety.

Patroclus first aimed a spear into the middle of the press where men
were packed most closely, by the stern of the ship of Protesilaus. He
hit Pyraechmes who had led his Paeonian horsemen from the Amydon and
the broad waters of the river Axius; the spear struck him on the right
shoulder, and with a groan he fell backwards in the dust; on this his
men were thrown into confusion, for by killing their leader, who was
the finest soldier among them, Patroclus struck panic into them all. He
thus drove them from the ship and quenched the fire that was then
blazing--leaving the half-burnt ship to lie where it was. The Trojans
were now driven back with a shout that rent the skies, while the
Danaans poured after them from their ships, shouting also without
ceasing. As when Jove, gatherer of the thunder-cloud, spreads a dense
canopy on the top of some lofty mountain, and all the peaks, the
jutting headlands, and forest glades show out in the great light that
flashes from the bursting heavens, even so when the Danaans had now
driven back the fire from their ships, they took breath for a little
while; but the fury of the fight was not yet over, for the Trojans were
not driven back in utter rout, but still gave battle, and were ousted
from their ground only by sheer fighting.

The fight then became more scattered, and the chieftains killed one
another when and how they could. The valiant son of Menoetius first
drove his spear into the thigh of Areilycus just as he was turning
round; the point went clean through, and broke the bone so that he fell
forward. Meanwhile Menelaus struck Thoas in the chest, where it was
exposed near the rim of his shield, and he fell dead. The son of
Phyleus saw Amphiclus about to attack him, and ere he could do so took
aim at the upper part of his thigh, where the muscles are thicker than
in any other part; the spear tore through all the sinews of the leg,
and his eyes were closed in darkness. Of the sons of Nestor one,
Antilochus, speared Atymnius, driving the point of the spear through
his throat, and down he fell. Maris then sprang on Antilochus in
hand-to-hand fight to avenge his brother, and bestrode the body spear
in hand; but valiant Thrasymedes was too quick for him, and in a moment
had struck him in the shoulder ere he could deal his blow; his aim was
true, and the spear severed all the muscles at the root of his arm, and
tore them right down to the bone, so he fell heavily to the ground and
his eyes were closed in darkness. Thus did these two noble comrades of
Sarpedon go down to Erebus slain by the two sons of Nestor; they were
the warrior sons of Amisodorus, who had reared the invincible Chimaera,
to the bane of many. Ajax son of Oileus sprang on Cleobulus and took
him alive as he was entangled in the crush; but he killed him then and
there by a sword-blow on the neck. The sword reeked with his blood,
while dark death and the strong hand of fate gripped him and closed his

Peneleos and Lycon now met in close fight, for they had missed each
other with their spears. They had both thrown without effect, so now
they drew their swords. Lycon struck the plumed crest of Peneleos'
helmet but his sword broke at the hilt, while Peneleos smote Lycon on
the neck under the ear. The blade sank so deep that the head was held
on by nothing but the skin, and there was no more life left in him.
Meriones gave chase to Acamas on foot and caught him up just as he was
about to mount his chariot; he drove a spear through his right shoulder
so that he fell headlong from the car, and his eyes were closed in
darkness. Idomeneus speared Erymas in the mouth; the bronze point of
the spear went clean through it beneath the brain, crashing in among
the white bones and smashing them up. His teeth were all of them
knocked out and the blood came gushing in a stream from both his eyes;
it also came gurgling up from his mouth and nostrils, and the darkness
of death enfolded him round about.

Thus did these chieftains of the Danaans each of them kill his man. As
ravening wolves seize on kids or lambs, fastening on them when they are
alone on the hillsides and have strayed from the main flock through the
carelessness of the shepherd--and when the wolves see this they pounce
upon them at once because they cannot defend themselves--even so did
the Danaans now fall on the Trojans, who fled with ill-omened cries in
their panic and had no more fight left in them.

Meanwhile great Ajax kept on trying to drive a spear into Hector, but
Hector was so skilful that he held his broad shoulders well under cover
of his ox-hide shield, ever on the look-out for the whizzing of the
arrows and the heavy thud of the spears. He well knew that the fortunes
of the day had changed, but still stood his ground and tried to protect
his comrades.

As when a cloud goes up into heaven from Olympus, rising out of a clear
sky when Jove is brewing a gale--even with such panic stricken rout did
the Trojans now fly, and there was no order in their going. Hector's
fleet horses bore him and his armour out of the fight, and he left the
Trojan host penned in by the deep trench against their will. Many a
yoke of horses snapped the pole of their chariots in the trench and
left their master's car behind them. Patroclus gave chase, calling
impetuously on the Danaans and full of fury against the Trojans, who,
being now no longer in a body, filled all the ways with their cries of
panic and rout; the air was darkened with the clouds of dust they
raised, and the horses strained every nerve in their flight from the
tents and ships towards the city.

Patroclus kept on heading his horses wherever he saw most men flying in
confusion, cheering on his men the while. Chariots were being smashed
in all directions, and many a man came tumbling down from his own car
to fall beneath the wheels of that of Patroclus, whose immortal steeds,
given by the gods to Peleus, sprang over the trench at a bound as they
sped onward. He was intent on trying to get near Hector, for he had set
his heart on spearing him, but Hector's horses were now hurrying him
away. As the whole dark earth bows before some tempest on an autumn day
when Jove rains his hardest to punish men for giving crooked judgement
in their courts, and driving justice therefrom without heed to the
decrees of heaven--all the rivers run full and the torrents tear many a
new channel as they roar headlong from the mountains to the dark sea,
and it fares ill with the works of men--even such was the stress and
strain of the Trojan horses in their flight.

Patroclus now cut off the battalions that were nearest to him and drove
them back to the ships. They were doing their best to reach the city,
but he would not let them, and bore down on them between the river and
the ships and wall. Many a fallen comrade did he then avenge. First he
hit Pronous with a spear on the chest where it was exposed near the rim
of his shield, and he fell heavily to the ground. Next he sprang on
Thestor son of Enops, who was sitting all huddled up in his chariot,
for he had lost his head and the reins had been torn out of his hands.
Patroclus went up to him and drove a spear into his right jaw; he thus
hooked him by the teeth and the spear pulled him over the rim of his
car, as one who sits at the end of some jutting rock and draws a strong
fish out of the sea with a hook and a line--even so with his spear did
he pull Thestor all gaping from his chariot; he then threw him down on
his face and he died while falling. On this, as Erylaus was on coming
to attack him, he struck him full on the head with a stone, and his
brains were all battered inside his helmet, whereon he fell headlong to
the ground and the pangs of death took hold upon him. Then he laid low,
one after the other, Erymas, Amphoterus, Epaltes, Tlepolemus, Echius
son of Damastor, Pyris, Ipheus, Euippus and Polymelus son of Argeas.

Now when Sarpedon saw his comrades, men who wore ungirdled tunics,
being overcome by Patroclus son of Menoetius, he rebuked the Lycians
saying. "Shame on you, where are you flying to? Show your mettle; I
will myself meet this man in fight and learn who it is that is so
masterful; he has done us much hurt, and has stretched many a brave man
upon the ground."

He sprang from his chariot as he spoke, and Patroclus, when he saw
this, leaped on to the ground also. The two then rushed at one another
with loud cries like eagle-beaked crook-taloned vultures that scream
and tear at one another in some high mountain fastness.

The son of scheming Saturn looked down upon them in pity and said to
Juno who was his wife and sister, "Alas, that it should be the lot of
Sarpedon whom I love so dearly to perish by the hand of Patroclus. I am
in two minds whether to catch him up out of the fight and set him down
safe and sound in the fertile land of Lycia, or to let him now fall by
the hand of the son of Menoetius."

And Juno answered, "Most dread son of Saturn, what is this that you are
saying? Would you snatch a mortal man, whose doom has long been fated,
out of the jaws of death? Do as you will, but we shall not all of us be
of your mind. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart, that if
you send Sarpedon safely to his own home, some other of the gods will
be also wanting to escort his son out of battle, for there are many
sons of gods fighting round the city of Troy, and you will make every
one jealous. If, however, you are fond of him and pity him, let him
indeed fall by the hand of Patroclus, but as soon as the life is gone
out of him, send Death and sweet Sleep to bear him off the field and
take him to the broad lands of Lycia, where his brothers and his
kinsmen will bury him with mound and pillar, in due honour to the dead."

The sire of gods and men assented, but he shed a rain of blood upon the
earth in honour of his son whom Patroclus was about to kill on the rich
plain of Troy far from his home.

When they were now come close to one another Patroclus struck
Thrasydemus, the brave squire of Sarpedon, in the lower part of the
belly, and killed him. Sarpedon then aimed a spear at Patroclus and
missed him, but he struck the horse Pedasus in the right shoulder, and
it screamed aloud as it lay, groaning in the dust until the life went
out of it. The other two horses began to plunge; the pole of the
chariot cracked and they got entangled in the reins through the fall of
the horse that was yoked along with them; but Automedon knew what to
do; without the loss of a moment he drew the keen blade that hung by
his sturdy thigh and cut the third horse adrift; whereon the other two
righted themselves, and pulling hard at the reins again went together
into battle.

Sarpedon now took a second aim at Patroclus, and again missed him, the
point of the spear passed over his left shoulder without hitting him.
Patroclus then aimed in his turn, and the spear sped not from his hand
in vain, for he hit Sarpedon just where the midriff surrounds the
ever-beating heart. He fell like some oak or silver poplar or tall pine
to which woodmen have laid their axes upon the mountains to make timber
for ship-building--even so did he lie stretched at full length in front
of his chariot and horses, moaning and clutching at the blood-stained
dust. As when a lion springs with a bound upon a herd of cattle and
fastens on a great black bull which dies bellowing in its
clutches--even so did the leader of the Lycian warriors struggle in
death as he fell by the hand of Patroclus. He called on his trusty
comrade and said, "Glaucus, my brother, hero among heroes, put forth
all your strength, fight with might and main, now if ever quit yourself
like a valiant soldier. First go about among the Lycian captains and
bid them fight for Sarpedon; then yourself also do battle to save my
armour from being taken. My name will haunt you henceforth and for ever
if the Achaeans rob me of my armour now that I have fallen at their
ships. Do your very utmost and call all my people together."

Death closed his eyes as he spoke. Patroclus planted his heel on his
breast and drew the spear from his body, whereon his senses came out
along with it, and he drew out both spear-point and Sarpedon's soul at
the same time. Hard by the Myrmidons held his snorting steeds, who were
wild with panic at finding themselves deserted by their lords.

Glaucus was overcome with grief when he heard what Sarpedon said, for
he could not help him. He had to support his arm with his other hand,
being in great pain through the wound which Teucer's arrow had given
him when Teucer was defending the wall as he, Glaucus, was assailing
it. Therefore he prayed to far-darting Apollo saying, "Hear me O king
from your seat, may be in the rich land of Lycia, or may be in Troy,
for in all places you can hear the prayer of one who is in distress, as
I now am. I have a grievous wound; my hand is aching with pain, there
is no staunching the blood, and my whole arm drags by reason of my
hurt, so that I cannot grasp my sword nor go among my foes and fight
them, though our prince, Jove's son Sarpedon, is slain. Jove defended
not his son, do you, therefore, O king, heal me of my wound, ease my
pain and grant me strength both to cheer on the Lycians and to fight
along with them round the body of him who has fallen."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He eased his pain,
staunched the black blood from the wound, and gave him new strength.
Glaucus perceived this, and was thankful that the mighty god had
answered his prayer; forthwith, therefore, he went among the Lycian
captains, and bade them come to fight about the body of Sarpedon. From
these he strode on among the Trojans to Polydamas son of Panthous and
Agenor; he then went in search of Aeneas and Hector, and when he had
found them he said, "Hector, you have utterly forgotten your allies,
who languish here for your sake far from friends and home while you do
nothing to support them. Sarpedon leader of the Lycian warriors has
fallen--he who was at once the right and might of Lycia; Mars has laid
him low by the spear of Patroclus. Stand by him, my friends, and suffer
not the Myrmidons to strip him of his armour, nor to treat his body
with contumely in revenge for all the Danaans whom we have speared at
the ships."

As he spoke the Trojans were plunged in extreme and ungovernable grief;
for Sarpedon, alien though he was, had been one of the main stays of
their city, both as having much people with him, and himself the
foremost among them all. Led by Hector, who was infuriated by the fall
of Sarpedon, they made instantly for the Danaans with all their might,
while the undaunted spirit of Patroclus son of Menoetius cheered on the
Achaeans. First he spoke to the two Ajaxes, men who needed no bidding.
"Ajaxes," said he, "may it now please you to show yourselves the men
you have always been, or even better--Sarpedon is fallen--he who was
first to overleap the wall of the Achaeans; let us take the body and
outrage it; let us strip the armour from his shoulders, and kill his
comrades if they try to rescue his body."

He spoke to men who of themselves were full eager; both sides,
therefore, the Trojans and Lycians on the one hand, and the Myrmidons
and Achaeans on the other, strengthened their battalions, and fought
desperately about the body of Sarpedon, shouting fiercely the while.
Mighty was the din of their armour as they came together, and Jove shed
a thick darkness over the fight, to increase the toil of the battle
over the body of his son.

At first the Trojans made some headway against the Achaeans, for one of
the best men among the Myrmidons was killed, Epeigeus, son of noble
Agacles who had erewhile been king in the good city of Budeum; but
presently, having killed a valiant kinsman of his own, he took refuge
with Peleus and Thetis, who sent him to Ilius the land of noble steeds
to fight the Trojans under Achilles. Hector now struck him on the head
with a stone just as he had caught hold of the body, and his brains
inside his helmet were all battered in, so that he fell face foremost
upon the body of Sarpedon, and there died. Patroclus was enraged by the
death of his comrade, and sped through the front ranks as swiftly as a
hawk that swoops down on a flock of daws or starlings. Even so swiftly,
O noble knight Patroclus, did you make straight for the Lycians and
Trojans to avenge your comrade. Forthwith he struck Sthenelaus the son
of Ithaemenes on the neck with a stone, and broke the tendons that join
it to the head and spine. On this Hector and the front rank of his men
gave ground. As far as a man can throw a javelin when competing for
some prize, or even in battle--so far did the Trojans now retreat
before the Achaeans. Glaucus, captain of the Lycians, was the first to
rally them, by killing Bathycles son of Chalcon who lived in Hellas and
was the richest man among the Myrmidons. Glaucus turned round suddenly,
just as Bathycles who was pursuing him was about to lay hold of him,
and drove his spear right into the middle of his chest, whereon he fell
heavily to the ground, and the fall of so good a man filled the
Achaeans with dismay, while the Trojans were exultant, and came up in a
body round the corpse. Nevertheless the Achaeans, mindful of their
prowess, bore straight down upon them.

Meriones then killed a helmed warrior of the Trojans, Laogonus son of
Onetor, who was priest of Jove of Mt. Ida, and was honoured by the
people as though he were a god. Meriones struck him under the jaw and
ear, so that life went out of him and the darkness of death laid hold
upon him. Aeneas then aimed a spear at Meriones, hoping to hit him
under the shield as he was advancing, but Meriones saw it coming and
stooped forward to avoid it, whereon the spear flew past him and the
point stuck in the ground, while the butt-end went on quivering till
Mars robbed it of its force. The spear, therefore, sped from Aeneas's
hand in vain and fell quivering to the ground. Aeneas was angry and
said, "Meriones, you are a good dancer, but if I had hit you my spear
would soon have made an end of you."

And Meriones answered, "Aeneas, for all your bravery, you will not be
able to make an end of every one who comes against you. You are only a
mortal like myself, and if I were to hit you in the middle of your
shield with my spear, however strong and self-confident you may be, I
should soon vanquish you, and you would yield your life to Hades of the
noble steeds."

On this the son of Menoetius rebuked him and said, "Meriones, hero
though you be, you should not speak thus; taunting speeches, my good
friend, will not make the Trojans draw away from the dead body; some of
them must go under ground first; blows for battle, and words for
council; fight, therefore, and say nothing."

He led the way as he spoke and the hero went forward with him. As the
sound of woodcutters in some forest glade upon the mountains--and the
thud of their axes is heard afar--even such a din now rose from
earth-clash of bronze armour and of good ox-hide shields, as men smote
each other with their swords and spears pointed at both ends. A man had
need of good eyesight now to know Sarpedon, so covered was he from head
to foot with spears and blood and dust. Men swarmed about the body, as
flies that buzz round the full milk-pails in spring when they are
brimming with milk--even so did they gather round Sarpedon; nor did
Jove turn his keen eyes away for one moment from the fight, but kept
looking at it all the time, for he was settling how best to kill
Patroclus, and considering whether Hector should be allowed to end him
now in the fight round the body of Sarpedon, and strip him of his
armour, or whether he should let him give yet further trouble to the
Trojans. In the end, he deemed it best that the brave squire of
Achilles son of Peleus should drive Hector and the Trojans back towards
the city and take the lives of many. First, therefore, he made Hector
turn fainthearted, whereon he mounted his chariot and fled, bidding the
other Trojans fly also, for he saw that the scales of Jove had turned
against him. Neither would the brave Lycians stand firm; they were
dismayed when they saw their king lying struck to the heart amid a heap
of corpses--for when the son of Saturn made the fight wax hot many had
fallen above him. The Achaeans, therefore stripped the gleaming armour
from his shoulders and the brave son of Menoetius gave it to his men to
take to the ships. Then Jove lord of the storm-cloud said to Apollo,
"Dear Phoebus, go, I pray you, and take Sarpedon out of range of the
weapons; cleanse the black blood from off him, and then bear him a long
way off where you may wash him in the river, anoint him with ambrosia,
and clothe him in immortal raiment; this done, commit him to the arms
of the two fleet messengers, Death, and Sleep, who will carry him
straightway to the rich land of Lycia, where his brothers and kinsmen
will inter him, and will raise both mound and pillar to his memory, in
due honour to the dead."

Thus he spoke. Apollo obeyed his father's saying, and came down from
the heights of Ida into the thick of the fight; forthwith he took
Sarpedon out of range of the weapons, and then bore him a long way off,
where he washed him in the river, anointed him with ambrosia and
clothed him in immortal raiment; this done, he committed him to the
arms of the two fleet messengers, Death, and Sleep, who presently set
him down in the rich land of Lycia.

Meanwhile Patroclus, with many a shout to his horses and to Automedon,
pursued the Trojans and Lycians in the pride and foolishness of his
heart. Had he but obeyed the bidding of the son of Peleus, he would
have escaped death and have been scatheless; but the counsels of Jove
pass man's understanding; he will put even a brave man to flight and
snatch victory from his grasp, or again he will set him on to fight, as
he now did when he put a high spirit into the heart of Patroclus.

Who then first, and who last, was slain by you, O Patroclus, when the
gods had now called you to meet your doom? First Adrestus, Autonous,
Echeclus, Perimus the son of Megas, Epistor and Melanippus; after these
he killed Elasus, Mulius, and Pylartes. These he slew, but the rest
saved themselves by flight.

The sons of the Achaeans would now have taken Troy by the hands of
Patroclus, for his spear flew in all directions, had not Phoebus Apollo
taken his stand upon the wall to defeat his purpose and to aid the
Trojans. Thrice did Patroclus charge at an angle of the high wall, and
thrice did Apollo beat him back, striking his shield with his own
immortal hands. When Patroclus was coming on like a god for yet a
fourth time, Apollo shouted to him with an awful voice and said, "Draw
back, noble Patroclus, it is not your lot to sack the city of the
Trojan chieftains, nor yet will it be that of Achilles who is a far
better man than you are." On hearing this, Patroclus withdrew to some
distance and avoided the anger of Apollo.

Meanwhile Hector was waiting with his horses inside the Scaean gates,
in doubt whether to drive out again and go on fighting, or to call the
army inside the gates. As he was thus doubting Phoebus Apollo drew near
him in the likeness of a young and lusty warrior Asius, who was
Hector's uncle, being own brother to Hecuba, and son of Dymas who lived
in Phrygia by the waters of the river Sangarius; in his likeness Jove's
son Apollo now spoke to Hector saying, "Hector, why have you left off
fighting? It is ill done of you. If I were as much better a man than
you, as I am worse, you should soon rue your slackness. Drive straight
towards Patroclus, if so be that Apollo may grant you a triumph over
him, and you may rule him."

With this the god went back into the hurly-burly, and Hector bade
Cebriones drive again into the fight. Apollo passed in among them, and
struck panic into the Argives, while he gave triumph to Hector and the
Trojans. Hector let the other Danaans alone and killed no man, but
drove straight at Patroclus. Patroclus then sprang from his chariot to
the ground, with a spear in his left hand, and in his right a jagged
stone as large as his hand could hold. He stood still and threw it, nor
did it go far without hitting some one; the cast was not in vain, for
the stone struck Cebriones, Hector's charioteer, a bastard son of
Priam, as he held the reins in his hands. The stone hit him on the
forehead and drove his brows into his head for the bone was smashed,
and his eyes fell to the ground at his feet. He dropped dead from his
chariot as though he were diving, and there was no more life left in
him. Over him did you then vaunt, O knight Patroclus, saying, "Bless my
heart, how active he is, and how well he dives. If we had been at sea
this fellow would have dived from the ship's side and brought up as
many oysters as the whole crew could stomach, even in rough water, for
he has dived beautifully off his chariot on to the ground. It seems,
then, that there are divers also among the Trojans."

As he spoke he flung himself on Cebriones with the spring, as it were,
of a lion that while attacking a stockyard is himself struck in the
chest, and his courage is his own bane--even so furiously, O Patroclus,
did you then spring upon Cebriones. Hector sprang also from his chariot
to the ground. The pair then fought over the body of Cebriones. As two
lions fight fiercely on some high mountain over the body of a stag that
they have killed, even so did these two mighty warriors, Patroclus son
of Menoetius and brave Hector, hack and hew at one another over the
corpse of Cebriones. Hector would not let him go when he had once got
him by the head, while Patroclus kept fast hold of his feet, and a
fierce fight raged between the other Danaans and Trojans. As the east
and south wind buffet one another when they beat upon some dense forest
on the mountains--there is beech and ash and spreading cornel; the top
of the trees roar as they beat on one another, and one can hear the
boughs cracking and breaking--even so did the Trojans and Achaeans
spring upon one another and lay about each other, and neither side
would give way. Many a pointed spear fell to ground and many a winged
arrow sped from its bow-string about the body of Cebriones; many a
great stone, moreover, beat on many a shield as they fought around his
body, but there he lay in the whirling clouds of dust, all huge and
hugely, heedless of his driving now.

So long as the sun was still high in mid-heaven the weapons of either
side were alike deadly, and the people fell; but when he went down
towards the time when men loose their oxen, the Achaeans proved to be
beyond all forecast stronger, so that they drew Cebriones out of range
of the darts and tumult of the Trojans, and stripped the armour from
his shoulders. Then Patroclus sprang like Mars with fierce intent and a
terrific shout upon the Trojans, and thrice did he kill nine men; but
as he was coming on like a god for a time, then, O Patroclus, was the
hour of your end approaching, for Phoebus fought you in fell earnest.
Patroclus did not see him as he moved about in the crush, for he was
enshrouded in thick darkness, and the god struck him from behind on his
back and his broad shoulders with the flat of his hand, so that his
eyes turned dizzy. Phoebus Apollo beat the helmet from off his head,
and it rolled rattling off under the horses' feet, where its horse-hair
plumes were all begrimed with dust and blood. Never indeed had that
helmet fared so before, for it had served to protect the head and
comely forehead of the godlike hero Achilles. Now, however, Zeus
delivered it over to be worn by Hector. Nevertheless the end of Hector
also was near. The bronze-shod spear, so great and so strong, was
broken in the hand of Patroclus, while his shield that covered him from
head to foot fell to the ground as did also the band that held it, and
Apollo undid the fastenings of his corslet.

On this his mind became clouded; his limbs failed him, and he stood as
one dazed; whereon Euphorbus son of Panthous a Dardanian, the best
spearman of his time, as also the finest horseman and fleetest runner,
came behind him and struck him in the back with a spear, midway between
the shoulders. This man as soon as ever he had come up with his chariot
had dismounted twenty men, so proficient was he in all the arts of
war--he it was, O knight Patroclus, that first drove a weapon into you,
but he did not quite overpower you. Euphorbus then ran back into the
crowd, after drawing his ashen spear out of the wound; he would not
stand firm and wait for Patroclus, unarmed though he now was, to attack
him; but Patroclus unnerved, alike by the blow the god had given him
and by the spear-wound, drew back under cover of his men in fear for
his life. Hector on this, seeing him to be wounded and giving ground,
forced his way through the ranks, and when close up with him struck him
in the lower part of the belly with a spear, driving the bronze point
right through it, so that he fell heavily to the ground to the great
grief of the Achaeans. As when a lion has fought some fierce wild-boar
and worsted him--the two fight furiously upon the mountains over some
little fountain at which they would both drink, and the lion has beaten
the boar till he can hardly breathe--even so did Hector son of Priam
take the life of the brave son of Menoetius who had killed so many,
striking him from close at hand, and vaunting over him the while.
"Patroclus," said he, "you deemed that you should sack our city, rob
our Trojan women of their freedom, and carry them off in your ships to
your own country. Fool; Hector and his fleet horses were ever straining
their utmost to defend them. I am foremost of all the Trojan warriors
to stave the day of bondage from off them; as for you, vultures shall
devour you here. Poor wretch, Achilles with all his bravery availed you
nothing; and yet I ween when you left him he charged you straitly
saying, 'Come not back to the ships, knight Patroclus, till you have
rent the bloodstained shirt of murderous Hector about his body.' Thus I
ween did he charge you, and your fool's heart answered him 'yea' within

Then, as the life ebbed out of you, you answered, O knight Patroclus:
"Hector, vaunt as you will, for Jove the son of Saturn and Apollo have
vouchsafed you victory; it is they who have vanquished me so easily,
and they who have stripped the armour from my shoulders; had twenty
such men as you attacked me, all of them would have fallen before my
spear. Fate and the son of Leto have overpowered me, and among mortal
men Euphorbus; you are yourself third only in the killing of me. I say
further, and lay my saying to your heart, you too shall live but for a
little season; death and the day of your doom are close upon you, and
they will lay you low by the hand of Achilles son of Aeacus."

When he had thus spoken his eyes were closed in death, his soul left
his body and flitted down to the house of Hades, mourning its sad fate
and bidding farewell to the youth and vigor of its manhood. Dead though
he was, Hector still spoke to him saying, "Patroclus, why should you
thus foretell my doom? Who knows but Achilles, son of lovely Thetis,
may be smitten by my spear and die before me?"

As he spoke he drew the bronze spear from the wound, planting his foot
upon the body, which he thrust off and let lie on its back. He then
went spear in hand after Automedon, squire of the fleet descendant of
Aeacus, for he longed to lay him low, but the immortal steeds which the
gods had given as a rich gift to Peleus bore him swiftly from the field.


The light around the body of Patroclus.

BRAVE Menelaus son of Atreus now came to know that Patroclus had
fallen, and made his way through the front ranks clad in full armour to
bestride him. As a cow stands lowing over her first calf, even so did
yellow-haired Menelaus bestride Patroclus. He held his round shield and
his spear in front of him, resolute to kill any who should dare face
him. But the son of Panthous had also noted the body, and came up to
Menelaus saying, "Menelaus, son of Atreus, draw back, leave the body,
and let the bloodstained spoils be. I was first of the Trojans and
their brave allies to drive my spear into Patroclus, let me, therefore,
have my full glory among the Trojans, or I will take aim and kill you."

To this Menelaus answered in great anger "By father Jove, boasting is
an ill thing. The pard is not more bold, nor the lion nor savage
wild-boar, which is fiercest and most dauntless of all creatures, than
are the proud sons of Panthous. Yet Hyperenor did not see out the days
of his youth when he made light of me and withstood me, deeming me the
meanest soldier among the Danaans. His own feet never bore him back to
gladden his wife and parents. Even so shall I make an end of you too,
if you withstand me; get you back into the crowd and do not face me, or
it shall be worse for you. Even a fool may be wise after the event."

Euphorbus would not listen, and said, "Now indeed, Menelaus, shall you
pay for the death of my brother over whom you vaunted, and whose wife
you widowed in her bridal chamber, while you brought grief unspeakable
on his parents. I shall comfort these poor people if I bring your head
and armour and place them in the hands of Panthous and noble Phrontis.
The time is come when this matter shall be fought out and settled, for
me or against me."

As he spoke he struck Menelaus full on the shield, but the spear did
not go through, for the shield turned its point. Menelaus then took
aim, praying to father Jove as he did so; Euphorbus was drawing back,
and Menelaus struck him about the roots of his throat, leaning his
whole weight on the spear, so as to drive it home. The point went clean
through his neck, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell
heavily to the ground. His hair which was like that of the Graces, and
his locks so deftly bound in bands of silver and gold, were all
bedrabbled with blood. As one who has grown a fine young olive tree in
a clear space where there is abundance of water--the plant is full of
promise, and though the winds beat upon it from every quarter it puts
forth its white blossoms till the blasts of some fierce hurricane sweep
down upon it and level it with the ground--even so did Menelaus strip
the fair youth Euphorbus of his armour after he had slain him. Or as
some fierce lion upon the mountains in the pride of his strength
fastens on the finest heifer in a herd as it is feeding--first he
breaks her neck with his strong jaws, and then gorges on her blood and
entrails; dogs and shepherds raise a hue and cry against him, but they
stand aloof and will not come close to him, for they are pale with
fear--even so no one had the courage to face valiant Menelaus. The son
of Atreus would have then carried off the armour of the son of Panthous
with ease, had not Phoebus Apollo been angry, and in the guise of
Mentes chief of the Cicons incited Hector to attack him. "Hector," said
he, "you are now going after the horses of the noble son of Aeacus, but
you will not take them; they cannot be kept in hand and driven by
mortal man, save only by Achilles, who is son to an immortal mother.
Meanwhile Menelaus son of Atreus has bestridden the body of Patroclus
and killed the noblest of the Trojans, Euphorbus son of Panthous, so
that he can fight no more."

The god then went back into the toil and turmoil, but the soul of
Hector was darkened with a cloud of grief; he looked along the ranks
and saw Euphorbus lying on the ground with the blood still flowing from
his wound, and Menelaus stripping him of his armour. On this he made
his way to the front like a flame of fire, clad in his gleaming armour,
and crying with a loud voice. When the son of Atreus heard him, he said
to himself in his dismay, "Alas! what shall I do? I may not let the
Trojans take the armour of Patroclus who has fallen fighting on my
behalf, lest some Danaan who sees me should cry shame upon me. Still if
for my honour's sake I fight Hector and the Trojans single-handed, they
will prove too many for me, for Hector is bringing them up in force.
Why, however, should I thus hesitate? When a man fights in despite of
heaven with one whom a god befriends, he will soon rue it. Let no
Danaan think ill of me if I give place to Hector, for the hand of
heaven is with him. Yet, if I could find Ajax, the two of us would
fight Hector and heaven too, if we might only save the body of
Patroclus for Achilles son of Peleus. This, of many evils would be the

While he was thus in two minds, the Trojans came up to him with Hector
at their head; he therefore drew back and left the body, turning about
like some bearded lion who is being chased by dogs and men from a
stockyard with spears and hue and cry, whereon he is daunted and slinks
sulkily off--even so did Menelaus son of Atreus turn and leave the body
of Patroclus. When among the body of his men, he looked around for
mighty Ajax son of Telamon, and presently saw him on the extreme left
of the fight, cheering on his men and exhorting them to keep on
fighting, for Phoebus Apollo had spread a great panic among them. He
ran up to him and said, "Ajax, my good friend, come with me at once to
dead Patroclus, if so be that we may take the body to Achilles--as for
his armour, Hector already has it."

These words stirred the heart of Ajax, and he made his way among the
front ranks, Menelaus going with him. Hector had stripped Patroclus of
his armour, and was dragging him away to cut off his head and take the
body to fling before the dogs of Troy. But Ajax came up with his shield
like wall before him, on which Hector withdrew under shelter of his
men, and sprang on to his chariot, giving the armour over to the
Trojans to take to the city, as a great trophy for himself; Ajax,
therefore, covered the body of Patroclus with his broad shield and
bestrode him; as a lion stands over his whelps if hunters have come
upon him in a forest when he is with his little ones--in the pride and
fierceness of his strength he draws his knit brows down till they cover
his eyes--even so did Ajax bestride the body of Patroclus, and by his
side stood Menelaus son of Atreus, nursing great sorrow in his heart.

Then Glaucus son of Hippolochus looked fiercely at Hector and rebuked
him sternly. "Hector," said he, "you make a brave show, but in fight
you are sadly wanting. A runaway like yourself has no claim to so great
a reputation. Think how you may now save your town and citadel by the
hands of your own people born in Ilius; for you will get no Lycians to
fight for you, seeing what thanks they have had for their incessant
hardships. Are you likely, sir, to do anything to help a man of less
note, after leaving Sarpedon, who was at once your guest and comrade in
arms, to be the spoil and prey of the Danaans? So long as he lived he
did good service both to your city and yourself; yet you had no stomach
to save his body from the dogs. If the Lycians will listen to me, they
will go home and leave Troy to its fate. If the Trojans had any of that
daring fearless spirit which lays hold of men who are fighting for
their country and harassing those who would attack it, we should soon
bear off Patroclus into Ilius. Could we get this dead man away and
bring him into the city of Priam, the Argives would readily give up the
armour of Sarpedon, and we should get his body to boot. For he whose
squire has been now killed is the foremost man at the ships of the
Achaeans--he and his close-fighting followers. Nevertheless you dared
not make a stand against Ajax, nor face him, eye to eye, with battle
all round you, for he is a braver man than you are."

Hector scowled at him and answered, "Glaucus, you should know better. I
have held you so far as a man of more understanding than any in all
Lycia, but now I despise you for saying that I am afraid of Ajax. I
fear neither battle nor the din of chariots, but Jove's will is
stronger than ours; Jove at one time makes even a strong man draw back
and snatches victory from his grasp, while at another he will set him
on to fight. Come hither then, my friend, stand by me and see indeed
whether I shall play the coward the whole day through as you say, or
whether I shall not stay some even of the boldest Danaans from fighting
round the body of Patroclus."

As he spoke he called loudly on the Trojans saying, "Trojans, Lycians,
and Dardanians, fighters in close combat, be men, my friends, and fight
might and main, while I put on the goodly armour of Achilles, which I
took when I killed Patroclus."

With this Hector left the fight, and ran full speed after his men who
were taking the armour of Achilles to Troy, but had not yet got far.
Standing for a while apart from the woeful fight, he changed his
armour. His own he sent to the strong city of Ilius and to the Trojans,
while he put on the immortal armour of the son of Peleus, which the
gods had given to Peleus, who in his age gave it to his son; but the
son did not grow old in his father's armour.

When Jove, lord of the storm-cloud, saw Hector standing aloof and
arming himself in the armour of the son of Peleus, he wagged his head
and muttered to himself saying, "A! poor wretch, you arm in the armour
of a hero, before whom many another trembles, and you reck nothing of
the doom that is already close upon you. You have killed his comrade so
brave and strong, but it was not well that you should strip the armour
from his head and shoulders. I do indeed endow you with great might
now, but as against this you shall not return from battle to lay the
armour of the son of Peleus before Andromache."

The son of Saturn bowed his portentous brows, and Hector fitted the
armour to his body, while terrible Mars entered into him, and filled
his whole body with might and valour. With a shout he strode in among
the allies, and his armour flashed about him so that he seemed to all
of them like the great son of Peleus himself. He went about among them
and cheered them on--Mesthles, Glaucus, Medon, Thersilochus,
Asteropaeus, Deisenor and Hippothous, Phorcys, Chromius and Ennomus the
augur. All these did he exhort saying, "Hear me, allies from other
cities who are here in your thousands, it was not in order to have a
crowd about me that I called you hither each from his several city, but
that with heart and soul you might defend the wives and little ones of
the Trojans from the fierce Achaeans. For this do I oppress my people
with your food and the presents that make you rich. Therefore turn, and
charge at the foe, to stand or fall as is the game of war; whoever
shall bring Patroclus, dead though he be, into the hands of the
Trojans, and shall make Ajax give way before him, I will give him one
half of the spoils while I keep the other. He will thus share like
honour with myself."

When he had thus spoken they charged full weight upon the Danaans with
their spears held out before them, and the hopes of each ran high that
he should force Ajax son of Telamon to yield up the body--fools that
they were, for he was about to take the lives of many. Then Ajax said
to Menelaus, "My good friend Menelaus, you and I shall hardly come out
of this fight alive. I am less concerned for the body of Patroclus, who
will shortly become meat for the dogs and vultures of Troy, than for
the safety of my own head and yours. Hector has wrapped us round in a
storm of battle from every quarter, and our destruction seems now
certain. Call then upon the princes of the Danaans if there is any who
can hear us."

Menelaus did as he said, and shouted to the Danaans for help at the top
of his voice. "My friends," he cried, "princes and counsellors of the
Argives, all you who with Agamemnon and Menelaus drink at the public
cost, and give orders each to his own people as Jove vouchsafes him
power and glory, the fight is so thick about me that I cannot
distinguish you severally; come on, therefore, every man unbidden, and
think it shame that Patroclus should become meat and morsel for Trojan

Fleet Ajax son of Oileus heard him and was first to force his way
through the fight and run to help him. Next came Idomeneus and Meriones
his esquire, peer of murderous Mars. As for the others that came into
the fight after these, who of his own self could name them?

The Trojans with Hector at their head charged in a body. As a great
wave that comes thundering in at the mouth of some heaven-born river,
and the rocks that jut into the sea ring with the roar of the breakers
that beat and buffet them--even with such a roar did the Trojans come
on; but the Achaeans in singleness of heart stood firm about the son of
Menoetius, and fenced him with their bronze shields. Jove, moreover,
hid the brightness of their helmets in a thick cloud, for he had borne
no grudge against the son of Menoetius while he was still alive and
squire to the descendant of Aeacus; therefore he was loth to let him
fall a prey to the dogs of his foes the Trojans, and urged his comrades
on to defend him.

At first the Trojans drove the Achaeans back, and they withdrew from
the dead man daunted. The Trojans did not succeed in killing any one,
nevertheless they drew the body away. But the Achaeans did not lose it
long, for Ajax, foremost of all the Danaans after the son of Peleus
alike in stature and prowess, quickly rallied them and made towards the
front like a wild boar upon the mountains when he stands at bay in the
forest glades and routs the hounds and lusty youths that have attacked
him--even so did Ajax son of Telamon passing easily in among the
phalanxes of the Trojans, disperse those who had bestridden Patroclus
and were most bent on winning glory by dragging him off to their city.
At this moment Hippothous brave son of the Pelasgian Lethus, in his
zeal for Hector and the Trojans, was dragging the body off by the foot
through the press of the fight, having bound a strap round the sinews
near the ancle; but a mischief soon befell him from which none of those
could save him who would have gladly done so, for the son of Telamon
sprang forward and smote him on his bronze-cheeked helmet. The plumed
headpiece broke about the point of the weapon, struck at once by the
spear and by the strong hand of Ajax, so that the bloody brain came
oozing out through the crest-socket. His strength then failed him and
he let Patroclus' foot drop from his hand, as he fell full length dead
upon the body; thus he died far from the fertile land of Larissa, and
never repaid his parents the cost of bringing him up, for his life was
cut short early by the spear of mighty Ajax. Hector then took aim at
Ajax with a spear, but he saw it coming and just managed to avoid it;
the spear passed on and struck Schedius son of noble Iphitus, captain
of the Phoceans, who dwelt in famed Panopeus and reigned over much
people; it struck him under the middle of the collar-bone the bronze
point went right through him, coming out at the bottom of his
shoulder-blade, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell
heavily to the ground. Ajax in his turn struck noble Phorcys son of
Phaenops in the middle of the belly as he was bestriding Hippothous,
and broke the plate of his cuirass; whereon the spear tore out his
entrails and he clutched the ground in his palm as he fell to earth.
Hector and those who were in the front rank then gave ground, while the
Argives raised a loud cry of triumph, and drew off the bodies of
Phorcys and Hippothous which they stripped presently of their armour.

The Trojans would now have been worsted by the brave Achaeans and
driven back to Ilius through their own cowardice, while the Argives, so
great was their courage and endurance, would have achieved a triumph
even against the will of Jove, if Apollo had not roused Aeneas, in the
likeness of Periphas son of Epytus, an attendant who had grown old in
the service of Aeneas' aged father, and was at all times devoted to
him. In his likeness, then, Apollo said, "Aeneas, can you not manage,
even though heaven be against us, to save high Ilius? I have known men,
whose numbers, courage, and self-reliance have saved their people in
spite of Jove, whereas in this case he would much rather give victory
to us than to the Danaans, if you would only fight instead of being so
terribly afraid."

Aeneas knew Apollo when he looked straight at him, and shouted to
Hector saying, "Hector and all other Trojans and allies, shame on us if
we are beaten by the Achaeans and driven back to Ilius through our own
cowardice. A god has just come up to me and told me that Jove the
supreme disposer will be with us. Therefore let us make for the
Danaans, that it may go hard with them ere they bear away dead
Patroclus to the ships."

As he spoke he sprang out far in front of the others, who then rallied
and again faced the Achaeans. Aeneas speared Leiocritus son of Arisbas,
a valiant follower of Lycomedes, and Lycomedes was moved with pity as
he saw him fall; he therefore went close up, and speared Apisaon son of
Hippasus shepherd of his people in the liver under the midriff, so that
he died; he had come from fertile Paeonia and was the best man of them
all after Asteropaeus. Asteropaeus flew forward to avenge him and
attack the Danaans, but this might no longer be, inasmuch as those
about Patroclus were well covered by their shields, and held their
spears in front of them, for Ajax had given them strict orders that no
man was either to give ground, or to stand out before the others, but
all were to hold well together about the body and fight hand to hand.
Thus did huge Ajax bid them, and the earth ran red with blood as the
corpses fell thick on one another alike on the side of the Trojans and
allies, and on that of the Danaans; for these last, too, fought no
bloodless fight though many fewer of them perished, through the care
they took to defend and stand by one another.

Thus did they fight as it were a flaming fire; it seemed as though it
had gone hard even with the sun and moon, for they were hidden over all
that part where the bravest heroes were fighting about the dead son of
Menoetius, whereas the other Danaans and Achaeans fought at their ease
in full daylight with brilliant sunshine all round them, and there was
not a cloud to be seen neither on plain nor mountain. These last
moreover would rest for a while and leave off fighting, for they were
some distance apart and beyond the range of one another's weapons,
whereas those who were in the thick of the fray suffered both from
battle and darkness. All the best of them were being worn out by the
great weight of their armour, but the two valiant heroes, Thrasymedes
and Antilochus, had not yet heard of the death of Patroclus, and
believed him to be still alive and leading the van against the Trojans;
they were keeping themselves in reserve against the death or rout of
their own comrades, for so Nestor had ordered when he sent them from
the ships into battle.

Thus through the livelong day did they wage fierce war, and the sweat
of their toil rained ever on their legs under them, and on their hands
and eyes, as they fought over the squire of the fleet son of Peleus. It
was as when a man gives a great ox-hide all drenched in fat to his men,
and bids them stretch it; whereon they stand round it in a ring and tug
till the moisture leaves it, and the fat soaks in for the many that
pull at it, and it is well stretched--even so did the two sides tug the
dead body hither and thither within the compass of but a little
space--the Trojans steadfastly set on dragging it into Ilius, while the
Achaeans were no less so on taking it to their ships; and fierce was
the fight between them. Not Mars himself the lord of hosts, nor yet
Minerva, even in their fullest fury could make light of such a battle.

Such fearful turmoil of men and horses did Jove on that day ordain
round the body of Patroclus. Meanwhile Achilles did not know that he
had fallen, for the fight was under the wall of Troy a long way off the
ships. He had no idea, therefore, that Patroclus was dead, and deemed
that he would return alive as soon as he had gone close up to the
gates. He knew that he was not to sack the city neither with nor
without himself, for his mother had often told him this when he had sat
alone with her, and she had informed him of the counsels of great Jove.
Now, however, she had not told him how great a disaster had befallen
him in the death of the one who was far dearest to him of all his

The others still kept on charging one another round the body with their
pointed spears and killing each other. Then would one say, "My friends,
we can never again show our faces at the ships--better, and greatly
better, that earth should open and swallow us here in this place, than
that we should let the Trojans have the triumph of bearing off
Patroclus to their city."

The Trojans also on their part spoke to one another saying, "Friends,
though we fall to a man beside this body, let none shrink from
fighting." With such words did they exhort each other. They fought and
fought, and an iron clank rose through the void air to the brazen vault
of heaven. The horses of the descendant of Aeacus stood out of the
fight and wept when they heard that their driver had been laid low by
the hand of murderous Hector. Automedon, valiant son of Diores, lashed
them again and again; many a time did he speak kindly to them, and many
a time did he upbraid them, but they would neither go back to the ships
by the waters of the broad Hellespont, nor yet into battle among the
Achaeans; they stood with their chariot stock still, as a pillar set
over the tomb of some dead man or woman, and bowed their heads to the
ground. Hot tears fell from their eyes as they mourned the loss of
their charioteer, and their noble manes drooped all wet from under the
yokestraps on either side the yoke.

The son of Saturn saw them and took pity upon their sorrow. He wagged
his head, and muttered to himself, saying, "Poor things, why did we
give you to King Peleus who is a mortal, while you are yourselves
ageless and immortal? Was it that you might share the sorrows that
befall mankind? for of all creatures that live and move upon the earth
there is none so pitiable as he is--still, Hector son of Priam shall
drive neither you nor your chariot. I will not have it. It is enough
that he should have the armour over which he vaunts so vainly.
Furthermore I will give you strength of heart and limb to bear
Automedon safely to the ships from battle, for I shall let the Trojans
triumph still further, and go on killing till they reach the ships;
whereon night shall fall and darkness overshadow the land."

As he spoke he breathed heart and strength into the horses so that they
shook the dust from out of their manes, and bore their chariot swiftly
into the fight that raged between Trojans and Achaeans. Behind them
fought Automedon full of sorrow for his comrade, as a vulture amid a
flock of geese. In and out, and here and there, full speed he dashed
amid the throng of the Trojans, but for all the fury of his pursuit he
killed no man, for he could not wield his spear and keep his horses in
hand when alone in the chariot; at last, however, a comrade, Alcimedon,
son of Laerces son of Haemon caught sight of him and came up behind his
chariot. "Automedon," said he, "what god has put this folly into your
heart and robbed you of your right mind, that you fight the Trojans in
the front rank single-handed? He who was your comrade is slain, and
Hector plumes himself on being armed in the armour of the descendant of

Automedon son of Diores answered, "Alcimedon, there is no one else who
can control and guide the immortal steeds so well as you can, save only
Patroclus--while he was alive--peer of gods in counsel. Take then the
whip and reins, while I go down from the car and fight."

Alcimedon sprang on to the chariot, and caught up the whip and reins,
while Automedon leaped from off the car. When Hector saw him he said to
Aeneas who was near him, "Aeneas, counsellor of the mail-clad Trojans,
I see the steeds of the fleet son of Aeacus come into battle with weak
hands to drive them. I am sure, if you think well, that we might take
them; they will not dare face us if we both attack them."

The valiant son of Anchises was of the same mind, and the pair went
right on, with their shoulders covered under shields of tough dry
ox-hide, overlaid with much bronze. Chromius and Aretus went also with
them, and their hearts beat high with hope that they might kill the men
and capture the horses--fools that they were, for they were not to
return scatheless from their meeting with Automedon, who prayed to
father Jove and was forthwith filled with courage and strength
abounding. He turned to his trusty comrade Alcimedon and said,
"Alcimedon, keep your horses so close up that I may feel their breath
upon my back; I doubt that we shall not stay Hector son of Priam till
he has killed us and mounted behind the horses; he will then either
spread panic among the ranks of the Achaeans, or himself be killed
among the foremost."

On this he cried out to the two Ajaxes and Menelaus, "Ajaxes captains
of the Argives, and Menelaus, give the dead body over to them that are
best able to defend it, and come to the rescue of us living; for Hector
and Aeneas who are the two best men among the Trojans, are pressing us
hard in the full tide of war. Nevertheless the issue lies on the lap of
heaven, I will therefore hurl my spear and leave the rest to Jove."

He poised and hurled as he spoke, whereon the spear struck the round
shield of Aretus, and went right through it for the shield stayed it
not, so that it was driven through his belt into the lower part of his
belly. As when some sturdy youth, axe in hand, deals his blow behind
the horns of an ox and severs the tendons at the back of its neck so
that it springs forward and then drops, even so did Aretus give one
bound and then fall on his back the spear quivering in his body till it
made an end of him. Hector then aimed a spear at Automedon but he saw
it coming and stooped forward to avoid it, so that it flew past him and
the point stuck in the ground, while the butt-end went on quivering
till Mars robbed it of its force. They would then have fought hand to
hand with swords had not the two Ajaxes forced their way through the
crowd when they heard their comrade calling, and parted them for all
their fury--for Hector, Aeneas, and Chromius were afraid and drew back,
leaving Aretus to lie there struck to the heart. Automedon, peer of
fleet Mars, then stripped him of his armour and vaunted over him
saying, "I have done little to assuage my sorrow for the son of
Menoetius, for the man I have killed is not so good as he was."

As he spoke he took the blood-stained spoils and laid them upon his
chariot; then he mounted the car with his hands and feet all steeped in
gore as a lion that has been gorging upon a bull.

And now the fierce groanful fight again raged about Patroclus, for
Minerva came down from heaven and roused its fury by the command of
far-seeing Jove, who had changed his mind and sent her to encourage the
Danaans. As when Jove bends his bright bow in heaven in token to
mankind either of war or of the chill storms that stay men from their
labour and plague the flocks--even so, wrapped in such radiant raiment,
did Minerva go in among the host and speak man by man to each. First
she took the form and voice of Phoenix and spoke to Menelaus son of
Atreus, who was standing near her. "Menelaus," said she, "it will be
shame and dishonour to you, if dogs tear the noble comrade of Achilles
under the walls of Troy. Therefore be staunch, and urge your men to be
so also."

Menelaus answered, "Phoenix, my good old friend, may Minerva vouchsafe
me strength and keep the darts from off me, for so shall I stand by
Patroclus and defend him; his death has gone to my heart, but Hector is
as a raging fire and deals his blows without ceasing, for Jove is now
granting him a time of triumph."

Minerva was pleased at his having named herself before any of the other
gods. Therefore she put strength into his knees and shoulders, and made
him as bold as a fly, which, though driven off will yet come again and
bite if it can, so dearly does it love man's blood--even so bold as
this did she make him as he stood over Patroclus and threw his spear.
Now there was among the Trojans a man named Podes, son of Eetion, who
was both rich and valiant. Hector held him in the highest honour for he
was his comrade and boon companion; the spear of Menelaus struck this
man in the girdle just as he had turned in flight, and went right
through him. Whereon he fell heavily forward, and Menelaus son of
Atreus drew off his body from the Trojans into the ranks of his own

Apollo then went up to Hector and spurred him on to fight, in the
likeness of Phaenops son of Asius who lived in Abydos and was the most
favoured of all Hector's guests. In his likeness Apollo said, "Hector,
who of the Achaeans will fear you henceforward now that you have
quailed before Menelaus who has ever been rated poorly as a soldier?
Yet he has now got a corpse away from the Trojans single-handed, and
has slain your own true comrade, a man brave among the foremost, Podes
son of Eetion."

A dark cloud of grief fell upon Hector as he heard, and he made his way
to the front clad in full armour. Thereon the son of Saturn seized his
bright tasselled aegis, and veiled Ida in cloud: he sent forth his
lightnings and his thunders, and as he shook his aegis he gave victory
to the Trojans and routed the Achaeans.

The panic was begun by Peneleos the Boeotian, for while keeping his
face turned ever towards the foe he had been hit with a spear on the
upper part of the shoulder; a spear thrown by Polydamas had grazed the
top of the bone, for Polydamas had come up to him and struck him from
close at hand. Then Hector in close combat struck Leitus son of noble
Alectryon in the hand by the wrist, and disabled him from fighting
further. He looked about him in dismay, knowing that never again should
he wield spear in battle with the Trojans. While Hector was in pursuit
of Leitus, Idomeneus struck him on the breastplate over his chest near
the nipple; but the spear broke in the shaft, and the Trojans cheered
aloud. Hector then aimed at Idomeneus son of Deucalion as he was
standing on his chariot, and very narrowly missed him, but the spear
hit Coiranus, a follower and charioteer of Meriones who had come with
him from Lyctus. Idomeneus had left the ships on foot and would have
afforded a great triumph to the Trojans if Coiranus had not driven
quickly up to him, he therefore brought life and rescue to Idomeneus,
but himself fell by the hand of murderous Hector. For Hector hit him on
the jaw under the ear; the end of the spear drove out his teeth and cut
his tongue in two pieces, so that he fell from his chariot and let the
reins fall to the ground. Meriones gathered them up from the ground and
took them into his own hands, then he said to Idomeneus, "Lay on, till
you get back to the ships, for you must see that the day is no longer

On this Idomeneus lashed the horses to the ships, for fear had taken
hold upon him.

Ajax and Menelaus noted how Jove had turned the scale in favour of the
Trojans, and Ajax was first to speak. "Alas," said he, "even a fool may
see that father Jove is helping the Trojans. All their weapons strike
home; no matter whether it be a brave man or a coward that hurls them,
Jove speeds all alike, whereas ours fall each one of them without
effect. What, then, will be best both as regards rescuing the body, and
our return to the joy of our friends who will be grieving as they look
hitherwards; for they will make sure that nothing can now check the
terrible hands of Hector, and that he will fling himself upon our
ships. I wish that some one would go and tell the son of Peleus at
once, for I do not think he can have yet heard the sad news that the
dearest of his friends has fallen. But I can see not a man among the
Achaeans to send, for they and their chariots are alike hidden in
darkness. O father Jove, lift this cloud from over the sons of the
Achaeans; make heaven serene, and let us see; if you will that we
perish, let us fall at any rate by daylight."

Father Jove heard him and had compassion upon his tears. Forthwith he
chased away the cloud of darkness, so that the sun shone out and all
the fighting was revealed. Ajax then said to Menelaus, "Look, Menelaus,
and if Antilochus son of Nestor be still living, send him at once to
tell Achilles that by far the dearest to him of all his comrades has

Menelaus heeded his words and went his way as a lion from a
stockyard--the lion is tired of attacking the men and hounds, who keep
watch the whole night through and will not let him feast on the fat of
their herd. In his lust of meat he makes straight at them but in vain,
for darts from strong hands assail him, and burning brands which daunt
him for all his hunger, so in the morning he slinks sulkily away--even
so did Menelaus sorely against his will leave Patroclus, in great fear
lest the Achaeans should be driven back in rout and let him fall into
the hands of the foe. He charged Meriones and the two Ajaxes straitly
saying, "Ajaxes and Meriones, leaders of the Argives, now indeed
remember how good Patroclus was; he was ever courteous while alive,
bear it in mind now that he is dead."

With this Menelaus left them, looking round him as keenly as an eagle,
whose sight they say is keener than that of any other bird--however
high he may be in the heavens, not a hare that runs can escape him by
crouching under bush or thicket, for he will swoop down upon it and
make an end of it--even so, O Menelaus, did your keen eyes range round
the mighty host of your followers to see if you could find the son of
Nestor still alive. Presently Menelaus saw him on the extreme left of
the battle cheering on his men and exhorting them to fight boldly.
Menelaus went up to him and said, "Antilochus, come here and listen to
sad news, which I would indeed were untrue. You must see with your own
eyes that heaven is heaping calamity upon the Danaans, and giving
victory to the Trojans. Patroclus has fallen, who was the bravest of
the Achaeans, and sorely will the Danaans miss him. Run instantly to
the ships and tell Achilles, that he may come to rescue the body and
bear it to the ships. As for the armour, Hector already has it."

Antilochus was struck with horror. For a long time he was speechless;
his eyes filled with tears and he could find no utterance, but he did
as Menelaus had said, and set off running as soon as he had given his
armour to a comrade, Laodocus, who was wheeling his horses round, close
beside him.

Thus, then, did he run weeping from the field, to carry the bad news to
Achilles son of Peleus. Nor were you, O Menelaus, minded to succour his
harassed comrades, when Antilochus had left the Pylians--and greatly
did they miss him--but he sent them noble Thrasymedes, and himself went
back to Patroclus. He came running up to the two Ajaxes and said, "I
have sent Antilochus to the ships to tell Achilles, but rage against
Hector as he may, he cannot come, for he cannot fight without armour.
What then will be our best plan both as regards rescuing the dead, and
our own escape from death amid the battle-cries of the Trojans?"

Ajax answered, "Menelaus, you have said well: do you, then, and
Meriones stoop down, raise the body, and bear it out of the fray, while
we two behind you keep off Hector and the Trojans, one in heart as in
name, and long used to fighting side by side with one another."

On this Menelaus and Meriones took the dead man in their arms and
lifted him high aloft with a great effort. The Trojan host raised a hue
and cry behind them when they saw the Achaeans bearing the body away,
and flew after them like hounds attacking a wounded boar at the loo of
a band of young huntsmen. For a while the hounds fly at him as though
they would tear him in pieces, but now and again he turns on them in a
fury, scaring and scattering them in all directions--even so did the
Trojans for a while charge in a body, striking with sword and with
spears pointed at both the ends, but when the two Ajaxes faced them and
stood at bay, they would turn pale and no man dared press on to fight
further about the dead.

In this wise did the two heroes strain every nerve to bear the body to
the ships out of the fight. The battle raged round them like fierce
flames that when once kindled spread like wildfire over a city, and the
houses fall in the glare of its burning--even such was the roar and
tramp of men and horses that pursued them as they bore Patroclus from
the field. Or as mules that put forth all their strength to draw some
beam or great piece of ship's timber down a rough mountain-track, and
they pant and sweat as they go--even so did Menelaus and pant and sweat
as they bore the body of Patroclus. Behind them the two Ajaxes held
stoutly out. As some wooded mountain-spur that stretches across a plain
will turn water and check the flow even of a great river, nor is there
any stream strong enough to break through it--even so did the two
Ajaxes face the Trojans and stem the tide of their fighting though they
kept pouring on towards them and foremost among them all was Aeneas son
of Anchises with valiant Hector. As a flock of daws or starlings fall
to screaming and chattering when they see a falcon, foe to all small
birds, come soaring near them, even so did the Achaean youth raise a
babel of cries as they fled before Aeneas and Hector, unmindful of
their former prowess. In the rout of the Danaans much goodly armour
fell round about the trench, and of fighting there was no end.


The grief of Achilles over Patroclus--The visit of Thetis
to Vulcan and the armour that he made for Achilles.

THUS then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the fleet
runner Antilochus, who had been sent as messenger, reached Achilles,
and found him sitting by his tall ships and boding that which was
indeed too surely true. "Alas," said he to himself in the heaviness of
his heart, "why are the Achaeans again scouring the plain and flocking
towards the ships? Heaven grant the gods be not now bringing that
sorrow upon me of which my mother Thetis spoke, saying that while I was
yet alive the bravest of the Myrmidons should fall before the Trojans,
and see the light of the sun no longer. I fear the brave son of
Menoetius has fallen through his own daring and yet I bade him return
to the ships as soon as he had driven back those that were bringing
fire against them, and not join battle with Hector."

As he was thus pondering, the son of Nestor came up to him and told his
sad tale, weeping bitterly the while. "Alas," he cried, "son of noble
Peleus, I bring you bad tidings, would indeed that they were untrue.
Patroclus has fallen, and a fight is raging about his naked body--for
Hector holds his armour."

A dark cloud of grief fell upon Achilles as he listened. He filled both
hands with dust from off the ground, and poured it over his head,
disfiguring his comely face, and letting the refuse settle over his
shirt so fair and new. He flung himself down all huge and hugely at
full length, and tore his hair with his hands. The bondswomen whom
Achilles and Patroclus had taken captive screamed aloud for grief,
beating their breasts, and with their limbs failing them for sorrow.
Antilochus bent over him the while, weeping and holding both his hands
as he lay groaning for he feared that he might plunge a knife into his
own throat. Then Achilles gave a loud cry and his mother heard him as
she was sitting in the depths of the sea by the old man her father,
whereon she screamed, and all the goddesses daughters of Nereus that
dwelt at the bottom of the sea, came gathering round her. There were
Glauce, Thalia and Cymodoce, Nesaia, Speo, Thoe and dark-eyed Halie,
Cymothoe, Actaea and Limnorea, Melite, Iaera, Amphithoe and Agave, Doto
and Proto, Pherusa and Dynamene, Dexamene, Amphinome and Callianeira,
Doris, Panope, and the famous sea-nymph Galatea, Nemertes, Apseudes and
Callianassa. There were also Clymene, Ianeira and Ianassa, Maera,
Oreithuia and Amatheia of the lovely locks, with other Nereids who
dwell in the depths of the sea. The crystal cave was filled with their
multitude and they all beat their breasts while Thetis led them in
their lament.

"Listen," she cried, "sisters, daughters of Nereus, that you may hear
the burden of my sorrows. Alas, woe is me, woe in that I have borne the
most glorious of offspring. I bore him fair and strong, hero among
heroes, and he shot up as a sapling; I tended him as a plant in a
goodly garden, and sent him with his ships to Ilius to fight the
Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to the house of Peleus. So
long as he lives to look upon the light of the sun he is in heaviness,
and though I go to him I cannot help him. Nevertheless I will go, that
I may see my dear son and learn what sorrow has befallen him though he
is still holding aloof from battle."

She left the cave as she spoke, while the others followed weeping
after, and the waves opened a path before them. When they reached the
rich plain of Troy, they came up out of the sea in a long line on to
the sands, at the place where the ships of the Myrmidons were drawn up
in close order round the tents of Achilles. His mother went up to him
as he lay groaning; she laid her hand upon his head and spoke
piteously, saying, "My son, why are you thus weeping? What sorrow has
now befallen you? Tell me; hide it not from me. Surely Jove has granted
you the prayer you made him, when you lifted up your hands and besought
him that the Achaeans might all of them be pent up at their ships, and
rue it bitterly in that you were no longer with them."

Achilles groaned and answered, "Mother, Olympian Jove has indeed
vouchsafed me the fulfilment of my prayer, but what boots it to me,
seeing that my dear comrade Patroclus has fallen--he whom I valued more
than all others, and loved as dearly as my own life? I have lost him;
aye, and Hector when he had killed him stripped the wondrous armour, so
glorious to behold, which the gods gave to Peleus when they laid you in
the couch of a mortal man. Would that you were still dwelling among the
immortal sea-nymphs, and that Peleus had taken to himself some mortal
bride. For now you shall have grief infinite by reason of the death of
that son whom you can never welcome home--nay, I will not live nor go
about among mankind unless Hector fall by my spear, and thus pay me for
having slain Patroclus son of Menoetius."

Thetis wept and answered, "Then, my son, is your end near at hand--for
your own death awaits you full soon after that of Hector."

Then said Achilles in his great grief, "I would die here and now, in
that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home, and in
his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What is there for
me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have brought no saving
neither to Patroclus nor to my other comrades of whom so many have been
slain by mighty Hector; I stay here by my ships a bootless burden upon
the earth, I, who in fight have no peer among the Achaeans, though in
council there are better than I. Therefore, perish strife both from
among gods and men, and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden
his heart--which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the
taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey. Even so has Agamemnon
angered me. And yet--so be it, for it is over; I will force my soul
into subjection as I needs must; I will go; I will pursue Hector who
has slain him whom I loved so dearly, and will then abide my doom when
it may please Jove and the other gods to send it. Even Hercules, the
best beloved of Jove--even he could not escape the hand of death, but
fate and Juno's fierce anger laid him low, as I too shall lie when I am
dead if a like doom awaits me. Till then I will win fame, and will bid
Trojan and Dardanian women wring tears from their tender cheeks with
both their hands in the grievousness of their great sorrow; thus shall
they know that he who has held aloof so long will hold aloof no longer.
Hold me not back, therefore, in the love you bear me, for you shall not
move me."

Then silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, what you have said is
true. It is well to save your comrades from destruction, but your
armour is in the hands of the Trojans; Hector bears it in triumph upon
his own shoulders. Full well I know that his vaunt shall not be
lasting, for his end is close at hand; go not, however, into the press
of battle till you see me return hither; to-morrow at break of day I
shall be here, and will bring you goodly armour from King Vulcan."

On this she left her brave son, and as she turned away she said to the
sea-nymphs her sisters, "Dive into the bosom of the sea and go to the
house of the old sea-god my father. Tell him everything; as for me, I
will go to the cunning workman Vulcan on high Olympus, and ask him to
provide my son with a suit of splendid armour."

When she had so said, they dived forthwith beneath the waves, while
silver-footed Thetis went her way that she might bring the armour for
her son.

Thus, then, did her feet bear the goddess to Olympus, and meanwhile the
Achaeans were flying with loud cries before murderous Hector till they
reached the ships and the Hellespont, and they could not draw the body
of Mars's servant Patroclus out of reach of the weapons that were
showered upon him, for Hector son of Priam with his host and horsemen
had again caught up to him like the flame of a fiery furnace; thrice
did brave Hector seize him by the feet, striving with might and main to
draw him away and calling loudly on the Trojans, and thrice did the two
Ajaxes, clothed in valour as with a garment, beat him from off the
body; but all undaunted he would now charge into the thick of the
fight, and now again he would stand still and cry aloud, but he would
give no ground. As upland shepherds that cannot chase some famished
lion from a carcase, even so could not the two Ajaxes scare Hector son
of Priam from the body of Patroclus.

And now he would even have dragged it off and have won imperishable
glory, had not Iris fleet as the wind, winged her way as messenger from
Olympus to the son of Peleus and bidden him arm. She came secretly
without the knowledge of Jove and of the other gods, for Juno sent her,
and when she had got close to him she said, "Up, son of Peleus,
mightiest of all mankind; rescue Patroclus about whom this fearful
fight is now raging by the ships. Men are killing one another, the
Danaans in defence of the dead body, while the Trojans are trying to
hale it away, and take it to windy Ilius: Hector is the most furious of
them all; he is for cutting the head from the body and fixing it on the
stakes of the wall. Up, then, and bide here no longer; shrink from the
thought that Patroclus may become meat for the dogs of Troy. Shame on
you, should his body suffer any kind of outrage."

And Achilles said, "Iris, which of the gods was it that sent you to me?"

Iris answered, "It was Juno the royal spouse of Jove, but the son of
Saturn does not know of my coming, nor yet does any other of the
immortals who dwell on the snowy summits of Olympus."

Then fleet Achilles answered her saying, "How can I go up into the
battle? They have my armour. My mother forbade me to arm till I should
see her come, for she promised to bring me goodly armour from Vulcan; I
know no man whose arms I can put on, save only the shield of Ajax son
of Telamon, and he surely must be fighting in the front rank and
wielding his spear about the body of dead Patroclus."

Iris said, "We know that your armour has been taken, but go as you are;
go to the deep trench and show yourself before the Trojans, that they
may fear you and cease fighting. Thus will the fainting sons of the
Achaeans gain some brief breathing-time, which in battle may hardly be."

Iris left him when she had so spoken. But Achilles dear to Jove arose,
and Minerva flung her tasselled aegis round his strong shoulders; she
crowned his head with a halo of golden cloud from which she kindled a
glow of gleaming fire. As the smoke that goes up into heaven from some
city that is being beleaguered on an island far out at sea--all day
long do men sally from the city and fight their hardest, and at the
going down of the sun the line of beacon-fires blazes forth, flaring
high for those that dwell near them to behold, if so be that they may
come with their ships and succour them--even so did the light flare
from the head of Achilles, as he stood by the trench, going beyond the
wall--but he did not join the Achaeans for he heeded the charge which
his mother laid upon him.

There did he stand and shout aloud. Minerva also raised her voice from
afar, and spread terror unspeakable among the Trojans. Ringing as the
note of a trumpet that sounds alarm then the foe is at the gates of a
city, even so brazen was the voice of the son of Aeacus, and when the
Trojans heard its clarion tones they were dismayed; the horses turned
back with their chariots for they boded mischief, and their drivers
were awe-struck by the steady flame which the grey-eyed goddess had
kindled above the head of the great son of Peleus.

Thrice did Achilles raise his loud cry as he stood by the trench, and
thrice were the Trojans and their brave allies thrown into confusion;
whereon twelve of their noblest champions fell beneath the wheels of
their chariots and perished by their own spears. The Achaeans to their
great joy then drew Patroclus out of reach of the weapons, and laid him
on a litter: his comrades stood mourning round him, and among them
fleet Achilles who wept bitterly as he saw his true comrade lying dead
upon his bier. He had sent him out with horses and chariots into
battle, but his return he was not to welcome.

Then Juno sent the busy sun, loth though he was, into the waters of
Oceanus; so he set, and the Achaeans had rest from the tug and turmoil
of war.

Now the Trojans when they had come out of the fight, unyoked their
horses and gathered in assembly before preparing their supper. They
kept their feet, nor would any dare to sit down, for fear had fallen
upon them all because Achilles had shown himself after having held
aloof so long from battle. Polydamas son of Panthous was first to
speak, a man of judgement, who alone among them could look both before
and after. He was comrade to Hector, and they had been born upon the
same night; with all sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed
them thus:--

"Look to it well, my friends; I would urge you to go back now to your
city and not wait here by the ships till morning, for we are far from
our walls. So long as this man was at enmity with Agamemnon the
Achaeans were easier to deal with, and I would have gladly camped by
the ships in the hope of taking them; but now I go in great fear of the
fleet son of Peleus; he is so daring that he will never bide here on
the plain whereon the Trojans and Achaeans fight with equal valour, but
he will try to storm our city and carry off our women. Do then as I
say, and let us retreat. For this is what will happen. The darkness of
night will for a time stay the son of Peleus, but if he find us here in
the morning when he sallies forth in full armour, we shall have
knowledge of him in good earnest. Glad indeed will he be who can escape
and get back to Ilius, and many a Trojan will become meat for dogs and
vultures may I never live to hear it. If we do as I say, little though
we may like it, we shall have strength in counsel during the night, and
the great gates with the doors that close them will protect the city.
At dawn we can arm and take our stand on the walls; he will then rue it
if he sallies from the ships to fight us. He will go back when he has
given his horses their fill of being driven all whithers under our
walls, and will be in no mind to try and force his way into the city.
Neither will he ever sack it, dogs shall devour him ere he do so."

Hector looked fiercely at him and answered, "Polydamas, your words are
not to my liking in that you bid us go back and be pent within the
city. Have you not had enough of being cooped up behind walls? In the
old-days the city of Priam was famous the whole world over for its
wealth of gold and bronze, but our treasures are wasted out of our
houses, and much goods have been sold away to Phrygia and fair Meonia,
for the hand of Jove has been laid heavily upon us. Now, therefore,
that the son of scheming Saturn has vouchsafed me to win glory here and
to hem the Achaeans in at their ships, prate no more in this fool's
wise among the people. You will have no man with you; it shall not be;
do all of you as I now say;--take your suppers in your companies
throughout the host, and keep your watches and be wakeful every man of
you. If any Trojan is uneasy about his possessions, let him gather them
and give them out among the people. Better let these, rather than the
Achaeans, have them. At daybreak we will arm and fight about the ships;
granted that Achilles has again come forward to defend them, let it be
as he will, but it shall go hard with him. I shall not shun him, but
will fight him, to fall or conquer. The god of war deals out like
measure to all, and the slayer may yet be slain."

Thus spoke Hector; and the Trojans, fools that they were, shouted in
applause, for Pallas Minerva had robbed them of their understanding.
They gave ear to Hector with his evil counsel, but the wise words of
Polydamas no man would heed. They took their supper throughout the
host, and meanwhile through the whole night the Achaeans mourned
Patroclus, and the son of Peleus led them in their lament. He laid his
murderous hands upon the breast of his comrade, groaning again and
again as a bearded lion when a man who was chasing deer has robbed him
of his young in some dense forest; when the lion comes back he is
furious, and searches dingle and dell to track the hunter if he can
find him, for he is mad with rage--even so with many a sigh did
Achilles speak among the Myrmidons saying, "Alas! vain were the words
with which I cheered the hero Menoetius in his own house; I said that I
would bring his brave son back again to Opoeis after he had sacked
Ilius and taken his share of the spoils--but Jove does not give all men
their heart's desire. The same soil shall be reddened here at Troy by
the blood of us both, for I too shall never be welcomed home by the old
knight Peleus, nor by my mother Thetis, but even in this place shall
the earth cover me. Nevertheless, O Patroclus, now that I am left
behind you, I will not bury you, till I have brought hither the head
and armour of mighty Hector who has slain you. Twelve noble sons of
Trojans will I behead before your bier to avenge you; till I have done
so you shall lie as you are by the ships, and fair women of Troy and
Dardanus, whom we have taken with spear and strength of arm when we
sacked men's goodly cities, shall weep over you both night and day."

Then Achilles told his men to set a large tripod upon the fire that
they might wash the clotted gore from off Patroclus. Thereon they set a
tripod full of bath water on to a clear fire: they threw sticks on to
it to make it blaze, and the water became hot as the flame played about
the belly of the tripod. When the water in the cauldron was boiling
they washed the body, anointed it with oil, and closed its wounds with
ointment that had been kept nine years. Then they laid it on a bier and
covered it with a linen cloth from head to foot, and over this they
laid a fair white robe. Thus all night long did the Myrmidons gather
round Achilles to mourn Patroclus.

Then Jove said to Juno his sister-wife, "So, Queen Juno, you have
gained your end, and have roused fleet Achilles. One would think that
the Achaeans were of your own flesh and blood."

And Juno answered, "Dread son of Saturn, why should you say this thing?
May not a man though he be only mortal and knows less than we do, do
what he can for another person? And shall not I--foremost of all
goddesses both by descent and as wife to you who reign in
heaven--devise evil for the Trojans if I am angry with them?"

Thus did they converse. Meanwhile Thetis came to the house of Vulcan,
imperishable, star-bespangled, fairest of the abodes in heaven, a house
of bronze wrought by the lame god's own hands. She found him busy with
his bellows, sweating and hard at work, for he was making twenty
tripods that were to stand by the wall of his house, and he set wheels
of gold under them all that they might go of their own selves to the
assemblies of the gods, and come back again--marvels indeed to see.
They were finished all but the ears of cunning workmanship which yet
remained to be fixed to them: these he was now fixing, and he was
hammering at the rivets. While he was thus at work silver-footed Thetis
came to the house. Charis, of graceful head-dress, wife to the
far-famed lame god, came towards her as soon as she saw her, and took
her hand in her own, saying, "Why have you come to our house, Thetis,
honoured and ever welcome--for you do not visit us often? Come inside
and let me set refreshment before you."

The goddess led the way as she spoke, and bade Thetis sit on a richly
decorated seat inlaid with silver; there was a footstool also under her
feet. Then she called Vulcan and said, "Vulcan, come here, Thetis wants
you"; and the far-famed lame god answered, "Then it is indeed an august
and honoured goddess who has come here; she it was that took care of me
when I was suffering from the heavy fall which I had through my cruel
mother's anger--for she would have got rid of me because I was lame. It
would have gone hardly with me had not Eurynome, daughter of the
ever-encircling waters of Oceanus, and Thetis, taken me to their bosom.
Nine years did I stay with them, and many beautiful works in bronze,
brooches, spiral armlets, cups, and chains, did I make for them in
their cave, with the roaring waters of Oceanus foaming as they rushed
ever past it; and no one knew, neither of gods nor men, save only
Thetis and Eurynome who took care of me. If, then, Thetis has come to
my house I must make her due requital for having saved me; entertain
her, therefore, with all hospitality, while I put by my bellows and all
my tools."

On this the mighty monster hobbled off from his anvil, his thin legs
plying lustily under him. He set the bellows away from the fire, and
gathered his tools into a silver chest. Then he took a sponge and
washed his face and hands, his shaggy chest and brawny neck; he donned
his shirt, grasped his strong staff, and limped towards the door. There
were golden handmaids also who worked for him, and were like real young
women, with sense and reason, voice also and strength, and all the
learning of the immortals; these busied themselves as the king bade
them, while he drew near to Thetis, seated her upon a goodly seat, and
took her hand in his own, saying, "Why have you come to our house,
Thetis honoured and ever welcome--for you do not visit us often? Say
what you want, and I will do it for you at once if I can, and if it can
be done at all."

Thetis wept and answered, "Vulcan, is there another goddess in Olympus
whom the son of Saturn has been pleased to try with so much affliction
as he has me? Me alone of the marine goddesses did he make subject to a
mortal husband, Peleus son of Aeacus, and sorely against my will did I
submit to the embraces of one who was but mortal, and who now stays at
home worn out with age. Neither is this all. Heaven vouchsafed me a
son, hero among heroes, and he shot up as a sapling. I tended him as a
plant in a goodly garden and sent him with his ships to Ilius to fight
the Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to the house of Peleus.
So long as he lives to look upon the light of the sun, he is in
heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot help him; King Agamemnon has
made him give up the maiden whom the sons of the Achaeans had awarded
him, and he wastes with sorrow for her sake. Then the Trojans hemmed
the Achaeans in at their ships' sterns and would not let them come
forth; the elders, therefore, of the Argives besought Achilles and
offered him great treasure, whereon he refused to bring deliverance to
them himself, but put his own armour on Patroclus and sent him into the
fight with much people after him. All day long they fought by the
Scaean gates and would have taken the city there and then, had not
Apollo vouchsafed glory to Hector and slain the valiant son of
Menoetius after he had done the Trojans much evil. Therefore I am
suppliant at your knees if haply you may be pleased to provide my son,
whose end is near at hand, with helmet and shield, with goodly greaves
fitted with ancle-clasps, and with a breastplate, for he lost his own
when his true comrade fell at the hands of the Trojans, and he now lies
stretched on earth in the bitterness of his soul."

And Vulcan answered, "Take heart, and be no more disquieted about this
matter; would that I could hide him from death's sight when his hour is
come, so surely as I can find him armour that shall amaze the eyes of
all who behold it."

When he had so said he left her and went to his bellows, turning them
towards the fire and bidding them do their office. Twenty bellows blew
upon the melting-pots, and they blew blasts of every kind, some fierce
to help him when he had need of them, and others less strong as Vulcan
willed it in the course of his work. He threw tough copper into the
fire, and tin, with silver and gold; he set his great anvil on its
block, and with one hand grasped his mighty hammer while he took the
tongs in the other.

First he shaped the shield so great and strong, adorning it all over
and binding it round with a gleaming circuit in three layers; and the
baldric was made of silver. He made the shield in five thicknesses, and
with many a wonder did his cunning hand enrich it.

He wrought the earth, the heavens, and the sea; the moon also at her
full and the untiring sun, with all the signs that glorify the face of
heaven--the Pleiads, the Hyads, huge Orion, and the Bear, which men
also call the Wain and which turns round ever in one place, facing
Orion, and alone never dips into the stream of Oceanus.

He wrought also two cities, fair to see and busy with the hum of men.
In the one were weddings and wedding-feasts, and they were going about
the city with brides whom they were escorting by torchlight from their
chambers. Loud rose the cry of Hymen, and the youths danced to the
music of flute and lyre, while the women stood each at her house door
to see them.

Meanwhile the people were gathered in assembly, for there was a
quarrel, and two men were wrangling about the blood-money for a man who
had been killed, the one saying before the people that he had paid
damages in full, and the other that he had not been paid. Each was
trying to make his own case good, and the people took sides, each man
backing the side that he had taken; but the heralds kept them back, and
the elders sate on their seats of stone in a solemn circle, holding the
staves which the heralds had put into their hands. Then they rose and
each in his turn gave judgement, and there were two talents laid down,
to be given to him whose judgement should be deemed the fairest.

About the other city there lay encamped two hosts in gleaming armour,
and they were divided whether to sack it, or to spare it and accept the
half of what it contained. But the men of the city would not yet
consent, and armed themselves for a surprise; their wives and little
children kept guard upon the walls, and with them were the men who were
past fighting through age; but the others sallied forth with Mars and
Pallas Minerva at their head--both of them wrought in gold and clad in
golden raiment, great and fair with their armour as befitting gods,
while they that followed were smaller. When they reached the place
where they would lay their ambush, it was on a riverbed to which live
stock of all kinds would come from far and near to water; here, then,
they lay concealed, clad in full armour. Some way off them there were
two scouts who were on the look-out for the coming of sheep or cattle,
which presently came, followed by two shepherds who were playing on
their pipes, and had not so much as a thought of danger. When those who
were in ambush saw this, they cut off the flocks and herds and killed
the shepherds. Meanwhile the besiegers, when they heard much noise
among the cattle as they sat in council, sprang to their horses, and
made with all speed towards them; when they reached them they set
battle in array by the banks of the river, and the hosts aimed their
bronze-shod spears at one another. With them were Strife and Riot, and
fell Fate who was dragging three men after her, one with a fresh wound,
and the other unwounded, while the third was dead, and she was dragging
him along by his heel: and her robe was bedrabbled in men's blood. They
went in and out with one another and fought as though they were living
people haling away one another's dead.

He wrought also a fair fallow field, large and thrice ploughed already.
Many men were working at the plough within it, turning their oxen to
and fro, furrow after furrow. Each time that they turned on reaching
the headland a man would come up to them and give them a cup of wine,
and they would go back to their furrows looking forward to the time
when they should again reach the headland. The part that they had
ploughed was dark behind them, so that the field, though it was of
gold, still looked as if it were being ploughed--very curious to behold.

He wrought also a field of harvest corn, and the reapers were reaping
with sharp sickles in their hands. Swathe after swathe fell to the
ground in a straight line behind them, and the binders bound them in
bands of twisted straw. There were three binders, and behind them there
were boys who gathered the cut corn in armfuls and kept on bringing
them to be bound: among them all the owner of the land stood by in
silence and was glad. The servants were getting a meal ready under an
oak, for they had sacrificed a great ox, and were busy cutting him up,
while the women were making a porridge of much white barley for the
labourers' dinner.

He wrought also a vineyard, golden and fair to see, and the vines were
loaded with grapes. The bunches overhead were black, but the vines were
trained on poles of silver. He ran a ditch of dark metal all round it,
and fenced it with a fence of tin; there was only one path to it, and
by this the vintagers went when they would gather the vintage. Youths
and maidens all blithe and full of glee, carried the luscious fruit in
plaited baskets; and with them there went a boy who made sweet music
with his lyre, and sang the Linos-song with his clear boyish voice.

He wrought also a herd of horned cattle. He made the cows of gold and
tin, and they lowed as they came full speed out of the yards to go and
feed among the waving reeds that grow by the banks of the river. Along
with the cattle there went four shepherds, all of them in gold, and
their nine fleet dogs went with them. Two terrible lions had fastened
on a bellowing bull that was with the foremost cows, and bellow as he
might they haled him, while the dogs and men gave chase: the lions tore
through the bull's thick hide and were gorging on his blood and bowels,
but the herdsmen were afraid to do anything, and only hounded on their
dogs; the dogs dared not fasten on the lions but stood by barking and
keeping out of harm's way.

The god wrought also a pasture in a fair mountain dell, and a large
flock of sheep, with a homestead and huts, and sheltered sheepfolds.

Furthermore he wrought a green, like that which Daedalus once made in
Cnossus for lovely Ariadne. Hereon there danced youths and maidens whom
all would woo, with their hands on one another's wrists. The maidens
wore robes of light linen, and the youths well woven shirts that were
slightly oiled. The girls were crowned with garlands, while the young
men had daggers of gold that hung by silver baldrics; sometimes they
would dance deftly in a ring with merry twinkling feet, as it were a
potter sitting at his work and making trial of his wheel to see whether
it will run, and sometimes they would go all in line with one another,
and much people was gathered joyously about the green. There was a bard
also to sing to them and play his lyre, while two tumblers went about
performing in the midst of them when the man struck up with his tune.

All round the outermost rim of the shield he set the mighty stream of
the river Oceanus.

Then when he had fashioned the shield so great and strong, he made a
breastplate also that shone brighter than fire. He made a helmet, close
fitting to the brow, and richly worked, with a golden plume overhanging
it; and he made greaves also of beaten tin.

Lastly, when the famed lame god had made all the armour, he took it and
set it before the mother of Achilles; whereon she darted like a falcon
from the snowy summits of Olympus and bore away the gleaming armour
from the house of Vulcan.


Achilles is reconciled with Agamemnon, puts on the armour
which Vulcan had made him, and goes out to fight.

NOW when Dawn in robe of saffron was hasting from the streams of
Oceanus, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached the
ships with the armour that the god had given her. She found her son
fallen about the body of Patroclus and weeping bitterly. Many also of
his followers were weeping round him, but when the goddess came among
them she clasped his hand in her own, saying, "My son, grieve as we may
we must let this man lie, for it is by heaven's will that he has
fallen; now, therefore, accept from Vulcan this rich and goodly armour,
which no man has ever yet borne upon his shoulders."

As she spoke she set the armour before Achilles, and it rang out
bravely as she did so. The Myrmidons were struck with awe, and none
dared look full at it, for they were afraid; but Achilles was roused to
still greater fury, and his eyes gleamed with a fierce light, for he
was glad when he handled the splendid present which the god had made
him. Then, as soon as he had satisfied himself with looking at it, he
said to his mother, "Mother, the god has given me armour, meet
handiwork for an immortal and such as no-one living could have
fashioned; I will now arm, but I much fear that flies will settle upon
the son of Menoetius and breed worms about his wounds, so that his
body, now he is dead, will be disfigured and the flesh will rot."

Silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, be not disquieted about this
matter. I will find means to protect him from the swarms of noisome
flies that prey on the bodies of men who have been killed in battle. He
may lie for a whole year, and his flesh shall still be as sound as
ever, or even sounder. Call, therefore, the Achaean heroes in assembly;
unsay your anger against Agamemnon; arm at once, and fight with might
and main."

As she spoke she put strength and courage into his heart, and she then
dropped ambrosia and red nectar into the wounds of Patroclus, that his
body might suffer no change.

Then Achilles went out upon the seashore, and with a loud cry called on
the Achaean heroes. On this even those who as yet had stayed always at
the ships, the pilots and helmsmen, and even the stewards who were
about the ships and served out rations, all came to the place of
assembly because Achilles had shown himself after having held aloof so
long from fighting. Two sons of Mars, Ulysses and the son of Tydeus,
came limping, for their wounds still pained them; nevertheless they
came, and took their seats in the front row of the assembly. Last of
all came Agamemnon, king of men, he too wounded, for Coon son of
Antenor had struck him with a spear in battle.

When the Achaeans were got together Achilles rose and said, "Son of
Atreus, surely it would have been better alike for both you and me,
when we two were in such high anger about Briseis, surely it would have
been better, had Diana's arrow slain her at the ships on the day when I
took her after having sacked Lyrnessus. For so, many an Achaean the
less would have bitten dust before the foe in the days of my anger. It
has been well for Hector and the Trojans, but the Achaeans will long
indeed remember our quarrel. Now, however, let it be, for it is over.
If we have been angry, necessity has schooled our anger. I put it from
me: I dare not nurse it for ever; therefore, bid the Achaeans arm
forthwith that I may go out against the Trojans, and learn whether they
will be in a mind to sleep by the ships or no. Glad, I ween, will he be
to rest his knees who may fly my spear when I wield it."

Thus did he speak, and the Achaeans rejoiced in that he had put away
his anger.

Then Agamemnon spoke, rising in his place, and not going into the
middle of the assembly. "Danaan heroes," said he, "servants of Mars, it
is well to listen when a man stands up to speak, and it is not seemly
to interrupt him, or it will go hard even with a practised speaker. Who
can either hear or speak in an uproar? Even the finest orator will be
disconcerted by it. I will expound to the son of Peleus, and do you
other Achaeans heed me and mark me well. Often have the Achaeans spoken
to me of this matter and upbraided me, but it was not I that did it:
Jove, and Fate, and Erinys that walks in darkness struck me mad when we
were assembled on the day that I took from Achilles the meed that had
been awarded to him. What could I do? All things are in the hand of
heaven, and Folly, eldest of Jove's daughters, shuts men's eyes to
their destruction. She walks delicately, not on the solid earth, but
hovers over the heads of men to make them stumble or to ensnare them.

"Time was when she fooled Jove himself, who they say is greatest
whether of gods or men; for Juno, woman though she was, beguiled him on
the day when Alcmena was to bring forth mighty Hercules in the fair
city of Thebes. He told it out among the gods saying, 'Hear me, all
gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as I am minded; this day
shall an Ilithuia, helper of women who are in labour, bring a man child
into the world who shall be lord over all that dwell about him who are
of my blood and lineage.' Then said Juno all crafty and full of guile,
'You will play false, and will not hold to your word. Swear me, O
Olympian, swear me a great oath, that he who shall this day fall
between the feet of a woman, shall be lord over all that dwell about
him who are of your blood and lineage.'

"Thus she spoke, and Jove suspected her not, but swore the great oath,
to his much ruing thereafter. For Juno darted down from the high summit
of Olympus, and went in haste to Achaean Argos where she knew that the
noble wife of Sthenelus son of Perseus then was. She being with child
and in her seventh month, Juno brought the child to birth though there
was a month still wanting, but she stayed the offspring of Alcmena, and
kept back the Ilithuiae. Then she went to tell Jove the son of Saturn,
and said, 'Father Jove, lord of the lightning--I have a word for your
ear. There is a fine child born this day, Eurystheus, son to Sthenelus
the son of Perseus; he is of your lineage; it is well, therefore, that
he should reign over the Argives.'

"On this Jove was stung to the very quick, and in his rage he caught
Folly by the hair, and swore a great oath that never should she again
invade starry heaven and Olympus, for she was the bane of all. Then he
whirled her round with a twist of his hand, and flung her down from
heaven so that she fell on to the fields of mortal men; and he was ever
angry with her when he saw his son groaning under the cruel labours
that Eurystheus laid upon him. Even so did I grieve when mighty Hector
was killing the Argives at their ships, and all the time I kept
thinking of Folly who had so baned me. I was blind, and Jove robbed me
of my reason; I will now make atonement, and will add much treasure by
way of amends. Go, therefore, into battle, you and your people with
you. I will give you all that Ulysses offered you yesterday in your
tents: or if it so please you, wait, though you would fain fight at
once, and my squires shall bring the gifts from my ship, that you may
see whether what I give you is enough."

And Achilles answered, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, you can
give such gifts as you think proper, or you can withhold them: it is in
your own hands. Let us now set battle in array; it is not well to tarry
talking about trifles, for there is a deed which is as yet to do.
Achilles shall again be seen fighting among the foremost, and laying
low the ranks of the Trojans: bear this in mind each one of you when he
is fighting."

Then Ulysses said, "Achilles, godlike and brave, send not the Achaeans
thus against Ilius to fight the Trojans fasting, for the battle will be
no brief one, when it is once begun, and heaven has filled both sides
with fury; bid them first take food both bread and wine by the ships,
for in this there is strength and stay. No man can do battle the
livelong day to the going down of the sun if he is without food;
however much he may want to fight his strength will fail him before he
knows it; hunger and thirst will find him out, and his limbs will grow
weary under him. But a man can fight all day if he is full fed with
meat and wine; his heart beats high, and his strength will stay till he
has routed all his foes; therefore, send the people away and bid them
prepare their meal; King Agamemnon will bring out the gifts in presence
of the assembly, that all may see them and you may be satisfied.
Moreover let him swear an oath before the Argives that he has never
gone up into the couch of Briseis, nor been with her after the manner
of men and women; and do you, too, show yourself of a gracious mind;
let Agamemnon entertain you in his tents with a feast of
reconciliation, that so you may have had your dues in full. As for you,
son of Atreus, treat people more righteously in future; it is no
disgrace even to a king that he should make amends if he was wrong in
the first instance."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Son of Laertes, your words please me
well, for throughout you have spoken wisely. I will swear as you would
have me do; I do so of my own free will, neither shall I take the name
of heaven in vain. Let, then, Achilles wait, though he would fain fight
at once, and do you others wait also, till the gifts come from my tent
and we ratify the oath with sacrifice. Thus, then, do I charge you:
take some noble young Achaeans with you, and bring from my tents the
gifts that I promised yesterday to Achilles, and bring the women also;
furthermore let Talthybius find me a boar from those that are with the
host, and make it ready for sacrifice to Jove and to the sun."

Then said Achilles, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, see to these
matters at some other season, when there is breathing time and when I
am calmer. Would you have men eat while the bodies of those whom Hector
son of Priam slew are still lying mangled upon the plain? Let the sons
of the Achaeans, say I, fight fasting and without food, till we have
avenged them; afterwards at the going down of the sun let them eat
their fill. As for me, Patroclus is lying dead in my tent, all hacked
and hewn, with his feet to the door, and his comrades are mourning
round him. Therefore I can take thought of nothing save only slaughter
and blood and the rattle in the throat of the dying."

Ulysses answered, "Achilles, son of Peleus, mightiest of all the
Achaeans, in battle you are better than I, and that more than a little,
but in counsel I am much before you, for I am older and of greater
knowledge. Therefore be patient under my words. Fighting is a thing of
which men soon surfeit, and when Jove, who is war's steward, weighs the
upshot, it may well prove that the straw which our sickles have reaped
is far heavier than the grain. It may not be that the Achaeans should
mourn the dead with their bellies; day by day men fall thick and
threefold continually; when should we have respite from our sorrow? Let
us mourn our dead for a day and bury them out of sight and mind, but
let those of us who are left eat and drink that we may arm and fight
our foes more fiercely. In that hour let no man hold back, waiting for
a second summons; such summons shall bode ill for him who is found
lagging behind at our ships; let us rather sally as one man and loose
the fury of war upon the Trojans."

When he had thus spoken he took with him the sons of Nestor, with Meges
son of Phyleus, Thoas, Meriones, Lycomedes son of Creontes, and
Melanippus, and went to the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus. The word
was not sooner said than the deed was done: they brought out the seven
tripods which Agamemnon had promised, with the twenty metal cauldrons
and the twelve horses; they also brought the women skilled in useful
arts, seven in number, with Briseis, which made eight. Ulysses weighed
out the ten talents of gold and then led the way back, while the young
Achaeans brought the rest of the gifts, and laid them in the middle of
the assembly.

Agamemnon then rose, and Talthybius whose voice was like that of a god
came to him with the boar. The son of Atreus drew the knife which he
wore by the scabbard of his mighty sword, and began by cutting off some
bristles from the boar, lifting up his hands in prayer as he did so.
The other Achaeans sat where they were all silent and orderly to hear
the king, and Agamemnon looked into the vault of heaven and prayed
saying, "I call Jove the first and mightiest of all gods to witness, I
call also Earth and Sun and the Erinyes who dwell below and take
vengeance on him who shall swear falsely, that I have laid no hand upon
the girl Briseis, neither to take her to my bed nor otherwise, but that
she has remained in my tents inviolate. If I swear falsely may heaven
visit me with all the penalties which it metes out to those who perjure

He cut the boar's throat as he spoke, whereon Talthybius whirled it
round his head, and flung it into the wide sea to feed the fishes. Then
Achilles also rose and said to the Argives, "Father Jove, of a truth
you blind men's eyes and bane them. The son of Atreus had not else
stirred me to so fierce an anger, nor so stubbornly taken Briseis from
me against my will. Surely Jove must have counselled the destruction of
many an Argive. Go, now, and take your food that we may begin fighting."

On this he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his own
ship. The Myrmidons attended to the presents and took them away to the
ship of Achilles. They placed them in his tents, while the stable-men
drove the horses in among the others.

Briseis, fair as Venus, when she saw the mangled body of Patroclus,
flung herself upon it and cried aloud, tearing her breast, her neck,
and her lovely face with both her hands. Beautiful as a goddess she
wept and said, "Patroclus, dearest friend, when I went hence I left you
living; I return, O prince, to find you dead; thus do fresh sorrows
multiply upon me one after the other. I saw him to whom my father and
mother married me, cut down before our city, and my three own dear
brothers perished with him on the self-same day; but you, Patroclus,
even when Achilles slew my husband and sacked the city of noble Mynes,
told me that I was not to weep, for you said you would make Achilles
marry me, and take me back with him to Phthia, we should have a wedding
feast among the Myrmidons. You were always kind to me and I shall never
cease to grieve for you."

She wept as she spoke, and the women joined in her lament-making as
though their tears were for Patroclus, but in truth each was weeping
for her own sorrows. The elders of the Achaeans gathered round Achilles
and prayed him to take food, but he groaned and would not do so. "I
pray you," said he, "if any comrade will hear me, bid me neither eat
nor drink, for I am in great heaviness, and will stay fasting even to
the going down of the sun."

On this he sent the other princes away, save only the two sons of
Atreus and Ulysses, Nestor, Idomeneus, and the knight Phoenix, who
stayed behind and tried to comfort him in the bitterness of his sorrow:
but he would not be comforted till he should have flung himself into
the jaws of battle, and he fetched sigh on sigh, thinking ever of
Patroclus. Then he said--

"Hapless and dearest comrade, you it was who would get a good dinner
ready for me at once and without delay when the Achaeans were hasting
to fight the Trojans; now, therefore, though I have meat and drink in
my tents, yet will I fast for sorrow. Grief greater than this I could
not know, not even though I were to hear of the death of my father, who
is now in Phthia weeping for the loss of me his son, who am here
fighting the Trojans in a strange land for the accursed sake of Helen,
nor yet though I should hear that my son is no more--he who is being
brought up in Scyros--if indeed Neoptolemus is still living. Till now I
made sure that I alone was to fall here at Troy away from Argos, while
you were to return to Phthia, bring back my son with you in your own
ship, and show him all my property, my bondsmen, and the greatness of
my house--for Peleus must surely be either dead, or what little life
remains to him is oppressed alike with the infirmities of age and ever
present fear lest he should hear the sad tidings of my death."

He wept as he spoke, and the elders sighed in concert as each thought
on what he had left at home behind him. The son of Saturn looked down
with pity upon them, and said presently to Minerva, "My child, you have
quite deserted your hero; is he then gone so clean out of your
recollection? There he sits by the ships all desolate for the loss of
his dear comrade, and though the others are gone to their dinner he
will neither eat nor drink. Go then and drop nectar and ambrosia into
his breast, that he may know no hunger."

With these words he urged Minerva, who was already of the same mind.
She darted down from heaven into the air like some falcon sailing on
his broad wings and screaming. Meanwhile the Achaeans were arming
throughout the host, and when Minerva had dropped nectar and ambrosia
into Achilles so that no cruel hunger should cause his limbs to fail
him, she went back to the house of her mighty father. Thick as the
chill snow-flakes shed from the hand of Jove and borne on the keen
blasts of the north wind, even so thick did the gleaming helmets, the
bossed shields, the strongly plated breastplates, and the ashen spears
stream from the ships. The sheen pierced the sky, the whole land was
radiant with their flashing armour, and the sound of the tramp of their
treading rose from under their feet. In the midst of them all Achilles
put on his armour; he gnashed his teeth, his eyes gleamed like fire,
for his grief was greater than he could bear. Thus, then, full of fury
against the Trojans, did he don the gift of the god, the armour that
Vulcan had made him.

First he put on the goodly greaves fitted with ancle-clasps, and next
he did on the breastplate about his chest. He slung the silver-studded
sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then took up the shield so
great and strong that shone afar with a splendour as of the moon. As
the light seen by sailors from out at sea, when men have lit a fire in
their homestead high up among the mountains, but the sailors are
carried out to sea by wind and storm far from the haven where they
would be--even so did the gleam of Achilles' wondrous shield strike up
into the heavens. He lifted the redoubtable helmet, and set it upon his
head, from whence it shone like a star, and the golden plumes which
Vulcan had set thick about the ridge of the helmet, waved all around
it. Then Achilles made trial of himself in his armour to see whether it
fitted him, so that his limbs could play freely under it, and it seemed
to buoy him up as though it had been wings.

He also drew his father's spear out of the spear-stand, a spear so
great and heavy and strong that none of the Achaeans save only Achilles
had strength to wield it; this was the spear of Pelian ash from the
topmost ridges of Mt. Pelion, which Chiron had once given to Peleus,
fraught with the death of heroes. Automedon and Alcimus busied
themselves with the harnessing of his horses; they made the bands fast
about them, and put the bit in their mouths, drawing the reins back
towards the chariot. Automedon, whip in hand, sprang up behind the
horses, and after him Achilles mounted in full armour, resplendent as
the sun-god Hyperion. Then with a loud voice he chided with his
father's horses saying, "Xanthus and Balius, famed offspring of
Podarge--this time when we have done fighting be sure and bring your
driver safely back to the host of the Achaeans, and do not leave him
dead on the plain as you did Patroclus."

Then fleet Xanthus answered under the yoke--for white-armed Juno had
endowed him with human speech--and he bowed his head till his mane
touched the ground as it hung down from under the yoke-band. "Dread
Achilles," said he, "we will indeed save you now, but the day of your
death is near, and the blame will not be ours, for it will be heaven
and stern fate that will destroy you. Neither was it through any sloth
or slackness on our part that the Trojans stripped Patroclus of his
armour; it was the mighty god whom lovely Leto bore that slew him as he
fought among the foremost, and vouchsafed a triumph to Hector. We two
can fly as swiftly as Zephyrus who they say is fleetest of all winds;
nevertheless it is your doom to fall by the hand of a man and of a god."

When he had thus said the Erinyes stayed his speech, and Achilles
answered him in great sadness, saying, "Why, O Xanthus, do you thus
foretell my death? You need not do so, for I well know that I am to
fall here, far from my dear father and mother; none the more, however,
shall I stay my hand till I have given the Trojans their fill of

So saying, with a loud cry he drove his horses to the front.


The gods hold a council and determine to watch the fight, from
the hill Callicolone, and the barrow of Hercules--A fight
between Achilles and AEneas is interrupted by Neptune, who
saves AEneas--Achilles kills many Trojans.

THUS, then, did the Achaeans arm by their ships round you, O son of
Peleus, who were hungering for battle; while the Trojans over against
them armed upon the rise of the plain.

Meanwhile Jove from the top of many-delled Olympus, bade Themis gather
the gods in council, whereon she went about and called them to the
house of Jove. There was not a river absent except Oceanus, nor a
single one of the nymphs that haunt fair groves, or springs of rivers
and meadows of green grass. When they reached the house of
cloud-compelling Jove, they took their seats in the arcades of polished
marble which Vulcan with his consummate skill had made for father Jove.

In such wise, therefore, did they gather in the house of Jove. Neptune
also, lord of the earthquake, obeyed the call of the goddess, and came
up out of the sea to join them. There, sitting in the midst of them, he
asked what Jove's purpose might be. "Why," said he, "wielder of the
lightning, have you called the gods in council? Are you considering
some matter that concerns the Trojans and Achaeans--for the blaze of
battle is on the point of being kindled between them?"

And Jove answered, "You know my purpose, shaker of earth, and wherefore
I have called you hither. I take thought for them even in their
destruction. For my own part I shall stay here seated on Mt. Olympus
and look on in peace, but do you others go about among Trojans and
Achaeans, and help either side as you may be severally disposed. If
Achilles fights the Trojans without hindrance they will make no stand
against him; they have ever trembled at the sight of him, and now that
he is roused to such fury about his comrade, he will override fate
itself and storm their city."

Thus spoke Jove and gave the word for war, whereon the gods took their
several sides and went into battle. Juno, Pallas Minerva,
earth-encircling Neptune, Mercury bringer of good luck and excellent in
all cunning--all these joined the host that came from the ships; with
them also came Vulcan in all his glory, limping, but yet with his thin
legs plying lustily under him. Mars of gleaming helmet joined the
Trojans, and with him Apollo of locks unshorn, and the archer goddess
Diana, Leto, Xanthus, and laughter-loving Venus.

So long as the gods held themselves aloof from mortal warriors the
Achaeans were triumphant, for Achilles who had long refused to fight
was now with them. There was not a Trojan but his limbs failed him for
fear as he beheld the fleet son of Peleus all glorious in his armour,
and looking like Mars himself. When, however, the Olympians came to
take their part among men, forthwith uprose strong Strife, rouser of
hosts, and Minerva raised her loud voice, now standing by the deep
trench that ran outside the wall, and now shouting with all her might
upon the shore of the sounding sea. Mars also bellowed out upon the
other side, dark as some black thunder-cloud, and called on the Trojans
at the top of his voice, now from the acropolis, and now speeding up
the side of the river Simois till he came to the hill Callicolone.

Thus did the gods spur on both hosts to fight, and rouse fierce
contention also among themselves. The sire of gods and men thundered
from heaven above, while from beneath Neptune shook the vast earth, and
bade the high hills tremble. The spurs and crests of many-fountained
Ida quaked, as also the city of the Trojans and the ships of the
Achaeans. Hades, king of the realms below, was struck with fear; he
sprang panic-stricken from his throne and cried aloud in terror lest
Neptune, lord of the earthquake, should crack the ground over his head,
and lay bare his mouldy mansions to the sight of mortals and
immortals--mansions so ghastly grim that even the gods shudder to think
of them. Such was the uproar as the gods came together in battle.
Apollo with his arrows took his stand to face King Neptune, while
Minerva took hers against the god of war; the archer-goddess Diana with
her golden arrows, sister of far-darting Apollo, stood to face Juno;
Mercury the lusty bringer of good luck faced Leto, while the mighty
eddying river whom men can Scamander, but gods Xanthus, matched himself
against Vulcan.

The gods, then, were thus ranged against one another. But the heart of
Achilles was set on meeting Hector son of Priam, for it was with his
blood that he longed above all things else to glut the stubborn lord of
battle. Meanwhile Apollo set Aeneas on to attack the son of Peleus, and
put courage into his heart, speaking with the voice of Lycaon son of
Priam. In his likeness therefore, he said to Aeneas, "Aeneas,
counsellor of the Trojans, where are now the brave words with which you
vaunted over your wine before the Trojan princes, saying that you would
fight Achilles son of Peleus in single combat?"

And Aeneas answered, "Why do you thus bid me fight the proud son of
Peleus, when I am in no mind to do so? Were I to face him now, it would
not be for the first time. His spear has already put me to flight from
Ida, when he attacked our cattle and sacked Lyrnessus and Pedasus; Jove
indeed saved me in that he vouchsafed me strength to fly, else had I
fallen by the hands of Achilles and Minerva, who went before him to
protect him and urged him to fall upon the Lelegae and Trojans. No man
may fight Achilles, for one of the gods is always with him as his
guardian angel, and even were it not so, his weapon flies ever
straight, and fails not to pierce the flesh of him who is against him;
if heaven would let me fight him on even terms he should not soon
overcome me, though he boasts that he is made of bronze."

Then said King Apollo, son to Jove, "Nay, hero, pray to the ever-living
gods, for men say that you were born of Jove's daughter Venus, whereas
Achilles is son to a goddess of inferior rank. Venus is child to Jove,
while Thetis is but daughter to the old man of the sea. Bring,
therefore, your spear to bear upon him, and let him not scare you with
his taunts and menaces."

As he spoke he put courage into the heart of the shepherd of his
people, and he strode in full armour among the ranks of the foremost
fighters. Nor did the son of Anchises escape the notice of white-armed
Juno, as he went forth into the throng to meet Achilles. She called the
gods about her, and said, "Look to it, you two, Neptune and Minerva,
and consider how this shall be; Phoebus Apollo has been sending Aeneas
clad in full armour to fight Achilles. Shall we turn him back at once,
or shall one of us stand by Achilles and endow him with strength so
that his heart fail not, and he may learn that the chiefs of the
immortals are on his side, while the others who have all along been
defending the Trojans are but vain helpers? Let us all come down from
Olympus and join in the fight, that this day he may take no hurt at the
hands of the Trojans. Hereafter let him suffer whatever fate may have
spun out for him when he was begotten and his mother bore him. If
Achilles be not thus assured by the voice of a god, he may come to fear
presently when one of us meets him in battle, for the gods are terrible
if they are seen face to face."

Neptune lord of the earthquake answered her saying, "Juno, restrain
your fury; it is not well; I am not in favour of forcing the other gods
to fight us, for the advantage is too greatly on our own side; let us
take our places on some hill out of the beaten track, and let mortals
fight it out among themselves. If Mars or Phoebus Apollo begin
fighting, or keep Achilles in check so that he cannot fight, we too,
will at once raise the cry of battle, and in that case they will soon
leave the field and go back vanquished to Olympus among the other gods."

With these words the dark-haired god led the way to the high
earth-barrow of Hercules, built round solid masonry, and made by the
Trojans and Pallas Minerva for him to fly to when the sea-monster was
chasing him from the shore on to the plain. Here Neptune and those that
were with him took their seats, wrapped in a thick cloud of darkness;
but the other gods seated themselves on the brow of Callicolone round
you, O Phoebus, and Mars the waster of cities.

Thus did the gods sit apart and form their plans, but neither side was
willing to begin battle with the other, and Jove from his seat on high
was in command over them all. Meanwhile the whole plain was alive with
men and horses, and blazing with the gleam of armour. The earth rang
again under the tramp of their feet as they rushed towards each other,
and two champions, by far the foremost of them all, met between the
hosts to fight--to wit, Aeneas son of Anchises, and noble Achilles.

Aeneas was first to stride forward in attack, his doughty helmet
tossing defiance as he came on. He held his strong shield before his
breast, and brandished his bronze spear. The son of Peleus from the
other side sprang forth to meet him, like some fierce lion that the
whole country-side has met to hunt and kill--at first he bodes no ill,
but when some daring youth has struck him with a spear, he crouches
openmouthed, his jaws foam, he roars with fury, he lashes his tail from
side to side about his ribs and loins, and glares as he springs
straight before him, to find out whether he is to slay, or be slain
among the foremost of his foes--even with such fury did Achilles burn
to spring upon Aeneas.

When they were now close up with one another Achilles was first to
speak. "Aeneas," said he, "why do you stand thus out before the host to
fight me? Is it that you hope to reign over the Trojans in the seat of
Priam? Nay, though you kill me Priam will not hand his kingdom over to
you. He is a man of sound judgement, and he has sons of his own. Or
have the Trojans been allotting you a demesne of passing richness, fair
with orchard lawns and corn lands, if you should slay me? This you
shall hardly do. I have discomfited you once already. Have you
forgotten how when you were alone I chased you from your herds
helter-skelter down the slopes of Ida? You did not turn round to look
behind you; you took refuge in Lyrnessus, but I attacked the city, and
with the help of Minerva and father Jove I sacked it and carried its
women into captivity, though Jove and the other gods rescued you. You
think they will protect you now, but they will not do so; therefore I
say go back into the host, and do not face me, or you will rue it. Even
a fool may be wise after the event."

Then Aeneas answered, "Son of Peleus, think not that your words can
scare me as though I were a child. I too, if I will, can brag and talk
unseemly. We know one another's race and parentage as matters of common
fame, though neither have you ever seen my parents nor I yours. Men say
that you are son to noble Peleus, and that your mother is Thetis,
fair-haired daughter of the sea. I have noble Anchises for my father,
and Venus for my mother; the parents of one or other of us shall this
day mourn a son, for it will be more than silly talk that shall part us
when the fight is over. Learn, then, my lineage if you will--and it is
known to many.

"In the beginning Dardanus was the son of Jove, and founded Dardania,
for Ilius was not yet stablished on the plain for men to dwell in, and
her people still abode on the spurs of many-fountained Ida. Dardanus
had a son, king Erichthonius, who was wealthiest of all men living; he
had three thousand mares that fed by the water-meadows, they and their
foals with them. Boreas was enamoured of them as they were feeding, and
covered them in the semblance of a dark-maned stallion. Twelve filly
foals did they conceive and bear him, and these, as they sped over the
rich plain, would go bounding on over the ripe ears of corn and not
break them; or again when they would disport themselves on the broad
back of Ocean they could gallop on the crest of a breaker. Erichthonius
begat Tros, king of the Trojans, and Tros had three noble sons, Ilus,
Assaracus, and Ganymede who was comeliest of mortal men; wherefore the
gods carried him off to be Jove's cupbearer, for his beauty's sake,
that he might dwell among the immortals. Ilus begat Laomedon, and
Laomedon begat Tithonus, Priam, Lampus, Clytius, and Hiketaon of the
stock of Mars. But Assaracus was father to Capys, and Capys to
Anchises, who was my father, while Hector is son to Priam.

"Such do I declare my blood and lineage, but as for valour, Jove gives
it or takes it as he will, for he is lord of all. And now let there be
no more of this prating in mid-battle as though we were children. We
could fling taunts without end at one another; a hundred-oared galley
would not hold them. The tongue can run all whithers and talk all wise;
it can go here and there, and as a man says, so shall he be gainsaid.
What is the use of our bandying hard like women who when they fall foul
of one another go out and wrangle in the streets, one half true and the
other lies, as rage inspires them? No words of yours shall turn me now
that I am fain to fight--therefore let us make trial of one another
with our spears."

As he spoke he drove his spear at the great and terrible shield of
Achilles, which rang out as the point struck it. The son of Peleus held
the shield before him with his strong hand, and he was afraid, for he
deemed that Aeneas's spear would go through it quite easily, not
reflecting that the god's glorious gifts were little likely to yield
before the blows of mortal men; and indeed Aeneas's spear did not
pierce the shield, for the layer of gold, gift of the god, stayed the
point. It went through two layers, but the god had made the shield in
five, two of bronze, the two innermost ones of tin, and one of gold; it
was in this that the spear was stayed.

Achilles in his turn threw, and struck the round shield of Aeneas at
the very edge, where the bronze was thinnest; the spear of Pelian ash
went clean through, and the shield rang under the blow; Aeneas was
afraid, and crouched backwards, holding the shield away from him; the
spear, however, flew over his back, and stuck quivering in the ground,
after having gone through both circles of the sheltering shield. Aeneas
though he had avoided the spear, stood still, blinded with fear and
grief because the weapon had gone so near him; then Achilles sprang
furiously upon him, with a cry as of death and with his keen blade
drawn, and Aeneas seized a great stone, so huge that two men, as men
now are, would be unable to lift it, but Aeneas wielded it quite easily.

Aeneas would then have struck Achilles as he was springing towards him,
either on the helmet, or on the shield that covered him, and Achilles
would have closed with him and despatched him with his sword, had not
Neptune lord of the earthquake been quick to mark, and said forthwith
to the immortals, "Alas, I am sorry for great Aeneas, who will now go
down to the house of Hades, vanquished by the son of Peleus. Fool that
he was to give ear to the counsel of Apollo. Apollo will never save him
from destruction. Why should this man suffer when he is guiltless, to
no purpose, and in another's quarrel? Has he not at all times offered
acceptable sacrifice to the gods that dwell in heaven? Let us then
snatch him from death's jaws, lest the son of Saturn be angry should
Achilles slay him. It is fated, moreover, that he should escape, and
that the race of Dardanus, whom Jove loved above all the sons born to
him of mortal women, shall not perish utterly without seed or sign. For
now indeed has Jove hated the blood of Priam, while Aeneas shall reign
over the Trojans, he and his children's children that shall be born

Then answered Juno, "Earth-shaker, look to this matter yourself, and
consider concerning Aeneas, whether you will save him, or suffer him,
brave though he be, to fall by the hand of Achilles son of Peleus. For
of a truth we two, I and Pallas Minerva, have sworn full many a time
before all the immortals, that never would we shield Trojans from
destruction, not even when all Troy is burning in the flames that the
Achaeans shall kindle."

When earth-encircling Neptune heard this he went into the battle amid
the clash of spears, and came to the place where Achilles and Aeneas
were. Forthwith he shed a darkness before the eyes of the son of
Peleus, drew the bronze-headed ashen spear from the shield of Aeneas,
and laid it at the feet of Achilles. Then he lifted Aeneas on high from
off the earth and hurried him away. Over the heads of many a band of
warriors both horse and foot did he soar as the god's hand sped him,
till he came to the very fringe of the battle where the Cauconians were
arming themselves for fight. Neptune, shaker of the earth, then came
near to him and said, "Aeneas, what god has egged you on to this folly
in fighting the son of Peleus, who is both a mightier man of valour and
more beloved of heaven than you are? Give way before him whensoever you
meet him, lest you go down to the house of Hades even though fate would
have it otherwise. When Achilles is dead you may then fight among the
foremost undaunted, for none other of the Achaeans shall slay you."

The god left him when he had given him these instructions, and at once
removed the darkness from before the eyes of Achilles, who opened them
wide indeed and said in great anger, "Alas! what marvel am I now
beholding? Here is my spear upon the ground, but I see not him whom I
meant to kill when I hurled it. Of a truth Aeneas also must be under
heaven's protection, although I had thought his boasting was idle. Let
him go hang; he will be in no mood to fight me further, seeing how
narrowly he has missed being killed. I will now give my orders to the
Danaans and attack some other of the Trojans."

He sprang forward along the line and cheered his men on as he did so.
"Let not the Trojans," he cried, "keep you at arm's length, Achaeans,
but go for them and fight them man for man. However valiant I may be, I
cannot give chase to so many and fight all of them. Even Mars, who is
an immortal, or Minerva, would shrink from flinging himself into the
jaws of such a fight and laying about him; nevertheless, so far as in
me lies I will show no slackness of hand or foot nor want of endurance,
not even for a moment; I will utterly break their ranks, and woe to the
Trojan who shall venture within reach of my spear."

Thus did he exhort them. Meanwhile Hector called upon the Trojans and
declared that he would fight Achilles. "Be not afraid, proud Trojans,"
said he, "to face the son of Peleus; I could fight gods myself if the
battle were one of words only, but they would be more than a match for
me, if we had to use our spears. Even so the deed of Achilles will fall
somewhat short of his word; he will do in part, and the other part he
will clip short. I will go up against him though his hands be as
fire--though his hands be fire and his strength iron."

Thus urged the Trojans lifted up their spears against the Achaeans, and
raised the cry of battle as they flung themselves into the midst of
their ranks. But Phoebus Apollo came up to Hector and said, "Hector, on
no account must you challenge Achilles to single combat; keep a lookout
for him while you are under cover of the others and away from the thick
of the fight, otherwise he will either hit you with a spear or cut you
down at close quarters."

Thus he spoke, and Hector drew back within the crowd, for he was afraid
when he heard what the god had said to him. Achilles then sprang upon
the Trojans with a terrible cry, clothed in valour as with a garment.
First he killed Iphition son of Otrynteus, a leader of much people whom
a naiad nymph had borne to Otrynteus waster of cities, in the land of
Hyde under the snowy heights of Mt. Tmolus. Achilles struck him full on
the head as he was coming on towards him, and split it clean in two;
whereon he fell heavily to the ground and Achilles vaunted over him
saying, "You be low, son of Otrynteus, mighty hero; your death is here,
but your lineage is on the Gygaean lake where your father's estate
lies, by Hyllus, rich in fish, and the eddying waters of Hermus."

Thus did he vaunt, but darkness closed the eyes of the other. The
chariots of the Achaeans cut him up as their wheels passed over him in
the front of the battle, and after him Achilles killed Demoleon, a
valiant man of war and son to Antenor. He struck him on the temple
through his bronze-cheeked helmet. The helmet did not stay the spear,
but it went right on, crushing the bone so that the brain inside was
shed in all directions, and his lust of fighting was ended. Then he
struck Hippodamas in the midriff as he was springing down from his
chariot in front of him, and trying to escape. He breathed his last,
bellowing like a bull bellows when young men are dragging him to offer
him in sacrifice to the King of Helice, and the heart of the
earth-shaker is glad; even so did he bellow as he lay dying. Achilles
then went in pursuit of Polydorus son of Priam, whom his father had
always forbidden to fight because he was the youngest of his sons, the
one he loved best, and the fastest runner. He, in his folly and showing
off the fleetness of his feet, was rushing about among front ranks
until he lost his life, for Achilles struck him in the middle of the
back as he was darting past him: he struck him just at the golden
fastenings of his belt and where the two pieces of the double
breastplate overlapped. The point of the spear pierced him through and
came out by the navel, whereon he fell groaning on to his knees and a
cloud of darkness overshadowed him as he sank holding his entrails in
his hands.

When Hector saw his brother Polydorus with his entrails in his hands
and sinking down upon the ground, a mist came over his eyes, and he
could not bear to keep longer at a distance; he therefore poised his
spear and darted towards Achilles like a flame of fire. When Achilles
saw him he bounded forward and vaunted saying, "This is he that has
wounded my heart most deeply and has slain my beloved comrade. Not for
long shall we two quail before one another on the highways of war."

He looked fiercely on Hector and said, "Draw near, that you may meet
your doom the sooner." Hector feared him not and answered, "Son of
Peleus, think not that your words can scare me as though I were a
child; I too if I will can brag and talk unseemly; I know that you are
a mighty warrior, mightier by far than I, nevertheless the issue lies
in the lap of heaven whether I, worse man though I be, may not slay you
with my spear, for this too has been found keen ere now."

He hurled his spear as he spoke, but Minerva breathed upon it, and
though she breathed but very lightly she turned it back from going
towards Achilles, so that it returned to Hector and lay at his feet in
front of him. Achilles then sprang furiously on him with a loud cry,
bent on killing him, but Apollo caught him up easily as a god can, and
hid him in a thick darkness. Thrice did Achilles spring towards him
spear in hand, and thrice did he waste his blow upon the air. When he
rushed forward for the fourth time as though he were a god, he shouted
aloud saying, "Hound, this time too you have escaped death--but of a
truth it came exceedingly near you. Phoebus Apollo, to whom it seems
you pray before you go into battle, has again saved you; but if I too
have any friend among the gods I will surely make an end of you when I
come across you at some other time. Now, however, I will pursue and
overtake other Trojans."

On this he struck Dryops with his spear, about the middle of his neck,
and he fell headlong at his feet. There he let him lie and stayed
Demouchus son of Philetor, a man both brave and of great stature, by
hitting him on the knee with a spear; then he smote him with his sword
and killed him. After this he sprang on Laogonus and Dardanus, sons of
Bias, and threw them from their chariot, the one with a blow from a
thrown spear, while the other he cut down in hand-to-hand fight. There
was also Tros the son of Alastor--he came up to Achilles and clasped
his knees in the hope that he would spare him and not kill him but let
him go, because they were both of the same age. Fool, he might have
known that he should not prevail with him, for the man was in no mood
for pity or forbearance but was in grim earnest. Therefore when Tros
laid hold of his knees and sought a hearing for his prayers, Achilles
drove his sword into his liver, and the liver came rolling out, while
his bosom was all covered with the black blood that welled from the
wound. Thus did death close his eyes as he lay lifeless.

Achilles then went up to Mulius and struck him on the ear with a spear,
and the bronze spear-head came right out at the other ear. He also
struck Echeclus son of Agenor on the head with his sword, which became
warm with the blood, while death and stern fate closed the eyes of
Echeclus. Next in order the bronze point of his spear wounded Deucalion
in the fore-arm where the sinews of the elbow are united, whereon he
waited Achilles' onset with his arm hanging down and death staring him
in the face. Achilles cut his head off with a blow from his sword and
flung it helmet and all away from him, and the marrow came oozing out
of his backbone as he lay. He then went in pursuit of Rhigmus, noble
son of Peires, who had come from fertile Thrace, and struck him through
the middle with a spear which fixed itself in his belly, so that he
fell headlong from his chariot. He also speared Areithous squire to
Rhigmus in the back as he was turning his horses in flight, and thrust
him from his chariot, while the horses were struck with panic.

As a fire raging in some mountain glen after long drought--and the
dense forest is in a blaze, while the wind carries great tongues of
fire in every direction--even so furiously did Achilles rage, wielding
his spear as though he were a god, and giving chase to those whom he
would slay, till the dark earth ran with blood. Or as one who yokes
broad-browed oxen that they may tread barley in a threshing-floor--and
it is soon bruised small under the feet of the lowing cattle--even so
did the horses of Achilles trample on the shields and bodies of the
slain. The axle underneath and the railing that ran round the car were
bespattered with clots of blood thrown up by the horses' hoofs, and
from the tyres of the wheels; but the son of Peleus pressed on to win
still further glory, and his hands were bedrabbled with gore.


The fight between Achilles and the river Scamander--The gods
fight among themselves--Achilles drives the Trojans within
their gates.

NOW when they came to the ford of the full-flowing river Xanthus,
begotten of immortal Jove, Achilles cut their forces in two: one half
he chased over the plain towards the city by the same way that the
Achaeans had taken when flying panic-stricken on the preceding day with
Hector in full triumph; this way did they fly pell-mell, and Juno sent
down a thick mist in front of them to stay them. The other half were
hemmed in by the deep silver-eddying stream, and fell into it with a
great uproar. The waters resounded, and the banks rang again, as they
swam hither and thither with loud cries amid the whirling eddies. As
locusts flying to a river before the blast of a grass fire--the flame
comes on and on till at last it overtakes them and they huddle into the
water--even so was the eddying stream of Xanthus filled with the uproar
of men and horses, all struggling in confusion before Achilles.

Forthwith the hero left his spear upon the bank, leaning it against a
tamarisk bush, and plunged into the river like a god, armed with his
sword only. Fell was his purpose as he hewed the Trojans down on every
side. Their dying groans rose hideous as the sword smote them, and the
river ran red with blood. As when fish fly scared before a huge
dolphin, and fill every nook and corner of some fair haven--for he is
sure to eat all he can catch--even so did the Trojans cower under the
banks of the mighty river, and when Achilles' arms grew weary with
killing them, he drew twelve youths alive out of the water, to
sacrifice in revenge for Patroclus son of Menoetius. He drew them out
like dazed fawns, bound their hands behind them with the girdles of
their own shirts, and gave them over to his men to take back to the
ships. Then he sprang into the river, thirsting for still further blood.

There he found Lycaon, son of Priam seed of Dardanus, as he was
escaping out of the water; he it was whom he had once taken prisoner
when he was in his father's vineyard, having set upon him by night, as
he was cutting young shoots from a wild fig-tree to make the wicker
sides of a chariot. Achilles then caught him to his sorrow unawares,
and sent him by sea to Lemnos, where the son of Jason bought him. But a
guest-friend, Eetion of Imbros, freed him with a great sum, and sent
him to Arisbe, whence he had escaped and returned to his father's
house. He had spent eleven days happily with his friends after he had
come from Lemnos, but on the twelfth heaven again delivered him into
the hands of Achilles, who was to send him to the house of Hades sorely
against his will. He was unarmed when Achilles caught sight of him, and
had neither helmet nor shield; nor yet had he any spear, for he had
thrown all his armour from him on to the bank, and was sweating with
his struggles to get out of the river, so that his strength was now
failing him.

Then Achilles said to himself in his surprise, "What marvel do I see
here? If this man can come back alive after having been sold over into
Lemnos, I shall have the Trojans also whom I have slain rising from the
world below. Could not even the waters of the grey sea imprison him, as
they do many another whether he will or no? This time let him taste my
spear, that I may know for certain whether mother earth who can keep
even a strong man down, will be able to hold him, or whether thence too
he will return."

Thus did he pause and ponder. But Lycaon came up to him dazed and
trying hard to embrace his knees, for he would fain live, not die.
Achilles thrust at him with his spear, meaning to kill him, but Lycaon
ran crouching up to him and caught his knees, whereby the spear passed
over his back, and stuck in the ground, hungering though it was for
blood. With one hand he caught Achilles' knees as he besought him, and
with the other he clutched the spear and would not let it go. Then he
said, "Achilles, have mercy upon me and spare me, for I am your
suppliant. It was in your tents that I first broke bread on the day
when you took me prisoner in the vineyard; after which you sold me away
to Lemnos far from my father and my friends, and I brought you the
price of a hundred oxen. I have paid three times as much to gain my
freedom; it is but twelve days that I have come to Ilius after much
suffering, and now cruel fate has again thrown me into your hands.
Surely father Jove must hate me, that he has given me over to you a
second time. Short of life indeed did my mother Laothoe bear me,
daughter of aged Altes--of Altes who reigns over the warlike Lelegae
and holds steep Pedasus on the river Satnioeis. Priam married his
daughter along with many other women and two sons were born of her,
both of whom you will have slain. Your spear slew noble Polydorus as he
was fighting in the front ranks, and now evil will here befall me, for
I fear that I shall not escape you since heaven has delivered me over
to you. Furthermore I say, and lay my saying to your heart, spare me,
for I am not of the same womb as Hector who slew your brave and noble

With such words did the princely son of Priam beseech Achilles; but
Achilles answered him sternly. "Idiot," said he, "talk not to me of
ransom. Until Patroclus fell I preferred to give the Trojans quarter,
and sold beyond the sea many of those whom I had taken alive; but now
not a man shall live of those whom heaven delivers into my hands before
the city of Ilius--and of all Trojans it shall fare hardest with the
sons of Priam. Therefore, my friend, you too shall die. Why should you
whine in this way? Patroclus fell, and he was a better man than you
are. I too--see you not how I am great and goodly? I am son to a noble
father, and have a goddess for my mother, but the hands of doom and
death overshadow me all as surely. The day will come, either at dawn or
dark, or at the noontide, when one shall take my life also in battle,
either with his spear, or with an arrow sped from his bow."

Thus did he speak, and Lycaon's heart sank within him. He loosed his
hold of the spear, and held out both hands before him; but Achilles
drew his keen blade, and struck him by the collar-bone on his neck; he
plunged his two-edged sword into him to the very hilt, whereon he lay
at full length on the ground, with the dark blood welling from him till
the earth was soaked. Then Achilles caught him by the foot and flung
him into the river to go down stream, vaunting over him the while, and
saying, "Lie there among the fishes, who will lick the blood from your
wound and gloat over it; your mother shall not lay you on any bier to
mourn you, but the eddies of Scamander shall bear you into the broad
bosom of the sea. There shall the fishes feed on the fat of Lycaon as
they dart under the dark ripple of the waters--so perish all of you
till we reach the citadel of strong Ilius--you in flight, and I
following after to destroy you. The river with its broad silver stream
shall serve you in no stead, for all the bulls you offered him and all
the horses that you flung living into his waters. None the less
miserably shall you perish till there is not a man of you but has paid
in full for the death of Patroclus and the havoc you wrought among the
Achaeans whom you have slain while I held aloof from battle."

So spoke Achilles, but the river grew more and more angry, and pondered
within himself how he should stay the hand of Achilles and save the
Trojans from disaster. Meanwhile the son of Peleus, spear in hand,
sprang upon Asteropaeus son of Pelegon to kill him. He was son to the
broad river Axius and Periboea eldest daughter of Acessamenus; for the
river had lain with her. Asteropaeus stood up out of the water to face
him with a spear in either hand, and Xanthus filled him with courage,
being angry for the death of the youths whom Achilles was slaying
ruthlessly within his waters. When they were close up with one another
Achilles was first to speak. "Who and whence are you," said he, "who
dare to face me? Woe to the parents whose son stands up against me."
And the son of Pelegon answered, "Great son of Peleus, why should you
ask my lineage. I am from the fertile land of far Paeonia, captain of
the Paeonians, and it is now eleven days that I am at Ilius. I am of
the blood of the river Axius--of Axius that is the fairest of all
rivers that run. He begot the famed warrior Pelegon, whose son men call
me. Let us now fight, Achilles."

Thus did he defy him, and Achilles raised his spear of Pelian ash.
Asteropaeus failed with both his spears, for he could use both hands
alike; with the one spear he struck Achilles' shield, but did not
pierce it, for the layer of gold, gift of the god, stayed the point;
with the other spear he grazed the elbow of Achilles' right arm drawing
dark blood, but the spear itself went by him and fixed itself in the
ground, foiled of its bloody banquet. Then Achilles, fain to kill him,
hurled his spear at Asteropaeus, but failed to hit him and struck the
steep bank of the river, driving the spear half its length into the
earth. The son of Peleus then drew his sword and sprang furiously upon
him. Asteropaeus vainly tried to draw Achilles' spear out of the bank
by main force; thrice did he tug at it, trying with all his might to
draw it out, and thrice he had to leave off trying; the fourth time he
tried to bend and break it, but ere he could do so Achilles smote him
with his sword and killed him. He struck him in the belly near the
navel, so that all his bowels came gushing out on to the ground, and
the darkness of death came over him as he lay gasping. Then Achilles
set his foot on his chest and spoiled him of his armour, vaunting over
him and saying, "Lie there--begotten of a river though you be, it is
hard for you to strive with the offspring of Saturn's son. You declare
yourself sprung from the blood of a broad river, but I am of the seed
of mighty Jove. My father is Peleus, son of Aeacus ruler over the many
Myrmidons, and Aeacus was the son of Jove. Therefore as Jove is
mightier than any river that flows into the sea, so are his children
stronger than those of any river whatsoever. Moreover you have a great
river hard by if he can be of any use to you, but there is no fighting
against Jove the son of Saturn, with whom not even King Achelous can
compare, nor the mighty stream of deep-flowing Oceanus, from whom all
rivers and seas with all springs and deep wells proceed; even Oceanus
fears the lightnings of great Jove, and his thunder that comes crashing
out of heaven."

With this he drew his bronze spear out of the bank, and now that he had
killed Asteropaeus, he let him lie where he was on the sand, with the
dark water flowing over him and the eels and fishes busy nibbling and
gnawing the fat that was about his kidneys. Then he went in chase of
the Paeonians, who were flying along the bank of the river in panic
when they saw their leader slain by the hands of the son of Peleus.
Therein he slew Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus, Mnesus, Thrasius,
Oeneus, and Ophelestes, and he would have slain yet others, had not the
river in anger taken human form, and spoken to him from out the deep
waters saying, "Achilles, if you excel all in strength, so do you also
in wickedness, for the gods are ever with you to protect you: if, then,
the son of Saturn has vouchsafed it to you to destroy all the Trojans,
at any rate drive them out of my stream, and do your grim work on land.
My fair waters are now filled with corpses, nor can I find any channel
by which I may pour myself into the sea for I am choked with dead, and
yet you go on mercilessly slaying. I am in despair, therefore, O
captain of your host, trouble me no further."

Achilles answered, "So be it, Scamander, Jove-descended; but I will
never cease dealing out death among the Trojans, till I have pent them
up in their city, and made trial of Hector face to face, that I may
learn whether he is to vanquish me, or I him."

As he spoke he set upon the Trojans with a fury like that of the gods.
But the river said to Apollo, "Surely, son of Jove, lord of the silver
bow, you are not obeying the commands of Jove who charged you straitly
that you should stand by the Trojans and defend them, till twilight
fades, and darkness is over an the earth."

Meanwhile Achilles sprang from the bank into mid-stream, whereon the
river raised a high wave and attacked him. He swelled his stream into a
torrent, and swept away the many dead whom Achilles had slain and left
within his waters. These he cast out on to the land, bellowing like a
bull the while, but the living he saved alive, hiding them in his
mighty eddies. The great and terrible wave gathered about Achilles,
falling upon him and beating on his shield, so that he could not keep
his feet; he caught hold of a great elm-tree, but it came up by the
roots, and tore away the bank, damming the stream with its thick
branches and bridging it all across; whereby Achilles struggled out of
the stream, and fled full speed over the plain, for he was afraid.

But the mighty god ceased not in his pursuit, and sprang upon him with
a dark-crested wave, to stay his hands and save the Trojans from
destruction. The son of Peleus darted away a spear's throw from him;
swift as the swoop of a black hunter-eagle which is the strongest and
fleetest of all birds, even so did he spring forward, and the armour
rang loudly about his breast. He fled on in front, but the river with a
loud roar came tearing after. As one who would water his garden leads a
stream from some fountain over his plants, and all his ground--spade in
hand he clears away the dams to free the channels, and the little
stones run rolling round and round with the water as it goes merrily
down the bank faster than the man can follow--even so did the river
keep catching up with Achilles albeit he was a fleet runner, for the
gods are stronger than men. As often as he would strive to stand his
ground, and see whether or no all the gods in heaven were in league
against him, so often would the mighty wave come beating down upon his
shoulders, and he would have to keep flying on and on in great dismay;
for the angry flood was tiring him out as it flowed past him and ate
the ground from under his feet.

Then the son of Peleus lifted up his voice to heaven saying, "Father
Jove, is there none of the gods who will take pity upon me, and save me
from the river? I do not care what may happen to me afterwards. I blame
none of the other dwellers on Olympus so severely as I do my dear
mother, who has beguiled and tricked me. She told me I was to fall
under the walls of Troy by the flying arrows of Apollo; would that
Hector, the best man among the Trojans, might there slay me; then
should I fall a hero by the hand of a hero; whereas now it seems that I
shall come to a most pitiable end, trapped in this river as though I
were some swineherd's boy, who gets carried down a torrent while trying
to cross it during a storm."

As soon as he had spoken thus, Neptune and Minerva came up to him in
the likeness of two men, and took him by the hand to reassure him.
Neptune spoke first. "Son of Peleus," said he, "be not so exceeding
fearful; we are two gods, come with Jove's sanction to assist you, I,
and Pallas Minerva. It is not your fate to perish in this river; he
will abate presently as you will see; moreover we strongly advise you,
if you will be guided by us, not to stay your hand from fighting till
you have pent the Trojan host within the famed walls of Ilius--as many
of them as may escape. Then kill Hector and go back to the ships, for
we will vouchsafe you a triumph over him."

When they had so said they went back to the other immortals, but
Achilles strove onward over the plain, encouraged by the charge the
gods had laid upon him. All was now covered with the flood of waters,
and much goodly armour of the youths that had been slain was rifting
about, as also many corpses, but he forced his way against the stream,
speeding right onwards, nor could the broad waters stay him, for
Minerva had endowed him with great strength. Nevertheless Scamander did
not slacken in his pursuit, but was still more furious with the son of
Peleus. He lifted his waters into a high crest and cried aloud to
Simois saying, "Dear brother, let the two of us unite to save this man,
or he will sack the mighty city of King Priam, and the Trojans will not
hold out against him. Help me at once; fill your streams with water
from their sources, rouse all your torrents to a fury; raise your wave
on high, and let snags and stones come thundering down you that we may
make an end of this savage creature who is now lording it as though he
were a god. Nothing shall serve him longer, not strength nor
comeliness, nor his fine armour, which forsooth shall soon be lying low
in the deep waters covered over with mud. I will wrap him in sand, and
pour tons of shingle round him, so that the Achaeans shall not know how
to gather his bones for the silt in which I shall have hidden him, and
when they celebrate his funeral they need build no barrow."

On this he upraised his tumultuous flood high against Achilles,
seething as it was with foam and blood and the bodies of the dead. The
dark waters of the river stood upright and would have overwhelmed the
son of Peleus, but Juno, trembling lest Achilles should be swept away
in the mighty torrent, lifted her voice on high and called out to
Vulcan her son. "Crook-foot," she cried, "my child, be up and doing,
for I deem it is with you that Xanthus is fain to fight; help us at
once, kindle a fierce fire; I will then bring up the west and the white
south wind in a mighty hurricane from the sea, that shall bear the
flames against the heads and armour of the Trojans and consume them,
while you go along the banks of Xanthus burning his trees and wrapping
him round with fire. Let him not turn you back neither by fair words
nor foul, and slacken not till I shout and tell you. Then you may stay
your flames."

On this Vulcan kindled a fierce fire, which broke out first upon the
plain and burned the many dead whom Achilles had killed and whose
bodies were lying about in great numbers; by this means the plain was
dried and the flood stayed. As the north wind, blowing on an orchard
that has been sodden with autumn rain, soon dries it, and the heart of
the owner is glad--even so the whole plain was dried and the dead
bodies were consumed. Then he turned tongues of fire on to the river.
He burned the elms the willows and the tamarisks, the lotus also, with
the rushes and marshy herbage that grew abundantly by the banks of the
river. The eels and fishes that go darting about everywhere in the
water, these, too, were sorely harassed by the flames that cunning
Vulcan had kindled, and the river himself was scalded, so that he spoke
saying, "Vulcan, there is no god can hold his own against you. I cannot
fight you when you flare out your flames in this way; strive with me no
longer. Let Achilles drive the Trojans out of their city immediately.
What have I to do with quarrelling and helping people?"

He was boiling as he spoke, and all his waters were seething. As a
cauldron upon a large fire boils when it is melting the lard of some
fatted hog, and the lard keeps bubbling up all over when the dry
faggots blaze under it--even so were the goodly waters of Xanthus
heated with the fire till they were boiling. He could flow no longer
but stayed his stream, so afflicted was he by the blasts of fire which
cunning Vulcan had raised. Then he prayed to Juno and besought her
saying, "Juno, why should your son vex my stream with such especial
fury? I am not so much to blame as all the others are who have been
helping the Trojans. I will leave off, since you so desire it, and let
your son leave off also. Furthermore I swear never again will I do
anything to save the Trojans from destruction, not even when all Troy
is burning in the flames which the Achaeans will kindle."

As soon as Juno heard this she said to her son Vulcan, "Son Vulcan,
hold now your flames; we ought not to use such violence against a god
for the sake of mortals."

When she had thus spoken Vulcan quenched his flames, and the river went
back once more into his own fair bed.

Xanthus was now beaten, so these two left off fighting, for Juno stayed
them though she was still angry; but a furious quarrel broke out among
the other gods, for they were of divided counsels. They fell on one
another with a mighty uproar--earth groaned, and the spacious firmament
rang out as with a blare of trumpets. Jove heard as he was sitting on
Olympus, and laughed for joy when he saw the gods coming to blows among
themselves. They were not long about beginning, and Mars piercer of
shields opened the battle. Sword in hand he sprang at once upon Minerva
and reviled her. "Why, vixen," said he, "have you again set the gods by
the ears in the pride and haughtiness of your heart? Have you forgotten
how you set Diomed son of Tydeus on to wound me, and yourself took
visible spear and drove it into me to the hurt of my fair body? You
shall now suffer for what you then did to me."

As he spoke he struck her on the terrible tasselled aegis--so terrible
that not even can Jove's lightning pierce it. Here did murderous Mars
strike her with his great spear. She drew back and with her strong hand
seized a stone that was lying on the plain--great and rugged and
black--which men of old had set for the boundary of a field. With this
she struck Mars on the neck, and brought him down. Nine roods did he
cover in his fall, and his hair was all soiled in the dust, while his
armour rang rattling round him. But Minerva laughed and vaunted over
him saying, "Idiot, have you not learned how far stronger I am than
you, but you must still match yourself against me? Thus do your
mother's curses now roost upon you, for she is angry and would do you
mischief because you have deserted the Achaeans and are helping the

She then turned her two piercing eyes elsewhere, whereon Jove's
daughter Venus took Mars by the hand and led him away groaning all the
time, for it was only with great difficulty that he had come to himself
again. When Queen Juno saw her, she said to Minerva, "Look, daughter of
aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, that vixen Venus is again taking Mars
through the crowd out of the battle; go after her at once."

Thus she spoke. Minerva sped after Venus with a will, and made at her,
striking her on the bosom with her strong hand so that she fell
fainting to the ground, and there they both lay stretched at full
length. Then Minerva vaunted over her saying, "May all who help the
Trojans against the Argives prove just as redoubtable and stalwart as
Venus did when she came across me while she was helping Mars. Had this
been so, we should long since have ended the war by sacking the strong
city of Ilius."

Juno smiled as she listened. Meanwhile King Neptune turned to Apollo
saying, "Phoebus, why should we keep each other at arm's length? it is
not well, now that the others have begun fighting; it will be
disgraceful to us if we return to Jove's bronze-floored mansion on
Olympus without having fought each other; therefore come on, you are
the younger of the two, and I ought not to attack you, for I am older
and have had more experience. Idiot, you have no sense, and forget how
we two alone of all the gods fared hardly round about Ilius when we
came from Jove's house and worked for Laomedon a whole year at a stated
wage and he gave us his orders. I built the Trojans the wall about
their city, so wide and fair that it might be impregnable, while you,
Phoebus, herded cattle for him in the dales of many valleyed Ida. When,
however, the glad hours brought round the time of payment, mighty
Laomedon robbed us of all our hire and sent us off with nothing but
abuse. He threatened to bind us hand and foot and sell us over into
some distant island. He tried, moreover, to cut off the ears of both of
us, so we went away in a rage, furious about the payment he had
promised us, and yet withheld; in spite of all this, you are now
showing favour to his people, and will not join us in compassing the
utter ruin of the proud Trojans with their wives and children."

And King Apollo answered, "Lord of the earthquake, you would have no
respect for me if I were to fight you about a pack of miserable
mortals, who come out like leaves in summer and eat the fruit of the
field, and presently fall lifeless to the ground. Let us stay this
fighting at once and let them settle it among themselves."

He turned away as he spoke, for he would lay no hand on the brother of
his own father. But his sister the huntress Diana, patroness of wild
beasts, was very angry with him and said, "So you would fly,
Far-Darter, and hand victory over to Neptune with a cheap vaunt to
boot. Baby, why keep your bow thus idle? Never let me again hear you
bragging in my father's house, as you have often done in the presence
of the immortals, that you would stand up and fight with Neptune."

Apollo made her no answer, but Jove's august queen was angry and
upbraided her bitterly. "Bold vixen," she cried, "how dare you cross me
thus? For all your bow you will find it hard to hold your own against
me. Jove made you as a lion among women, and lets you kill them
whenever you choose. You will find it better to chase wild beasts and
deer upon the mountains than to fight those who are stronger than you
are. If you would try war, do so, and find out by pitting yourself
against me, how far stronger I am than you are."

She caught both Diana's wrists with her left hand as she spoke, and
with her right she took the bow from her shoulders, and laughed as she
beat her with it about the ears while Diana wriggled and writhed under
her blows. Her swift arrows were shed upon the ground, and she fled
weeping from under Juno's hand as a dove that flies before a falcon to
the cleft of some hollow rock, when it is her good fortune to escape.
Even so did she fly weeping away, leaving her bow and arrows behind her.

Then the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, said to Leto, "Leto, I
shall not fight you; it is ill to come to blows with any of Jove's
wives. Therefore boast as you will among the immortals that you worsted
me in fair fight."

Leto then gathered up Diana's bow and arrows that had fallen about amid
the whirling dust, and when she had got them she made all haste after
her daughter. Diana had now reached Jove's bronze-floored mansion on
Olympus, and sat herself down with many tears on the knees of her
father, while her ambrosial raiment was quivering all about her. The
son of Saturn drew her towards him, and laughing pleasantly the while
began to question her saying, "Which of the heavenly beings, my dear
child, has been treating you in this cruel manner, as though you had
been misconducting yourself in the face of everybody?" and the
fair-crowned goddess of the chase answered, "It was your wife Juno,
father, who has been beating me; it is always her doing when there is
any quarrelling among the immortals."

Thus did they converse, and meanwhile Phoebus Apollo entered the strong
city of Ilius, for he was uneasy lest the wall should not hold out and
the Danaans should take the city then and there, before its hour had
come; but the rest of the ever-living gods went back, some angry and
some triumphant to Olympus, where they took their seats beside Jove
lord of the storm cloud, while Achilles still kept on dealing out death
alike on the Trojans and on their horses. As when the smoke from some
burning city ascends to heaven when the anger of the gods has kindled
it--there is then toil for all, and sorrow for not a few--even so did
Achilles bring toil and sorrow on the Trojans.

Old King Priam stood on a high tower of the wall looking down on huge
Achilles as the Trojans fled panic-stricken before him, and there was
none to help them. Presently he came down from off the tower and with
many a groan went along the wall to give orders to the brave warders of
the gate. "Keep the gates," said he, "wide open till the people come
flying into the city, for Achilles is hard by and is driving them in
rout before him. I see we are in great peril. As soon as our people are
inside and in safety, close the strong gates for I fear lest that
terrible man should come bounding inside along with the others."

As he spoke they drew back the bolts and opened the gates, and when
these were opened there was a haven of refuge for the Trojans. Apollo
then came full speed out of the city to meet them and protect them.
Right for the city and the high wall, parched with thirst and grimy
with dust, still they fied on, with Achilles wielding his spear
furiously behind them. For he was as one possessed, and was thirsting
after glory.

Then had the sons of the Achaeans taken the lofty gates of Troy if
Apollo had not spurred on Agenor, valiant and noble son to Antenor. He
put courage into his heart, and stood by his side to guard him, leaning
against a beech tree and shrouded in thick darkness. When Agenor saw
Achilles he stood still and his heart was clouded with care. "Alas,"
said he to himself in his dismay, "if I fly before mighty Achilles, and
go where all the others are being driven in rout, he will none the less
catch me and kill me for a coward. How would it be were I to let
Achilles drive the others before him, and then fly from the wall to the
plain that is behind Ilius till I reach the spurs of Ida and can hide
in the underwood that is thereon? I could then wash the sweat from off
me in the river and in the evening return to Ilius. But why commune
with myself in this way? Like enough he would see me as I am hurrying
from the city over the plain, and would speed after me till he had
caught me--I should stand no chance against him, for he is mightiest of
all mankind. What, then, if I go out and meet him in front of the city?
His flesh too, I take it, can be pierced by pointed bronze. Life is the
same in one and all, and men say that he is but mortal despite the
triumph that Jove son of Saturn vouchsafes him."

So saying he stood on his guard and awaited Achilles, for he was now
fain to fight him. As a leopardess that bounds from out a thick covert
to attack a hunter--she knows no fear and is not dismayed by the baying
of the hounds; even though the man be too quick for her and wound her
either with thrust or spear, still, though the spear has pierced her
she will not give in till she has either caught him in her grip or been
killed outright--even so did noble Agenor son of Antenor refuse to fly
till he had made trial of Achilles, and took aim at him with his spear,
holding his round shield before him and crying with a loud voice. "Of a
truth," said he, "noble Achilles, you deem that you shall this day sack
the city of the proud Trojans. Fool, there will be trouble enough yet
before it, for there is many a brave man of us still inside who will
stand in front of our dear parents with our wives and children, to
defend Ilius. Here therefore, huge and mighty warrior though you be,
here shall you die."

As he spoke his strong hand hurled his javelin from him, and the spear
struck Achilles on the leg beneath the knee; the greave of newly
wrought tin rang loudly, but the spear recoiled from the body of him
whom it had struck, and did not pierce it, for the god's gift stayed
it. Achilles in his turn attacked noble Agenor, but Apollo would not
vouchsafe him glory, for he snatched Agenor away and hid him in a thick
mist, sending him out of the battle unmolested. Then he craftily drew
the son of Peleus away from going after the host, for he put on the
semblance of Agenor and stood in front of Achilles, who ran towards him
to give him chase and pursued him over the corn lands of the plain,
turning him towards the deep waters of the river Scamander. Apollo ran
but a little way before him and beguiled Achilles by making him think
all the time that he was on the point of overtaking him. Meanwhile the
rabble of routed Trojans was thankful to crowd within the city till
their numbers thronged it; no longer did they dare wait for one another
outside the city walls, to learn who had escaped and who were fallen in
fight, but all whose feet and knees could still carry them poured
pell-mell into the town.


The death of Hector.

THUS the Trojans in the city, scared like fawns, wiped the sweat from
off them and drank to quench their thirst, leaning against the goodly
battlements, while the Achaeans with their shields laid upon their
shoulders drew close up to the walls. But stern fate bade Hector stay
where he was before Ilius and the Scaean gates. Then Phoebus Apollo
spoke to the son of Peleus saying, "Why, son of Peleus, do you, who are
but man, give chase to me who am immortal? Have you not yet found out
that it is a god whom you pursue so furiously? You did not harass the
Trojans whom you had routed, and now they are within their walls, while
you have been decoyed hither away from them. Me you cannot kill, for
death can take no hold upon me."

Achilles was greatly angered and said, "You have baulked me,
Far-Darter, most malicious of all gods, and have drawn me away from the
wall, where many another man would have bitten the dust ere he got
within Ilius; you have robbed me of great glory and have saved the
Trojans at no risk to yourself, for you have nothing to fear, but I
would indeed have my revenge if it were in my power to do so."

On this, with fell intent he made towards the city, and as the winning
horse in a chariot race strains every nerve when he is flying over the
plain, even so fast and furiously did the limbs of Achilles bear him
onwards. King Priam was first to note him as he scoured the plain, all
radiant as the star which men call Orion's Hound, and whose beams blaze
forth in time of harvest more brilliantly than those of any other that
shines by night; brightest of them all though he be, he yet bodes ill
for mortals, for he brings fire and fever in his train--even so did
Achilles' armour gleam on his breast as he sped onwards. Priam raised a
cry and beat his head with his hands as he lifted them up and shouted
out to his dear son, imploring him to return; but Hector still stayed
before the gates, for his heart was set upon doing battle with
Achilles. The old man reached out his arms towards him and bade him for
pity's sake come within the walls. "Hector," he cried, "my son, stay
not to face this man alone and unsupported, or you will meet death at
the hands of the son of Peleus, for he is mightier than you. Monster
that he is; would indeed that the gods loved him no better than I do,
for so, dogs and vultures would soon devour him as he lay stretched on
earth, and a load of grief would be lifted from my heart, for many a
brave son has he reft from me, either by killing them or selling them
away in the islands that are beyond the sea: even now I miss two sons
from among the Trojans who have thronged within the city, Lycaon and
Polydorus, whom Laothoe peeress among women bore me. Should they be
still alive and in the hands of the Achaeans, we will ransom them with
gold and bronze, of which we have store, for the old man Altes endowed
his daughter richly; but if they are already dead and in the house of
Hades, sorrow will it be to us two who were their parents; albeit the
grief of others will be more short-lived unless you too perish at the
hands of Achilles. Come, then, my son, within the city, to be the
guardian of Trojan men and Trojan women, or you will both lose your own
life and afford a mighty triumph to the son of Peleus. Have pity also
on your unhappy father while life yet remains to him--on me, whom the
son of Saturn will destroy by a terrible doom on the threshold of old
age, after I have seen my sons slain and my daughters haled away as
captives, my bridal chambers pillaged, little children dashed to earth
amid the rage of battle, and my sons' wives dragged away by the cruel
hands of the Achaeans; in the end fierce hounds will tear me in pieces
at my own gates after some one has beaten the life out of my body with
sword or spear-hounds that I myself reared and fed at my own table to
guard my gates, but who will yet lap my blood and then lie all
distraught at my doors. When a young man falls by the sword in battle,
he may lie where he is and there is nothing unseemly; let what will be
seen, all is honourable in death, but when an old man is slain there is
nothing in this world more pitiable than that dogs should defile his
grey hair and beard and all that men hide for shame."

The old man tore his grey hair as he spoke, but he moved not the heart
of Hector. His mother hard by wept and moaned aloud as she bared her
bosom and pointed to the breast which had suckled him. "Hector," she
cried, weeping bitterly the while, "Hector, my son, spurn not this
breast, but have pity upon me too: if I have ever given you comfort
from my own bosom, think on it now, dear son, and come within the wall
to protect us from this man; stand not without to meet him. Should the
wretch kill you, neither I nor your richly dowered wife shall ever
weep, dear offshoot of myself, over the bed on which you lie, for dogs
will devour you at the ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did the two with many tears implore their son, but they moved not
the heart of Hector, and he stood his ground awaiting huge Achilles as
he drew nearer towards him. As a serpent in its den upon the mountains,
full fed with deadly poisons, waits for the approach of man--he is
filled with fury and his eyes glare terribly as he goes writhing round
his den--even so Hector leaned his shield against a tower that jutted
out from the wall and stood where he was, undaunted.

"Alas," said he to himself in the heaviness of his heart, "if I go
within the gates, Polydamas will be the first to heap reproach upon me,
for it was he that urged me to lead the Trojans back to the city on
that awful night when Achilles again came forth against us. I would not
listen, but it would have been indeed better if I had done so. Now that
my folly has destroyed the host, I dare not look Trojan men and Trojan
women in the face, lest a worse man should say, 'Hector has ruined us
by his self-confidence.' Surely it would be better for me to return
after having fought Achilles and slain him, or to die gloriously here
before the city. What, again, if I were to lay down my shield and
helmet, lean my spear against the wall and go straight up to noble
Achilles? What if I were to promise to give up Helen, who was the
fountainhead of all this war, and all the treasure that Alexandrus
brought with him in his ships to Troy, aye, and to let the Achaeans
divide the half of everything that the city contains among themselves?
I might make the Trojans, by the mouths of their princes, take a solemn
oath that they would hide nothing, but would divide into two shares all
that is within the city--but why argue with myself in this way? Were I
to go up to him he would show me no kind of mercy; he would kill me
then and there as easily as though I were a woman, when I had off my
armour. There is no parleying with him from some rock or oak tree as
young men and maidens prattle with one another. Better fight him at
once, and learn to which of us Jove will vouchsafe victory."

Thus did he stand and ponder, but Achilles came up to him as it were
Mars himself, plumed lord of battle. From his right shoulder he
brandished his terrible spear of Pelian ash, and the bronze gleamed
around him like flashing fire or the rays of the rising sun. Fear fell
upon Hector as he beheld him, and he dared not stay longer where he was
but fled in dismay from before the gates, while Achilles darted after
him at his utmost speed. As a mountain falcon, swiftest of all birds,
swoops down upon some cowering dove--the dove flies before him but the
falcon with a shrill scream follows close after, resolved to have
her--even so did Achilles make straight for Hector with all his might,
while Hector fled under the Trojan wall as fast as his limbs could take

On they flew along the waggon-road that ran hard by under the wall,
past the lookout station, and past the weather-beaten wild fig-tree,
till they came to two fair springs which feed the river Scamander. One
of these two springs is warm, and steam rises from it as smoke from a
burning fire, but the other even in summer is as cold as hail or snow,
or the ice that forms on water. Here, hard by the springs, are the
goodly washing-troughs of stone, where in the time of peace before the
coming of the Achaeans the wives and fair daughters of the Trojans used
to wash their clothes. Past these did they fly, the one in front and
the other giving chase behind him: good was the man that fled, but
better far was he that followed after, and swiftly indeed did they run,
for the prize was no mere beast for sacrifice or bullock's hide, as it
might be for a common foot-race, but they ran for the life of Hector.
As horses in a chariot race speed round the turning-posts when they are
running for some great prize--a tripod or woman--at the games in honour
of some dead hero, so did these two run full speed three times round
the city of Priam. All the gods watched them, and the sire of gods and
men was the first to speak.

"Alas," said he, "my eyes behold a man who is dear to me being pursued
round the walls of Troy; my heart is full of pity for Hector, who has
burned the thigh-bones of many a heifer in my honour, one while on the
crests of many-valleyed Ida, and again on the citadel of Troy; and now
I see noble Achilles in full pursuit of him round the city of Priam.
What say you? Consider among yourselves and decide whether we shall now
save him or let him fall, valiant though he be, before Achilles, son of

Then Minerva said, "Father, wielder of the lightning, lord of cloud and
storm, what mean you? Would you pluck this mortal whose doom has long
been decreed out of the jaws of death? Do as you will, but we others
shall not be of a mind with you."

And Jove answered, "My child, Trito-born, take heart. I did not speak
in full earnest, and I will let you have your way. Do without let or
hindrance as you are minded."

Thus did he urge Minerva who was already eager, and down she darted
from the topmost summits of Olympus.

Achilles was still in full pursuit of Hector, as a hound chasing a fawn
which he has started from its covert on the mountains, and hunts
through glade and thicket. The fawn may try to elude him by crouching
under cover of a bush, but he will scent her out and follow her up
until he gets her--even so there was no escape for Hector from the
fleet son of Peleus. Whenever he made a set to get near the Dardanian
gates and under the walls, that his people might help him by showering
down weapons from above, Achilles would gain on him and head him back
towards the plain, keeping himself always on the city side. As a man in
a dream who fails to lay hands upon another whom he is pursuing--the
one cannot escape nor the other overtake--even so neither could
Achilles come up with Hector, nor Hector break away from Achilles;
nevertheless he might even yet have escaped death had not the time come
when Apollo, who thus far had sustained his strength and nerved his
running, was now no longer to stay by him. Achilles made signs to the
Achaean host, and shook his head to show that no man was to aim a dart
at Hector, lest another might win the glory of having hit him and he
might himself come in second. Then, at last, as they were nearing the
fountains for the fourth time, the father of all balanced his golden
scales and placed a doom in each of them, one for Achilles and the
other for Hector. As he held the scales by the middle, the doom of
Hector fell down deep into the house of Hades--and then Phoebus Apollo
left him. Thereon Minerva went close up to the son of Peleus and said,
"Noble Achilles, favoured of heaven, we two shall surely take back to
the ships a triumph for the Achaeans by slaying Hector, for all his
lust of battle. Do what Apollo may as he lies grovelling before his
father, aegis-bearing Jove, Hector cannot escape us longer. Stay here
and take breath, while I go up to him and persuade him to make a stand
and fight you."

Thus spoke Minerva. Achilles obeyed her gladly, and stood still,
leaning on his bronze-pointed ashen spear, while Minerva left him and
went after Hector in the form and with the voice of Deiphobus. She came
close up to him and said, "Dear brother, I see you are hard pressed by
Achilles who is chasing you at full speed round the city of Priam, let
us await his onset and stand on our defence."

And Hector answered, "Deiphobus, you have always been dearest to me of
all my brothers, children of Hecuba and Priam, but henceforth I shall
rate you yet more highly, inasmuch as you have ventured outside the
wall for my sake when all the others remain inside."

Then Minerva said, "Dear brother, my father and mother went down on
their knees and implored me, as did all my comrades, to remain inside,
so great a fear has fallen upon them all; but I was in an agony of
grief when I beheld you; now, therefore, let us two make a stand and
fight, and let there be no keeping our spears in reserve, that we may
learn whether Achilles shall kill us and bear off our spoils to the
ships, or whether he shall fall before you."

Thus did Minerva inveigle him by her cunning, and when the two were now
close to one another great Hector was first to speak. "I will-no longer
fly you, son of Peleus," said he, "as I have been doing hitherto. Three
times have I fled round the mighty city of Priam, without daring to
withstand you, but now, let me either slay or be slain, for I am in the
mind to face you. Let us, then, give pledges to one another by our
gods, who are the fittest witnesses and guardians of all covenants; let
it be agreed between us that if Jove vouchsafes me the longer stay and
I take your life, I am not to treat your dead body in any unseemly
fashion, but when I have stripped you of your armour, I am to give up
your body to the Achaeans. And do you likewise."

Achilles glared at him and answered, "Fool, prate not to me about
covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and
lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out all
through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me,
nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall fall
and glut grim Mars with his life's blood. Put forth all your strength;
you have need now to prove yourself indeed a bold soldier and man of
war. You have no more chance, and Pallas Minerva will forthwith
vanquish you by my spear: you shall now pay me in full for the grief
you have caused me on account of my comrades whom you have killed in

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. Hector saw it coming and
avoided it; he watched it and crouched down so that it flew over his
head and stuck in the ground beyond; Minerva then snatched it up and
gave it back to Achilles without Hector's seeing her; Hector thereon
said to the son of Peleus, "You have missed your aim, Achilles, peer of
the gods, and Jove has not yet revealed to you the hour of my doom,
though you made sure that he had done so. You were a false-tongued liar
when you deemed that I should forget my valour and quail before you.
You shall not drive your spear into the back of a runaway--drive it,
should heaven so grant you power, drive it into me as I make straight
towards you; and now for your own part avoid my spear if you can--would
that you might receive the whole of it into your body; if you were once
dead the Trojans would find the war an easier matter, for it is you who
have harmed them most."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. His aim was true for he
hit the middle of Achilles' shield, but the spear rebounded from it,
and did not pierce it. Hector was angry when he saw that the weapon had
sped from his hand in vain, and stood there in dismay for he had no
second spear. With a loud cry he called Deiphobus and asked him for
one, but there was no man; then he saw the truth and said to himself,
"Alas! the gods have lured me on to my destruction. I deemed that the
hero Deiphobus was by my side, but he is within the wall, and Minerva
has inveigled me; death is now indeed exceedingly near at hand and
there is no way out of it--for so Jove and his son Apollo the
far-darter have willed it, though heretofore they have been ever ready
to protect me. My doom has come upon me; let me not then die
ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great
thing that shall be told among men hereafter."

As he spoke he drew the keen blade that hung so great and strong by his
side, and gathering himself together be sprang on Achilles like a
soaring eagle which swoops down from the clouds on to some lamb or
timid hare--even so did Hector brandish his sword and spring upon
Achilles. Achilles mad with rage darted towards him, with his wondrous
shield before his breast, and his gleaming helmet, made with four
layers of metal, nodding fiercely forward. The thick tresses of gold
with which Vulcan had crested the helmet floated round it, and as the
evening star that shines brighter than all others through the stillness
of night, even such was the gleam of the spear which Achilles poised in
his right hand, fraught with the death of noble Hector. He eyed his
fair flesh over and over to see where he could best wound it, but all
was protected by the goodly armour of which Hector had spoiled
Patroclus after he had slain him, save only the throat where the
collar-bones divide the neck from the shoulders, and this is a most
deadly place: here then did Achilles strike him as he was coming on
towards him, and the point of his spear went right through the fleshy
part of the neck, but it did not sever his windpipe so that he could
still speak. Hector fell headlong, and Achilles vaunted over him
saying, "Hector, you deemed that you should come off scatheless when
you were spoiling Patroclus, and recked not of myself who was not with
him. Fool that you were: for I, his comrade, mightier far than he, was
still left behind him at the ships, and now I have laid you low. The
Achaeans shall give him all due funeral rites, while dogs and vultures
shall work their will upon yourself."

Then Hector said, as the life ebbed out of him, "I pray you by your
life and knees, and by your parents, let not dogs devour me at the
ships of the Achaeans, but accept the rich treasure of gold and bronze
which my father and mother will offer you, and send my body home, that
the Trojans and their wives may give me my dues of fire when I am dead."

Achilles glared at him and answered, "Dog, talk not to me neither of
knees nor parents; would that I could be as sure of being able to cut
your flesh into pieces and eat it raw, for the ill you have done me, as
I am that nothing shall save you from the dogs--it shall not be, though
they bring ten or twenty-fold ransom and weigh it out for me on the
spot, with promise of yet more hereafter. Though Priam son of Dardanus
should bid them offer me your weight in gold, even so your mother shall
never lay you out and make lament over the son she bore, but dogs and
vultures shall eat you utterly up."

Hector with his dying breath then said, "I know you what you are, and
was sure that I should not move you, for your heart is hard as iron;
look to it that I bring not heaven's anger upon you on the day when
Paris and Phoebus Apollo, valiant though you be, shall slay you at the
Scaean gates."

When he had thus said the shrouds of death enfolded him, whereon his
soul went out of him and flew down to the house of Hades, lamenting its
sad fate that it should enjoy youth and strength no longer. But
Achilles said, speaking to the dead body, "Die; for my part I will
accept my fate whensoever Jove and the other gods see fit to send it."

As he spoke he drew his spear from the body and set it on one side;
then he stripped the blood-stained armour from Hector's shoulders while
the other Achaeans came running up to view his wondrous strength and
beauty; and no one came near him without giving him a fresh wound. Then
would one turn to his neighbour and say, "It is easier to handle Hector
now than when he was flinging fire on to our ships"--and as he spoke he
would thrust his spear into him anew.

When Achilles had done spoiling Hector of his armour, he stood among
the Argives and said, "My friends, princes and counsellors of the
Argives, now that heaven has vouchsafed us to overcome this man, who
has done us more hurt than all the others together, consider whether we
should not attack the city in force, and discover in what mind the
Trojans may be. We should thus learn whether they will desert their
city now that Hector has fallen, or will still hold out even though he
is no longer living. But why argue with myself in this way, while
Patroclus is still lying at the ships unburied, and unmourned--he whom
I can never forget so long as I am alive and my strength fails not?
Though men forget their dead when once they are within the house of
Hades, yet not even there will I forget the comrade whom I have lost.
Now, therefore, Achaean youths, let us raise the song of victory and go
back to the ships taking this man along with us; for we have achieved a
mighty triumph and have slain noble Hector to whom the Trojans prayed
throughout their city as though he were a god."

On this he treated the body of Hector with contumely: he pierced the
sinews at the back of both his feet from heel to ancle and passed
thongs of ox-hide through the slits he had made: thus he made the body
fast to his chariot, letting the head trail upon the ground. Then when
he had put the goodly armour on the chariot and had himself mounted, he
lashed his horses on and they flew forward nothing loth. The dust rose
from Hector as he was being dragged along, his dark hair flew all
abroad, and his head once so comely was laid low on earth, for Jove had
now delivered him into the hands of his foes to do him outrage in his
own land.

Thus was the head of Hector being dishonoured in the dust. His mother
tore her hair, and flung her veil from her with a loud cry as she
looked upon her son. His father made piteous moan, and throughout the
city the people fell to weeping and wailing. It was as though the whole
of frowning Ilius was being smirched with fire. Hardly could the people
hold Priam back in his hot haste to rush without the gates of the city.
He grovelled in the mire and besought them, calling each one of them by
his name. "Let be, my friends," he cried, "and for all your sorrow,
suffer me to go single-handed to the ships of the Achaeans. Let me
beseech this cruel and terrible man, if maybe he will respect the
feeling of his fellow-men, and have compassion on my old age. His own
father is even such another as myself--Peleus, who bred him and reared
him to be the bane of us Trojans, and of myself more than of all
others. Many a son of mine has he slain in the flower of his youth, and
yet, grieve for these as I may, I do so for one--Hector--more than for
them all, and the bitterness of my sorrow will bring me down to the
house of Hades. Would that he had died in my arms, for so both his
ill-starred mother who bore him, and myself, should have had the
comfort of weeping and mourning over him."

Thus did he speak with many tears, and all the people of the city
joined in his lament. Hecuba then raised the cry of wailing among the
Trojans. "Alas, my son," she cried, "what have I left to live for now
that you are no more? Night and day did I glory in you throughout the
city, for you were a tower of strength to all in Troy, and both men and
women alike hailed you as a god. So long as you lived you were their
pride, but now death and destruction have fallen upon you."

Hector's wife had as yet heard nothing, for no one had come to tell her
that her husband had remained without the gates. She was at her loom in
an inner part of the house, weaving a double purple web, and
embroidering it with many flowers. She told her maids to set a large
tripod on the fire, so as to have a warm bath ready for Hector when he
came out of battle; poor woman, she knew not that he was now beyond the
reach of baths, and that Minerva had laid him low by the hands of
Achilles. She heard the cry coming as from the wall, and trembled in
every limb; the shuttle fell from her hands, and again she spoke to her
waiting-women. "Two of you," she said, "come with me that I may learn
what it is that has befallen; I heard the voice of my husband's
honoured mother; my own heart beats as though it would come into my
mouth and my limbs refuse to carry me; some great misfortune for
Priam's children must be at hand. May I never live to hear it, but I
greatly fear that Achilles has cut off the retreat of brave Hector and
has chased him on to the plain where he was singlehanded; I fear he may
have put an end to the reckless daring which possessed my husband, who
would never remain with the body of his men, but would dash on far in
front, foremost of them all in valour."

Her heart beat fast, and as she spoke she flew from the house like a
maniac, with her waiting-women following after. When she reached the
battlements and the crowd of people, she stood looking out upon the
wall, and saw Hector being borne away in front of the city--the horses
dragging him without heed or care over the ground towards the ships of
the Achaeans. Her eyes were then shrouded as with the darkness of night
and she fell fainting backwards. She tore the attiring from her head
and flung it from her, the frontlet and net with its plaited band, and
the veil which golden Venus had given her on the day when Hector took
her with him from the house of Eetion, after having given countless
gifts of wooing for her sake. Her husband's sisters and the wives of
his brothers crowded round her and supported her, for she was fain to
die in her distraction; when she again presently breathed and came to
herself, she sobbed and made lament among the Trojans saying, "Woe is
me, O Hector; woe, indeed, that to share a common lot we were born, you
at Troy in the house of Priam, and I at Thebes under the wooded
mountain of Placus in the house of Eetion who brought me up when I was
a child--ill-starred sire of an ill-starred daughter--would that he had
never begotten me. You are now going into the house of Hades under the
secret places of the earth, and you leave me a sorrowing widow in your
house. The child, of whom you and I are the unhappy parents, is as yet
a mere infant. Now that you are gone, O Hector, you can do nothing for
him nor he for you. Even though he escape the horrors of this woeful
war with the Achaeans, yet shall his life henceforth be one of labour
and sorrow, for others will seize his lands. The day that robs a child
of his parents severs him from his own kind; his head is bowed, his
cheeks are wet with tears, and he will go about destitute among the
friends of his father, plucking one by the cloak and another by the
shirt. Some one or other of these may so far pity him as to hold the
cup for a moment towards him and let him moisten his lips, but he must
not drink enough to wet the roof of his mouth; then one whose parents
are alive will drive him from the table with blows and angry words.
'Out with you,' he will say, 'you have no father here,' and the child
will go crying back to his widowed mother--he, Astyanax, who erewhile
would sit upon his father's knees, and have none but the daintiest and
choicest morsels set before him. When he had played till he was tired
and went to sleep, he would lie in a bed, in the arms of his nurse, on
a soft couch, knowing neither want nor care, whereas now that he has
lost his father his lot will be full of hardship--he, whom the Trojans
name Astyanax, because you, O Hector, were the only defence of their
gates and battlements. The wriggling writhing worms will now eat you at
the ships, far from your parents, when the dogs have glutted themselves
upon you. You will lie naked, although in your house you have fine and
goodly raiment made by hands of women. This will I now burn; it is of
no use to you, for you can never again wear it, and thus you will have
respect shown you by the Trojans both men and women."

In such wise did she cry aloud amid her tears, and the women joined in
her lament.


The funeral of Patroclus, and the funeral games.

Thus did they make their moan throughout the city, while the Achaeans
when they reached the Hellespont went back every man to his own ship.
But Achilles would not let the Myrmidons go, and spoke to his brave
comrades saying, "Myrmidons, famed horsemen and my own trusted friends,
not yet, forsooth, let us unyoke, but with horse and chariot draw near
to the body and mourn Patroclus, in due honour to the dead. When we
have had full comfort of lamentation we will unyoke our horses and take
supper all of us here."

On this they all joined in a cry of wailing and Achilles led them in
their lament. Thrice did they drive their chariots all sorrowing round
the body, and Thetis stirred within them a still deeper yearning. The
sands of the seashore and the men's armour were wet with their weeping,
so great a minister of fear was he whom they had lost. Chief in all
their mourning was the son of Peleus: he laid his bloodstained hand on
the breast of his friend. "Fare well," he cried, "Patroclus, even in
the house of Hades. I will now do all that I erewhile promised you; I
will drag Hector hither and let dogs devour him raw; twelve noble sons
of Trojans will I also slay before your pyre to avenge you."

As he spoke he treated the body of noble Hector with contumely, laying
it at full length in the dust beside the bier of Patroclus. The others
then put off every man his armour, took the horses from their chariots,
and seated themselves in great multitude by the ship of the fleet
descendant of Aeacus, who thereon feasted them with an abundant funeral
banquet. Many a goodly ox, with many a sheep and bleating goat did they
butcher and cut up; many a tusked boar moreover, fat and well-fed, did
they singe and set to roast in the flames of Vulcan; and rivulets of
blood flowed all round the place where the body was lying.

Then the princes of the Achaeans took the son of Peleus to Agamemnon,
but hardly could they persuade him to come with them, so wroth was he
for the death of his comrade. As soon as they reached Agamemnon's tent
they told the serving-men to set a large tripod over the fire in case
they might persuade the son of Peleus to wash the clotted gore from
this body, but he denied them sternly, and swore it with a solemn oath,
saying, "Nay, by King Jove, first and mightiest of all gods, it is not
meet that water should touch my body, till I have laid Patroclus on the
flames, have built him a barrow, and shaved my head--for so long as I
live no such second sorrow shall ever draw nigh me. Now, therefore, let
us do all that this sad festival demands, but at break of day, King
Agamemnon, bid your men bring wood, and provide all else that the dead
may duly take into the realm of darkness; the fire shall thus burn him
out of our sight the sooner, and the people shall turn again to their
own labours."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They made haste to
prepare the meal, they ate, and every man had his full share so that
all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink,
the others went to their rest each in his own tent, but the son of
Peleus lay grieving among his Myrmidons by the shore of the sounding
sea, in an open place where the waves came surging in one after
another. Here a very deep slumber took hold upon him and eased the
burden of his sorrows, for his limbs were weary with chasing Hector
round windy Ilius. Presently the sad spirit of Patroclus drew near him,
like what he had been in stature, voice, and the light of his beaming
eyes, clad, too, as he had been clad in life. The spirit hovered over
his head and said--

"You sleep, Achilles, and have forgotten me; you loved me living, but
now that I am dead you think for me no further. Bury me with all speed
that I may pass the gates of Hades; the ghosts, vain shadows of men
that can labour no more, drive me away from them; they will not yet
suffer me to join those that are beyond the river, and I wander all
desolate by the wide gates of the house of Hades. Give me now your hand
I pray you, for when you have once given me my dues of fire, never
shall I again come forth out of the house of Hades. Nevermore shall we
sit apart and take sweet counsel among the living; the cruel fate which
was my birth-right has yawned its wide jaws around me--nay, you too
Achilles, peer of gods, are doomed to die beneath the wall of the noble

"One prayer more will I make you, if you will grant it; let not my
bones be laid apart from yours, Achilles, but with them; even as we
were brought up together in your own home, what time Menoetius brought
me to you as a child from Opoeis because by a sad spite I had killed
the son of Amphidamas--not of set purpose, but in childish quarrel over
the dice. The knight Peleus took me into his house, entreated me
kindly, and named me to be your squire; therefore let our bones lie in
but a single urn, the two-handled golden vase given to you by your

And Achilles answered, "Why, true heart, are you come hither to lay
these charges upon me? I will of my own self do all as you have bidden
me. Draw closer to me, let us once more throw our arms around one
another, and find sad comfort in the sharing of our sorrows."

He opened his arms towards him as he spoke and would have clasped him
in them, but there was nothing, and the spirit vanished as a vapour,
gibbering and whining into the earth. Achilles sprang to his feet,
smote his two hands, and made lamentation saying, "Of a truth even in
the house of Hades there are ghosts and phantoms that have no life in
them; all night long the sad spirit of Patroclus has hovered over head
making piteous moan, telling me what I am to do for him, and looking
wondrously like himself."

Thus did he speak and his words set them all weeping and mourning about
the poor dumb dead, till rosy-fingered morn appeared. Then King
Agamemnon sent men and mules from all parts of the camp, to bring wood,
and Meriones, squire to Idomeneus, was in charge over them. They went
out with woodmen's axes and strong ropes in their hands, and before
them went the mules. Up hill and down dale did they go, by straight
ways and crooked, and when they reached the heights of many-fountained
Ida, they laid their axes to the roots of many a tall branching oak
that came thundering down as they felled it. They split the trees and
bound them behind the mules, which then wended their way as they best
could through the thick brushwood on to the plain. All who had been
cutting wood bore logs, for so Meriones squire to Idomeneus had bidden
them, and they threw them down in a line upon the seashore at the place
where Achilles would make a mighty monument for Patroclus and for

When they had thrown down their great logs of wood over the whole
ground, they stayed all of them where they were, but Achilles ordered
his brave Myrmidons to gird on their armour, and to yoke each man his
horses; they therefore rose, girded on their armour and mounted each
his chariot--they and their charioteers with them. The chariots went
before, and they that were on foot followed as a cloud in their tens of
thousands after. In the midst of them his comrades bore Patroclus and
covered him with the locks of their hair which they cut off and threw
upon his body. Last came Achilles with his head bowed for sorrow, so
noble a comrade was he taking to the house of Hades.

When they came to the place of which Achilles had told them they laid
the body down and built up the wood. Achilles then bethought him of
another matter. He went a space away from the pyre, and cut off the
yellow lock which he had let grow for the river Spercheius. He looked
all sorrowfully out upon the dark sea, and said, "Spercheius, in vain
did my father Peleus vow to you that when I returned home to my loved
native land I should cut off this lock and offer you a holy hecatomb;
fifty she-goats was I to sacrifice to you there at your springs, where
is your grove and your altar fragrant with burnt-offerings. Thus did my
father vow, but you have not fulfilled his prayer; now, therefore, that
I shall see my home no more, I give this lock as a keepsake to the hero

As he spoke he placed the lock in the hands of his dear comrade, and
all who stood by were filled with yearning and lamentation. The sun
would have gone down upon their mourning had not Achilles presently
said to Agamemnon, "Son of Atreus, for it is to you that the people
will give ear, there is a time to mourn and a time to cease from
mourning; bid the people now leave the pyre and set about getting their
dinners: we, to whom the dead is dearest, will see to what is wanted
here, and let the other princes also stay by me."

When King Agamemnon heard this he dismissed the people to their ships,
but those who were about the dead heaped up wood and built a pyre a
hundred feet this way and that; then they laid the dead all sorrowfully
upon the top of it. They flayed and dressed many fat sheep and oxen
before the pyre, and Achilles took fat from all of them and wrapped the
body therein from head to foot, heaping the flayed carcases all round
it. Against the bier he leaned two-handled jars of honey and unguents;
four proud horses did he then cast upon the pyre, groaning the while he
did so. The dead hero had had house-dogs; two of them did Achilles slay
and threw upon the pyre; he also put twelve brave sons of noble Trojans
to the sword and laid them with the rest, for he was full of bitterness
and fury. Then he committed all to the resistless and devouring might
of the fire; he groaned aloud and called on his dead comrade by name.
"Fare well," he cried, "Patroclus, even in the house of Hades; I am now
doing all that I have promised you. Twelve brave sons of noble Trojans
shall the flames consume along with yourself, but dogs, not fire, shall
devour the flesh of Hector son of Priam."

Thus did he vaunt, but the dogs came not about the body of Hector, for
Jove's daughter Venus kept them off him night and day, and anointed him
with ambrosial oil of roses that his flesh might not be torn when
Achilles was dragging him about. Phoebus Apollo moreover sent a dark
cloud from heaven to earth, which gave shade to the whole place where
Hector lay, that the heat of the sun might not parch his body.

Now the pyre about dead Patroclus would not kindle. Achilles therefore
bethought him of another matter; he went apart and prayed to the two
winds Boreas and Zephyrus vowing them goodly offerings. He made them
many drink-offerings from the golden cup and besought them to come and
help him that the wood might make haste to kindle and the dead bodies
be consumed. Fleet Iris heard him praying and started off to fetch the
winds. They were holding high feast in the house of boisterous Zephyrus
when Iris came running up to the stone threshold of the house and stood
there, but as soon as they set eyes on her they all came towards her
and each of them called her to him, but Iris would not sit down. "I
cannot stay," she said, "I must go back to the streams of Oceanus and
the land of the Ethiopians who are offering hecatombs to the immortals,
and I would have my share; but Achilles prays that Boreas and shrill
Zephyrus will come to him, and he vows them goodly offerings; he would
have you blow upon the pyre of Patroclus for whom all the Achaeans are

With this she left them, and the two winds rose with a cry that rent
the air and swept the clouds before them. They blew on and on until
they came to the sea, and the waves rose high beneath them, but when
they reached Troy they fell upon the pyre till the mighty flames roared
under the blast that they blew. All night long did they blow hard and
beat upon the fire, and all night long did Achilles grasp his double
cup, drawing wine from a mixing-bowl of gold, and calling upon the
spirit of dead Patroclus as he poured it upon the ground until the
earth was drenched. As a father mourns when he is burning the bones of
his bridegroom son whose death has wrung the hearts of his parents,
even so did Achilles mourn while burning the body of his comrade,
pacing round the bier with piteous groaning and lamentation.

At length as the Morning Star was beginning to herald the light which
saffron-mantled Dawn was soon to suffuse over the sea, the flames fell
and the fire began to die. The winds then went home beyond the Thracian
sea, which roared and boiled as they swept over it. The son of Peleus
now turned away from the pyre and lay down, overcome with toil, till he
fell into a sweet slumber. Presently they who were about the son of
Atreus drew near in a body, and roused him with the noise and tramp of
their coming. He sat upright and said, "Son of Atreus, and all other
princes of the Achaeans, first pour red wine everywhere upon the fire
and quench it; let us then gather the bones of Patroclus son of
Menoetius, singling them out with care; they are easily found, for they
lie in the middle of the pyre, while all else, both men and horses, has
been thrown in a heap and burned at the outer edge. We will lay the
bones in a golden urn, in two layers of fat, against the time when I
shall myself go down into the house of Hades. As for the barrow, labour
not to raise a great one now, but such as is reasonable. Afterwards,
let those Achaeans who may be left at the ships when I am gone, build
it both broad and high."

Thus he spoke and they obeyed the word of the son of Peleus. First they
poured red wine upon the thick layer of ashes and quenched the fire.
With many tears they singled out the whitened bones of their loved
comrade and laid them within a golden urn in two layers of fat: they
then covered the urn with a linen cloth and took it inside the tent.
They marked off the circle where the barrow should be, made a
foundation for it about the pyre, and forthwith heaped up the earth.
When they had thus raised a mound they were going away, but Achilles
stayed the people and made them sit in assembly. He brought prizes from
the ships--cauldrons, tripods, horses and mules, noble oxen, women with
fair girdles, and swart iron.

The first prize he offered was for the chariot races--a woman skilled
in all useful arts, and a three-legged cauldron that had ears for
handles, and would hold twenty-two measures. This was for the man who
came in first. For the second there was a six-year old mare, unbroken,
and in foal to a he-ass; the third was to have a goodly cauldron that
had never yet been on the fire; it was still bright as when it left the
maker, and would hold four measures. The fourth prize was two talents
of gold, and the fifth a two-handled urn as yet unsoiled by smoke. Then
he stood up and spoke among the Argives saying--

"Son of Atreus, and all other Achaeans, these are the prizes that lie
waiting the winners of the chariot races. At any other time I should
carry off the first prize and take it to my own tent; you know how far
my steeds excel all others--for they are immortal; Neptune gave them to
my father Peleus, who in his turn gave them to myself; but I shall hold
aloof, I and my steeds that have lost their brave and kind driver, who
many a time has washed them in clear water and anointed their manes
with oil. See how they stand weeping here, with their manes trailing on
the ground in the extremity of their sorrow. But do you others set
yourselves in order throughout the host, whosoever has confidence in
his horses and in the strength of his chariot."

Thus spoke the son of Peleus and the drivers of chariots bestirred
themselves. First among them all uprose Eumelus, king of men, son of
Admetus, a man excellent in horsemanship. Next to him rose mighty
Diomed son of Tydeus; he yoked the Trojan horses which he had taken
from Aeneas, when Apollo bore him out of the fight. Next to him,
yellow-haired Menelaus son of Atreus rose and yoked his fleet horses,
Agamemnon's mare Aethe, and his own horse Podargus. The mare had been
given to Agamemnon by Echepolus son of Anchises, that he might not have
to follow him to Ilius, but might stay at home and take his ease; for
Jove had endowed him with great wealth and he lived in spacious Sicyon.
This mare, all eager for the race, did Menelaus put under the yoke.

Fourth in order Antilochus, son to noble Nestor son of Neleus, made
ready his horses. These were bred in Pylos, and his father came up to
him to give him good advice of which, however, he stood in but little
need. "Antilochus," said Nestor, "you are young, but Jove and Neptune
have loved you well, and have made you an excellent horseman. I need
not therefore say much by way of instruction. You are skilful at
wheeling your horses round the post, but the horses themselves are very
slow, and it is this that will, I fear, mar your chances. The other
drivers know less than you do, but their horses are fleeter; therefore,
my dear son, see if you cannot hit upon some artifice whereby you may
insure that the prize shall not slip through your fingers. The woodman
does more by skill than by brute force; by skill the pilot guides his
storm-tossed barque over the sea, and so by skill one driver can beat
another. If a man go wide in rounding this way and that, whereas a man
who knows what he is doing may have worse horses, but he will keep them
well in hand when he sees the doubling-post; he knows the precise
moment at which to pull the rein, and keeps his eye well on the man in
front of him. I will give you this certain token which cannot escape
your notice. There is a stump of a dead tree--oak or pine as it may
be--some six feet above the ground, and not yet rotted away by rain; it
stands at the fork of the road; it has two white stones set one on each
side, and there is a clear course all round it. It may have been a
monument to some one long since dead, or it may have been used as a
doubling-post in days gone by; now, however, it has been fixed on by
Achilles as the mark round which the chariots shall turn; hug it as
close as you can, but as you stand in your chariot lean over a little
to the left; urge on your right-hand horse with voice and lash, and
give him a loose rein, but let the left-hand horse keep so close in,
that the nave of your wheel shall almost graze the post; but mind the
stone, or you will wound your horses and break your chariot in pieces,
which would be sport for others but confusion for yourself. Therefore,
my dear son, mind well what you are about, for if you can be first to
round the post there is no chance of any one giving you the go-by
later, not even though you had Adrestus's horse Arion behind you--a
horse which is of divine race--or those of Laomedon, which are the
noblest in this country."

When Nestor had made an end of counselling his son he sat down in his
place, and fifth in order Meriones got ready his horses. They then all
mounted their chariots and cast lots. Achilles shook the helmet, and
the lot of Antilochus son of Nestor fell out first; next came that of
King Eumelus, and after his, those of Menelaus son of Atreus and of
Meriones. The last place fell to the lot of Diomed son of Tydeus, who
was the best man of them all. They took their places in line; Achilles
showed them the doubling-post round which they were to turn, some way
off upon the plain; here he stationed his father's follower Phoenix as
umpire, to note the running, and report truly.

At the same instant they all of them lashed their horses, struck them
with the reins, and shouted at them with all their might. They flew
full speed over the plain away from the ships, the dust rose from under
them as it were a cloud or whirlwind, and their manes were all flying
in the wind. At one moment the chariots seemed to touch the ground, and
then again they bounded into the air; the drivers stood erect, and
their hearts beat fast and furious in their lust of victory. Each kept
calling on his horses, and the horses scoured the plain amid the clouds
of dust that they raised.

It was when they were doing the last part of the course on their way
back towards the sea that their pace was strained to the utmost and it
was seen what each could do. The horses of the descendant of Pheres now
took the lead, and close behind them came the Trojan stallions of
Diomed. They seemed as if about to mount Eumelus's chariot, and he
could feel their warm breath on his back and on his broad shoulders,
for their heads were close to him as they flew over the course. Diomed
would have now passed him, or there would have been a dead heat, but
Phoebus Apollo to spite him made him drop his whip. Tears of anger fell
from his eyes as he saw the mares going on faster than ever, while his
own horses lost ground through his having no whip. Minerva saw the
trick which Apollo had played the son of Tydeus, so she brought him his
whip and put spirit into his horses; moreover she went after the son of
Admetus in a rage and broke his yoke for him; the mares went one to one
side of the course, and the other to the other, and the pole was broken
against the ground. Eumelus was thrown from his chariot close to the
wheel; his elbows, mouth, and nostrils were all torn, and his forehead
was bruised above his eyebrows; his eyes filled with tears and he could
find no utterance. But the son of Tydeus turned his horses aside and
shot far ahead, for Minerva put fresh strength into them and covered
Diomed himself with glory.

Menelaus son of Atreus came next behind him, but Antilochus called to
his father's horses. "On with you both," he cried, "and do your very
utmost. I do not bid you try to beat the steeds of the son of Tydeus,
for Minerva has put running into them, and has covered Diomed with
glory; but you must overtake the horses of the son of Atreus and not be
left behind, or Aethe who is so fleet will taunt you. Why, my good
fellows, are you lagging? I tell you, and it shall surely be--Nestor
will keep neither of you, but will put both of you to the sword, if we
win any the worse a prize through your carelessness. Fly after them at
your utmost speed; I will hit on a plan for passing them in a narrow
part of the way, and it shall not fail me."

They feared the rebuke of their master, and for a short space went
quicker. Presently Antilochus saw a narrow place where the road had
sunk. The ground was broken, for the winter's rain had gathered and had
worn the road so that the whole place was deepened. Menelaus was making
towards it so as to get there first, for fear of a foul, but Antilochus
turned his horses out of the way, and followed him a little on one
side. The son of Atreus was afraid and shouted out, "Antilochus, you
are driving recklessly; rein in your horses; the road is too narrow
here, it will be wider soon, and you can pass me then; if you foul my
chariot you may bring both of us to a mischief."

But Antilochus plied his whip, and drove faster, as though he had not
heard him. They went side by side for about as far as a young man can
hurl a disc from his shoulder when he is trying his strength, and then
Menelaus's mares drew behind, for he left off driving for fear the
horses should foul one another and upset the chariots; thus, while
pressing on in quest of victory, they might both come headlong to the
ground. Menelaus then upbraided Antilochus and said, "There is no
greater trickster living than you are; go, and bad luck go with you;
the Achaeans say not well that you have understanding, and come what
may you shall not bear away the prize without sworn protest on my part."

Then he called on his horses and said to them, "Keep your pace, and
slacken not; the limbs of the other horses will weary sooner than
yours, for they are neither of them young."

The horses feared the rebuke of their master, and went faster, so that
they were soon nearly up with the others.

Meanwhile the Achaeans from their seats were watching how the horses
went, as they scoured the plain amid clouds of their own dust.
Idomeneus captain of the Cretans was first to make out the running, for
he was not in the thick of the crowd, but stood on the most commanding
part of the ground. The driver was a long way off, but Idomeneus could
hear him shouting, and could see the foremost horse quite plainly--a
chestnut with a round white star, like the moon, on its forehead. He
stood up and said among the Argives, "My friends, princes and
counsellors of the Argives, can you see the running as well as I can?
There seems to be another pair in front now, and another driver; those
that led off at the start must have been disabled out on the plain. I
saw them at first making their way round the doubling-post, but now,
though I search the plain of Troy, I cannot find them. Perhaps the
reins fell from the driver's hand so that he lost command of his horses
at the doubling-post, and could not turn it. I suppose he must have
been thrown out there, and broken his chariot, while his mares have
left the course and gone off wildly in a panic. Come up and see for
yourselves, I cannot make out for certain, but the driver seems an
Aetolian by descent, ruler over the Argives, brave Diomed the son of

Ajax the son of Oileus took him up rudely and said, "Idomeneus, why
should you be in such a hurry to tell us all about it, when the mares
are still so far out upon the plain? You are none of the youngest, nor
your eyes none of the sharpest, but you are always laying down the law.
You have no right to do so, for there are better men here than you are.
Eumelus's horses are in front now, as they always have been, and he is
on the chariot holding the reins."

The captain of the Cretans was angry, and answered, "Ajax you are an
excellent railer, but you have no judgement, and are wanting in much
else as well, for you have a vile temper. I will wager you a tripod or
cauldron, and Agamemnon son of Atreus shall decide whose horses are
first. You will then know to your cost."

Ajax son of Oileus was for making him an angry answer, and there would
have been yet further brawling between them, had not Achilles risen in
his place and said, "Cease your railing, Ajax and Idomeneus; it is not
seemly; you would be scandalised if you saw any one else do the like:
sit down and keep your eyes on the horses; they are speeding towards
the winning-post and will be here directly. You will then both of you
know whose horses are first, and whose come after."

As he was speaking, the son of Tydeus came driving in, plying his whip
lustily from his shoulder, and his horses stepping high as they flew
over the course. The sand and grit rained thick on the driver, and the
chariot inlaid with gold and tin ran close behind his fleet horses.
There was little trace of wheel-marks in the fine dust, and the horses
came flying in at their utmost speed. Diomed stayed them in the middle
of the crowd, and the sweat from their manes and chests fell in streams
on to the ground. Forthwith he sprang from his goodly chariot, and
leaned his whip against his horses' yoke; brave Sthenelus now lost no
time, but at once brought on the prize, and gave the woman and the
ear-handled cauldron to his comrades to take away. Then he unyoked the

Next after him came in Antilochus of the race of Neleus, who had passed
Menelaus by a trick and not by the fleetness of his horses; but even so
Menelaus came in as close behind him as the wheel is to the horse that
draws both the chariot and its master. The end hairs of a horse's tail
touch the tyre of the wheel, and there is never much space between
wheel and horse when the chariot is going; Menelaus was no further than
this behind Antilochus, though at first he had been a full disc's throw
behind him. He had soon caught him up again, for Agamemnon's mare Aethe
kept pulling stronger and stronger, so that if the course had been
longer he would have passed him, and there would not even have been a
dead heat. Idomeneus's brave squire Meriones was about a spear's cast
behind Menelaus. His horses were slowest of all, and he was the worst
driver. Last of them all came the son of Admetus, dragging his chariot
and driving his horses on in front. When Achilles saw him he was sorry,
and stood up among the Argives saying, "The best man is coming in last.
Let us give him a prize for it is reasonable. He shall have the second,
but the first must go to the son of Tydeus."

Thus did he speak and the others all of them applauded his saying, and
were for doing as he had said, but Nestor's son Antilochus stood up and
claimed his rights from the son of Peleus. "Achilles," said he, "I
shall take it much amiss if you do this thing; you would rob me of my
prize, because you think Eumelus's chariot and horses were thrown out,
and himself too, good man that he is. He should have prayed duly to the
immortals; he would not have come in last if he had done so. If you are
sorry for him and so choose, you have much gold in your tents, with
bronze, sheep, cattle and horses. Take something from this store if you
would have the Achaeans speak well of you, and give him a better prize
even than that which you have now offered; but I will not give up the
mare, and he that will fight me for her, let him come on."

Achilles smiled as he heard this, and was pleased with Antilochus, who
was one of his dearest comrades. So he said--

"Antilochus, if you would have me find Eumelus another prize, I will
give him the bronze breastplate with a rim of tin running all round it
which I took from Asteropaeus. It will be worth much money to him."

He bade his comrade Automedon bring the breastplate from his tent, and
he did so. Achilles then gave it over to Eumelus, who received it

But Menelaus got up in a rage, furiously angry with Antilochus. An
attendant placed his staff in his hands and bade the Argives keep
silence: the hero then addressed them. "Antilochus," said he, "what is
this from you who have been so far blameless? You have made me cut a
poor figure and baulked my horses by flinging your own in front of
them, though yours are much worse than mine are; therefore, O princes
and counsellors of the Argives, judge between us and show no favour,
lest one of the Achaeans say, 'Menelaus has got the mare through lying
and corruption; his horses were far inferior to Antilochus's, but he
has greater weight and influence.' Nay, I will determine the matter
myself, and no man will blame me, for I shall do what is just. Come
here, Antilochus, and stand, as our custom is, whip in hand before your
chariot and horses; lay your hand on your steeds, and swear by
earth-encircling Neptune that you did not purposely and guilefully get
in the way of my horses."

And Antilochus answered, "Forgive me; I am much younger, King Menelaus,
than you are; you stand higher than I do and are the better man of the
two; you know how easily young men are betrayed into indiscretion;
their tempers are more hasty and they have less judgement; make due
allowances therefore, and bear with me; I will of my own accord give up
the mare that I have won, and if you claim any further chattel from my
own possessions, I would rather yield it to you, at once, than fall
from your good graces henceforth, and do wrong in the sight of heaven."

The son of Nestor then took the mare and gave her over to Menelaus,
whose anger was thus appeased; as when dew falls upon a field of
ripening corn, and the lands are bristling with the harvest--even so, O
Menelaus, was your heart made glad within you. He turned to Antilochus
and said, "Now, Antilochus, angry though I have been, I can give way to
you of my own free will; you have never been headstrong nor
ill-disposed hitherto, but this time your youth has got the better of
your judgement; be careful how you outwit your betters in future; no
one else could have brought me round so easily, but your good father,
your brother, and yourself have all of you had infinite trouble on my
behalf; I therefore yield to your entreaty, and will give up the mare
to you, mine though it indeed be; the people will thus see that I am
neither harsh nor vindictive."

With this he gave the mare over to Antilochus's comrade Noemon, and
then took the cauldron. Meriones, who had come in fourth, carried off
the two talents of gold, and the fifth prize, the two-handled urn,
being unawarded, Achilles gave it to Nestor, going up to him among the
assembled Argives and saying, "Take this, my good old friend, as an
heirloom and memorial of the funeral of Patroclus--for you shall see
him no more among the Argives. I give you this prize though you cannot
win one; you can now neither wrestle nor fight, and cannot enter for
the javelin-match nor foot-races, for the hand of age has been laid
heavily upon you."

So saying he gave the urn over to Nestor, who received it gladly and
answered, "My son, all that you have said is true; there is no strength
now in my legs and feet, nor can I hit out with my hands from either
shoulder. Would that I were still young and strong as when the Epeans
were burying King Amarynceus in Buprasium, and his sons offered prizes
in his honour. There was then none that could vie with me neither of
the Epeans nor the Pylians themselves nor the Aetolians. In boxing I
overcame Clytomedes son of Enops, and in wrestling, Ancaeus of Pleuron
who had come forward against me. Iphiclus was a good runner, but I beat
him, and threw farther with my spear than either Phyleus or Polydorus.
In chariot-racing alone did the two sons of Actor surpass me by
crowding their horses in front of me, for they were angry at the way
victory had gone, and at the greater part of the prizes remaining in
the place in which they had been offered. They were twins, and the one
kept on holding the reins, and holding the reins, while the other plied
the whip. Such was I then, but now I must leave these matters to
younger men; I must bow before the weight of years, but in those days I
was eminent among heroes. And now, sir, go on with the funeral contests
in honour of your comrade: gladly do I accept this urn, and my heart
rejoices that you do not forget me but are ever mindful of my goodwill
towards you, and of the respect due to me from the Achaeans. For all
which may the grace of heaven be vouchsafed you in great abundance."

Thereon the son of Peleus, when he had listened to all the thanks of
Nestor, went about among the concourse of the Achaeans, and presently
offered prizes for skill in the painful art of boxing. He brought out a
strong mule, and made it fast in the middle of the crowd--a she-mule
never yet broken, but six years old--when it is hardest of all to break
them: this was for the victor, and for the vanquished he offered a
double cup. Then he stood up and said among the Argives, "Son of
Atreus, and all other Achaeans, I invite our two champion boxers to lay
about them lustily and compete for these prizes. He to whom Apollo
vouchsafes the greater endurance, and whom the Achaeans acknowledge as
victor, shall take the mule back with him to his own tent, while he
that is vanquished shall have the double cup."

As he spoke there stood up a champion both brave and of great stature,
a skilful boxer, Epeus, son of Panopeus. He laid his hand on the mule
and said, "Let the man who is to have the cup come hither, for none but
myself will take the mule. I am the best boxer of all here present, and
none can beat me. Is it not enough that I should fall short of you in
actual fighting? Still, no man can be good at everything. I tell you
plainly, and it shall come true; if any man will box with me I will
bruise his body and break his bones; therefore let his friends stay
here in a body and be at hand to take him away when I have done with

They all held their peace, and no man rose save Euryalus son of
Mecisteus, who was son of Talaus. Mecisteus went once to Thebes after
the fall of Oedipus, to attend his funeral, and he beat all the people
of Cadmus. The son of Tydeus was Euryalus's second, cheering him on and
hoping heartily that he would win. First he put a waistband round him
and then he gave him some well-cut thongs of ox-hide; the two men being
now girt went into the middle of the ring, and immediately fell to;
heavily indeed did they punish one another and lay about them with
their brawny fists. One could hear the horrid crashing of their jaws,
and they sweated from every pore of their skin. Presently Epeus came on
and gave Euryalus a blow on the jaw as he was looking round; Euryalus
could not keep his legs; they gave way under him in a moment and he
sprang up with a bound, as a fish leaps into the air near some shore
that is all bestrewn with sea-wrack, when Boreas furs the top of the
waves, and then falls back into deep water. But noble Epeus caught hold
of him and raised him up; his comrades also came round him and led him
from the ring, unsteady in his gait, his head hanging on one side, and
spitting great clots of gore. They set him down in a swoon and then
went to fetch the double cup.

The son of Peleus now brought out the prizes for the third contest and
showed them to the Argives. These were for the painful art of
wrestling. For the winner there was a great tripod ready for setting
upon the fire, and the Achaeans valued it among themselves at twelve
oxen. For the loser he brought out a woman skilled in all manner of
arts, and they valued her at four oxen. He rose and said among the
Argives, "Stand forward, you who will essay this contest."

Forthwith uprose great Ajax the son of Telamon, and crafty Ulysses,
full of wiles, rose also. The two girded themselves and went into the
middle of the ring. They gripped each other in their strong hands like
the rafters which some master-builder frames for the roof of a high
house to keep the wind out. Their backbones cracked as they tugged at
one another with their mighty arms--and sweat rained from them in
torrents. Many a bloody weal sprang up on their sides and shoulders,
but they kept on striving with might and main for victory and to win
the tripod. Ulysses could not throw Ajax, nor Ajax him; Ulysses was too
strong for him; but when the Achaeans began to tire of watching them,
Ajax said to Ulysses, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, you shall either
lift me, or I you, and let Jove settle it between us."

He lifted him from the ground as he spoke, but Ulysses did not forget
his cunning. He hit Ajax in the hollow at back of his knee, so that he
could not keep his feet, but fell on his back with Ulysses lying upon
his chest, and all who saw it marvelled. Then Ulysses in turn lifted
Ajax and stirred him a little from the ground but could not lift him
right off it, his knee sank under him, and the two fell side by side on
the ground and were all begrimed with dust. They now sprang towards one
another and were for wrestling yet a third time, but Achilles rose and
stayed them. "Put not each other further," said he, "to such cruel
suffering; the victory is with both alike, take each of you an equal
prize, and let the other Achaeans now compete."

Thus did he speak and they did even as he had said, and put on their
shirts again after wiping the dust from off their bodies.

The son of Peleus then offered prizes for speed in running--a
mixing-bowl beautifully wrought, of pure silver. It would hold six
measures, and far exceeded all others in the whole world for beauty; it
was the work of cunning artificers in Sidon, and had been brought into
port by Phoenicians from beyond the sea, who had made a present of it
to Thoas. Eueneus son of Jason had given it to Patroclus in ransom of
Priam's son Lycaon, and Achilles now offered it as a prize in honour of
his comrade to him who should be the swiftest runner. For the second
prize he offered a large ox, well fattened, while for the last there
was to be half a talent of gold. He then rose and said among the
Argives, "Stand forward, you who will essay this contest."

Forthwith uprose fleet Ajax son of Oileus, with cunning Ulysses, and
Nestor's son Antilochus, the fastest runner among all the youth of his
time. They stood side by side and Achilles showed them the goal. The
course was set out for them from the starting-post, and the son of
Oileus took the lead at once, with Ulysses as close behind him as the
shuttle is to a woman's bosom when she throws the woof across the warp
and holds it close up to her; even so close behind him was
Ulysses--treading in his footprints before the dust could settle there,
and Ajax could feel his breath on the back of his head as he ran
swiftly on. The Achaeans all shouted applause as they saw him straining
his utmost, and cheered him as he shot past them; but when they were
now nearing the end of the course Ulysses prayed inwardly to Minerva.
"Hear me," he cried, "and help my feet, O goddess." Thus did he pray,
and Pallas Minerva heard his prayer; she made his hands and his feet
feel light, and when the runners were at the point of pouncing upon the
prize, Ajax, through Minerva's spite slipped upon some offal that was
lying there from the cattle which Achilles had slaughtered in honour of
Patroclus, and his mouth and nostrils were all filled with cow dung.
Ulysses therefore carried off the mixing-bowl, for he got before Ajax
and came in first. But Ajax took the ox and stood with his hand on one
of its horns, spitting the dung out of his mouth. Then he said to the
Argives, "Alas, the goddess has spoiled my running; she watches over
Ulysses and stands by him as though she were his own mother." Thus did
he speak and they all of them laughed heartily.

Antilochus carried off the last prize and smiled as he said to the
bystanders, "You all see, my friends, that now too the gods have shown
their respect for seniority. Ajax is somewhat older than I am, and as
for Ulysses, he belongs to an earlier generation, but he is hale in
spite of his years, and no man of the Achaeans can run against him save
only Achilles."

He said this to pay a compliment to the son of Peleus, and Achilles
answered, "Antilochus, you shall not have praised me to no purpose; I
shall give you an additional half talent of gold." He then gave the
half talent to Antilochus, who received it gladly.

Then the son of Peleus brought out the spear, helmet and shield that
had been borne by Sarpedon, and were taken from him by Patroclus. He
stood up and said among the Argives, "We bid two champions put on their
armour, take their keen blades, and make trial of one another in the
presence of the multitude; whichever of them can first wound the flesh
of the other, cut through his armour, and draw blood, to him will I
give this goodly Thracian sword inlaid with silver, which I took from
Asteropaeus, but the armour let both hold in partnership, and I will
give each of them a hearty meal in my own tent."

Forthwith uprose great Ajax the son of Telamon, as also mighty Diomed
son of Tydeus. When they had put on their armour each on his own side
of the ring, they both went into the middle eager to engage, and with
fire flashing from their eyes. The Achaeans marvelled as they beheld
them, and when the two were now close up with one another, thrice did
they spring forward and thrice try to strike each other in close
combat. Ajax pierced Diomed's round shield, but did not draw blood, for
the cuirass beneath the shield protected him; thereon the son of Tydeus
from over his huge shield kept aiming continually at Ajax's neck with
the point of his spear, and the Achaeans alarmed for his safety bade
them leave off fighting and divide the prize between them. Achilles
then gave the great sword to the son of Tydeus, with its scabbard, and
the leathern belt with which to hang it.

Achilles next offered the massive iron quoit which mighty Eetion had
erewhile been used to hurl, until Achilles had slain him and carried it
off in his ships along with other spoils. He stood up and said among
the Argives, "Stand forward, you who would essay this contest. He who
wins it will have a store of iron that will last him five years as they
go rolling round, and if his fair fields lie far from a town his
shepherd or ploughman will not have to make a journey to buy iron, for
he will have a stock of it on his own premises."

Then uprose the two mighty men Polypoetes and Leonteus, with Ajax son
of Telamon and noble Epeus. They stood up one after the other and Epeus
took the quoit, whirled it, and flung it from him, which set all the
Achaeans laughing. After him threw Leonteus of the race of Mars. Ajax
son of Telamon threw third, and sent the quoit beyond any mark that had
been made yet, but when mighty Polypoetes took the quoit he hurled it
as though it had been a stockman's stick which he sends flying about
among his cattle when he is driving them, so far did his throw
out-distance those of the others. All who saw it roared applause, and
his comrades carried the prize for him and set it on board his ship.

Achilles next offered a prize of iron for archery--ten double-edged
axes and ten with single edges: he set up a ship's mast, some way off
upon the sands, and with a fine string tied a pigeon to it by the foot;
this was what they were to aim at. "Whoever," he said, "can hit the
pigeon shall have all the axes and take them away with him; he who hits
the string without hitting the bird will have taken a worse aim and
shall have the single-edged axes."

Then uprose King Teucer, and Meriones the stalwart squire of Idomeneus
rose also, They cast lots in a bronze helmet and the lot of Teucer fell
first. He let fly with his arrow forthwith, but he did not promise
hecatombs of firstling lambs to King Apollo, and missed his bird, for
Apollo foiled his aim; but he hit the string with which the bird was
tied, near its foot; the arrow cut the string clean through so that it
hung down towards the ground, while the bird flew up into the sky, and
the Achaeans shouted applause. Meriones, who had his arrow ready while
Teucer was aiming, snatched the bow out of his hand, and at once
promised that he would sacrifice a hecatomb of firstling lambs to
Apollo lord of the bow; then espying the pigeon high up under the
clouds, he hit her in the middle of the wing as she was circling
upwards; the arrow went clean through the wing and fixed itself in the
ground at Meriones' feet, but the bird perched on the ship's mast
hanging her head and with all her feathers drooping; the life went out
of her, and she fell heavily from the mast. Meriones, therefore, took
all ten double-edged axes, while Teucer bore off the single-edged ones
to his ships.

Then the son of Peleus brought in a spear and a cauldron that had never
been on the fire; it was worth an ox, and was chased with a pattern of
flowers; and those that throw the javelin stood up--to wit the son of
Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, and Meriones, stalwart squire of
Idomeneus. But Achilles spoke saying, "Son of Atreus, we know how far
you excel all others both in power and in throwing the javelin; take
the cauldron back with you to your ships, but if it so please you, let
us give the spear to Meriones; this at least is what I should myself

King Agamemnon assented. So he gave the bronze spear to Meriones, and
handed the goodly cauldron to Talthybius his esquire.


Priam ransoms the body of Hector--Hector's funeral.

THE assembly now broke up and the people went their ways each to his
own ship. There they made ready their supper, and then bethought them
of the blessed boon of sleep; but Achilles still wept for thinking of
his dear comrade, and sleep, before whom all things bow, could take no
hold upon him. This way and that did he turn as he yearned after the
might and manfulness of Patroclus; he thought of all they had done
together, and all they had gone through both on the field of battle and
on the waves of the weary sea. As he dwelt on these things he wept
bitterly and lay now on his side, now on his back, and now face
downwards, till at last he rose and went out as one distraught to
wander upon the seashore. Then, when he saw dawn breaking over beach
and sea, he yoked his horses to his chariot, and bound the body of
Hector behind it that he might drag it about. Thrice did he drag it
round the tomb of the son of Menoetius, and then went back into his
tent, leaving the body on the ground full length and with its face
downwards. But Apollo would not suffer it to be disfigured, for he
pitied the man, dead though he now was; therefore he shielded him with
his golden aegis continually, that he might take no hurt while Achilles
was dragging him.

Thus shamefully did Achilles in his fury dishonour Hector; but the
blessed gods looked down in pity from heaven, and urged Mercury, slayer
of Argus, to steal the body. All were of this mind save only Juno,
Neptune, and Jove's grey-eyed daughter, who persisted in the hate which
they had ever borne towards Ilius with Priam and his people; for they
forgave not the wrong done them by Alexandrus in disdaining the
goddesses who came to him when he was in his sheepyards, and preferring
her who had offered him a wanton to his ruin.

When, therefore, the morning of the twelfth day had now come, Phoebus
Apollo spoke among the immortals saying, "You gods ought to be ashamed
of yourselves; you are cruel and hard-hearted. Did not Hector burn you
thigh-bones of heifers and of unblemished goats? And now dare you not
rescue even his dead body, for his wife to look upon, with his mother
and child, his father Priam, and his people, who would forthwith commit
him to the flames, and give him his due funeral rites? So, then, you
would all be on the side of mad Achilles, who knows neither right nor
ruth? He is like some savage lion that in the pride of his great
strength and daring springs upon men's flocks and gorges on them. Even
so has Achilles flung aside all pity, and all that conscience which at
once so greatly banes yet greatly boons him that will heed it. A man
may lose one far dearer than Achilles has lost--a son, it may be, or a
brother born from his own mother's womb; yet when he has mourned him
and wept over him he will let him bide, for it takes much sorrow to
kill a man; whereas Achilles, now that he has slain noble Hector, drags
him behind his chariot round the tomb of his comrade. It were better of
him, and for him, that he should not do so, for brave though he be we
gods may take it ill that he should vent his fury upon dead clay."

Juno spoke up in a rage. "This were well," she cried, "O lord of the
silver bow, if you would give like honour to Hector and to Achilles;
but Hector was mortal and suckled at a woman's breast, whereas Achilles
is the offspring of a goddess whom I myself reared and brought up. I
married her to Peleus, who is above measure dear to the immortals; you
gods came all of you to her wedding; you feasted along with them
yourself and brought your lyre--false, and fond of low company, that
you have ever been."

Then said Jove, "Juno, be not so bitter. Their honour shall not be
equal, but of all that dwell in Ilius, Hector was dearest to the gods,
as also to myself, for his offerings never failed me. Never was my
altar stinted of its dues, nor of the drink-offerings and savour of
sacrifice which we claim of right. I shall therefore permit the body of
mighty Hector to be stolen; and yet this may hardly be without Achilles
coming to know it, for his mother keeps night and day beside him. Let
some one of you, therefore, send Thetis to me, and I will impart my
counsel to her, namely that Achilles is to accept a ransom from Priam,
and give up the body."

On this Iris fleet as the wind went forth to carry his message. Down
she plunged into the dark sea midway between Samos and rocky Imbrus;
the waters hissed as they closed over her, and she sank into the bottom
as the lead at the end of an ox-horn, that is sped to carry death to
fishes. She found Thetis sitting in a great cave with the other
sea-goddesses gathered round her; there she sat in the midst of them
weeping for her noble son who was to fall far from his own land, on the
rich plains of Troy. Iris went up to her and said, "Rise Thetis; Jove,
whose counsels fail not, bids you come to him." And Thetis answered,
"Why does the mighty god so bid me? I am in great grief, and shrink
from going in and out among the immortals. Still, I will go, and the
word that he may speak shall not be spoken in vain."

The goddess took her dark veil, than which there can be no robe more
sombre, and went forth with fleet Iris leading the way before her. The
waves of the sea opened them a path, and when they reached the shore
they flew up into the heavens, where they found the all-seeing son of
Saturn with the blessed gods that live for ever assembled near him.
Minerva gave up her seat to her, and she sat down by the side of father
Jove. Juno then placed a fair golden cup in her hand, and spoke to her
in words of comfort, whereon Thetis drank and gave her back the cup;
and the sire of gods and men was the first to speak.

"So, goddess," said he, "for all your sorrow, and the grief that I well
know reigns ever in your heart, you have come hither to Olympus, and I
will tell you why I have sent for you. This nine days past the
immortals have been quarrelling about Achilles waster of cities and the
body of Hector. The gods would have Mercury slayer of Argus steal the
body, but in furtherance of our peace and amity henceforward, I will
concede such honour to your son as I will now tell you. Go, then, to
the host and lay these commands upon him; say that the gods are angry
with him, and that I am myself more angry than them all, in that he
keeps Hector at the ships and will not give him up. He may thus fear me
and let the body go. At the same time I will send Iris to great Priam
to bid him go to the ships of the Achaeans, and ransom his son, taking
with him such gifts for Achilles as may give him satisfaction."

Silver-footed Thetis did as the god had told her, and forthwith down
she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus. She went to her son's
tents where she found him grieving bitterly, while his trusty comrades
round him were busy preparing their morning meal, for which they had
killed a great woolly sheep. His mother sat down beside him and
caressed him with her hand saying, "My son, how long will you keep on
thus grieving and making moan? You are gnawing at your own heart, and
think neither of food nor of woman's embraces; and yet these too were
well, for you have no long time to live, and death with the strong hand
of fate are already close beside you. Now, therefore, heed what I say,
for I come as a messenger from Jove; he says that the gods are angry
with you, and himself more angry than them all, in that you keep Hector
at the ships and will not give him up. Therefore let him go, and accept
a ransom for his body."

And Achilles answered, "So be it. If Olympian Jove of his own motion
thus commands me, let him that brings the ransom bear the body away."

Thus did mother and son talk together at the ships in long discourse
with one another. Meanwhile the son of Saturn sent Iris to the strong
city of Ilius. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, from the mansions of
Olympus, and tell King Priam in Ilius, that he is to go to the ships of
the Achaeans and free the body of his dear son. He is to take such
gifts with him as shall give satisfaction to Achilles, and he is to go
alone, with no other Trojan, save only some honoured servant who may
drive his mules and waggon, and bring back the body of him whom noble
Achilles has slain. Let him have no thought nor fear of death in his
heart, for we will send the slayer of Argus to escort him, and bring
him within the tent of Achilles. Achilles will not kill him nor let
another do so, for he will take heed to his ways and sin not, and he
will entreat a suppliant with all honourable courtesy."

On this Iris, fleet as the wind, sped forth to deliver her message. She
went to Priam's house, and found weeping and lamentation therein. His
sons were seated round their father in the outer courtyard, and their
raiment was wet with tears: the old man sat in the midst of them with
his mantle wrapped close about his body, and his head and neck all
covered with the filth which he had clutched as he lay grovelling in
the mire. His daughters and his sons' wives went wailing about the
house, as they thought of the many and brave men who lay dead, slain by
the Argives. The messenger of Jove stood by Priam and spoke softly to
him, but fear fell upon him as she did so. "Take heart," she said,
"Priam offspring of Dardanus, take heart and fear not. I bring no evil
tidings, but am minded well towards you. I come as a messenger from
Jove, who though he be not near, takes thought for you and pities you.
The lord of Olympus bids you go and ransom noble Hector, and take with
you such gifts as shall give satisfaction to Achilles. You are to go
alone, with no Trojan, save only some honoured servant who may drive
your mules and waggon, and bring back to the city the body of him whom
noble Achilles has slain. You are to have no thought, nor fear of
death, for Jove will send the slayer of Argus to escort you. When he
has brought you within Achilles' tent, Achilles will not kill you nor
let another do so, for he will take heed to his ways and sin not, and
he will entreat a suppliant with all honourable courtesy."

Iris went her way when she had thus spoken, and Priam told his sons to
get a mule-waggon ready, and to make the body of the waggon fast upon
the top of its bed. Then he went down into his fragrant store-room,
high-vaulted, and made of cedar-wood, where his many treasures were
kept, and he called Hecuba his wife. "Wife," said he, "a messenger has
come to me from Olympus, and has told me to go to the ships of the
Achaeans to ransom my dear son, taking with me such gifts as shall give
satisfaction to Achilles. What think you of this matter? for my own
part I am greatly moved to pass through the camps of the Achaeans and
go to their ships."

His wife cried aloud as she heard him, and said, "Alas, what has become
of that judgement for which you have been ever famous both among
strangers and your own people? How can you venture alone to the ships
of the Achaeans, and look into the face of him who has slain so many of
your brave sons? You must have iron courage, for if the cruel savage
sees you and lays hold on you, he will know neither respect nor pity.
Let us then weep Hector from afar here in our own house, for when I
gave him birth the threads of overruling fate were spun for him that
dogs should eat his flesh far from his parents, in the house of that
terrible man on whose liver I would fain fasten and devour it. Thus
would I avenge my son, who showed no cowardice when Achilles slew him,
and thought neither of flight nor of avoiding battle as he stood in
defence of Trojan men and Trojan women."

Then Priam said, "I would go, do not therefore stay me nor be as a bird
of ill omen in my house, for you will not move me. Had it been some
mortal man who had sent me some prophet or priest who divines from
sacrifice--I should have deemed him false and have given him no heed;
but now I have heard the goddess and seen her face to face, therefore I
will go and her saying shall not be in vain. If it be my fate to die at
the ships of the Achaeans even so would I have it; let Achilles slay
me, if I may but first have taken my son in my arms and mourned him to
my heart's comforting."

So saying he lifted the lids of his chests, and took out twelve goodly
vestments. He took also twelve cloaks of single fold, twelve rugs,
twelve fair mantles, and an equal number of shirts. He weighed out ten
talents of gold, and brought moreover two burnished tripods, four
cauldrons, and a very beautiful cup which the Thracians had given him
when he had gone to them on an embassy; it was very precious, but he
grudged not even this, so eager was he to ransom the body of his son.
Then he chased all the Trojans from the court and rebuked them with
words of anger. "Out," he cried, "shame and disgrace to me that you
are. Have you no grief in your own homes that you are come to plague me
here? Is it a small thing, think you, that the son of Saturn has sent
this sorrow upon me, to lose the bravest of my sons? Nay, you shall
prove it in person, for now he is gone the Achaeans will have easier
work in killing you. As for me, let me go down within the house of
Hades, ere mine eyes behold the sacking and wasting of the city."

He drove the men away with his staff, and they went forth as the old
man sped them. Then he called to his sons, upbraiding Helenus, Paris,
noble Agathon, Pammon, Antiphonus, Polites of the loud battle-cry,
Deiphobus, Hippothous, and Dius. These nine did the old man call near
him. "Come to me at once," he cried, "worthless sons who do me shame;
would that you had all been killed at the ships rather than Hector.
Miserable man that I am, I have had the bravest sons in all Troy--noble
Nestor, Troilus the dauntless charioteer, and Hector who was a god
among men, so that one would have thought he was son to an
immortal--yet there is not one of them left. Mars has slain them and
those of whom I am ashamed are alone left me. Liars, and light of foot,
heroes of the dance, robbers of lambs and kids from your own people,
why do you not get a waggon ready for me at once, and put all these
things upon it that I may set out on my way?"

Thus did he speak, and they feared the rebuke of their father. They
brought out a strong mule-waggon, newly made, and set the body of the
waggon fast on its bed. They took the mule-yoke from the peg on which
it hung, a yoke of boxwood with a knob on the top of it and rings for
the reins to go through. Then they brought a yoke-band eleven cubits
long, to bind the yoke to the pole; they bound it on at the far end of
the pole, and put the ring over the upright pin making it fast with
three turns of the band on either side the knob, and bending the thong
of the yoke beneath it. This done, they brought from the store-chamber
the rich ransom that was to purchase the body of Hector, and they set
it all orderly on the waggon; then they yoked the strong harness-mules
which the Mysians had on a time given as a goodly present to Priam; but
for Priam himself they yoked horses which the old king had bred, and
kept for his own use.

Thus heedfully did Priam and his servant see to the yolking of their
cars at the palace. Then Hecuba came to them all sorrowful, with a
golden goblet of wine in her right hand, that they might make a
drink-offering before they set out. She stood in front of the horses
and said, "Take this, make a drink-offering to father Jove, and since
you are minded to go to the ships in spite of me, pray that you may
come safely back from the hands of your enemies. Pray to the son of
Saturn lord of the whirlwind, who sits on Ida and looks down over all
Troy, pray him to send his swift messenger on your right hand, the bird
of omen which is strongest and most dear to him of all birds, that you
may see it with your own eyes and trust it as you go forth to the ships
of the Danaans. If all-seeing Jove will not send you this messenger,
however set upon it you may be, I would not have you go to the ships of
the Argives."

And Priam answered, "Wife, I will do as you desire me; it is well to
lift hands in prayer to Jove, if so be he may have mercy upon me."

With this the old man bade the serving-woman pour pure water over his
hands, and the woman came, bearing the water in a bowl. He washed his
hands and took the cup from his wife; then he made the drink-offering
and prayed, standing in the middle of the courtyard and turning his
eyes to heaven. "Father Jove," he said, "that rulest from Ida, most
glorious and most great, grant that I may be received kindly and
compassionately in the tents of Achilles; and send your swift messenger
upon my right hand, the bird of omen which is strongest and most dear
to you of all birds, that I may see it with my own eyes and trust it as
I go forth to the ships of the Danaans."

So did he pray, and Jove the lord of counsel heard his prayer.
Forthwith he sent an eagle, the most unerring portent of all birds that
fly, the dusky hunter that men also call the Black Eagle. His wings
were spread abroad on either side as wide as the well-made and
well-bolted door of a rich man's chamber. He came to them flying over
the city upon their right hands, and when they saw him they were glad
and their hearts took comfort within them. The old man made haste to
mount his chariot, and drove out through the inner gateway and under
the echoing gatehouse of the outer court. Before him went the mules
drawing the four-wheeled waggon, and driven by wise Idaeus; behind
these were the horses, which the old man lashed with his whip and drove
swiftly through the city, while his friends followed after, wailing and
lamenting for him as though he were on his road to death. As soon as
they had come down from the city and had reached the plain, his sons
and sons-in-law who had followed him went back to Ilius.

But Priam and Idaeus as they showed out upon the plain did not escape
the ken of all-seeing Jove, who looked down upon the old man and pitied
him; then he spoke to his son Mercury and said, "Mercury, for it is you
who are the most disposed to escort men on their way, and to hear those
whom you will hear, go, and so conduct Priam to the ships of the
Achaeans that no other of the Danaans shall see him nor take note of
him until he reach the son of Peleus."

Thus he spoke and Mercury, guide and guardian, slayer of Argus, did as
he was told. Forthwith he bound on his glittering golden sandals with
which he could fly like the wind over land and sea; he took the wand
with which he seals men's eyes in sleep, or wakes them just as he
pleases, and flew holding it in his hand till he came to Troy and to
the Hellespont. To look at, he was like a young man of noble birth in
the hey-day of his youth and beauty with the down just coming upon his

Now when Priam and Idaeus had driven past the great tomb of Ilius, they
stayed their mules and horses that they might drink in the river, for
the shades of night were falling, when, therefore, Idaeus saw Mercury
standing near them he said to Priam, "Take heed, descendant of
Dardanus; here is matter which demands consideration. I see a man who I
think will presently fall upon us; let us fly with our horses, or at
least embrace his knees and implore him to take compassion upon us?"

When he heard this the old man's heart failed him, and he was in great
fear; he stayed where he was as one dazed, and the hair stood on end
over his whole body; but the bringer of good luck came up to him and
took him by the hand, saying, "Whither, father, are you thus driving
your mules and horses in the dead of night when other men are asleep?
Are you not afraid of the fierce Achaeans who are hard by you, so cruel
and relentless? Should some one of them see you bearing so much
treasure through the darkness of the flying night, what would not your
state then be? You are no longer young, and he who is with you is too
old to protect you from those who would attack you. For myself, I will
do you no harm, and I will defend you from any one else, for you remind
me of my own father."

And Priam answered, "It is indeed as you say, my dear son; nevertheless
some god has held his hand over me, in that he has sent such a wayfarer
as yourself to meet me so opportunely; you are so comely in mien and
figure, and your judgement is so excellent that you must come of
blessed parents."

Then said the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, "Sir, all that you
have said is right; but tell me and tell me true, are you taking this
rich treasure to send it to a foreign people where it may be safe, or
are you all leaving strong Ilius in dismay now that your son has fallen
who was the bravest man among you and was never lacking in battle with
the Achaeans?"

And Priam said, "Who are you, my friend, and who are your parents, that
you speak so truly about the fate of my unhappy son?"

The slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, answered him, "Sir, you would
prove me, that you question me about noble Hector. Many a time have I
set eyes upon him in battle when he was driving the Argives to their
ships and putting them to the sword. We stood still and marvelled, for
Achilles in his anger with the son of Atreus suffered us not to fight.
I am his squire, and came with him in the same ship. I am a Myrmidon,
and my father's name is Polyctor: he is a rich man and about as old as
you are; he has six sons besides myself, and I am the seventh. We cast
lots, and it fell upon me to sail hither with Achilles. I am now come
from the ships on to the plain, for with daybreak the Achaeans will set
battle in array about the city. They chafe at doing nothing, and are so
eager that their princes cannot hold them back."

Then answered Priam, "If you are indeed the squire of Achilles son of
Peleus, tell me now the whole truth. Is my son still at the ships, or
has Achilles hewn him limb from limb, and given him to his hounds?"

"Sir," replied the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, "neither hounds
nor vultures have yet devoured him; he is still just lying at the tents
by the ship of Achilles, and though it is now twelve days that he has
lain there, his flesh is not wasted nor have the worms eaten him
although they feed on warriors. At daybreak Achilles drags him cruelly
round the sepulchre of his dear comrade, but it does him no hurt. You
should come yourself and see how he lies fresh as dew, with the blood
all washed away, and his wounds every one of them closed though many
pierced him with their spears. Such care have the blessed gods taken of
your brave son, for he was dear to them beyond all measure."

The old man was comforted as he heard him and said, "My son, see what a
good thing it is to have made due offerings to the immortals; for as
sure as that he was born my son never forgot the gods that hold
Olympus, and now they requite it to him even in death. Accept therefore
at my hands this goodly chalice; guard me and with heaven's help guide
me till I come to the tent of the son of Peleus."

Then answered the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, "Sir, you are
tempting me and playing upon my youth, but you shall not move me, for
you are offering me presents without the knowledge of Achilles whom I
fear and hold it great guilt to defraud, lest some evil presently
befall me; but as your guide I would go with you even to Argos itself,
and would guard you so carefully whether by sea or land, that no one
should attack you through making light of him who was with you."

The bringer of good luck then sprang on to the chariot, and seizing the
whip and reins he breathed fresh spirit into the mules and horses. When
they reached the trench and the wall that was before the ships, those
who were on guard had just been getting their suppers, and the slayer
of Argus threw them all into a deep sleep. Then he drew back the bolts
to open the gates, and took Priam inside with the treasure he had upon
his waggon. Ere long they came to the lofty dwelling of the son of
Peleus for which the Myrmidons had cut pine and which they had built
for their king; when they had built it they thatched it with coarse
tussock-grass which they had mown out on the plain, and all round it
they made a large courtyard, which was fenced with stakes set close
together. The gate was barred with a single bolt of pine which it took
three men to force into its place, and three to draw back so as to open
the gate, but Achilles could draw it by himself. Mercury opened the
gate for the old man, and brought in the treasure that he was taking
with him for the son of Peleus. Then he sprang from the chariot on to
the ground and said, "Sir, it is I, immortal Mercury, that am come with
you, for my father sent me to escort you. I will now leave you, and
will not enter into the presence of Achilles, for it might anger him
that a god should befriend mortal men thus openly. Go you within, and
embrace the knees of the son of Peleus: beseech him by his father, his
lovely mother, and his son; thus you may move him."

With these words Mercury went back to high Olympus. Priam sprang from
his chariot to the ground, leaving Idaeus where he was, in charge of
the mules and horses. The old man went straight into the house where
Achilles, loved of the gods, was sitting. There he found him with his
men seated at a distance from him: only two, the hero Automedon, and
Alcimus of the race of Mars, were busy in attendance about his person,
for he had but just done eating and drinking, and the table was still
there. King Priam entered without their seeing him, and going right up
to Achilles he clasped his knees and kissed the dread murderous hands
that had slain so many of his sons.

As when some cruel spite has befallen a man that he should have killed
some one in his own country, and must fly to a great man's protection
in a land of strangers, and all marvel who see him, even so did
Achilles marvel as he beheld Priam. The others looked one to another
and marvelled also, but Priam besought Achilles saying, "Think of your
father, O Achilles like unto the gods, who is such even as I am, on the
sad threshold of old age. It may be that those who dwell near him
harass him, and there is none to keep war and ruin from him. Yet when
he hears of you being still alive, he is glad, and his days are full of
hope that he shall see his dear son come home to him from Troy; but I,
wretched man that I am, had the bravest in all Troy for my sons, and
there is not one of them left. I had fifty sons when the Achaeans came
here; nineteen of them were from a single womb, and the others were
borne to me by the women of my household. The greater part of them has
fierce Mars laid low, and Hector, him who was alone left, him who was
the guardian of the city and ourselves, him have you lately slain;
therefore I am now come to the ships of the Achaeans to ransom his body
from you with a great ransom. Fear, O Achilles, the wrath of heaven;
think on your own father and have compassion upon me, who am the more
pitiable, for I have steeled myself as no man yet has ever steeled
himself before me, and have raised to my lips the hand of him who slew
my son."

Thus spoke Priam, and the heart of Achilles yearned as he bethought him
of his father. He took the old man's hand and moved him gently away.
The two wept bitterly--Priam, as he lay at Achilles' feet, weeping for
Hector, and Achilles now for his father and now for Patroclus, till the
house was filled with their lamentation. But when Achilles was now
sated with grief and had unburthened the bitterness of his sorrow, he
left his seat and raised the old man by the hand, in pity for his white
hair and beard; then he said, "Unhappy man, you have indeed been
greatly daring; how could you venture to come alone to the ships of the
Achaeans, and enter the presence of him who has slain so many of your
brave sons? You must have iron courage: sit now upon this seat, and for
all our grief we will hide our sorrows in our hearts, for weeping will
not avail us. The immortals know no care, yet the lot they spin for man
is full of sorrow; on the floor of Jove's palace there stand two urns,
the one filled with evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for
whom Jove the lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now
with good and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Jove sends none but
evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of
famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go up and
down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor men. Even so
did it befall Peleus; the gods endowed him with all good things from
his birth upwards, for he reigned over the Myrmidons excelling all men
in prosperity and wealth, and mortal though he was they gave him a
goddess for his bride. But even on him too did heaven send misfortune,
for there is no race of royal children born to him in his house, save
one son who is doomed to die all untimely; nor may I take care of him
now that he is growing old, for I must stay here at Troy to be the bane
of you and your children. And you too, O Priam, I have heard that you
were aforetime happy. They say that in wealth and plenitude of
offspring you surpassed all that is in Lesbos, the realm of Makar to
the northward, Phrygia that is more inland, and those that dwell upon
the great Hellespont; but from the day when the dwellers in heaven sent
this evil upon you, war and slaughter have been about your city
continually. Bear up against it, and let there be some intervals in
your sorrow. Mourn as you may for your brave son, you will take nothing
by it. You cannot raise him from the dead, ere you do so yet another
sorrow shall befall you."

And Priam answered, "O king, bid me not be seated, while Hector is
still lying uncared for in your tents, but accept the great ransom
which I have brought you, and give him to me at once that I may look
upon him. May you prosper with the ransom and reach your own land in
safety, seeing that you have suffered me to live and to look upon the
light of the sun."

Achilles looked at him sternly and said, "Vex me, sir, no longer; I am
of myself minded to give up the body of Hector. My mother, daughter of
the old man of the sea, came to me from Jove to bid me deliver it to
you. Moreover I know well, O Priam, and you cannot hide it, that some
god has brought you to the ships of the Achaeans, for else, no man
however strong and in his prime would dare to come to our host; he
could neither pass our guard unseen, nor draw the bolt of my gates thus
easily; therefore, provoke me no further, lest I sin against the word
of Jove, and suffer you not, suppliant though you are, within my tents."

The old man feared him and obeyed. Then the son of Peleus sprang like a
lion through the door of his house, not alone, but with him went his
two squires Automedon and Alcimus who were closer to him than any
others of his comrades now that Patroclus was no more. These unyoked
the horses and mules, and bade Priam's herald and attendant be seated
within the house. They lifted the ransom for Hector's body from the
waggon, but they left two mantles and a goodly shirt, that Achilles
might wrap the body in them when he gave it to be taken home. Then he
called to his servants and ordered them to wash the body and anoint it,
but he first took it to a place where Priam should not see it, lest if
he did so, he should break out in the bitterness of his grief, and
enrage Achilles, who might then kill him and sin against the word of
Jove. When the servants had washed the body and anointed it, and had
wrapped it in a fair shirt and mantle, Achilles himself lifted it on to
a bier, and he and his men then laid it on the waggon. He cried aloud
as he did so and called on the name of his dear comrade, "Be not angry
with me, Patroclus," he said, "if you hear even in the house of Hades
that I have given Hector to his father for a ransom. It has been no
unworthy one, and I will share it equitably with you."

Achilles then went back into the tent and took his place on the richly
inlaid seat from which he had risen, by the wall that was at right
angles to the one against which Priam was sitting. "Sir," he said,
"your son is now laid upon his bier and is ransomed according to
desire; you shall look upon him when you take him away at daybreak; for
the present let us prepare our supper. Even lovely Niobe had to think
about eating, though her twelve children--six daughters and six lusty
sons--had been all slain in her house. Apollo killed the sons with
arrows from his silver bow, to punish Niobe, and Diana slew the
daughters, because Niobe had vaunted herself against Leto; she said
Leto had borne two children only, whereas she had herself borne
many--whereon the two killed the many. Nine days did they lie
weltering, and there was none to bury them, for the son of Saturn
turned the people into stone; but on the tenth day the gods in heaven
themselves buried them, and Niobe then took food, being worn out with
weeping. They say that somewhere among the rocks on the mountain
pastures of Sipylus, where the nymphs live that haunt the river
Achelous, there, they say, she lives in stone and still nurses the
sorrows sent upon her by the hand of heaven. Therefore, noble sir, let
us two now take food; you can weep for your dear son hereafter as you
are bearing him back to Ilius--and many a tear will he cost you."

With this Achilles sprang from his seat and killed a sheep of silvery
whiteness, which his followers skinned and made ready all in due order.
They cut the meat carefully up into smaller pieces, spitted them, and
drew them off again when they were well roasted. Automedon brought
bread in fair baskets and served it round the table, while Achilles
dealt out the meat, and they laid their hands on the good things that
were before them. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink,
Priam, descendant of Dardanus, marvelled at the strength and beauty of
Achilles for he was as a god to see, and Achilles marvelled at Priam as
he listened to him and looked upon his noble presence. When they had
gazed their fill Priam spoke first. "And now, O king," he said, "take
me to my couch that we may lie down and enjoy the blessed boon of
sleep. Never once have my eyes been closed from the day your hands took
the life of my son; I have grovelled without ceasing in the mire of my
stable-yard, making moan and brooding over my countless sorrows. Now,
moreover, I have eaten bread and drunk wine; hitherto I have tasted

As he spoke Achilles told his men and the women-servants to set beds in
the room that was in the gatehouse, and make them with good red rugs,
and spread coverlets on the top of them with woollen cloaks for Priam
and Idaeus to wear. So the maids went out carrying a torch and got the
two beds ready in all haste. Then Achilles said laughingly to Priam,
"Dear sir, you shall lie outside, lest some counsellor of those who in
due course keep coming to advise with me should see you here in the
darkness of the flying night, and tell it to Agamemnon. This might
cause delay in the delivery of the body. And now tell me and tell me
true, for how many days would you celebrate the funeral rites of noble
Hector? Tell me, that I may hold aloof from war and restrain the host."

And Priam answered, "Since, then, you suffer me to bury my noble son
with all due rites, do thus, Achilles, and I shall be grateful. You
know how we are pent up within our city; it is far for us to fetch wood
from the mountain, and the people live in fear. Nine days, therefore,
will we mourn Hector in my house; on the tenth day we will bury him and
there shall be a public feast in his honour; on the eleventh we will
build a mound over his ashes, and on the twelfth, if there be need, we
will fight."

And Achilles answered, "All, King Priam, shall be as you have said. I
will stay our fighting for as long a time as you have named."

As he spoke he laid his hand on the old man's right wrist, in token
that he should have no fear; thus then did Priam and his attendant
sleep there in the forecourt, full of thought, while Achilles lay in an
inner room of the house, with fair Briseis by his side.

And now both gods and mortals were fast asleep through the livelong
night, but upon Mercury alone, the bringer of good luck, sleep could
take no hold for he was thinking all the time how to get King Priam
away from the ships without his being seen by the strong force of
sentinels. He hovered therefore over Priam's head and said, "Sir, now
that Achilles has spared your life, you seem to have no fear about
sleeping in the thick of your foes. You have paid a great ransom, and
have received the body of your son; were you still alive and a prisoner
the sons whom you have left at home would have to give three times as
much to free you; and so it would be if Agamemnon and the other
Achaeans were to know of your being here."

When he heard this the old man was afraid and roused his servant.
Mercury then yoked their horses and mules, and drove them quickly
through the host so that no man perceived them. When they came to the
ford of eddying Xanthus, begotten of immortal Jove, Mercury went back
to high Olympus, and dawn in robe of saffron began to break over all
the land. Priam and Idaeus then drove on toward the city lamenting and
making moan, and the mules drew the body of Hector. No one neither man
nor woman saw them, till Cassandra, fair as golden Venus standing on
Pergamus, caught sight of her dear father in his chariot, and his
servant that was the city's herald with him. Then she saw him that was
lying upon the bier, drawn by the mules, and with a loud cry she went
about the city saying, "Come hither Trojans, men and women, and look on
Hector; if ever you rejoiced to see him coming from battle when he was
alive, look now on him that was the glory of our city and all our

At this there was not man nor woman left in the city, so great a sorrow
had possessed them. Hard by the gates they met Priam as he was bringing
in the body. Hector's wife and his mother were the first to mourn him:
they flew towards the waggon and laid their hands upon his head, while
the crowd stood weeping round them. They would have stayed before the
gates, weeping and lamenting the livelong day to the going down of the
sun, had not Priam spoken to them from the chariot and said, "Make way
for the mules to pass you. Afterwards when I have taken the body home
you shall have your fill of weeping."

On this the people stood asunder, and made a way for the waggon. When
they had borne the body within the house they laid it upon a bed and
seated minstrels round it to lead the dirge, whereon the women joined
in the sad music of their lament. Foremost among them all Andromache
led their wailing as she clasped the head of mighty Hector in her
embrace. "Husband," she cried, "you have died young, and leave me in
your house a widow; he of whom we are the ill-starred parents is still
a mere child, and I fear he may not reach manhood. Ere he can do so our
city will be razed and overthrown, for you who watched over it are no
more--you who were its saviour, the guardian of our wives and children.
Our women will be carried away captives to the ships, and I among them;
while you, my child, who will be with me will be put to some unseemly
tasks, working for a cruel master. Or, may be, some Achaean will hurl
you (O miserable death) from our walls, to avenge some brother, son, or
father whom Hector slew; many of them have indeed bitten the dust at
his hands, for your father's hand in battle was no light one. Therefore
do the people mourn him. You have left, O Hector, sorrow unutterable to
your parents, and my own grief is greatest of all, for you did not
stretch forth your arms and embrace me as you lay dying, nor say to me
any words that might have lived with me in my tears night and day for

Bitterly did she weep the while, and the women joined in her lament.
Hecuba in her turn took up the strains of woe. "Hector," she cried,
"dearest to me of all my children. So long as you were alive the gods
loved you well, and even in death they have not been utterly unmindful
of you; for when Achilles took any other of my sons, he would sell him
beyond the seas, to Samos Imbrus or rugged Lemnos; and when he had
slain you too with his sword, many a time did he drag you round the
sepulchre of his comrade--though this could not give him life--yet here
you lie all fresh as dew, and comely as one whom Apollo has slain with
his painless shafts."

Thus did she too speak through her tears with bitter moan, and then
Helen for a third time took up the strain of lamentation. "Hector,"
said she, "dearest of all my brothers-in-law--for I am wife to
Alexandrus who brought me hither to Troy--would that I had died ere he
did so--twenty years are come and gone since I left my home and came
from over the sea, but I have never heard one word of insult or
unkindness from you. When another would chide with me, as it might be
one of your brothers or sisters or of your brothers' wives, or my
mother-in-law--for Priam was as kind to me as though he were my own
father--you would rebuke and check them with words of gentleness and
goodwill. Therefore my tears flow both for you and for my unhappy self,
for there is no one else in Troy who is kind to me, but all shrink and
shudder as they go by me."

She wept as she spoke and the vast crowd that was gathered round her
joined in her lament. Then King Priam spoke to them saying, "Bring
wood, O Trojans, to the city, and fear no cunning ambush of the
Argives, for Achilles when he dismissed me from the ships gave me his
word that they should not attack us until the morning of the twelfth

Forthwith they yoked their oxen and mules and gathered together before
the city. Nine days long did they bring in great heaps of wood, and on
the morning of the tenth day with many tears they took brave Hector
forth, laid his dead body upon the summit of the pile, and set the fire
thereto. Then when the child of morning, rosy-fingered dawn, appeared
on the eleventh day, the people again assembled, round the pyre of
mighty Hector. When they were got together, they first quenched the
fire with wine wherever it was burning, and then his brothers and
comrades with many a bitter tear gathered his white bones, wrapped them
in soft robes of purple, and laid them in a golden urn, which they
placed in a grave and covered over with large stones set close
together. Then they built a barrow hurriedly over it keeping guard on
every side lest the Achaeans should attack them before they had
finished. When they had heaped up the barrow they went back again into
the city, and being well assembled they held high feast in the house of
Priam their king.

Thus, then, did they celebrate the funeral of Hector tamer of horses.


Tag der Veröffentlichung: 17.06.2010

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