“Iliad & Odyssey”, by Homer 700B.C.





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

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

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 Achaeans.”

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 him.”

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 elsewhither.”

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 the anger of the

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

“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 safety.”

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 Achaeans.”

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, saying-

“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

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 wish. See, I incline my head that you believe me.
This is the most solemn 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 head.”

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

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 ing bustling about
the heavenly mansion.

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.



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 to
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

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

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 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 Priam.”

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

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

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

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

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 following.

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 array.

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

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

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. Tmolus.

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.



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 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 the 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 self.”

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

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

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. Aid 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 strangers.”

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

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 bedchamber.

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

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, but I then, an 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 all 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.



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 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 throng.

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 wound.

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 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 ships.”

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

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
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 ships.”

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.



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 fight.

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 dust.

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 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 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

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 killed.”

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 to 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 on 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

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 Jove.”

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

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 gods.”

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 he 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 none 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
flours 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, fi 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 corpes, 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-bothways. 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 off-spring,
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 Jove.



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 If 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 bondage.”

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

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.”



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 Ame, 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 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 him 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 saying.”

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 cat
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 wa 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
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 Ring it into the sea; you can cover the beach
with sand again, and the great wall of the Achaeans will then be utterly

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.



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 displeasure.”

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 Hinching 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 Ida.”

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. 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 helmet.

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 he 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 bold hussy, will you really dare to raise your huge spear in
defiance of Jove?”

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 ear 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 Argives.”

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 come.



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 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 every” thing; 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 down, 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 lphianassa, 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 yieldit 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

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 man 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

“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 she 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

“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 be refuse, and is he still

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
am 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.



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 daring.”

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 instructions.”

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 Phyleus.”

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 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

Nestor spoke first. “My friends,” said he, “is there any man bold
enough to venture the Trojans, and cut off some straggler, or 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 us.”

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 form 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 an 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 trouble.”

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 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 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 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.



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 see, wit 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 Live 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
panic before the Argives.

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 father.”

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 frim 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 wives.

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 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

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 naw 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 Hector.

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 Hector.

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 Hypeirochus.

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 and 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

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 me 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 homed 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 himself.

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
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 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 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 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 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



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 courses.

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 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 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

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 uproar.

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 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 for ever, 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,” 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 the 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

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 need.”

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 aloud.

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 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 an 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 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. As he did 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 tow 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.



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 Calchas.

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 seffied
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 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 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 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

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 just. 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 unavenied; 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 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, outxied
every one 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

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 some one 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 particualrly 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 darkness.

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

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 be 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 bands 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.



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 spears.

The wounded kings, the son of Tydeus, Ulysses, and Agamemnon son of
Atreus, fell in 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 bas 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. Some one, 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. Oeeneus 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 hitherto.”

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 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
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

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 you?”

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

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; 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 air 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 sturined 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 be, 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 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.



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

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, ararmed 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

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 pellmell 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

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 die prayer of the
aged son of Neleus. When the 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

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 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

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 comrades.

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 cager 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

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

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 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.



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, throu
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

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 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 eyes.

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 arriving 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

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 Yet 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 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, lpheus,
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

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, thou 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 youselves
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 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 rull 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 to 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 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 you.”

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

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.



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

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 least.”

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 hounds.”

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 drag ing 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 comrades.

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 Aeacus.”

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 people.

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 ours.”

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 fallen.”

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 ai 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 stern 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 i’ll 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.



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

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 wind 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

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 yourelf 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 aid 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 Linus-song with
his clear boyish voice.

He wrought also a herd of homed 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 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 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.



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 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 wars 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 themselves.”

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 fighting.”

So saying, with a loud cry he drove his horses to the front.



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

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 Right
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 the 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

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 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

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, fike 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

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 hereafter.”

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

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 he 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

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 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

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



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

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

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
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 comrade.”

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 be 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 bo&ies 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 plan 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 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 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 Trojans.”

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 And 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 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

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

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

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 cue.

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 gods 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.



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 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 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 ha. 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, at one while
on the 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 Peleus.”

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
an 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 battle.”

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 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 Diphobus 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
wi 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 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 en’ 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

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

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 tiring 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 woful 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.



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

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 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 Trojans.

“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 mother.”

And Achilles answered, “Why, true heart, are you come hither to lay
these charges upon me? 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 himself.

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 Patroclus.”

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 callid 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 lamenting.”

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 goby later, not even though
you had Adrestus’s horse Arion behind you 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 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 Tydeus.”

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 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 bere 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 horses.

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 fast 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 gladly.

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 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 him.”

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

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 eddies: 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 wish.”

King Agamemnon assented. So he gave the bronze spear to Meriones,
and handed the goodly cauldron to Talthybius his esquire.



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. 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

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 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 Right 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 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 face.

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

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

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, “Wo 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 guiltless 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 Patroclous,
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 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 nothing.”

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 people.”

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 evermore.”

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 day.”

Forthwith they yoked their oxen and mules and gathered together before
the city. Nine days long did they bring in great heaps wood, and on
the morning of the tenth day with many tears they took trave 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.




Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide
after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit,
and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted;
moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life
and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save
his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating
the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion; so the god prevented them from
ever reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter
of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.

So now all who escaped death in battle or by shipwreck had got safely
home except Ulysses, and he, though he was longing to return to his
wife and country, was detained by the goddess Calypso, who had got
him into a large cave and wanted to marry him. But as years went by,
there came a time when the gods settled that he should go back to
Ithaca; even then, however, when he was among his own people, his
troubles were not yet over; nevertheless all the gods had now begun
to pity him except Neptune, who still persecuted him without ceasing
and would not let him get home.

Now Neptune had gone off to the Ethiopians, who are at the world’s
end, and lie in two halves, the one looking West and the other East.
He had gone there to accept a hecatomb of sheep and oxen, and was
enjoying himself at his festival; but the other gods met in the house
of Olympian Jove, and the sire of gods and men spoke first. At that
moment he was thinking of Aegisthus, who had been killed by Agamemnon’s
son Orestes; so he said to the other gods:

“See now, how men lay blame upon us gods for what is after all nothing
but their own folly. Look at Aegisthus; he must needs make love to
Agamemnon’s wife unrighteously and then kill Agamemnon, though he
knew it would be the death of him; for I sent Mercury to warn him
not to do either of these things, inasmuch as Orestes would be sure
to take his revenge when he grew up and wanted to return home. Mercury
told him this in all good will but he would not listen, and now he
has paid for everything in full.”

Then Minerva said, “Father, son of Saturn, King of kings, it served
Aegisthus right, and so it would any one else who does as he did;
but Aegisthus is neither here nor there; it is for Ulysses that my
heart bleeds, when I think of his sufferings in that lonely sea-girt
island, far away, poor man, from all his friends. It is an island
covered with forest, in the very middle of the sea, and a goddess
lives there, daughter of the magician Atlas, who looks after the bottom
of the ocean, and carries the great columns that keep heaven and earth
asunder. This daughter of Atlas has got hold of poor unhappy Ulysses,
and keeps trying by every kind of blandishment to make him forget
his home, so that he is tired of life, and thinks of nothing but how
he may once more see the smoke of his own chimneys. You, sir, take
no heed of this, and yet when Ulysses was before Troy did he not propitiate
you with many a burnt sacrifice? Why then should you keep on being
so angry with him?”

And Jove said, “My child, what are you talking about? How can I forget
Ulysses than whom there is no more capable man on earth, nor more
liberal in his offerings to the immortal gods that live in heaven?
Bear in mind, however, that Neptune is still furious with Ulysses
for having blinded an eye of Polyphemus king of the Cyclopes. Polyphemus
is son to Neptune by the nymph Thoosa, daughter to the sea-king Phorcys;
therefore though he will not kill Ulysses outright, he torments him
by preventing him from getting home. Still, let us lay our heads together
and see how we can help him to return; Neptune will then be pacified,
for if we are all of a mind he can hardly stand out against us.”

And Minerva said, “Father, son of Saturn, King of kings, if, then,
the gods now mean that Ulysses should get home, we should first send
Mercury to the Ogygian island to tell Calypso that we have made up
our minds and that he is to return. In the meantime I will go to Ithaca,
to put heart into Ulysses’ son Telemachus; I will embolden him to
call the Achaeans in assembly, and speak out to the suitors of his
mother Penelope, who persist in eating up any number of his sheep
and oxen; I will also conduct him to Sparta and to Pylos, to see if
he can hear anything about the return of his dear father- for this
will make people speak well of him.”

So saying she bound on her glittering golden sandals, imperishable,
with which she can fly like the wind over land or sea; she grasped
the redoubtable bronze-shod spear, so stout and sturdy and strong,
wherewith she quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her,
and down she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus, whereon forthwith
she was in Ithaca, at the gateway of Ulysses’ house, disguised as
a visitor, Mentes, chief of the Taphians, and she held a bronze spear
in her hand. There she found the lordly suitors seated on hides of
the oxen which they had killed and eaten, and playing draughts in
front of the house. Men-servants and pages were bustling about to
wait upon them, some mixing wine with water in the mixing-bowls, some
cleaning down the tables with wet sponges and laying them out again,
and some cutting up great quantities of meat.

Telemachus saw her long before any one else did. He was sitting moodily
among the suitors thinking about his brave father, and how he would
send them flying out of the house, if he were to come to his own again
and be honoured as in days gone by. Thus brooding as he sat among
them, he caught sight of Minerva and went straight to the gate, for
he was vexed that a stranger should be kept waiting for admittance.
He took her right hand in his own, and bade her give him her spear.
“Welcome,” said he, “to our house, and when you have partaken of food
you shall tell us what you have come for.”

He led the way as he spoke, and Minerva followed him. When they were
within he took her spear and set it in the spear- stand against a
strong bearing-post along with the many other spears of his unhappy
father, and he conducted her to a richly decorated seat under which
he threw a cloth of damask. There was a footstool also for her feet,
and he set another seat near her for himself, away from the suitors,
that she might not be annoyed while eating by their noise and insolence,
and that he might ask her more freely about his father.

A maid servant then brought them water in a beautiful golden ewer
and poured it into a silver basin for them to wash their hands, and
she drew a clean table beside them. An upper servant brought them
bread, and offered them many good things of what there was in the
house, the carver fetched them plates of all manner of meats and set
cups of gold by their side, and a man-servant brought them wine and
poured it out for them.

Then the suitors came in and took their places on the benches and
seats. Forthwith men servants poured water over their hands, maids
went round with the bread-baskets, pages filled the mixing-bowls with
wine and water, and they laid their hands upon the good things that
were before them. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink
they wanted music and dancing, which are the crowning embellishments
of a banquet, so a servant brought a lyre to Phemius, whom they compelled
perforce to sing to them. As soon as he touched his lyre and began
to sing Telemachus spoke low to Minerva, with his head close to hers
that no man might hear.

“I hope, sir,” said he, “that you will not be offended with what I
am going to say. Singing comes cheap to those who do not pay for it,
and all this is done at the cost of one whose bones lie rotting in
some wilderness or grinding to powder in the surf. If these men were
to see my father come back to Ithaca they would pray for longer legs
rather than a longer purse, for money would not serve them; but he,
alas, has fallen on an ill fate, and even when people do sometimes
say that he is coming, we no longer heed them; we shall never see
him again. And now, sir, tell me and tell me true, who you are and
where you come from. Tell me of your town and parents, what manner
of ship you came in, how your crew brought you to Ithaca, and of what
nation they declared themselves to be- for you cannot have come by
land. Tell me also truly, for I want to know, are you a stranger to
this house, or have you been here in my father’s time? In the old
days we had many visitors for my father went about much himself.”

And Minerva answered, “I will tell you truly and particularly all
about it. I am Mentes, son of Anchialus, and I am King of the Taphians.
I have come here with my ship and crew, on a voyage to men of a foreign
tongue being bound for Temesa with a cargo of iron, and I shall bring
back copper. As for my ship, it lies over yonder off the open country
away from the town, in the harbour Rheithron under the wooded mountain
Neritum. Our fathers were friends before us, as old Laertes will tell
you, if you will go and ask him. They say, however, that he never
comes to town now, and lives by himself in the country, faring hardly,
with an old woman to look after him and get his dinner for him, when
he comes in tired from pottering about his vineyard. They told me
your father was at home again, and that was why I came, but it seems
the gods are still keeping him back, for he is not dead yet not on
the mainland. It is more likely he is on some sea-girt island in mid
ocean, or a prisoner among savages who are detaining him against his
will I am no prophet, and know very little about omens, but I speak
as it is borne in upon me from heaven, and assure you that he will
not be away much longer; for he is a man of such resource that even
though he were in chains of iron he would find some means of getting
home again. But tell me, and tell me true, can Ulysses really have
such a fine looking fellow for a son? You are indeed wonderfully like
him about the head and eyes, for we were close friends before he set
sail for Troy where the flower of all the Argives went also. Since
that time we have never either of us seen the other.”

“My mother,” answered Telemachus, tells me I am son to Ulysses, but
it is a wise child that knows his own father. Would that I were son
to one who had grown old upon his own estates, for, since you ask
me, there is no more ill-starred man under heaven than he who they
tell me is my father.”

And Minerva said, “There is no fear of your race dying out yet, while
Penelope has such a fine son as you are. But tell me, and tell me
true, what is the meaning of all this feasting, and who are these
people? What is it all about? Have you some banquet, or is there a
wedding in the family- for no one seems to be bringing any provisions
of his own? And the guests- how atrociously they are behaving; what
riot they make over the whole house; it is enough to disgust any respectable
person who comes near them.”

“Sir,” said Telemachus, “as regards your question, so long as my father
was here it was well with us and with the house, but the gods in their
displeasure have willed it otherwise, and have hidden him away more
closely than mortal man was ever yet hidden. I could have borne it
better even though he were dead, if he had fallen with his men before
Troy, or had died with friends around him when the days of his fighting
were done; for then the Achaeans would have built a mound over his
ashes, and I should myself have been heir to his renown; but now the
storm-winds have spirited him away we know not wither; he is gone
without leaving so much as a trace behind him, and I inherit nothing
but dismay. Nor does the matter end simply with grief for the loss
of my father; heaven has laid sorrows upon me of yet another kind;
for the chiefs from all our islands, Dulichium, Same, and the woodland
island of Zacynthus, as also all the principal men of Ithaca itself,
are eating up my house under the pretext of paying their court to
my mother, who will neither point blank say that she will not marry,
nor yet bring matters to an end; so they are making havoc of my estate,
and before long will do so also with myself.”

“Is that so?” exclaimed Minerva, “then you do indeed want Ulysses
home again. Give him his helmet, shield, and a couple lances, and
if he is the man he was when I first knew him in our house, drinking
and making merry, he would soon lay his hands about these rascally
suitors, were he to stand once more upon his own threshold. He was
then coming from Ephyra, where he had been to beg poison for his arrows
from Ilus, son of Mermerus. Ilus feared the ever-living gods and would
not give him any, but my father let him have some, for he was very
fond of him. If Ulysses is the man he then was these suitors will
have a short shrift and a sorry wedding.

“But there! It rests with heaven to determine whether he is to return,
and take his revenge in his own house or no; I would, however, urge
you to set about trying to get rid of these suitors at once. Take
my advice, call the Achaean heroes in assembly to-morrow -lay your
case before them, and call heaven to bear you witness. Bid the suitors
take themselves off, each to his own place, and if your mother’s mind
is set on marrying again, let her go back to her father, who will
find her a husband and provide her with all the marriage gifts that
so dear a daughter may expect. As for yourself, let me prevail upon
you to take the best ship you can get, with a crew of twenty men,
and go in quest of your father who has so long been missing. Some
one may tell you something, or (and people often hear things in this
way) some heaven-sent message may direct you. First go to Pylos and
ask Nestor; thence go on to Sparta and visit Menelaus, for he got
home last of all the Achaeans; if you hear that your father is alive
and on his way home, you can put up with the waste these suitors will
make for yet another twelve months. If on the other hand you hear
of his death, come home at once, celebrate his funeral rites with
all due pomp, build a barrow to his memory, and make your mother marry
again. Then, having done all this, think it well over in your mind
how, by fair means or foul, you may kill these suitors in your own
house. You are too old to plead infancy any longer; have you not heard
how people are singing Orestes’ praises for having killed his father’s
murderer Aegisthus? You are a fine, smart looking fellow; show your
mettle, then, and make yourself a name in story. Now, however, I must
go back to my ship and to my crew, who will be impatient if I keep
them waiting longer; think the matter over for yourself, and remember
what I have said to you.”

“Sir,” answered Telemachus, “it has been very kind of you to talk
to me in this way, as though I were your own son, and I will do all
you tell me; I know you want to be getting on with your voyage, but
stay a little longer till you have taken a bath and refreshed yourself.
I will then give you a present, and you shall go on your way rejoicing;
I will give you one of great beauty and value- a keepsake such as
only dear friends give to one another.”

Minerva answered, “Do not try to keep me, for I would be on my way
at once. As for any present you may be disposed to make me, keep it
till I come again, and I will take it home with me. You shall give
me a very good one, and I will give you one of no less value in return.”

With these words she flew away like a bird into the air, but she had
given Telemachus courage, and had made him think more than ever about
his father. He felt the change, wondered at it, and knew that the
stranger had been a god, so he went straight to where the suitors
were sitting.

Phemius was still singing, and his hearers sat rapt in silence as
he told the sad tale of the return from Troy, and the ills Minerva
had laid upon the Achaeans. Penelope, daughter of Icarius, heard his
song from her room upstairs, and came down by the great staircase,
not alone, but attended by two of her handmaids. When she reached
the suitors she stood by one of the bearing posts that supported the
roof of the cloisters with a staid maiden on either side of her. She
held a veil, moreover, before her face, and was weeping bitterly.

“Phemius,” she cried, “you know many another feat of gods and heroes,
such as poets love to celebrate. Sing the suitors some one of these,
and let them drink their wine in silence, but cease this sad tale,
for it breaks my sorrowful heart, and reminds me of my lost husband
whom I mourn ever without ceasing, and whose name was great over all
Hellas and middle Argos.”

“Mother,” answered Telemachus, “let the bard sing what he has a mind
to; bards do not make the ills they sing of; it is Jove, not they,
who makes them, and who sends weal or woe upon mankind according to
his own good pleasure. This fellow means no harm by singing the ill-fated
return of the Danaans, for people always applaud the latest songs
most warmly. Make up your mind to it and bear it; Ulysses is not the
only man who never came back from Troy, but many another went down
as well as he. Go, then, within the house and busy yourself with your
daily duties, your loom, your distaff, and the ordering of your servants;
for speech is man’s matter, and mine above all others- for it is I
who am master here.”

She went wondering back into the house, and laid her son’s saying
in her heart. Then, going upstairs with her handmaids into her room,
she mourned her dear husband till Minerva shed sweet sleep over her
eyes. But the suitors were clamorous throughout the covered cloisters,
and prayed each one that he might be her bed fellow.

Then Telemachus spoke, “Shameless,” he cried, “and insolent suitors,
let us feast at our pleasure now, and let there be no brawling, for
it is a rare thing to hear a man with such a divine voice as Phemius
has; but in the morning meet me in full assembly that I may give you
formal notice to depart, and feast at one another’s houses, turn and
turn about, at your own cost. If on the other hand you choose to persist
in spunging upon one man, heaven help me, but Jove shall reckon with
you in full, and when you fall in my father’s house there shall be
no man to avenge you.”

The suitors bit their lips as they heard him, and marvelled at the
boldness of his speech. Then, Antinous, son of Eupeithes, said, “The
gods seem to have given you lessons in bluster and tall talking; may
Jove never grant you to be chief in Ithaca as your father was before

Telemachus answered, “Antinous, do not chide with me, but, god willing,
I will be chief too if I can. Is this the worst fate you can think
of for me? It is no bad thing to be a chief, for it brings both riches
and honour. Still, now that Ulysses is dead there are many great men
in Ithaca both old and young, and some other may take the lead among
them; nevertheless I will be chief in my own house, and will rule
those whom Ulysses has won for me.”

Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered, “It rests with heaven to
decide who shall be chief among us, but you shall be master in your
own house and over your own possessions; no one while there is a man
in Ithaca shall do you violence nor rob you. And now, my good fellow,
I want to know about this stranger. What country does he come from?
Of what family is he, and where is his estate? Has he brought you
news about the return of your father, or was he on business of his
own? He seemed a well-to-do man, but he hurried off so suddenly that
he was gone in a moment before we could get to know him.”

“My father is dead and gone,” answered Telemachus, “and even if some
rumour reaches me I put no more faith in it now. My mother does indeed
sometimes send for a soothsayer and question him, but I give his prophecyings
no heed. As for the stranger, he was Mentes, son of Anchialus, chief
of the Taphians, an old friend of my father’s.” But in his heart he
knew that it had been the goddess.

The suitors then returned to their singing and dancing until the evening;
but when night fell upon their pleasuring they went home to bed each
in his own abode. Telemachus’s room was high up in a tower that looked
on to the outer court; hither, then, he hied, brooding and full of
thought. A good old woman, Euryclea, daughter of Ops, the son of Pisenor,
went before him with a couple of blazing torches. Laertes had bought
her with his own money when she was quite young; he gave the worth
of twenty oxen for her, and shewed as much respect to her in his household
as he did to his own wedded wife, but he did not take her to his bed
for he feared his wife’s resentment. She it was who now lighted Telemachus
to his room, and she loved him better than any of the other women
in the house did, for she had nursed him when he was a baby. He opened
the door of his bed room and sat down upon the bed; as he took off
his shirt he gave it to the good old woman, who folded it tidily up,
and hung it for him over a peg by his bed side, after which she went
out, pulled the door to by a silver catch, and drew the bolt home
by means of the strap. But Telemachus as he lay covered with a woollen
fleece kept thinking all night through of his intended voyage of the
counsel that Minerva had given him.



Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Telemachus
rose and dressed himself. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet,
girded his sword about his shoulder, and left his room looking like
an immortal god. He at once sent the criers round to call the people
in assembly, so they called them and the people gathered thereon;
then, when they were got together, he went to the place of assembly
spear in hand- not alone, for his two hounds went with him. Minerva
endowed him with a presence of such divine comeliness that all marvelled
at him as he went by, and when he took his place’ in his father’s
seat even the oldest councillors made way for him.

Aegyptius, a man bent double with age, and of infinite experience,
the first to speak His son Antiphus had gone with Ulysses to Ilius,
land of noble steeds, but the savage Cyclops had killed him when they
were all shut up in the cave, and had cooked his last dinner for him,
He had three sons left, of whom two still worked on their father’s
land, while the third, Eurynomus, was one of the suitors; nevertheless
their father could not get over the loss of Antiphus, and was still
weeping for him when he began his speech.

“Men of Ithaca,” he said, “hear my words. From the day Ulysses left
us there has been no meeting of our councillors until now; who then
can it be, whether old or young, that finds it so necessary to convene
us? Has he got wind of some host approaching, and does he wish to
warn us, or would he speak upon some other matter of public moment?
I am sure he is an excellent person, and I hope Jove will grant him
his heart’s desire.”

Telemachus took this speech as of good omen and rose at once, for
he was bursting with what he had to say. He stood in the middle of
the assembly and the good herald Pisenor brought him his staff. Then,
turning to Aegyptius, “Sir,” said he, “it is I, as you will shortly
learn, who have convened you, for it is I who am the most aggrieved.
I have not got wind of any host approaching about which I would warn
you, nor is there any matter of public moment on which I would speak.
My grieveance is purely personal, and turns on two great misfortunes
which have fallen upon my house. The first of these is the loss of
my excellent father, who was chief among all you here present, and
was like a father to every one of you; the second is much more serious,
and ere long will be the utter ruin of my estate. The sons of all
the chief men among you are pestering my mother to marry them against
her will. They are afraid to go to her father Icarius, asking him
to choose the one he likes best, and to provide marriage gifts for
his daughter, but day by day they keep hanging about my father’s house,
sacrificing our oxen, sheep, and fat goats for their banquets, and
never giving so much as a thought to the quantity of wine they drink.
No estate can stand such recklessness; we have now no Ulysses to ward
off harm from our doors, and I cannot hold my own against them. I
shall never all my days be as good a man as he was, still I would
indeed defend myself if I had power to do so, for I cannot stand such
treatment any longer; my house is being disgraced and ruined. Have
respect, therefore, to your own consciences and to public opinion.
Fear, too, the wrath of heaven, lest the gods should be displeased
and turn upon you. I pray you by Jove and Themis, who is the beginning
and the end of councils, [do not] hold back, my friends, and leave
me singlehanded- unless it be that my brave father Ulysses did some
wrong to the Achaeans which you would now avenge on me, by aiding
and abetting these suitors. Moreover, if I am to be eaten out of house
and home at all, I had rather you did the eating yourselves, for I
could then take action against you to some purpose, and serve you
with notices from house to house till I got paid in full, whereas
now I have no remedy.”

With this Telemachus dashed his staff to the ground and burst into
tears. Every one was very sorry for him, but they all sat still and
no one ventured to make him an angry answer, save only Antinous, who
spoke thus:

“Telemachus, insolent braggart that you are, how dare you try to throw
the blame upon us suitors? It is your mother’s fault not ours, for
she is a very artful woman. This three years past, and close on four,
she has been driving us out of our minds, by encouraging each one
of us, and sending him messages without meaning one word of what she
says. And then there was that other trick she played us. She set up
a great tambour frame in her room, and began to work on an enormous
piece of fine needlework. ‘Sweet hearts,’ said she, ‘Ulysses is indeed
dead, still do not press me to marry again immediately, wait- for
I would not have skill in needlework perish unrecorded- till I have
completed a pall for the hero Laertes, to be in readiness against
the time when death shall take him. He is very rich, and the women
of the place will talk if he is laid out without a pall.’

“This was what she said, and we assented; whereon we could see her
working on her great web all day long, but at night she would unpick
the stitches again by torchlight. She fooled us in this way for three
years and we never found her out, but as time wore on and she was
now in her fourth year, one of her maids who knew what she was doing
told us, and we caught her in the act of undoing her work, so she
had to finish it whether she would or no. The suitors, therefore,
make you this answer, that both you and the Achaeans may understand-‘Send
your mother away, and bid her marry the man of her own and of her
father’s choice’; for I do not know what will happen if she goes on
plaguing us much longer with the airs she gives herself on the score
of the accomplishments Minerva has taught her, and because she is
so clever. We never yet heard of such a woman; we know all about Tyro,
Alcmena, Mycene, and the famous women of old, but they were nothing
to your mother, any one of them. It was not fair of her to treat us
in that way, and as long as she continues in the mind with which heaven
has now endowed her, so long shall we go on eating up your estate;
and I do not see why she should change, for she gets all the honour
and glory, and it is you who pay for it, not she. Understand, then,
that we will not go back to our lands, neither here nor elsewhere,
till she has made her choice and married some one or other of us.”

Telemachus answered, “Antinous, how can I drive the mother who bore
me from my father’s house? My father is abroad and we do not know
whether he is alive or dead. It will be hard on me if I have to pay
Icarius the large sum which I must give him if I insist on sending
his daughter back to him. Not only will he deal rigorously with me,
but heaven will also punish me; for my mother when she leaves the
house will calf on the Erinyes to avenge her; besides, it would not
be a creditable thing to do, and I will have nothing to say to it.
If you choose to take offence at this, leave the house and feast elsewhere
at one another’s houses at your own cost turn and turn about. If,
on the other hand, you elect to persist in spunging upon one man,
heaven help me, but Jove shall reckon with you in full, and when you
fall in my father’s house there shall be no man to avenge you.”

As he spoke Jove sent two eagles from the top of the mountain, and
they flew on and on with the wind, sailing side by side in their own
lordly flight. When they were right over the middle of the assembly
they wheeled and circled about, beating the air with their wings and
glaring death into the eyes of them that were below; then, fighting
fiercely and tearing at one another, they flew off towards the right
over the town. The people wondered as they saw them, and asked each
other what an this might be; whereon Halitherses, who was the best
prophet and reader of omens among them, spoke to them plainly and
in all honesty, saying:

“Hear me, men of Ithaca, and I speak more particularly to the suitors,
for I see mischief brewing for them. Ulysses is not going to be away
much longer; indeed he is close at hand to deal out death and destruction,
not on them alone, but on many another of us who live in Ithaca. Let
us then be wise in time, and put a stop to this wickedness before
he comes. Let the suitors do so of their own accord; it will be better
for them, for I am not prophesying without due knowledge; everything
has happened to Ulysses as I foretold when the Argives set out for
Troy, and he with them. I said that after going through much hardship
and losing all his men he should come home again in the twentieth
year and that no one would know him; and now all this is coming true.”

Eurymachus son of Polybus then said, “Go home, old man, and prophesy
to your own children, or it may be worse for them. I can read these
omens myself much better than you can; birds are always flying about
in the sunshine somewhere or other, but they seldom mean anything.
Ulysses has died in a far country, and it is a pity you are not dead
along with him, instead of prating here about omens and adding fuel
to the anger of Telemachus which is fierce enough as it is. I suppose
you think he will give you something for your family, but I tell you-
and it shall surely be- when an old man like you, who should know
better, talks a young one over till he becomes troublesome, in the
first place his young friend will only fare so much the worse- he
will take nothing by it, for the suitors will prevent this- and in
the next, we will lay a heavier fine, sir, upon yourself than you
will at all like paying, for it will bear hardly upon you. As for
Telemachus, I warn him in the presence of you all to send his mother
back to her father, who will find her a husband and provide her with
all the marriage gifts so dear a daughter may expect. Till we shall
go on harassing him with our suit; for we fear no man, and care neither
for him, with all his fine speeches, nor for any fortune-telling of
yours. You may preach as much as you please, but we shall only hate
you the more. We shall go back and continue to eat up Telemachus’s
estate without paying him, till such time as his mother leaves off
tormenting us by keeping us day after day on the tiptoe of expectation,
each vying with the other in his suit for a prize of such rare perfection.
Besides we cannot go after the other women whom we should marry in
due course, but for the way in which she treats us.”

Then Telemachus said, “Eurymachus, and you other suitors, I shall
say no more, and entreat you no further, for the gods and the people
of Ithaca now know my story. Give me, then, a ship and a crew of twenty
men to take me hither and thither, and I will go to Sparta and to
Pylos in quest of my father who has so long been missing. Some one
may tell me something, or (and people often hear things in this way)
some heaven-sent message may direct me. If I can hear of him as alive
and on his way home I will put up with the waste you suitors will
make for yet another twelve months. If on the other hand I hear of
his death, I will return at once, celebrate his funeral rites with
all due pomp, build a barrow to his memory, and make my mother marry

With these words he sat down, and Mentor who had been a friend of
Ulysses, and had been left in charge of everything with full authority
over the servants, rose to speak. He, then, plainly and in all honesty
addressed them thus:

“Hear me, men of Ithaca, I hope that you may never have a kind and
well-disposed ruler any more, nor one who will govern you equitably;
I hope that all your chiefs henceforward may be cruel and unjust,
for there is not one of you but has forgotten Ulysses, who ruled you
as though he were your father. I am not half so angry with the suitors,
for if they choose to do violence in the naughtiness of their hearts,
and wager their heads that Ulysses will not return, they can take
the high hand and eat up his estate, but as for you others I am shocked
at the way in which you all sit still without even trying to stop
such scandalous goings on-which you could do if you chose, for you
are many and they are few.”

Leiocritus, son of Evenor, answered him saying, “Mentor, what folly
is all this, that you should set the people to stay us? It is a hard
thing for one man to fight with many about his victuals. Even though
Ulysses himself were to set upon us while we are feasting in his house,
and do his best to oust us, his wife, who wants him back so very badly,
would have small cause for rejoicing, and his blood would be upon
his own head if he fought against such great odds. There is no sense
in what you have been saying. Now, therefore, do you people go about
your business, and let his father’s old friends, Mentor and Halitherses,
speed this boy on his journey, if he goes at all- which I do not think
he will, for he is more likely to stay where he is till some one comes
and tells him something.”

On this he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his own
abode, while the suitors returned to the house of Ulysses.

Then Telemachus went all alone by the sea side, washed his hands in
the grey waves, and prayed to Minerva.

“Hear me,” he cried, “you god who visited me yesterday, and bade me
sail the seas in search of my father who has so long been missing.
I would obey you, but the Achaeans, and more particularly the wicked
suitors, are hindering me that I cannot do so.”

As he thus prayed, Minerva came close up to him in the likeness and
with the voice of Mentor. “Telemachus,” said she, “if you are made
of the same stuff as your father you will be neither fool nor coward
henceforward, for Ulysses never broke his word nor left his work half
done. If, then, you take after him, your voyage will not be fruitless,
but unless you have the blood of Ulysses and of Penelope in your veins
I see no likelihood of your succeeding. Sons are seldom as good men
as their fathers; they are generally worse, not better; still, as
you are not going to be either fool or coward henceforward, and are
not entirely without some share of your father’s wise discernment,
I look with hope upon your undertaking. But mind you never make common
cause with any of those foolish suitors, for they have neither sense
nor virtue, and give no thought to death and to the doom that will
shortly fall on one and all of them, so that they shall perish on
the same day. As for your voyage, it shall not be long delayed; your
father was such an old friend of mine that I will find you a ship,
and will come with you myself. Now, however, return home, and go about
among the suitors; begin getting provisions ready for your voyage;
see everything well stowed, the wine in jars, and the barley meal,
which is the staff of life, in leathern bags, while I go round the
town and beat up volunteers at once. There are many ships in Ithaca
both old and new; I will run my eye over them for you and will choose
the best; we will get her ready and will put out to sea without delay.”

Thus spoke Minerva daughter of Jove, and Telemachus lost no time in
doing as the goddess told him. He went moodily and found the suitors
flaying goats and singeing pigs in the outer court. Antinous came
up to him at once and laughed as he took his hand in his own, saying,
“Telemachus, my fine fire-eater, bear no more ill blood neither in
word nor deed, but eat and drink with us as you used to do. The Achaeans
will find you in everything- a ship and a picked crew to boot- so
that you can set sail for Pylos at once and get news of your noble

“Antinous,” answered Telemachus, “I cannot eat in peace, nor take
pleasure of any kind with such men as you are. Was it not enough that
you should waste so much good property of mine while I was yet a boy?
Now that I am older and know more about it, I am also stronger, and
whether here among this people, or by going to Pylos, I will do you
all the harm I can. I shall go, and my going will not be in vain though,
thanks to you suitors, I have neither ship nor crew of my own, and
must be passenger not captain.”

As he spoke he snatched his hand from that of Antinous. Meanwhile
the others went on getting dinner ready about the buildings, jeering
at him tauntingly as they did so.

“Telemachus,” said one youngster, “means to be the death of us; I
suppose he thinks he can bring friends to help him from Pylos, or
again from Sparta, where he seems bent on going. Or will he go to
Ephyra as well, for poison to put in our wine and kill us?”

Another said, “Perhaps if Telemachus goes on board ship, he will be
like his father and perish far from his friends. In this case we should
have plenty to do, for we could then divide up his property amongst
us: as for the house we can let his mother and the man who marries
her have that.”

This was how they talked. But Telemachus went down into the lofty
and spacious store-room where his father’s treasure of gold and bronze
lay heaped up upon the floor, and where the linen and spare clothes
were kept in open chests. Here, too, there was a store of fragrant
olive oil, while casks of old, well-ripened wine, unblended and fit
for a god to drink, were ranged against the wall in case Ulysses should
come home again after all. The room was closed with well-made doors
opening in the middle; moreover the faithful old house-keeper Euryclea,
daughter of Ops the son of Pisenor, was in charge of everything both
night and day. Telemachus called her to the store-room and said:

“Nurse, draw me off some of the best wine you have, after what you
are keeping for my father’s own drinking, in case, poor man, he should
escape death, and find his way home again after all. Let me have twelve
jars, and see that they all have lids; also fill me some well-sewn
leathern bags with barley meal- about twenty measures in all. Get
these things put together at once, and say nothing about it. I will
take everything away this evening as soon as my mother has gone upstairs
for the night. I am going to Sparta and to Pylos to see if I can hear
anything about the return of my dear father.

When Euryclea heard this she began to cry, and spoke fondly to him,
saying, “My dear child, what ever can have put such notion as that
into your head? Where in the world do you want to go to- you, who
are the one hope of the house? Your poor father is dead and gone in
some foreign country nobody knows where, and as soon as your back
is turned these wicked ones here will be scheming to get you put out
of the way, and will share all your possessions among themselves;
stay where you are among your own people, and do not go wandering
and worrying your life out on the barren ocean.”

“Fear not, nurse,” answered Telemachus, “my scheme is not without
heaven’s sanction; but swear that you will say nothing about all this
to my mother, till I have been away some ten or twelve days, unless
she hears of my having gone, and asks you; for I do not want her to
spoil her beauty by crying.”

The old woman swore most solemnly that she would not, and when she
had completed her oath, she began drawing off the wine into jars,
and getting the barley meal into the bags, while Telemachus went back
to the suitors.

Then Minerva bethought her of another matter. She took his shape,
and went round the town to each one of the crew, telling them to meet
at the ship by sundown. She went also to Noemon son of Phronius, and
asked him to let her have a ship- which he was very ready to do. When
the sun had set and darkness was over all the land, she got the ship
into the water, put all the tackle on board her that ships generally
carry, and stationed her at the end of the harbour. Presently the
crew came up, and the goddess spoke encouragingly to each of them.

Furthermore she went to the house of Ulysses, and threw the suitors
into a deep slumber. She caused their drink to fuddle them, and made
them drop their cups from their hands, so that instead of sitting
over their wine, they went back into the town to sleep, with their
eyes heavy and full of drowsiness. Then she took the form and voice
of Mentor, and called Telemachus to come outside.

“Telemachus,” said she, “the men are on board and at their oars, waiting
for you to give your orders, so make haste and let us be off.”

On this she led the way, while Telemachus followed in her steps. When
they got to the ship they found the crew waiting by the water side,
and Telemachus said, “Now my men, help me to get the stores on board;
they are all put together in the cloister, and my mother does not
know anything about it, nor any of the maid servants except one.”

With these words he led the way and the others followed after. When
they had brought the things as he told them, Telemachus went on board,
Minerva going before him and taking her seat in the stern of the vessel,
while Telemachus sat beside her. Then the men loosed the hawsers and
took their places on the benches. Minerva sent them a fair wind from
the West, that whistled over the deep blue waves whereon Telemachus
told them to catch hold of the ropes and hoist sail, and they did
as he told them. They set the mast in its socket in the cross plank,
raised it, and made it fast with the forestays; then they hoisted
their white sails aloft with ropes of twisted ox hide. As the sail
bellied out with the wind, the ship flew through the deep blue water,
and the foam hissed against her bows as she sped onward. Then they
made all fast throughout the ship, filled the mixing-bowls to the
brim, and made drink offerings to the immortal gods that are from
everlasting, but more particularly to the grey-eyed daughter of Jove.

Thus, then, the ship sped on her way through the watches of the night
from dark till dawn.



But as the sun was rising from the fair sea into the firmament of
heaven to shed light on mortals and immortals, they reached Pylos
the city of Neleus. Now the people of Pylos were gathered on the sea
shore to offer sacrifice of black bulls to Neptune lord of the Earthquake.
There were nine guilds with five hundred men in each, and there were
nine bulls to each guild. As they were eating the inward meats and
burning the thigh bones [on the embers] in the name of Neptune, Telemachus
and his crew arrived, furled their sails, brought their ship to anchor,
and went ashore.

Minerva led the way and Telemachus followed her. Presently she said,
“Telemachus, you must not be in the least shy or nervous; you have
taken this voyage to try and find out where your father is buried
and how he came by his end; so go straight up to Nestor that we may
see what he has got to tell us. Beg of him to speak the truth, and
he will tell no lies, for he is an excellent person.”

“But how, Mentor,” replied Telemachus, “dare I go up to Nestor, and
how am I to address him? I have never yet been used to holding long
conversations with people, and am ashamed to begin questioning one
who is so much older than myself.”

“Some things, Telemachus,” answered Minerva, “will be suggested to
you by your own instinct, and heaven will prompt you further; for
I am assured that the gods have been with you from the time of your
birth until now.”

She then went quickly on, and Telemachus followed in her steps till
they reached the place where the guilds of the Pylian people were
assembled. There they found Nestor sitting with his sons, while his
company round him were busy getting dinner ready, and putting pieces
of meat on to the spits while other pieces were cooking. When they
saw the strangers they crowded round them, took them by the hand and
bade them take their places. Nestor’s son Pisistratus at once offered
his hand to each of them, and seated them on some soft sheepskins
that were lying on the sands near his father and his brother Thrasymedes.
Then he gave them their portions of the inward meats and poured wine
for them into a golden cup, handing it to Minerva first, and saluting
her at the same time.

“Offer a prayer, sir,” said he, “to King Neptune, for it is his feast
that you are joining; when you have duly prayed and made your drink-offering,
pass the cup to your friend that he may do so also. I doubt not that
he too lifts his hands in prayer, for man cannot live without God
in the world. Still he is younger than you are, and is much of an
age with myself, so I he handed I will give you the precedence.”

As he spoke he handed her the cup. Minerva thought it very right and
proper of him to have given it to herself first; she accordingly began
praying heartily to Neptune. “O thou,” she cried, “that encirclest
the earth, vouchsafe to grant the prayers of thy servants that call
upon thee. More especially we pray thee send down thy grace on Nestor
and on his sons; thereafter also make the rest of the Pylian people
some handsome return for the goodly hecatomb they are offering you.
Lastly, grant Telemachus and myself a happy issue, in respect of the
matter that has brought us in our to Pylos.”

When she had thus made an end of praying, she handed the cup to Telemachus
and he prayed likewise. By and by, when the outer meats were roasted
and had been taken off the spits, the carvers gave every man his portion
and they all made an excellent dinner. As soon as they had had enough
to eat and drink, Nestor, knight of Gerene, began to speak.

“Now,” said he, “that our guests have done their dinner, it will be
best to ask them who they are. Who, then, sir strangers, are you,
and from what port have you sailed? Are you traders? or do you sail
the seas as rovers with your hand against every man, and every man’s
hand against you?”

Telemachus answered boldly, for Minerva had given him courage to ask
about his father and get himself a good name.

“Nestor,” said he, “son of Neleus, honour to the Achaean name, you
ask whence we come, and I will tell you. We come from Ithaca under
Neritum, and the matter about which I would speak is of private not
public import. I seek news of my unhappy father Ulysses, who is said
to have sacked the town of Troy in company with yourself. We know
what fate befell each one of the other heroes who fought at Troy,
but as regards Ulysses heaven has hidden from us the knowledge even
that he is dead at all, for no one can certify us in what place he
perished, nor say whether he fell in battle on the mainland, or was
lost at sea amid the waves of Amphitrite. Therefore I am suppliant
at your knees, if haply you may be pleased to tell me of his melancholy
end, whether you saw it with your own eyes, or heard it from some
other traveller, for he was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things
out of any pity for me, but tell me in all plainness exactly what
you saw. If my brave father Ulysses ever did you loyal service, either
by word or deed, when you Achaeans were harassed among the Trojans,
bear it in mind now as in my favour and tell me truly all.”

“My friend,” answered Nestor, “you recall a time of much sorrow to
my mind, for the brave Achaeans suffered much both at sea, while privateering
under Achilles, and when fighting before the great city of king Priam.
Our best men all of them fell there- Ajax, Achilles, Patroclus peer
of gods in counsel, and my own dear son Antilochus, a man singularly
fleet of foot and in fight valiant. But we suffered much more than
this; what mortal tongue indeed could tell the whole story? Though
you were to stay here and question me for five years, or even six,
I could not tell you all that the Achaeans suffered, and you would
turn homeward weary of my tale before it ended. Nine long years did
we try every kind of stratagem, but the hand of heaven was against
us; during all this time there was no one who could compare with your
father in subtlety- if indeed you are his son- I can hardly believe
my eyes- and you talk just like him too- no one would say that people
of such different ages could speak so much alike. He and I never had
any kind of difference from first to last neither in camp nor council,
but in singleness of heart and purpose we advised the Argives how
all might be ordered for the best.

“When however, we had sacked the city of Priam, and were setting sail
in our ships as heaven had dispersed us, then Jove saw fit to vex
the Argives on their homeward voyage; for they had Not all been either
wise or understanding, and hence many came to a bad end through the
displeasure of Jove’s daughter Minerva, who brought about a quarrel
between the two sons of Atreus.

“The sons of Atreus called a meeting which was not as it should be,
for it was sunset and the Achaeans were heavy with wine. When they
explained why they had called- the people together, it seemed that
Menelaus was for sailing homeward at once, and this displeased Agamemnon,
who thought that we should wait till we had offered hecatombs to appease
the anger of Minerva. Fool that he was, he might have known that he
would not prevail with her, for when the gods have made up their minds
they do not change them lightly. So the two stood bandying hard words,
whereon the Achaeans sprang to their feet with a cry that rent the
air, and were of two minds as to what they should do.

“That night we rested and nursed our anger, for Jove was hatching
mischief against us. But in the morning some of us drew our ships
into the water and put our goods with our women on board, while the
rest, about half in number, stayed behind with Agamemnon. We- the
other half- embarked and sailed; and the ships went well, for heaven
had smoothed the sea. When we reached Tenedos we offered sacrifices
to the gods, for we were longing to get home; cruel Jove, however,
did not yet mean that we should do so, and raised a second quarrel
in the course of which some among us turned their ships back again,
and sailed away under Ulysses to make their peace with Agamemnon;
but I, and all the ships that were with me pressed forward, for I
saw that mischief was brewing. The son of Tydeus went on also with
me, and his crews with him. Later on Menelaus joined us at Lesbos,
and found us making up our minds about our course- for we did not
know whether to go outside Chios by the island of Psyra, keeping this
to our left, or inside Chios, over against the stormy headland of
Mimas. So we asked heaven for a sign, and were shown one to the effect
that we should be soonest out of danger if we headed our ships across
the open sea to Euboea. This we therefore did, and a fair wind sprang
up which gave us a quick passage during the night to Geraestus, where
we offered many sacrifices to Neptune for having helped us so far
on our way. Four days later Diomed and his men stationed their ships
in Argos, but I held on for Pylos, and the wind never fell light from
the day when heaven first made it fair for me.

“Therefore, my dear young friend, I returned without hearing anything
about the others. I know neither who got home safely nor who were
lost but, as in duty bound, I will give you without reserve the reports
that have reached me since I have been here in my own house. They
say the Myrmidons returned home safely under Achilles’ son Neoptolemus;
so also did the valiant son of Poias, Philoctetes. Idomeneus, again,
lost no men at sea, and all his followers who escaped death in the
field got safe home with him to Crete. No matter how far out of the
world you live, you will have heard of Agamemnon and the bad end he
came to at the hands of Aegisthus- and a fearful reckoning did Aegisthus
presently pay. See what a good thing it is for a man to leave a son
behind him to do as Orestes did, who killed false Aegisthus the murderer
of his noble father. You too, then- for you are a tall, smart-looking
fellow- show your mettle and make yourself a name in story.”

“Nestor son of Neleus,” answered Telemachus, “honour to the Achaean
name, the Achaeans applaud Orestes and his name will live through
all time for he has avenged his father nobly. Would that heaven might
grant me to do like vengeance on the insolence of the wicked suitors,
who are ill treating me and plotting my ruin; but the gods have no
such happiness in store for me and for my father, so we must bear
it as best we may.”

“My friend,” said Nestor, “now that you remind me, I remember to have
heard that your mother has many suitors, who are ill disposed towards
you and are making havoc of your estate. Do you submit to this tamely,
or are public feeling and the voice of heaven against you? Who knows
but what Ulysses may come back after all, and pay these scoundrels
in full, either single-handed or with a force of Achaeans behind him?
If Minerva were to take as great a liking to you as she did to Ulysses
when we were fighting before Troy (for I never yet saw the gods so
openly fond of any one as Minerva then was of your father), if she
would take as good care of you as she did of him, these wooers would
soon some of them him, forget their wooing.”

Telemachus answered, “I can expect nothing of the kind; it would be
far too much to hope for. I dare not let myself think of it. Even
though the gods themselves willed it no such good fortune could befall

On this Minerva said, “Telemachus, what are you talking about? Heaven
has a long arm if it is minded to save a man; and if it were me, I
should not care how much I suffered before getting home, provided
I could be safe when I was once there. I would rather this, than get
home quickly, and then be killed in my own house as Agamemnon was
by the treachery of Aegisthus and his wife. Still, death is certain,
and when a man’s hour is come, not even the gods can save him, no
matter how fond they are of him.”

“Mentor,” answered Telemachus, “do not let us talk about it any more.
There is no chance of my father’s ever coming back; the gods have
long since counselled his destruction. There is something else, however,
about which I should like to ask Nestor, for he knows much more than
any one else does. They say he has reigned for three generations so
that it is like talking to an immortal. Tell me, therefore, Nestor,
and tell me true; how did Agamemnon come to die in that way? What
was Menelaus doing? And how came false Aegisthus to kill so far better
a man than himself? Was Menelaus away from Achaean Argos, voyaging
elsewhither among mankind, that Aegisthus took heart and killed Agamemnon?”

“I will tell you truly,” answered Nestor, “and indeed you have yourself
divined how it all happened. If Menelaus when he got back from Troy
had found Aegisthus still alive in his house, there would have been
no barrow heaped up for him, not even when he was dead, but he would
have been thrown outside the city to dogs and vultures, and not a
woman would have mourned him, for he had done a deed of great wickedness;
but we were over there, fighting hard at Troy, and Aegisthus who was
taking his ease quietly in the heart of Argos, cajoled Agamemnon’s
wife Clytemnestra with incessant flattery.

“At first she would have nothing to do with his wicked scheme, for
she was of a good natural disposition; moreover there was a bard with
her, to whom Agamemnon had given strict orders on setting out for
Troy, that he was to keep guard over his wife; but when heaven had
counselled her destruction, Aegisthus thus this bard off to a desert
island and left him there for crows and seagulls to batten upon- after
which she went willingly enough to the house of Aegisthus. Then he
offered many burnt sacrifices to the gods, and decorated many temples
with tapestries and gilding, for he had succeeded far beyond his expectations.

“Meanwhile Menelaus and I were on our way home from Troy, on good
terms with one another. When we got to Sunium, which is the point
of Athens, Apollo with his painless shafts killed Phrontis the steersman
of Menelaus’ ship (and never man knew better how to handle a vessel
in rough weather) so that he died then and there with the helm in
his hand, and Menelaus, though very anxious to press forward, had
to wait in order to bury his comrade and give him his due funeral
rites. Presently, when he too could put to sea again, and had sailed
on as far as the Malean heads, Jove counselled evil against him and
made it it blow hard till the waves ran mountains high. Here he divided
his fleet and took the one half towards Crete where the Cydonians
dwell round about the waters of the river Iardanus. There is a high
headland hereabouts stretching out into the sea from a place called
Gortyn, and all along this part of the coast as far as Phaestus the
sea runs high when there is a south wind blowing, but arter Phaestus
the coast is more protected, for a small headland can make a great
shelter. Here this part of the fleet was driven on to the rocks and
wrecked; but the crews just managed to save themselves. As for the
other five ships, they were taken by winds and seas to Egypt, where
Menelaus gathered much gold and substance among people of an alien
speech. Meanwhile Aegisthus here at home plotted his evil deed. For
seven years after he had killed Agamemnon he ruled in Mycene, and
the people were obedient under him, but in the eighth year Orestes
came back from Athens to be his bane, and killed the murderer of his
father. Then he celebrated the funeral rites of his mother and of
false Aegisthus by a banquet to the people of Argos, and on that very
day Menelaus came home, with as much treasure as his ships could carry.

“Take my advice then, and do not go travelling about for long so far
from home, nor leave your property with such dangerous people in your
house; they will eat up everything you have among them, and you will
have been on a fool’s errand. Still, I should advise you by all means
to go and visit Menelaus, who has lately come off a voyage among such
distant peoples as no man could ever hope to get back from, when the
winds had once carried him so far out of his reckoning; even birds
cannot fly the distance in a twelvemonth, so vast and terrible are
the seas that they must cross. Go to him, therefore, by sea, and take
your own men with you; or if you would rather travel by land you can
have a chariot, you can have horses, and here are my sons who can
escort you to Lacedaemon where Menelaus lives. Beg of him to speak
the truth, and he will tell you no lies, for he is an excellent person.”

As he spoke the sun set and it came on dark, whereon Minerva said,
“Sir, all that you have said is well; now, however, order the tongues
of the victims to be cut, and mix wine that we may make drink-offerings
to Neptune, and the other immortals, and then go to bed, for it is
bed time. People should go away early and not keep late hours at a
religious festival.”

Thus spoke the daughter of Jove, and they obeyed her saying. 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 they threw the tongues of the victims
into the fire, and stood up to make their drink-offerings. When they
had made their offerings and had drunk each as much as he was minded,
Minerva and Telemachus were forgoing on board their ship, but Nestor
caught them up at once and stayed them.

“Heaven and the immortal gods,” he exclaimed, “forbid that you should
leave my house to go on board of a ship. Do you think I am so poor
and short of clothes, or that I have so few cloaks and as to be unable
to find comfortable beds both for myself and for my guests? Let me
tell you I have store both of rugs and cloaks, and shall not permit
the son of my old friend Ulysses to camp down on the deck of a ship-
not while I live- nor yet will my sons after me, but they will keep
open house as have done.”

Then Minerva answered, “Sir, you have spoken well, and it will be
much better that Telemachus should do as you have said; he, therefore,
shall return with you and sleep at your house, but I must go back
to give orders to my crew, and keep them in good heart. I am the only
older person among them; the rest are all young men of Telemachus’
own age, who have taken this voyage out of friendship; so I must return
to the ship and sleep there. Moreover to-morrow I must go to the Cauconians
where I have a large sum of money long owing to me. As for Telemachus,
now that he is your guest, send him to Lacedaemon in a chariot, and
let one of your sons go with him. Be pleased also to provide him with
your best and fleetest horses.”

When she had thus spoken, she flew away in the form of an eagle, and
all marvelled as they beheld it. Nestor was astonished, and took Telemachus
by the hand. “My friend,” said he, “I see that you are going to be
a great hero some day, since the gods wait upon you thus while you
are still so young. This can have been none other of those who dwell
in heaven than Jove’s redoubtable daughter, the Trito-born, who showed
such favour towards your brave father among the Argives.” “Holy queen,”
he continued, “vouchsafe to send down thy grace upon myself, my good
wife, and my children. 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 did he pray, and Minerva heard his prayer. He then led the way
to his own house, followed by his sons and sons-in-law. When they
had got there and had taken their places on the benches and seats,
he mixed them a bowl of sweet wine that was eleven years old when
the housekeeper took the lid off the jar that held it. As he mixed
the wine, he prayed much and made drink-offerings to Minerva, daughter
of Aegis-bearing Jove. Then, when they had made their drink-offerings
and had drunk each as much as he was minded, the others went home
to bed each in his own abode; but Nestor put Telemachus to sleep in
the room that was over the gateway along with Pisistratus, who was
the only unmarried son now left him. As for himself, he slept in an
inner room of the house, with the queen his wife by his side.

Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Nestor
left his couch and took his seat on the benches of white and polished
marble that stood in front of his house. Here aforetime sat Neleus,
peer of gods in counsel, but he was now dead, and had gone to the
house of Hades; so Nestor sat in his seat, sceptre in hand, as guardian
of the public weal. His sons as they left their rooms gathered round
him, Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Aretus, and Thrasymedes; the sixth
son was Pisistratus, and when Telemachus joined them they made him
sit with them. Nestor then addressed them.

“My sons,” said he, “make haste to do as I shall bid you. I wish first
and foremost to propitiate the great goddess Minerva, who manifested
herself visibly to me during yesterday’s festivities. Go, then, one
or other of you to the plain, tell the stockman to look me out a heifer,
and come on here with it at once. Another must go to Telemachus’s
ship, and invite all the crew, leaving two men only in charge of the
vessel. Some one else will run and fetch Laerceus the goldsmith to
gild the horns of the heifer. The rest, stay all of you where you
are; tell the maids in the house to prepare an excellent dinner, and
to fetch seats, and logs of wood for a burnt offering. Tell them also-
to bring me some clear spring water.”

On this they hurried off on their several errands. The heifer was
brought in from the plain, and Telemachus’s crew came from the ship;
the goldsmith brought the anvil, hammer, and tongs, with which he
worked his gold, and Minerva herself came to the sacrifice. Nestor
gave out the gold, and the smith gilded the horns of the heifer that
the goddess might have pleasure in their beauty. Then Stratius and
Echephron brought her in by the horns; Aretus fetched water from the
house in a ewer that had a flower pattern on it, and in his other
hand he held a basket of barley meal; sturdy Thrasymedes stood by
with a sharp axe, ready to strike the heifer, while Perseus held a
bucket. Then Nestor began with washing his hands and sprinkling the
barley meal, and he offered many a prayer to Minerva as he threw a
lock from the heifer’s head upon the fire.

When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley meal Thrasymedes
dealt his blow, and brought the heifer down with a stroke that cut
through the tendons at the base of her neck, whereon the daughters
and daughters-in-law of Nestor, and his venerable wife Eurydice (she
was eldest daughter to Clymenus) screamed with delight. Then they
lifted the heifer’s head from off the ground, and Pisistratus cut
her throat. When she had done bleeding and was quite dead, they cut
her up. They cut out the thigh bones all in due course, wrapped them
round in two layers of fat, and set some pieces of raw meat on the
top of them; then Nestor laid them upon the wood fire and poured wine
over them, while the young men stood near him with five-pronged spits
in their hands. When the thighs were burned and they had tasted the
inward meats, they cut the rest of the meat up small, put the pieces
on the spits and toasted them over the fire.

Meanwhile lovely Polycaste, Nestor’s youngest daughter, washed Telemachus.
When she had washed him and anointed him with oil, she brought him
a fair mantle and shirt, and he looked like a god as he came from
the bath and took his seat by the side of Nestor. When the outer meats
were done they drew them off the spits and sat down to dinner where
they were waited upon by some worthy henchmen, who kept pouring them
out their wine in cups of gold. As soon as they had had had enough
to eat and drink Nestor said, “Sons, put Telemachus’s horses to the
chariot that he may start at once.”

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said, and yoked the
fleet horses to the chariot. The housekeeper packed them up a provision
of bread, wine, and sweetmeats fit for the sons of princes. Then Telemachus
got into the chariot, while Pisistratus gathered up the reins and
took his seat beside him. He lashed the horses on and they flew forward
nothing loth into the open country, leaving the high citadel of Pylos
behind them. All that day did they travel, swaying the yoke upon their
necks till the sun went down and darkness was over all the land. Then
they reached Pherae where Diocles lived, who was son to Ortilochus
and grandson to Alpheus. Here they passed the night and Diocles entertained
them hospitably. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn; appeared,
they again yoked their horses and drove out through the gateway under
the echoing gatehouse. Pisistratus lashed the horses on and they flew
forward nothing loth; presently they came to the corn lands Of the
open country, and in the course of time completed their journey, so
well did their steeds take them.

Now when the sun had set and darkness was over the land,



They reached the low lying city of Lacedaemon them where they drove
straight to the of abode Menelaus [and found him in his own house,
feasting with his many clansmen in honour of the wedding of his son,
and also of his daughter, whom he was marrying to the son of that
valiant warrior Achilles. He had given his consent and promised her
to him while he was still at Troy, and now the gods were bringing
the marriage about; so he was sending her with chariots and horses
to the city of the Myrmidons over whom Achilles’ son was reigning.
For his only son he had found a bride from Sparta, daughter of Alector.
This son, Megapenthes, was born to him of a bondwoman, for heaven
vouchsafed Helen no more children after she had borne Hermione, who
was fair as golden Venus herself.

So the neighbours and kinsmen of Menelaus were feasting and making
merry in his house. 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.]

Telemachus and the son of Nestor stayed their horses at the gate,
whereon Eteoneus servant to Menelaus came out, and as soon as he saw
them ran hurrying back into the house to tell his Master. He went
close up to him and said, “Menelaus, there are some strangers come
here, two men, who look like sons of Jove. What are we to do? Shall
we take their horses out, or tell them to find friends elsewhere as
they best can?”

Menelaus was very angry and said, “Eteoneus, son of Boethous, you
never used to be a fool, but now you talk like a simpleton. Take their
horses out, of course, and show the strangers in that they may have
supper; you and I have stayed often enough at other people’s houses
before we got back here, where heaven grant that we may rest in peace

So Eteoneus bustled back and bade other servants come with him. They
took their sweating hands from under the yoke, made them fast to the
mangers, and gave them a feed of oats and barley mixed. Then they
leaned the chariot against the end wall of the courtyard, and led
the way into the house. Telemachus and Pisistratus were astonished
when they saw it, for its splendour was as that of the sun and moon;
then, when they had admired everything to their heart’s content, they
went into the bath room and washed themselves.

When the servants had washed them and anointed them with oil, they
brought them woollen cloaks and shirts, and the two took their seats
by the side of Menelaus. A maidservant brought them water in a beautiful
golden ewer, and poured it into a silver basin for them to wash their
hands; and she drew a clean table beside them. An upper servant brought
them bread, and offered them many good things of what there was in
the house, while the carver fetched them plates of all manner of meats
and set cups of gold by their side.

Menelaus then greeted them saying, “Fall to, and welcome; when you
have done supper I shall ask who you are, for the lineage of such
men as you cannot have been lost. You must be descended from a line
of sceptre-bearing kings, for poor people do not have such sons as
you are.”

On this he handed them a piece of fat roast loin, which had been set
near him as being a prime part, and they laid their hands on the good
things that were before them; as soon as they had had enough to eat
and drink, Telemachus said to the son of Nestor, with his head so
close that no one might hear, “Look, Pisistratus, man after my own
heart, see the gleam of bronze and gold- of amber, ivory, and silver.
Everything is so splendid that it is like seeing the palace of Olympian
Jove. I am lost in admiration.”

Menelaus overheard him and said, “No one, my sons, can hold his own
with Jove, for his house and everything about him is immortal; but
among mortal men- well, there may be another who has as much wealth
as I have, or there may not; but at all events I have travelled much
and have undergone much hardship, for it was nearly eight years before
I could get home with my fleet. I went to Cyprus, Phoenicia and the
Egyptians; I went also to the Ethiopians, the Sidonians, and the Erembians,
and to Libya where the lambs have horns as soon as they are born,
and the sheep lamb down three times a year. Every one in that country,
whether master or man, has plenty of cheese, meat, and good milk,
for the ewes yield all the year round. But while I was travelling
and getting great riches among these people, my brother was secretly
and shockingly murdered through the perfidy of his wicked wife, so
that I have no pleasure in being lord of all this wealth. Whoever
your parents may be they must have told you about all this, and of
my heavy loss in the ruin of a stately mansion fully and magnificently
furnished. Would that I had only a third of what I now have so that
I had stayed at home, and all those were living who perished on the
plain of Troy, far from Argos. I of grieve, as I sit here in my house,
for one and all of them. At times I cry aloud for sorrow, but presently
I leave off again, for crying is cold comfort and one soon tires of
it. Yet grieve for these as I may, I do so for one man more than for
them all. I cannot even think of him without loathing both food and
sleep, so miserable does he make me, for no one of all the Achaeans
worked so hard or risked so much as he did. He took nothing by it,
and has left a legacy of sorrow to myself, for he has been gone a
long time, and we know not whether he is alive or dead. His old father,
his long-suffering wife Penelope, and his son Telemachus, whom he
left behind him an infant in arms, are plunged in grief on his account.”

Thus spoke Menelaus, and the heart of Telemachus yearned as he bethought
him of his father. Tears fell from his eyes as he heard him thus mentioned,
so that he held his cloak before his face with both hands. When Menelaus
saw this he doubted whether to let him choose his own time for speaking,
or to ask him at once and find what it was all about.

While he was thus in two minds Helen came down from her high vaulted
and perfumed room, looking as lovely as Diana herself. Adraste brought
her a seat, Alcippe a soft woollen rug while Phylo fetched her the
silver work-box which Alcandra wife of Polybus had given her. Polybus
lived in Egyptian Thebes, which is the richest city in the whole world;
he gave Menelaus two baths, both of pure silver, two tripods, and
ten talents of gold; besides all this, his wife gave Helen some beautiful
presents, to wit, a golden distaff, and a silver work-box that ran
on wheels, with a gold band round the top of it. Phylo now placed
this by her side, full of fine spun yarn, and a distaff charged with
violet coloured wool was laid upon the top of it. Then Helen took
her seat, put her feet upon the footstool, and began to question her

“Do we know, Menelaus,” said she, “the names of these strangers who
have come to visit us? Shall I guess right or wrong?-but I cannot
help saying what I think. Never yet have I seen either man or woman
so like somebody else (indeed when I look at him I hardly know what
to think) as this young man is like Telemachus, whom Ulysses left
as a baby behind him, when you Achaeans went to Troy with battle in
your hearts, on account of my most shameless self.”

“My dear wife,” replied Menelaus, “I see the likeness just as you
do. His hands and feet are just like Ulysses’; so is his hair, with
the shape of his head and the expression of his eyes. Moreover, when
I was talking about Ulysses, and saying how much he had suffered on
my account, tears fell from his eyes, and he hid his face in his mantle.”

Then Pisistratus said, “Menelaus, son of Atreus, you are right in
thinking that this young man is Telemachus, but he is very modest,
and is ashamed to come here and begin opening up discourse with one
whose conversation is so divinely interesting as your own. My father,
Nestor, sent me to escort him hither, for he wanted to know whether
you could give him any counsel or suggestion. A son has always trouble
at home when his father has gone away leaving him without supporters;
and this is how Telemachus is now placed, for his father is absent,
and there is no one among his own people to stand by him.”

“Bless my heart,” replied Menelaus, “then I am receiving a visit from
the son of a very dear friend, who suffered much hardship for my sake.
I had always hoped to entertain him with most marked distinction when
heaven had granted us a safe return from beyond the seas. I should
have founded a city for him in Argos, and built him a house. I should
have made him leave Ithaca with his goods, his son, and all his people,
and should have sacked for them some one of the neighbouring cities
that are subject to me. We should thus have seen one another continually,
and nothing but death could have interrupted so close and happy an
intercourse. I suppose, however, that heaven grudged us such great
good fortune, for it has prevented the poor fellow from ever getting
home at all.”

Thus did he speak, and his words set them all a weeping. Helen wept,
Telemachus wept, and so did Menelaus, nor could Pisistratus keep his
eyes from filling, when he remembered his dear brother Antilochus
whom the son of bright Dawn had killed. Thereon he said to Menelaus,

“Sir, my father Nestor, when we used to talk about you at home, told
me you were a person of rare and excellent understanding. If, then,
it be possible, do as I would urge you. I am not fond of crying while
I am getting my supper. Morning will come in due course, and in the
forenoon I care not how much I cry for those that are dead and gone.
This is all we can do for the poor things. We can only shave our heads
for them and wring the tears from our cheeks. I had a brother who
died at Troy; he was by no means the worst man there; you are sure
to have known him- his name was Antilochus; I never set eyes upon
him myself, but they say that he was singularly fleet of foot and
in fight valiant.”

“Your discretion, my friend,” answered Menelaus, “is beyond your years.
It is plain you take after your father. One can soon see when a man
is son to one whom heaven has blessed both as regards wife and offspring-
and it has blessed Nestor from first to last all his days, giving
him a green old age in his own house, with sons about him who are
both we disposed and valiant. We will put an end therefore to all
this weeping, and attend to our supper again. Let water be poured
over our hands. Telemachus and I can talk with one another fully in
the morning.”

On this Asphalion, one of the servants, poured water over their hands
and they laid their hands on the good things that were before them.

Then Jove’s daughter Helen bethought her of another matter. She drugged
the wine with an herb that banishes all care, sorrow, and ill humour.
Whoever drinks wine thus drugged cannot shed a single tear all the
rest of the day, not even though his father and mother both of them
drop down dead, or he sees a brother or a son hewn in pieces before
his very eyes. This drug, of such sovereign power and virtue, had
been given to Helen by Polydamna wife of Thon, a woman of Egypt, where
there grow all sorts of herbs, some good to put into the mixing-bowl
and others poisonous. Moreover, every one in the whole country is
a skilled physician, for they are of the race of Paeeon. When Helen
had put this drug in the bowl, and had told the servants to serve
the wine round, she said:

“Menelaus, son of Atreus, and you my good friends, sons of honourable
men (which is as Jove wills, for he is the giver both of good and
evil, and can do what he chooses), feast here as you will, and listen
while I tell you a tale in season. I cannot indeed name every single
one of the exploits of Ulysses, but I can say what he did when he
was before Troy, and you Achaeans were in all sorts of difficulties.
He covered himself with wounds and bruises, dressed himself all in
rags, and entered the enemy’s city looking like a menial or a beggar.
and quite different from what he did when he was among his own people.
In this disguise he entered the city of Troy, and no one said anything
to him. I alone recognized him and began to question him, but he was
too cunning for me. When, however, I had washed and anointed him and
had given him clothes, and after I had sworn a solemn oath not to
betray him to the Trojans till he had got safely back to his own camp
and to the ships, he told me all that the Achaeans meant to do. He
killed many Trojans and got much information before he reached the
Argive camp, for all which things the Trojan women made lamentation,
but for my own part I was glad, for my heart was beginning to oam
after my home, and I was unhappy about wrong that Venus had done me
in taking me over there, away from my country, my girl, and my lawful
wedded husband, who is indeed by no means deficient either in person
or understanding.”

Then Menelaus said, “All that you have been saying, my dear wife,
is true. I have travelled much, and have had much to do with heroes,
but I have never seen such another man as Ulysses. What endurance
too, and what courage he displayed within the wooden horse, wherein
all the bravest of the Argives were lying in wait to bring death and
destruction upon the Trojans. At that moment you came up to us; some
god who wished well to the Trojans must have set you on to it and
you had Deiphobus with you. Three times did you go all round our hiding
place and pat it; you called our chiefs each by his own name, and
mimicked all our wives -Diomed, Ulysses, and I from our seats inside
heard what a noise you made. Diomed and I could not make up our minds
whether to spring out then and there, or to answer you from inside,
but Ulysses held us all in check, so we sat quite still, all except
Anticlus, who was beginning to answer you, when Ulysses clapped his
two brawny hands over his mouth, and kept them there. It was this
that saved us all, for he muzzled Anticlus till Minerva took you away

“How sad,” exclaimed Telemachus, “that all this was of no avail to
save him, nor yet his own iron courage. But now, sir, be pleased to
send us all to bed, that we may lie down and enjoy the blessed boon
of sleep.”

On this Helen told the maid servants to set beds in the room that
was in the gatehouse, and to make them with good red rugs, and spread
coverlets on the top of them with woollen cloaks for the guests to
wear. So the maids went out, carrying a torch, and made the beds,
to which a man-servant presently conducted the strangers. Thus, then,
did Telemachus and Pisistratus sleep there in the forecourt, while
the son of Atreus lay in an inner room with lovely Helen by his side.

When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Menelaus
rose and dressed himself. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet,
girded his sword about his shoulders, and left his room looking like
an immortal god. Then, taking a seat near Telemachus he said:

“And what, Telemachus, has led you to take this long sea voyage to
Lacedaemon? Are you on public or private business? Tell me all about

“I have come, sir replied Telemachus, “to see if you can tell me anything
about my father. I am being eaten out of house and home; my fair estate
is being wasted, and my house is full of miscreants who keep killing
great numbers of my sheep and oxen, on the pretence of paying their
addresses to my mother. Therefore, I am suppliant at your knees if
haply you may tell me about my father’s melancholy end, whether you
saw it with your own eyes, or heard it from some other traveller;
for he was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things out of any
pity for myself, but tell me in all plainness exactly what you saw.
If my brave father Ulysses ever did you loyal service either by word
or deed, when you Achaeans were harassed by the Trojans, bear it in
mind now as in my favour and tell me truly all.”

Menelaus on hearing this was very much shocked. “So,” he exclaimed,
“these cowards would usurp a brave man’s bed? A hind might as well
lay her new born young in the lair of a lion, and then go off to feed
in the forest or in some grassy dell: the lion when he comes back
to his lair will make short work with the pair of them- and so will
Ulysses with these suitors. By father Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, if
Ulysses is still the man that he was when he wrestled with Philomeleides
in Lesbos, and threw him so heavily that all the Achaeans cheered
him- if he is still such and were to come near these suitors, they
would have a short shrift and a sorry wedding. As regards your questions,
however, I will not prevaricate nor deceive you, but will tell you
without concealment all that the old man of the sea told me.

“I was trying to come on here, but the gods detained me in Egypt,
for my hecatombs had not given them full satisfaction, and the gods
are very strict about having their dues. Now off Egypt, about as far
as a ship can sail in a day with a good stiff breeze behind her, there
is an island called Pharos- it has a good harbour from which vessels
can get out into open sea when they have taken in water- and the gods
becalmed me twenty days without so much as a breath of fair wind to
help me forward. We should have run clean out of provisions and my
men would have starved, if a goddess had not taken pity upon me and
saved me in the person of Idothea, daughter to Proteus, the old man
of the sea, for she had taken a great fancy to me.

“She came to me one day when I was by myself, as I often was, for
the men used to go with their barbed hooks, all over the island in
the hope of catching a fish or two to save them from the pangs of
hunger. ‘Stranger,’ said she, ‘it seems to me that you like starving
in this way- at any rate it does not greatly trouble you, for you
stick here day after day, without even trying to get away though your
men are dying by inches.’

“‘Let me tell you,’ said I, ‘whichever of the goddesses you may happen
to be, that I am not staying here of my own accord, but must have
offended the gods that live in heaven. Tell me, therefore, for the
gods know everything. which of the immortals it is that is hindering
me in this way, and tell me also how I may sail the sea so as to reach
my home.’

“‘Stranger,’ replied she, ‘I will make it all quite clear to you.
There is an old immortal who lives under the sea hereabouts and whose
name is Proteus. He is an Egyptian, and people say he is my father;
he is Neptune’s head man and knows every inch of ground all over the
bottom of the sea. If you can snare him and hold him tight, he will
tell you about your voyage, what courses you are to take, and how
you are to sail the sea so as to reach your home. He will also tell
you, if you so will, all that has been going on at your house both
good and bad, while you have been away on your long and dangerous

“‘Can you show me,’ said I, ‘some stratagem by means of which I may
catch this old god without his suspecting it and finding me out? For
a god is not easily caught- not by a mortal man.’

“‘Stranger,’ said she, ‘I will make it all quite clear to you. About
the time when the sun shall have reached mid heaven, the old man of
the sea comes up from under the waves, heralded by the West wind that
furs the water over his head. As soon as he has come up he lies down,
and goes to sleep in a great sea cave, where the seals- Halosydne’s
chickens as they call them- come up also from the grey sea, and go
to sleep in shoals all round him; and a very strong and fish-like
smell do they bring with them. Early to-morrow morning I will take
you to this place and will lay you in ambush. Pick out, therefore,
the three best men you have in your fleet, and I will tell you all
the tricks that the old man will play you.

“‘First he will look over all his seals, and count them; then, when
he has seen them and tallied them on his five fingers, he will go
to sleep among them, as a shepherd among his sheep. The moment you
see that he is asleep seize him; put forth all your strength and hold
him fast, for he will do his very utmost to get away from you. He
will turn himself into every kind of creature that goes upon the earth,
and will become also both fire and water; but you must hold him fast
and grip him tighter and tighter, till he begins to talk to you and
comes back to what he was when you saw him go to sleep; then you may
slacken your hold and let him go; and you can ask him which of the
gods it is that is angry with you, and what you must do to reach your
home over the seas.’

“Having so said she dived under the waves, whereon I turned back to
the place where my ships were ranged upon the shore; and my heart
was clouded with care as I went along. When I reached my ship we got
supper ready, for night was falling, and camped down upon the beach.

“When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, I took the
three men on whose prowess of all kinds I could most rely, and went
along by the sea-side, praying heartily to heaven. Meanwhile the goddess
fetched me up four seal skins from the bottom of the sea, all of them
just skinned, for she meant playing a trick upon her father. Then
she dug four pits for us to lie in, and sat down to wait till we should
come up. When we were close to her, she made us lie down in the pits
one after the other, and threw a seal skin over each of us. Our ambuscade
would have been intolerable, for the stench of the fishy seals was
most distressing- who would go to bed with a sea monster if he could
help it?-but here, too, the goddess helped us, and thought of something
that gave us great relief, for she put some ambrosia under each man’s
nostrils, which was so fragrant that it killed the smell of the seals.

“We waited the whole morning and made the best of it, watching the
seals come up in hundreds to bask upon the sea shore, till at noon
the old man of the sea came up too, and when he had found his fat
seals he went over them and counted them. We were among the first
he counted, and he never suspected any guile, but laid himself down
to sleep as soon as he had done counting. Then we rushed upon him
with a shout and seized him; on which he began at once with his old
tricks, and changed himself first into a lion with a great mane; then
all of a sudden he became a dragon, a leopard, a wild boar; the next
moment he was running water, and then again directly he was a tree,
but we stuck to him and never lost hold, till at last the cunning
old creature became distressed, and said, Which of the gods was it,
Son of Atreus, that hatched this plot with you for snaring me and
seizing me against my will? What do you want?’

“‘You know that yourself, old man,’ I answered, ‘you will gain nothing
by trying to put me off. It is because I have been kept so long in
this island, and see no sign of my being able to get away. I am losing
all heart; tell me, then, for you gods know everything, which of the
immortals it is that is hindering me, and tell me also how I may sail
the sea so as to reach my home?’

“Then,’ he said, ‘if you would finish your voyage and get home quickly,
you must offer sacrifices to Jove and to the rest of the gods before
embarking; for it is decreed that you shall not get back to your friends,
and to your own house, till you have returned to the heaven fed stream
of Egypt, and offered holy hecatombs to the immortal gods that reign
in heaven. When you have done this they will let you finish your voyage.’

“I was broken hearted when I heard that I must go back all that long
and terrible voyage to Egypt; nevertheless, I answered, ‘I will do
all, old man, that you have laid upon me; but now tell me, and tell
me true, whether all the Achaeans whom Nestor and I left behind us
when we set sail from Troy have got home safely, or whether any one
of them came to a bad end either on board his own ship or among his
friends when the days of his fighting were done.’

“‘Son of Atreus,’ he answered, ‘why ask me? You had better not know
what I can tell you, for your eyes will surely fill when you have
heard my story. Many of those about whom you ask are dead and gone,
but many still remain, and only two of the chief men among the Achaeans
perished during their return home. As for what happened on the field
of battle- you were there yourself. A third Achaean leader is still
at sea, alive, but hindered from returning. Ajax was wrecked, for
Neptune drove him on to the great rocks of Gyrae; nevertheless, he
let him get safe out of the water, and in spite of all Minerva’s hatred
he would have escaped death, if he had not ruined himself by boasting.
He said the gods could not drown him even though they had tried to
do so, and when Neptune heard this large talk, he seized his trident
in his two brawny hands, and split the rock of Gyrae in two pieces.
The base remained where it was, but the part on which Ajax was sitting
fell headlong into the sea and carried Ajax with it; so he drank salt
water and was drowned.

“‘Your brother and his ships escaped, for Juno protected him, but
when he was just about to reach the high promontory of Malea, he was
caught by a heavy gale which carried him out to sea again sorely against
his will, and drove him to the foreland where Thyestes used to dwell,
but where Aegisthus was then living. By and by, however, it seemed
as though he was to return safely after all, for the gods backed the
wind into its old quarter and they reached home; whereon Agamemnon
kissed his native soil, and shed tears of joy at finding himself in
his own country.

“‘Now there was a watchman whom Aegisthus kept always on the watch,
and to whom he had promised two talents of gold. This man had been
looking out for a whole year to make sure that Agamemnon did not give
him the slip and prepare war; when, therefore, this man saw Agamemnon
go by, he went and told Aegisthus who at once began to lay a plot
for him. He picked twenty of his bravest warriors and placed them
in ambuscade on one side the cloister, while on the opposite side
he prepared a banquet. Then he sent his chariots and horsemen to Agamemnon,
and invited him to the feast, but he meant foul play. He got him there,
all unsuspicious of the doom that was awaiting him, and killed him
when the banquet was over as though he were butchering an ox in the
shambles; not one of Agamemnon’s followers was left alive, nor yet
one of Aegisthus’, but they were all killed there in the cloisters.’

“Thus spoke Proteus, and I was broken hearted as I heard him. I sat
down upon the sands and wept; I felt as though I could no longer bear
to live nor look upon the light of the sun. Presently, when I had
had my fill of weeping and writhing upon the ground, the old man of
the sea said, ‘Son of Atreus, do not waste any more time in crying
so bitterly; it can do no manner of good; find your way home as fast
as ever you can, for Aegisthus be still alive, and even though Orestes
has beforehand with you in kilting him, you may yet come in for his

“On this I took comfort in spite of all my sorrow, and said, ‘I know,
then, about these two; tell me, therefore, about the third man of
whom you spoke; is he still alive, but at sea, and unable to get home?
or is he dead? Tell me, no matter how much it may grieve me.’

“‘The third man,’ he answered, ‘is Ulysses who dwells in Ithaca. I
can see him in an island sorrowing bitterly in the house of the nymph
Calypso, who is keeping him prisoner, and he cannot reach his home
for he has no ships nor sailors to take him over the sea. As for your
own end, Menelaus, you shall not die in Argos, but the gods will take
you to the Elysian plain, which is at the ends of the world. There
fair-haired Rhadamanthus reigns, and men lead an easier life than
any where else in the world, for in Elysium there falls not rain,
nor hail, nor snow, but Oceanus breathes ever with a West wind that
sings softly from the sea, and gives fresh life to all men. This will
happen to you because you have married Helen, and are Jove’s son-in-law.’

“As he spoke he dived under the waves, whereon I turned back to the
ships with my companions, and my heart was clouded with care as I
went along. When we reached the ships we got supper ready, for night
was falling, and camped down upon the beach. When the child of morning,
rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, we drew our ships into the water, and
put our masts and sails within them; then we went on board ourselves,
took our seats on the benches, and smote the grey sea with our oars.
I again stationed my ships in the heaven-fed stream of Egypt, and
offered hecatombs that were full and sufficient. When I had thus appeased
heaven’s anger, I raised a barrow to the memory of Agamemnon that
his name might live for ever, after which I had a quick passage home,
for the gods sent me a fair wind.

“And now for yourself- stay here some ten or twelve days longer, and
I will then speed you on your way. I will make you a noble present
of a chariot and three horses. I will also give you a beautiful chalice
that so long as you live you may think of me whenever you make a drink-offering
to the immortal gods.”

“Son of Atreus,” replied Telemachus, “do not press me to stay longer;
I should be contented to remain with you for another twelve months;
I find your conversation so delightful that I should never once wish
myself at home with my parents; but my crew whom I have left at Pylos
are already impatient, and you are detaining me from them. As for
any present you may be disposed to make me, I had rather that it should
he a piece of plate. I will take no horses back with me to Ithaca,
but will leave them to adorn your own stables, for you have much flat
ground in your kingdom where lotus thrives, as also meadowsweet and
wheat and barley, and oats with their white and spreading ears; whereas
in Ithaca we have neither open fields nor racecourses, and the country
is more fit for goats