800 BC


by Homer

translated by Samuel Butler


Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought

countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send

hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs

and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the

day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first

fell out with one another.

And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was the

son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent a

pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son of

Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had come to the

ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had brought with him a

great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the sceptre of Apollo

wreathed with a suppliant's wreath and he besought the Achaeans, but

most of all the two sons of Atreus, who were their chiefs.

"Sons of Atreus," he cried, "and all other Achaeans, may the gods

who dwell in Olympus grant you to sack the city of Priam, and to reach

your homes in safety; but free my daughter, and accept a ransom for

her, in reverence to Apollo, son of Jove."

On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for

respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but not

so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly away.

"Old man," said he, "let me not find you tarrying about our ships, nor

yet coming hereafter. Your sceptre of the god and your wreath shall

profit you nothing. I will not free her. She shall grow old in my

house at Argos far from her own home, busying herself with her loom

and visiting my couch; so go, and do not provoke me or it shall be the

worse for you."

The old man feared him and obeyed. Not a word he spoke, but went

by the shore of the sounding sea and prayed apart to King Apollo

whom lovely Leto had borne. "Hear me," he cried, "O god of the

silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest Tenedos

with thy might, hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have ever decked your

temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones in fat of bulls or

goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon

the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He came down

furious from the summits of Olympus, with his bow and his quiver

upon his shoulder, and the arrows rattled on his back with the rage

that trembled within him. He sat himself down away from the ships with

a face as dark as night, and his silver bow rang death as he shot

his arrow in the midst of them. First he smote their mules and their

hounds, but presently he aimed his shafts at the people themselves,

and all day long the pyres of the dead were burning.

For nine whole days he shot his arrows among the people, but upon

the tenth day Achilles called them in assembly- moved thereto by Juno,

who saw the Achaeans in their death-throes and had compassion upon

them. Then, when they were got together, he rose and spoke among them.

"Son of Atreus," said he, "I deem that we should now turn roving

home if we would escape destruction, for we are being cut down by

war and pestilence at once. Let us ask some priest or prophet, or some

reader of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Jove) who can tell us why

Phoebus Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some vow that we

have broken, or hecatomb that we have not offered, and whether he will

accept the savour of lambs and goats without blemish, so as to take

away the plague from us."

With these words he sat down, and Calchas son of Thestor, wisest

of augurs, who knew things past present and to come, rose to speak. He

it was who had guided the Achaeans with their fleet to Ilius,

through the prophesyings with which Phoebus Apollo had inspired him.

With all sincerity and goodwill he addressed them thus:-

"Achilles, loved of heaven, you bid me tell you about the anger of

King Apollo, I will therefore do so; but consider first and swear that

you will stand by me heartily in word and deed, for I know that I

shall offend one who rules the Argives with might, to whom all the

Achaeans are in subjection. A plain man cannot stand against the anger

of a king, who if he swallow his displeasure now, will yet nurse

revenge till he has wreaked it. Consider, therefore, whether or no you

will protect me."

And Achilles answered, "Fear not, but speak as it is borne in upon

you from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray, and whose

oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships shall lay his hand

upon you, while I yet live to look upon the face of the earth- no, not

though you name Agamemnon himself, who is by far the foremost of the


Thereon the seer spoke boldly. "The god," he said, "is angry neither

about vow nor hecatomb, but for his priest's sake, whom Agamemnon

has dishonoured, in that he would not free his daughter nor take a

ransom for her; therefore has he sent these evils upon us, and will

yet send others. He will not deliver the Danaans from this

pestilence till Agamemnon has restored the girl without fee or

ransom to her father, and has sent a holy hecatomb to Chryse. Thus

we may perhaps appease 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


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 god."

Achilles scowled at him and answered, "You are steeped in

insolence and lust of gain. With what heart can any of the Achaeans do

your bidding, either on foray or in open fighting? I came not

warring here for any ill the Trojans had done me. I have no quarrel

with them. They have not raided my cattle nor my horses, nor cut

down my harvests on the rich plains of Phthia; for between me and them

there is a great space, both mountain and sounding sea. We have

followed you, Sir Insolence! for your pleasure, not ours- to gain

satisfaction from the Trojans for your shameless self and for

Menelaus. You forget this, and threaten to rob me of the prize for

which I have toiled, and which the sons of the Achaeans have given me.

Never when the Achaeans sack any rich city of the Trojans do I receive

so good a prize as you do, though it is my hands that do the better

part of the fighting. When the sharing comes, your share is far the

largest, and I, forsooth, must go back to my ships, take what I can

get and be thankful, when my labour of fighting is done. Now,

therefore, I shall go back to Phthia; it will be much better for me to

return home with my ships, for I will not stay here dishonoured to

gather gold and substance for you."

And Agamemnon answered, "Fly if you will, I shall make you no

prayers to stay you. I have others here who will do me honour, and

above all Jove, the lord of counsel. There is no king here so

hateful to me as you are, for you are ever quarrelsome and ill

affected. What though you be brave? Was it not heaven that made you

so? Go home, then, with your ships and comrades to lord it over the

Myrmidons. I care neither for you nor for your anger; and thus will

I do: since Phoebus Apollo is taking Chryseis from me, I shall send

her with my ship and my followers, but I shall come to your tent and

take your own prize Briseis, that you may learn how much stronger I am

than you are, and that another may fear to set himself up as equal

or comparable with me."

The son of Peleus was furious, and his heart within his shaggy

breast was divided whether to draw his sword, push the others aside,

and kill the son of Atreus, or to restrain himself and check his

anger. While he was thus in two minds, and was drawing his mighty

sword from its scabbard, Minerva came down from heaven (for Juno had

sent her in the love she bore to them both), and seized the son of

Peleus by his yellow hair, visible to him alone, for of the others

no man could see her. Achilles turned in amaze, and by the fire that

flashed from her eyes at once knew that she was Minerva. "Why are

you here," said he, "daughter of aegis-bearing Jove? To see the

pride of Agamemnon, son of Atreus? Let me tell you- and it shall

surely be- he shall pay for this insolence with his life."

And Minerva said, "I come from heaven, if you will hear me, to bid

you stay your anger. Juno has sent me, who cares for both of you

alike. Cease, then, this brawling, and do not draw your sword; rail at

him if you will, and your railing will not be vain, for I tell you-

and it shall surely be- that you shall hereafter receive gifts three

times as splendid by reason of this present insult. Hold, therefore,

and obey."

"Goddess," answered Achilles, "however angry a man may be, he must

do as you two command him. This will be best, for the gods ever hear

the prayers of him who has obeyed them."

He stayed his hand on the silver hilt of his sword, and thrust it

back into the scabbard as Minerva bade him. Then she went back to

Olympus among the other gods, and to the house of aegis-bearing Jove.

But the son of Peleus again began railing at the son of Atreus,

for he was still in a rage. "Wine-bibber," he cried, "with the face of

a dog and the heart of a hind, you never dare to go out with the

host in fight, nor yet with our chosen men in ambuscade. You shun this

as you do death itself. You had rather go round and rob his prizes

from any man who contradicts you. You devour your people, for you

are king over a feeble folk; otherwise, son of Atreus, henceforward

you would insult no man. Therefore I say, and swear it with a great

oath- nay, by this my sceptre which shalt sprout neither leaf nor

shoot, nor bud anew from the day on which it left its parent stem upon

the mountains- for the axe stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the

sons of the Achaeans bear it as judges and guardians of the decrees of

heaven- so surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall

look fondly for Achilles and shall not find him. In the day of your

distress, when your men fall dying by the murderous hand of Hector,

you shall not know how to help them, and shall rend your heart with

rage for the hour when you offered insult to the bravest of the


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


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 force."

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


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 me."

At this Jove was much troubled and answered, "I shall have trouble

if you set me quarrelling with Juno, for she will provoke me with

her taunting speeches; even now she is always railing at me before the

other gods and accusing me of giving aid to the Trojans. Go back

now, lest she should find out. I will consider the matter, and will

bring it about as 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


As he spoke the son of Saturn bowed his dark brows, and the

ambrosial locks swayed on his immortal head, till vast Olympus reeled.

When the pair had thus laid their plans, they parted- Jove to his

house, while the goddess quitted the splendour of Olympus, and plunged

into the depths of the sea. The gods rose from their seats, before the

coming of their sire. Not one of them dared to remain sitting, but all

stood up as he came among them. There, then, he took his seat. But

Juno, when she saw him, knew that he and the old merman's daughter,

silver-footed Thetis, had been hatching mischief, so she at once began

to upbraid him. "Trickster," she cried, "which of the gods have you

been taking into your counsels now? You are always settling matters in

secret behind my back, and have never yet told me, if you could help

it, one word of your intentions."

"Juno," replied the sire of gods and men, "you must not expect to be

informed of all my counsels. You are my wife, but you would find it

hard to understand them. When it is proper for you to hear, there is

no one, god or man, who will be told sooner, but when I mean to keep a

matter to myself, you must not pry nor ask questions."

"Dread son of Saturn," answered Juno, "what are you talking about?

I? Pry and ask questions? Never. I let you have your own way in

everything. Still, I have a strong misgiving that the old merman's

daughter Thetis has been talking you over, for she was with you and

had hold of your knees this self-same morning. I believe, therefore,

that you have been promising her to give glory to Achilles, and to

kill much people at the ships of the Achaeans."

"Wife," said Jove, "I can do nothing but you suspect me and find

it out. You will take nothing by it, for I shall only dislike you

the more, and it will go harder with you. Granted that it is as you

say; I mean to have it so; sit down and hold your tongue as I bid

you for if I once begin to lay my hands about you, though all heaven

were on your side it would profit you nothing."

On this Juno was frightened, so she curbed her stubborn will and sat

down in silence. But the heavenly beings were disquieted throughout

the house of Jove, till the cunning workman Vulcan began to try and

pacify his mother Juno. "It will be intolerable," said he, "if you two

fall to wrangling and setting heaven in an uproar about a pack of

mortals. If such ill counsels are to prevail, we shall have no

pleasure at our banquet. Let me then advise my mother- and she must

herself know that it will be better- to make friends with my dear

father Jove, lest he again scold her and disturb our feast. If the

Olympian Thunderer wants to hurl us all from our seats, he can do

so, for he is far the strongest, so give him fair words, and he will

then soon be in a good humour with us."

As he spoke, he took a double cup of nectar, and placed it in his

mother's hand. "Cheer up, my dear mother," said he, "and make the best

of it. I love you dearly, and should be very sorry to see you get a

thrashing; however grieved I might be, I could not help for there is

no standing against Jove. Once before when I was trying to help you,

he caught me by the foot and flung me from the heavenly threshold. All

day long from morn till eve, was I falling, till at sunset I came to

ground in the island of Lemnos, and there I lay, with very little life

left in me, till the Sintians came and tended me."

Juno smiled at this, and as she smiled she took the cup from her

son's hands. Then Vulcan drew sweet nectar from the mixing-bowl, and

served it round among the gods, going from left to right; and the

blessed gods laughed out a loud applause as they saw him 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 you."

The dream then left him, and he thought of things that were,

surely not to be accomplished. He thought that on that same day he was

to take the city of Priam, but he little knew what was in the mind

of Jove, who had many another hard-fought fight in store alike for

Danaans and Trojans. Then presently he woke, with the divine message

still ringing in his ears; so he sat upright, and put on his soft

shirt so fair and new, and over this his heavy cloak. He bound his

sandals on to his comely feet, and slung his silver-studded sword

about his shoulders; then he took the imperishable staff of his

father, and sallied forth to the ships of the Achaeans.

The goddess Dawn now wended her way to vast Olympus that she might

herald day to Jove and to the other immortals, and Agamemnon sent

the criers round to call the people in assembly; so they called them

and the people gathered thereon. But first he summoned a meeting of

the elders at the ship of Nestor king of Pylos, and when they were

assembled he laid a cunning counsel before them.

"My friends," said he, "I have had a dream from heaven in the dead

of night, and its face and figure resembled none but Nestor's. It

hovered over my head and said, 'You are sleeping, son of Atreus; one

who has the welfare of his host and so much other care upon his

shoulders should dock his sleep. Hear me at once, for I am a messenger

from Jove, who, though he be not near, yet takes thought for you and

pities you. He bids you get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for you

shall take Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the

gods; Juno has brought them over to her own mind, and woe betides

the Trojans at the hands of Jove. Remember this.' The dream then

vanished and I awoke. Let us now, therefore, arm the sons of the

Achaeans. But it will be well that I should first sound them, and to

this end I will tell them to fly with their ships; but do you others

go about among the host and prevent their doing so."

He then sat down, and Nestor the prince of Pylos with all

sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "My friends," said he,

"princes and councillors of the Argives, if any other man of the

Achaeans had told us of this dream we should have declared it false,

and would have had nothing to do with it. But he who has seen it is

the foremost man among us; we must therefore set about getting the

people under arms."

With this he led the way from the assembly, and the other sceptred

kings rose with him in obedience to the word of Agamemnon; but the

people pressed forward to hear. They swarmed like bees that sally from

some hollow cave and flit in countless throng among the spring

flowers, bunched in knots and clusters; even so did the mighty

multitude pour from ships and tents to the assembly, and range

themselves upon the wide-watered shore, while among them ran

Wildfire Rumour, messenger of Jove, urging them ever to the fore. Thus

they gathered in a pell-mell of mad confusion, and the earth groaned

under the tramp of men as the people sought their places. Nine heralds

went crying about among them to stay their tumult and bid them

listen to the kings, till at last they were got into their several

places and ceased their clamour. Then King Agamemnon rose, holding his

sceptre. This was the work of Vulcan, who gave it to Jove the son of

Saturn. Jove gave it to Mercury, slayer of Argus, guide and

guardian. King Mercury gave it to Pelops, the mighty charioteer, and

Pelops to Atreus, shepherd of his people. Atreus, when he died, left

it to Thyestes, rich in flocks, and Thyestes in his turn left it to be

borne by Agamemnon, that he might be lord of all Argos and of the

isles. Leaning, then, on his sceptre, he addressed the Argives.

"My friends," he said, "heroes, servants of Mars, the hand of heaven

has been laid heavily upon me. Cruel Jove gave me his solemn promise

that I should sack the city of Priam before returning, but he has

played me false, and is now bidding me go ingloriously back to Argos

with the loss of much people. Such is the will of Jove, who has laid

many a proud city in the dust, as he will yet lay others, for his

power is above all. It will be a sorry tale hereafter that an

Achaean host, at once so great and valiant, battled in vain against

men fewer in number than themselves; but as yet the end is not in

sight. Think that the Achaeans and Trojans have sworn to a solemn

covenant, and that they have each been numbered- the Trojans by the

roll of their householders, and we by companies of ten; think

further that each of our companies desired to have a Trojan

householder to pour out their wine; we are so greatly more in number

that full many a company would have to go without its cup-bearer.

But they have in the town allies from other places, and it is these

that hinder me from being able to sack the rich city of Ilius. Nine of

Jove 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 sea."

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


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 them.

The chiefs disposed their men this way and that before the fight

began, drafting them out as easily as goatherds draft their flocks

when they have got mixed while feeding; and among them went King

Agamemnon, with a head and face like Jove the lord of thunder, a waist

like Mars, and a chest like that of Neptune. As some great bull that

lords it over the herds upon the plain, even so did Jove make the

son of Atreus stand peerless among the multitude of heroes.

And now, O Muses, dwellers in the mansions of Olympus, tell me-

for you are goddesses and are in all places so that you see all

things, while we know nothing but by report- who were the chiefs and

princes of the Danaans? As for the common soldiers, they were so

that I could not name every single one of them though I had ten

tongues, and though my voice failed not and my heart were of bronze

within me, unless you, O Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing

Jove, were to recount them to me. Nevertheless, I will tell the

captains of the ships and all the fleet together.

Peneleos, Leitus, Arcesilaus, Prothoenor, and Clonius were

captains of the Boeotians. These were they that dwelt in Hyria and

rocky Aulis, and who held Schoenus, Scolus, and the highlands of

Eteonus, with Thespeia, Graia, and the fair city of Mycalessus. They

also held Harma, Eilesium, and Erythrae; and they had Eleon, Hyle, and

Peteon; Ocalea and the strong fortress of Medeon; Copae, Eutresis, and

Thisbe the haunt of doves; Coronea, and the pastures of Haliartus;

Plataea and Glisas; the fortress of Thebes the less; holy Onchestus

with its famous grove of Neptune; Arne rich in vineyards; Midea,

sacred Nisa, and Anthedon upon the sea. From these there came fifty

ships, and in each there were a hundred and twenty young men of the


Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, sons of Mars, led the people that dwelt

in Aspledon and Orchomenus the realm of Minyas. Astyoche a noble

maiden bore them in the house of Actor son of Azeus; for she had

gone with Mars secretly into an upper chamber, and he had lain with

her. With these there came thirty ships.

The Phoceans were led by Schedius and Epistrophus, sons of mighty

Iphitus the son of Naubolus. These were they that held Cyparissus,

rocky Pytho, holy Crisa, Daulis, and Panopeus; they also that dwelt in

Anemorea and Hyampolis, and about the waters of the river Cephissus,

and Lilaea by the springs of the Cephissus; with their chieftains came

forty ships, and they marshalled the forces of the Phoceans, which

were stationed next to the Boeotians, on their left.

Ajax, the fleet son of Oileus, commanded the Locrians. He was not so

great, nor nearly so great, as Ajax the son of Telamon. He was a

little man, and his breastplate was made of linen, but in use of the

spear he excelled all the Hellenes and the Achaeans. These dwelt in

Cynus, Opous, Calliarus, Bessa, Scarphe, fair Augeae, Tarphe, and

Thronium about the river Boagrius. With him there came forty ships

of the Locrians who dwell beyond Euboea.

The fierce Abantes held Euboea with its cities, Chalcis, Eretria,

Histiaea rich in vines, Cerinthus upon the sea, and the rock-perched

town of Dium; with them were also the men of Carystus and Styra;

Elephenor of the race of Mars was in command of these; he was son of

Chalcodon, and chief over all the Abantes. With him they came, fleet

of foot and wearing their hair long behind, brave warriors, who

would ever strive to tear open the corslets of their foes with their

long ashen spears. Of these there came fifty ships.

And they that held the strong city of Athens, the people of great

Erechtheus, who was born of the soil itself, but Jove's daughter,

Minerva, fostered him, and established him at Athens in her own rich

sanctuary. There, year by year, the Athenian youths worship him with

sacrifices of bulls and rams. These were commanded by Menestheus,

son of Peteos. No man living could equal him in the marshalling of

chariots and foot soldiers. Nestor could alone rival him, for he was

older. With him there came fifty ships.

Ajax brought twelve ships from Salamis, and stationed them alongside

those of the Athenians.

The men of Argos, again, and those who held the walls of Tiryns,

with Hermione, and Asine upon the gulf; Troezene, Eionae, and the

vineyard lands of Epidaurus; the Achaean youths, moreover, who came

from Aegina and Mases; these were led by Diomed of the loud

battle-cry, and Sthenelus son of famed Capaneus. With them in

command was Euryalus, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus; but Diomed

was chief over them all. With these there came eighty ships.

Those who held the strong city of Mycenae, rich Corinth and Cleonae;

Orneae, Araethyrea, and Licyon, where Adrastus reigned of old;

Hyperesia, high Gonoessa, and Pellene; Aegium and all the coast-land

round about Helice; these sent a hundred ships under the command of

King Agamemnon, son of Atreus. His force was far both finest and

most numerous, and in their midst was the king himself, all glorious

in his armour of gleaming bronze- foremost among the heroes, for he

was the greatest king, and had most men under him.

And those that dwelt in Lacedaemon, lying low among the hills,

Pharis, Sparta, with Messe the haunt of doves; Bryseae, Augeae,

Amyclae, and Helos upon the sea; Laas, moreover, and Oetylus; these

were led by Menelaus of the loud battle-cry, brother to Agamemnon, and

of them there were sixty ships, drawn up apart from the others.

Among them went Menelaus himself, strong in zeal, urging his men to

fight; for he longed to avenge the toil and sorrow that he had

suffered for the sake of Helen.

The men of Pylos and Arene, and Thryum where is the ford of the

river Alpheus; strong Aipy, Cyparisseis, and Amphigenea; Pteleum,

Helos, and Dorium, where the Muses met Thamyris, and stilled his

minstrelsy for ever. He was returning from Oechalia, where Eurytus

lived and reigned, and boasted that he would surpass even the Muses,

daughters of aegis-bearing Jove, if they should sing against him;

whereon they were angry, and maimed him. They robbed him of his divine

power of song, and thenceforth he could strike the lyre no more. These

were commanded by Nestor, knight of Gerene, and with him there came

ninety ships.

And those that held Arcadia, under the high mountain of Cyllene,

near the tomb of Aepytus, where the people fight hand to hand; the men

of Pheneus also, and Orchomenus rich in flocks; of Rhipae, Stratie,

and bleak Enispe; of Tegea and fair Mantinea; of Stymphelus and

Parrhasia; of these King Agapenor son of Ancaeus was commander, and

they had sixty ships. Many Arcadians, good soldiers, came in each

one of them, but Agamemnon found them the ships in which to cross

the sea, for they were not a people that occupied their business

upon the waters.

The men, moreover, of Buprasium and of Elis, so much of it as is

enclosed between Hyrmine, Myrsinus upon the sea-shore, the rock

Olene and Alesium. These had four leaders, and each of them had ten

ships, with many Epeans on board. Their captains were Amphimachus

and Thalpius- the one, son of Cteatus, and the other, of Eurytus- both

of the race of Actor. The two others were Diores, son of Amarynces,

and Polyxenus, son of King Agasthenes, son of Augeas.

And those of Dulichium with the sacred Echinean islands, who dwelt

beyond the sea off Elis; these were led by Meges, peer of Mars, and

the son of valiant Phyleus, dear to Jove, who quarrelled with his

father, and went to settle in Dulichium. With him there came forty


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


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


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 ships.

Those that held Argissa and Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, and the white

city of Oloosson, of these brave Polypoetes was leader. He was son

of Pirithous, who was son of Jove himself, for Hippodameia bore him to

Pirithous on the day when he took his revenge on the shaggy mountain

savages and drove them from Mt. Pelion to the Aithices. But Polypoetes

was not sole in command, for with him was Leonteus, of the race of

Mars, who was son of Coronus, the son of Caeneus. And with these there

came forty ships.

Guneus brought two and twenty ships from Cyphus, and he was followed

by the Enienes and the valiant Peraebi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona,

and held the lands round the lovely river Titaresius, which sends

its waters into the Peneus. They do not mingle with the silver

eddies of the Peneus, but flow on the top of them like oil; for the

Titaresius is a branch of dread Orcus and of the river Styx.

Of the Magnetes, Prothous son of Tenthredon was commander. They were

they that dwelt about the river Peneus and Mt. Pelion. Prothous, fleet

of foot, was their leader, and with him there came forty ships.

Such were the chiefs and princes of the Danaans. Who, then, O

Muse, was the foremost, whether man or horse, among those that

followed after the sons of Atreus?

Of the horses, those of the son of Pheres were by far the finest.

They were driven by Eumelus, and were as fleet as birds. They were

of the same age and colour, and perfectly matched in height. Apollo,

of the silver bow, had bred them in Perea- both of them mares, and

terrible as Mars in battle. Of the men, Ajax, son of Telamon, was much

the foremost so long as Achilles' anger lasted, for Achilles

excelled him greatly and he had also better horses; but Achilles was

now holding aloof at his ships by reason of his quarrel with

Agamemnon, and his people passed their time upon the sea shore,

throwing discs or aiming with spears at a mark, and in archery.

Their horses stood each by his own chariot, champing lotus and wild

celery. The chariots were housed under cover, but their owners, for

lack of leadership, wandered hither and thither about the host and

went not forth to fight.

Thus marched the host like a consuming fire, and the earth groaned

beneath them when the lord of thunder is angry and lashes the land

about Typhoeus among the Arimi, where they say Typhoeus lies. Even

so did the earth groan beneath them as they sped over the plain.

And now Iris, fleet as the wind, was sent by Jove to tell the bad

news among the Trojans. They were gathered in assembly, old and young,

at Priam's gates, and Iris came close up to Priam, speaking with the

voice of Priam's son Polites, who, being fleet of foot, was

stationed as watchman for the Trojans on the tomb of old Aesyetes,

to look out for any sally of the Achaeans. In his likeness Iris spoke,

saying, "Old man, you talk idly, as in time of peace, while war is

at hand. I have been in many a battle, but never yet saw such a host

as is now advancing. They are crossing the plain to attack the city as

thick as leaves or as the sands of the sea. Hector, I charge you above

all others, do as I say. There are many allies dispersed about the

city of Priam from distant places and speaking divers tongues.

Therefore, let each chief give orders to his own people, setting

them severally in array and leading them forth to battle."

Thus she spoke, but Hector knew that it was the goddess, and at once

broke up the assembly. The men flew to arms; all the gates were

opened, and the people thronged through them, horse and foot, with the

tramp as of a great multitude.

Now there is a high mound before the city, rising by itself upon the

plain. Men call it Batieia, but the gods know that it is the tomb of

lithe Myrine. Here the Trojans and their allies divided their forces.

Priam's son, great Hector of the gleaming helmet, commanded the

Trojans, and with him were arrayed by far the greater number and

most valiant of those who were longing for the fray.

The Dardanians were led by brave Aeneas, whom Venus bore to

Anchises, when she, goddess though she was, had lain with him upon the

mountain slopes of Ida. He was not alone, for with him were the two

sons of Antenor, Archilochus and Acamas, both skilled in all the

arts of war.

They that dwelt in Telea under the lowest spurs of Mt. Ida, men of

substance, who drink the limpid waters of the Aesepus, and are of

Trojan blood- these were led by Pandarus son of Lycaon, whom Apollo

had taught to use the bow.

They that held Adresteia and the land of Apaesus, with Pityeia,

and the high mountain of Tereia- these were led by Adrestus and

Amphius, whose breastplate was of linen. These were the sons of Merops

of Percote, who excelled in all kinds of divination. He told them

not to take part in the war, but they gave him no heed, for fate lured

them to destruction.

They that dwelt about Percote and Practius, with Sestos, Abydos, and

Arisbe- these were led by Asius, son of Hyrtacus, a brave commander-

Asius, the son of Hyrtacus, whom his powerful dark bay steeds, of

the breed that comes from the river Selleis, had brought from Arisbe.

Hippothous led the tribes of Pelasgian spearsmen, who dwelt in

fertile Larissa- Hippothous, and Pylaeus of the race of Mars, two sons

of the Pelasgian Lethus, son of Teutamus.

Acamas and the warrior Peirous commanded the Thracians and those

that came from beyond the mighty stream of the Hellespont.

Euphemus, son of Troezenus, the son of Ceos, was captain of the

Ciconian spearsmen.

Pyraechmes led the Paeonian archers from distant Amydon, by the

broad waters of the river Axius, the fairest that flow upon the earth.

The Paphlagonians were commanded by stout-hearted Pylaemanes from

Enetae, where the mules run wild in herds. These were they that held

Cytorus and the country round Sesamus, with the cities by the river

Parthenius, Cromna, Aegialus, and lofty Erithini.

Odius and Epistrophus were captains over the Halizoni from distant

Alybe, where there are mines of silver.

Chromis, and Ennomus the augur, led the Mysians, but his skill in

augury availed not to save him from destruction, for he fell by the

hand of the fleet descendant of Aeacus in the river, where he slew

others also of the Trojans.

Phorcys, again, and noble Ascanius led the Phrygians from the far

country of Ascania, and both were eager for the fray.

Mesthles and Antiphus commanded the Meonians, sons of Talaemenes,

born to him of the Gygaean lake. These led the Meonians, who dwelt

under Mt. 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


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


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 Achaeans."

The old man trembled as he heard, but bade his followers yoke the

horses, and they made all haste to do so. He mounted the chariot,

gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor took his seat beside

him; they then drove through the Scaean gates on to the plain. When

they reached the ranks of the Trojans and Achaeans they left the

chariot, and with measured pace advanced into the space between the


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 Achaeans."

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


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


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 it."

With this he left them and went onward to Nestor, the facile speaker

of the Pylians, who was marshalling his men and urging them on, in

company with Pelagon, Alastor, Chromius, Haemon, and Bias shepherd

of his people. He placed his knights with their chariots and horses in

the front rank, while the foot-soldiers, brave men and many, whom he

could trust, were in the rear. The cowards he drove into the middle,

that they might fight whether they would or no. He gave his orders

to the knights first, bidding them hold their horses well in hand,

so as to avoid confusion. "Let no man," he said, "relying on his

strength or horsemanship, get before the others and engage singly with

the Trojans, nor yet let him lag behind or you will weaken your

attack; but let each when he meets an enemy's chariot throw his

spear from his own; this be much the best; this is how the men of

old took towns and strongholds; in this wise were they minded."

Thus did the old man charge them, for he had been in many a fight,

and King Agamemnon was glad. "I wish," he said to him, that your limbs

were as supple and your strength as sure as your judgment is; but age,

the common enemy of mankind, has laid his hand upon you; would that it

had fallen upon some other, and that you were still young."

And Nestor, knight of Gerene, answered, "Son of Atreus, I too

would gladly be the man I was when I slew mighty Ereuthalion; but

the gods will not give us everything at one and the same time. I was

then young, and now I am old; still I can go with my knights and

give them that counsel which old men have a right to give. The

wielding of the spear I leave to those who are younger and stronger

than myself."

Agamemnon went his way rejoicing, and presently found Menestheus,

son of Peteos, tarrying in his place, and with him were the

Athenians loud of tongue in battle. Near him also tarried cunning

Ulysses, with his sturdy Cephallenians round him; they had not yet

heard the battle-cry, for the ranks of Trojans and Achaeans had only

just begun to move, so they were standing still, waiting for some

other columns of the Achaeans to attack the Trojans and begin the

fighting. When he saw this Agamemnon rebuked them and said, "Son of

Peteos, and you other, steeped in cunning, heart of guile, why stand

you here cowering and waiting on others? You two should be of all

men foremost when there is hard fighting to be done, for you are

ever foremost to accept my invitation when we councillors of the

Achaeans are holding feast. You are glad enough then to take your fill

of roast meats and to drink wine as long as you please, whereas now

you would not care though you saw ten columns of Achaeans engage the

enemy in front of you."

Ulysses glared at him and answered, "Son of Atreus, what are you

talking about? How can you say that we are slack? When the Achaeans

are in full fight with the Trojans, you shall see, if you care to do

so, that the father of Telemachus will join battle with the foremost

of them. You are talking idly."

When Agamemnon saw that Ulysses was angry, he smiled pleasantly at

him and withdrew his words. "Ulysses," said he, "noble son of Laertes,

excellent in all good counsel, I have neither fault to find nor orders

to give you, for I know your heart is right, and that you and I are of

a mind. Enough; I will make you amends for what I have said, and if

any ill has now been spoken may the gods bring it to nothing."

He then left them and went on to others. Presently he saw the son of

Tydeus, noble Diomed, standing by his chariot and horses, with

Sthenelus the son of Capaneus beside him; whereon he began to

upbraid him. "Son of Tydeus," he said, "why stand you cowering here

upon the brink of battle? Tydeus did not shrink thus, but was ever

ahead of his men when leading them on against the foe- so, at least,

say they that saw him in battle, for I never set eyes upon him myself.

They say that there was no man like him. He came once to Mycenae,

not as an enemy but as a guest, in company with Polynices to recruit

his forces, for they were levying war against the strong city of

Thebes, and prayed our people for a body of picked men to help them.

The men of Mycenae were willing to let them have one, but Jove

dissuaded them by showing them unfavourable omens. Tydeus,

therefore, and Polynices went their way. When they had got as far

the deep-meadowed and rush-grown banks of the Aesopus, the Achaeans

sent Tydeus as their envoy, and he found the Cadmeans gathered in

great numbers to a banquet in the house of Eteocles. Stranger though

he was, he knew no fear on finding himself single-handed among so

many, but challenged them to contests of all kinds, and in each one of

them was at once victorious, so mightily did Minerva help him. The

Cadmeans were incensed at his success, and set a force of fifty youths

with two captains- the godlike hero Maeon, son of Haemon, and

Polyphontes, son of Autophonus- at their head, to lie in wait for

him on his return journey; but Tydeus slew every man of them, save

only Maeon, whom he let go in obedience to heaven's omens. Such was

Tydeus of Aetolia. His son can talk more glibly, but he cannot fight

as his father did."

Diomed made no answer, for he was shamed by the rebuke of Agamemnon;

but the son of Capaneus took up his words and said, "Son of Atreus,

tell no lies, for you can speak truth if you will. We boast

ourselves as even better men than our fathers; we took seven-gated

Thebes, though the wall was stronger and our men were fewer in number,

for we trusted in the omens of the gods and in the help of Jove,

whereas they perished through their own sheer folly; hold not, then,

our fathers in like honour with us."

Diomed looked sternly at him and said, "Hold your peace, my

friend, as I bid you. It is not amiss that Agamemnon should urge the

Achaeans forward, for the glory will be his if we take the city, and

his the shame if we are vanquished. Therefore let us acquit

ourselves with valour."

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


First Antilochus slew an armed warrior of the Trojans, Echepolus,

son of Thalysius, fighting in the foremost ranks. He struck at the

projecting part of his helmet and drove the spear into his brow; the

point of bronze pierced the bone, and darkness veiled his eyes;

headlong as a tower he fell amid the press of the fight, and as he

dropped King Elephenor, son of Chalcodon and captain of the proud

Abantes began dragging him out of reach of the darts that were falling

around him, in haste to strip him of his armour. But his purpose was

not for long; Agenor saw him haling the body away, and smote him in

the side with his bronze-shod spear- for as he stooped his side was

left unprotected by his shield- and thus he perished. Then the fight

between Trojans and Achaeans grew furious over his body, and they flew

upon each other like wolves, man and man crushing one upon the other.

Forthwith Ajax, son of Telamon, slew the fair youth Simoeisius,

son of Anthemion, whom his mother bore by the banks of the Simois,

as she was coming down from Mt. Ida, where she had been with her

parents to see their flocks. Therefore he was named Simoeisius, but he

did not live to pay his parents for his rearing, for he was cut off

untimely by the spear of mighty Ajax, who struck him in the breast

by the right nipple as he was coming on among the foremost fighters;

the spear went right through his shoulder, and he fell as a poplar

that has grown straight and tall in a meadow by some mere, and its top

is thick with branches. Then the wheelwright lays his axe to its roots

that he may fashion a felloe for the wheel of some goodly chariot, and

it lies seasoning by the waterside. In such wise did Ajax fell to

earth Simoeisius, son of Anthemion. Thereon Antiphus of the gleaming

corslet, son of Priam, hurled a spear at Ajax from amid the crowd

and missed him, but he hit Leucus, the brave comrade of Ulysses, in

the groin, as he was dragging the body of Simoeisius over to the other

side; so he fell upon the body and loosed his hold upon it. Ulysses

was furious when he saw Leucus slain, and strode in full armour

through the front ranks till he was quite close; then he glared

round about him and took aim, and the Trojans fell back as he did

so. His dart was not sped in vain, for it struck Democoon, the bastard

son of Priam, who had come to him from Abydos, where he had charge

of his father's mares. Ulysses, infuriated by the death of his

comrade, hit him with his spear on one temple, and the bronze point

came through on the other side of his forehead. Thereon darkness

veiled his eyes, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell

heavily to the ground. Hector, and they that were in front, then

gave round while the Argives raised a shout and drew off the dead,

pressing further forward as they did so. But Apollo looked down from

Pergamus and called aloud to the Trojans, for he was displeased.

"Trojans," he cried, "rush on the foe, and do not let yourselves be

thus beaten by the Argives. Their skins are not stone nor iron that

when hit them you do them no harm. Moreover, Achilles, the son of

lovely Thetis, is not fighting, but is nursing his anger at the


Thus spoke the mighty god, crying to them from the city, while

Jove's redoubtable daughter, the Trito-born, went about among the host

of the Achaeans, and urged them forward whenever she beheld them


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 them.

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


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 spear."

They then mounted the chariot and drove full-speed towards the son

of Tydeus. Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, saw them coming and said to

Diomed, "Diomed, son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, I see two

heroes speeding towards you, both of them men of might the one a

skilful archer, Pandarus son of Lycaon, the other, Aeneas, whose

sire is Anchises, while his mother is Venus. Mount the chariot and let

us retreat. Do not, I pray you, press so furiously forward, or you may

get 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 Tydeus.

Now the son of Tydeus was in pursuit of the Cyprian goddess, spear

in hand, for he knew her to be feeble and not one of those goddesses

that can lord it among men in battle like Minerva or Enyo the waster

of cities, and when at last after a long chase he caught her up, he

flew at her and thrust his spear into the flesh of her delicate

hand. The point tore through the ambrosial robe which the Graces had

woven for her, and pierced the skin between her wrist and the palm

of her hand, so that the immortal blood, or ichor, that flows in the

veins of the blessed gods, came pouring from the wound; for the gods

do not eat bread nor drink wine, hence they have no blood such as

ours, and are immortal. Venus screamed aloud, and let her son fall,

but Phoebus Apollo caught him in his arms, and hid him in a cloud of

darkness, lest some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast and

kill him; and Diomed shouted out as he left her, "Daughter of Jove,

leave war and battle alone, can you not be contented with beguiling

silly women? If you meddle with fighting you will get what will make

you shudder at the very name of war."

The goddess went dazed and discomfited away, and Iris, fleet as

the wind, drew her from the throng, in pain and with her fair skin all

besmirched. She found fierce Mars waiting on the left of the battle,

with his spear and his two fleet steeds resting on a cloud; whereon

she fell on her knees before her brother and implored him to let her

have his horses. "Dear brother," she cried, "save me, and give me your

horses to take me to Olympus where the gods dwell. I am badly

wounded by a mortal, the son of Tydeus, who would now fight even

with father 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 brooch."

The sire of gods and men smiled, and called golden Venus to his

side. "My child," said he, "it has not been given you to be a warrior.

Attend, henceforth, to your own delightful matrimonial duties, and

leave all this fighting to Mars and to Minerva."

Thus did they converse. But Diomed sprang upon Aeneas, though he

knew him to be in the very arms of Apollo. Not one whit did he fear

the mighty god, so set was he on killing Aeneas and stripping him of

his armour. Thrice did he spring forward with might and main to slay

him, and thrice did Apollo beat back his gleaming shield. When he

was coming on for the fourth time, as though he were a god, Apollo

shouted to him with an awful voice and said, "Take heed, son of

Tydeus, and draw off; think not to match yourself against gods, for

men that walk the earth cannot hold their own with the immortals."

The son of Tydeus then gave way for a little space, to avoid the

anger of the god, while Apollo took Aeneas out of the crowd and set

him in sacred Pergamus, where his temple stood. There, within the

mighty sanctuary, Latona and Diana healed him and made him glorious to

behold, while Apollo of the silver bow fashioned a wraith in the

likeness of Aeneas, and armed as he was. Round this the Trojans and

Achaeans hacked at the bucklers about one another's breasts, hewing

each other's round shields and light hide-covered targets. Then

Phoebus Apollo said to Mars, "Mars, Mars, bane of men, blood-stained

stormer of cities, can you not go to this man, the son of Tydeus,

who would now fight even with father Jove, and draw him out of the

battle? He first went up to the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand

near her wrist, and afterwards sprang upon me too, as though he were a


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


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


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


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


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 glad.'"

With this he laid the child again in the arms of his wife, who

took him to her own soft bosom, smiling through her tears. As her

husband watched her his heart yearned towards her and he caressed

her fondly, saying, "My own wife, do not take these things too

bitterly to heart. No one can hurry me down to Hades before my time,

but if a man's hour is come, be he brave or be he coward, there is

no escape for him when he has once been born. Go, then, within the

house, and busy yourself with your daily duties, your loom, your

distaff, and the ordering of your servants; for war is man's matter,

and mine above all others of them that have been born in Ilius."

He took his plumed helmet from the ground, and his wife went back

again to her house, weeping bitterly and often looking back towards

him. When she reached her home she found her maidens within, and

bade them all join in her lament; so they mourned Hector in his own

house though he was yet alive, for they deemed that they should

never see him return safe from battle, and from the furious hands of

the Achaeans.

Paris did not remain long in his house. He donned his goodly

armour overlaid with bronze, and hasted through the city as fast as

his feet could take him. As a horse, stabled and fed, breaks loose and

gallops gloriously over the plain to the place where he is wont to

bathe in the fair-flowing river- he holds his head high, and his

mane streams upon his shoulders as he exults in his strength and flies

like the wind to the haunts and feeding ground of the mares- even so

went forth Paris from high Pergamus, gleaming like sunlight in his

armour, and he laughed aloud as he sped swiftly on his way.

Forthwith he came upon his brother Hector, who was then turning away

from the place where he had held converse with his wife, and he was

himself the first to speak. "Sir," said he, "I fear that I have kept

you waiting when you are in haste, and have not come as quickly as you

bade me."

"My good brother," answered Hector, you fight bravely, and no man

with any justice can make light of your doings in battle. But you

are careless and wilfully remiss. It grieves me to the heart to hear

the ill that the Trojans speak about you, for they have suffered

much on your account. Let us be going, and we will make things right

hereafter, should Jove vouchsafe us to set the cup of our

deliverance before ever-living gods of heaven in our own homes, when

we have chased the Achaeans from Troy."


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


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


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


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


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


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 hand."

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 stakes.

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 effaced."

Thus did they converse, and by sunset the work of the Achaeans was

completed; they then slaughtered oxen at their tents and got their

supper. Many ships had come with wine from Lemnos, sent by Euneus

the son of Jason, born to him by Hypsipyle. The son of Jason freighted

them with ten thousand measures of wine, which he sent specially to

the sons of Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus. From this supply the

Achaeans bought their wine, some with bronze, some with iron, some

with hides, some with whole heifers, and some again with captives.

They spread a goodly banquet and feasted the whole night through, as

also did the Trojans and their allies in the city. But all the time

Jove boded them ill and roared with his portentous thunder. Pale

fear got hold upon them, and they spilled the wine from their cups

on to the ground, nor did any dare drink till he had made offerings to

the most mighty son of Saturn. Then they laid themselves down to

rest and enjoyed the boon of sleep.


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


"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 BOOK 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


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


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.

glad when he saw

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


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


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 me."

Then Nestor answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men,

Agamemnon. The gifts you offer are no small ones, let us then send

chosen messengers, who may go to the tent of Achilles son of Peleus

without delay. Let those go whom I shall name. Let Phoenix, dear to

Jove, lead the way; let Ajax and Ulysses follow, and let the heralds

Odius and Eurybates go with them. Now bring water for our hands, and

bid all keep silence while we pray to Jove the son of Saturn, if so be

that he may have mercy upon us."

Thus did he speak, and his saying pleased them well. Men-servants

poured water over the hands of the guests, while pages filled the

mixing-bowls with wine and water, and handed it round after giving

every man his drink-offering; then, when they had made their

offerings, and had drunk each as much as he was minded, the envoys set

out from the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus; and Nestor, looking

first to one and then to another, but most especially at Ulysses,

was instant with them that they should prevail with the noble son of


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


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 boar.

"So long as Meleager was in the field things went badly with the

Curetes, and for all their numbers they could not hold their ground

under the city walls; but in the course of time Meleager was angered

as even a wise man will sometimes be. He was incensed with his

mother Althaea, and therefore stayed at home with his wedded wife fair

Cleopatra, who was daughter of Marpessa daughter of Euenus, and of

Ides the man then living. He it was who took his bow and faced King

Apollo himself for fair Marpessa's sake; her father and mother then

named her Alcyone, because her mother had mourned with the plaintive

strains of the halcyon-bird when Phoebus Apollo had carried her off.

Meleager, then, stayed at home with Cleopatra, nursing the anger which

he felt by reason of his mother's curses. His mother, grieving for the

death of her brother, prayed the gods, and beat the earth with her

hands, calling upon Hades and on awful Proserpine; she went down

upon her knees and her bosom was wet with tears as she prayed that

they would kill her son- and Erinys that walks in darkness and knows

no ruth heard her from Erebus.

"Then was heard the din of battle about the gates of Calydon, and

the dull thump of the battering against their walls. Thereon the

elders of the Aetolians besought Meleager; they sent the chiefest of

their priests, and begged him to come out and help them, promising him

a great reward. They bade him choose fifty plough-gates, the most

fertile in the plain of Calydon, the one-half vineyard and the other

open plough-land. The old warrior Oeneus implored him, standing at the

threshold of his room and beating the doors in supplication. His

sisters and his mother herself besought him sore, but he the more

refused them; those of his comrades who were nearest and dearest to

him also prayed him, but they could not move him till the foe was

battering at the very doors of his chamber, and the Curetes had scaled

the walls and were setting fire to the city. Then at last his

sorrowing wife detailed the horrors that befall those whose city is

taken; she reminded him how the men are slain, and the city is given

over to the flames, while the women and children are carried into

captivity; when he heard all this, his heart was touched, and he

donned his armour to go forth. Thus of his own inward motion he

saved the city of the Aetolians; but they now gave him nothing of

those rich rewards that they had offered earlier, and though he

saved the city he took nothing by it. Be not then, my son, thus

minded; let not heaven lure you into any such course. When the ships

are burning it will be a harder matter to save them. Take the gifts,

and go, for the Achaeans will then honour you as a god; whereas if you

fight without taking them, you may beat the battle back, but you

will not be held in like honour."

And Achilles answered, "Phoenix, old friend and father, I have no

need of such honour. I have honour from Jove himself, which will abide

with me at my ships while I have breath in my body, and my limbs are

strong. I say further- and lay my saying to your heart- vex me no more

with this weeping and lamentation, all in the cause of the son of

Atreus. Love him so well, and you may lose the love I bear you. You

ought to help me rather in troubling those that trouble me; be king as

much as I am, and share like honour with myself; the others shall take

my answer; stay here yourself and sleep comfortably in your bed; at

daybreak we will consider whether to remain or go."

On this 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 Achaeans."

"Ajax," replied Achilles, "noble son of Telamon, you have spoken

much to my liking, but my blood boils when I think it all over, and

remember how the son of Atreus treated me with contumely as though I

were some vile tramp, and that too in the presence of the Argives. Go,

then, and deliver your message; say that I will have no concern with

fighting till Hector, son of noble Priam, reaches the tents of the

Myrmidons in his murderous course, and flings fire upon their ships.

For all his lust of battle, I take it he will be held in check when he

is at my own tent and ship."

On this they took every man his double cup, made their

drink-offerings, and went back to the ships, Ulysses leading the

way. But Patroclus told his men and the maid-servants to make ready

a comfortable bed for Phoenix; they therefore did so with

sheepskins, a rug, and a sheet of fine linen. The old man then laid

himself down and waited till morning came. But Achilles slept in an

inner room, and beside him the daughter of Phorbas lovely Diomede,

whom he had carried off from Lesbos. Patroclus lay on the other side

of the room, and with him fair Iphis whom Achilles had given him

when he took Scyros the city of Enyeus.

When the envoys reached the tents of the son of Atreus, the Achaeans

rose, pledged them in cups of gold, and began to question them. King

Agamemnon was the first to do so. Tell me, Ulysses," said he, "will he

save the ships from burning, or did 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


And Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, son of Neleus, honour to the

Achaean name, it is I, Agamemnon son of Atreus, on whom Jove has

laid labour and sorrow so long as there is breath in my body and my

limbs carry me. I am thus abroad because sleep sits not upon my

eyelids, but my heart is big with war and with the jeopardy of the

Achaeans. I am in great fear for the Danaans. I am at sea, and without

sure counsel; my heart beats as though it would leap out of my body,

and my limbs fail me. If then you can do anything- for you too

cannot sleep- let us go the round of the watch, and see whether they

are drowsy with toil and sleeping to the neglect of their duty. The

enemy is encamped hard and we know not but he may attack us by night."

Nestor replied, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon,

Jove will not do all for Hector that Hector thinks he will; he will

have troubles yet in plenty if Achilles will lay aside his anger. I

will go with you, and we will rouse others, either the son of

Tydeus, or Ulysses, or fleet Ajax and the valiant son of Phyleus. Some

one had also better go and call Ajax and King Idomeneus, for their

ships are not near at hand but the farthest of all. I cannot however

refrain from blaming Menelaus, much as I love him and respect him- and

I will say so plainly, even at the risk of offending you- for sleeping

and leaving all this trouble to yourself. He ought to be going about

imploring aid from all the princes of the Achaeans, for we are in

extreme danger."

And Agamemnon answered, "Sir, you may sometimes blame him justly,

for he is often remiss and unwilling to exert himself- not indeed from

sloth, nor yet heedlessness, but because he looks to me and expects me

to take the lead. On this occasion, however, he was awake before I

was, and came to me of his own accord. I have already sent him to call

the very men whom you have named. And now let us be going. We shall

find them with the watch outside the gates, for it was there I said

that we would meet them."

"In that case," answered Nestor, "the Argives will not blame him nor

disobey his orders when he urges them to fight or gives them


With this he put on his shirt, and bound his sandals about his

comely feet. He buckled on his purple coat, of two thicknesses, large,

and of a rough shaggy texture, grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod

spear, and wended his way along the line of the Achaean ships. First

he called loudly to Ulysses peer of gods in counsel and woke him,

for he was soon roused by the sound of the battle-cry. He came outside

his tent and said, "Why do you go thus alone about the host, and along

the line of the ships in the stillness of the night? What is it that

you find so urgent?" And Nestor knight of Gerene answered, "Ulysses,

noble son of Laertes, take it not amiss, for the Achaeans are in great

straits. Come with me and let us wake some other, who may advise

well with us whether we shall fight or fly."

On this Ulysses went at once into his tent, put his shield about his

shoulders and came out with them. First they went to Diomed son of

Tydeus, and found him outside his tent clad in his armour with his

comrades sleeping round him and using their shields as pillows; as for

their spears, they stood upright on the spikes of their butts that

were driven into the ground, and the burnished bronze flashed afar

like the lightning of father Jove. The hero was sleeping upon the skin

of an ox, with a piece of fine carpet under his head; Nestor went up

to him and stirred him with his heel to rouse him, upbraiding him

and urging him to bestir himself. "Wake up," he exclaimed, "son of

Tydeus. How can you sleep on in this way? Can you not see that the

Trojans are encamped on the brow of the plain hard by our ships,

with but a little space between us and them?"

On these words Diomed leaped up instantly and said, "Old man, your

heart is of iron; you rest not one moment from your labours. Are there

no younger men among the Achaeans who could go about to rouse the

princes? There is no tiring you."

And Nestor knight of Gerene made answer, "My son, all that you

have said is true. I have good sons, and also much people who might

call the chieftains, but the Achaeans are in the gravest danger;

life and death are balanced as it were on the edge of a razor. Go

then, for you are younger than I, and of your courtesy rouse Ajax

and the fleet son of 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 another.

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


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


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


"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 sun."

When she had thus spoken Iris left him, and Hector sprang full armed

from his chariot to the ground, brandishing his spear as he went about

everywhere among the host, cheering his men on to fight, and

stirring the dread strife of battle. The Trojans then wheeled round,

and again met the Achaeans, while the Argives on their part

strengthened their battalions. The battle was now in array and they

stood face to face with one another, Agamemnon ever pressing forward

in his eagerness to be ahead of all others.

Tell me now ye Muses that dwell in the mansions of Olympus, who,

whether of the Trojans or of their allies, was first to face

Agamemnon? It was Iphidamas son of Antenor, a man both brave and of

great stature, who was brought up in fertile Thrace the mother of

sheep. Cisses, his mother's father, brought him up in his own house

when he was a child- Cisses, father to fair Theano. When he reached

manhood, Cisses would have kept him there, and was for giving him

his daughter in marriage, but as soon as he had married he set out

to fight the Achaeans with twelve ships that followed him: these he

had left at Percote and had come on by land to Ilius. He it was that

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


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


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 him."

Thus he spoke, but Ulysses came up and stood over him. Under this

cover he sat down to draw the arrow from his foot, and sharp was the

pain he suffered as he did so. Then he sprang on to his chariot and

bade the charioteer drive him to the ships, for he was sick at heart.

Ulysses was now alone; not one of the Argives stood by him, for they

were all panic-stricken. "Alas," said he to himself in his dismay,

"what will become of me? It is ill if I turn and fly before these

odds, but it will be worse if I am left alone and taken prisoner,

for the son of Saturn has struck the rest of the Danaans with panic.

But why talk to myself in this way? Well do I know that though cowards

quit the field, a hero, whether he wound or be wounded, must stand

firm and hold his own."

While he was thus in two minds, the ranks of the Trojans advanced

and hemmed him in, and bitterly did they come to 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 portent."

Hector looked fiercely at him and said, "Polydamas, I like not of

your reading. You can find a better saying than this if you will.

If, however, you have spoken in good earnest, then indeed has heaven

robbed you of your reason. You would have me pay no heed to the

counsels of Jove, nor to the promises he made me- and he bowed his

head in confirmation; you bid me be ruled rather by the flight of

wild-fowl. What care I whether they fly towards dawn or dark, and

whether they be on my right hand or on my left? Let us put our trust

rather in the counsel of great Jove, king of mortals and immortals.

There is one omen, and one only- that a man should fight for his

country. Why are you so fearful? Though we be all of us slain at the

ships of the Argives you are not likely to be killed yourself, for you

are not steadfast nor courageous. If you will. not fight, or would

talk others over from doing so, you shall fall forthwith before my


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 him."

Great Ajax, son of Telamon, heeded the message, and at once spoke to

the son of Oileus. "Ajax," said he, "do you two, yourself and brave

Lycomedes, stay here and keep the Danaans in heart to fight their

hardest. I will go over yonder, and bear my part in the fray, but I

will come back here at once as soon as I have given them the help they


With this, Ajax son of Telamon set off, and Teucer his brother by

the same father went also, with Pandion to carry Teucer's bow. They

went along inside the wall, and when they came to the tower where

Menestheus was (and hard pressed indeed did they find him) the brave

captains and leaders of the Lycians were storming the battlements as

it were a thick dark cloud, fighting in close quarters, and raising

the battle-cry 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 them.

And now Idomeneus, though his hair was already flecked with grey,

called loud on the Danaans and spread panic among the Trojans as he

leaped in among them. He slew Othryoneus from Cabesus, a sojourner,

who had but lately come to take part in the war. He sought Cassandra

the fairest of Priam's daughters in marriage, but offered no gifts

of wooing, for he promised a great thing, to wit, that he would

drive the sons of the Achaeans willy nilly from Troy; old King Priam

had given his consent and promised her to him, whereon he fought on

the strength of the promises thus made to him. Idomeneus aimed a

spear, and hit him as he came striding on. His cuirass of bronze did

not protect him, and the spear stuck in his belly, so that he fell

heavily to the ground. Then Idomeneus vaunted over him saying,

"Othryoneus, there is no one in the world whom I shall admire more

than I do you, if you indeed perform what you have promised Priam

son of Dardanus in return for his daughter. We too will make you an

offer; we will give you the loveliest daughter of the son of Atreus,

and will bring her from Argos for you to marry, if you will sack the

goodly city of Ilius in company with ourselves; so come along with me,

that we may make a covenant at the ships about the marriage, and we

will not be hard upon you about gifts of wooing."

With this Idomeneus began dragging him by the foot through the thick

of the fight, but Asius came up to protect the body, on foot, in front

of his horses which his esquire drove so close behind him that he

could feel their 'breath upon his shoulder. He was longing to strike

down Idomeneus, but ere he could do so Idomeneus smote him with his

spear in the throat under the chin, and the bronze point went clean

through it. He fell as an oak, or poplar, or pine which shipwrights

have felled for ship's timber upon the mountains with whetted axes-

even thus did he lie full length in front of his chariot and horses,

grinding his teeth and clutching at the bloodstained 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 arm.

The others still fought on, and the battle-cry rose to heaven

without ceasing. Aeneas sprang on Aphareus son of Caletor, and

struck him with a spear in his throat which was turned towards him;

his head fell on one side, his helmet and shield came down along

with him, and death, life's foe, was shed around him. Antilochus spied

his chance, flew forward towards Thoon, and wounded him as he was

turning round. He laid open the vein that runs all the way up the back

to the neck; he cut this vein clean away throughout its whole

course, and Thoon fell in the dust face upwards, stretching out his

hands imploringly towards his comrades. Antilochus sprang upon him and

stripped the armour from his shoulders, glaring round him fearfully as

he did so. The Trojans came about him on every side and struck his

broad and gleaming shield, but could not wound his body, for Neptune

stood guard over the son of Nestor, though the darts fell thickly

round him. He was never clear of the foe, but was always in the

thick of the fight; his spear was never idle; he poised and aimed it

in every direction, so eager was he to hit 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 longer."

Thus spoke Polydamas, and his words pleased Hector well. He sprang

in full armour from his chariot and said, "Polydamas, gather the

chieftains here; I will go yonder into the fight, but will return at

once when I have given them their orders."

He then sped onward, towering like a snowy mountain, and with a loud

cry flew through the ranks of the Trojans and their allies. When

they heard his voice they all hastened to gather round Polydamas the

excellent son of Panthous, but Hector kept on among the foremost,

looking everywhere to find Deiphobus and prince Helenus, Adamas son of

Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus; living, indeed, and scatheless he

could no longer find them, for the two last were lying by the sterns

of the Achaean ships, slain by the Argives, while the others had

been also stricken and wounded by them; but upon the left wing of

the dread battle he found Alexandrus, husband of lovely Helen,

cheering his men and urging them on to fight. He went up to him and

upbraided him. "Paris," said he, "evil-hearted Paris, fair to see

but woman-mad and false of tongue, where are Deiphobus and King

Helenus? Where are Adamas son of Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus?

Where too is Othryoneus? Ilius is undone and will now surely fall!"

Alexandrus answered, "Hector, why find fault when there is no one to

find fault with? I should hold aloof from battle on any day rather

than this, for my mother bore me with nothing of the coward about

me. From the moment when you set our men fighting about the ships we

have been staying here and doing battle with the Danaans. Our comrades

about whom you ask me are dead; Deiphobus and King Helenus alone

have left the field, wounded both of them in the hand, but the son

of Saturn saved them alive. Now, therefore, lead on where you would

have us go, and we will follow with right goodwill; you shall not find

us fail you in so far as our strength holds out, but no man can do

more than in him lies, no matter how willing he may be."

With these words he satisfied his brother, and the two went

towards the part of the battle where the fight was thickest, about

Cebriones, brave Polydamas, Phalces, Orthaeus, godlike Polyphetes,

Palmys, Ascanius, and Morys son of Hippotion, who had come from

fertile Ascania on the preceding day to relieve other troops. Then

Jove urged them on to fight. They flew forth like the blasts of some

fierce wind that strike earth in the van of a thunderstorm- they

buffet the salt sea into an uproar; many and mighty are the great

waves that come crashing in one after the other upon the shore with

their arching heads all crested with foam- even so did rank behind

rank of Trojans arrayed in gleaming armour follow their leaders

onward. The way was led by Hector son of Priam, peer of murderous

Mars, with his round shield before him- his shield of ox-hides covered

with plates of bronze- and his gleaming helmet upon his temples. He

kept stepping forward under cover of his shield in every direction,

making trial of the ranks to see if they would give way 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


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


When she heard this Juno smiled, and still smiling she laid the

girdle in her bosom.

Venus now went back into the house of Jove, while Juno darted down

from the summits of Olympus. She passed over Pieria and fair

Emathia, and went on and on till she came to the snowy ranges of the

Thracian horsemen, over whose topmost crests she sped without ever

setting foot to ground. When she came to Athos she went on over the,

waves of the sea till she reached Lemnos, the city of noble Thoas.

There she met Sleep, own brother to Death, and caught him by the hand,

saying, "Sleep, you who lord it alike over mortals and immortals, if

you ever did me a service in times past, do one for me now, and I

shall be grateful to you ever after. Close Jove's keen eyes for me

in slumber while I hold him clasped in my embrace, and I will give you

a beautiful golden seat, that can never fall to pieces; my

clubfooted son Vulcan shall make it for you, and he shall give it a

footstool for you to rest your fair feet upon when you are at table."

Then Sleep answered, "Juno, great queen of goddesses, daughter of

mighty Saturn, I would lull any other of the gods to sleep without

compunction, not even excepting the waters of Oceanus from whom all of

them proceed, but I dare not go near Jove, nor send him to sleep

unless he bids me. I have had one lesson already through doing what

you asked me, on the day when Jove's mighty son Hercules set sail from

Ilius after having sacked the city of the Trojans. At your bidding I

suffused my sweet self over the mind of aegis-bearing Jove, and laid

him to rest; meanwhile you hatched a plot against Hercules, and set

the blasts of the angry winds beating upon the sea, till you took

him to the goodly city of Cos away from all his friends. Jove was

furious when he awoke, and began hurling the gods about all over the

house; he was looking more particularly for myself, and would have

flung me down through space into the sea where I should never have

been heard of any more, had not Night who cows both men and gods

protected me. I fled to her and Jove left off looking for me in

spite of his being so angry, for he did not dare do anything to

displease Night. And now you are again asking me to do something on

which I cannot venture."

And Juno said, "Sleep, why do you take such notions as those into

your head? Do you think Jove will be as anxious to help the Trojans,

as he was about his own son? Come, I will marry you to one of the

youngest of the Graces, and she shall be your own- Pasithea, whom

you have always wanted to marry."

Sleep was pleased when he heard this, and answered, "Then swear it

to me by the dread waters of the river Styx; lay one hand on the

bounteous earth, and the other on the sheen of the sea, so that all

the gods who dwell down below with Saturn may be our witnesses, and

see that you really do give me one of the youngest of the Graces-

Pasithea, whom I have always wanted to marry."

Juno did as he had said. She swore, and invoked all the gods of

the nether world, who are called Titans, to witness. When she had

completed her oath, the two enshrouded themselves in a thick mist

and sped lightly forward, leaving Lemnos and Imbrus behind them.

Presently they reached many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, and

Lectum where they left the sea to go on by land, and the tops of the

trees of the forest soughed under the going of their feet. Here

Sleep halted, and ere Jove caught sight of him he climbed a lofty

pine-tree- the tallest that reared its head towards heaven on all Ida.

He hid himself behind the branches and sat there in the semblance of

the sweet-singing bird that haunts the mountains and is called Chalcis

by the gods, but men call it Cymindis. Juno then went to Gargarus, the

topmost peak of Ida, and Jove, driver of the clouds, set eyes upon

her. As soon as he did so he became inflamed with the same

passionate desire for her that he had felt when they had first enjoyed

each other's embraces, and slept with one another without their dear

parents knowing anything about it. He went up to her and said, "What

do you want that you have come hither from Olympus- and that too

with neither chariot nor horses to convey 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 you."

Juno again answered him with a lying tale. "Most dread son of

Saturn," she exclaimed, "what are you talking about? Would you have us

enjoy one another here on the top of Mount Ida, where everything can

be seen? What if one of the ever-living gods should see us sleeping

together, and tell the others? It would be such a scandal that when

I had risen from your embraces I could never show myself inside your

house again; but if you are so minded, there is a room which your

son Vulcan has made me, and he has given it good strong doors; if

you would so have it, let us go thither and lie down."

And Jove answered, "Juno, you need not be afraid that either god

or man will see you, for I will enshroud both of us in such a dense

golden cloud, that the very sun for all his bright piercing beams

shall not see through it."

With this the son of Saturn caught his wife in his embrace;

whereon the earth sprouted them a cushion of young grass, with

dew-bespangled lotus, crocus, and hyacinth, so soft and thick that

it raised them well above the ground. Here they laid themselves down

and overhead they were covered by a fair cloud of gold, from which

there fell glittering dew-drops.

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


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


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 you?"

And Juno answered, "Themis, do not ask me about it. You know what

a proud and cruel disposition my husband has. Lead the gods to

table, where you and all the immortals can hear the wicked designs

which he has avowed. Many a one, mortal and immortal, will be

angered by them, however peaceably he may be feasting now."

On this Juno sat down, and the gods were troubled throughout the

house of Jove. Laughter sat on her lips but her brow was furrowed with

care, and she spoke up in a rage. "Fools that we are," she cried,

"to be thus madly angry with Jove; we keep on wanting to go up to

him and stay him by force or by persuasion, but he sits aloof and

cares for nobody, for he knows that he is much stronger than any other

of the immortals. Make the best, therefore, of whatever ills he may

choose to send each one of you; Mars, I take it, has had a taste of

them already, for his son Ascalaphus has fallen in battle- the man

whom of all others he loved most dearly and whose father he owns

himself to be."

When he heard this Mars smote his two sturdy thighs with the flat of

his hands, and said in anger, "Do not blame me, you gods that dwell in

heaven, if I go to the ships of the Achaeans and avenge the death of

my son, even though it end in my being struck by Jove's lightning

and lying in blood and dust among the corpses."

As he spoke he gave orders to yoke his horses Panic and Rout,

while he put on his armour. On this, Jove would have been roused to

still more fierce and implacable enmity against the other immortals,

had not Minerva, 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


He spoke to Iris first. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, tell King

Neptune what I now bid you- and tell him true. Bid him leave off

fighting, and either join the company of the gods, or go down into the

sea. If he takes no heed and disobeys me, let him consider well

whether he is strong enough to hold his own against me if I attack

him. I am older and much stronger than he is; yet he is not afraid

to set himself up as on a level with myself, of whom all the other

gods stand in awe."

Iris, fleet as the wind, obeyed him, and as the cold hail or

snowflakes that fly from out the clouds before the blast of Boreas,

even so did she wing her way till she came close up to the great

shaker of the earth. Then she said, "I have come, O dark-haired king

that holds the world in his embrace, to bring you a message from Jove.

He bids you leave off fighting, and either join the company of the

gods or go down into the sea; if, however, you take no heed and

disobey him, he says he will come down here and fight you. He would

have you keep out of his reach, for he is older and much stronger than

you are, and yet you are not afraid to set yourself up as on a level

with himself, of whom all the other gods stand in awe."

Neptune was very angry and said, "Great heavens! strong as Jove

may be, he has said more than he can do if he has threatened

violence against me, who am of like honour with himself. We were three

brothers whom Rhea bore to Saturn- Jove, myself, and Hades who rules

the world below. Heaven and earth were divided into three parts, and

each of us was to have an equal share. When we cast lots, it fell to

me to have my dwelling in the sea for evermore; Hades took the

darkness of the realms under the earth, while air and sky and clouds

were the portion that fell to Jove; but earth and great Olympus are

the common property of all. Therefore I will not walk as Jove would

have me. For all his strength, let him keep to his own third share and

be contented without threatening to lay hands upon me as though I were

nobody. Let him keep his bragging talk for his own sons and daughters,

who must perforce obey him.

Iris fleet as the wind then answered, "Am I really, Neptune, to take

this daring and unyielding message to Jove, or will you reconsider

your answer? Sensible people are open to argument, and you know that

the Erinyes always range themselves on the side of the older person."

Neptune answered, "Goddess Iris, your words have been spoken in

season. It is well when a messenger shows so much discretion.

Nevertheless it cuts me to the very heart that any one should rebuke

so angrily another who is his own peer, and of like empire with

himself. Now, however, I will give way in spite of my displeasure;

furthermore let me tell you, and I mean what I say- if contrary to the

desire of myself, Minerva driver of the spoil, Juno, Mercury, and King

Vulcan, Jove spares steep Ilius, and will not let the Achaeans have

the great triumph of sacking it, let him understand that he will incur

our implacable resentment."

Neptune now left the field to go down under the sea, and sorely

did the Achaeans miss him. Then Jove said to Apollo, "Go, dear

Phoebus, to Hector, for Neptune who holds the earth in his embrace has

now gone down under the sea to avoid the severity of my displeasure.

Had he not done so those gods who are below with Saturn would have

come to hear of the fight between us. It is better for both of us that

he should have curbed his anger and kept out of my reach, for I should

have had much trouble with him. Take, then, your tasselled aegis,

and shake it furiously, so as to set the Achaean heroes in a panic;

take, moreover, brave Hector, O Far-Darter, into your own care, and

rouse him to deeds of daring, till the Achaeans are sent flying back

to their ships and to the Hellespont. From that point I will think

it well over, how the Achaeans may have a respite from their


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


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


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


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 confusion.

Thus then were the Achaeans hemmed in at their ships, calling out to

one another and raising their hands with loud cries every man to

heaven. Nestor of Gerene, tower of strength to the Achaeans, lifted up

his hands to the starry firmament of heaven, and prayed more fervently

than any of them. "Father Jove," said he, "if ever any one in

wheat-growing Argos burned you fat thigh-bones of sheep or heifer

and prayed that he might return safely home, whereon you bowed your

head to him in assent, bear it in mind now, and suffer not the Trojans

to triumph thus over the Achaeans."

All counselling Jove thundered loudly in answer to 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 him.

Then Ajax struck Caletor son of Clytius in the chest with a spear as

he was bringing fire towards the ship. He fell heavily to the ground

and the torch dropped from his hand. When Hector saw his cousin fallen

in front of the ship he shouted to the Trojans and Lycians saying,

"Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians good in close fight, bate not a jot,

but rescue the son of Clytius lest the Achaeans strip him of his

armour now that he has fallen."

He then aimed a spear at Ajax, and missed him, but he hit

Lycophron a follower of Ajax, who came from Cythera, but was living

with Ajax inasmuch as he had killed a man among the Cythereans.

Hector's spear struck him on the head below the ear, and he fell

headlong from the ship's prow on to the ground with no life left in

him. Ajax shook with rage and said to his brother, "Teucer, my good

fellow, our trusty comrade the son of Mastor has fallen, he came to

live with us from Cythera and whom we honoured as much as our own

parents. Hector has just killed him; fetch your deadly arrows at

once and the bow which Phoebus Apollo gave you."

Teucer heard him and hastened towards him with his bow and quiver in

his hands. Forthwith he showered his arrows on the Trojans, and hit

Cleitus the son of Pisenor, comrade of Polydamas the noble son of

Panthous, with the reins in his hands as he was attending to his

horses; he was in the middle of the very thickest part of the fight,

doing good service to Hector and the Trojans, but evil had now come

upon him, and not one of those who were fain to do so could avert

it, for the arrow struck him on the back of the neck. He fell from his

chariot and his horses shook the empty car as they swerved aside. King

Polydamas saw what had happened, and was the first to come up to the

horses; he gave them in charge to Astynous son of Protiaon, and

ordered him to look on, and to keep the horses near at hand. He then

went back and took his place in the front ranks.

Teucer then aimed another arrow at Hector, and there would have been

no more fighting at the ships if he had hit him and killed him then

and there: Jove, however, who kept watch over Hector, had his eyes

on Teucer, and deprived him of his triumph, by breaking his

bowstring for him just as he was drawing it and about to take his aim;

on this the arrow went astray and the bow fell from his hands.

Teucer shook with anger and said to his brother, "Alas, see how heaven

thwarts us in all we do; it has broken my bowstring and snatched the

bow from my hand, though I strung it this selfsame morning that it

might serve me for many an arrow."

Ajax son of Telamon answered, "My good fellow, let your bow and your

arrows be, for Jove has made them useless in order to spite the

Danaans. Take your spear, lay your shield upon your shoulder, and both

fight the Trojans yourself and urge others to do so. They may be

successful for the moment but if we fight as we ought they will find

it a hard matter to take the ships."

Teucer then took his bow and put it by in his tent. He hung a shield

four hides thick about his shoulders, and on his comely head he set

his helmet well wrought with a crest of horse-hair that nodded

menacingly above it; he grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod spear, and

forthwith he was by the side of Ajax.

When Hector saw that Teucer's bow was of no more use to him, he

shouted out to the Trojans and Lycians, "Trojans, Lycians, and

Dardanians good in close fight, be men, my friends, and show your

mettle here at the ships, for I see the weapon of one of their

chieftains made useless by the hand of Jove. It is easy to see when

Jove is helping people and means to help them still further, or

again when he is bringing them down and will do nothing for them; he

is now on our side, and is going against the Argives. Therefore

swarm round the ships and fight. If any of you is struck by spear or

sword and loses his life, let him die; he dies with honour who dies

fighting for his country; and he will leave his wife and children safe

behind him, with his house and allotment unplundered if only the

Achaeans can be driven back to their own land, they and their ships."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Ajax on the

other side exhorted his comrades saying, "Shame on you Argives, we are

now utterly undone, unless we can save ourselves by driving the

enemy from our ships. Do you think, if Hector takes them, that you

will be able to get home by land? Can you not hear him cheering on his

whole host to fire our fleet, and bidding them remember that they

are not at a dance but in battle? Our only course is to fight them

with might and main; we had better chance it, life or death, once

for all, than fight long and without issue hemmed in at our ships by

worse men than ourselves."

With these words he put life and soul into them all. Hector then

killed Schedius son of Perimedes, leader of the Phoceans, and Ajax

killed Laodamas captain of foot soldiers and son to Antenor. Polydamas

killed Otus of Cyllene a comrade of the son of Phyleus and chief of

the proud Epeans. When Meges saw this he sprang upon him, but

Polydamas crouched down, and he missed him, for Apollo would not

suffer the son of Panthous to fall in battle; but the spear hit

Croesmus in the middle of his chest, whereon he fell heavily to the

ground, and Meges stripped him of his armour. At that moment the

valiant soldier Dolops son of Lampus sprang upon Lampus was son of

Laomedon and for his valour, while his son Dolops was versed in all

the ways of war. He then struck the middle of the son of Phyleus'

shield with his spear, setting on him at close quarters, but his

good corslet made with plates of metal saved him; Phyleus had

brought it from Ephyra and the river Selleis, where his host, King

Euphetes, had given it him to wear in battle and protect him. It now

served to save the life of his son. Then Meges struck the topmost

crest of Dolops's bronze helmet with his spear and tore away its plume

of horse-hair, so that all newly dyed with scarlet as it was it

tumbled down into the dust. While he was still fighting and

confident of victory, Menelaus came up to help Meges, and got by the

side of Dolops unperceived; he then speared him in the shoulder,

from behind, and the point, driven so furiously, went through into his

chest, whereon he fell headlong. The two then made towards him to

strip him of his armour, but Hector called on all his brothers for

help, and he especially upbraided brave Melanippus son of Hiketaon,

who erewhile used to pasture his herds of cattle in Percote before the

war broke out; but when the ships of the Danaans came, he went back to

Ilius, where he was eminent among the Trojans, and lived near Priam

who treated him as one of his own sons. Hector now rebuked him and

said, "Why, Melanippus, are we thus remiss? do you take no note of the

death of your kinsman, and do you not see how they are trying to

take Dolops's armour? Follow me; there must be no fighting the Argives

from a distance now, but we must do so in close combat till either

we kill them or they take the high wall of Ilius and slay her people."

He led on as he spoke, and the hero Melanippus followed after.

Meanwhile Ajax son of Telamon was cheering on the Argives. "My

friends," he cried, "be men, and fear dishonour; quit yourselves in

battle so as to win respect from one another. Men who respect each

other's good opinion are less likely to be killed than those who do

not, but in flight there is neither gain nor glory."

Thus did he exhort men who were already bent upon driving back the

Trojans. They laid his words to heart and hedged the ships as with a

wall of bronze, while Jove urged on the Trojans. Menelaus of the

loud battle-cry urged Antilochus on. "Antilochus," said he, "you are

young and there is none of the Achaeans more fleet of foot or more

valiant than you are. See if you cannot spring upon some Trojan and

kill him."

He hurried away when he had thus spurred Antilochus, who at once

darted out from the front ranks and aimed a spear, after looking

carefully round him. The Trojans fell back as he threw, and the dart

did not speed from his hand without effect, for it struck Melanippus

the proud son of Hiketaon in the breast by the nipple as he was coming

forward, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily

to the ground. Antilochus sprang upon him as a dog springs on a fawn

which a hunter has hit as it was breaking away from its covert, and

killed it. Even so, O Melanippus, did stalwart Antilochus spring

upon you to strip you of your armour; but noble Hector marked him, and

came running up to him through the thick of the battle. Antilochus,

brave soldier though he was, would not stay to face him, but fled like

some savage creature which knows it has done wrong, and flies, when it

has killed a dog or a man who is herding his cattle, before a body

of men can be gathered to attack it. Even so did the son of Nestor

fly, and the Trojans and Hector with a cry that rent the air

showered their weapons after him; nor did he turn round and stay his

flight till he had reached his 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 flight."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Minerva lifted

the thick veil of darkness from their eyes, and much light fell upon

them, alike on the side of the ships and on that where the fight was

raging. They could see Hector and all his men, both those in the

rear who were taking no part in the battle, and those who were

fighting by the ships.

Ajax could not bring himself to retreat along with the rest, but

strode from deck to deck with a great sea-pike in his hands twelve

cubits long and jointed with rings. As a man skilled in feats of

horsemanship couples four horses together and comes tearing full speed

along the public way from the country into some large town- many

both men and women marvel as they see him for he keeps all the time

changing his horse, springing from one to another without ever missing

his feet while the horses are at a gallop- even so did Ajax go

striding from one ship's deck to another, and his voice went up into

the heavens. He kept on shouting his orders to the Danaans and

exhorting them to defend their ships and tents; neither did Hector

remain within the main body of the Trojan warriors, but as a dun eagle

swoops down upon a flock of wild-fowl feeding near a river-geese, it

may be, or cranes, or long-necked swans- even so did Hector make

straight for a dark-prowed ship, rushing right towards it; for Jove

with his mighty hand impelled him forward, and roused his people to

follow him.

And now the battle again raged furiously at the ships. You would

have thought the men were coming on fresh and unwearied, so fiercely

did they fight; and this was the mind in which they were- the Achaeans

did not believe they should escape destruction but thought

themselves doomed, while there was not a Trojan but his heart beat

high with the hope of firing the ships and putting the Achaean

heroes to the sword.

Thus were the two sides minded. Then Hector seized the stern of

the good ship that had brought Protesilaus to Troy, but never bore him

back to his native land. Round this ship there raged a close

hand-to-hand fight between Danaans and Trojans. They did not fight

at a distance with bows and javelins, but with one mind hacked at

one another in close combat with their mighty swords and spears

pointed at both ends; they fought moreover with keen battle-axes and

with hatchets. Many a good stout blade hilted and scabbarded with

iron, fell from hand or shoulder as they fought, and the earth ran red

with blood. Hector, when he had seized the ship, would not loose his

hold but held on to its curved stern and shouted to the Trojans,

"Bring fire, and raise the battle-cry all of you with a single

voice. Now has Jove vouchsafed us a day that will pay us for all the

rest; this day we shall take the ships which came hither against

heaven's will, and which have caused us such infinite suffering

through the cowardice of our councillors, who when I would have done

battle at the ships held me back and forbade the host to follow me; if

Jove did then indeed warp our judgements, himself now commands me

and cheers me on."

As he spoke thus the Trojans sprang yet more fiercely on the

Achaeans, and Ajax no longer held his ground, for he was overcome by

the darts that were flung at him, and made sure that he was doomed.

Therefore he left the raised deck at the stern, and stepped back on to

the seven-foot bench of the oarsmen. Here he stood on the look-out,

and with his spear held back 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



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


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 battle.

Sarpedon now took a second aim at Patroclus, and again missed him,

the point of the spear passed over his left shoulder without hitting

him. Patroclus then aimed in his turn, and the spear sped not from his

hand in vain, for he hit Sarpedon just where the midriff surrounds the

ever-beating heart. He fell like some oak or silver poplar or tall

pine to which woodmen have laid their axes upon the mountains to

make timber for ship-building- even so did he lie stretched at full

length in front of his chariot and horses, moaning and clutching at

the blood-stained dust. As when a lion springs with a bound upon a

herd of cattle and fastens on a great black bull which dies

bellowing in its clutches- even so did the leader of the Lycian

warriors struggle in death as he fell by the hand of Patroclus. He

called on his trusty comrade and said, "Glaucus, my brother, hero

among heroes, put forth all your strength, fight with might and

main, now if ever quit yourself like a valiant soldier. First go about

among the Lycian captains and bid them fight for Sarpedon; then

yourself also do battle to save my armour from being taken. My name

will haunt you henceforth and for ever if the Achaeans rob me of my

armour now that I have fallen at their ships. Do your very utmost

and call all my people together."

Death closed his eyes as he spoke. Patroclus planted his heel on his

breast and drew the spear from his body, whereon his senses came out

along with it, and he drew out both spear-point and Sarpedon's soul at

the same time. Hard by the Myrmidons held his snorting steeds, who

were wild with panic at finding themselves deserted by their lords.

Glaucus was overcome with grief when he heard what Sarpedon said,

for he could not help him. He had to support his arm with his other

hand, being in great pain through the wound which Teucer's arrow had

given him when Teucer was defending the wall as he, Glaucus, was

assailing it. Therefore he prayed to far-darting Apollo saying,

"Hear me O king from your seat, may be in the rich land of Lycia, or

may be in Troy, for in all places you can hear the prayer of one who

is in distress, as I now am. I have a grievous wound; my hand is

aching with pain, there is no staunching the blood, and my whole arm

drags by reason of my hurt, so that I cannot grasp my sword nor go

among my foes and fight them, 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


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


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


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


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 Aeacus."

When he had thus spoken his eyes were closed in death, his soul left

his body and flitted down to the house of Hades, mourning its sad fate

and bidding farewell to the youth and vigor of its manhood. Dead

though he was, Hector still spoke to him saying, "Patroclus, why

should you thus foretell my doom? Who knows but Achilles, son of

lovely Thetis, may be smitten by my spear and die before me?"

As he spoke he drew the bronze spear from the wound, planting his

foot upon the body, which he thrust off and let lie on its back. He

then went spear in hand after Automedon, squire of the fleet

descendant of Aeacus, for he longed to lay him low, but the immortal

steeds which the gods had given as a rich gift to Peleus bore him

swiftly from the field.


BRAVE Menelaus son of Atreus now came to know that Patroclus had

fallen, and made his way through the front ranks clad in full armour

to bestride him. As a cow stands lowing over her first calf, even so

did yellow-haired Menelaus bestride Patroclus. He held his round

shield and his spear in front of him, resolute to kill any who

should dare face him. But the son of Panthous had also noted the body,

and came up to Menelaus saying, "Menelaus, son of Atreus, draw back,

leave the body, and let the bloodstained spoils be. I was first of the

Trojans and their brave allies to drive my spear into Patroclus, let

me, therefore, have my full glory among the Trojans, or I will take

aim and kill you."

To this Menelaus answered in great anger "By father Jove, boasting

is an ill thing. The pard is not more bold, nor the lion nor savage

wild-boar, which is fiercest and most dauntless of all creatures, than

are the proud sons of Panthous. Yet Hyperenor did not see out the days

of his youth when he made light of me and withstood me, deeming me the

meanest soldier among the Danaans. His own feet never bore him back to

gladden his wife and parents. Even so shall I make an end of you

too, if you withstand me; get you back into the crowd and do not

face me, or it shall be worse for you. Even a fool may be wise after

the event."

Euphorbus would not listen, and said, "Now indeed, Menelaus, shall

you pay for the death of my brother over whom you vaunted, and whose

wife you widowed in her bridal chamber, while you brought grief

unspeakable on his parents. I shall comfort these poor people if I

bring your head and armour and place them in the hands of Panthous and

noble Phrontis. The time is come when this matter shall be fought

out and settled, for me or against me."

As he spoke he struck Menelaus full on the shield, but the spear did

not go through, for the shield turned its point. Menelaus then took

aim, praying to father Jove as he did so; Euphorbus was drawing

back, and Menelaus struck him about the roots of his throat, leaning

his whole weight on the spear, so as to drive it home. The point

went clean through his neck, and his armour rang rattling round him as

he fell heavily to the ground. His hair which was like that of the

Graces, and his locks so deftly bound in bands of silver and gold,

were all bedrabbled with blood. As one who has grown a fine young

olive tree in a clear space where there is abundance of water- the

plant is full of promise, and though the winds beat upon it from every

quarter it puts forth its white blossoms till the blasts of some

fierce hurricane sweep down upon it and level it with the ground- even

so did Menelaus strip the fair youth Euphorbus of his armour after

he had slain him. Or as some fierce lion upon the mountains in the

pride of his strength fastens on the finest heifer in a herd as it

is feeding- first he breaks her neck with his strong jaws, and then

gorges on her blood and entrails; dogs and shepherds raise a hue and

cry against him, but they stand aloof and will not come close to

him, for they are pale with fear- even so no one had the courage to

face valiant Menelaus. The son of Atreus would have then carried off

the armour of the son of Panthous with ease, had not Phoebus Apollo

been angry, and in the guise of Mentes chief of the Cicons incited

Hector to attack him. "Hector," said he, "you are now going after

the horses of the noble son of Aeacus, but you will not take them;

they cannot be kept in hand and driven by mortal man, save only by

Achilles, who is son to an immortal mother. Meanwhile Menelaus son

of Atreus has bestridden the body of Patroclus and killed the

noblest of the Trojans, Euphorbus son of Panthous, so that he can

fight no more."

The god then went back into the toil and turmoil, but the soul of

Hector was darkened with a cloud of grief; he looked along the ranks

and saw Euphorbus lying on the ground with the blood still flowing

from his wound, and Menelaus stripping him of his armour. On this he

made his way to the front like a flame of fire, clad in his gleaming

armour, and crying with a loud voice. When the son of Atreus heard

him, he said to himself in his dismay, "Alas! what shall I do? I may

not let the Trojans take the armour of Patroclus who has fallen

fighting on my behalf, lest some Danaan who sees me should cry shame

upon me. Still if for my honour's sake I fight Hector and the

Trojans single-handed, they will prove too many for me, for Hector

is bringing them up in force. Why, however, should I thus hesitate?

When a man fights in despite of heaven with one whom a god

befriends, he will soon rue it. Let no Danaan think ill of me if I

give place to Hector, for the hand of heaven is with him. Yet, if I

could find Ajax, the two of us would fight Hector and heaven too, if

we might only save the body of Patroclus for Achilles son of Peleus.

This, of many evils would be the 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


When he had thus spoken they charged full weight upon the Danaans

with their spears held out before them, and the hopes of each ran high

that he should force Ajax son of Telamon to yield up the body- fools

that they were, for he was about to take the lives of many. Then

Ajax said to Menelaus, "My good friend Menelaus, you and I shall

hardly come out of this fight alive. I am less concerned for the

body of Patroclus, who will shortly become meat for the dogs and

vultures of Troy, than for the safety of my own head and yours. Hector

has wrapped us round in a storm of battle from every quarter, and

our destruction seems now certain. Call then upon the princes of the

Danaans if there is any who can hear us."

Menelaus did as he said, and shouted to the Danaans for help at

the top of his voice. "My friends," he cried, "princes and counsellors

of the Argives, all you who with Agamemnon and Menelaus drink at the

public cost, and give orders each to his own people as Jove vouchsafes

him power and glory, the fight is so thick about me that I cannot

distinguish you severally; come on, therefore, every man unbidden, and

think it shame that Patroclus should become meat and morsel for Trojan


Fleet Ajax son of Oileus heard him and was first to force his way

through the fight and run to help him. Next came Idomeneus and

Meriones his esquire, peer of murderous Mars. As for the others that

came into the fight after these, who of his own self could name them?

The Trojans with Hector at their head charged in a body. As a

great wave that comes thundering in at the mouth of some heaven-born

river, and the rocks that jut into the sea ring with the roar of the

breakers that beat and buffet them- even with such a roar did the

Trojans come on; but the Achaeans in singleness of heart stood firm

about the son of Menoetius, and fenced him with their bronze

shields. Jove, moreover, hid the brightness of their helmets in a

thick cloud, for he had borne no grudge against the son of Menoetius

while he was still alive and squire to the descendant of Aeacus;

therefore he was loth to let him fall a prey to the dogs of his foes

the Trojans, and urged his comrades on to defend him.

At first the Trojans drove the Achaeans back, and they withdrew from

the dead man daunted. The Trojans did not succeed in killing any

one, nevertheless they drew the body away. But the Achaeans did not

lose it long, for Ajax, foremost of all the Danaans after the son of

Peleus alike in stature and prowess, quickly rallied them and made

towards the front like a wild boar upon the mountains when he stands

at bay in the forest glades and routs the hounds and lusty youths that

have attacked him- even so did Ajax son of Telamon passing easily in

among the phalanxes of the Trojans, disperse those who had

bestridden Patroclus and were most bent on winning glory by dragging

him off to their city. At this moment Hippothous brave son of the

Pelasgian Lethus, in his zeal for Hector and the Trojans, was dragging

the body off by the foot through the press of the fight, having

bound a strap round the sinews near the ancle; but a mischief soon

befell him from which none of those could save him who would have

gladly done so, for the son of Telamon sprang forward and smote him on

his bronze-cheeked helmet. The plumed headpiece broke about the

point of the weapon, struck at once by the spear and by the strong

hand of Ajax, so that the bloody brain came oozing out through the

crest-socket. His strength then failed him and he let Patroclus'

foot drop from his hand, as he fell full length dead upon the body;

thus he died far from the fertile land of Larissa, and never repaid

his parents the cost of bringing him up, for his life was cut short

early by the spear of mighty Ajax. Hector then took aim at Ajax with a

spear, but he saw it coming and just managed to avoid it; the spear

passed on and struck Schedius son of noble Iphitus, captain of the

Phoceans, who dwelt in famed Panopeus and reigned over much people; it

struck him under the middle of the collar-bone the bronze point went

right through him, coming out at the bottom of his shoulder-blade, and

his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.

Ajax in his turn struck noble Phorcys son of Phaenops in the middle of

the belly as he was bestriding Hippothous, and broke the plate of

his cuirass; whereon the spear tore out his entrails and he clutched

the ground in his palm as he fell to earth. Hector and those who

were in the front rank then gave ground, while the Argives raised a

loud cry of triumph, and drew off the bodies of Phorcys and Hippothous

which they stripped presently of their armour.

The Trojans would now have been worsted by the brave Achaeans and

driven back to Ilius through their own cowardice, while the Argives,

so great was their courage and endurance, would have achieved a

triumph even against the will of Jove, if Apollo had not roused

Aeneas, in the likeness of Periphas son of Epytus, an attendant who

had grown old in the service of Aeneas' aged father, and was at all

times devoted to him. In his likeness, then, Apollo said, "Aeneas, can

you not manage, even though heaven be against us, to save high

Ilius? I have known men, whose numbers, courage, and self-reliance

have saved their people in spite of Jove, whereas in this case he

would much rather give victory to us than to the Danaans, if you would

only fight instead of being so terribly afraid."

Aeneas knew Apollo when he looked straight at him, and shouted to

Hector saying, "Hector and all other Trojans and allies, shame on us

if we are beaten by the Achaeans and driven back to Ilius through

our own cowardice. A god has just come up to me and told me that

Jove the supreme disposer will be with us. Therefore let us make for

the Danaans, that it may go hard with them ere they bear away dead

Patroclus to the ships."

As he spoke he sprang out far in front of the others, who then

rallied and again faced the Achaeans. Aeneas speared Leiocritus son of

Arisbas, a valiant follower of Lycomedes, and Lycomedes was moved with

pity as he saw him fall; he therefore went close up, and speared

Apisaon son of Hippasus shepherd of his people in the liver under

the midriff, so that he died; he had come from fertile Paeonia and was

the best man of them all after Asteropaeus. Asteropaeus flew forward

to avenge him and attack the Danaans, but this might no longer be,

inasmuch as those about Patroclus were well covered by their

shields, and held their spears in front of them, for Ajax had given

them strict orders that no man was either to give ground, or to

stand out before the others, but all were to hold well together

about the body and fight hand to hand. Thus did huge Ajax bid them,

and the earth ran red with blood as the corpses fell thick on one

another alike on the side of the Trojans and allies, and on that of

the Danaans; for these last, too, fought no bloodless fight though

many fewer of them perished, through the care they took to defend

and stand by one another.

Thus did they fight as it were a flaming fire; it seemed as though

it had gone hard even with the sun and moon, for they were hidden over

all that part where the bravest heroes were fighting about the dead

son of Menoetius, whereas the other Danaans and Achaeans fought at

their ease in full daylight with brilliant sunshine all round them,

and there was not a cloud to be seen neither on plain nor mountain.

These last moreover would rest for a while and leave off fighting, for

they were some distance apart and beyond the range of one another's

weapons, whereas those who were in the thick of the fray suffered both

from battle and darkness. All the best of them were being worn out

by the great weight of their armour, but the two valiant heroes,

Thrasymedes and Antilochus, had not yet heard of the death of

Patroclus, and believed him to be still alive and leading the van

against the Trojans; they were keeping themselves in reserve against

the death or rout of their own comrades, for so Nestor had ordered

when he sent them from the ships into battle.

Thus through the livelong day did they wage fierce war, and the

sweat of their toil rained ever on their legs under them, and on their

hands and eyes, as they fought over the squire of the fleet son of

Peleus. It was as when a man gives a great ox-hide all drenched in fat

to his men, and bids them stretch it; whereon they stand round it in a

ring and tug till the moisture leaves it, and the fat soaks in for the

many that pull at it, and it is well stretched- even so did the two

sides tug the dead body hither and thither within the compass of but a

little space- the Trojans steadfastly set on 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


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


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


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


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


Thetis wept and answered, "Then, my son, is your end near at hand-

for your own death awaits you full soon after that of Hector."

Then said Achilles in his great grief, "I would die here and now, in

that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home, and

in his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What is there

for me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have brought no

saving neither to Patroclus nor to my other comrades of whom so many

have been slain by mighty Hector; I stay here by my ships a bootless

burden upon the earth, I, who in fight have no peer among the

Achaeans, though in council there are better than I. Therefore, perish

strife both from among gods and men, and anger, wherein even a

righteous man will harden his heart- which rises up in the soul of a

man like smoke, and the taste thereof is sweeter than drops of

honey. Even so has Agamemnon angered me. And yet- so be it, for it

is over; I will force my soul into subjection as I needs must; I

will go; I will pursue Hector who has slain him whom I loved so

dearly, and will then abide my doom when it may please Jove and the

other gods to send it. Even Hercules, the best beloved of Jove- even

he could not escape the hand of death, but fate and Juno's fierce

anger laid him low, as I too shall lie when I am dead if a like doom

awaits me. Till then I will win fame, and will bid Trojan and

Dardanian women wring tears from their tender cheeks with both their

hands in the grievousness of their great sorrow; thus shall they

know that he who has held aloof so long will hold aloof no longer.

Hold me not back, therefore, in the love you bear me, for you shall

not move me."

Then silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, what you have said is

true. It is well to save your comrades from destruction, but your

armour is in the hands of the Trojans; Hector bears it in triumph upon

his own shoulders. Full well I know that his vaunt shall not be

lasting, for his end is close at hand; go not, however, into the press

of battle till you see me return hither; to-morrow at break of day I

shall be here, and will bring you goodly armour from King Vulcan."

On this she left her brave son, and as she turned away she said to

the sea-nymphs her sisters, "Dive into the bosom of the sea and go

to the house of the old sea-god my father. Tell him everything; as for

me, I will go to the cunning workman Vulcan on high Olympus, and ask

him to provide my son with a suit of splendid armour."

When she had so said, they dived forthwith beneath the waves,

while silver-footed Thetis went her way that she might bring the

armour for her son.

Thus, then, did her feet bear the goddess to Olympus, and

meanwhile the Achaeans were flying with loud cries before murderous

Hector till they reached the ships and the Hellespont, and they

could not draw the body of Mars's servant Patroclus out of reach of

the weapons that were showered upon him, for Hector son of Priam

with his host and horsemen had again caught up to him like the flame

of a fiery furnace; thrice did brave Hector seize him by the feet,

striving with might and main to draw him away and calling loudly on

the Trojans, and thrice did the two Ajaxes, clothed in valour as

with a garment, beat him from off the body; but all undaunted he would

now charge into the thick of the fight, and now again he would stand

still and cry aloud, but he would give no ground. As upland

shepherds that cannot chase some famished lion from a carcase, even so

could not the two Ajaxes scare Hector son of Priam from the body of


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


And Achilles said, "Iris, which of the gods was it that sent you

to me?"

Iris answered, "It was Juno the royal spouse of Jove, but the son of

Saturn does not know of my coming, nor yet does any other of the

immortals who dwell on the snowy summits of Olympus."

Then fleet Achilles answered her saying, "How can I go up into the

battle? They have my armour. My mother forbade me to arm till I should

see her come, for she promised to bring me goodly armour from

Vulcan; I know no man whose arms I can put on, save only the shield of

Ajax son of Telamon, and he surely must be fighting in the front

rank and wielding his spear about the body of dead Patroclus."

Iris said, 'We know that your armour has been taken, but go as you

are; go to the deep trench and show 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


"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


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


Then said King Apollo, son to Jove, "Nay, hero, pray to the

ever-living gods, for men say that you were born of Jove's daughter

Venus, whereas Achilles is son to a goddess of inferior rank. Venus is

child to Jove, while Thetis is but daughter to the old man of the sea.

Bring, therefore, your spear to bear upon him, and let him not scare

you with his taunts and menaces."

As he spoke he put courage into the heart of the shepherd of his

people, and he strode in full armour among the ranks of the foremost

fighters. Nor did the son of Anchises escape the notice of white-armed

Juno, as he went forth into the throng to meet Achilles. She called

the gods about her, and said, "Look to it, you two, Neptune and

Minerva, and consider how this shall be; Phoebus Apollo has been

sending Aeneas clad in full armour to fight Achilles. Shall we turn

him back at once, or shall one of us stand by Achilles and endow him

with strength so that his heart fail not, and he may learn that the

chiefs of the immortals are on his side, while the others who have all

along been defending the Trojans are but vain helpers? Let us all come

down from Olympus and join in the fight, that this day he may take

no hurt at the hands of the Trojans. Hereafter let him suffer whatever

fate may have spun out for him when he was begotten and his mother

bore him. If Achilles be not thus assured by the voice of a god, he

may come to fear presently when one of us meets him in battle, for the

gods are terrible if they are seen face to face."

Neptune lord of the earthquake answered her saying, "Juno,

restrain your fury; it is not well; I am not in favour of forcing

the other gods to fight us, for the advantage is too greatly on our

own side; let us take our places on some hill out of the beaten track,

and let mortals fight it out among themselves. If Mars or Phoebus

Apollo begin fighting, or keep Achilles in check so that he cannot

fight, we too, will at once raise the cry of battle, and in that

case they will soon leave the field and go back vanquished to

Olympus among the other gods."

With these words the dark-haired god led the way to the high

earth-barrow of Hercules, built round solid masonry, and made by the

Trojans and Pallas Minerva for him fly to when the sea-monster was

chasing him from the shore on to the plain. Here Neptune and those

that were with him took their seats, wrapped in a thick cloud of

darkness; but the other gods seated themselves on the brow of

Callicolone round you, O Phoebus, and Mars the waster of cities.

Thus did the gods sit apart and form their plans, but neither side

was willing to begin battle with the other, and Jove from his seat

on high was in command over them all. Meanwhile the whole plain was

alive with men and horses, and blazing with the gleam of armour. The

earth rang again under the tramp of their feet as they rushed

towards each other, and two champions, by far the foremost of them

all, met between the hosts to fight- to wit, Aeneas son of Anchises,

and noble Achilles.

Aeneas was first to stride forward in attack, his doughty helmet

tossing defiance as he came on. He held his strong shield before his

breast, and brandished his bronze spear. The son of Peleus from the

other side sprang forth to meet him, 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 Aeneas.

When they were now close up with one another Achilles was first to

speak. "Aeneas," said he, "why do you stand thus out before the host

to fight me? Is it that you hope to reign over the Trojans in the seat

of Priam? Nay, though you kill me Priam will not hand his kingdom over

to you. He is a man of sound judgement, and he has sons of his own. Or

have the Trojans been allotting you a demesne of passing richness,

fair with orchard lawns and corn lands, if you should slay me? This

you shall hardly do. I have discomfited you once already. Have you

forgotten how when you were alone I chased you from your herds

helter-skelter down the slopes of Ida? You did not turn round to

look behind you; you took refuge in Lyrnessus, but I attacked the

city, and with the help of Minerva and father Jove I sacked it and

carried its women into captivity, though Jove and the other gods

rescued you. You think they will protect you now, but they will not do

so; therefore I say go back into the host, and do not face me, or

you will rue it. Even a fool may be wise after the event."

Then Aeneas answered, "Son of Peleus, think not that your words

can scare me as though I were a child. I too, if I will, can brag

and talk unseemly. We know one another's race and parentage as matters

of common fame, though neither have you ever seen my parents nor I

yours. Men say that you are son to noble Peleus, and that your

mother is Thetis, fair-haired daughter of the sea. I have noble

Anchises for my father, and Venus for my mother; the parents of one or

other of us shall this day mourn a son, for it will be more than silly

talk that shall part us when the fight is over. Learn, then, my

lineage if you will- and it is known to many.

"In the beginning Dardanus was the son of Jove, and founded

Dardania, for Ilius was not yet stablished on the plain for men to

dwell in, and her people still abode on the spurs of many-fountained

Ida. Dardanus had a son, king Erichthonius, who was wealthiest of

all men living; he had three thousand mares that fed by the

water-meadows, they and their foals with them. Boreas was enamoured of

them as they were feeding, and covered them in the semblance of a

dark-maned stallion. Twelve filly foals did they conceive and bear

him, and these, as they sped over the rich plain, would go bounding on

over the ripe ears of corn and not break them; or again when they

would disport themselves on the broad back of Ocean they could

gallop on the crest of a breaker. Erichthonius begat Tros, king of the

Trojans, and Tros had three noble sons, Ilus, Assaracus, and

Ganymede who was comeliest of mortal men; wherefore the gods carried

him off to be Jove's cupbearer, for his beauty's sake, that he might

dwell among the immortals. Ilus begat Laomedon, and Laomedon begat

Tithonus, Priam, Lampus, Clytius, and Hiketaon of the stock of Mars.

But Assaracus was father to Capys, and Capys to Anchises, who was my

father, while Hector is son to Priam.

"Such do I declare my blood and lineage, but as for valour, Jove

gives it or takes it as he will, for he is lord of all. And now let

there be no more of this prating in mid-battle as though we were

children. We could fling taunts without end at one another; a

hundred-oared galley would not hold them. The tongue can run all

whithers and talk all wise; it can go here and there, and as a man

says, so shall he be gainsaid. What is the use of our bandying hard

like women who when they fall foul of one another go out and wrangle

in the streets, one half true and the other lies, as rage inspires

them? No words of yours shall turn me now that I am fain to fight-

therefore let us make trial of one another with our spears."

As he spoke he drove his spear at the great and terrible shield of

Achilles, which rang out as the point struck it. The son of Peleus

held the shield before him with his strong hand, and he was afraid,

for he deemed that Aeneas's spear would go through it quite easily,

not reflecting that the god's glorious gifts were little likely to

yield before the blows of mortal men; and indeed Aeneas's spear did

not pierce the shield, for the layer of gold, gift of the god,

stayed the point. It went through two layers, but the god had made the

shield in five, two of bronze, the two innermost ones of tin, and

one of gold; it was in this that the spear was stayed.

Achilles in his turn threw, and struck the round shield of Aeneas at

the very edge, where the bronze was thinnest; the spear of Pelian

ash went clean through, and the shield rang under the blow; Aeneas was

afraid, and crouched backwards, holding the shield away from him;

the spear, however, flew over his back, and stuck quivering in the

ground, after having gone through both circles of the sheltering

shield. Aeneas though he had avoided the spear, stood still, blinded

with fear and grief because the weapon had gone so near him; then

Achilles sprang furiously upon him, with a cry as of death and with

his keen blade drawn, and Aeneas seized a great stone, so huge that

two men, as men now are, would be unable to lift it, but Aeneas

wielded it quite easily.

Aeneas would then have struck Achilles as he was springing towards

him, either on the helmet, or on the shield that covered him, and

Achilles would have closed with him and despatched him with his sword,

had not Neptune lord of the earthquake been quick to mark, and said

forthwith to the immortals, "Alas, I am sorry for great Aeneas, who

will now go down to the house of Hades, vanquished by the son of

Peleus. Fool that he was to give ear to the counsel of Apollo.

Apollo will never save him from destruction. Why should this man

suffer when he is guiltless, to no purpose, and in another's

quarrel? Has he not at all times offered acceptable sacrifice to the

gods that dwell in heaven? Let us then snatch him from death's jaws,

lest the son of Saturn be angry should Achilles slay him. It is fated,

moreover, that he should escape, and that the race of Dardanus, whom

Jove loved above all the sons born to him of mortal women, shall not

perish utterly without seed or sign. For now indeed has Jove hated the

blood of Priam, while Aeneas shall reign over the Trojans, he and

his children's children that shall be born 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 spear."

Thus did he exhort them. Meanwhile Hector called upon the Trojans

and declared that he would fight Achilles. "Be not afraid, proud

Trojans," said he, "to face the son of Peleus; I could fight gods

myself if the battle were one of words only, but they would be more

than a match for me, if we had to use our spears. Even so the deed

of Achilles will fall somewhat short of his word; he will do in

part, and the other part he will clip short. I will go up against

him though his hands be as fire- though his hands be fire and his

strength iron."

Thus urged the Trojans lifted up their spears against the

Achaeans, and raised the cry of battle as they flung themselves into

the midst of their ranks. But Phoebus Apollo came up to Hector and

said, "Hector, on no account must you challenge Achilles to single

combat; keep a lookout for him while you are under cover of the others

and away from the thick of the fight, otherwise he will either hit you

with a spear or cut you down at close quarters."

Thus he spoke, and Hector drew back within the crowd, for he was

afraid when he heard what the god had said to him. Achilles then

sprang upon the Trojans with a terrible cry, clothed in valour as with

a garment. First he killed Iphition son of Otrynteus, a leader of much

people whom a naiad nymph had borne to Otrynteus waster of cities,

in the land of Hyde under the snowy heights of Mt. Tmolus. Achilles

struck him full on the head as he was coming on towards him, and split

it clean in two; whereon he fell heavily to the ground and Achilles

vaunted over him saying, "You 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 war."

He looked fiercely on Hector and said, "Draw near, that you may meet

your doom the sooner." Hector feared him not and answered, "Son of

Peleus, think not that your words can scare me as though I were a

child; I too if I will can brag and talk unseemly; I know that you are

a mighty warrior, mightier by far than I, nevertheless the issue

lies in the the lap of heaven whether I, worse man though I be, may

not slay you with my spear, for this too has been found keen ere now."

He hurled his spear as he spoke, but Minerva breathed upon it, and

though she breathed but very lightly she turned it back from going

towards Achilles, so that it returned to Hector and lay at his feet in

front of him. Achilles then sprang furiously on him with a loud cry,

bent on killing him, but Apollo caught him up easily as a god can, and

hid him in a thick darkness. Thrice did Achilles spring towards him

spear in hand, and thrice did he waste his blow upon the air. When

he rushed forward for the fourth time as though he were a god, he

shouted aloud saying, "Hound, this time too you have escaped death-

but of a truth it came exceedingly near you. Phoebus Apollo, to whom

it seems you pray before you go into battle, has again saved you;

but if I too have any friend among the gods I will surely make an

end of you when I come across you at some other time. Now, however,

I will pursue and overtake other Trojans."

On this he struck Dryops with his spear, about the middle of his

neck, and he fell headlong at his feet. There he let him lie and

stayed Demouchus son of Philetor, a man both brave and of great

stature, by hitting him on the knee with a spear; then he smote him

with his sword and killed him. After this he sprang on Laogonus and

Dardanus, sons of Bias, and threw them from their chariot, the one

with a blow from a thrown spear, while the other he cut down in

hand-to-hand fight. There was also Tros the son of Alastor- he came up

to Achilles and clasped his knees in the hope that he would spare

him and not kill him but let him go, because they were both of the

same age. Fool, he might have known that he should not prevail with

him, for the man was in no mood for pity or forbearance but was in

grim earnest. Therefore when Tros laid hold of his knees and sought

a hearing for his prayers, Achilles drove his sword into his liver,

and the liver came rolling out, while his bosom was all covered with

the black blood that welled from the wound. Thus did death close his

eyes as he lay lifeless.

Achilles then went up to Mulius and struck him on the ear with a

spear, and the bronze spear-head came right out at the other ear. He

also struck Echeclus son of Agenor on the head with his sword, which

became warm with the blood, while death and stern fate closed the eyes

of Echeclus. Next in order the bronze point of his spear wounded

Deucalion in the fore-arm where the sinews of the elbow are united,

whereon he waited Achilles' onset with his arm hanging down and

death staring him in the face. Achilles cut his head off with a blow

from his sword and flung it helmet and all away from him, and the

marrow came oozing out of his backbone as he lay. He then went in

pursuit of Rhigmus, noble son of Peires, who had come from fertile

Thrace, and struck him through the middle with a spear which fixed

itself in his belly, so that he fell headlong from his chariot. He

also speared Areithous squire to Rhigmus in the back as he was turning

his horses in flight, and thrust him from his chariot, while the

horses were struck with panic.

As a fire raging in some mountain glen after long drought- and the

dense forest is in a blaze, while the wind carries great tongues of

fire in every direction- even so furiously did Achilles rage, wielding

his spear as though he were a god, and giving chase to those whom he

would slay, till the dark earth ran with blood. Or as one who yokes

broad-browed oxen that they may tread barley in a threshing-floor- and

it is soon bruised small under the feet of the lowing cattle- even

so did the horses of Achilles trample on the shields and bodies of the

slain. The axle underneath and the railing that ran round the car were

bespattered with clots of blood thrown up by the horses' hoofs, and

from the tyres of the wheels; but the son of Peleus pressed on to

win still further glory, and his hands were bedrabbled with gore.


NOW when they came to the ford of the full-flowing river Xanthus,

begotten of immortal Jove, Achilles cut their forces in two: one

half he chased over the plain towards the city by the same way that

the Achaeans had taken when flying panic-stricken on the preceding day

with Hector in full triumph; this way did they fly pell-mell, and Juno

sent down a thick mist in front of them to stay them. The other half

were hemmed in by the deep silver-eddying stream, and fell into it

with a great uproar. The waters resounded, and the banks rang again,

as they swam hither and thither with loud cries amid the whirling

eddies. As locusts flying to a river before the blast of a grass fire-

the flame comes on and on till at last it overtakes them and they

huddle into the water- even so was the eddying stream of Xanthus

filled with the uproar of men and horses, all struggling in

confusion before Achilles.

Forthwith the hero left his spear upon the bank, leaning it

against a tamarisk bush, and plunged into the river like a god,

armed with his sword only. Fell was his purpose as he hewed the

Trojans down on every side. Their dying groans rose hideous as the

sword smote them, and the river ran red with blood. As when fish fly

scared before a huge dolphin, and fill every nook and corner of some

fair haven- for he is sure to eat all he can catch- even so did the

Trojans cower under the banks of the mighty river, and when

Achilles' arms grew weary with killing them, he drew twelve youths

alive out of the water, to sacrifice in revenge for Patroclus son of

Menoetius. He drew them out like dazed fawns, bound their hands behind

them with the girdles of their own shirts, and gave them over to his

men to take back to the ships. Then he sprang into the river,

thirsting for still further blood.

There he found Lycaon, son of Priam seed of Dardanus, as he was

escaping out of the water; he it was whom he had once taken prisoner

when he was in his father's vineyard, having set upon him by night, as

he was cutting young shoots from a wild fig-tree to make the wicker

sides of a chariot. Achilles then caught him to his sorrow unawares,

and sent him by sea to Lemnos, where the son of Jason bought him.

But a guest-friend, Eetion of Imbros, freed him with a great sum,

and sent him to Arisbe, whence he had escaped and returned to his

father's house. He had spent eleven days happily with his friends

after he had come from Lemnos, but on the twelfth heaven again

delivered him into the hands of Achilles, who was to send him to the

house of Hades sorely against his will. He was unarmed when Achilles

caught sight of him, and had neither helmet nor shield; nor yet had he

any spear, for he had thrown all his armour from him on to the bank,

and was sweating with his struggles to get out of the river, so that

his strength was now failing him.

Then Achilles said to himself in his surprise, "What marvel do I see

here? If this man can come back alive after having been sold over into

Lemnos, I shall have the Trojans also whom I have slain rising from

the world below. Could not even the waters of the grey sea imprison

him, as they do many another whether he will or no? This time let

him taste my spear, that I may know for certain whether mother earth

who can keep even a strong man down, will be able to hold him, or

whether thence too he will return."

Thus did he pause and ponder. But Lycaon came up to him dazed and

trying hard to embrace his knees, for he would fain live, not die.

Achilles thrust at him with his spear, meaning to kill him, but Lycaon

ran crouching up to him and caught his knees, whereby the spear passed

over his back, and stuck in the ground, hungering though it was for

blood. With one hand he caught Achilles' knees as he besought him, and

with the other he clutched the spear and would not let it go. Then

he said, "Achilles, have mercy upon me and spare me, for I am your

suppliant. It was in your tents that I first broke bread on the day

when you took me prisoner in the vineyard; after which you sold 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


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


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 others."

As he spoke they drew back the bolts and opened the gates, and

when these were opened there was a haven of refuge for the Trojans.

Apollo then came full speed out of the city to meet them and protect

them. Right for the city and the high wall, parched with thirst and

grimy with dust, still they fied on, with Achilles wielding his

spear furiously behind them. For he was as one possessed, and was

thirsting after glory.

Then had the sons of the Achaeans taken the lofty gates of Troy if

Apollo had not spurred on Agenor, valiant and noble son to Antenor. He

put courage into his heart, and stood by his side to guard him,

leaning against a beech tree and shrouded in thick darkness. When

Agenor saw Achilles he stood still and his heart was clouded with

care. "Alas," said he to himself in his dismay, "if I fly before

mighty Achilles, and go where all the others are being driven in rout,

he will none the less catch me and kill me for a coward. How would

it be were I to let Achilles drive the others before him, and then fly

from the wall to the plain that is behind Ilius till I reach the spurs

of Ida and can hide in the underwood that is thereon? I could then

wash the sweat from off me in the river and in the evening return to

Ilius. But why commune with myself in this way? Like enough he would

see me as I am hurrying from the city over the plain, and would

speed after me till he had caught me- I should stand no chance against

him, for he is mightiest of all mankind. What, then, if I go out and

meet him in front of the city? His flesh too, I take it, can be

pierced by pointed bronze. Life is the same in one and all, and men

say that he is but mortal despite the triumph that Jove son of

Saturn vouchsafes him."

So saying he stood on his guard and awaited Achilles, for he was now

fain to fight him. As a leopardess that bounds from out a thick covert

to attack a hunter- she knows no fear and is not dismayed by the

baying of the hounds; even though the man be too quick for her and

wound her either with thrust or spear, still, though the spear has

pierced her she will not give in till she has either caught him in her

grip or been killed outright- even so did noble Agenor son of

Antenor refuse to fly till he had made trial of Achilles, and took aim

at him with his spear, holding his round shield before him and

crying with a loud voice. "Of a truth," said he, "noble Achilles,

you deem that you shall this day sack the city of the proud Trojans.

Fool, there will be trouble enough yet before it, for there is many

a brave man of us still inside who will stand in front of our dear

parents with our wives and children, to defend Ilius. Here

therefore, huge and mighty warrior though you be, here shall you 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


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


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 him.

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


"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 it."

As he spoke he drew his spear from the body and set it on one

side; then he stripped the blood-stained armour from Hector's

shoulders while the other Achaeans came running up to view his

wondrous strength and beauty; and no one came near him without

giving him a fresh wound. Then would one turn to his neighbour and

say, "It is easier to handle Hector now than when he was flinging fire

on to our ships" and as he spoke he would thrust his spear into him


When Achilles had done spoiling Hector of his armour, he stood among

the Argives and said, "My friends, princes and counsellors of the

Argives, now that heaven has vouchsafed us to overcome this man, who

has done us more hurt than all the others together, consider whether

we should not attack the city in force, and discover in what mind

the Trojans may be. We should thus learn whether they will desert

their city now that Hector has fallen, or will still hold out even

though he is no longer living. But why argue with myself in this

way, while Patroclus is still lying at the ships unburied, and

unmourned- he Whom I can never forget so long as I am alive and my

strength fails not? Though men forget their dead when once they are

within the house of Hades, yet not even there will I forget the

comrade whom I have lost. Now, therefore, Achaean youths, let us raise

the song of victory and go back to the ships taking this man along

with us; for we have achieved a mighty triumph and have slain noble

Hector to whom the Trojans prayed throughout their city as though he

were a god."

On this he treated the body of Hector with contumely: he pierced the

sinews at the back of both his feet from heel to ancle and passed

thongs of ox-hide through the slits he had made: thus he made the body

fast to his chariot, letting the head trail upon the ground. Then when

he had put the goodly armour on the chariot and had himself mounted,

he lashed his horses on and they flew forward nothing loth. The dust

rose from Hector as he was being dragged along, his dark hair flew all

abroad, and his head once so comely was laid low on earth, for Jove

had now delivered him into the hands of his foes to do him outrage

in his own land.

Thus was the head of Hector being dishonoured in the dust. His

mother tore her hair, and flung her veil from her with a loud cry as

she looked upon her son. His father made piteous moan, and

throughout the city the people fell to weeping and wailing. It was

as though the whole of frowning Ilius was being smirched with fire.

Hardly could the people hold Priam back in his hot haste to rush

without the gates of the city. He grovelled in the mire and besought

them, calling each one of them by his name. "Let be, my friends," he

cried, "and for all your sorrow, suffer me to go single-handed to

the ships of the Achaeans. Let me beseech this cruel and terrible man,

if maybe he will respect the feeling of his fellow-men, and have

compassion on my old age. His own father is even such another as

myself- Peleus, who bred him and reared him to- be the bane of us

Trojans, and of myself more than of all others. Many a son of mine has

he slain in the flower of his youth, and yet, grieve for these as I

may, I do so for one- Hector- more than for them all, and the

bitterness of my sorrow will bring me down to the house of Hades.

Would that he had died in my arms, for so both his ill-starred

mother who bore him, and myself, should have had the comfort of

weeping and mourning over him."

Thus did he speak with many tears, and all the people of the city

joined in his lament. Hecuba then raised the cry of wailing among

the Trojans. "Alas, my son," she cried, "what have I left to live

for now that you are no more? Night and day did I glory in. you

throughout the city, for you were a tower of strength to all in

Troy, and both men and women alike hailed you as a god. So long as you

lived you were their pride, but now death and destruction have

fallen upon you."

Hector's wife had as yet heard nothing, for no one had come to

tell her that her husband had remained without the gates. She was at

her loom in an inner part of the house, weaving a double purple web,

and embroidering it with many flowers. She told her maids to set a

large tripod on the fire, so as to have a warm bath ready for Hector

when he came out of battle; poor woman, she knew not that he was now

beyond the reach of baths, and that Minerva had laid him low by the

hands of Achilles. She heard the cry coming as from the wall, and

trembled in every limb; the shuttle fell from her hands, and again she

spoke to her waiting-women. "Two of you," she said, "come with me that

I may learn what it is that has befallen; I heard the voice of my

husband's honoured mother; my own heart beats as though it would

come into my mouth and my limbs refuse to carry me; some great

misfortune for Priam's children must be at hand. May I never live to

hear it, but I greatly fear that Achilles has cut off the retreat of

brave Hector and has chased him on to the plain where he was

singlehanded; I fear he may have put an end to the reckless daring

which possessed my husband, who would never remain with the body of

his men, but would dash on far in front, foremost of them all in


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 you."

As he spoke he treated the body of noble Hector with contumely,

laying it at full length in the dust beside the bier of Patroclus. The

others then put off every man his armour, took the horses from their

chariots, and seated themselves in great multitude by the ship of

the fleet descendant of Aeacus, who thereon feasted them with an

abundant funeral banquet. Many a goodly ox, with many a sheep and

bleating goat did they butcher and cut up; many a tusked boar

moreover, fat and well-fed, did they singe and set to roast in the

flames of Vulcan; and rivulets of blood flowed all round the place

where the body was lying.

Then the princes of the Achaeans took the son of Peleus to

Agamemnon, but hardly could they persuade him to come with them, so

wroth was he for the death of his comrade. As soon as they reached

Agamemnon's tent they told the serving-men to set a large tripod

over the fire in case they might persuade the son of Peleus 'to wash

the clotted gore from this body, but he denied them sternly, and swore

it with a solemn oath, saying, "Nay, by King Jove, first and mightiest

of all gods, it is not meet that water should touch my body, till I

have laid Patroclus on the flames, have built him a barrow, and shaved

my head- for so long as I live no such second sorrow shall ever draw

nigh me. Now, therefore, let us do all that this sad festival demands,

but at break of day, King Agamemnon, bid your men bring wood, and

provide all else that the dead may duly take into the realm of

darkness; the fire shall thus burn him out of our sight the sooner,

and the people shall turn again to their own labours."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They made haste

to prepare the meal, they ate, and every man had his full share so

that all were satisfied. As soon as they had had 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


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


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


"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


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


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


The goddess took her dark veil, than which there can be no robe more

sombre, and went forth with fleet Iris leading the way before her. The

waves of the sea opened them a path, and when they reached the shore

they flew up into the heavens, where they found the all-seeing son

of Saturn with the blessed gods that live for ever assembled near him.

Minerva gave up her seat to her, and she sat down by the side of

father Jove. Juno then placed a fair golden cup in her hand, and spoke

to her in words of comfort, whereon Thetis drank and gave her back the

cup; and the sire of gods and men was the first to speak.

"So, goddess," said he, "for all your sorrow, and the grief that I

well know reigns ever in your heart, you have come hither to

Olympus, and I will tell you why I have sent for you. This nine days

past the immortals have been quarrelling about Achilles waster of

cities and the body of Hector. The gods would have Mercury slayer of

Argus steal the body, but in furtherance of our peace and amity

henceforward, I will concede such honour to your son as I will now

tell you. Go, then, to the host and lay these commands upon him; say

that the gods are angry with him, and that I am myself more angry than

them all, in that he keeps Hector at the ships and will not give him

up. He may thus fear me and let the body go. At the same time I will

send Iris to great Priam to bid him go to the ships of the Achaeans,

and ransom his son, taking with him such gifts for Achilles as may

give him satisfaction.

Silver-footed Thetis did as the god had told her, and forthwith down

she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus. She went to her

son's tents where she found him grieving bitterly, while his trusty

comrades round him were busy preparing their morning meal, for which

they had killed a great woolly sheep. His mother sat down beside him

and caressed him with her hand saying, "My son, how long will you keep

on thus grieving and making moan? You are gnawing at your own heart,

and think neither of food nor of woman's embraces; and yet these too

were well, for you have no long time to live, and death with the

strong hand of fate are already close beside you. Now, therefore, heed

what I say, for I come as a messenger from Jove; he says that the gods

are angry with you, and himself more angry than them all, in that

you keep Hector at the ships and will not give him up. Therefore let

him go, and accept a ransom for his body."

And Achilles answered, "So be it. If Olympian Jove of his own motion

thus commands me, let him that brings the ransom bear the body away."

Thus did mother and son talk together at the ships in long discourse

with one another. Meanwhile the son of Saturn sent Iris to the

strong city of Ilius. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, from the mansions of

Olympus, and tell King Priam in Ilius, that he is to go to the ships

of the Achaeans and free the body of his dear son. He is to take

such gifts with him as shall give satisfaction to Achilles, and he

is to go alone, with no other Trojan, save only some honoured

servant who may drive his mules and waggon, and bring back the body of

him whom noble Achilles has slain. Let him have no thought nor fear of

death in his heart, for we will send the slayer of Argus to escort

him, and bring him within the tent of Achilles. Achilles will not kill

him nor let another do so, for he will take heed to his ways and sin

not, and he will entreat a suppliant with all honourable courtesy."

On this Iris, fleet as the wind, sped forth to deliver her

message. She went to Priam's house, and found weeping and

lamentation therein. His sons were seated round their father in the

outer courtyard, and their raiment was wet with tears: the old man sat

in the midst of them with his mantle wrapped close about his body, and

his head and neck all covered with the filth which he had clutched

as he lay grovelling in the mire. His daughters and his sons' wives

went wailing about the house, as they thought of the many and brave

men who lay dead, slain by the Argives. The messenger of Jove stood by

Priam and spoke softly to him, but fear fell upon him as she did so.

"Take heart," she said, "Priam offspring of Dardanus, take heart and

fear not. I bring no evil tidings, but am minded well towards you. I

come as a messenger from Jove, who though he be not near, takes

thought for you and pities you. The lord of Olympus bids you go and

ransom noble Hector, and take with you such gifts as shall give

satisfaction to Achilles. You are to go alone, with no Trojan, save

only some honoured servant who may drive your mules and waggon, and

bring back to the city the body of him whom noble Achilles has

slain. You are to have no thought, nor fear of death, for Jove will

send the slayer of Argus to escort you. When he has brought you within

Achilles' tent, Achilles will not kill you nor let another do so,

for he will take heed to his ways and sin not, and he will entreat a

suppliant with all honourable courtesy."

Iris went her way when she had thus spoken, and Priam told his

sons to get a mule-waggon ready, and to make the body of the waggon

fast upon the top of its bed. Then he went down into his fragrant

store-room, high-vaulted, and made of cedar-wood, where his many

treasures were kept, and he called Hecuba his wife. "Wife," said he,

"a messenger has come to me from Olympus, and has told me to go to the

ships of the Achaeans to ransom my dear son, taking with me such gifts

as shall give satisfaction to Achilles. What think you of this matter?

for my own part I am greatly moved to pass through the 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 us?

When he heard this the old man's heart failed him, and he was in

great fear; he stayed where he was as one dazed, and the hair stood on

end over his whole body; but the bringer of good luck came up to him

and took him by the hand, saying, "Whither, father, are you thus

driving your mules and horses in the dead of night when other men

are asleep? Are you not afraid of the fierce Achaeans who are hard

by you, so cruel and relentless? Should some one of them see you

bearing so much treasure through the darkness of the flying night,

what would not your state then be? You are no longer young, and he who

is with you is too old to protect you from those who would attack you.

For myself, I will do you no harm, and I will defend you from any

one else, for you remind me of my own father."

And Priam answered, "It is indeed as you say, my dear son;

nevertheless some god has held his hand over me, in that he has sent

such a wayfarer as yourself to meet me so Opportunely; you are so

comely in mien and figure, and your judgement is so excellent that you

must come of blessed parents."

Then said the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, "Sir, all that

you have said is right; but tell me and tell me true, are you taking

this rich treasure to send it to a foreign people where it may be

safe, or are you all leaving strong Ilius in dismay now that your

son has fallen who was the bravest man among you and was never lacking

in battle with the Achaeans?"

And Priam said, "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


"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


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


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


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


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