Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Iliad of Homer by Homer (Lang, Leaf, Myers trans.)

Part 5 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

thou lay it up in thy heart: verily thou thyself art not long to live,
but already doth Death stand hard by thee, and strong Fate, that thou
art to be subdued by the hands of noble Achilles, of the seed of

Even as so he spake the end of death overshadowed him. And his soul,
fleeting from his limbs, went down to the house of Hades, wailing its
own doom, leaving manhood and youth.

Then renowned Hector spake to him even in his death: "Patroklos,
wherefore to me dolt thou prophesy sheer destruction? who knows but that
Achilles, the child of fair-tressed Thetis, will first be smitten by my
spear, and lose his life?"

So spake he, and drew the spear of bronze from the wound, setting his
foot on the dead, and cast him off on his back from the spear. And
straightway with the spear he went after Automedon, the godlike squire
of the swift-footed Aiakides, for he was eager to smite him; but his
swift-footed immortal horses bare him out of the battle, horses that the
gods gave to Peleus, a splendid gift.


Of the battle around the body of Patroklos.

But Atreus' son, Menelaos dear to Ares, was not unaware of the slaying
of Patroklos by the Trojans in the fray. He went up through the front of
the fight harnessed in flashing bronze, and strode over the body as
above a first-born calf standeth lowing its mother. Thus above Patroklos
strode fair-haired Menelaos, and before him held his spear and the
circle of his shield, eager to slay whoever should encounter him. Then
was Panthoos' son of the stout ashen spear not heedless of noble
Patroklos as he lay, and he smote on the circle of the shield of
Menelaos, but the bronze spear brake it not, but the point was bent back
in the stubborn shield. And Menelaos Atreus' son in his turn made at him
with his bronze spear, having prayed unto father Zeus, and as he gave
back pierced the nether part of his throat, and threw his weight into
the stroke, following his heavy hand; and sheer through the tender neck
went the point of the spear. And he fell with a crash, and his armour
rang upon him. In blood was his hair drenched that was like unto the
hair of the Graces, and his tresses closely knit with bands of silver
and gold.

Then easily would the son of Atreus have borne off the noble spoils of
Panthoos' son, had not Phoebus Apollo grudged it to him, and aroused
against him Hector peer of swift Ares, putting on the semblance of a
man, of Mentes chief of the Kikones. And he spake aloud to him winged
words: "Hector, now art thou hasting after things unattainable, even the
horses of wise Aiakides; for hard are they to be tamed or driven by
mortal man, save only Achilles whom an immortal mother bare. Meanwhile
hath warlike Menelaos Atreus' son stridden over Patroklos and slain the
best of the Trojans there, even Panthoos' son Euphorbos, and hath stayed
him in his impetuous might."

Thus saying the god went back into the strife of men, but dire grief
darkened Hectors inmost soul, and then he gazed searchingly along the
lines, and straightway was aware of the one man stripping off the noble
arms, and the other lying on the earth; and blood was flowing about the
gaping wound. Then he went through the front of the fight harnessed in
flashing bronze, crying a shrill cry, like unto Hephaistos' flame
unquenchable. Not deaf to his shrill cry was Atreus' son, and sore
troubled he spake to his great heart: "Ay me, if I shall leave behind me
these goodly arms, and Patroklos who here lieth for my vengeance' sake,
I fear lest some Danaan beholding it be wroth against me. But if for
honour's sake I do battle alone with Hector and the Trojans, I fear lest
they come about me many against one; for all the Trojans is
bright-helmed Hector leading hither. But if I might somewhere find Aias
of the loud war-cry, then both together would we go and be mindful of
battle even were it against the power of heaven, if haply we might save
his dead for Achilles Peleus' son: that were best among these ills."

While thus he communed with his mind and heart, therewithal the Trojan
ranks came onward, and Hector at their head. Then Menelaos gave
backward, and left the dead man, turning himself ever about like a
deep-waned lion which men and dogs chase from a fold with spears and
cries; and his strong heart within him groweth chill, and loth goeth he
from the steading; so from Patroklos went fair-haired Menelaos, and
turned and stood, when he came to the host of his comrades, searching
for mighty Aias Telamon's son. Him very speedily he espied on the left
of the whole battle, cheering his comrades and rousing them to fight,
for great terror had Phoebus Apollo sent on them; and he hasted him to
run, and straightway stood by him and said: "This way, beloved Aias; let
us bestir us for the dead Patroklos, if haply his naked corpse at least
we may carry to Achilles, though his armour is held by Hector of the
glancing helm."

Thus spake he, and aroused the heart of wise Aias. And he went up
through the front of the fight, and with him fair-haired Menelaos. Now
Hector, when he had stripped from Patroklos his noble armour, was
dragging him thence that he might cut off the head from the shoulders
with the keen bronze and carry his body to give to the dogs of Troy. But
Aias came anigh, and the shield that he bare was as a tower; then Hector
gave back into the company of his comrades, and sprang into his chariot;
and the goodly armour he gave to the Trojans to carry to the city, to be
great glory unto him. But Aias spread his broad shield over the son of
Menoitios and stood as it were a lion before his whelps when huntsmen in
a forest encounter him as he leadeth his young. And by his side stood
Atreus' son, Menelaos dear to Ares, nursing great sorrow in his breast.

Then Hector called on the Trojans with a mighty shout; "Trojans and
Lykians and Dardanians that fight hand to hand, be men, my friends, and
bethink you of impetuous valour, until I do on me the goodly arms of
noble Achilles that I stripped from brave Patroklos when I slew him."

Thus having spoken went Hector of the glancing helm forth out of the
strife of war, and ran and speedily with fleet feet following overtook
his comrades, not yet far off, who were bearing to the city Peleides'
glorious arms. And standing apart from the dolorous battle he changed
his armour; his own he gave the warlike Trojans to carry to sacred
Ilios, and he put on the divine arms of Achilles, Peleus' son.

But when Zeus that gathereth the clouds beheld from afar off Hector
arming him in the armour of Peleus' godlike son, he shook his head and
spake thus unto his soul: "Ah, hapless man, no thought is in thy heart
of death that yet draweth nigh unto thee; thou doest on thee the divine
armour of a peerless man before whom the rest have terror. His comrade,
gentle and brave, thou hast slain, and unmeetly hast stripped the armour
from his head and shoulders; yet now for a while at least I will give
into thy hands great might, in recompense for this, even that nowise
shalt thou come home out of the battle, for Andromache to receive from
thee Peleides' glorious arms."

Thus spake the son of Kronos, and bowed his dark brows therewithal.

But the armour fitted itself unto Hectors body, and Ares the dread
war-god entered into him, and his limbs were filled within with valour
and strength. Then he sped among the noble allies with a mighty cry, and
in the flashing of his armour he seemed to all of them like unto Peleus'
great-hearted son. And he came to each and encouraged him with his
words--Mesthles and Glaukos and Medon and Thersilochos and Asteropaios
and Deisenor and Hippothoos and Phorkys and Chromios and the augur
Ennomos--these encouraged he and spake to them winged words: "Listen, ye
countless tribes of allies that dwell round about. It was not for mere
numbers that I sought or longed when I gathered each of you from your
cities, but that ye might zealously guard the Trojans' wives and infant
little ones from the war-loving Achaians. For this end am I wearying my
people by taking gifts and food from them, and nursing thereby the
courage of each of you. Now therefore let all turn straight against the
foe and live or die, for such is the dalliance of war. And whoso shall
drag Patroklos, dead though he be, among the horse-taming men of Troy,
and make Aias yield, to him will I award half the spoils and keep half
myself; so shall his glory be great as mine."

Thus spake he, and they against the Danaans charged with all their
weight, levelling their spears, and their hearts were high of hope to
drag the corpse from under Aias, Telamon's son. Fond men! from full many
reft he life over that corpse. And then spake Aias to Menelaos of the
loud war-cry: "Dear Menelaos, fosterling of Zeus, no longer count I that
we two of ourselves shall return home out of the war. Nor have I so much
dread for the corpse of Patroklos, that shall soon glut the dogs and
birds of the men of Troy, as for thy head and mine lest some evil fall
thereon, for all is shrouded by a storm-cloud of war, even by Hector,
and sheer doom stareth in our face. But come, call thou to the best men
of the Danaans, if haply any hear."

Thus spake he, and Menelaos of the loud war-cry disregarded him not, but
shouted unto the Danaans, crying a far-heard cry: "O friends, ye leaders
and counsellors of the Argives, who by the side of the sons of Atreus,
Agamemnon and Menelaos, drink at the common cost and are all commanders
of the host, on whom wait glory and honour from Zeus, hard is it for me
to distinguish each chief amid the press--such blaze is there of the
strife of war. But let each go forward of himself and be wroth at heart
that Patroklos should become a sport among the dogs of Troy."

Thus spake he, and Oileus' son fleet Aias heard him clearly, and was
first to run along the mellay to meet him, and after him Idomeneus, and
Idomeneus' brother-in-arms, Meriones, peer of the man-slaying war-god.
And who shall of his own thought tell the names of the rest, even of all
that after these aroused the battle of the Achaians?

Now the Trojans charged forward in close array, and Hector led them. And
as when at the mouth of some heaven-born river a mighty wave roareth
against the stream, and arouseth the high cliffs' echo as the salt sea
belloweth on the beach, so loud was the cry wherewith the Trojans came.
But the Achaians stood firm around Menoitios' son with one soul all,
walled in with shields of bronze. And over their bright helmets the son
of Kronos shed thick darkness, for in the former time was Menoitios' son
not unloved of him, while he was yet alive and squire of Aiakides. So
was Zeus loth that he should become a prey of the dogs of his enemies at
Troy, and stirred his comrades to do battle for him.

Now first the Trojans thrust back the glancing-eyed Achaians, who shrank
before them and left the dead, yet the proud Trojans slew not any of
them with spears, though they were fain, but set to hale the corpse. But
little while would the Achaians hold back therefrom, for very swiftly
Aias rallied them, Aias the first in presence and in deeds of all the
Danaans after the noble son of Peleus. Right through the fighters in the
forefront rushed he like a wild boar in his might that in the mountains
when he turneth at bay scattereth lightly dogs and lusty young men
through the glades. Thus did proud Telamon's son the glorious Aias press
on the Trojan battalions and lightly scatter them, as they had bestrode
Patroklos and were full fain to drag him to their city and win renown.

Then would the Trojans in their turn in their weakness overcome have
been driven back into Ilios by the Achaians dear to Ares, and the
Argives would have won glory even against the appointment of Zeus by
their power and might. But Apollo himself aroused Aineias, putting on
the semblance of Periphas the herald, the son of Epytos, who grew old
with his old father in his heraldship, of friendly thought toward
Aineias. In his similitude spake Apollo, son of Zeus: "Aineias, how
could ye ever guard high Ilios if it were against the will of God? Other
men have I seen that trust in their own might and power and valour, and
in their host, even though they have scant folk to lead. But here,
albeit Zeus is fainer far to give victory to us than to the Danaans, yet
ye are dismayed exceedingly and fight not."

Thus spake he, and Aineias knew far-darting Apollo when he looked upon
his face, and spake unto Hector, shouting loud "Hector and ye other
leaders of the Trojans and their allies, shame were this if in our
weakness overcome we were driven back into Ilios by the Achaians dear to
Ares. Nay, thus saith a god, who standeth by my side: Zeus, highest
Orderer, is our helper in this fight. Therefore let us go right onward
against the Danaans. Not easily at least let them take the dead
Patroklos to the ships."

Thus spake he, and leapt forth far before the fighters in the front. And
the Trojans rallied and stood up against the Achaians. Thus strove they
as it had been fire, nor wouldst thou have thought there was still sun
or moon, for over all the battle where the chiefs stood around the slain
son of Menoitios they were shrouded in darkness, while the other Trojans
and well-greaved Achaians fought at ease in the clear air, and piercing
sunlight was spread over them, and on all the earth and hills there was
no cloud seen; and they ceased fighting now sad again, avoiding each
other's dolorous darts and standing far apart. But they who were in the
midst endured affliction of the darkness and the battle, and all the
best men of them were wearied by the pitiless weight of their bronze

Thus all day long waxed the mighty fray of their sore strife; and
unabatingly ever with the sweat of toil were the knees and legs and feet
of each man and arms anal eyes bedewed as the two hosts did battle
around the brave squire of fleet Aiakides. And as when a man giveth the
hide of a great bull to his folk to stretch, all soaked in fat, and they
take and stretch it standing in a circle, and straightway the moisture
thereof departeth and the fat entereth in under the haling of many
hands, and it is all stretched throughout,--thus they on both sides
haled the dead man this way and that in narrow space, for their hearts
were high of hope, the Trojans that they should drag him to Ilios and
the Achaians to the hollow ships; and around him the fray waxed wild,
nor might Ares rouser of hosts nor Athene despise the sight thereof,
albeit their anger were exceeding great.

Such was the grievous travail of men and horses over Patroklos that Zeus
on that day wrought. But not as yet knew noble Achilles aught of
Patroklos' death, for far away from the swift ships they were fighting
beneath the wall of the men of Troy. Therefore never deemed he in his
heart that he was dead, but that he should come back alive, after that
he had touched the gates; for neither that other thought had he anywise,
that Patroklos should sack the stronghold without his aid.

Now the rest continually around the dead man with their keen spears made
onset relentlessly and slew each the other. And thus would one speak
among the mail-clad Achaians: "Friends, it were verily not glorious for
us to go back to the hollow ships; rather let the black earth yawn for
us all beneath our feet. Far better were that straightway for us if we
suffer the horse-taming Trojans to hale this man to their city and win

And thus on the other side would one of the great-hearted Trojans say:
"Friends, though it were our fate that all together we be slain beside
this man, let none yet give backward from the fray."

Thus would one speak, and rouse the spirit of each. So they fought on,
and the iron din went up through the high desert air unto the brazen
heaven. But the horses of Aiakides that were apart from the battle were
weeping, since first they were aware that their charioteer was fallen in
the dust beneath the hand of man-slaying Hector. Verily Automedon,
Diores' valiant son, plied them oft with blows of the swift lash, and
oft with gentle words he spake to them and oft with chiding, yet would
they neither go back to the ships at the broad Hellespont nor yet to the
battle after the Achaians, but as a pillar abideth firm that standeth on
the tomb of a man or woman dead, so abode they immovably with the
beautiful chariot, abasing their heads unto the earth. And hot tears
flowed from their eyes to the ground as they mourned in sorrow for their
charioteer, and their rich manes were soiled as they drooped from
beneath the yoke-cushion on both sides beside the yoke. And when the son
of Kronos beheld them mourning he had compassion on them, and shook his
head and spake to his own heart: "Ah, hapless pair, why gave we you to
king Peleus, a mortal man, while ye are deathless and ever young? Was it
that ye should suffer sorrows among ill-fated men? For methinketh there
is nothing more piteous than a man among all things that breathe and
creep upon the earth. But verily Hector Priam's son shall not drive you
and your deftly-wrought car; that will I not suffer. Is it a small thing
that he holdeth the armour and vaunteth himself vainly thereupon? Nay, I
will put courage into your knees and heart that ye may bring Automedon
also safe out of the war to the hollow ships. For yet further will I
increase victory to the men of Troy, so that they slay until they come
unto the well-timbered ships, and the sun set and divine night come

Thus saying he breathed good courage into the horses. And they shook to
earth the dust from their manes, and lightly bare the swift car amid
Trojans and Achaians. And behind them fought Automedon, albeit in grief
for his comrade, swooping with his chariot as a vulture on wild geese;
for lightly he would flee out of the onset of the Trojans and lightly
charge, pursuing them through the thick mellay. Yet could he not slay
any man as he halted to pursue them, for it was impossible that being
alone in his sacred car he should at once assail them with the spear and
hold his fleet horses. Then at last espied him a comrade, even Alkimedon
son of Laerkes, son of Haimon, and he halted behind the car and spake
unto Automedon: "Automedon, what god hath put into thy breast
unprofitable counsel and taken from thee wisdom, that thus alone thou
art fighting against the Trojans in the forefront of the press? Thy
comrade even now was slain, and Hector goeth proudly, wearing on his own
shoulders the armour of Aiakides."

And Automedon son of Diores answered him, saying: "Alkimedon, what other
Achaian hath like skill to guide the spirit of immortal steeds, save
only Patroklos, peer of gods in counsel, while he yet lived? but now
have death and fate overtaken him. But take thou the lash and shining
reins, and I will get me down from my, horses, that I may fight."

Thus spake he, and Alkimedon leapt on the fleet war-chariot and swiftly
took the lash and reins in his hands, and Automedon leapt down. And
noble Hector espied them, and straightway spake unto Aineias as he stood
near: "Aineias, counsellor of mail-clad Trojans, I espy here the two
horses of fleet Aiakides come forth to battle with feeble charioteers.
Therefore might I hope to take them if thou in thy heart art willing,
since they would not abide our onset and stand to do battle against us."

Thus spake he, and the brave son of Anchises disregarded him not. And
they twain went right onward, their shoulders shielded by ox-hides dried
and tough, and bronze thick overlaid. And with them went both Chromios
and godlike Aretos, and their hearts were of high hope to slay the men
and drive off the strong-necked horses--fond hope, for not without blood
lost were they to get them back from Automedon. He praying to father
Zeus was filled in his inmost heart with valour and strength. And
straightway he spake to Alkimedon, his faithful comrade: "Alkimedon,
hold the horses not far from me, but with their very breath upon my
back; for I deem that Hector the son of Priam will not refrain him from
his fury until he mount behind Achilles' horses of goodly manes after
slaying us twain, and dismay the ranks of Argive men, or else himself
fall among the foremost."

Thus said he, and called upon the Aiantes and Menelaos: "Aiantes,
leaders of the Argives, and Menelaos, lo now, commit ye the corpse unto
whoso may best avail to bestride it and resist the ranks of men, and
come ye to ward the day of doom from us who are yet alive, for here in
the dolorous war are Hector and Aineias, the best men of the Trojans,
pressing hard. Yet verily these issues lie in the lap of the gods: I too
will cast my spear, and the rest shall Zeus decide."

He said, and poised his far-shadowing spear and hurled it, and smote on
the circle of the shield of Aretos, and the shield sustained not the
spear, but right through went the bronze, and he forced it into his
belly low down through his belt. And as when a strong man with a sharp
axe smiting behind the horns of an ox of the homestead cleaveth the
sinew asunder, and the ox leapeth forward and falleth, so leapt Aretos
forward and fell on his back; and the spear in his entrails very
piercingly quivering unstrung his limbs. And Hector hurled at Automedon
with his bright spear, but he looked steadfastly on the bronze javelin
as it came at him and avoided it, for he stooped forward, and the long
spear fixed itself in the ground behind, and the javelin-butt quivered,
and there dread Ares took away its force. And then had they lashed at
each other with their swords hand to hand, had not the Aiantes parted
them in their fury, when they were come through the mellay at their
comrades' call. Before them Hector and Aineias and godlike Chromios
shrank backward and gave ground and left Aretos wounded to the death as
he lay. And Automedon, peer of swift Ares, stripped off the armour of
the dead, and spake exultingly: "Verily, I have a little eased my heart
of grief for the death of Menoitios' son, albeit a worse man than him
have I slain."

Thus saying he took up the gory spoils and set them in his car, and gat
him thereon, with feet and hands all bloody, as a lion that hath
devoured a bull.

Now great-hearted Aias and Menelaos were aware of Zeus how he gave the
Trojans their turn to victory. First of these to speak was great Aias
son of Telamon: "Ay me, now may any man, even though he be a very fool,
know that father Zeus himself is helping the Trojans. Come, let us
ourselves devise some excellent means, that we may both hale the corpse
away and ourselves return home to the joy of our friends, who grieve as
they look hitherward and deem that no longer shall the fury of
man-slaying Hector's unapproachable hand refrain itself, but fall upon
the black ships. And would there were some comrade to carry tidings with
all speed unto the son of Peleus, since I deem that he hath not even
heard the grievous tidings, how his dear comrade is slain. But nowhere
can I behold such an one among the Achaians, for themselves and their
horses likewise are wrapped in darkness. O father Zeus, deliver thou the
sons of the Achaians from the darkness, and make clear sky and vouchsafe
sight unto our eyes. In the light be it that thou slayest us, since it
is thy good pleasure that we die."

Then fair-haired Menelaos departed glancing everywhither, as an eagle
which men say hath keenest sight of all birds under heaven, and though
he be far aloft the fleet-footed hare eludeth him not by crouching
beneath a leafy bush, but the eagle swoopeth thereon and swiftly seizeth
her and taketh her life. Thus in that hour, Menelaos fosterling of Zeus,
ranged thy shining eyes everywhither through the multitude of the host
of thy comrades, if haply they might behold Nestor's son yet alive. Him
quickly he perceived at the left of the whole battle, heartening his
comrades and rousing them to fight. And fair-haired Menelaos came and
stood nigh and said unto him: "Antilochos, fosterling of Zeus, come
hither that thou mayest learn woful tidings--would it had never been.
Ere now, I ween, thou too hast known by thy beholding that God rolleth
mischief upon the Danaans, and with the Trojans is victory. And slain is
the best man of the Achaians, Patroklos, and great sorrow is wrought for
the Danaans. But run thou to the ships of the Achaians and quickly tell
this to Achilles, if haply he may straightway rescue to his ship the
naked corpse: but his armour is held by Hector of the glancing helmet."

Thus spake he, and Antilochos had horror of the word he heard. And long
time speechlessness possessed him, and his eyes were filled with tears,
and his full voice choked. Yet for all this disregarded he not the
bidding of Menelaos, but set him to run, when he had given his armour to
a noble comrade, Laodokos, who close anigh him was wheeling his
whole-hooved horses.

So him his feet bare out of the battle weeping, to Achilles son of
Peleus carrying an evil tale. But thy heart, Menelaos fosterling of
Zeus, chose not to stay to aid the wearied comrades from whom Antilochos
departed, and great sorrow was among the Pylians. But to them Menelaos
sent noble Thrasymedes, and himself went again to bestride the hero
Patroklos. And he hasted and stood beside the Aiantes and straightway
spake to them: "So have I sent that man to the swift ships to go to
fleet-footed Achilles. Yet deem I not that he will now come, for all his
wrath against noble Hector, for he could not fight unarmed against the
men of Troy. But let us ourselves devise some excellent means, both how
we may hale the dead away, and how we ourselves may escape death and
fate amid the Trojans' battle-cry."

Then answered him great Aias Telamon's son, saying: "All this hast thou
said well, most noble Menelaos. But do thou and Meriones put your
shoulders beneath the dead and lift him and bear him swiftly out of the
fray, while we twain behind you shall do battle with the Trojans and
noble Hector, one in heart as we are in name, for from of old time we
are wont to await fierce battle side by side."

Thus spake he, and the others took the dead man in their arms and lifted
him mightily on high. But the Trojan host behind cried aloud when they
saw the Achaians lifting the corpse, and charged like hounds that spring
in front of hunter-youths upon a wounded wild boar, and for a while run
in haste to rend him, but when he wheeleth round among them, trusting in
his might, then they give ground and shrink back here and there. Thus
for a while the Trojans pressed on with all their power, striking with
swords and double-headed spears, but when the Aiantes turned about and
halted over against them, then they changed colour, and none dared
farther onset to do battle around the dead.


How Achilles grieved for Patroklos, and how Thetis asked for
him new armour of Hephaistos; and of the making of the

Thus fought the rest in the likeness of blazing fire, while to Achilles
came Antilochos, a messenger fleet of foot. Him found he in front of his
ships of upright horns, boding in his soul the things which even now
were accomplished. And sore troubled he spake to his great heart: "Ay
me, wherefore again are the flowing-haired Achaians flocking to the
ships and flying in rout over the plain? May the gods not have wrought
against me the grievous fears at my heart, even as my mother revealed
and told me that while I am yet alive the best man of the Myrmidons must
by deed of the men of Troy forsake the light of the sun. Surely now must
Menoitios' valiant son be dead--foolhardy! surely I bade him when he
should have beaten off the fire of the foe to come back to the ships nor
with Hector fight amain."

While thus he held debate in his heart and soul, there drew nigh unto
him noble Nestor's son, shedding hot tears, and spake his grievous
tidings: "Ay me, wise Peleus' son, very bitter tidings must thou hear,
such as I would had never been. Fallen is Patroklos, and they are
fighting around his body, naked, for his armour is held by Hector of the
glancing helm."

Thus spake he, and a black cloud of grief enwrapped Achilles, and with
both hands he took dark dust and poured it over his head and defiled his
comely face, and on his fragrant doublet black ashes fell. And himself
in the dust lay mighty and mightily fallen, and with his own hands tore
and marred his hair. And the handmaidens, whom Achilles and Patroklos
took captive, cried aloud in the grief of their hearts, and ran forth
around valiant Achilles, and all beat on their breasts with their hands,
and the knees of each of them were unstrung. And Antilochos on the other
side wailed and shed tears, holding Achilles' hands while he groaned in
his noble heart, for he feared lest he should cleave his throat with the
sword. Then terribly moaned Achilles; and his lady mother heard him as
she sate in the depths of the sea beside her ancient sire. And thereon
she uttered a cry, and the goddesses flocked around her, all the
daughters of Nereus that were in the deep of the sea. With these the
bright cave was filled, and they all beat together on their breasts, and
Thetis led the lament: "Listen, sister Nereids, that ye all hear and
know well what sorrows are in my heart. Ay me unhappy, ay me that bare
to my sorrow the first of men! For after I had borne a son noble and
strong, the chief of heroes, and he shot up like a young branch, then
when I had reared him as a plant in a very fruitful field I sent him in
beaked ships to Ilios to fight against the men of Troy; but never again
shall I welcome him back to his home, to the house of Peleus. And while
he yet liveth in my sight and beholdeth the light of the sun, he
sorroweth, neither can I help him any whit though I go unto him. But I
will go, that I may look upon my dear child, and learn what sorrow hath
come to him though he abide aloof from the war."

Thus spake she and left the cave; and the nymphs went with her weeping,
and around them the surge of the sea was sundered. And when they came to
deep-soiled Troy-land they went up upon the shore in order, where the
ships of the Myrmidons were drawn up thickly around fleet Achilles. And
as he groaned heavily his lady mother stood beside him, and with a
shrill cry clasped the bead of her child, and spake unto him winged
words of lamentation: "My child, why weepest thou? what sorrow hath come
to thy heart? Tell it forth, hide it not. One thing at least hath been
accomplished of Zeus according to the prayer thou madest, holding up to
him thy hands, that the sons of the Achaians should all be pent in at
the ships, through lack of thee, and should suffer hateful things."

Then groaning heavily spake unto her Achilles fleet of foot: "My mother,
that prayer truly hath the Olympian accomplished for me. But what
delight have I therein, since my dear comrade is dead, Patroklos, whom I
honoured above all my comrades as it were my very self! Him have I lost,
and Hector that slew him hath stripped from him the armour great and
fair, a wonder to behold, that the gods gave to Peleus a splendid gift,
on the day when they laid thee in the bed of a mortal man. Would thou
hadst abode among the deathless daughters of the sea, and Peleus had
wedded a mortal bride! But now, that thou mayest have sorrow a thousand
fold in thy heart for a dead son, never shalt thou welcome him back
home, since my soul biddeth me also live no longer nor abide among men,
if Hector be not first smitten by my spear and yield his life, and pay
for his slaughter of Patroklos, Menoitios' son."

Then answered unto him Thetis shedding tears: "Short-lived, I ween, must
thou be then, my child, by what thou sayest, for straightway after
Hector is death appointed unto thee."

Then mightily moved spake unto her Achilles fleet of foot: "Straightway
may I die, since I might not succour my comrade at his slaying. He hath
fallen afar from his country and lacked my help in his sore need. Now
therefore, since I go not back to my dear native land, neither have at
all been succour to Patroklos nor to all my other comrades that have
been slain by noble Hector, but I sit beside my ships a profitless
burden of the earth, I that in war am such an one as is none else of the
mail-clad Achaians, though in council are others better--may strife
perish utterly among gods and men, and wrath that stirreth even a wise
man to be vexed, wrath that far sweeter than trickling honey waxeth like
smoke in the breasts of men, even as I was wroth even now against
Agamemnon king of men. But bygones will we let be, for all our pain,
curbing the heart in our breasts under necessity. Now go I forth, that I
may light on the destroyer of him I loved, on Hector: then will I accept
my death whensoever Zeus willeth to accomplish it and the other immortal
gods. For not even the mighty Herakles escaped death, albeit most dear
to Kronian Zeus the king, but Fate overcame him and Hera's cruel wrath.
So also shall I, if my fate hath been fashioned likewise, lie low when I
am dead. But now let me win high renown, let me set some Trojan woman,
some deep-bosomed daughter of Dardanos, staunching with both hands the
tears upon her tender cheeks and wailing bitterly; yea, let them know
that I am come back, though I tarried long from the war. Hold not me
then from the battle in thy love, for thou shalt not prevail with me."

Then Thetis the silver-footed goddess answered him, saying: "Yea verily,
my child, no blame is in this, that thou ward sheer destruction from thy
comrades in their distress. But thy fair glittering armour of bronze is
held among the Trojans. Hector of the glancing helm beareth it on his
shoulders in triumph, yet not for long, I ween, shall he glory therein,
for death is hard anigh him. But thou, go not yet down into the mellay
of war until thou see me with thine eyes come hither. In the morning
will I return, at the coming up of the sun, bearing fair armour from the
king Hephaistos."

Thus spake she and turned to go from her son, and as she turned she
spake among her sisters of the sea: "Ye now go down within the wide
bosom of the deep, to visit the Ancient One of the Sea and our father's
house, and tell him all. I am going to high Olympus to Hephaistos of
noble skill, if haply he will give unto my son noble armour shining

Thus spake she, and they forthwith went down beneath the surge of the
sea. And the silver-footed goddess Thetis went on to Olympus that she
might bring noble armour to her son.

So her unto Olympus her feet bore. But the Achaians with terrible cries
were fleeing before man-slaying Hector till they came to the ships and
to the Hellespont. Nor might the well-greaved Achaians drag the corpse
of Patroklos Achilles' squire out of the darts, for now again overtook
him the host and the horses of Troy, and Hector son of Priam, in might
as it were a flame of fire. Thrice did glorious Hector seize him from
behind by the feet, resolved to drag him away, and mightily called upon
the men of Troy. Thrice did the two Aiantes, clothed on with impetuous
might, beat him off from the dead man, but he nathless, trusting in his
might, anon would charge into the press, anon would stand and cry aloud,
but he gave ground never a whit. As when shepherds in the field avail
nowise to chase a fiery lion in fierce hunger away from a carcase, so
availed not the two warrior Aiantes to scare Hector son of Priam from
the dead. And now would he have won the body and gained renown
unspeakable, had not fleet wind-footed Iris come speeding from Olympus
with a message to the son of Peleus to array him, unknown of Zeus and
the other gods, for Hera sent her. And she stood anigh and spake to him
winged words: "Rouse thee, son of Peleus, of all men most redoubtable!
Succour Patroklos, for whose body is terrible battle afoot before the
ships. There slay they one another, these guarding the dead corpse,
while the men of Troy are fierce to hale him unto windy Ilios, and
chiefliest noble Hector is fain to drag him, and his heart biddeth him
fix the head on the stakes of the wall when he hath sundered it from the
tender neck. But arise, lie thus no longer! let awe enter thy heart to
forbid that Patroklos become the sport of dogs of Troy. Thine were the
shame if he go down mangled amid the dead."

Then answered her fleet-footed noble Achilles: "Goddess Iris, what god
sent thee a messenger unto me?"

And to him again spake wind-footed fleet Iris: "It was Hera that sent
me, the wise wife of Zeus, nor knoweth the high-throned son of Kronos
nor any other of the Immortals that on snowy Olympus have their

And Achilles fleet of foot made answer to her and said: "And how may I
go into the fray? The Trojans hold my arms; and my dear mother bade me
forbear to array me until I behold her with my eyes returned, for she
promised to bring fair armour from Hephaistos. Other man know I none
whose noble armour I might put on, save it were the shield of Aias
Telamon's son. But himself, I ween, is in the forefront of the press,
dealing death with his spear around Patroklos dead."

Then again spake unto him wind-footed fleet Iris: "Well are we also
aware that thy noble armour is held from thee. But go forth unto the
trench as thou art and show thyself to the men of Troy, if haply they
will shrink back and refrain them from battle, and the warlike sons of
the Achaians take breath."

Thus spake fleet-footed Iris and went her way. But Achilles dear to Zeus
arose, and around his strong shoulders Athene cast her tasselled aegis,
and around his head the bright goddess set a crown of a golden cloud,
and kindled therefrom a blazing flame. And as when a smoke issueth from
a city and riseth up into the upper air, from an island afar off that
foes beleaguer, while the others from their city fight all day in
hateful war,--but with the going down of the sun blaze out the
beacon-fires in line, and high aloft rusheth up the glare for dwellers
round about to behold, if haply they may come with ships to help in
need--thus from the head of Achilles soared that blaze toward the
heavens. And he went and stood beyond the wall beside the trench, yet
mingled not among the Achaians, for he minded the wise bidding of his
mother. There stood he and shouted aloud, and afar off Pallas Athene
uttered her voice, and spread terror unspeakable among the men of Troy.
Clear as the voice of a clarion when it soundeth by reason of
slaughterous foemen that beleaguer a city, so clear rang forth the voice
of Aiakides. And when they heard the brazen voice of Aiakides, the souls
of all of them were dismayed, and the horses of goodly manes were fain
to turn the chariots backward, for they boded anguish in their hearts,
And the charioteers were amazed when they saw the unwearying fire blaze
fierce on the head of the great-hearted son of Peleus, for the
bright-eyed goddess Athene made it blaze. Thrice from over the trench
shouted mightily noble Achilles, and thrice were the men of Troy
confounded and their proud allies. Yea there and then perished twelve
men of their best by their own chariot wheels and spears. But the
Achaians with joy drew Patroklos forth of the darts and laid him on a
litter, and his dear comrades stood around lamenting him; and among them
followed fleet-footed Achilles, shedding hot tears, for his true comrade
he saw lying on the bier, mangled by the keen bronze. Him sent he forth
with chariot and horses unto the battle, but home again welcomed never

Then Hera the ox-eyed queen sent down the unwearying Sun to be gone
unwillingly unto the streams of Ocean. So the Sun set, and the noble
Achaians made pause from the stress of battle and the hazardous war.

But the Achaians all night made moan in lamentation for Patroklos. And
first of them in the loud lamentation was the son of Peleus, laying upon
the breast of his comrade his man-slaying hands and moaning very sore,
even as a deep-bearded lion whose whelps some stag-hunter hath snatched
away out of a deep wood; and the lion coming afterward grieveth and
through many glens he rangeth on the track of the footsteps of the man,
if anywhere he might find him, for most bitter anger seizeth him;--thus
Achilles moaning heavily spake among the Myrmidons: "Ay me, vain verily
was the word I uttered on that day when I cheered the hero Menoitios in
his halls and said that I would bring back to Opoeis his son in glory
from the sack of Ilios with the share of spoil that should fall unto
him. Not all the purposes of men doth Zeus accomplish for them. It is
appointed that both of us redden the same earth with our blood here in
Troy-land, for neither shall the old knight Peleus welcome me back home
within his halls, nor my mother Thetis, but even here shall earth keep
hold on me. Yet now, O Patroklos, since I follow thee under earth, I
will not hold thy funeral till I have brought hither the armour and the
head of Hector, thy high-hearted slayer, and before thy pyre I will cut
the throats of twelve noble sons of the men of Troy, for mine anger thou
art slain. Till then beside the beaked ships shalt thou lie as thou art,
and around thee deep-bosomed women, Trojan and Dardanian, shall mourn
thee weeping night and day, even they whom we toiled to win by our
strength and, our long spears when we sacked rich cities of mortal men."

Thus spake noble Achilles, and bade his comrades set a great tripod on
the fire, that with all speed they might wash from Patroklos the bloody
gore. So they set a tripod of ablution on the burning fire, and poured
therein water and took wood and kindled it beneath; and the fire wrapped
the belly of the tripod, and the water grew hot. And when the water
boiled in the bright bronze, then washed they him and anointed with
olive oil, and filled his wounds with fresh ointment, and laid him on a
bier and covered him with soft cloth from head to foot, and thereover a
white robe. Then all night around Achilles fleet of foot the Myrmidons
made lament and moan for Patroklos.

Meanwhile Zeus spake unto Hera his sister and wife: "Thou hast
accomplished this, O Hera, ox-eyed queen, thou hast aroused Achilles
fleet of foot. Verily of thine own children must the flowing-haired
Achaians be."

Then answered unto him Hera the ox-eyed queen: "Most dread son of
Kronos, what is this word thou hast said? Truly even a man, I ween, is
to accomplish what he may for another man, albeit he is mortal and hath
not wisdom as we. How then was I who avow me the first of goddesses both
by birth and for that I am called thy wife, and thou art king among all
Immortals--how was I not in mine anger to devise evil against the men of

So debated they on this wise with one another. But Thetis of the silver
feet came unto the house of Hephaistos, imperishable, starlike, far seen
among the dwellings of Immortals, a house of bronze, wrought by the
crook-footed god himself. Him found she sweating in toil and busy about
his bellows, for he was forging tripods twenty in all to stand around
the wall of his stablished hall, and beneath the base of each he had set
golden wheels, that of their own motion they might enter the assembly of
the gods and again return unto his house, a marvel to look upon. Thus
much were they finished that not yet were away from the fire, and
gathered all his gear wherewith he worked into a silver chest; and with
a sponge he wiped his face and hands and sturdy neck and shaggy breast,
and did on his doublet, and took a stout staff and went forth limping;
but there were handmaidens of gold that moved to help their lord, the
semblances of living maids. In them is understanding at their hearts, in
them are voice and strength, and they have skill of the immortal gods.
These moved beneath their lord, and he gat him haltingly near to where
Thetis was, and set him on a bright seat, and clasped her hand in his
and spake and called her by her name: "Wherefore, long-robed Thetis,
comest thou to our house, honoured that thou art and dear? No frequent
comer art thou hitherto. Speak what thou hast at heart; my soul is fain
to accomplish it; if accomplish it I can, and if it be appointed for

Then answered unto him Thetis shedding tears: "Hephaistos, hath there
verily been any of all goddesses in Olympus that hath endured so many
grievous sorrows at heart as are the woes that Kronian Zeus hath laid
upon me above all others? He chose me from among the sisters of the sea
to enthrall me to a man, even Peleus Aiakos' son, and with a man I
endured wedlock sore against my will. Now lieth he in his halls forspent
with grievous age, but other griefs are mine. A son he gave me to bear
and nourish, the chief of heroes, and he shot up like a young branch.
Like a plant in a very fruitful field I reared him and sent him forth on
beaked ships to Ilios to fight against the men of Troy, but never again
shall I welcome him back to his home within the house of Peleus. And
while he yet liveth in my sight and beholdeth the light of the sun, he
sorroweth, neither can I help him any whit though I go unto him. The
maiden whom the sons of the Achaians chose out to be his prize, her hath
the lord Agamemnon taken back out of his hands. In grief for her wasted
he his heart, while the men of Troy were driving the Achaians on their
ships, nor suffered them to come forth. And the elders of the Argives
entreated him, and told over many noble gifts. Then albeit himself he
refused to ward destruction from them, he put his armour on Patroklos
and sent him to the war, and much people with him. All day they fought
around the Skaian gates and that same day had sacked the town, but that
when now Menoitios' valiant son had wrought much harm, Apollo slew him
in the forefront of the battle, and gave glory unto Hector. Therefore
now come I a suppliant unto thy knees, if haply thou be willing to give
my short-lived son shield and helmet, and goodly greaves fitted with
ankle-pieces, and cuirass. For the armour that he had erst, his trusty
comrade lost when he fell beneath the men of Troy; and my son lieth on
the earth with anguish in his soul."

Then made answer unto her the lame god of great renown: "Be of good
courage, let not these things trouble thy heart. Would that so might I
avail to hide him far from dolorous death, when dread fate cometh upon
him, as surely shall goodly armour be at his need, such as all men
afterward shall marvel at, whatsoever may behold."

Thus saying he left her there and went unto his bellows and turned them
upon the fire and bade them work. And the bellows, twenty in all, blew
on the crucibles, sending deft blasts on every side, now to aid his
labour and now anon howsoever Hephaistos willed and the work went on.
And he threw bronze that weareth not into the fire, and tin and precious
gold and silver, and next he set on an anvil-stand a great anvil, and
took in his hand a sturdy hammer, and in the other he took the tongs.

First fashioned he a shield great and strong, adorning it all over, and
set thereto a shining rim, triple, bright-glancing, and therefrom a
silver baldric. Five were the folds of the shield itself; and therein
fashioned he much cunning work from his wise heart.

There wrought he the earth, and the heavens, and the sea, and the
unwearying sun, and the moon waxing to the full, and the signs every one
wherewith the heavens are crowned, Pleiads and Hyads and Orion's might,
and the Bear that men call also the Wain, her that turneth in her place
and watcheth Orion, and alone hath no part in the baths of Ocean.

Also he fashioned therein two fair cities of mortal men. In the one were
espousals and marriage feasts, and beneath the blaze of torches they
were leading the brides from their chambers through the city, and loud
arose the bridal song. And young men were whirling in the dance, and
among them flutes and viols sounded high; and women standing each at her
door were marvelling. But the folk were gathered in the assembly place;
for there a strife was arisen, two men striving about the blood-price of
a man slain; the one claimed to pay full atonement, expounding to the
people, but the other denied him and would take naught. And the folk
were cheering both, as they took part on either side. And heralds kept
order among the folk, while the elders on polished stones were sitting
in the sacred circle, and holding in their hands staves from the
loud-voiced heralds. Then before the people they rose up and gave
judgment each in turn. And in the midst lay two talents of gold, to be
given unto him who should plead among them most righteously.

But around the other city were two armies in siege with glittering arms.
And two counsels found favour among them, either to sack the town or to
share all with the townsfolk even whatsoever substance the fair city
held within. But the besieged were not yet yielding, but arming for an
ambushment. On the wall there stood to guard it their dear wives and
infant children, and with these the old men; but the rest went forth,
and their leaders were Ares and Pallas Athene, both wrought in gold, and
golden was the vesture they had on. Goodly and great were they in their
armour, even as gods, far seen around, and the folk at their feet were
smaller. And when they came where it seemed good to them to lay ambush,
in a river bed where there was a common watering-place of herds, there
they set them, clad in glittering bronze. And two scouts were posted by
them afar off to spy the coming of flocks and of oxen with crooked
horns. And presently came the cattle, and with them two herdsmen playing
on pipes, that took no thought of the guile. Then the others when they
beheld these ran upon them and quickly cut off the herds of oxen and
fair flocks of white sheep, and slew the shepherds withal. But the
besiegers, as they sat before the speech-places [from which the orators
spoke] and heard much din among the oxen, mounted forthwith behind their
high-stepping horses, and came up with speed. Then they arrayed their
battle and fought beside the river banks, and smote one another with
bronze-shod spears. And among them mingled Strife and Tumult, and fell
Death, grasping one man alive fresh-wounded, another without wound, and
dragging another dead through the mellay by the feet; and the raiment on
her shoulders was red with the blood of men. Like living mortals they
hurled together and fought, and haled the corpses each of the other's

Furthermore he set in the shield a soft fresh-ploughed field, rich tilth
and wide, the third time ploughed; and many ploughers therein drave
their yokes to and fro as they wheeled about. Whensoever they came to
the boundary of the field and turned, then would a man come to each and
give into his hands a goblet of sweet wine, while others would be
turning back along the furrows, fain to reach the boundary of the deep
tilth. And the field grew black behind and seemed as it were
a-ploughing, albeit of gold, for this was the great marvel of the work.

Furthermore he set therein the demesne-land of a king, where hinds were
reaping with sharp sickles in their hands. Some armfuls along the swathe
were falling in rows to the earth, whilst others the sheaf-binders were
binding in twisted bands of straw. Three sheaf-binders stood over them,
while behind boys gathering corn and bearing it in their arms gave it
constantly to the binders; and among them the king in silence was
standing at the swathe with his staff, rejoicing in his heart. And
henchmen apart beneath an oak were making ready a feast, and preparing a
great ox they had sacrificed; while the women were strewing much white
barley to be a supper for the hinds.

Also he set therein a vineyard teeming plenteously with clusters,
wrought fair in gold; black were the grapes, but the vines hung
throughout on silver poles. And around it he ran a ditch of cyanus, and
round that a fence of tin; and one single pathway led to it, whereby the
vintagers might go when they should gather the vintage. And maidens and
striplings in childish glee bare the sweet fruit in plaited baskets. And
in the midst of them a boy made pleasant music on a clear-toned viol,
and sang thereto a sweet Linos-song [probably a lament for departing
summer] with delicate voice; while the rest with feet falling together
kept time with the music and song.

Also he wrought therein a herd of kine with upright horns, and the kine
were fashioned of gold and tin, and with lowing they hurried from the
byre to pasture beside a murmuring river, beside the waving reed. And
herdsmen of gold were following with the kine, four of them, and nine
dogs fleet of foot came after them. But two terrible lions among the
foremost kine had seized a loud-roaring bull that bellowed mightily as
they haled him, and the dogs and the young men sped after him. The lions
rending the great bull's hide were devouring his vitals and his black
blood; while the herdsmen in vain tarred on their fleet dogs to set on,
for they shrank from biting the lions but stood hard by and barked and
swerved away.

Also the glorious lame god wrought therein a pasture in a fair glen, a
great pasture of white sheep, and a steading, and roofed huts, and

Also did the glorious lame god devise a dancing-place like unto that
which once in wide Knosos Daidalos wrought for Ariadne of the lovely
tresses. There were youths dancing and maidens of costly wooing, their
hands upon one another's wrists. Fine linen the maidens had on, and the
youths well-woven doublets faintly glistening with oil. Fair wreaths had
the maidens, and the youths daggers of gold hanging from silver
baldrics. And now would they run round with deft feet exceeding lightly,
as when a potter sitting by his wheel that fitteth between his hands
maketh trial of it whether it run: and now anon they would run in lines
to meet each other. And a great company stood round the lovely dance in
joy; and through the midst of them, leading the measure, two tumblers

Also he set therein the great might of the River of Ocean around the
uttermost rim of the cunningly-fashioned shield.

Now when he had wrought the shield great and strong, then wrought he him
a corslet brighter than a flame of fire, and he wrought him a massive
helmet to fit his brows, goodly and graven, and set thereon a crest of
gold, and he wrought him greaves of pliant tin.

So when the renowned lame god had finished all the armour, he took and
laid it before the mother of Achilles. Then she like a falcon sprang
down from snowy Olympus, bearing from Hephaistos the glittering arms.


How Achilles and Agamemnon were reconciled before the
assembly of the Achaians, and Achilles went forth with them
to battle.

Now Morning saffron-robed arose from the streams of Ocean to bring light
to gods and men, and Thetis came to the ships, bearing his gift from the
god. Her dear son she found fallen about Patroklos and uttering loud
lament; and round him many of his company made moan. And the bright
goddess stood beside him in their midst, and clasped her hand in his and
spake and called upon his name: "My child, him who lieth here we must
let be, for all our pain, for by the will of gods from the beginning was
he brought low. But thou take from Hephaistos arms of pride, arms
passing goodly, such as no man on his shoulders yet hath borne."

Thus spake the goddess and in front of Aehifies laid the arms, and they
rang all again in their glory. And awe fell on all the Myrmidons, nor
dared any to gaze thereon, for they were awe-stricken. But when Achilles
looked thereon, then came fury upon him the more, and his eyes blazed
terribly forth as it were a flame beneath their lids: glad was he as he
held in his hands that splendid gift of a god. But when he had satisfied
his soul in gazing on the glory of the arms, straightway to his mother
spake he winged words: "My mother, the arms the god has given are such
as it beseemeth that the work of Immortals should be, and that no mortal
man should have wrought. Now therefore will I arm me in them, but I have
grievous fear lest meantime on the gashed wounds of Menoitios' valiant
son flies light and breed worms therein, and defile his corpse--for the
life is slain out of him--and so all his flesh shall rot."

Then answered him Thetis, goddess of the silver feet: "Child, have no
care for this within thy mind. I will see to ward from him the cruel
tribes of flies which prey on men slain in fight: for even though he lie
till a whole year's course be run, yet his flesh shall be sound
continually, or better even than now. But call thou the Achaian warriors
to the place of assembly, and unsay thy wrath against Agamemnon shepherd
of the host, and then arm swiftly for battle, and clothe thee with thy

Thus saying she filled him with adventurous might, while on Patroklos
she shed ambrosia and red nectar through his nostrils, that his flesh
might abide the same continually.

But noble Achilles went down the beach of the sea, crying his terrible
cry, and roused the Achaian warriors. And they who before were wont to
abide in the circle of the ships, and they who were helmsmen and kept
the steerage of the ships, or were stewards there and dealt out food,
even these came then to the place of assembly, because Achilles was come
forth, after long ceasing from grievous war. Limping came two of Ares'
company, Tydeus' son staunch in fight and noble Odysseus, each leaning
on his spear, for their wounds were grievous still; and they went and
sate them down in the forefront of the assembly. And last came Agamemnon
king of men, with his wound upon him, for him too in the stress of
battle Kooen Antenor's son had wounded with his bronze-tipped spear. But
when all the Achaians were gathered, then uprose fleet-footed Achilles
and spake in their midst: "Son of Atreus, was this in any wise the
better way for both thee and me, what time with grief at our hearts we
waxed fierce in soul-devouring strife for the sake of a girl? Would that
Artemis had slain her with her arrow at the ships, on the day whereon I
took her to me, when I had spoiled Lyrnessos; so should not then so many
Achaians have bitten the wide earth beneath their enemies' hands, by
reason of my exceeding wrath. It hath been well for Hector and the
Trojans, but the Achaians I think shall long remember the strife that
was betwixt thee and me. But bygones will we let be, for all our pain,
and curb under necessity the spirit within our breasts. I now will stay
my anger: it beseems me not implacably for ever to be wroth; but come
rouse speedily to the fight the flowing-haired Achaians, that I may go
forth against the men of Troy and put them yet again to the proof, if
they be fain to couch hard by the ships. Methinks that some among them
shall be glad to rest their knees when they are fled out of the
fierceness of the battle, and from before our spear."

He spake, and the well-greaved Achaians rejoiced that the great-hearted
son of Peleus had made renouncement of his wrath. Then among them spake
Agamemnon king of men, speaking from the place where he sat, not arisen
to stand forth in their midst: "O Danaan friends and heroes, men of
Ares' company, seemly is it to listen to him who standeth up to speak,
nor behoveth it to break in upon his words: even toward a skilled man
that were hard. For amid the uproar of many men how should one listen,
or yet speak? even the clearest-voiced speech is marred. To the son of
Peleus I will declare myself, but ye other Argives give heed, and each
mark well my word. Oft have the Achaians spoken thus to me, and
upbraided me; but it is not I who am the cause, but Zeus and Destiny and
Erinys that walketh in the darkness, who put into my soul fierce madness
on the day when in the assembly I, even I, bereft Achilles of his meed.
What could I do? it is God who accomplisheth all. Eldest daughter of
Zeus is Ate who blindeth all, a power of bane: delicate are her feet,
for not upon the earth she goeth, but walketh over the heads of men,
making men fall; and entangleth this one or that. Ye even Zeus was
blinded upon a time, he who they say is greatest among gods and men; yet
even him Hera with a female wile deceived, on the day when Alkmene in
fair-crowned Thebes was to bring forth the strength of Herakles. For
then proclaimed he solemnly among the gods: 'Here me ye all, both gods
and goddesses, while I utter the council of my soul within my heart.
This day shall Eileithuia, the help of travailing women, bring to the
light a man who shall be lord over all that dwell round about, among the
raise of men who are sprung of me by blood.' And to him in subtlety
queen Hera spake: 'Though wilt play the cheat and not accomplish thy
word. Come now, Olympian, swear me a firm oath that verily and indeed
shall that man be lord over all that dwell round about, who this day
shall fall between a woman's feet, even he among all men who are of the
lineage of thy blood.' So spake she, and Zeus no wise perceived her
subtlety but sware a mighty oath, and therewith was he sore blinded. For
Hera darted from Olympus' peak and came swiftly to Achaian Argus, were
she knew was the stately wife of Sthenelos son of Perseus, who was also
great with child, and her seventh month had come. Her son Hera brought
to the light, though his tale of months was untold, but she stayed
Alkmene's bearing and kept the Eileithuiai from her aid. Then she
brought the tidings herself and to Kronos' son Zeus she spake: 'Father
Zeus of the bright lightning, a word will I speak to thee for my heed.
Today is born a man of valor who shall rule among the Archives,
Eurystheus, son of Sthenelos the son of Perseus, of thy lineage; not
unmeet is it that he be lord among Argives.' She said, but sharp pain
smote him in the depths of his soul, and straightway he seized Ate by
her bright-haired head in the anger of his soul, and sware a mighty oath
that never again to Olympus and the starry heaven should Ate come, who
blindeth all alike. He said, and whirling her in his hand flung her from
the starry heaven, and quickly came she down among the works of men. Yet
ever he groaned against her when he beheld his beloved son in cruel
travail at Eurystheus' hest. Thus also I, what time great Hector of the
glancing helm was slaying Argives at the sterns of our ships, could not
be unmindful of Ate, who blinded me at the first. But since thus blinded
was I, and Zeus bereft me of my wit, fain am I to make amends, and
recompense manifold for the wrong. Only arise thou to the battle and
rouse the rest of the host. Gifts am I ready to offer, even all that
noble Odysseus went yesterday to promise in thy hut. So, if thou wilt,
stay awhile, though eager, from battle, and squires shall take the gifts
from my ship and carry them to thee, that thou mayest see that what I
give sufficeth thee."

Then answered him Achilles swift of foot: "Most noble son of Atreus,
Agamemnon king of men, for the gifts, to give them as it beseemeth, if
so thou wilt, or to withhold, is in thy choice. But now let us bethink
us of battle with all speed; this is no time to dally here with
subtleties, for a great work is yet undone. Once more must Achilles be
seen in the forefront of the battle, laying waste with his brazen spear
the battalions of the men of Troy. Thereof let each of you think as he
fighteth with his man."

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him and said: "Nay yet, for all
thy valour, godlike Achilles, not against Ilios lead thou the sons of
Achaians fasting to fight the men of Troy, since not of short spell
shall the battle be, when once the ranks of men are met, and God shall
breathe valour into both. But bid the Achaians taste at the swift ships
food and wine; for thence is vigour and might. For no man fasting from
food shall be able to fight with the foe all day till the going down of
the sun; for though his spirit be eager for battle yet his limbs unaware
grow weary, and thirst besetteth him, and hunger, and his knees in his
going fail. But the man who having his fill of food and wine fighteth
thus all day against the enemy, his heart is of good cheer within him,
nor anywise tire his limbs, ere all give back from battle. So come,
disperse the host and bid them make ready their meal. And the gifts let
Agamemnon king of men bring forth into the midst of the assembly, that
all Achaians may behold them with their eyes, and thou be glad at heart.
And let him swear to thee an oath, standing in the midst of the Argives,
that he hath never gone up into the damsel's bed or lain with her, [O
prince, as is the wont of man with woman]; and let thine own spirit be
placable within thy breast. Then let him make thee a rich feast of
reconcilement in his hut, that thou have nothing lacking of thy right.
And thou, son of Atreus, toward others also shalt be more righteous
hereafter; for no shame it is that a man that is a king should make
amends if he have been the first to deal violently."

Then to him spake Agamemnon king of men: "Son of Laertes, I rejoice to
listen to thy speech; for rightfully hast thou told over all. And the
oath I am willing to swear, yea my heart biddeth it, nor will I forswear
myself before God. Let Achilles abide for a space, eager for battle
though he be, and all ye others abide together, until the gifts come
forth from my hut, and we make faithful oath with sacrifice. But thee
thyself I thus charge and bid. Choose thee young men, princes of the
Achaian folk, and bear my gifts from my ship, even all that we promised
yesterday to Achilles, and take with thee the women. And let Talthybios
speedily make me ready a boar-swine in the midst of the wide Achaian
host, to sacrifice to Zeus and to the Sun."

And to him in answer swift-footed Achilles spake: "Most noble son of
Atreus, Agamemnon king of men, at some other time were it even better ye
should be busied thus, when haply there shall be some pause of war, and
the spirit within my breast shall be less fierce. But now they lie
mangled on the field--even they whom Hector son of Priam slew, when Zeus
gave him glory--and ye call men to their food. Verily for my part I
would bid the sons of the Achaians to fight now unfed and fasting, and
with the setting sun make ready a mighty meal, when we shall have
avenged the shame. Till then down my throat at least nor food nor drink
shall go, since my comrade is dead, who in my hut is lying mangled by
the sharp spear, with his feet toward the door, and round him our
comrades mourn, wherefore in my heart to no thought of those matters,
but of slaying, and blood, and grievous moans of men."

Then answered him Odysseus of many counsels: "O Achilles, Peleus' son,
mightiest of Achaians far, better and mightier not a little art thou
than I with the spear, but in counsel I may surpass thee greatly, since
I was born first and know more things: wherefore let thy heart endure to
listen to my speech. Quickly have men surfeit of battle, of that wherein
the sword streweth most straw yet is the harvest scantiest, [i.e., in a
pitched battle there is little plunder, the hope of which might help to
sustain men's efforts in storming a town] when Zeus inclineth his
balance, who is disposer of the wars of men. But it cannot be that the
Achaians fast to mourn a corpse; for exceeding many and thick fall such
on every day; when then should there be rest from toil? Nay, it behoveth
to bury him who is dead, steeling our hearts, when once we have wept him
for a day; but such as are left alive from hateful war must take thought
of meat and drink, that yet more against our foes we may fight
relentlessly ever, clad in unyielding bronze. Then let none of the host
hold back awaiting other summons; this is the summons, and ill shall it
be for whoso is left behind at the Argive ships; but all together as one
we will rouse against the horse-taming Trojans the fury of war."

He spoke, and took with him the sons of noble Nestor, and Meges son of
Phyleus, and Thoas, and Meriones, and Lykomedes son of Kreiontes, and
Melanippos. And they went on their way to the hut of Agamemnon, Atreus'
son. Forthwith as the word was spoken so was the deed done. Seven
tripods they bare from the hut, as he promised him, and twenty bright
caldrons, and twelve horses, and anon they led forth women skilled in
goodly arts, seven, and the eighth was fair-faced Briseis. Then
Odysseus, having weighed ten talents of gold in all, led the way, and
with him young men of the Achaians bare the gifts. These they set in the
midst of the place of assembly, and Agamemnon rose up, and beside that
shepherd of the host stood Talthybios, whose voice was like a god's, and
held a boar between his hands. And the son of Atreus drawing with his
hands his knife, which ever hung beside the mighty scabbard of his
sword, cut off the first hairs from the boar, and lifting up his hands
he prayed to Zeus, and all the Argives sat silent in their places, duly
hearkening to the king. And he prayed aloud, looking up to the wide
heaven: "Be Zeus before all witness, highest and best of the gods, and
Earth, and Sun, and Erinyes, who under earth take vengeance upon men,
whosoever for-sweareth himself, that never have I laid hand on the
damsel Briseis, neither to lie with her nor anywise else, but she has
abode untouched within my huts. And if aught that I swear be false, may
the gods give me all sorrows manifold, that they send on him who sinneth
against them in his oath."

He said, and cut the boar's throat with the pitiless knife. And the body
Taithybios whirled and threw into the great wash of the hoary sea, to be
the food of fishes; but Achilles arose up and spake in the midst of the
warrior Argives: "Father Zeus, sore madness dealest thou verily to men.
Never could the son of Atreus have stirred the soul within my breast,
nor led off the damsel implacably against my will, had not Zeus willed
that on many of the Achaians death should come. But now go forth to your
meal, that we may join battle thereupon."

Thus he spake and dispersed the assembly with all speed. The rest were
scattered each to his own ship, but the great-hearted Myrmidons took up
the gifts, and bare them to the ship of godlike Achilles. And they laid
them in the huts and set the women there, and gallant squires drave the
horses among their troop.

But Briseis that was like unto golden Aphrodite, when she beheld
Patroklos mangled by the keen spear, fell about him and made shrill
lament, and tore with her hands her breast and tender neck, and
beautiful face. And she spake amid her weeping, that woman like unto
goddesses: "Patroklos, dearest to my hapless heart, alive I left thee
when I left this hut, but now, O prince of the people, I am come back to
find thee dead; thus evil ever followeth evil in my lot. My husband,
unto whom my father and lady mother gave me, I beheld before our city
mangled with the keen spear, and my three brothers whom my own mother
bore, my near and dear, who all met their day of doom. But thou, when
swift Achilles slew my husband and wasted godlike Mynes' city, wouldest
ever that I should not even weep, and saidest that thou wouldst make me
godlike Achilles' wedded wife, and that ye would take me in your ships
to Phthia and make me a marriage feast among the Myrmidons. Therefore
with all my soul I mourn thy death, for thou wert ever kind."

Thus spake she weeping, and thereon the women wailed, in semblance for
Patroklos, but each for her own woe. But round Achilles gathered the
elders of the Achaians, praying him that he would eat; but he denied
them with a groan: "I pray you, if any kind comrade will hearken to me,
bid me not sate my heart with meat and drink, since terrible grief is
come upon me. Till the sun go down I will abide, and endure continually
until then."

He spoke, and his speech made the other chiefs depart, but the two sons
of Atreus stayed, and noble Odysseus, and Nestor and Idomeneus and
Phoinox, ancient knight, soothing him in his exceeding sorrow, but he
could no whit be soothed until he had entered the mouth of bloody war.
And bethinking him he sighed very heavily and spake aloud: "Thou too, O
hapless, dearest of my friends, thyself wouldst verily of yore set forth
in out hut with ready speed a savoury meal, what time the Achaians
hasted to wage against the horse-taming Trojans dolorous war. But now
thou liest mangled, and my heart will none of meat and drink, that stand
within, for desire of thee. Nought worse than this could I endure, not
though I should hear of my father's death, who now I ween in Phthia is
shedding big tears for lack of a son so dear, even me that in an alien
land for sake of baleful Helen do battle with the men of Troy; nor
though it were my beloved son who is reared for me in Skyros (if still
at least is godlike Neoptolemos alive). For hitherto had my soul within
me trusted that I alone should perish far from horse-pasturing Argos,
here in the Trojan land, but that thou shouldest return to Phthia, so
that thou mightest take me the child in thy swift black ship from Skyros
and show him everything--my substance and servants, and high-roofed
mighty hall. For Peleus I ween already must be dead and gone, or else in
feeble life he hath sorrow of age, and of waiting ever for bitter news
of me, till he hear that I am dead."

Thus spake he weeping, and the elders mourned with him, bethinking them
what each had left at home. And when the son of Kronos beheld them
sorrowing he pitied them, and forthwith to Athene spake he winged words:
"My child, thou hast then left utterly the man of thy heart. Hath
Achilles then no longer a place within thy thought? He before the
steep-prowed ships sits mourning his dear comrade; the rest are gone to
their meal, but he is fasting and unfed. But go, distil into his breast
nectar and pleasant ambrosia, that no pains of hunger come on him."

Thus saying he sped forward Athene who before was fain. And she, like a
falcon wide-winged and shrill-voiced, hurled herself forth from heaven
through the upper air. So while the Achaians were arming presently
throughout the camp, she in Achilles' breast distilled nectar and
pleasant ambrosia, that grievous hunger might not assail his knees, and
then herself was gone to the firm house of her mighty father. Then the
Achaians poured forth from the swift ships. As when thick snowflakes
flutter down from Zeus, chill beneath the blast of Boreas born in the
upper air, so thick from the ships streamed forth bright glittering
helms and bossy shields, strong-plaited cuirasses and ashen spears. And
the sheen thereof went up to heaven and all the earth around laughed in
the flash of bronze, and there went a sound beneath the feet of the men,
and in the midst of them noble Achilles harnessed him. His teeth gnashed
together, and his eyes blazed as it were the flame of a fire, for into
his heart was intolerable anguish entered in. Thus wroth against the men
of Troy he put on the gift of the god, which Hephaistos wrought him by
his art. First on his legs he set the fair greaves fitted with silver
ankle-pieces, and next he donned the cuirass about his breast. Then
round his shoulders he slung the bronze sword silver-studded; then
lastly he took the great and strong shield, and its brightness shone
afar off as the moon's. Or as when over the sea there appeareth to
sailors the brightness of a burning fire, and it burneth on high among
the mountains in some lonely steading--sailors whom storm-blasts bear
unwilling over the sea, the home of fishes, afar from them they love:--
so from Achilles' goodly well-dight shield the brightness thereof shot
up toward heaven. And he lifted the stout helmet and set it on his head,
and like a star it shone, the horse-hair crested helmet, and around it
waved plumes of gold that Hephaistos had set thick about the crest. Then
noble Achilles proved him in his armour to know whether it fitted unto
him, and whether his glorious limbs ran free; and it became to him as it
were wings, and buoyed up the shepherd of hosts.

And forth from its stand he drew his father's spear, heavy and great and
strong: that spear could none other of the Achaians wield, but Achilles
alone awaited to wield it, the Pelian ashen spear that Cheiron gave to
his father dear, from a peak of Pelion, to be the death of warriors. And
Automedon and Alkimos went about to yoke the horses, and put on them
fair breast-straps, and bits within their jaws, and stretched the reins
behind to the firm-built chariot. Then Automedon took the bright lash,
fitted to his hand, and sprang up behind the horses, and after him
mounted Achilles armed, effulgent in his armour like bright Hyperion.
And terribly he called upon the horses of his sire: "Xanthos and Balios,
famed children of Podarge, in other sort take heed to bring your
charioteer safe back to the Danaan host, when we have done with battle,
and leave him not as ye left Patroklos to lie there dead."

Then the horse Xanthos of glancing feet made answer unto him from
beneath the yoke;--and he bowed with his head, and all his mane fell
from the yoke-cushion beside the yoke and touched the ground;--for the
white-armed goddess Hera gave him speech: "Yea verily for this hour,
dread Achilles, we will still bear thee safe, yet is thy death day nigh
at hand, neither shall we be cause thereof, but a mighty god, and
forceful Fate. For not through sloth or heedlessness of ours did the men
of Troy from Patrokios' shoulders strip his arms, but the best of the
gods, whom bright-haired Leto bore, slew him in the forefront of the
battle, and to Hector gave renown. We even with the wind of Zephyr,
swiftest, they say, of all winds, well might run; nathless to thee
thyself it is appointed to be slain in fight by a god and by a man."

Now when he had thus spoken the Erinyes stayed his voice. And sore
troubled did fleet-footed Achilles answer him: "Xanthos, why prophesiest
thou my death? no wise behoveth it thee. Well know I of myself that it
is appointed me to perish here, far from my father dear and mother;
howbeit anywise I will not refrain till I give the Trojans surfeit of

He said, and with a cry among the foremost held on his whole-hooved


How Achilles made havoc among the men of Troy.

So by the beaked ships around thee, son of Peleus, hungry for war, the
Achaians armed; and over against them the men of Troy, upon the high
ground of the plain.

But Zeus bade Themis call the gods to council from many-folded Olympus'
brow; and she ranged all about and bade them to the house of Zeus. There
was no River came not up, save only Ocean, nor any nymph, of all that
haunt fair thickets and springs of rivers and grassy water-meadows. And
they came to the house of Zeus who gathereth the clouds, and sat them
down in the polished colonnades which Hephaistos in the cunning of his
heart had wrought for father Zeus.

Thus gathered they within the doors of Zeus; nor was the Earthshaker
heedless of the goddess' call, but from the salt sea came up after the
rest, and set him in the midst, and inquired concerning the purpose of
Zeus: "Wherefore, O Lord of the bright lightning, hast thou called the
gods again to council? Say, ponderest thou somewhat concerning the
Trojans and Achaians? for lo, the war and the fighting of them are
kindled very nigh."

And Zeus, who gathered the clouds, answered him, saying: "Thou knowest,
O Earthshaker, the purpose within my breast, wherefor I gathered you
hither; even in their perishing have I regard unto them. But for me I
will abide here, sitting within a fold of Olympus, where I will gladden
my heart with gazing; but go all ye forth that ye come among the Trojans
and Achaians and succour these or those, howsoever each of you hath a
mind. For if Achilles alone shall fight against the Trojans, not even a
little while shall they hold back the son of Peleus, the fleet of foot.
Nay, but even aforetime they trembled when they looked upon him; now
therefore that his wrath for his friend is waxen terrible I fear me lest
he overleap the bound of fate, and storm the wall."

Thus spake the son of Kronos, and roused unabating war. For on this side
and on that the gods went forth to war: to the company of the ships went
Hera, and Pallas Athene, and Poseidon, Earth-enfolder, and the Helper
Hermes, pro-eminent in subtle thoughts; and with these went Hephaistos
in the greatness of his strength, halting, but his shrunk legs moved
nimbly under him: but to the Trojans went Ares of the glancing helm, and
with him Phoebus of the unshorn hair, and archer Artemis, and Leto and
Xanthos and laughter-loving Aphrodite.

Now for so long as gods were afar from mortal men, so long waxed the
Achaians glorious, for that Achilles was come forth among them, and his
long ceasing from grim battle was at an end. And the Trojans were
smitten with sore trembling in the limbs of every one of them, in terror
when they beheld the son of Peleus, fleet of foot, blazing in his arms,
peer of man-slaying Ares. But when among the mellay of men the Olympians
were come down, then leapt up in her might Strife, rouser of hosts, then
sent forth Athene a cry, now standing by the hollowed trench without the
wall, and now on the echoing shores she shouted aloud. And a shout
uttered Ares against her, terrible as the blackness of the storm, now
from the height of the city to the Trojans calling clear, or again along
Simois shore over Kallikolon he sped.

So urged the blessed gods both hosts to battle, then themselves burst
into fierce war. And terribly thundered the father of gods and men from
heaven above; and from beneath Poseidon made the vast earth shake and
the steep mountain tops. Then trembled all the spurs of many-fountained
Ida, and all her crests, and the city of the Trojans, and the ships of
the Achaians. And the Lord of the Underworld, Aiedoneus, had terror in
hell, and leapt from his throne in that terror and cried aloud, lest the
world be cloven above him by Poseidon, Shaker of earth, and his
dwelling-place be laid bare to mortals and immortals--grim halls, and
vast, and lothly to the gods. So loud the roar rose of that battle of
gods. For against King Poseidon stood Phoebus Apollo with his winged
arrows, and against Enyalios stood Athene, bright-eyed goddess, and
against Hera she of the golden shafts and echoing chase, even archer
Artemis, sister of the Far-darter; and against Leto the strong Helper
Hermes, and against Hephaistos the great deep-eddying River, whom gods
call Xanthos and men Skamandros.

Thus gods with gods were matched. Meanwhile Achilles yearned above all
to meet Hector, son of Priam, in the fray; for with that blood
chiefliest his spirit bade him sate Ares, stubborn lord of war. But
straightway Apollo, rouser of hosts, moved Aineias to go to meet the son
of Peleus, and filled him with brave spirit: and he made his own voice
like the voice of Lykaon the son of Priam; in his semblance spake
Apollo, son of Zeus: "Aineias, counsellor of Trojans, where now are thy
threats wherewith thou didst boast to the Trojan lords over thy wine,
saying thou wouldest stand up in battle against Achilles, Peleus' son?"

And to him Aineias answered and said: "Son of Priam, why biddest thou me
thus face the fierce son of Peleus in battle, though I be not fain
thereto? Not for the first time now shall I match me with Achilles,
fleet of foot; once before drave he me with his spear from Ida, when he
harried our kine and wasted Lyrnessos and Pedasos; but Zeus delivered me
out of his hand and put strength into my knees that they were swift.
Else had I fallen beneath the hands of Achilles, and of Athene who went
before and gave him light, and urged him to slay Leleges and Trojans
with his spear of bronze. Therefore it is impossible for man to face
Achilles in fight, for that ever some god is at his side to ward off
death. Ay, and at any time his spear flieth straight, neither ceaseth
till it have pierced through flesh of man. But if God once give us fair
field of battle, not lightly shall he overcome me, not though he boast
him made of bronze throughout."

And to him in answer spake Apollo son of Zeus: "Yea, hero, pray thou too
to the everliving gods; for thou too, men say, wast born of Aphrodite
daughter of Zeus, and Achilles' mother is of less degree among the gods.
For thy mother is child of Zeus, his but of the Ancient One of the Sea.
Come, bear up thy unwearying spear against him, let him no wise turn
thee back with revilings and bitter words."

He said, and breathed high spirit into the shepherd of the host, and he
went onward through the forefront of the fighting, harnessed in flashing
bronze. But white-armed Hera failed not to discern Anchises' son as he
went through the press of men to meet the son of Peleus, and gathering
the gods about her she spake among them thus: "Consider ye twain,
Poseidon and Athene, within your hearts, what shall come of these things
that are done. Here is Aineias gone forth harnessed in flashing bronze,
to meet the son of Peleus, and it is Phoebus Apollo that hath sent him.
Come then, be it ours to turn him back straightway; or else let some one
of us stand likewise beside Achilles and give him mighty power, so that
he fail not in his spirit, but know that they who love him are the best
of the Immortals, and that they who from of old ward war and fighting
from the Trojans are vain as wind. All we from Olympus are come down to
mingle in this fight that he take no hurt among the Trojans on this
day--afterward he shall suffer whatsoever things Fate span for him with
her thread, at his beginning, when his mother bare him. If Achilles
learn not this from voice divine, then shall he be afraid when some god
shall come against him in the battle; for gods revealed are hard to look

Then to her made answer Poseidon, Shaker of the earth: "Hera, be not
fierce beyond wisdom; it behoveth thee not. Not fain am I at least to
match gods with gods in strife. Let us go now into some high place apart
and seat us there to watch, and battle shall be left to men. Only if
Ares or Phoebus Apollo fall to fighting, or put constraint upon Achilles
and hinder him from fight, then straightway among us too shall go up the
battle-cry of strife; right soon, methinks, shall they hie them from the
issue of the fray back to Olympus to the company of the gods, overcome
by the force of our hands."

Thus spake the blue-haired god, and led the way to the mounded wall of
heaven-sprung Herakles, that lofty wall built him by the Trojans and
Pallas Athene, that he might escape the monster and be safe from him,
what time he should make his onset from the beach to the plain. There
sate them down Poseidon and the other gods, and clothed their shoulders
with impenetrable cloud. And they of the other part sat down on the
brows of Kallikolon around thee, Archer Phoebus, and Ares waster of
cities. Thus they on either side sat devising counsels, but shrank all
from falling to grievous war, and Zeus from his high seat commanded

Meanwhile the whole plain was filled with men and horses and ablaze with
bronze; and the earth rang with the feet of them as they rushed together
in the fray. Two men far better than the rest were meeting in the midst
between the hosts, eager for battle, Aineias, Anchises' son, and noble
Achilles. First came on Aineias threateningly, tossing his strong helm;
his rapid shield he held before his breast, and brandished his bronze
spear. And on the other side the son of Peleus rushed to meet him like a
lion, a ravaging lion whom men desire to slay, a whole tribe assembled:
and first he goeth his way unheeding, but when some warrior youth hath
smitten him with a spear, the he gathereth himself open-mouthed, and
foam cometh forth about his teeth, and his stout spirit groaneth in his
heart, and with his tail he scourgeth either side his ribs and flanks
and goadeth himself on to fight, and glaring is borne straight on them
by his passion, to try whether he shall slay some man of them, or
whether himself shall perish in the forefront of the throng: thus was
Achilles driven of his passion and valiant spirit to go forth to meet
Aineias great of heart. And when they were come near against each other,
then first to Aineias spake fleet-footed noble Achilles: "Aineias,
wherefore hast thou so far come forward from the crowd to stand against
me: doth thy heart bid thee fight with me in hope of holding Priam's
honour and lordship among the horse-taming Trojans? Nay, though thou
slay me, not for that will Priam lay his kingdom in thy hands, for he
hath sons, and is sound and of unshaken mind. Or have the Trojans
allotted thee some lot of ground more choice than all the rest, fair
land of tilth and orchard, that thou mayest dwell therein, if thou slay
me? But methinks thou wilt find the slaying hard; for once before, I
ween, have I made thee flee before my spear. Host thou forgotten the day
when thou wert alone with the kine, and I made thee run swift-footed
down Ida's steeps in haste?--then didst thou not look behind thee in thy
flight. Thence fleddest thou to Lernessos, but I wasted it, having
fought against it with the help of Athene and of father Zeus, and
carried away women captive, bereaving them of their day of freedom: only
thee Zeus shielded, and other gods. But not this time, methinks, shall
they shield thee, as thou imaginest in thy heart: therefore I bid thee
go back into the throng and come not forth against me, while as yet thou
art unhurt--after the event even a fool is wise."

Then to him in answer again Aineias spake: "Son of Peleus, think not
with words to affright me as a child, since I too well know myself how
to speak taunts and unjust speech. We know each other's race and lineage
in that we have heard the fame proclaimed by mortal men, but never hast
thou set eyes on my parents, or I on thine. Thou, they say, art son of
nobie Peleus, and of Thetis of the fair tresses, the daughter of the
sea: the sire I boast is Anchises great of heart, and my mother is
Aphrodite. Of these shall one pair or the other mourn their dear son
today; for verily not with idle words shall we two satisfy our strife
and depart out of the battle. But, if thou wilt, learn also this, that
thou mayest well know our lineage, known to full many men: First Zeus
the cloud-gatherer begat Dardanos, and he stablished Dardania, for not
yet was holy Ilios built upon the plain to be a city of mortal men, but
still they dwelt on slopes of many-fountained Ida. Then Dardanos begat a
son, king Erichthonios, who became richest of mortal men. Three thousand
mares had he that pastured along the marsh meadow, rejoicing in their
tender foals. Of them was Boreas enamoured as they grazed, and in
semblance of a dark-maned horse he covered them: then they having
conceived bare twelve fillies. These when they bounded over Earth the
grain-giver would run upon the topmost ripened ears of corn and break
them not; and when they bounded over the broad backs of the sea they
would run upon the crests of the breakers of the hoary brine. Then
Erichthonios begat Tros to be load over the Trojans, and to Tros three
noble sons were born, Ilos and Assarakos and godlike Ganymedes, who
became the most beautiful of mortal men. Him the gods caught up to be
cupbearer to Zeus, for sake of his beauty, that he might dwell among
immortals. Then Ilos again begat a son, noble Laomedon, and Laomedon
begat Tithonos and Priam and Lamppos and Klytios and Hiketaon, of the
stock of Ares. And Assarakos begat Kapys, and Kapys Anchises, and
Anchises me; but Priam begat the goodly Hector.

"Lo then of this blood and lineage declare I myself unto thee. But for
valour, Zeus increaseth it in men or minisheth it according as he will,
for he is lord of all. But come, let us talk thus together no longer
like children, standing in mid onset of war. For there are revilings in
plenty for both of us to utter--a hundred-thwarted ship would not
suffice for the load of them. Glib is the tongue of man, and many words
are therein of every kind, and wide is the range of his speech hither
and thither. Whatsoever word thou speak, such wilt thou hear in answer.
But what need that we should bandy strife and wrangling each against
each. Not by speech shalt thou turn me from the battle that I desire,
until we have fought together, point to point: come then, and
straightway we will each try the other with bronze-headed spears."

He said, and against that other's dread and mighty shield hurled his
great spear, and the shield rang loud beneath the spear-point. And the
son of Peleus held away the shield from him with his stout hand, in
fear, for he thought that the far-shadowing spear of Aineias great of
heart would lightly pierce it through--fond man, and knew not in his
mind and heart that not lightly do the glorious gifts of gods yield to
force of mortal men. So did not the great spear of wise Aineias pierce
that shield, for the gold resisted it, even the gift of the god. Yet
through two folds he drave it, but three remained, for five folds had
the lame god welded, two bronze, and two inside of tin, and one of gold;
therein was stayed the ashen spear.

Then Achilles in his turn hurled his far-shadowing spear, and smote upon
the circle of the shield of Aineias, beneath the edge of the rim, where
the bronze ran thinnest round, and the bull-hide was thinnest thereon;
and right through sped the Pelian ashen spear, and the shield cracked
under it. And Aineias crouched and held up the shield away from him in
dread; and the spear flew over his back and fixed itself in the earth,
having divided asunder the two circles of the sheltering shield. And
having escaped the long spear he stood still, and a vast anguish drowned
his eyes, affrighted that the spear was planted by him so nigh. But
Achilles drew his sharp sword and furiously made at him, crying his
terrible cry: then Aineias grasped in his hand a stone (a mighty deed)
such as two men, as men now are, would not avail to lift, but he with
ease wielded it all alone. Then would Aineias have smitten him with the
stone as he charged, either on helm or shield, which had warded from him
bitter death, and then would the son of Peleus have closed and slain him
with his sword, had not Poseidon, Shaker of earth, marked it with speed,
and straightway spoken among the immortal gods: "Alas, woe is me for
Aineias great of heart, who quickly will go down to Hades slain by the
son of Peleus, for that he will obey the words of Apollo the far-darter,
fond man, but nowise shall the god help him from grievous death. But
wherefore now is he to suffer ill in his innocence, causelessly for
others' wickedness, yet welcome ever are his offerings to the gods who
inhabit the spacious heaven? Come, let us guide him out of death's way,
lest the son of Kronos be wroth, if Achilles slay him; for it is
appointed to him to escape, that the race of Dardanos perish not without
seed or sign, even Dardanos whom the son of Kronos loved above all the
children born to him from the daughters of men. For the race of Priam
hath Zeus already hated. But thus shall the might of Aineias reign among
the Trojans, and his children's children, who shall be born in the

And him then answered Hera the ox-eyed queen: "Shaker of earth, thyself
with thine own mind take counsel, whether thou wilt save Aineias, or
leave him [to be slain, brave though he be, by Achilles, Peleus' son].
For by many oaths among all the Immortals have we two sworn, even Pallas
Athene and I, never to help the Trojans from their evil day, not even
when all Troy shall burn in the burning of fierce fire, and they that
burn her shall be the warlike sons of the Achaians."

Now when Poseidon Shaker of earth heard that, he went up amid the battle
and the clash of spears, and came where Aineias and renowned Achilles
were. Then presently he shed mist over the eyes of Achilles, Peleus'
son, and drew the bronze-headed ashen spear from the shield of Aineias
great of heart, and set it before Achilles' feet, and lifted Aineias
and swung him high from off the earth. Over many ranks of warriors, of
horses many, sprang Aineias soaring in the hand of the god, and lighted
at the farthest verge of the battle of many onsets, where the Kaukones
were arraying them for the fight. Then hard beside him came Poseidon,
Shaker of earth, and spake aloud to him winged words: "Aineias, what god
is it that biddeth thee fight infatuate against Peleus' vehement son,
who is both a better man than thou and dearer to Immortals? Rather
withdraw thee whensoever thou fallest in with him, lest even contrary to
thy fate thou enter the house of Hades. But when Achilles shall have met
his death and doom, then be thou of good courage to fight among the
foremost, for there shall none other of the Achaians slay thee."

He spoke, and left him there, when he had shown him all these things.
Then quickly from Achilles' eyes he purged the magic mist; and he stared
with wide eyes, and in trouble spake unto his proud soul: "Ha! verily a
great marvel behold I here with mine eyes. My spear lieth here upon the
ground, nor can I anywise see the man at whom I hurled it with intent to
slay him. Truly then is Aineias likewise dear to the immortal gods,
howbeit I deemed that his boosting thereof was altogether vanity. Away
with him! not again will he find heart to make trial of me, now that
once more he has escaped death to his joy. But come, I will call on the
warlike Danaans and go forth to make trial of some other Trojan face to

He said, and leapt along the lines, and called upon each man: "No longer
stand afar from the men of Troy, noble Achaians, but come let man match
man and throw his soul into the fight. Hard is it for me, though I be
strong, to assail so vast a folk and fight them all: not even Ares,
though an immortal god, nor Athene, could plunge into the jaws of such a
fray and toil therein. But to my utmost power with hands and feet and
strength no whit, I say, will I be slack, nay, never so little, but
right through their line will I go forward, nor deem I that any Trojan
shall be glad who shall come nigh my spear."

Thus spake he urging them. But to the Trojans glorious Hector called
aloud, and proclaimed that he would go forth against Achilles:
"High-hearted Trojans, fear not Peleus' son. I too in words could fight
even Immortals, but with the spear it were hard, for they are stronger
far. Neither shall Achilles accomplish all his talk, but part thereof he
is to accomplish, and part to break asunder in the midst. And against
him will I go forth, though the hands of him be even as fire, yea though
his hands be as fire and his fierceness as the flaming steel."

Thus spake he urging them, and the Trojans raised their spears for
battle; and their fierceness was mingled confusedly, and the battle-cry
arose. Then Phoebus Apollo stood by Hector and spake to him: "Hector, no
longer challenge Achilles at all before the lines, but in the throng
await him and from amid the roar of the battle, lest haply he spear thee
or come near and smite thee with his sword."

Thus spake he, and Hector again fell back into the crowd of men, for he
was amazed when he heard the sound of a god's voice.

But Achilles sprang in among the Trojans, his heart clothed with
strength, crying his terrible cry, and first he took Iphition,
Otrynteus' valiant son, a leader of much people, born of a Naiad nymph
to Otrynteus waster of cities, beneath snowy Tmolos, in Hyde's rich
domain. Him as he came right on did goodly Achilles smite with his
hurled spear, down through the midst of his head, and it was rent
asunder utterly. And he fell with a crash, and goodly Achilles exulted
over him; "here is thy death, thy birth was on the Gygaian lake, where is
thy sire's demesne, by Hyllos rich in fish and eddying Hermos."

Thus spake he exultant, but darkness fell upon the eyes of Iphition: him
the chariots of the Achaians clave with their tires asunder in the
forefront of the battle, and over him Achilles pierced in the temples,
through his bronze-cheeked helmet, Demoleon, brave stemmer of battle,
Antenor's son. No stop made the bronze helmet, but therethrough sped the
spear-head and clave the bone, and the brain within was all scattered:
that stroke made ending of his zeal. Then Hippodamas, as he leapt from
his chariot and fled before him, Achilles wounded in the back with his
spear: and he breathed forth his spirit with a roar, as when a dragged
bull roareth that the young men drag to the altar of the Lord of Helike;
for in such hath the Earthshaker his delight: thus roared Hippodamas as
from his bones fled forth his haughty spirit. But Achilles with his
spear went on after godlike Polydoros, Priam's son. Him would his sire
continually forbid to fight, for that among his children he was youngest
born and best beloved, and overcame all in fleetness of foot. Just then
in boyish folly, displaying the swiftness of his feet, he was rushing
through the forefighters, until he lost his life. Him in the midst did
fleet-footed noble Achilles smite with a javelin, in his back as he
darted by, where his belt's golden buckles clasped, and the breast and
back plates overlapped: and right through beside the navel went the
spear-head, and he fell on his knee with a cry, and dark cloud covered
him round about, and he clasped his bowels to him with his hands as he

Then when Hector saw his brother Polydoros clasping his bowels with his
hands, and sinking to the earth, a mist fell over his eyes, nor longer
might he endure to range so far apart, but he came up against Achilles
brandishing his sharp spear, and like flame of fire. And Achilles when
he saw him, sprang up, and spake exultingly: "Behold the man who hath
deepest stricken into my soul, who slew my dear-prized friend; not long
shall we now shrink from each other along the highways of the war."

He said, and looking grimly spake unto goodly Hector: "Come thou near,
that the sooner thou mayest arrive at the goal of death."

Then to him, unterrified, said Hector of the glancing helm: "Son of
Peleus, think not with words to affright me as a child, since I too know
myself how to speak taunts and unjust speech. And I know that thou art a
man of might, and a far better man than I. Yet doth this issue lie in
the lap of the gods, whether I though weaker shall take thy life with my
hurled spear, for mine too hath been found keen ere now."

He said, and poised his spear and hurled it, and Athene with a breath
turned it back from glorious Achilles, breathing very lightly; and it
came back to goodly Hector, and fell there before his feet. Then
Achilles set fiercely upon him, eager to slay him, crying his terrible
cry. But Apollo caught Hector up, very easily, as a god may, and hid him
in thick mist. Thrice then did fleet-footed noble Achilles make onset
with his spear of bronze, and thrice smote the thick mist. [But when the
fourth time he had come godlike on,] then with dread shout he spake to
him winged words: "Dog, thou art now again escaped from death; yet came
ill very nigh thee; but now hath Phoebus Apollo saved thee, to whom thou
must surely pray when thou goest forth amid the clash of spears. Verily
I will slay thee yet when I meet thee hereafter, if any god is helper of
me too. Now will I make after the rest, whomsoever I may seize."

Thus speaking he pierced Dryops in the midst of his neck with his spear,
and he fell down before his feet. But he left him where he lay, and
hurled at Demuchos Philetor's son, a good man and a tall, and stayed him
with a stroke upon his knees; then smote him with his mighty sword and
reft him of life. Then springing on Laogonos and Dardanos, sons of Bias,
he thrust both from their chariot to the ground, one with a spear-cast
smiting and the other in close battle with his sword. Then Tros,
Alastor's son--he came and clasped his knees to pray him to spare him,
and let him live, and slay him not, having compassion on his like
age, fond fool, and knew not that he might not gain his prayers; for
nowise soft of heart or tender was that man, but of fierce mood--with
his hands he touched Achilles' knees, eager to entreat him, but he smote
him in the liver with his sword, and his liver fell from him, and black
blood therefrom filled his bosom, and he swooned, and darkness covered
his eyes. Then Achilles came near and struck Mulios in the ear, and
right through the other ear went the bronze spear-head. Then he smote
Agenor's son Echeklos on the midst of the head with his hilted sword,
and all the sword grew hot thereat with blood; and dark death seized his
eyes, and forceful fate. Then next Deukalion, just where the sinews of
the elbow join, there pierced he him through the forearm with his bronze
spear-head; so abode he with his arm weighed down, beholding death
before him; and Achilles smiting the neck with his sword swept far both
head and helm, and the marrow rose out of the backbone, and the corpse
lay stretched upon the earth. Then went he onward after Peires' noble
son, Rhigmos, who had come from deep-soiled Thrace: him in the midst he
smote with his hurled javelin, and the point fixed in his lung, and he
fell forth of his chariot. And Areithoos his squire, as he turned the
horses round, he pierced in the back with his sharp spear, and thrust
him from the car, and the horse ran wild with fear.

As through deep glens rageth fierce fire on some parched mountain-side,
and the deep forest burneth, and the wind driving it whirleth every way
the flame, so raged he every way with his spear, as it had been a god,
pressing hard on the men he slew; and the black earth ran with blood.
For even as when one yoketh wide-browed bulls to tread white barley in a
stablished threshing-floor, and quickly is it trodden out beneath the
feet of the loud-lowing bulls, thus beneath great-hearted Achilles his
whole-hooved horses trampled corpses and shields together; and with
blood all the axletree below was sprinkled and the rims that ran around
the car, for blood-drops from the horses' hooves splashed them, and
blood-drops from the tires of the wheels. But the son of Peleus pressed
on to win him glory, flecking with gore his irresistible hands.


How Achilles fought with the River, and chased the men of
Troy within their gates.

But when now they came unto the ford of the fair-flowing river, even
eddying Xanthos, whom immortal Zeus begat, there sundering them he
chased the one part to the plain toward the city, even where the
Achaians were flying in affright the day before, when glorious Hector
was in his fury--thither poured some in flight, and Hera spread before
them thick mist to hinder them :--but half were pent into the
deep-flowing silver eddied river, and fell therein with a mighty noise,
and the steep channel sounded, and the banks around rang loudly; for
with shouting they swam therein hither and thither whirled round the
eddies. And as when at the rush of fire locusts take wing to fly unto a
river, and the unwearying fire flameth forth on them with sudden onset,
and they huddle in the water; so before Achilles was the stream of
deep-eddying Xanthos filled with the roar and the throng of horses and

Then the seed of Zeus left behind him his spear upon the bank, leant
against tamarisk bushes, and leapt in, as it were a god, keeping his
sword alone, and devised grim work at heart, and smote as he turned him
every way about: and their groaning went up ghastly as they were
stricken by the sword, and the water reddened with blood. As before a
dolphin of huge maw fly other fish and fill the nooks of some
fair-havened bay, in terror, for he devoureth amain whichsoever of them
he may catch; so along the channels of that dread stream the Trojans
crouched beneath the precipitous sides. And when his hands were weary of
slaughter he chose twelve young men alive out of the river, an atonement
for Patroklos, Menoitios' son that was dead. These brought he forth
amazed like fawns, and bound behind them their hands with well-cut
thongs, which they themselves wore on their pliant doublets, and gave
them to his comrades to lead down to the hollow ships. Then again he
made his onset, athirst for slaying.

There met he a son of Dardanid Priam, in flight out of the river,
Lykaon, whom once himself he took and brought unwilling out of his
father's orchard, in a night assault; he was cutting with keen bronze
young shoots of a wild fig tree, to be hand-rails of a chariot; but to
him an unlooked-for bane came goodly Achilles. And at that time he sold
him into well-peopled Lemnos, sending him on ship board, and the son of
Jason gave a price for him; and thence a guest friend freed him with a
great ransom, Eetion of Imbros, and sent him to goodly Arisbe; whence
flying secretly he came to his father's house. Eleven days he rejoiced
among his friends after he was come from Lemnos, but on the twelfth once
more God brought him into the hands of Achilles, who was to send him to
the house of Hades though nowise fain to go. Him when fleet-footed noble
Achilles saw bare of helm and shield, neither had he a spear, but had
thrown all to the ground; for he sweated grievously as he tried to flee
out of the river, and his knees were failing him for weariness: then in
wrath spake Achilles to his great heart: "Ha! verily great marvel is
this that I behold with my eyes. Surely then will the proud Trojans whom
I have slain rise up again from beneath the murky gloom, since thus hath
this man come back escaped from his pitiless fate, though sold into
goodly Lemnos, neither hath the deep of the hoary sea stayed him, that
holdeth many against their will. But come then, of our spear's point
shall he taste, that I may see and learn in my mind whether likewise he
shall come back even from beneath, or whether the life-giving Earth
shall hold him down, she that holdeth so even the strong."

Thus pondered he in his place; but the other came near amazed, fain to
touch his knees, for his soul longed exceedingly to flee from evil death
and black destruction. Then goodly Achilles lifted his long spear with
intent to smite him, but he stooped and ran under it and caught his
knees; and the spear went over his back and stood in the ground,
hungering for flesh of men. Then Lykaon besought him, with one hand
holding his knees, while with the other he held the sharp spear and
loosed it not, and spake to him winged words: "I cry thee mercy,
Achilles; have thou regard and pity for me: to thee, O fosterling of
Zeus, am I in the bonds of suppliantship. For at thy table first I
tasted meal of Demeter on the day when thou didst take me captive in the
well-ordered orchard, and didst sell me away from my father and my
friends unto goodly Lemnos, and I fetched thee the price of a hundred
oxen. And now have I been ransomed for thrice that, and this is my
twelfth morn since I came to Ilios after much pain. Now once again hath
ruinous fate delivered me unto thy hands; surely I must be hated of
father Zeus, that he hath given me a second time unto thee; and to short
life my mother bare me, Laothoe, old Altes' daughter--Altes who ruleth
among the war-loving Leleges, holding steep Pedasos on the Satnioeis.
His daughter Priam had to wife, with many others, and of her were we two
born, and thou wilt butcher both. Him among the foremost of the
foot-soldiers didst thou lay low, even godlike Polydoros, when thou
smotest him with they sharp spear: and now will it go hard with me here,
for no hope have I to escape thy hands, since God hath delivered me
thereunto. Yet one thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart:
slay me not, since I am not of the same mother as Hector, who slew thy
comrade the gentle and brave."

Thus spake to him the noble son of Priam, beseeching him with words, but
he heard a voice implacable: "Fond fool, proffer me no ransom, nor these
words. Until Patroklos met his fated day, then was it welcomer to my
soul to spare the men of Troy, and many I took alive and sold beyond the
sea: but now there is none shall escape death, whomsoever before Ilios
God shall deliver into my hands--yes, even among all Trojans, but
chiefest among Priam's sons. Ay, friend, thou too must die: why
lamentest thou? Patroklos is dead, who was better far than thou. Seest
thou not also what manner of man am I for might and goodliness? and a
good man was my father, and a goddess mother bare me. Yet over me too
hang death and forceful fate. There cometh morn or eve or some noonday
when my life too some man shall take in battle, whether with spear he
smite or arrow from the string."

Thus spake he, and the other's knees and heart were unstrung. He let go
Achilles' spear, and sat with both hands outspread. But Achilles drew
his sharp sword and smote on the collar-bone beside the neck, and all
the two-edged sword sank into him, and he lay stretched prone upon the
earth, and blood flowed dark from him and soaked the earth. Him seized
Achilles by the foot and sent him down the stream, and over him exulting
spake winged words: "There lie thou among the fishes, which shall lick
off thy wound's blood heedlessly, nor shall thy mother lay thee on a bed
and mourn for thee, but Skamandros shall bear thee on his eddies into
the broad bosom of the sea. Leaping along the wave shall many a fish
dart up to the dark ripple to eat of the white flesh of Lykaon. So
perish all, until we reach the citadel of sacred Ilios, ye flying and I
behind destroying. Nor even the River, fair-flowing, silver-eddied,
shall avail you, to whom long time forsooth ye sacrifice many bulls, and
among his eddies throw whole-hooved horses down alive. For all this yet
shall ye die the death, until ye pay all for Patroklos' slaying and the
slaughter of Achaians whom at the swift ships ye slew while I tarried

Thus spake he, but the River waxed ever more wroth in his heart, and
sought in his soul how he should stay goodly Achilles from his work, and
ward destruction from the Trojans. Meanwhile the son of Peleus with his
far-shadowing spear leapt, fain to slay him, upon Asteropaios son of
Pelegon, whom wide-flowing Axios begat of Periboia eldest of the
daughters of Akessamenos. Upon him set Achilles, and Asteropaios stood
against him from the river, holding two spears; for Xanthos put courage
into his heart, being angered for the slaughtered youths whom Achilles
was slaughtering along the stream and had no pity on them. Then when the
twain were come nigh in onset on each other, unto him first spake
fleet-footed noble Achilles: "Who and whence art thou of men, that
darest to come against me? Ill-fated are they whose children match them
with my might."

And to him, made answer Pelegon's noble son: "High-hearted son of
Peleus, why askest thou my lineage? I come from deep-soiled Paionia, a
land far off, leading Paionian men with their long spears, and this now
is the eleventh morn since I am come to Ilios. My lineage is of
wide-flowing Axios, who begat Pelegon famous with the spear, and he, men
say, was my father. Now fight we, noble Achilles!"

Thus spake he in defiance, and goodly Achilles lifted the Pelian ash:
but the warrior Asteropaios hurled with both spears together, for he
could use both hands alike, and with the one spear smote the shield, but
pierced it not right through, for the gold stayed it, the gift of a god;
and with the other he grazed the elbow of Achilles' right arm, and there
leapt forth dark blood, but the point beyond him fixed itself in the
earth, eager to batten on flesh. Then in his turn Achilles hurled on
Asteropaios his straight-flying ash, fain to have slain him, but missed
the man and struck the high bank, and quivering half its length in the
bank he left the ashen spear. Then the son of Peleus drew his sharp
sword from his thigh and leapt fiercely at him, and he availed not to
draw with his stout hand Achilles' ashen shaft from the steep bank.
Thrice shook he it striving to draw it forth, and thrice gave up the
strain, but the fourth time he was fain to bend and break the ashen
spear of the seed of Aiakos, but ere that Achilles closing on him reft
him of life with his sword. For in the belly he smote him beside the
navel, and all his bowels gushed out to the earth, and darkness covered
his eyes as he lay gasping. Then Achilles trampling on his breast
stripped off his armour and spake exultingly: "Lie there! It is hard to
strive against children of Kronos' mighty son, even though one be sprung
from a River-god. Thou truly declarest thyself the seed of a
wide-flowing River, but I avow me of the linkage of great Zeus. My sire
is a man ruling many Myrmidons, Peleus the son of Aiakos, and Aiakos was
begotten of Zeus. As Zeus is mightier than seaward-murmuring rivers, so
is the seed of Zeus made mightier than the seed of a river. Nay, there
is hard beside thee a great river, if he may anywise avail; but against
Zeus the son of Kronos it is not possible to fight. For him not even
king Acheloios is match, nor yet the great strength of deep-flowing
Ocean, from whom all rivers flow and every sea, and all springs and deep
wells: yea, even he hath fear of the lightning of great Zeus and his
dread thunder, when it pealeth out of heaven."

He said, and from the steep bank drew his bronze spear, and left there
Asteropaios whom he had slain, lying in the sands, and the dark water
flooded him. Around him eels and fishes swarmed, tearing and gnawing the
fat about his kidneys. But Achilles went on after the charioted Paiones
who still along the eddying river huddled in fear, when they saw their
best man in the stress of battle slain violently by the hands and the
sword of the son of Peleus. There slew he Thersilochos and Mydon and
Astypylos and Mnesos and Thrasios and Ainios and Ophelestes; and more
yet of the Paiones would swift Achilles have slain, had not the
deep-eddying River called unto him in wrath, in semblance of a man, and
from an eddy's depth sent forth a voice: "O Achilles, thy might and thy
evil work are beyond the measure of men; for gods themselves are ever
helping thee. If indeed the son of Kronos hath delivered thee all the
Trojans to destroy, at least drive them forth from me and do thy grim
deeds on the plain, for filled with dead men is my. pleasant bed, nor
can I pour my stream to the great sea, being choked with dead, and thou
slayest ruthlessly. Come then, let be; I am astonished, O captain of

And to him answered Achilles fleet of foot: "So be it, heaven-sprung
Skamandros, even as thou biddest. But the proud Trojans I will not cease
from slaying until I have driven them into their city, and have made
trial with Hector face to face whether he is to vanquish me or I him."

Thus saying, he set upon the Trojans, like a god. Then unto Apollo spake
the deep-eddying River: "Out on it, lord of the silver bow, child of
Zeus, thou hast not kept the ordinance of Kronos' son, who charged thee
straitly to stand by the Trojans and to help them, until eve come with
light late-setting, and darken the deep-soiled earth."

He said, and spear-famed Achilles sprang from the bank and leapt into
his midst; but he rushed on him in a furious wave, and stirred up all
his streams in tumult, and swept down the many dead who lay thick in
him, slain by Achilles; these out to land he cast with bellowing like a
bull, and saved the living under his fair streams, hiding them within
eddies deep and wide. But terribly around Achilles arose his tumultuous
wave, and the stream smote violently against his shield, nor availed he
to stand firm upon his feet. Then he grasped a tall fair-grown elm, and
it fell uprooted and tore away all the bank, and reached over the fair
river bed with its thick shoots, and stemmed the River himself, falling
all within him: and Achilles, struggling out of the eddy, made haste to
fly over the plain with his swift feet, for he was afraid. But the great
god ceased not, but arose upon him with darkness on his crest, that he
might stay noble Achilles from slaughter, and ward destruction from the
men of Troy. And the son of Peleus rushed away a spear's throw, with the
swoop of a black eagle, the mighty hunter, strongest at once and
swiftest of winged birds. Like him he sped, and on his breast the bronze
rang terribly as he fled from beneath the onset, and behind him the
River rushed on with a mighty roar. As when a field-waterer from a dark
spring leadeth water along a bed through crops and garden grounds, a
mattock in his hands, casting forth hindrances from the ditch, and as it
floweth all pebbles are swept down, and swiftly gliding it murmureth
down a sloping place, and outrunneth him that is its guide:--thus ever
the river wave caught up Achilles for all his speed; for gods are
mightier than men. For whensoever fleet-footed noble Achilles struggled
to stand against it, and know whether all immortals be upon him who
inhabit spacious heaven, then would a great wave of the heaven-sprung
River beat upon his shoulders from above, and he sprang upward with his
feet, sore vexed at heart; and the River was wearying his knees with
violent rush beneath, devouring the earth from under his feet. Then the
son of Peleus cried aloud, looking up to the broad heaven: "Zeus,
Father, how doth none of the gods take it on him in pity to save me from
the River! after that let come to me what may. None other of the
inhabitants of Heaven is chargeable so much, but only my dear mother,
who beguiled me with false words, saying that under the wall of the
mail-clad men of Troy I must die by the swift arrows of Apollo. Would
that Hector had slain me, the best of men bred here: then brave had been
the slayer, and a brave man had he slain. But now by a sorry death am I
doomed to die, pent in this mighty river, like a swineherd boy whom a
torrent sweepeth down as he essayeth to cross it in a storm."

Thus spake he, and quickly Poseidon and Athene came near and stood
beside him, in the likeness of men, and taking his hands in theirs
pledged him in words. And the first that spake was Poseidon, Shaker of
the earth: "Son of Peleus, tremble not, neither be afraid; such helpers
of thee are we from the gods, approved of Zeus, even Pallas Athene and
I, for to be vanquished of a river is not appointed thee, but he will
soon give back, and thou wilt thyself perceive it: but we will give thee
wise counsel, if thou wilt obey it; hold not thy hand from hazardous
battle until within Ilios' famous walls thou have pent the Trojan host,
even all that flee before thee. But do thou, when thou hast taken the
life of Hector, go back unto the ships; this glory we give unto thee to

They having thus spoken departed to the immortals, but he toward the
plain--for the bidding of gods was strong upon him--went onward; and all
the plain was filled with water-flood, and many beautiful arms and
corpses of slain youths were drifting there. So upward sprang his knees
as he rushed against the stream right on, nor stayed him the
wide-flowing River, for Athene put great strength in him. Neither did
Skamandros slacken his fierceness, but yet more raged against the son of
Peleus, and he curled crestwise the billow of his stream, lifting
himself on high, and on Simoeis he called with a shout: "Dear brother,
the strength of this man let us both join to stay, since quickly he will
lay waste the great city of king Priam, and the Trojans abide not in the
battle. Help me with speed, and fill thy streams with water from thy
springs, and urge on all thy torrents, and raise up a great wave, and
stir huge roaring of tree-stumps and stones, that we may stay the fierce
man who now is lording it, and deeming himself match for gods. For
neither, I ween, will strength avail him nor comeliness anywise, nor
that armour beautiful, which deep beneath the flood shall be o'erlaid
with slime, and himself I will wrap him in my sands and pour round him

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest