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The Iliad of Homer

Part 3 out of 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Embassy to Achilles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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