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The Iliad of Homer

Part 4 out of 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Juno again answered him with a lying tale. "Most dread son of
Saturn," she exclaimed, "what are you talking about? Would you
have us enjoy one another here on the top of Mount Ida, where
everything can be seen? What if one of the ever-living gods

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