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The Iliad of Homer

Part 5 out of 8

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should see us sleeping together, and tell the others? It would be
such a scandal that when I had risen from your embraces I could
never show myself inside your house again; but if you are so
minded, there is a room which your son Vulcan has made me, and he
has given it good strong doors; if you would so have it, let us
go thither and lie down."

And Jove answered, "Juno, you need not be afraid that either god
or man will see you, for I will enshroud both of us in such a
dense golden cloud, that the very sun for all his bright piercing
beams shall not see through it."

With this the son of Saturn caught his wife in his embrace;
whereon the earth sprouted them a cushion of young grass, with
dew-bespangled lotus, crocus, and hyacinth, so soft and thick
that it raised them well above the ground. Here they laid
themselves down and overhead they were covered by a fair cloud of
gold, from which there fell glittering dew-drops.

Thus, then, did the sire of all things repose peacefully on the
crest of Ida, overcome at once by sleep and love, and he held his
spouse in his arms. Meanwhile Sleep made off to the ships of the
Achaeans, to tell earth-encircling Neptune, lord of the
earthquake. When he had found him he said, "Now, Neptune, you can
help the Danaans with a will, and give them victory though it be
only for a short time while Jove is still sleeping. I have sent
him into a sweet slumber, and Juno has beguiled him into going to
bed with her."

Sleep now departed and went his ways to and fro among mankind,
leaving Neptune more eager than ever to help the Danaans. He
darted forward among the first ranks and shouted saying,
"Argives, shall we let Hector son of Priam have the triumph of
taking our ships and covering himself with glory? This is what he
says that he shall now do, seeing that Achilles is still in
dudgeon at his ship; we shall get on very well without him if we
keep each other in heart and stand by one another. Now,
therefore, let us all do as I say. Let us each take the best and
largest shield we can lay hold of, put on our helmets, and sally
forth with our longest spears in our hands; I will lead you on,
and Hector son of Priam, rage as he may, will not dare to hold
out against us. If any good staunch soldier has only a small
shield, let him hand it over to a worse man, and take a larger
one for himself."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. The son of
Tydeus, Ulysses, and Agamemnon, wounded though they were, set the
others in array, and went about everywhere effecting the
exchanges of armour; the most valiant took the best armour, and
gave the worse to the worse man. When they had donned their
bronze armour they marched on with Neptune at their head. In his
strong hand he grasped his terrible sword, keen of edge and
flashing like lightning; woe to him who comes across it in the
day of battle; all men quake for fear and keep away from it.

Hector on the other side set the Trojans in array. Thereon
Neptune and Hector waged fierce war on one another--Hector on the
Trojan and Neptune on the Argive side. Mighty was the uproar as
the two forces met; the sea came rolling in towards the ships and
tents of the Achaeans, but waves do not thunder on the shore more
loudly when driven before the blast of Boreas, nor do the flames
of a forest fire roar more fiercely when it is well alight upon
the mountains, nor does the wind bellow with ruder music as it
tears on through the tops of when it is blowing its hardest, than
the terrible shout which the Trojans and Achaeans raised as they
sprang upon one another.

Hector first aimed his spear at Ajax, who was turned full towards
him, nor did he miss his aim. The spear struck him where two
bands passed over his chest--the band of his shield and that of
his silver-studded sword--and these protected his body. Hector
was angry that his spear should have been hurled in vain, and
withdrew under cover of his men. As he was thus retreating, Ajax
son of Telamon, struck him with a stone, of which there were many
lying about under the men's feet as they fought--brought there to
give support to the ships' sides as they lay on the shore. Ajax
caught up one of them and struck Hector above the rim of his
shield close to his neck; the blow made him spin round like a top
and reel in all directions. As an oak falls headlong when
uprooted by the lightning flash of father Jove, and there is a
terrible smell of brimstone--no man can help being dismayed if he
is standing near it, for a thunderbolt is a very awful thing--
even so did Hector fall to earth and bite the dust. His spear
fell from his hand, but his shield and helmet were made fast
about his body, and his bronze armour rang about him.

The sons of the Achaeans came running with a loud cry towards
him, hoping to drag him away, and they showered their darts on
the Trojans, but none of them could wound him before he was
surrounded and covered by the princes Polydamas, Aeneas, Agenor,
Sarpedon captain of the Lycians, and noble Glaucus. Of the
others, too, there was not one who was unmindful of him, and they
held their round shields over him to cover him. His comrades then
lifted him off the ground and bore him away from the battle to
the place where his horses stood waiting for him at the rear of
the fight with their driver and the chariot; these then took him
towards the city groaning and in great pain. When they reached
the ford of the fair stream of Xanthus, begotten of Immortal
Jove, they took him from off his chariot and laid him down on the
ground; they poured water over him, and as they did so he
breathed again and opened his eyes. Then kneeling on his knees he
vomited blood, but soon fell back on to the ground, and his eyes
were again closed in darkness for he was still stunned by the

When the Argives saw Hector leaving the field, they took heart
and set upon the Trojans yet more furiously. Ajax fleet son of
Oileus began by springing on Satnius son of Enops, and wounding
him with his spear: a fair naiad nymph had borne him to Enops as
he was herding cattle by the banks of the river Satnioeis. The
son of Oileus came up to him and struck him in the flank so that
he fell, and a fierce fight between Trojans and Danaans raged
round his body. Polydamas son of Panthous drew near to avenge
him, and wounded Prothoenor son of Areilycus on the right
shoulder; the terrible spear went right through his shoulder, and
he clutched the earth as he fell in the dust. Polydamas vaunted
loudly over him saying, "Again I take it that the spear has not
sped in vain from the strong hand of the son of Panthous; an
Argive has caught it in his body, and it will serve him for a
staff as he goes down into the house of Hades."

The Argives were maddened by this boasting. Ajax son of Telamon
was more angry than any, for the man had fallen close beside him;
so he aimed at Polydamas as he was retreating, but Polydamas
saved himself by swerving aside and the spear struck Archelochus
son of Antenor, for heaven counselled his destruction; it struck
him where the head springs from the neck at the top joint of the
spine, and severed both the tendons at the back of the head. His
head, mouth, and nostrils reached the ground long before his legs
and knees could do so, and Ajax shouted to Polydamas saying,
"Think, Polydamas, and tell me truly whether this man is not as
well worth killing as Prothoenor was: he seems rich, and of rich
family, a brother, it may be, or son of the knight Antenor, for
he is very like him."

But he knew well who it was, and the Trojans were greatly
angered. Acamas then bestrode his brother's body and wounded
Promachus the Boeotian with his spear, for he was trying to drag
his brother's body away. Acamas vaunted loudly over him saying,
"Argive archers, braggarts that you are, toil and suffering shall
not be for us only, but some of you too shall fall here as well
as ourselves. See how Promachus now sleeps, vanquished by my
spear; payment for my brother's blood has not been long delayed;
a man, therefore, may well be thankful if he leaves a kinsman in
his house behind him to avenge his fall."

His taunts infuriated the Argives, and Peneleos was more enraged
than any of them. He sprang towards Acamas, but Acamas did not
stand his ground, and he killed Ilioneus son of the rich
flock-master Phorbas, whom Mercury had favoured and endowed with
greater wealth than any other of the Trojans. Ilioneus was his
only son, and Peneleos now wounded him in the eye under his
eyebrows, tearing the eye-ball from its socket: the spear went
right through the eye into the nape of the neck, and he fell,
stretching out both hands before him. Peneleos then drew his
sword and smote him on the neck, so that both head and helmet
came tumbling down to the ground with the spear still sticking in
the eye; he then held up the head, as though it had been a
poppy-head, and showed it to the Trojans, vaunting over them as
he did so. "Trojans," he cried, "bid the father and mother of
noble Ilioneus make moan for him in their house, for the wife
also of Promachus son of Alegenor will never be gladdened by the
coming of her dear husband--when we Argives return with our ships
from Troy."

As he spoke fear fell upon them, and every man looked round about
to see whither he might fly for safety.

Tell me now, O Muses that dwell on Olympus, who was the first of
the Argives to bear away blood-stained spoils after Neptune lord
of the earthquake had turned the fortune of war. Ajax son of
Telamon was first to wound Hyrtius son of Gyrtius, captain of the
staunch Mysians. Antilochus killed Phalces and Mermerus, while
Meriones slew Morys and Hippotion, Teucer also killed Prothoon
and Periphetes. The son of Atreus then wounded Hyperenor shepherd
of his people, in the flank, and the bronze point made his
entrails gush out as it tore in among them; on this his life came
hurrying out of him at the place where he had been wounded, and
his eyes were closed in darkness. Ajax son of Oileus killed more
than any other, for there was no man so fleet as he to pursue
flying foes when Jove had spread panic among them.


Jove awakes, tells Apollo to heal Hector, and the Trojans
again become victorious.

BUT when their flight had taken them past the trench and the set
stakes, and many had fallen by the hands of the Danaans, the
Trojans made a halt on reaching their chariots, routed and pale
with fear. Jove now woke on the crests of Ida, where he was lying
with golden-throned Juno by his side, and starting to his feet he
saw the Trojans and Achaeans, the one thrown into confusion, and
the others driving them pell-mell before them with King Neptune
in their midst. He saw Hector lying on the ground with his
comrades gathered round him, gasping for breath, wandering in
mind and vomiting blood, for it was not the feeblest of the
Achaeans who struck him.

The sire of gods and men had pity on him, and looked fiercely on
Juno. "I see, Juno," said he, "you mischief-making trickster,
that your cunning has stayed Hector from fighting and has caused
the rout of his host. I am in half a mind to thrash you, in which
case you will be the first to reap the fruits of your scurvy
knavery. Do you not remember how once upon a time I had you
hanged? I fastened two anvils on to your feet, and bound your
hands in a chain of gold which none might break, and you hung in
mid-air among the clouds. All the gods in Olympus were in a fury,
but they could not reach you to set you free; when I caught any
one of them I gripped him and hurled him from the heavenly
threshold till he came fainting down to earth; yet even this did
not relieve my mind from the incessant anxiety which I felt about
noble Hercules whom you and Boreas had spitefully conveyed beyond
the seas to Cos, after suborning the tempests; but I rescued him,
and notwithstanding all his mighty labours I brought him back
again to Argos. I would remind you of this that you may learn to
leave off being so deceitful, and discover how much you are
likely to gain by the embraces out of which you have come here to
trick me."

Juno trembled as he spoke, and said, "May heaven above and earth
below be my witnesses, with the waters of the river Styx--and
this is the most solemn oath that a blessed god can take--nay, I
swear also by your own almighty head and by our bridal bed--
things over which I could never possibly perjure myself--that
Neptune is not punishing Hector and the Trojans and helping the
Achaeans through any doing of mine; it is all of his own mere
motion because he was sorry to see the Achaeans hard pressed at
their ships: if I were advising him, I should tell him to do as
you bid him."

The sire of gods and men smiled and answered, "If you, Juno, were
always to support me when we sit in council of the gods, Neptune,
like it or no, would soon come round to your and my way of
thinking. If, then, you are speaking the truth and mean what you
say, go among the rank and file of the gods, and tell Iris and
Apollo lord of the bow, that I want them--Iris, that she may go
to the Achaean host and tell Neptune to leave off fighting and go
home, and Apollo, that he may send Hector again into battle and
give him fresh strength; he will thus forget his present
sufferings, and drive the Achaeans back in confusion till they
fall among the ships of Achilles son of Peleus. Achilles will
then send his comrade Patroclus into battle, and Hector will kill
him in front of Ilius after he has slain many warriors, and among
them my own noble son Sarpedon. Achilles will kill Hector to
avenge Patroclus, and from that time I will bring it about that
the Achaeans shall persistently drive the Trojans back till they
fulfil the counsels of Minerva and take Ilius. But I will not
stay my anger, nor permit any god to help the Danaans till I have
accomplished the desire of the son of Peleus, according to the
promise I made by bowing my head on the day when Thetis touched
my knees and besought me to give him honour."

Juno heeded his words and went from the heights of Ida to great
Olympus. Swift as the thought of one whose fancy carries him over
vast continents, and he says to himself, "Now I will be here, or
there," and he would have all manner of things--even so swiftly
did Juno wing her way till she came to high Olympus and went in
among the gods who were gathered in the house of Jove. When they
saw her they all of them came up to her, and held out their cups
to her by way of greeting. She let the others be, but took the
cup offered her by lovely Themis, who was first to come running
up to her. "Juno," said she, "why are you here? And you seem
troubled--has your husband the son of Saturn been frightening

And Juno answered, "Themis, do not ask me about it. You know what
a proud and cruel disposition my husband has. Lead the gods to
table, where you and all the immortals can hear the wicked
designs which he has avowed. Many a one, mortal and immortal,
will be angered by them, however peaceably he may be feasting

On this Juno sat down, and the gods were troubled throughout the
house of Jove. Laughter sat on her lips but her brow was furrowed
with care, and she spoke up in a rage. "Fools that we are," she
cried, "to be thus madly angry with Jove; we keep on wanting to
go up to him and stay him by force or by persuasion, but he sits
aloof and cares for nobody, for he knows that he is much stronger
than any other of the immortals. Make the best, therefore, of
whatever ills he may choose to send each one of you; Mars, I take
it, has had a taste of them already, for his son Ascalaphus has
fallen in battle--the man whom of all others he loved most dearly
and whose father he owns himself to be."

When he heard this Mars smote his two sturdy thighs with the flat
of his hands, and said in anger, "Do not blame me, you gods that
dwell in heaven, if I go to the ships of the Achaeans and avenge
the death of my son, even though it end in my being struck by
Jove's lightning and lying in blood and dust among the corpses."

As he spoke he gave orders to yoke his horses Panic and Rout,
while he put on his armour. On this, Jove would have been roused
to still more fierce and implacable enmity against the other
immortals, had not Minerva, alarmed for the safety of the gods,
sprung from her seat and hurried outside. She tore the helmet
from his head and the shield from his shoulders, and she took the
bronze spear from his strong hand and set it on one side; then
she said to Mars, "Madman, you are undone; you have ears that
hear not, or you have lost all judgement and understanding; have
you not heard what Juno has said on coming straight from the
presence of Olympian Jove? Do you wish to go through all kinds of
suffering before you are brought back sick and sorry to Olympus,
after having caused infinite mischief to all us others? Jove
would instantly leave the Trojans and Achaeans to themselves; he
would come to Olympus to punish us, and would grip us up one
after another, guilty or not guilty. Therefore lay aside your
anger for the death of your son; better men than he have either
been killed already or will fall hereafter, and one cannot
protect every one's whole family."

With these words she took Mars back to his seat. Meanwhile Juno
called Apollo outside, with Iris the messenger of the gods.
"Jove," she said to them, "desires you to go to him at once on
Mt. Ida; when you have seen him you are to do as he may then bid

Thereon Juno left them and resumed her seat inside, while Iris
and Apollo made all haste on their way. When they reached
many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, they found Jove
seated on topmost Gargarus with a fragrant cloud encircling his
head as with a diadem. They stood before his presence, and he was
pleased with them for having been so quick in obeying the orders
his wife had given them.

He spoke to Iris first. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, tell King
Neptune what I now bid you--and tell him true. Bid him leave off
fighting, and either join the company of the gods, or go down
into the sea. If he takes no heed and disobeys me, let him
consider well whether he is strong enough to hold his own against
me if I attack him. I am older and much stronger than he is; yet
he is not afraid to set himself up as on a level with myself, of
whom all the other gods stand in awe."

Iris, fleet as the wind, obeyed him, and as the cold hail or
snowflakes that fly from out the clouds before the blast of
Boreas, even so did she wing her way till she came close up to
the great shaker of the earth. Then she said, "I have come, O
dark-haired king that holds the world in his embrace, to bring
you a message from Jove. He bids you leave off fighting, and
either join the company of the gods or go down into the sea; if,
however, you take no heed and disobey him, he says he will come
down here and fight you. He would have you keep out of his reach,
for he is older and much stronger than you are, and yet you are
not afraid to set yourself up as on a level with himself, of whom
all the other gods stand in awe."

Neptune was very angry and said, "Great heavens! strong as Jove
may be, he has said more than he can do if he has threatened
violence against me, who am of like honour with himself. We were
three brothers whom Rhea bore to Saturn--Jove, myself, and Hades
who rules the world below. Heaven and earth were divided into
three parts, and each of us was to have an equal share. When we
cast lots, it fell to me to have my dwelling in the sea for
evermore; Hades took the darkness of the realms under the earth,
while air and sky and clouds were the portion that fell to Jove;
but earth and great Olympus are the common property of all.
Therefore I will not walk as Jove would have me. For all his
strength, let him keep to his own third share and be contented
without threatening to lay hands upon me as though I were nobody.
Let him keep his bragging talk for his own sons and daughters,
who must perforce obey him."

Iris fleet as the wind then answered, "Am I really, Neptune, to
take this daring and unyielding message to Jove, or will you
reconsider your answer? Sensible people are open to argument, and
you know that the Erinyes always range themselves on the side of
the older person."

Neptune answered, "Goddess Iris, your words have been spoken in
season. It is well when a messenger shows so much discretion.
Nevertheless it cuts me to the very heart that any one should
rebuke so angrily another who is his own peer, and of like empire
with himself. Now, however, I will give way in spite of my
displeasure; furthermore let me tell you, and I mean what I say--
if contrary to the desire of myself, Minerva driver of the spoil,
Juno, Mercury, and King Vulcan, Jove spares steep Ilius, and will
not let the Achaeans have the great triumph of sacking it, let
him understand that he will incur our implacable resentment."

Neptune now left the field to go down under the sea, and sorely
did the Achaeans miss him. Then Jove said to Apollo, "Go, dear
Phoebus, to Hector, for Neptune who holds the earth in his
embrace has now gone down under the sea to avoid the severity of
my displeasure. Had he not done so those gods who are below with
Saturn would have come to hear of the fight between us. It is
better for both of us that he should have curbed his anger and
kept out of my reach, for I should have had much trouble with
him. Take, then, your tasselled aegis, and shake it furiously, so
as to set the Achaean heroes in a panic; take, moreover, brave
Hector, O Far-Darter, into your own care, and rouse him to deeds
of daring, till the Achaeans are sent flying back to their ships
and to the Hellespont. From that point I will think it well over,
how the Achaeans may have a respite from their troubles."

Apollo obeyed his father's saying, and left the crests of Ida,
flying like a falcon, bane of doves and swiftest of all birds. He
found Hector no longer lying upon the ground, but sitting up, for
he had just come to himself again. He knew those who were about
him, and the sweat and hard breathing had left him from the
moment when the will of aegis-bearing Jove had revived him.
Apollo stood beside him and said, "Hector son of Priam, why are
you so faint, and why are you here away from the others? Has any
mishap befallen you?"

Hector in a weak voice answered, "And which, kind sir, of the
gods are you, who now ask me thus? Do you not know that Ajax
struck me on the chest with a stone as I was killing his comrades
at the ships of the Achaeans, and compelled me to leave off
fighting? I made sure that this very day I should breathe my last
and go down into the house of Hades."

Then King Apollo said to him, "Take heart; the son of Saturn has
sent you a mighty helper from Ida to stand by you and defend you,
even me, Phoebus Apollo of the golden sword, who have been
guardian hitherto not only of yourself but of your city. Now,
therefore, order your horsemen to drive their chariots to the
ships in great multitudes. I will go before your horses to smooth
the way for them, and will turn the Achaeans in flight."

As he spoke he infused great strength into the shepherd of his
people. And as a horse, stabled and full-fed, breaks loose and
gallops gloriously over the plain to the place where he is wont
to take his bath in the river--he tosses his head, and his mane
streams over his shoulders as in all the pride of his strength he
flies full speed to the pastures where the mares are feeding--
even so Hector, when he heard what the god said, urged his
horsemen on, and sped forward as fast as his limbs could take
him. As country peasants set their hounds on to a homed stag or
wild goat--he has taken shelter under rock or thicket, and they
cannot find him, but, lo, a bearded lion whom their shouts have
roused stands in their path, and they are in no further humour
for the chase--even so the Achaeans were still charging on in a
body, using their swords and spears pointed at both ends, but
when they saw Hector going about among his men they were afraid,
and their hearts fell down into their feet.

Then spoke Thoas son of Andraemon, leader of the Aetolians, a man
who could throw a good throw, and who was staunch also in close
fight, while few could surpass him in debate when opinions were
divided. He then with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them
thus: "What, in heaven's name, do I now see? Is it not Hector
come to life again? Every one made sure he had been killed by
Ajax son of Telamon, but it seems that one of the gods has again
rescued him. He has killed many of us Danaans already, and I take
it will yet do so, for the hand of Jove must be with him or he
would never dare show himself so masterful in the forefront of
the battle. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let us order
the main body of our forces to fall back upon the ships, but let
those of us who profess to be the flower of the army stand firm,
and see whether we cannot hold Hector back at the point of our
spears as soon as he comes near us; I conceive that he will then
think better of it before he tries to charge into the press of
the Danaans."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. Those who
were about Ajax and King Idomeneus, the followers moreover of
Teucer, Meriones, and Meges peer of Mars called all their best
men about them and sustained the fight against Hector and the
Trojans, but the main body fell back upon the ships of the

The Trojans pressed forward in a dense body, with Hector striding
on at their head. Before him went Phoebus Apollo shrouded in
cloud about his shoulders. He bore aloft the terrible aegis with
its shaggy fringe, which Vulcan the smith had given Jove to
strike terror into the hearts of men. With this in his hand he
led on the Trojans.

The Argives held together and stood their ground. The cry of
battle rose high from either side, and the arrows flew from the
bowstrings. Many a spear sped from strong hands and fastened in
the bodies of many a valiant warrior, while others fell to earth
midway, before they could taste of man's fair flesh and glut
themselves with blood. So long as Phoebus Apollo held his aegis
quietly and without shaking it, the weapons on either side took
effect and the people fell, but when he shook it straight in the
face of the Danaans and raised his mighty battle-cry their hearts
fainted within them and they forgot their former prowess. As when
two wild beasts spring in the dead of night on a herd of cattle
or a large flock of sheep when the herdsman is not there--even so
were the Danaans struck helpless, for Apollo filled them with
panic and gave victory to Hector and the Trojans.

The fight then became more scattered and they killed one another
where they best could. Hector killed Stichius and Arcesilaus, the
one, leader of the Boeotians, and the other, friend and comrade
of Menestheus. Aeneas killed Medon and Iasus. The first was
bastard son to Oileus, and brother to Ajax, but he lived in
Phylace away from his own country, for he had killed a man, a
kinsman of his stepmother Eriopis whom Oileus had married. Iasus
had become a leader of the Athenians, and was son of Sphelus the
son of Boucolos. Polydamas killed Mecisteus, and Polites Echius,
in the front of the battle, while Agenor slew Clonius. Paris
struck Deiochus from behind in the lower part of the shoulder, as
he was flying among the foremost, and the point of the spear went
clean through him.

While they were spoiling these heroes of their armour, the
Achaeans were flying pell-mell to the trench and the set stakes,
and were forced back within their wall. Hector then cried out to
the Trojans, "Forward to the ships, and let the spoils be. If I
see any man keeping back on the other side the wall away from the
ships I will have him killed: his kinsmen and kinswomen shall not
give him his dues of fire, but dogs shall tear him in pieces in
front of our city."

As he spoke he laid his whip about his horses' shoulders and
called to the Trojans throughout their ranks; the Trojans shouted
with a cry that rent the air, and kept their horses neck and neck
with his own. Phoebus Apollo went before, and kicked down the
banks of the deep trench into its middle so as to make a great
broad bridge, as broad as the throw of a spear when a man is
trying his strength. The Trojan battalions poured over the
bridge, and Apollo with his redoubtable aegis led the way. He
kicked down the wall of the Achaeans as easily as a child who
playing on the sea-shore has built a house of sand and then kicks
it down again and destroys it--even so did you, O Apollo, shed
toil and trouble upon the Argives, filling them with panic and

Thus then were the Achaeans hemmed in at their ships, calling out
to one another and raising their hands with loud cries every man
to heaven. Nestor of Gerene, tower of strength to the Achaeans,
lifted up his hands to the starry firmament of heaven, and prayed
more fervently than any of them. "Father Jove," said he, "if ever
any one in wheat-growing Argos burned you fat thigh-bones of
sheep or heifer and prayed that he might return safely home,
whereon you bowed your head to him in assent, bear it in mind
now, and suffer not the Trojans to triumph thus over the

All-counselling Jove thundered loudly in answer to the prayer of
the aged son of Neleus. When they heard Jove thunder they flung
themselves yet more fiercely on the Achaeans. As a wave breaking
over the bulwarks of a ship when the sea runs high before a
gale--for it is the force of the wind that makes the waves so
great--even so did the Trojans spring over the wall with a
shout, and drive their chariots onwards. The two sides fought
with their double-pointed spears in hand-to-hand encounter-the
Trojans from their chariots, and the Achaeans climbing up into
their ships and wielding the long pikes that were lying on the
decks ready for use in a sea-fight, jointed and shod with bronze.

Now Patroclus, so long as the Achaeans and Trojans were fighting
about the wall, but were not yet within it and at the ships,
remained sitting in the tent of good Eurypylus, entertaining him
with his conversation and spreading herbs over his wound to ease
his pain. When, however, he saw the Trojans swarming through the
breach in the wall, while the Achaeans were clamouring and struck
with panic, he cried aloud, and smote his two thighs with the
flat of his hands. "Eurypylus," said he in his dismay, "I know
you want me badly, but I cannot stay with you any longer, for
there is hard fighting going on; a servant shall take care of you
now, for I must make all speed to Achilles, and induce him to
fight if I can; who knows but with heaven's help I may persuade
him. A man does well to listen to the advice of a friend."

When he had thus spoken he went his way. The Achaeans stood firm
and resisted the attack of the Trojans, yet though these were
fewer in number, they could not drive them back from the ships,
neither could the Trojans break the Achaean ranks and make their
way in among the tents and ships. As a carpenter's line gives a
true edge to a piece of ship's timber, in the hand of some
skilled workman whom Minerva has instructed in all kinds of
useful arts--even so level was the issue of the fight between the
two sides, as they fought some round one and some round another.

Hector made straight for Ajax, and the two fought fiercely about
the same ship. Hector could not force Ajax back and fire the
ship, nor yet could Ajax drive Hector from the spot to which
heaven had brought him.

Then Ajax struck Caletor son of Clytius in the chest with a spear
as he was bringing fire towards the ship. He fell heavily to the
ground and the torch dropped from his hand. When Hector saw his
cousin fallen in front of the ship he shouted to the Trojans and
Lycians saying, "Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians good in close
fight, bate not a jot, but rescue the son of Clytius lest the
Achaeans strip him of his armour now that he has fallen."

He then aimed a spear at Ajax, and missed him, but he hit
Lycophron a follower of Ajax, who came from Cythera, but was
living with Ajax inasmuch as he had killed a man among the
Cythereans. Hector's spear struck him on the head below the ear,
and he fell headlong from the ship's prow on to the ground with
no life left in him. Ajax shook with rage and said to his
brother, "Teucer, my good fellow, our trusty comrade the son of
Mastor has fallen, he came to live with us from Cythera and whom
we honoured as much as our own parents. Hector has just killed
him; fetch your deadly arrows at once and the bow which Phoebus
Apollo gave you."

Teucer heard him and hastened towards him with his bow and quiver
in his hands. Forthwith he showered his arrows on the Trojans,
and hit Cleitus the son of Pisenor, comrade of Polydamas the
noble son of Panthous, with the reins in his hands as he was
attending to his horses; he was in the middle of the very
thickest part of the fight, doing good service to Hector and the
Trojans, but evil had now come upon him, and not one of those who
were fain to do so could avert it, for the arrow struck him on
the back of the neck. He fell from his chariot and his horses
shook the empty car as they swerved aside. King Polydamas saw
what had happened, and was the first to come up to the horses; he
gave them in charge to Astynous son of Protiaon, and ordered him
to look on, and to keep the horses near at hand. He then went
back and took his place in the front ranks.

Teucer then aimed another arrow at Hector, and there would have
been no more fighting at the ships if he had hit him and killed
him then and there: Jove, however, who kept watch over Hector,
had his eyes on Teucer, and deprived him of his triumph, by
breaking his bowstring for him just as he was drawing it and
about to take his aim; on this the arrow went astray and the bow
fell from his hands. Teucer shook with anger and said to his
brother, "Alas, see how heaven thwarts us in all we do; it has
broken my bowstring and snatched the bow from my hand, though I
strung it this selfsame morning that it might serve me for many
an arrow."

Ajax son of Telamon answered, "My good fellow, let your bow and
your arrows be, for Jove has made them useless in order to spite
the Danaans. Take your spear, lay your shield upon your shoulder,
and both fight the Trojans yourself and urge others to do so.
They may be successful for the moment but if we fight as we ought
they will find it a hard matter to take the ships."

Teucer then took his bow and put it by in his tent. He hung a
shield four hides thick about his shoulders, and on his comely
head he set his helmet well wrought with a crest of horse-hair
that nodded menacingly above it; he grasped his redoubtable
bronze-shod spear, and forthwith he was by the side of Ajax.

When Hector saw that Teucer's bow was of no more use to him, he
shouted out to the Trojans and Lycians, "Trojans, Lycians, and
Dardanians good in close fight, be men, my friends, and show your
mettle here at the ships, for I see the weapon of one of their
chieftains made useless by the hand of Jove. It is easy to see
when Jove is helping people and means to help them still further,
or again when he is bringing them down and will do nothing for
them; he is now on our side, and is going against the Argives.
Therefore swarm round the ships and fight. If any of you is
struck by spear or sword and loses his life, let him die; he dies
with honour who dies fighting for his country; and he will leave
his wife and children safe behind him, with his house and
allotment unplundered if only the Achaeans can be driven back to
their own land, they and their ships."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Ajax on the
other side exhorted his comrades saying, "Shame on you Argives,
we are now utterly undone, unless we can save ourselves by
driving the enemy from our ships. Do you think, if Hector takes
them, that you will be able to get home by land? Can you not hear
him cheering on his whole host to fire our fleet, and bidding
them remember that they are not at a dance but in battle? Our
only course is to fight them with might and main; we had better
chance it, life or death, once for all, than fight long and
without issue hemmed in at our ships by worse men than

With these words he put life and soul into them all. Hector then
killed Schedius son of Perimedes, leader of the Phoceans, and
Ajax killed Laodamas captain of foot soldiers and son to Antenor.
Polydamas killed Otus of Cyllene a comrade of the son of Phyleus
and chief of the proud Epeans. When Meges saw this he sprang upon
him, but Polydamas crouched down, and he missed him, for Apollo
would not suffer the son of Panthous to fall in battle; but the
spear hit Croesmus in the middle of his chest, whereon he fell
heavily to the ground, and Meges stripped him of his armour. At
that moment the valiant soldier Dolops son of Lampus sprang upon
Lampus was son of Laomedon and for his valour, while his son
Dolops was versed in all the ways of war. He then struck the
middle of the son of Phyleus' shield with his spear, setting on
him at close quarters, but his good corslet made with plates of
metal saved him; Phyleus had brought it from Ephyra and the river
Selleis, where his host, King Euphetes, had given it him to wear
in battle and protect him. It now served to save the life of his
son. Then Meges struck the topmost crest of Dolops's bronze
helmet with his spear and tore away its plume of horse-hair, so
that all newly dyed with scarlet as it was it tumbled down into
the dust. While he was still fighting and confident of victory,
Menelaus came up to help Meges, and got by the side of Dolops
unperceived; he then speared him in the shoulder, from behind,
and the point, driven so furiously, went through into his chest,
whereon he fell headlong. The two then made towards him to strip
him of his armour, but Hector called on all his brothers for
help, and he especially upbraided brave Melanippus son of
Hiketaon, who erewhile used to pasture his herds of cattle in
Percote before the war broke out; but when the ships of the
Danaans came, he went back to Ilius, where he was eminent among
the Trojans, and lived near Priam who treated him as one of his
own sons. Hector now rebuked him and said, "Why, Melanippus, are
we thus remiss? do you take no note of the death of your kinsman,
and do you not see how they are trying to take Dolops's armour?
Follow me; there must be no fighting the Argives from a distance
now, but we must do so in close combat till either we kill them
or they take the high wall of Ilius and slay her people."

He led on as he spoke, and the hero Melanippus followed after.
Meanwhile Ajax son of Telamon was cheering on the Argives. "My
friends," he cried, "be men, and fear dishonour; quit yourselves
in battle so as to win respect from one another. Men who respect
each other's good opinion are less likely to be killed than those
who do not, but in flight there is neither gain nor glory."

Thus did he exhort men who were already bent upon driving back
the Trojans. They laid his words to heart and hedged the ships as
with a wall of bronze, while Jove urged on the Trojans. Menelaus
of the loud battle-cry urged Antilochus on. "Antilochus," said
he, "you are young and there is none of the Achaeans more fleet
of foot or more valiant than you are. See if you cannot spring
upon some Trojan and kill him."

He hurried away when he had thus spurred Antilochus, who at once
darted out from the front ranks and aimed a spear, after looking
carefully round him. The Trojans fell back as he threw, and the
dart did not speed from his hand without effect, for it struck
Melanippus the proud son of Hiketaon in the breast by the nipple
as he was coming forward, and his armour rang rattling round him
as he fell heavily to the ground. Antilochus sprang upon him as a
dog springs on a fawn which a hunter has hit as it was breaking
away from its covert, and killed it. Even so, O Melanippus, did
stalwart Antilochus spring upon you to strip you of your armour;
but noble Hector marked him, and came running up to him through
the thick of the battle. Antilochus, brave soldier though he was,
would not stay to face him, but fled like some savage creature
which knows it has done wrong, and flies, when it has killed a
dog or a man who is herding his cattle, before a body of men can
be gathered to attack it. Even so did the son of Nestor fly, and
the Trojans and Hector with a cry that rent the air showered
their weapons after him; nor did he turn round and stay his
flight till he had reached his comrades.

The Trojans, fierce as lions, were still rushing on towards the
ships in fulfilment of the behests of Jove who kept spurring them
on to new deeds of daring, while he deadened the courage of the
Argives and defeated them by encouraging the Trojans. For he
meant giving glory to Hector son of Priam, and letting him throw
fire upon the ships, till he had fulfilled the unrighteous prayer
that Thetis had made him; Jove, therefore, bided his time till he
should see the glare of a blazing ship. From that hour he was
about so to order that the Trojans should be driven back from the
ships and to vouchsafe glory to the Achaeans. With this purpose
he inspired Hector son of Priam, who was cager enough already, to
assail the ships. His fury was as that of Mars, or as when a fire
is raging in the glades of some dense forest upon the mountains;
he foamed at the mouth, his eyes glared under his terrible
eye-brows, and his helmet quivered on his temples by reason of
the fury with which he fought. Jove from heaven was with him, and
though he was but one against many, vouchsafed him victory and
glory; for he was doomed to an early death, and already Pallas
Minerva was hurrying on the hour of his destruction at the hands
of the son of Peleus. Now, however, he kept trying to break the
ranks of the enemy wherever he could see them thickest, and in
the goodliest armour; but do what he might he could not break
through them, for they stood as a tower foursquare, or as some
high cliff rising from the grey sea that braves the anger of the
gale, and of the waves that thunder up against it. He fell upon
them like flames of fire from every quarter. As when a wave,
raised mountain high by wind and storm, breaks over a ship and
covers it deep in foam, the fierce winds roar against the mast,
the hearts of the sailors fail them for fear, and they are saved
but by a very little from destruction--even so were the hearts of
the Achaeans fainting within them. Or as a savage lion attacking
a herd of cows while they are feeding by thousands in the
low-lying meadows by some wide-watered shore--the herdsman is at
his wit's end how to protect his herd and keeps going about now
in the van and now in the rear of his cattle, while the lion
springs into the thick of them and fastens on a cow so that they
all tremble for fear--even so were the Achaeans utterly
panic-stricken by Hector and father Jove. Nevertheless Hector
only killed Periphetes of Mycenae; he was son of Copreus who was
wont to take the orders of King Eurystheus to mighty Hercules,
but the son was a far better man than the father in every way; he
was fleet of foot, a valiant warrior, and in understanding ranked
among the foremost men of Mycenae. He it was who then afforded
Hector a triumph, for as he was turning back he stumbled against
the rim of his shield which reached his feet, and served to keep
the javelins off him. He tripped against this and fell face
upward, his helmet ringing loudly about his head as he did so.
Hector saw him fall and ran up to him; he then thrust a spear
into his chest, and killed him close to his own comrades. These,
for all their sorrow, could not help him for they were themselves
terribly afraid of Hector.

They had now reached the ships and the prows of those that had
been drawn up first were on every side of them, but the Trojans
came pouring after them. The Argives were driven back from the
first row of ships, but they made a stand by their tents without
being broken up and scattered; shame and fear restrained them.
They kept shouting incessantly to one another, and Nestor of
Gerene, tower of strength to the Achaeans, was loudest in
imploring every man by his parents, and beseeching him to stand

"Be men, my friends," he cried, "and respect one another's good
opinion. Think, all of you, on your children, your wives, your
property, and your parents whether these be alive or dead. On
their behalf though they are not here, I implore you to stand
firm, and not to turn in flight."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Minerva
lifted the thick veil of darkness from their eyes, and much light
fell upon them, alike on the side of the ships and on that where
the fight was raging. They could see Hector and all his men, both
those in the rear who were taking no part in the battle, and
those who were fighting by the ships.

Ajax could not bring himself to retreat along with the rest, but
strode from deck to deck with a great sea-pike in his hands
twelve cubits long and jointed with rings. As a man skilled in
feats of horsemanship couples four horses together and comes
tearing full speed along the public way from the country into
some large town--many both men and women marvel as they see him
for he keeps all the time changing his horse, springing from one
to another without ever missing his feet while the horses are at
a gallop--even so did Ajax go striding from one ship's deck to
another, and his voice went up into the heavens. He kept on
shouting his orders to the Danaans and exhorting them to defend
their ships and tents; neither did Hector remain within the main
body of the Trojan warriors, but as a dun eagle swoops down upon
a flock of wild-fowl feeding near a river-geese, it may be, or
cranes, or long-necked swans--even so did Hector make straight
for a dark-prowed ship, rushing right towards it; for Jove with
his mighty hand impelled him forward, and roused his people to
follow him.

And now the battle again raged furiously at the ships. You would
have thought the men were coming on fresh and unwearied, so
fiercely did they fight; and this was the mind in which they
were--the Achaeans did not believe they should escape destruction
but thought themselves doomed, while there was not a Trojan but
his heart beat high with the hope of firing the ships and putting
the Achaean heroes to the sword.

Thus were the two sides minded. Then Hector seized the stern of
the good ship that had brought Protesilaus to Troy, but never
bore him back to his native land. Round this ship there raged a
close hand-to-hand fight between Danaans and Trojans. They did
not fight at a distance with bows and javelins, but with one mind
hacked at one another in close combat with their mighty swords
and spears pointed at both ends; they fought moreover with keen
battle-axes and with hatchets. Many a good stout blade hilted and
scabbarded with iron, fell from hand or shoulder as they fought,
and the earth ran red with blood. Hector, when he had seized the
ship, would not loose his hold but held on to its curved stern
and shouted to the Trojans, "Bring fire, and raise the battle-cry
all of you with a single voice. Now has Jove vouchsafed us a day
that will pay us for all the rest; this day we shall take the
ships which came hither against heaven's will, and which have
caused us such infinite suffering through the cowardice of our
councillors, who when I would have done battle at the ships held
me back and forbade the host to follow me; if Jove did then
indeed warp our judgements, himself now commands me and cheers me

As he spoke thus the Trojans sprang yet more fiercely on the
Achaeans, and Ajax no longer held his ground, for he was overcome
by the darts that were flung at him, and made sure that he was
doomed. Therefore he left the raised deck at the stern, and
stepped back on to the seven-foot bench of the oarsmen. Here he
stood on the look-out, and with his spear held back Trojan whom
he saw bringing fire to the ships. All the time he kept on
shouting at the top of his voice and exhorting the Danaans. "My
friends," he cried, "Danaan heroes, servants of Mars, be men my
friends, and fight with might and with main. Can we hope to find
helpers hereafter, or a wall to shield us more surely than the
one we have? There is no strong city within reach, whence we may
draw fresh forces to turn the scales in our favour. We are on the
plain of the armed Trojans with the sea behind us, and far from
our own country. Our salvation, therefore, is in the might of our
hands and in hard fighting."

As he spoke he wielded his spear with still greater fury, and
when any Trojan made towards the ships with fire at Hector's
bidding, he would be on the look-out for him, and drive at him
with his long spear. Twelve men did he thus kill in hand-to-hand
fight before the ships.


Fire being now thrown on the ship of Protesilaus, Patroclus
fights in the armour of Achilles--He drives the Trojans back,
but is in the end killed by Euphorbus and Hector.

THUS did they fight about the ship of Protesilaus. Then Patroclus
drew near to Achilles with tears welling from his eyes, as from
some spring whose crystal stream falls over the ledges of a high
precipice. When Achilles saw him thus weeping he was sorry for
him and said, "Why, Patroclus, do you stand there weeping like
some silly child that comes running to her mother, and begs to be
taken up and carried--she catches hold of her mother's dress to
stay her though she is in a hurry, and looks tearfully up until
her mother carries her--even such tears, Patroclus, are you now
shedding. Have you anything to say to the Myrmidons or to myself?
or have you had news from Phthia which you alone know? They tell
me Menoetius son of Actor is still alive, as also Peleus son of
Aeacus, among the Myrmidons--men whose loss we two should
bitterly deplore; or are you grieving about the Argives and the
way in which they are being killed at the ships, through their
own high-handed doings? Do not hide anything from me but tell me
that both of us may know about it."

Then, O knight Patroclus, with a deep sigh you answered,
"Achilles, son of Peleus, foremost champion of the Achaeans, do
not be angry, but I weep for the disaster that has now befallen
the Argives. All those who have been their champions so far are
lying at the ships, wounded by sword or spear. Brave Diomed son
of Tydeus has been hit with a spear, while famed Ulysses and
Agamemnon have received sword-wounds; Eurypylus again has been
struck with an arrow in the thigh; skilled apothecaries are
attending to these heroes, and healing them of their wounds; are
you still, O Achilles, so inexorable? May it never be my lot to
nurse such a passion as you have done, to the baning of your own
good name. Who in future story will speak well of you unless you
now save the Argives from ruin? You know no pity; knight Peleus
was not your father nor Thetis your mother, but the grey sea bore
you and the sheer cliffs begot you, so cruel and remorseless are
you. If however you are kept back through knowledge of some
oracle, or if your mother Thetis has told you something from the
mouth of Jove, at least send me and the Myrmidons with me, if I
may bring deliverance to the Danaans. Let me moreover wear your
armour; the Trojans may thus mistake me for you and quit the
field, so that the hard-pressed sons of the Achaeans may have
breathing time--which while they are fighting may hardly be. We
who are fresh might soon drive tired men back from our ships and
tents to their own city."

He knew not what he was asking, nor that he was suing for his own
destruction. Achilles was deeply moved and answered, "What, noble
Patroclus, are you saying? I know no prophesyings which I am
heeding, nor has my mother told me anything from the mouth of
Jove, but I am cut to the very heart that one of my own rank
should dare to rob me because he is more powerful than I am.
This, after all that I have gone through, is more than I can
endure. The girl whom the sons of the Achaeans chose for me, whom
I won as the fruit of my spear on having sacked a city--her has
King Agamemnon taken from me as though I were some common
vagrant. Still, let bygones be bygones: no man may keep his anger
for ever; I said I would not relent till battle and the cry of
war had reached my own ships; nevertheless, now gird my armour
about your shoulders, and lead the Myrmidons to battle, for the
dark cloud of Trojans has burst furiously over our fleet; the
Argives are driven back on to the beach, cooped within a narrow
space, and the whole people of Troy has taken heart to sally out
against them, because they see not the visor of my helmet
gleaming near them. Had they seen this, there would not have been
a creek nor grip that had not been filled with their dead as they
fled back again. And so it would have been, if only King
Agamemnon had dealt fairly by me. As it is the Trojans have beset
our host. Diomed son of Tydeus no longer wields his spear to
defend the Danaans, neither have I heard the voice of the son of
Atreus coming from his hated head, whereas that of murderous
Hector rings in my cars as he gives orders to the Trojans, who
triumph over the Achaeans and fill the whole plain with their cry
of battle. But even so, Patroclus, fall upon them and save the
fleet, lest the Trojans fire it and prevent us from being able to
return. Do, however, as I now bid you, that you may win me great
honour from all the Danaans, and that they may restore the girl
to me again and give me rich gifts into the bargain. When you
have driven the Trojans from the ships, come back again. Though
Juno's thundering husband should put triumph within your reach,
do not fight the Trojans further in my absence, or you will rob
me of glory that should be mine. And do not for lust of battle go
on killing the Trojans nor lead the Achaeans on to Ilius, lest
one of the ever-living gods from Olympus attack you--for Phoebus
Apollo loves them well: return when you have freed the ships from
peril, and let others wage war upon the plain. Would, by father
Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, that not a single man of all the
Trojans might be left alive, nor yet of the Argives, but that we
two might be alone left to tear aside the mantle that veils the
brow of Troy."

Thus did they converse. But Ajax could no longer hold his ground
for the shower of darts that rained upon him; the will of Jove
and the javelins of the Trojans were too much for him; the helmet
that gleamed about his temples rang with the continuous clatter
of the missiles that kept pouring on to it and on to the
cheek-pieces that protected his face. Moreover his left shoulder
was tired with having held his shield so long, yet for all this,
let fly at him as they would, they could not make him give
ground. He could hardly draw his breath, the sweat rained from
every pore of his body, he had not a moment's respite, and on all
sides he was beset by danger upon danger.

And now, tell me, O Muses that hold your mansions on Olympus, how
fire was thrown upon the ships of the Achaeans. Hector came close
up and let drive with his great sword at the ashen spear of Ajax.
He cut it clean in two just behind where the point was fastened
on to the shaft of the spear. Ajax, therefore, had now nothing
but a headless spear, while the bronze point flew some way off
and came ringing down on to the ground. Ajax knew the hand of
heaven in this, and was dismayed at seeing that Jove had now left
him utterly defenceless and was willing victory for the Trojans.
Therefore he drew back, and the Trojans flung fire upon the ship
which was at once wrapped in flame.

The fire was now flaring about the ship's stern, whereon Achilles
smote his two thighs and said to Patroclus, "Up, noble knight,
for I see the glare of hostile fire at our fleet; up, lest they
destroy our ships, and there be no way by which we may retreat.
Gird on your armour at once while I call our people together."

As he spoke Patroclus put on his armour. First he greaved his
legs with greaves of good make, and fitted with ancle-clasps of
silver; after this he donned the cuirass of the son of Aeacus,
richly inlaid and studded. He hung his silver-studded sword of
bronze about his shoulders, and then his mighty shield. On his
comely head he set his helmet, well wrought, with a crest of
horse-hair that nodded menacingly above it. He grasped two
redoubtable spears that suited his hands, but he did not take the
spear of noble Achilles, so stout and strong, for none other of
the Achaeans could wield it, though Achilles could do so easily.
This was the ashen spear from Mount Pelion, which Chiron had cut
upon a mountain top and had given to Peleus, wherewith to deal
out death among heroes. He bade Automedon yoke his horses with
all speed, for he was the man whom he held in honour next after
Achilles, and on whose support in battle he could rely most
firmly. Automedon therefore yoked the fleet horses Xanthus and
Balius, steeds that could fly like the wind: these were they whom
the harpy Podarge bore to the west wind, as she was grazing in a
meadow by the waters of the river Oceanus. In the side traces he
set the noble horse Pedasus, whom Achilles had brought away with
him when he sacked the city of Eetion, and who, mortal steed
though he was, could take his place along with those that were

Meanwhile Achilles went about everywhere among the tents, and
bade his Myrmidons put on their armour. Even as fierce ravening
wolves that are feasting upon a homed stag which they have killed
upon the mountains, and their jaws are red with blood--they go in
a pack to lap water from the clear spring with their long thin
tongues; and they reek of blood and slaughter; they know not what
fear is, for it is hunger drives them--even so did the leaders
and counsellors of the Myrmidons gather round the good squire of
the fleet descendant of Aeacus, and among them stood Achilles
himself cheering on both men and horses.

Fifty ships had noble Achilles brought to Troy, and in each there
was a crew of fifty oarsmen. Over these he set five captains whom
he could trust, while he was himself commander over them all.
Menesthius of the gleaming corslet, son to the river Spercheius
that streams from heaven, was captain of the first company. Fair
Polydora daughter of Peleus bore him to ever-flowing
Spercheius--a woman mated with a god--but he was called son of
Borus son of Perieres, with whom his mother was living as his
wedded wife, and who gave great wealth to gain her. The second
company was led by noble Eudorus, son to an unwedded woman.
Polymele, daughter of Phylas the graceful dancer, bore him; the
mighty slayer of Argos was enamoured of her as he saw her among
the singing women at a dance held in honour of Diana the rushing
huntress of the golden arrows; he therefore--Mercury, giver of
all good--went with her into an upper chamber, and lay with her
in secret, whereon she bore him a noble son Eudorus, singularly
fleet of foot and in fight valiant. When Ilithuia goddess of the
pains of child-birth brought him to the light of day, and he saw
the face of the sun, mighty Echecles son of Actor took the mother
to wife, and gave great wealth to gain her, but her father Phylas
brought the child up, and took care of him, doting as fondly upon
him as though he were his own son. The third company was led by
Pisander son of Maemalus, the finest spearman among all the
Myrmidons next to Achilles' own comrade Patroclus. The old knight
Phoenix was captain of the fourth company, and Alcimedon, noble
son of Laerceus of the fifth.

When Achilles had chosen his men and had stationed them all with
their captains, he charged them straitly saying, "Myrmidons,
remember your threats against the Trojans while you were at the
ships in the time of my anger, and you were all complaining of
me. 'Cruel son of Peleus,' you would say, 'your mother must have
suckled you on gall, so ruthless are you. You keep us here at the
ships against our will; if you are so relentless it were better
we went home over the sea.' Often have you gathered and thus
chided with me. The hour is now come for those high feats of arms
that you have so long been pining for, therefore keep high hearts
each one of you to do battle with the Trojans."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they
serried their companies yet more closely when they heard the of
their king. As the stones which a builder sets in the wall of
some high house which is to give shelter from the winds--even so
closely were the helmets and bossed shields set against one
another. Shield pressed on shield, helm on helm, and man on man;
so close were they that the horse-hair plumes on the gleaming
ridges of their helmets touched each other as they bent their

In front of them all two men put on their armour--Patroclus and
Automedon--two men, with but one mind to lead the Myrmidons. Then
Achilles went inside his tent and opened the lid of the strong
chest which silver-footed Thetis had given him to take on board
ship, and which she had filled with shirts, cloaks to keep out
the cold, and good thick rugs. In this chest he had a cup of rare
workmanship, from which no man but himself might drink, nor would
he make offering from it to any other god save only to father
Jove. He took the cup from the chest and cleansed it with
sulphur; this done he rinsed it clean water, and after he had
washed his hands he drew wine. Then he stood in the middle of the
court and prayed, looking towards heaven, and making his
drink-offering of wine; nor was he unseen of Jove whose joy is in
thunder. "King Jove," he cried, "lord of Dodona, god of the
Pelasgi, who dwellest afar, you who hold wintry Dodona in your
sway, where your prophets the Selli dwell around you with their
feet unwashed and their couches made upon the ground--if you
heard me when I prayed to you aforetime, and did me honour while
you sent disaster on the Achaeans, vouchsafe me now the
fulfilment of yet this further prayer. I shall stay here where my
ships are lying, but I shall send my comrade into battle at the
head of many Myrmidons. Grant, O all-seeing Jove, that victory
may go with him; put your courage into his heart that Hector may
learn whether my squire is man enough to fight alone, or whether
his might is only then so indomitable when I myself enter the
turmoil of war. Afterwards when he has chased the fight and the
cry of battle from the ships, grant that he may return unharmed,
with his armour and his comrades, fighters in close combat."

Thus did he pray, and all-counselling Jove heard his prayer.
Part of it he did indeed vouchsafe him--but not the whole. He
granted that Patroclus should thrust back war and battle from the
ships, but refused to let him come safely out of the fight.

When he had made his drink-offering and had thus prayed, Achilles
went inside his tent and put back the cup into his chest.

Then he again came out, for he still loved to look upon the
fierce fight that raged between the Trojans and Achaeans.

Meanwhile the armed band that was about Patroclus marched on till
they sprang high in hope upon the Trojans. They came swarming out
like wasps whose nests are by the roadside, and whom silly
children love to tease, whereon any one who happens to be passing
may get stung--or again, if a wayfarer going along the road vexes
them by accident, every wasp will come flying out in a fury to
defend his little ones--even with such rage and courage did the
Myrmidons swarm from their ships, and their cry of battle rose
heavenwards. Patroclus called out to his men at the top of his
voice, "Myrmidons, followers of Achilles son of Peleus, be men my
friends, fight with might and with main, that we may win glory
for the son of Peleus, who is far the foremost man at the ships
of the Argives--he, and his close fighting followers. The son of
Atreus King Agamemnon will thus learn his folly in showing no
respect to the bravest of the Achaeans."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they
fell in a body upon the Trojans. The ships rang again with the
cry which the Achaeans raised, and when the Trojans saw the brave
son of Menoetius and his squire all gleaming in their armour,
they were daunted and their battalions were thrown into
confusion, for they thought the fleet son of Peleus must now have
put aside his anger, and have been reconciled to Agamemnon; every
one, therefore, looked round about to see whither he might fly
for safety.

Patroclus first aimed a spear into the middle of the press where
men were packed most closely, by the stern of the ship of
Protesilaus. He hit Pyraechmes who had led his Paeonian horsemen
from the Amydon and the broad waters of the river Axius; the
spear struck him on the right shoulder, and with a groan he fell
backwards in the dust; on this his men were thrown into
confusion, for by killing their leader, who was the finest
soldier among them, Patroclus struck panic into them all. He thus
drove them from the ship and quenched the fire that was then
blazing--leaving the half-burnt ship to lie where it was. The
Trojans were now driven back with a shout that rent the skies,
while the Danaans poured after them from their ships, shouting
also without ceasing. As when Jove, gatherer of the
thunder-cloud, spreads a dense canopy on the top of some lofty
mountain, and all the peaks, the jutting headlands, and forest
glades show out in the great light that flashes from the bursting
heavens, even so when the Danaans had now driven back the fire
from their ships, they took breath for a little while; but the
fury of the fight was not yet over, for the Trojans were not
driven back in utter rout, but still gave battle, and were ousted
from their ground only by sheer fighting.

The fight then became more scattered, and the chieftains killed
one another when and how they could. The valiant son of Menoetius
first drove his spear into the thigh of Areilycus just as he was
turning round; the point went clean through, and broke the bone
so that he fell forward. Meanwhile Menelaus struck Thoas in the
chest, where it was exposed near the rim of his shield, and he
fell dead. The son of Phyleus saw Amphiclus about to attack him,
and ere he could do so took aim at the upper part of his thigh,
where the muscles are thicker than in any other part; the spear
tore through all the sinews of the leg, and his eyes were closed
in darkness. Of the sons of Nestor one, Antilochus, speared
Atymnius, driving the point of the spear through his throat, and
down he fell. Maris then sprang on Antilochus in hand-to-hand
fight to avenge his brother, and bestrode the body spear in hand;
but valiant Thrasymedes was too quick for him, and in a moment
had struck him in the shoulder ere he could deal his blow; his
aim was true, and the spear severed all the muscles at the root
of his arm, and tore them right down to the bone, so he fell
heavily to the ground and his eyes were closed in darkness. Thus
did these two noble comrades of Sarpedon go down to Erebus slain
by the two sons of Nestor; they were the warrior sons of
Amisodorus, who had reared the invincible Chimaera, to the bane
of many. Ajax son of Oileus sprang on Cleobulus and took him
alive as he was entangled in the crush; but he killed him then
and there by a sword-blow on the neck. The sword reeked with his
blood, while dark death and the strong hand of fate gripped him
and closed his eyes.

Peneleos and Lycon now met in close fight, for they had missed
each other with their spears. They had both thrown without
effect, so now they drew their swords. Lycon struck the plumed
crest of Peneleos' helmet but his sword broke at the hilt, while
Peneleos smote Lycon on the neck under the ear. The blade sank so
deep that the head was held on by nothing but the skin, and there
was no more life left in him. Meriones gave chase to Acamas on
foot and caught him up just as he was about to mount his chariot;
he drove a spear through his right shoulder so that he fell
headlong from the car, and his eyes were closed in darkness.
Idomeneus speared Erymas in the mouth; the bronze point of the
spear went clean through it beneath the brain, crashing in among
the white bones and smashing them up. His teeth were all of them
knocked out and the blood came gushing in a stream from both his
eyes; it also came gurgling up from his mouth and nostrils, and
the darkness of death enfolded him round about.

Thus did these chieftains of the Danaans each of them kill his
man. As ravening wolves seize on kids or lambs, fastening on them
when they are alone on the hillsides and have strayed from the
main flock through the carelessness of the shepherd--and when the
wolves see this they pounce upon them at once because they cannot
defend themselves--even so did the Danaans now fall on the
Trojans, who fled with ill-omened cries in their panic and had no
more fight left in them.

Meanwhile great Ajax kept on trying to drive a spear into Hector,
but Hector was so skilful that he held his broad shoulders well
under cover of his ox-hide shield, ever on the look-out for the
whizzing of the arrows and the heavy thud of the spears. He well
knew that the fortunes of the day had changed, but still stood
his ground and tried to protect his comrades.

As when a cloud goes up into heaven from Olympus, rising out of a
clear sky when Jove is brewing a gale--even with such panic
stricken rout did the Trojans now fly, and there was no order in
their going. Hector's fleet horses bore him and his armour out of
the fight, and he left the Trojan host penned in by the deep
trench against their will. Many a yoke of horses snapped the pole
of their chariots in the trench and left their master's car
behind them. Patroclus gave chase, calling impetuously on the
Danaans and full of fury against the Trojans, who, being now no
longer in a body, filled all the ways with their cries of panic
and rout; the air was darkened with the clouds of dust they
raised, and the horses strained every nerve in their flight from
the tents and ships towards the city.

Patroclus kept on heading his horses wherever he saw most men
flying in confusion, cheering on his men the while. Chariots were
being smashed in all directions, and many a man came tumbling
down from his own car to fall beneath the wheels of that of
Patroclus, whose immortal steeds, given by the gods to Peleus,
sprang over the trench at a bound as they sped onward. He was
intent on trying to get near Hector, for he had set his heart on
spearing him, but Hector's horses were now hurrying him away. As
the whole dark earth bows before some tempest on an autumn day
when Jove rains his hardest to punish men for giving crooked
judgement in their courts, and arriving justice therefrom without
heed to the decrees of heaven--all the rivers run full and the
torrents tear many a new channel as they roar headlong from the
mountains to the dark sea, and it fares ill with the works of
men--even such was the stress and strain of the Trojan horses in
their flight.

Patroclus now cut off the battalions that were nearest to him and
drove them back to the ships. They were doing their best to reach
the city, but he would not let them, and bore down on them
between the river and the ships and wall. Many a fallen comrade
did he then avenge. First he hit Pronous with a spear on the
chest where it was exposed near the rim of his shield, and he
fell heavily to the ground. Next he sprang on Thestor son of
Enops, who was sitting all huddled up in his chariot, for he had
lost his head and the reins had been torn out of his hands.
Patroclus went up to him and drove a spear into his right jaw; he
thus hooked him by the teeth and the spear pulled him over the
rim of his car, as one who sits at the end of some jutting rock
and draws a strong fish out of the sea with a hook and a line--
even so with his spear did he pull Thestor all gaping from his
chariot; he then threw him down on his face and he died while
falling. On this, as Erylaus was on to attack him, he struck him
full on the head with a stone, and his brains were all battered
inside his helmet, whereon he fell headlong to the ground and the
pangs of death took hold upon him. Then he laid low, one after
the other, Erymas, Amphoterus, Epaltes, Tlepolemus, Echius son of
Damastor, Pyris, Ipheus, Euippus and Polymelus son of Argeas.

Now when Sarpedon saw his comrades, men who wore ungirdled
tunics, being overcome by Patroclus son of Menoetius, he rebuked
the Lycians saying. "Shame on you, where are you flying to? Show
your mettle; I will myself meet this man in fight and learn who
it is that is so masterful; he has done us much hurt, and has
stretched many a brave man upon the ground."

He sprang from his chariot as he spoke, and Patroclus, when he
saw this, leaped on to the ground also. The two then rushed at
one another with loud cries like eagle-beaked crook-taloned
vultures that scream and tear at one another in some high
mountain fastness.

The son of scheming Saturn looked down upon them in pity and said
to Juno who was his wife and sister, "Alas, that it should be the
lot of Sarpedon whom I love so dearly to perish by the hand of
Patroclus. I am in two minds whether to catch him up out of the
fight and set him down safe and sound in the fertile land of
Lycia, or to let him now fall by the hand of the son of

And Juno answered, "Most dread son of Saturn, what is this that
you are saying? Would you snatch a mortal man, whose doom has
long been fated, out of the jaws of death? Do as you will, but we
shall not all of us be of your mind. I say further, and lay my
saying to your heart, that if you send Sarpedon safely to his own
home, some other of the gods will be also wanting to escort his
son out of battle, for there are many sons of gods fighting round
the city of Troy, and you will make every one jealous. If,
however, you are fond of him and pity him, let him indeed fall by
the hand of Patroclus, but as soon as the life is gone out of
him, send Death and sweet Sleep to bear him off the field and
take him to the broad lands of Lycia, where his brothers and his
kinsmen will bury him with mound and pillar, in due honour to the

The sire of gods and men assented, but he shed a rain of blood
upon the earth in honour of his son whom Patroclus was about to
kill on the rich plain of Troy far from his home.

When they were now come close to one another Patroclus struck
Thrasydemus, the brave squire of Sarpedon, in the lower part of
the belly, and killed him. Sarpedon then aimed a spear at
Patroclus and missed him, but he struck the horse Pedasus in the
right shoulder, and it screamed aloud as it lay, groaning in the
dust until the life went out of it. The other two horses began to
plunge; the pole of the chariot cracked and they got entangled in
the reins through the fall of the horse that was yoked along with
them; but Automedon knew what to do; without the loss of a moment
he drew the keen blade that hung by his sturdy thigh and cut the
third horse adrift; whereon the other two righted themselves, and
pulling hard at the reins again went together into battle.

Sarpedon now took a second aim at Patroclus, and again missed
him, the point of the spear passed over his left shoulder without
hitting him. Patroclus then aimed in his turn, and the spear sped
not from his hand in vain, for he hit Sarpedon just where the
midriff surrounds the ever-beating heart. He fell like some oak
or silver poplar or tall pine to which woodmen have laid their
axes upon the mountains to make timber for ship-building--even so
did he lie stretched at full length in front of his chariot and
horses, moaning and clutching at the blood-stained dust. As when
a lion springs with a bound upon a herd of cattle and fastens on
a great black bull which dies bellowing in its clutches--even so
did the leader of the Lycian warriors struggle in death as he
fell by the hand of Patroclus. He called on his trusty comrade
and said, "Glaucus, my brother, hero among heroes, put forth all
your strength, fight with might and main, now if ever quit
yourself like a valiant soldier. First go about among the Lycian
captains and bid them fight for Sarpedon; then yourself also do
battle to save my armour from being taken. My name will haunt you
henceforth and for ever if the Achaeans rob me of my armour now
that I have fallen at their ships. Do your very utmost and call
all my people together."

Death closed his eyes as he spoke. Patroclus planted his heel on
his breast and drew the spear from his body, whereon his senses
came out along with it, and he drew out both spear-point and
Sarpedon's soul at the same time. Hard by the Myrmidons held his
snorting steeds, who were wild with panic at finding themselves
deserted by their lords.

Glaucus was overcome with grief when he heard what Sarpedon said,
for he could not help him. He had to support his arm with his
other hand, being in great pain through the wound which Teucer's
arrow had given him when Teucer was defending the wall as he,
Glaucus, was assailing it. Therefore he prayed to far-darting
Apollo saying, "Hear me O king from your seat, may be in the rich
land of Lycia, or may be in Troy, for in all places you can hear
the prayer of one who is in distress, as I now am. I have a
grievous wound; my hand is aching with pain, there is no
staunching the blood, and my whole arm drags by reason of my
hurt, so that I cannot grasp my sword nor go among my foes and
fight them, thou our prince, Jove's son Sarpedon, is slain. Jove
defended not his son, do you, therefore, O king, heal me of my
wound, ease my pain and grant me strength both to cheer on the
Lycians and to fight along with them round the body of him who
has fallen."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He eased his pain,
staunched the black blood from the wound, and gave him new
strength. Glaucus perceived this, and was thankful that the
mighty god had answered his prayer; forthwith, therefore, he went
among the Lycian captains, and bade them come to fight about the
body of Sarpedon. From these he strode on among the Trojans to
Polydamas son of Panthous and Agenor; he then went in search of
Aeneas and Hector, and when he had found them he said, "Hector,
you have utterly forgotten your allies, who languish here for
your sake far from friends and home while you do nothing to
support them. Sarpedon leader of the Lycian warriors has fallen--
he who was at once the right and might of Lycia; Mars has laid
him low by the spear of Patroclus. Stand by him, my friends, and
suffer not the Myrmidons to strip him of his armour, nor to treat
his body with contumely in revenge for all the Danaans whom we
have speared at the ships."

As he spoke the Trojans were plunged in extreme and ungovernable
grief; for Sarpedon, alien though he was, had been one of the
main stays of their city, both as having much people with him,
and himself the foremost among them all. Led by Hector, who was
infuriated by the fall of Sarpedon, they made instantly for the
Danaans with all their might, while the undaunted spirit of
Patroclus son of Menoetius cheered on the Achaeans. First he
spoke to the two Ajaxes, men who needed no bidding. "Ajaxes,"
said he, "may it now please you to show yourselves the men you
have always been, or even better--Sarpedon is fallen--he who was
first to overleap the wall of the Achaeans; let us take the body
and outrage it; let us strip the armour from his shoulders, and
kill his comrades if they try to rescue his body."

He spoke to men who of themselves were full eager; both sides,
therefore, the Trojans and Lycians on the one hand, and the
Myrmidons and Achaeans on the other, strengthened their
battalions, and fought desperately about the body of Sarpedon,
shouting fiercely the while. Mighty was the din of their armour
as they came together, and Jove shed a thick darkness over the
fight, to increase the toil of the battle over the body of his

At first the Trojans made some headway against the Achaeans, for
one of the best men among the Myrmidons was killed, Epeigeus, son
of noble Agacles who had erewhile been king in the good city of
Budeum; but presently, having killed a valiant kinsman of his
own, he took refuge with Peleus and Thetis, who sent him to Ilius
the land of noble steeds to fight the Trojans under Achilles.
Hector now struck him on the head with a stone just as he had
caught hold of the body, and his brains inside his helmet were
all battered in, so that he fell face foremost upon the body of
Sarpedon, and there died. Patroclus was enraged by the death of
his comrade, and sped through the front ranks as swiftly as a
hawk that swoops down on a flock of daws or starlings. Even so
swiftly, O noble knight Patroclus, did you make straight for the
Lycians and Trojans to avenge your comrade. Forthwith he struck
Sthenelaus the son of Ithaemenes on the neck with a stone, and
broke the tendons that join it to the head and spine. On this
Hector and the front rank of his men gave ground. As far as a man
can throw a javelin when competing for some prize, or even in
battle--so far did the Trojans now retreat before the Achaeans.
Glaucus, captain of the Lycians, was the first to rally them, by
killing Bathycles son of Chalcon who lived in Hellas and was the
richest man among the Myrmidons. Glaucus turned round suddenly,
just as Bathycles who was pursuing him was about to lay hold of
him, and drove his spear right into the middle of his chest,
whereon he fell heavily to the ground, and the fall of so good a
man filled the Achaeans with dismay, while the Trojans were
exultant, and came up in a body round the corpse. Nevertheless
the Achaeans, mindful of their prowess, bore straight down upon

Meriones then killed a helmed warrior of the Trojans, Laogonus
son of Onetor, who was priest of Jove of Mt. Ida, and was
honoured by the people as though he were a god. Meriones struck
him under the jaw and ear, so that life went out of him and the
darkness of death laid hold upon him. Aeneas then aimed a spear
at Meriones, hoping to hit him under the shield as he was
advancing, but Meriones saw it coming and stooped forward to
avoid it, whereon the spear flew past him and the point stuck in
the ground, while the butt-end went on quivering till Mars robbed
it of its force. The spear, therefore, sped from Aeneas's hand in
vain and fell quivering to the ground. Aeneas was angry and said,
"Meriones, you are a good dancer, but if I had hit you my spear
would soon have made an end of you."

And Meriones answered, "Aeneas, for all your bravery, you will
not be able to make an end of every one who comes against you.
You are only a mortal like myself, and if I were to hit you in
the middle of your shield with my spear, however strong and
self-confident you may be, I should soon vanquish you, and you
would yield your life to Hades of the noble steeds."

On this the son of Menoetius rebuked him and said, "Meriones,
hero though you be, you should not speak thus; taunting speeches,
my good friend, will not make the Trojans draw away from the dead
body; some of them must go under ground first; blows for battle,
and words for council; fight, therefore, and say nothing."

He led the way as he spoke and the hero went forward with him.
As the sound of woodcutters in some forest glade upon the
mountains--and the thud of their axes is heard afar--even such a
din now rose from earth-clash of bronze armour and of good
ox-hide shields, as men smote each other with their swords and
spears pointed at both ends. A man had need of good eyesight now
to know Sarpedon, so covered was he from head to foot with spears
and blood and dust. Men swarmed about the body, as flies that
buzz round the full milk-pails in spring when they are brimming
with milk--even so did they gather round Sarpedon; nor did Jove
turn his keen eyes away for one moment from the fight, but kept
looking at it all the time, for he was settling how best to kill
Patroclus, and considering whether Hector should be allowed to
end him now in the fight round the body of Sarpedon, and strip
him of his armour, or whether he should let him give yet further
trouble to the Trojans. In the end, he deemed it best that the
brave squire of Achilles son of Peleus should drive Hector and
the Trojans back towards the city and take the lives of many.
First, therefore, he made Hector turn fainthearted, whereon he
mounted his chariot and fled, bidding the other Trojans fly also,
for he saw that the scales of Jove had turned against him.
Neither would the brave Lycians stand firm; they were dismayed
when they saw their king lying struck to the heart amid a heap of
corpses--for when the son of Saturn made the fight wax hot many
had fallen above him. The Achaeans, therefore stripped the
gleaming armour from his shoulders and the brave son of Menoetius
gave it to his men to take to the ships. Then Jove lord of the
storm-cloud said to Apollo, "Dear Phoebus, go, I pray you, and
take Sarpedon out of range of the weapons; cleanse the black
blood from off him, and then bear him a long way off where you
may wash him in the river, anoint him with ambrosia, and clothe
him in immortal raiment; this done, commit him to the arms of the
two fleet messengers, Death, and Sleep, who will carry him
straightway to the rich land of Lycia, where his brothers and
kinsmen will inter him, and will raise both mound and pillar to
his memory, in due honour to the dead."

Thus he spoke. Apollo obeyed his father's saying, and came down
from the heights of Ida into the thick of the fight; forthwith he
took Sarpedon out of range of the weapons, and then bore him a
long way off, where he washed him in the river, anointed him with
ambrosia and clothed him in immortal raiment; this done, he
committed him to the arms of the two fleet messengers, Death, and
Sleep, who presently set him down in the rich land of Lycia.

Meanwhile Patroclus, with many a shout to his horses and to
Automedon, pursued the Trojans and Lycians in the pride and
foolishness of his heart. Had he but obeyed the bidding of the
son of Peleus, he would have, escaped death and have been
scatheless; but the counsels of Jove pass man's understanding; he
will put even a brave man to flight and snatch victory from his
grasp, or again he will set him on to fight, as he now did when
he put a high spirit into the heart of Patroclus.

Who then first, and who last, was slain by you, O Patroclus, when
the gods had now called you to meet your doom? First Adrestus,
Autonous, Echeclus, Perimus the son of Megas, Epistor and
Melanippus; after these he killed Elasus, Mulius, and Pylartes.
These he slew, but the rest saved themselves by flight.

The sons of the Achaeans would now have taken Troy by the hands
of Patroclus, for his spear flew in all directions, had not
Phoebus Apollo taken his stand upon the wall to defeat his
purpose and to aid the Trojans. Thrice did Patroclus charge at an
angle of the high wall, and thrice did Apollo beat him back,
striking his shield with his own immortal hands. When Patroclus
was coming on like a god for yet a fourth time, Apollo shouted to
him with an awful voice and said, "Draw back, noble Patroclus, it
is not your lot to sack the city of the Trojan chieftains, nor
yet will it be that of Achilles who is a far better man than you
are." On hearing this, Patroclus withdrew to some distance and
avoided the anger of Apollo.

Meanwhile Hector was waiting with his horses inside the Scaean
gates, in doubt whether to drive out again and go on fighting, or
to call the army inside the gates. As he was thus doubting
Phoebus Apollo drew near him in the likeness of a young and lusty
warrior Asius, who was Hector's uncle, being own brother to
Hecuba, and son of Dymas who lived in Phrygia by the waters of
the river Sangarius; in his likeness Jove's son Apollo now spoke
to Hector saying, "Hector, why have you left off fighting? It is
ill done of you. If I were as much better a man than you, as I am
worse, you should soon rue your slackness. Drive straight towards
Patroclus, if so be that Apollo may grant you a triumph over him,
and you may rule him."

With this the god went back into the hurly-burly, and Hector bade
Cebriones drive again into the fight. Apollo passed in among
them, and struck panic into the Argives, while he gave triumph to
Hector and the Trojans. Hector let the other Danaans alone and
killed no man, but drove straight at Patroclus. Patroclus then
sprang from his chariot to the ground, with a spear in his left
hand, and in his right a jagged stone as large as his hand could
hold. He stood still and threw it, nor did it go far without
hitting some one; the cast was not in vain, for the stone struck
Cebriones, Hector's charioteer, a bastard son of Priam, as he
held the reins in his hands. The stone hit him on the forehead
and drove his brows into his head for the bone was smashed, and
his eyes fell to the ground at his feet. He dropped dead from his
chariot as though he were diving, and there was no more life left
in him. Over him did you then vaunt, O knight Patroclus, saying,
"Bless my heart, how active he is, and how well he dives. If we
had been at sea this fellow would have dived from the ship's side
and brought up as many oysters as the whole crew could stomach,
even in rough water, for he has dived beautifully off his chariot
on to the ground. It seems, then, that there are divers also
among the Trojans."

As he spoke he flung himself on Cebriones with the spring, as it
were, of a lion that while attacking a stockyard is himself
struck in the chest, and his courage is his own bane--even so
furiously, O Patroclus, did you then spring upon Cebriones.
Hector sprang also from his chariot to the ground. The pair then
fought over the body of Cebriones. As two lions fight fiercely on
some high mountain over the body of a stag that they have killed,
even so did these two mighty warriors, Patroclus son of Menoetius
and brave Hector, hack and hew at one another over the corpse of
Cebriones. Hector would not let him go when he had once got him
by the head, while Patroclus kept fast hold of his feet, and a
fierce fight raged between the other Danaans and Trojans. As the
east and south wind buffet one another when they beat upon some
dense forest on the mountains--there is beech and ash and
spreading cornel; the top of the trees roar as they beat on one
another, and one can hear the boughs cracking and breaking--even
so did the Trojans and Achaeans spring upon one another and lay
about each other, and neither side would give way. Many a pointed
spear fell to ground and many a winged arrow sped from its
bow-string about the body of Cebriones; many a great stone,
moreover, beat on many a shield as they fought around his body,
but there he lay in the whirling clouds of dust, all huge and
hugely, heedless of his driving now.

So long as the sun was still high in mid-heaven the weapons of
either side were alike deadly, and the people fell; but when he
went down towards the time when men loose their oxen, the
Achaeans proved to be beyond all forecast stronger, so that they
drew Cebriones out of range of the darts and tumult of the
Trojans, and stripped the armour from his shoulders. Then
Patroclus sprang like Mars with fierce intent and a terrific
shout upon the Trojans, and thrice did he kill nine men; but as
he was coming on like a god for a time, then, O Patroclus, was
the hour of your end approaching, for Phoebus fought you in fell
earnest. Patroclus did not see him as he moved about in the
crush, for he was enshrouded in thick darkness, and the god
struck him from behind on his back and his broad shoulders with
the flat of his hand, so that his eyes turned dizzy. Phoebus
Apollo beat the helmet from off his head, and it rolled rattling
off under the horses' feet, where its horse-hair plumes were all
begrimed with dust and blood. Never indeed had that helmet fared
so before, for it had served to protect the head and comely
forehead of the godlike hero Achilles. Now, however, Zeus
delivered it over to be worn by Hector. Nevertheless the end of
Hector also was near. The bronze-shod spear, so great and so
strong, was broken in the hand of Patroclus, while his shield
that covered him from head to foot fell to the ground as did also
the band that held it, and Apollo undid the fastenings of his

On this his mind became clouded; his limbs failed him, and he
stood as one dazed; whereon Euphorbus son of Panthous a
Dardanian, the best spearman of his time, as also the finest
horseman and fleetest runner, came behind him and struck him in
the back with a spear, midway between the shoulders. This man as
soon as ever he had come up with his chariot had dismounted
twenty men, so proficient was he in all the arts of war--he it
was, O knight Patroclus, that first drove a weapon into you, but
he did not quite overpower you. Euphorbus then ran back into the
crowd, after drawing his ashen spear out of the wound; he would
not stand firm and wait for Patroclus, unarmed though he now was,
to attack him; but Patroclus unnerved, alike by the blow the god
had given him and by the spear-wound, drew back under cover of
his men in fear for his life. Hector on this, seeing him to be
wounded and giving ground, forced his way through the ranks, and
when close up with him struck him in the lower part of the belly
with a spear, driving the bronze point right through it, so that
he fell heavily to the ground to the great of the Achaeans. As
when a lion has fought some fierce wild-boar and worsted him--the
two fight furiously upon the mountains over some little fountain
at which they would both drink, and the lion has beaten the boar
till he can hardly breathe--even so did Hector son of Priam take
the life of the brave son of Menoetius who had killed so many,
striking him from close at hand, and vaunting over him the while.
"Patroclus," said he, "you deemed that you should sack our city,
rob our Trojan women of their freedom, and carry them off in your
ships to your own country. Fool; Hector and his fleet horses were
ever straining their utmost to defend them. I am foremost of all
the Trojan warriors to stave the day of bondage from off them; as
for you, vultures shall devour you here. Poor wretch, Achilles
with all his bravery availed you nothing; and yet I ween when you
left him he charged you straitly saying, 'Come not back to the
ships, knight Patroclus, till you have rent the bloodstained
shirt of murderous Hector about his body. Thus I ween did he
charge you, and your fool's heart answered him 'yea' within you."

Then, as the life ebbed out of you, you answered, O knight
Patroclus: "Hector, vaunt as you will, for Jove the son of Saturn
and Apollo have vouchsafed you victory; it is they who have
vanquished me so easily, and they who have stripped the armour
from my shoulders; had twenty such men as you attacked me, all of
them would have fallen before my spear. Fate and the son of Leto
have overpowered me, and among mortal men Euphorbus; you are
yourself third only in the killing of me. I say further, and lay
my saying to your heart, you too shall live but for a little
season; death and the day of your doom are close upon you, and
they will lay you low by the hand of Achilles son of Aeacus."

When he had thus spoken his eyes were closed in death, his soul
left his body and flitted down to the house of Hades, mourning
its sad fate and bidding farewell to the youth and vigor of its
manhood. Dead though he was, Hector still spoke to him saying,
"Patroclus, why should you thus foretell my doom? Who knows but
Achilles, son of lovely Thetis, may be smitten by my spear and
die before me?"

As he spoke he drew the bronze spear from the wound, planting his
foot upon the body, which he thrust off and let lie on its back.
He then went spear in hand after Automedon, squire of the fleet
descendant of Aeacus, for he longed to lay him low, but the
immortal steeds which the gods had given as a rich gift to Peleus
bore him swiftly from the field.


The light around the body of Patroclus.

BRAVE Menelaus son of Atreus now came to know that Patroclus had
fallen, and made his way through the front ranks clad in full
armour to bestride him. As a cow stands lowing over her first
calf, even so did yellow-haired Menelaus bestride Patroclus. He
held his round shield and his spear in front of him, resolute to
kill any who should dare face him. But the son of Panthous had
also noted the body, and came up to Menelaus saying, "Menelaus,
son of Atreus, draw back, leave the body, and let the
bloodstained spoils be. I was first of the Trojans and their
brave allies to drive my spear into Patroclus, let me, therefore,
have my full glory among the Trojans, or I will take aim and kill

To this Menelaus answered in great anger "By father Jove,
boasting is an ill thing. The pard is not more bold, nor the lion
nor savage wild-boar, which is fiercest and most dauntless of all
creatures, than are the proud sons of Panthous. Yet Hyperenor did
not see out the days of his youth when he made light of me and
withstood me, deeming me the meanest soldier among the Danaans.
His own feet never bore him back to gladden his wife and parents.
Even so shall I make an end of you too, if you withstand me; get
you back into the crowd and do not face me, or it shall be worse
for you. Even a fool may be wise after the event."

Euphorbus would not listen, and said, "Now indeed, Menelaus,
shall you pay for the death of my brother over whom you vaunted,
and whose wife you widowed in her bridal chamber, while you
brought grief unspeakable on his parents. I shall comfort these
poor people if I bring your head and armour and place them in the
hands of Panthous and noble Phrontis. The time is come when this
matter shall be fought out and settled, for me or against me."

As he spoke he struck Menelaus full on the shield, but the spear
did not go through, for the shield turned its point. Menelaus
then took aim, praying to father Jove as he did so; Euphorbus was
drawing back, and Menelaus struck him about the roots of his
throat, leaning his whole weight on the spear, so as to drive it
home. The point went clean through his neck, and his armour rang
rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground. His hair
which was like that of the Graces, and his locks so deftly bound
in bands of silver and gold, were all bedrabbled with blood. As
one who has grown a fine young olive tree in a clear space where
there is abundance of water--the plant is full of promise, and
though the winds beat upon it from every quarter it puts forth
its white blossoms till the blasts of some fierce hurricane sweep
down upon it and level it with the ground--even so did Menelaus
strip the fair youth Euphorbus of his armour after he had slain
him. Or as some fierce lion upon the mountains in the pride of
his strength fastens on the finest heifer in a herd as it is
feeding--first he breaks her neck with his strong jaws, and then
gorges on her blood and entrails; dogs and shepherds raise a hue
and cry against him, but they stand aloof and will not come close
to him, for they are pale with fear--even so no one had the
courage to face valiant Menelaus. The son of Atreus would have
then carried off the armour of the son of Panthous with ease, had
not Phoebus Apollo been angry, and in the guise of Mentes chief
of the Cicons incited Hector to attack him. "Hector," said he,
"you are now going after the horses of the noble son of Aeacus,
but you will not take them; they cannot be kept in hand and
driven by mortal man, save only by Achilles, who is son to an
immortal mother. Meanwhile Menelaus son of Atreus has bestridden
the body of Patroclus and killed the noblest of the Trojans,
Euphorbus son of Panthous, so that he can fight no more."

The god then went back into the toil and turmoil, but the soul of
Hector was darkened with a cloud of grief; he looked along the
ranks and saw Euphorbus lying on the ground with the blood still
flowing from his wound, and Menelaus stripping him of his armour.
On this he made his way to the front like a flame of fire, clad
in his gleaming armour, and crying with a loud voice. When the
son of Atreus heard him, he said to himself in his dismay, "Alas!
what shall I do? I may not let the Trojans take the armour of
Patroclus who has fallen fighting on my behalf, lest some Danaan
who sees me should cry shame upon me. Still if for my honour's
sake I fight Hector and the Trojans single-handed, they will
prove too many for me, for Hector is bringing them up in force.
Why, however, should I thus hesitate? When a man fights in
despite of heaven with one whom a god befriends, he will soon rue
it. Let no Danaan think ill of me if I give place to Hector, for
the hand of heaven is with him. Yet, if I could find Ajax, the
two of us would fight Hector and heaven too, if we might only
save the body of Patroclus for Achilles son of Peleus. This, of
many evils would be the least."

While he was thus in two minds, the Trojans came up to him with
Hector at their head; he therefore drew back and left the body,
turning about like some bearded lion who is being chased by dogs
and men from a stockyard with spears and hue and cry, whereon he
is daunted and slinks sulkily off--even so did Menelaus son of
Atreus turn and leave the body of Patroclus. When among the body
of his men, he looked around for mighty Ajax son of Telamon, and
presently saw him on the extreme left of the fight, cheering on
his men and exhorting them to keep on fighting, for Phoebus
Apollo had spread a great panic among them. He ran up to him and
said, "Ajax, my good friend, come with me at once to dead
Patroclus, if so be that we may take the body to Achilles--as for
his armour, Hector already has it."

These words stirred the heart of Ajax, and he made his way among
the front ranks, Menelaus going with him. Hector had stripped
Patroclus of his armour, and was dragging him away to cut off his
head and take the body to fling before the dogs of Troy. But Ajax
came up with his shield like wall before him, on which Hector
withdrew under shelter of his men, and sprang on to his chariot,
giving the armour over to the Trojans to take to the city, as a
great trophy for himself; Ajax, therefore, covered the body of
Patroclus with his broad shield and bestrode him; as a lion
stands over his whelps if hunters have come upon him in a forest
when he is with his little ones--in the pride and fierceness of
his strength he draws his knit brows down till they cover his
eyes--even so did Ajax bestride the body of Patroclus, and by his
side stood Menelaus son of Atreus, nursing great sorrow in his

Then Glaucus son of Hippolochus looked fiercely at Hector and
rebuked him sternly. "Hector," said he, "you make a brave show,
but in fight you are sadly wanting. A runaway like yourself has
no claim to so great a reputation. Think how you may now save
your town and citadel by the hands of your own people born in
Ilius; for you will get no Lycians to fight for you, seeing what
thanks they have had for their incessant hardships. Are you
likely, sir, to do anything to help a man of less note, after
leaving Sarpedon, who was at once your guest and comrade in arms,
to be the spoil and prey of the Danaans? So long as he lived he
did good service both to your city and yourself; yet you had no
stomach to save his body from the dogs. If the Lycians will
listen to me, they will go home and leave Troy to its fate. If
the Trojans had any of that daring fearless spirit which lays
hold of men who are fighting for their country and harassing
those who would attack it, we should soon bear off Patroclus into
Ilius. Could we get this dead man away and bring him into the
city of Priam, the Argives would readily give up the armour of
Sarpedon, and we should get his body to boot. For he whose squire
has been now killed is the foremost man at the ships of the
Achaeans--he and his close-fighting followers. Nevertheless you
dared not make a stand against Ajax, nor face him, eye to eye,
with battle all round you, for he is a braver man than you are."

Hector scowled at him and answered, "Glaucus, you should know
better. I have held you so far as a man of more understanding
than any in all Lycia, but now I despise you for saying that I am
afraid of Ajax. I fear neither battle nor the din of chariots,
but Jove's will is stronger than ours; Jove at one time makes
even a strong man draw back and snatches victory from his grasp,
while at another he will set him on to fight. Come hither then,
my friend, stand by me and see indeed whether I shall play the
coward the whole day through as you say, or whether I shall not
stay some even of the boldest Danaans from fighting round the
body of Patroclus."

As he spoke he called loudly on the Trojans saying, "Trojans,
Lycians, and Dardanians, fighters in close combat, be men, my
friends, and fight might and main, while I put on the goodly
armour of Achilles, which I took when I killed Patroclus."

With this Hector left the fight, and ran full speed after his men
who were taking the armour of Achilles to Troy, but had not yet
got far. Standing for a while apart from the woeful fight, he
changed his armour. His own he sent to the strong city of Ilius
and to the Trojans, while he put on the immortal armour of the
son of Peleus, which the gods had given to Peleus, who in his age
gave it to his son; but the son did not grow old in his father's

When Jove, lord of the storm-cloud, saw Hector standing aloof and
arming himself in the armour of the son of Peleus, he wagged his
head and muttered to himself saying, "A! poor wretch, you arm in
the armour of a hero, before whom many another trembles, and you
reck nothing of the doom that is already close upon you. You have
killed his comrade so brave and strong, but it was not well that
you should strip the armour from his head and shoulders. I do
indeed endow you with great might now, but as against this you
shall not return from battle to lay the armour of the son of
Peleus before Andromache."

The son of Saturn bowed his portentous brows, and Hector fitted
the armour to his body, while terrible Mars entered into him, and
filled his whole body with might and valour. With a shout he
strode in among the allies, and his armour flashed about him so
that he seemed to all of them like the great son of Peleus
himself. He went about among them and cheered them on--Mesthles,
Glaucus, Medon, Thersilochus, Asteropaeus, Deisenor and
Hippothous, Phorcys, Chromius and Ennomus the augur. All these
did he exhort saying, "Hear me, allies from other cities who are
here in your thousands, it was not in order to have a crowd about
me that I called you hither each from his several city, but that
with heart and soul you might defend the wives and little ones of
the Trojans from the fierce Achaeans. For this do I oppress my
people with your food and the presents that make you rich.
Therefore turn, and charge at the foe, to stand or fall as is the
game of war; whoever shall bring Patroclus, dead though he be,
into the hands of the Trojans, and shall make Ajax give way
before him, I will give him one half of the spoils while I keep
the other. He will thus share like honour with myself."

When he had thus spoken they charged full weight upon the Danaans
with their spears held out before them, and the hopes of each ran
high that he should force Ajax son of Telamon to yield up the
body--fools that they were, for he was about to take the lives of
many. Then Ajax said to Menelaus, "My good friend Menelaus, you
and I shall hardly come out of this fight alive. I am less
concerned for the body of Patroclus, who will shortly become meat
for the dogs and vultures of Troy, than for the safety of my own
head and yours. Hector has wrapped us round in a storm of battle
from every quarter, and our destruction seems now certain. Call
then upon the princes of the Danaans if there is any who can hear

Menelaus did as he said, and shouted to the Danaans for help at
the top of his voice. "My friends," he cried, "princes and
counsellors of the Argives, all you who with Agamemnon and
Menelaus drink at the public cost, and give orders each to his
own people as Jove vouchsafes him power and glory, the fight is
so thick about me that I cannot distinguish you severally; come
on, therefore, every man unbidden, and think it shame that
Patroclus should become meat and morsel for Trojan hounds."

Fleet Ajax son of Oileus heard him and was first to force his way
through the fight and run to help him. Next came Idomeneus and
Meriones his esquire, peer of murderous Mars. As for the others
that came into the fight after these, who of his own self could
name them?

The Trojans with Hector at their head charged in a body. As a
great wave that comes thundering in at the mouth of some
heaven-born river, and the rocks that jut into the sea ring with
the roar of the breakers that beat and buffet them--even with
such a roar did the Trojans come on; but the Achaeans in
singleness of heart stood firm about the son of Menoetius, and
fenced him with their bronze shields. Jove, moreover, hid the
brightness of their helmets in a thick cloud, for he had borne no
grudge against the son of Menoetius while he was still alive and
squire to the descendant of Aeacus; therefore he was loth to let
him fall a prey to the dogs of his foes the Trojans, and urged
his comrades on to defend him.

At first the Trojans drove the Achaeans back, and they withdrew
from the dead man daunted. The Trojans did not succeed in killing
any one, nevertheless they drew the body away. But the Achaeans
did not lose it long, for Ajax, foremost of all the Danaans after
the son of Peleus alike in stature and prowess, quickly rallied
them and made towards the front like a wild boar upon the
mountains when he stands at bay in the forest glades and routs
the hounds and lusty youths that have attacked him--even so did
Ajax son of Telamon passing easily in among the phalanxes of the
Trojans, disperse those who had bestridden Patroclus and were
most bent on winning glory by dragging him off to their city. At
this moment Hippothous brave son of the Pelasgian Lethus, in his
zeal for Hector and the Trojans, was dragging the body off by the
foot through the press of the fight, having bound a strap round
the sinews near the ancle; but a mischief soon befell him from
which none of those could save him who would have gladly done so,
for the son of Telamon sprang forward and smote him on his
bronze-cheeked helmet. The plumed headpiece broke about the point
of the weapon, struck at once by the spear and by the strong hand
of Ajax, so that the bloody brain came oozing out through the
crest-socket. His strength then failed him and he let Patroclus'
foot drop from his hand, as he fell full length dead upon the
body; thus he died far from the fertile land of Larissa, and
never repaid his parents the cost of bringing him up, for his
life was cut short early by the spear of mighty Ajax. Hector then
took aim at Ajax with a spear, but he saw it coming and just
managed to avoid it; the spear passed on and struck Schedius son
of noble Iphitus, captain of the Phoceans, who dwelt in famed
Panopeus and reigned over much people; it struck him under the
middle of the collar-bone the bronze point went right through
him, coming out at the bottom of his shoulder-blade, and his
armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.
Ajax in his turn struck noble Phorcys son of Phaenops in the
middle of the belly as he was bestriding Hippothous, and broke
the plate of his cuirass; whereon the spear tore out his entrails
and he clutched the ground in his palm as he fell to earth.
Hector and those who were in the front rank then gave ground,
while the Argives raised a loud cry of triumph, and drew off the
bodies of Phorcys and Hippothous which they stripped presently of
their armour.

The Trojans would now have been worsted by the brave Achaeans and
driven back to Ilius through their own cowardice, while the
Argives, so great was their courage and endurance, would have
achieved a triumph even against the will of Jove, if Apollo had
not roused Aeneas, in the likeness of Periphas son of Epytus, an
attendant who had grown old in the service of Aeneas' aged
father, and was at all times devoted to him. In his likeness,

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