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The Iliad of Homer

Part 6 out of 8

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then, Apollo said, "Aeneas, can you not manage, even though
heaven be against us, to save high Ilius? I have known men, whose
numbers, courage, and self-reliance have saved their people in
spite of Jove, whereas in this case he would much rather give
victory to us than to the Danaans, if you would only fight
instead of being so terribly afraid."

Aeneas knew Apollo when he looked straight at him, and shouted to
Hector saying, "Hector and all other Trojans and allies, shame on
us if we are beaten by the Achaeans and driven back to Ilius
through our own cowardice. A god has just come up to me and told
me that Jove the supreme disposer will be with us. Therefore let
us make for the Danaans, that it may go hard with them ere they
bear away dead Patroclus to the ships."

As he spoke he sprang out far in front of the others, who then
rallied and again faced the Achaeans. Aeneas speared Leiocritus
son of Arisbas, a valiant follower of Lycomedes, and Lycomedes
was moved with pity as he saw him fall; he therefore went close
up, and speared Apisaon son of Hippasus shepherd of his people in
the liver under the midriff, so that he died; he had come from
fertile Paeonia and was the best man of them all after
Asteropaeus. Asteropaeus flew forward to avenge him and attack
the Danaans, but this might no longer be, inasmuch as those about
Patroclus were well covered by their shields, and held their
spears in front of them, for Ajax had given them strict orders
that no man was either to give ground, or to stand out before the
others, but all were to hold well together about the body and
fight hand to hand. Thus did huge Ajax bid them, and the earth
ran red with blood as the corpses fell thick on one another alike
on the side of the Trojans and allies, and on that of the
Danaans; for these last, too, fought no bloodless fight though
many fewer of them perished, through the care they took to defend
and stand by one another.

Thus did they fight as it were a flaming fire; it seemed as
though it had gone hard even with the sun and moon, for they were
hidden over all that part where the bravest heroes were fighting
about the dead son of Menoetius, whereas the other Danaans and
Achaeans fought at their ease in full daylight with brilliant
sunshine all round them, and there was not a cloud to be seen
neither on plain nor mountain. These last moreover would rest for
a while and leave off fighting, for they were some distance apart
and beyond the range of one another's weapons, whereas those who
were in the thick of the fray suffered both from battle and
darkness. All the best of them were being worn out by the great
weight of their armour, but the two valiant heroes, Thrasymedes
and Antilochus, had not yet heard of the death of Patroclus, and
believed him to be still alive and leading the van against the
Trojans; they were keeping themselves in reserve against the
death or rout of their own comrades, for so Nestor had ordered
when he sent them from the ships into battle.

Thus through the livelong day did they wage fierce war, and the
sweat of their toil rained ever on their legs under them, and on
their hands and eyes, as they fought over the squire of the fleet
son of Peleus. It was as when a man gives a great ox-hide all
drenched in fat to his men, and bids them stretch it; whereon
they stand round it in a ring and tug till the moisture leaves
it, and the fat soaks in for the many that pull at it, and it is
well stretched--even so did the two sides tug the dead body
hither and thither within the compass of but a little space--the
Trojans steadfastly set on dragging it into Ilius, while the
Achaeans were no less so on taking it to their ships; and fierce
was the fight between them. Not Mars himself the lord of hosts,
nor yet Minerva, even in their fullest fury could make light of
such a battle.

Such fearful turmoil of men and horses did Jove on that day
ordain round the body of Patroclus. Meanwhile Achilles did not
know that he had fallen, for the fight was under the wall of Troy
a long way off the ships. He had no idea, therefore, that
Patroclus was dead, and deemed that he would return alive as soon
as he had gone close up to the gates. He knew that he was not to
sack the city neither with nor without himself, for his mother
had often told him this when he had sat alone with her, and she
had informed him of the counsels of great Jove. Now, however, she
had not told him how great a disaster had befallen him in the
death of the one who was far dearest to him of all his comrades.

The others still kept on charging one another round the body with
their pointed spears and killing each other. Then would one say,
"My friends, we can never again show our faces at the ships--
better, and greatly better, that earth should open and swallow us
here in this place, than that we should let the Trojans have the
triumph of bearing off Patroclus to their city."

The Trojans also on their part spoke to one another saying,
"Friends, though we fall to a man beside this body, let none
shrink from fighting." With such words did they exhort each
other. They fought and fought, and an iron clank rose through the
void air to the brazen vault of heaven. The horses of the
descendant of Aeacus stood out of the fight and wept when they
heard that their driver had been laid low by the hand of
murderous Hector. Automedon, valiant son of Diores, lashed them
again and again; many a time did he speak kindly to them, and
many a time did he upbraid them, but they would neither go back
to the ships by the waters of the broad Hellespont, nor yet into
battle among the Achaeans; they stood with their chariot stock
still, as a pillar set over the tomb of some dead man or woman,
and bowed their heads to the ground. Hot tears fell from their
eyes as they mourned the loss of their charioteer, and their
noble manes drooped all wet from under the yokestraps on either
side the yoke.

The son of Saturn saw them and took pity upon their sorrow. He
wagged his head, and muttered to himself, saying, "Poor things,
why did we give you to King Peleus who is a mortal, while you are
yourselves ageless and immortal? Was it that you might share the
sorrows that befall mankind? for of all creatures that live and
move upon the earth there is none so pitiable as he is--still,
Hector son of Priam shall drive neither you nor your chariot. I
will not have it. It is enough that he should have the armour
over which he vaunts so vainly. Furthermore I will give you
strength of heart and limb to bear Automedon safely to the ships
from battle, for I shall let the Trojans triumph still further,
and go on killing till they reach the ships; whereon night shall
fall and darkness overshadow the land."

As he spoke he breathed heart and strength into the horses so
that they shook the dust from out of their manes, and bore their
chariot swiftly into the fight that raged between Trojans and
Achaeans. Behind them fought Automedon full of sorrow for his
comrade, as a vulture amid a flock of geese. In and out, and here
and there, full speed he dashed amid the throng of the Trojans,
but for all the fury of his pursuit he killed no man, for he
could not wield his spear and keep his horses in hand when alone
in the chariot; at last, however, a comrade, Alcimedon, son of
Laerces son of Haemon caught sight of him and came up behind his
chariot. "Automedon," said he, "what god has put this folly into
your heart and robbed you of your right mind, that you fight the
Trojans in the front rank single-handed? He who was your comrade
is slain, and Hector plumes himself on being armed in the armour
of the descendant of Aeacus."

Automedon son of Diores answered, "Alcimedon, there is no one
else who can control and guide the immortal steeds so well as you
can, save only Patroclus--while he was alive--peer of gods in
counsel. Take then the whip and reins, while I go down from the
car and fight."

Alcimedon sprang on to the chariot, and caught up the whip and
reins, while Automedon leaped from off the car. When Hector saw
him he said to Aeneas who was near him, "Aeneas, counsellor of
the mail-clad Trojans, I see the steeds of the fleet son of
Aeacus come into battle with weak hands to drive them. I am sure,
if you think well, that we might take them; they will not dare
face us if we both attack them."

The valiant son of Anchises was of the same mind, and the pair
went right on, with their shoulders covered under shields of
tough dry ox-hide, overlaid with much bronze. Chromius and Aretus
went also with them, and their hearts beat high with hope that
they might kill the men and capture the horses--fools that they
were, for they were not to return scatheless from their meeting
with Automedon, who prayed to father Jove and was forthwith
filled with courage and strength abounding. He turned to his
trusty comrade Alcimedon and said, "Alcimedon, keep your horses
so close up that I may feel their breath upon my back; I doubt
that we shall not stay Hector son of Priam till he has killed us
and mounted behind the horses; he will then either spread panic
among the ranks of the Achaeans, or himself be killed among the

On this he cried out to the two Ajaxes and Menelaus, "Ajaxes
captains of the Argives, and Menelaus, give the dead body over to
them that are best able to defend it, and come to the rescue of
us living; for Hector and Aeneas who are the two best men among
the Trojans, are pressing us hard in the full tide of war.
Nevertheless the issue lies on the lap of heaven, I will
therefore hurl my spear and leave the rest to Jove."

He poised and hurled as he spoke, whereon the spear struck the
round shield of Aretus, and went right through it for the shield
stayed it not, so that it was driven through his belt into the
lower part of his belly. As when some sturdy youth, axe in hand,
deals his blow behind the horns of an ox and severs the tendons
at the back of its neck so that it springs forward and then
drops, even so did Aretus give one bound and then fall on his
back the spear quivering in his body till it made an end of him.
Hector then aimed a spear at Automedon but he saw it coming and
stooped forward to avoid it, so that it flew past him and the
point stuck in the ground, while the butt-end went on quivering
till Mars robbed it of its force. They would then have fought
hand to hand with swords had not the two Ajaxes forced their way
through the crowd when they heard their comrade calling, and
parted them for all their fury--for Hector, Aeneas, and Chromius
were afraid and drew back, leaving Aretus to lie there struck to
the heart. Automedon, peer of fleet Mars, then stripped him of
his armour and vaunted over him saying, "I have done little to
assuage my sorrow for the son of Menoetius, for the man I have
killed is not so good as he was."

As he spoke he took the blood-stained spoils and laid them upon
his chariot; then he mounted the car with his hands and feet all
steeped in gore as a lion that has been gorging upon a bull.

And now the fierce groanful fight again raged about Patroclus,
for Minerva came down from heaven and roused its fury by the
command of far-seeing Jove, who had changed his mind and sent her
to encourage the Danaans. As when Jove bends his bright bow in
heaven in token to mankind either of war or of the chill storms
that stay men from their labour and plague the flocks--even so,
wrapped in such radiant raiment, did Minerva go in among the host
and speak man by man to each. First she took the form and voice
of Phoenix and spoke to Menelaus son of Atreus, who was standing
near her. "Menelaus," said she, "it will be shame and dishonour
to you, if dogs tear the noble comrade of Achilles under the
walls of Troy. Therefore be staunch, and urge your men to be so

Menelaus answered, "Phoenix, my good old friend, may Minerva
vouchsafe me strength and keep the darts from off me, for so
shall I stand by Patroclus and defend him; his death has gone to
my heart, but Hector is as a raging fire and deals his blows
without ceasing, for Jove is now granting him a time of triumph."

Minerva was pleased at his having named herself before any of the
other gods. Therefore she put strength into his knees and
shoulders, and made him as bold as a fly, which, though driven
off will yet come again and bite if it can, so dearly does it
love man's blood--even so bold as this did she make him as he
stood over Patroclus and threw his spear. Now there was among the
Trojans a man named Podes, son of Eetion, who was both rich and
valiant. Hector held him in the highest honour for he was his
comrade and boon companion; the spear of Menelaus struck this man
in the girdle just as he had turned in flight, and went right
through him. Whereon he fell heavily forward, and Menelaus son of
Atreus drew off his body from the Trojans into the ranks of his
own people.

Apollo then went up to Hector and spurred him on to fight, in the
likeness of Phaenops son of Asius who lived in Abydos and was the
most favoured of all Hector's guests. In his likeness Apollo
said, "Hector, who of the Achaeans will fear you henceforward now
that you have quailed before Menelaus who has ever been rated
poorly as a soldier? Yet he has now got a corpse away from the
Trojans single-handed, and has slain your own true comrade, a man
brave among the foremost, Podes son of Eetion."

A dark cloud of grief fell upon Hector as he heard, and he made
his way to the front clad in full armour. Thereon the son of
Saturn seized his bright tasselled aegis, and veiled Ida in
cloud: he sent forth his lightnings and his thunders, and as he
shook his aegis he gave victory to the Trojans and routed the

The panic was begun by Peneleos the Boeotian, for while keeping
his face turned ever towards the foe he had been hit with a spear
on the upper part of the shoulder; a spear thrown by Polydamas
had grazed the top of the bone, for Polydamas had come up to him
and struck him from close at hand. Then Hector in close combat
struck Leitus son of noble Alectryon in the hand by the wrist,
and disabled him from fighting further. He looked about him in
dismay, knowing that never again should he wield spear in battle
with the Trojans. While Hector was in pursuit of Leitus,
Idomeneus struck him on the breastplate over his chest near the
nipple; but the spear broke in the shaft, and the Trojans cheered
aloud. Hector then aimed at Idomeneus son of Deucalion as he was
standing on his chariot, and very narrowly missed him, but the
spear hit Coiranus, a follower and charioteer of Meriones who had
come with him from Lyctus. Idomeneus had left the ships on foot
and would have afforded a great triumph to the Trojans if
Coiranus had not driven quickly up to him, he therefore brought
life and rescue to Idomeneus, but himself fell by the hand of
murderous Hector. For Hector hit him on the jaw under the ear;
the end of the spear drove out his teeth and cut his tongue in
two pieces, so that he fell from his chariot and let the reins
fall to the ground. Meriones gathered them up from the ground and
took them into his own hands, then he said to Idomeneus, "Lay on,
till you get back to the ships, for you must see that the day is
no longer ours."

On this Idomeneus lashed the horses to the ships, for fear had
taken hold upon him.

Ajax and Menelaus noted how Jove had turned the scale in favour
of the Trojans, and Ajax was first to speak. "Alas," said he,
"even a fool may see that father Jove is helping the Trojans. All
their weapons strike home; no matter whether it be a brave man or
a coward that hurls them, Jove speeds all alike, whereas ours
fall each one of them without effect. What, then, will be best
both as regards rescuing the body, and our return to the joy of
our friends who will be grieving as they look hitherwards; for
they will make sure that nothing can now check the terrible hands
of Hector, and that he will fling himself upon our ships. I wish
that some one would go and tell the son of Peleus at once, for I
do not think he can have yet heard the sad news that the dearest
of his friends has fallen. But I can see not a man among the
Achaeans to send, for they and their chariots are alike hidden in
darkness. O father Jove, lift this cloud from over the sons of
the Achaeans; make heaven serene, and let us see; if you will
that we perish, let us fall at any rate by daylight."

Father Jove heard him and had compassion upon his tears.
Forthwith he chased away the cloud of darkness, so that the sun
shone out and all the fighting was revealed. Ajax then said to
Menelaus, "Look, Menelaus, and if Antilochus son of Nestor be
still living, send him at once to tell Achilles that by far the
dearest to him of all his comrades has fallen."

Menelaus heeded his words and went his way as a lion from a
stockyard--the lion is tired of attacking the men and hounds, who
keep watch the whole night through and will not let him feast on
the fat of their herd. In his lust of meat he makes straight at
them but in vain, for darts from strong hands assail him, and
burning brands which daunt him for all his hunger, so in the
morning he slinks sulkily away--even so did Menelaus sorely
against his will leave Patroclus, in great fear lest the Achaeans
should be driven back in rout and let him fall into the hands of
the foe. He charged Meriones and the two Ajaxes straitly saying,
"Ajaxes and Meriones, leaders of the Argives, now indeed remember
how good Patroclus was; he was ever courteous while alive, bear
it in mind now that he is dead."

With this Menelaus left them, looking round him as keenly as an
eagle, whose sight they say is keener than that of any other
bird--however high he may be in the heavens, not a hare that runs
can escape him by crouching under bush or thicket, for he will
swoop down upon it and make an end of it--even so, O Menelaus,
did your keen eyes range round the mighty host of your followers
to see if you could find the son of Nestor still alive. Presently
Menelaus saw him on the extreme left of the battle cheering on
his men and exhorting them to fight boldly. Menelaus went up to
him and said, "Antilochus, come here and listen to sad news,
which I would indeed were untrue. You must see with your own eyes
that heaven is heaping calamity upon the Danaans, and giving
victory to the Trojans. Patroclus has fallen, who was the bravest
of the Achaeans, and sorely will the Danaans miss him. Run
instantly to the ships and tell Achilles, that he may come to
rescue the body and bear it to the ships. As for the armour,
Hector already has it."

Antilochus was struck with horror. For a long time he was
speechless; his eyes filled with tears and he could find no
utterance, but he did as Menelaus had said, and set off running
as soon as he had given his armour to a comrade, Laodocus, who
was wheeling his horses round, close beside him.

Thus, then, did he run weeping from the field, to carry the bad
news to Achilles son of Peleus. Nor were you, O Menelaus, minded
to succour his harassed comrades, when Antilochus had left the
Pylians--and greatly did they miss him--but he sent them noble
Thrasymedes, and himself went back to Patroclus. He came running
up to the two Ajaxes and said, "I have sent Antilochus to the
ships to tell Achilles, but rage against Hector as he may, he
cannot come, for he cannot fight without armour. What then will
be our best plan both as regards rescuing the dead, and our own
escape from death amid the battle-cries of the Trojans?"

Ajax answered, "Menelaus, you have said well: do you, then, and
Meriones stoop down, raise the body, and bear it out of the fray,
while we two behind you keep off Hector and the Trojans, one in
heart as in name, and long used to fighting side by side with one

On this Menelaus and Meriones took the dead man in their arms and
lifted him high aloft with a great effort. The Trojan host raised
a hue and cry behind them when they saw the Achaeans bearing the
body away, and flew after them like hounds attacking a wounded
boar at the loo of a band of young huntsmen. For a while the
hounds fly at him as though they would tear him in pieces, but
now and again he turns on them in a fury, scaring and scattering
them in all directions--even so did the Trojans for a while
charge in a body, striking with sword and with spears pointed ai
both the ends, but when the two Ajaxes faced them and stood at
bay, they would turn pale and no man dared press on to fight
further about the dead.

In this wise did the two heroes strain every nerve to bear the
body to the ships out of the fight. The battle raged round them
like fierce flames that when once kindled spread like wildfire
over a city, and the houses fall in the glare of its burning--
even such was the roar and tramp of men and horses that pursued
them as they bore Patroclus from the field. Or as mules that put
forth all their strength to draw some beam or great piece of
ship's timber down a rough mountain-track, and they pant and
sweat as they, go even so did Menelaus and pant and sweat as they
bore the body of Patroclus. Behind them the two Ajaxes held
stoutly out. As some wooded mountain-spur that stretches across a
plain will turn water and check the flow even of a great river,
nor is there any stream strong enough to break through it--even
so did the two Ajaxes face the Trojans and stem the tide of their
fighting though they kept pouring on towards them and foremost
among them all was Aeneas son of Anchises with valiant Hector. As
a flock of daws or starlings fall to screaming and chattering
when they see a falcon, foe to all small birds, come soaring near
them, even so did the Achaean youth raise a babel of cries as
they fled before Aeneas and Hector, unmindful of their former
prowess. In the rout of the Danaans much goodly armour fell round
about the trench, and of fighting there was no end.


The grief of Achilles over Patroclus--The visit of Thetis
to Vulcan and the armour that he made for Achilles.

THUS then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the
fleet runner Antilochus, who had been sent as messenger, reached
Achilles, and found him sitting by his tall ships and boding that
which was indeed too surely true. "Alas," said he to himself in
the heaviness of his heart, "why are the Achaeans again scouring
the plain and flocking towards the ships? Heaven grant the gods
be not now bringing that sorrow upon me of which my mother Thetis
spoke, saying that while I was yet alive the bravest of the
Myrmidons should fall before the Trojans, and see the light of
the sun no longer. I fear the brave son of Menoetius has fallen
through his own daring and yet I bade him return to the ships as
soon as he had driven back those that were bringing fire against
them, and not join battle with Hector."

As he was thus pondering, the son of Nestor came up to him and
told his sad tale, weeping bitterly the while. "Alas," he cried,
"son of noble Peleus, I bring you bad tidings, would indeed that
they were untrue. Patroclus has fallen, and a fight is raging
about his naked body--for Hector holds his armour."

A dark cloud of grief fell upon Achilles as he listened. He
filled both hands with dust from off the ground, and poured it
over his head, disfiguring his comely face, and letting the
refuse settle over his shirt so fair and new. He flung himself
down all huge and hugely at full length, and tore his hair with
his hands. The bondswomen whom Achilles and Patroclus had taken
captive screamed aloud for grief, beating their breasts, and with
their limbs failing them for sorrow. Antilochus bent over him the
while, weeping and holding both his hands as he lay groaning for
he feared that he might plunge a knife into his own throat. Then
Achilles gave a loud cry and his mother heard him as she was
sitting in the depths of the sea by the old man her father,
whereon she screamed, and all the goddesses daughters of Nereus
that dwelt at the bottom of the sea, came gathering round her.
There were Glauce, Thalia and Cymodoce, Nesaia, Speo, Thoe and
dark-eyed Halie, Cymothoe, Actaea and Limnorea, Melite, Iaera,
Amphithoe and Agave, Doto and Proto, Pherusa and Dynamene,
Dexamene, Amphinome and Callianeira, Doris, Panope, and the
famous sea-nymph Galatea, Nemertes, Apseudes and Callianassa.
There were also Clymene, Ianeira and Ianassa, Maera, Oreithuia
and Amatheia of the lovely locks, with other Nereids who dwell in
the depths of the sea. The crystal cave was filled with their
multitude and they all beat their breasts while Thetis led them
in their lament.

"Listen," she cried, "sisters, daughters of Nereus, that you may
hear the burden of my sorrows. Alas, woe is me, woe in that I
have borne the most glorious of offspring. I bore him fair and
strong, hero among heroes, and he shot up as a sapling; I tended
him as a plant in a goodly garden, and sent him with his ships to
Ilius to fight the Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to
the house of Peleus. So long as he lives to look upon the light
of the sun he is in heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot
help him. Nevertheless I will go, that I may see my dear son and
learn what sorrow has befallen him though he is still holding
aloof from battle."

She left the cave as she spoke, while the others followed weeping
after, and the waves opened a path before them. When they reached
the rich plain of Troy, they came up out of the sea in a long
line on to the sands, at the place where the ships of the
Myrmidons were drawn up in close order round the tents of
Achilles. His mother went up to him as he lay groaning; she laid
her hand upon his head and spoke piteously, saying, "My son, why
are you thus weeping? What sorrow has now befallen you? Tell me;
hide it not from me. Surely Jove has granted you the prayer you
made him, when you lifted up your hands and besought him that the
Achaeans might all of them be pent up at their ships, and rue it
bitterly in that you were no longer with them."

Achilles groaned and answered, "Mother, Olympian Jove has indeed
vouchsafed me the fulfilment of my prayer, but what boots it to
me, seeing that my dear comrade Patroclus has fallen--he whom I
valued more than all others, and loved as dearly as my own life?
I have lost him; aye, and Hector when he had killed him stripped
the wondrous armour, so glorious to behold, which the gods gave
to Peleus when they laid you in the couch of a mortal man. Would
that you were still dwelling among the immortal sea-nymphs, and
that Peleus had taken to himself some mortal bride. For now you
shall have grief infinite by reason of the death of that son whom
you can never welcome home--nay, I will not live nor go about
among mankind unless Hector fall by my spear, and thus pay me for
having slain Patroclus son of Menoetius."

Thetis wept and answered, "Then, my son, is your end near at
hand--for your own death awaits you full soon after that of

Then said Achilles in his great grief, "I would die here and now,
in that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home,
and in his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What
is there for me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have
brought no saving neither to Patroclus nor to my other comrades
of whom so many have been slain by mighty Hector; I stay here by
my ships a bootless burden upon the earth, I, who in fight have
no peer among the Achaeans, though in council there are better
than I. Therefore, perish strife both from among gods and men,
and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden his
heart--which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the
taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey. Even so has
Agamemnon angered me. And yet--so be it, for it is over; I will
force my soul into subjection as I needs must; I will go; I will
pursue Hector who has slain him whom I loved so dearly, and will
then abide my doom when it may please Jove and the other gods to
send it. Even Hercules, the best beloved of Jove--even he could
not escape the hand of death, but fate and Juno's fierce anger
laid him low, as I too shall lie when I am dead if a like doom
awaits me. Till then I will win fame, and will bid Trojan and
Dardanian women wring tears from their tender cheeks with both
their hands in the grievousness of their great sorrow; thus shall
they know that he who has held aloof so long will hold aloof no
longer. Hold me not back, therefore, in the love you bear me, for
you shall not move me."

Then silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, what you have said
is true. It is well to save your comrades from destruction, but
your armour is in the hands of the Trojans; Hector bears it in
triumph upon his own shoulders. Full well I know that his vaunt
shall not be lasting, for his end is close at hand; go not,
however, into the press of battle till you see me return hither;
to-morrow at break of day I shall be here, and will bring you
goodly armour from King Vulcan."

On this she left her brave son, and as she turned away she said
to the sea-nymphs her sisters, "Dive into the bosom of the sea
and go to the house of the old sea-god my father. Tell him
everything; as for me, I will go to the cunning workman Vulcan on
high Olympus, and ask him to provide my son with a suit of
splendid armour."

When she had so said, they dived forthwith beneath the waves,
while silver-footed Thetis went her way that she might bring the
armour for her son.

Thus, then, did her feet bear the goddess to Olympus, and
meanwhile the Achaeans were flying with loud cries before
murderous Hector till they reached the ships and the Hellespont,
and they could not draw the body of Mars's servant Patroclus out
of reach of the weapons that were showered upon him, for Hector
son of Priam with his host and horsemen had again caught up to
him like the flame of a fiery furnace; thrice did brave Hector
seize him by the feet, striving with might and main to draw him
away and calling loudly on the Trojans, and thrice did the two
Ajaxes, clothed in valour as with a garment, beat him from off
the body; but all undaunted he would now charge into the thick of
the fight, and now again he would stand still and cry aloud, but
he would give no ground. As upland shepherds that cannot chase
some famished lion from a carcase, even so could not the two
Ajaxes scare Hector son of Priam from the body of Patroclus.

And now he would even have dragged it off and have won
imperishable glory, had not Iris fleet as the wind, winged her
way as messenger from Olympus to the son of Peleus and bidden him
arm. She came secretly without the knowledge of Jove and of the
other gods, for Juno sent her, and when she had got close to him
she said, "Up, son of Peleus, mightiest of all mankind; rescue
Patroclus about whom this fearful fight is now raging by the
ships. Men are killing one another, the Danaans in defence of the
dead body, while the Trojans are trying to hale it away, and take
it to windy Ilius: Hector is the most furious of them all; he is
for cutting the head from the body and fixing it on the stakes of
the wall. Up, then, and bide here no longer; shrink from the
thought that Patroclus may become meat for the dogs of Troy.
Shame on you, should his body suffer any kind of outrage."

And Achilles said, "Iris, which of the gods was it that sent you
to me?"

Iris answered, "It was Juno the royal spouse of Jove, but the son
of Saturn does not know of my coming, nor yet does any other of
the immortals who dwell on the snowy summits of Olympus."

Then fleet Achilles answered her saying, "How can I go up into
the battle? They have my armour. My mother forbade me to arm till
I should see her come, for she promised to bring me goodly armour
from Vulcan; I know no man whose arms I can put on, save only the
shield of Ajax son of Telamon, and he surely must be fighting in
the front rank and wielding his spear about the body of dead

Iris said, "We know that your armour has been taken, but go as
you are; go to the deep trench and show yourself before the
Trojans, that they may fear you and cease fighting. Thus will the
fainting sons of the Achaeans gain some brief breathing-time,
which in battle may hardly be."

Iris left him when she had so spoken. But Achilles dear to Jove
arose, and Minerva flung her tasselled aegis round his strong
shoulders; she crowned his head with a halo of golden cloud from
which she kindled a glow of gleaming fire. As the smoke that goes
up into heaven from some city that is being beleaguered on an
island far out at sea--all day long do men sally from the city
and fight their hardest, and at the going down of the sun the
line of beacon-fires blazes forth, flaring high for those that
dwell near them to behold, if so be that they may come with their
ships and succour them--even so did the light flare from the head
of Achilles, as he stood by the trench, going beyond the wall--
but he aid not join the Achaeans for he heeded the charge which
his mother laid upon him.

There did he stand and shout aloud. Minerva also raised her voice
from afar, and spread terror unspeakable among the Trojans.
Ringing as the note of a trumpet that sounds alarm then the foe
is at the gates of a city, even so brazen was the voice of the
son of Aeacus, and when the Trojans heard its clarion tones they
were dismayed; the horses turned back with their chariots for
they boded mischief, and their drivers were awe-struck by the
steady flame which the grey-eyed goddess had kindled above the
head of the great son of Peleus.

Thrice did Achilles raise his loud cry as he stood by the trench,
and thrice were the Trojans and their brave allies thrown into
confusion; whereon twelve of their noblest champions fell beneath
the wheels of their chariots and perished by their own spears.
The Achaeans to their great joy then drew Patroclus out of reach
of the weapons, and laid him on a litter: his comrades stood
mourning round him, and among them fleet Achilles who wept
bitterly as he saw his true comrade lying dead upon his bier. He
had sent him out with horses and chariots into battle, but his
return he was not to welcome.

Then Juno sent the busy sun, loth though he was, into the waters
of Oceanus; so he set, and the Achaeans had rest from the tug and
turmoil of war.

Now the Trojans when they had come out of the fight, unyoked
their horses and gathered in assembly before preparing their
supper. They kept their feet, nor would any dare to sit down, for
fear had fallen upon them all because Achilles had shown himself
after having held aloof so long from battle. Polydamas son of
Panthous was first to speak, a man of judgement, who alone among
them could look both before and after. He was comrade to Hector,
and they had been born upon the same night; with all sincerity
and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Look to it well, my friends; I would urge you to go back now to
your city and not wait here by the ships till morning, for we are
far from our walls. So long as this man was at enmity with
Agamemnon the Achaeans were easier to deal with, and I would have
gladly camped by the ships in the hope of taking them; but now I
go in great fear of the fleet son of Peleus; he is so daring that
he will never bide here on the plain whereon the Trojans and
Achaeans fight with equal valour, but he will try to storm our
city and carry off our women. Do then as I say, and let us
retreat. For this is what will happen. The darkness of night will
for a time stay the son of Peleus, but if he find us here in the
morning when he sallies forth in full armour, we shall have
knowledge of him in good earnest. Glad indeed will he be who can
escape and get back to Ilius, and many a Trojan will become meat
for dogs and vultures may I never live to hear it. If we do as I
say, little though we may like it, we shall have strength in
counsel during the night, and the great gates with the doors that
close them will protect the city. At dawn we can arm and take our
stand on the walls; he will then rue it if he sallies from the
ships to fight us. He will go back when he has given his horses
their fill of being driven all whithers under our walls, and will
be in no mind to try and force his way into the city. Neither
will he ever sack it, dogs shall devour him ere he do so."

Hector looked fiercely at him and answered, "Polydamas, your
words are not to my liking in that you bid us go back and be pent
within the city. Have you not had enough of being cooped up
behind walls? In the old-days the city of Priam was famous the
whole world over for its wealth of gold and bronze, but our
treasures are wasted out of our houses, and much goods have been
sold away to Phrygia and fair Meonia, for the hand of Jove has
been laid heavily upon us. Now, therefore, that the son of
scheming Saturn has vouchsafed me to win glory here and to hem
the Achaeans in at their ships, prate no more in this fool's wise
among the people. You will have no man with you; it shall not be;
do all of you as I now say;--take your suppers in your companies
throughout the host, and keep your watches and be wakeful every
man of you. If any Trojan is uneasy about his possessions, let
him gather them and give them out among the people. Better let
these, rather than the Achaeans, have them. At daybreak we will
arm and fight about the ships; granted that Achilles has again
come forward to defend them, let it be as he will, but it shall
go hard with him. I shall not shun him, but will fight him, to
fall or conquer. The god of war deals out like measure to all,
and the slayer may yet be slain."

Thus spoke Hector; and the Trojans, fools that they were, shouted
in applause, for Pallas Minerva had robbed them of their
understanding. They gave ear to Hector with his evil counsel, but
the wise words of Polydamas no man would heed. They took their
supper throughout the host, and meanwhile through the whole night
the Achaeans mourned Patroclus, and the son of Peleus led them in
their lament. He laid his murderous hands upon the breast of his
comrade, groaning again and again as a bearded lion when a man
who was chasing deer has robbed him of his young in some dense
forest; when the lion comes back he is furious, and searches
dingle and dell to track the hunter if he can find him, for he is
mad with rage--even so with many a sigh did Achilles speak among
the Myrmidons saying, "Alas! vain were the words with which I
cheered the hero Menoetius in his own house; I said that I would
bring his brave son back again to Opoeis after he had sacked
Ilius and taken his share of the spoils--but Jove does not give
all men their heart's desire. The same soil shall be reddened
here at Troy by the blood of us both, for I too shall never be
welcomed home by the old knight Peleus, nor by my mother Thetis,
but even in this place shall the earth cover me. Nevertheless, O
Patroclus, now that I am left behind you, I will not bury you,
till I have brought hither the head and armour of mighty Hector
who has slain you. Twelve noble sons of Trojans will I behead
before your bier to avenge you; till I have done so you shall lie
as you are by the ships, and fair women of Troy and Dardanus,
whom we have taken with spear and strength of arm when we sacked
men's goodly cities, shall weep over you both night and day."

Then Achilles told his men to set a large tripod upon the fire
that they might wash the clotted gore from off Patroclus. Thereon
they set a tripod full of bath water on to a clear fire: they
threw sticks on to it to make it blaze, and the water became hot
as the flame played about the belly of the tripod. When the water
in the cauldron was boiling they washed the body, anointed it
with oil, and closed its wounds with ointment that had been kept
nine years. Then they laid it on a bier and covered it with a
linen cloth from head to foot, and over this they laid a fair
white robe. Thus all night long did the Myrmidons gather round
Achilles to mourn Patroclus.

Then Jove said to Juno his sister-wife, "So, Queen Juno, you have
gained your end, and have roused fleet Achilles. One would think
that the Achaeans were of your own flesh and blood."

And Juno answered, "Dread son of Saturn, why should you say this
thing? May not a man though he be only mortal and knows less than
we do, do what he can for another person? And shall not I--
foremost of all goddesses both by descent and as wife to you who
reign in heaven--devise evil for the Trojans if I am angry with

Thus did they converse. Meanwhile Thetis came to the house of
Vulcan, imperishable, star-bespangled, fairest of the abodes in
heaven, a house of bronze wrought by the lame god's own hands.
She found him busy with his bellows, sweating and hard at work,
for he was making twenty tripods that were to stand by the wall
of his house, and he set wheels of gold under them all that they
might go of their own selves to the assemblies of the gods, and
come back again--marvels indeed to see. They were finished all
but the ears of cunning workmanship which yet remained to be
fixed to them: these he was now fixing, and he was hammering at
the rivets. While he was thus at work silver-footed Thetis came
to the house. Charis, of graceful head-dress, wife to the
far-famed lame god, came towards her as soon as she saw her, and
took her hand in her own, saying, "Why have you come to our
house, Thetis, honoured and ever welcome--for you do not visit us
often? Come inside and let me set refreshment before you."

The goddess led the way as she spoke, and bade Thetis sit on a
richly decorated seat inlaid with silver; there was a footstool
also under her feet. Then she called Vulcan and said, "Vulcan,
come here, Thetis wants you"; and the far-famed lame god
answered, "Then it is indeed an august and honoured goddess who
has come here; she it was that took care of me when I was
suffering from the heavy fall which I had through my cruel
mother's anger--for she would have got rid of me because I was
lame. It would have gone hardly with me had not Eurynome,
daughter of the ever-encircling waters of Oceanus, and Thetis,
taken me to their bosom. Nine years did I stay with them, and
many beautiful works in bronze, brooches, spiral armlets, cups,
and chains, did I make for them in their cave, with the roaring
waters of Oceanus foaming as they rushed ever past it; and no one
knew, neither of gods nor men, save only Thetis and Eurynome who
took care of me. If, then, Thetis has come to my house I must
make her due requital for having saved me; entertain her,
therefore, with all hospitality, while I put by my bellows and
all my tools."

On this the mighty monster hobbled off from his anvil, his thin
legs plying lustily under him. He set the bellows away from the
fire, and gathered his tools into a silver chest. Then he took a
sponge and washed his face and hands, his shaggy chest and brawny
neck; he donned his shirt, grasped his strong staff, and limped
towards the door. There were golden handmaids also who worked for
him, and were like real young women, with sense and reason, voice
also and strength, and all the learning of the immortals; these
busied themselves as the king bade them, while he drew near to
Thetis, seated her upon a goodly seat, and took her hand in his
own, saying, "Why have you come to our house, Thetis honoured and
ever welcome--for you do not visit us often? Say what you want,
and I will do it for you at once if I can, and if it can be done
at all."

Thetis wept and answered, "Vulcan, is there another goddess in
Olympus whom the son of Saturn has been pleased to try with so
much affliction as he has me? Me alone of the marine goddesses
did he make subject to a mortal husband, Peleus son of Aeacus,
and sorely against my will did I submit to the embraces of one
who was but mortal, and who now stays at home worn out with age.
Neither is this all. Heaven vouchsafed me a son, hero among
heroes, and he shot up as a sapling. I tended him as a plant in a
goodly garden and sent him with his ships to Ilius to fight the
Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to the house of
Peleus. So long as he lives to look upon the light of the sun, he
is in heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot help him; King
Agamemnon has made him give up the maiden whom the sons of the
Achaeans had awarded him, and he wastes with sorrow for her sake.
Then the Trojans hemmed the Achaeans in at their ships' sterns
and would not let them come forth; the elders, therefore, of the
Argives besought Achilles and offered him great treasure, whereon
he refused to bring deliverance to them himself, but put his own
armour on Patroclus and sent him into the fight with much people
after him. All day long they fought by the Scaean gates and would
have taken the city there and then, had not Apollo vouchsafed
glory to Hector and slain the valiant son of Menoetius after he
had done the Trojans much evil. Therefore I am suppliant at your
knees if haply you may be pleased to provide my son, whose end is
near at hand, with helmet and shield, with goodly greaves fitted
with ancle-clasps, and with a breastplate, for he lost his own
when his true comrade fell at the hands of the Trojans, and he
now lies stretched on earth in the bitterness of his soul."

And Vulcan answered, "Take heart, and be no more disquieted about
this matter; would that I could hide him from death's sight when
his hour is come, so surely as I can find him armour that shall
amaze the eyes of all who behold it."

When he had so said he left her and went to his bellows, turning
them towards the fire and bidding them do their office. Twenty
bellows blew upon the melting-pots, and they blew blasts of every
kind, some fierce to help him when he had need of them, and
others less strong as Vulcan willed it in the course of his work.
He threw tough copper into the fire, and tin, with silver and
gold; he set his great anvil on its block, and with one hand
grasped his mighty hammer while he took the tongs in the other.

First he shaped the shield so great and strong, adorning it all
over and binding it round with a gleaming circuit in three
layers; and the baldric was made of silver. He made the shield in
five thicknesses, and with many a wonder did his cunning hand
enrich it.

He wrought the earth, the heavens, and the sea; the moon also at
her full and the untiring sun, with all the signs that glorify
the face of heaven--the Pleiads, the Hyads, huge Orion, and the
Bear, which men also call the Wain and which turns round ever in
one place, facing. Orion, and alone never dips into the stream of

He wrought also two cities, fair to see and busy with the hum of
men. In the one were weddings and wedding-feasts, and they were
going about the city with brides whom they were escorting by
torchlight from their chambers. Loud rose the cry of Hymen, and
the youths danced to the music of flute and lyre, while the women
stood each at her house door to see them.

Meanwhile the people were gathered in assembly, for there was a
quarrel, and two men were wrangling about the blood-money for a
man who had been killed, the one saying before the people that he
had paid damages in full, and the other that he had not been
paid. Each was trying to make his own case good, and the people
took sides, each man backing the side that he had taken; but the
heralds kept them back, and the elders sate on their seats of
stone in a solemn circle, holding the staves which the heralds
had put into their hands. Then they rose and each in his turn
gave judgement, and there were two talents laid down, to be given
to him whose judgement should be deemed the fairest.

About the other city there lay encamped two hosts in gleaming
armour, and they were divided whether to sack it, or to spare it
and accept the half of what it contained. But the men of the city
would not yet consent, and armed themselves for a surprise; their
wives and little children kept guard upon the walls, and with
them were the men who were past fighting through age; but the
others sallied forth with Mars and Pallas Minerva at their head--
both of them wrought in gold and clad in golden raiment, great
and fair with their armour as befitting gods, while they that
followed were smaller. When they reached the place where they
would lay their ambush, it was on a riverbed to which live stock
of all kinds would come from far and near to water; here, then,
they lay concealed, clad in full armour. Some way off them there
were two scouts who were on the look-out for the coming of sheep
or cattle, which presently came, followed by two shepherds who
were playing on their pipes, and had not so much as a thought of
danger. When those who were in ambush saw this, they cut off the
flocks and herds and killed the shepherds. Meanwhile the
besiegers, when they heard much noise among the cattle as they
sat in council, sprang to their horses, and made with all speed
towards them; when they reached them they set battle in array by
the banks of the river, and the hosts aimed their bronze-shod
spears at one another. With them were Strife and Riot, and fell
Fate who was dragging three men after her, one with a fresh
wound, and the other unwounded, while the third was dead, and she
was dragging him along by his heel: and her robe was bedrabbled
in men's blood. They went in and out with one another and fought
as though they were living people haling away one another's dead.

He wrought also a fair fallow field, large and thrice ploughed
already. Many men were working at the plough within it, turning
their oxen to and fro, furrow after furrow. Each time that they
turned on reaching the headland a man would come up to them and
give them a cup of wine, and they would go back to their furrows
looking forward to the time when they should again reach the
headland. The part that they had ploughed was dark behind them,
so that the field, though it was of gold, still looked as if it
were being ploughed--very curious to behold.

He wrought also a field of harvest corn, and the reapers were
reaping with sharp sickles in their hands. Swathe after swathe
fell to the ground in a straight line behind them, and the
binders bound them in bands of twisted straw. There were three
binders, and behind them there were boys who gathered the cut
corn in armfuls and kept on bringing them to be bound: among them
all the owner of the land stood by in silence and was glad. The
servants were getting a meal ready under an oak, for they had
sacrificed a great ox, and were busy cutting him up, while the
women were making a porridge of much white barley for the
labourers' dinner.

He wrought also a vineyard, golden and fair to see, and the vines
were loaded with grapes. The bunches overhead were black, but the
vines were trained on poles of silver. He ran a ditch of dark
metal all round it, and fenced it with a fence of tin; there was
only one path to it, and by this the vintagers went when they
would gather the vintage. Youths and maidens all blithe and full
of glee, carried the luscious fruit in plaited baskets; and with
them there went a boy who made sweet music with his lyre, and
sang the Linos-song with his clear boyish voice.

He wrought also a herd of horned cattle. He made the cows of gold
and tin, and they lowed as they came full speed out of the yards
to go and feed among the waving reeds that grow by the banks of
the river. Along with the cattle there went four shepherds, all
of them in gold, and their nine fleet dogs went with them. Two
terrible lions had fastened on a bellowing bull that was with the
foremost cows, and bellow as he might they haled him, while the
dogs and men gave chase: the lions tore through the bull's thick
hide and were gorging on his blood and bowels, but the herdsmen
were afraid to do anything, and only hounded on their dogs; the
dogs dared not fasten on the lions but stood by barking and
keeping out of harm's way.

The god wrought also a pasture in a fair mountain dell, and a
large flock of sheep, with a homestead and huts, and sheltered

Furthermore he wrought a green, like that which Daedalus once
made in Cnossus for lovely Ariadne. Hereon there danced youths
and maidens whom all would woo, with their hands on one another's
wrists. The maidens wore robes of light linen, and the youths
well woven shirts that were slightly oiled. The girls were
crowned with garlands, while the young men had daggers of gold
that hung by silver baldrics; sometimes they would dance deftly
in a ring with merry twinkling feet, as it were a potter sitting
at his work and making trial of his wheel to see whether it will
run, and sometimes they would go all in line with one another,
and much people was gathered joyously about the green. There was
a bard also to sing to them and play his lyre, while two tumblers
went about performing in the midst of them when the man struck up
with his tune.

All round the outermost rim of the shield he set the mighty
stream of the river Oceanus.

Then when he had fashioned the shield so great and strong, he
made a breastplate also that shone brighter than fire. He made a
helmet, close fitting to the brow, and richly worked, with a
golden plume overhanging it; and he made greaves also of beaten

Lastly, when the famed lame god had made all the armour, he took
it and set it before the mother of Achilles; whereon she darted
like a falcon from the snowy summits of Olympus and bore away the
gleaming armour from the house of Vulcan.


Achilles is reconciled with Agamemnon, puts on the armour
which Vulcan had made him, and goes out to fight.

NOW when Dawn in robe of saffron was hasting from the streams of
Oceanus, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached
the ships with the armour that the god had given her. She found
her son fallen about the body of Patroclus and weeping bitterly.
Many also of his followers were weeping round him, but when the
goddess came among them she clasped his hand in her own, saying,
"My son, grieve as we may we must let this man lie, for it is by
heaven's will that he has fallen; now, therefore, accept from
Vulcan this rich and goodly armour, which no man has ever yet
borne upon his shoulders."

As she spoke she set the armour before Achilles, and it rang out
bravely as she did so. The Myrmidons were struck with awe, and
none dared look full at it, for they were afraid; but Achilles
was roused to still greater fury, and his eyes gleamed with a
fierce light, for he was glad when he handled the splendid
present which the god had made him. Then, as soon as he had
satisfied himself with looking at it, he said to his mother,
"Mother, the god has given me armour, meet handiwork for an
immortal and such as no-one living could have fashioned; I will
now arm, but I much fear that flies will settle upon the son of
Menoetius and breed worms about his wounds, so that his body, now
he is dead, will be disfigured and the flesh will rot."

Silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, be not disquieted about
this matter. I will find means to protect him from the swarms of
noisome flies that prey on the bodies of men who have been killed
in battle. He may lie for a whole year, and his flesh shall still
be as sound as ever, or even sounder. Call, therefore, the
Achaean heroes in assembly; unsay your anger against Agamemnon;
arm at once, and fight with might and main."

As she spoke she put strength and courage into his heart, and she
then dropped ambrosia and red nectar into the wounds of
Patroclus, that his body might suffer no change.

Then Achilles went out upon the seashore, and with a loud cry
called on the Achaean heroes. On this even those who as yet had
stayed always at the ships, the pilots and helmsmen, and even the
stewards who were about the ships and served out rations, all
came to the place of assembly because Achilles had shown himself
after having held aloof so long from fighting. Two sons of Mars,
Ulysses and the son of Tydeus, came limping, for their wounds
still pained them; nevertheless they came, and took their seats
in the front row of the assembly. Last of all came Agamemnon,
king of men, he too wounded, for Coon son of Antenor had struck
him with a spear in battle.

When the Achaeans were got together Achilles rose and said, "Son
of Atreus, surely it would have been better alike for both you
and me, when we two were in such high anger about Briseis, surely
it would have been better, had Diana's arrow slain her at the
ships on the day when I took her after having sacked Lyrnessus.
For so, many an Achaean the less would have bitten dust before
the foe in the days of my anger. It has been well for Hector and
the Trojans, but the Achaeans will long indeed remember our
quarrel. Now, however, let it be, for it is over. If we have been
angry, necessity has schooled our anger. I put it from me: I dare
not nurse it for ever; therefore, bid the Achaeans arm forthwith
that I may go out against the Trojans, and learn whether they
will be in a mind to sleep by the ships or no. Glad, I ween, will
he be to rest his knees who may fly my spear when I wield it."

Thus did he speak, and the Achaeans rejoiced in that he had put
away his anger.

Then Agamemnon spoke, rising in his place, and not going into the
middle of the assembly. "Danaan heroes," said he, "servants of
Mars, it is well to listen when a man stands up to speak, and it
is not seemly to interrupt him, or it will go hard even with a
practised speaker. Who can either hear or speak in an uproar?
Even the finest orator will be disconcerted by it. I will expound
to the son of Peleus, and do you other Achaeans heed me and mark
me well. Often have the Achaeans spoken to me of this matter and
upbraided me, but it was not I that did it: Jove, and Fate, and
Erinys that walks in darkness struck me mad when we were
assembled on the day that I took from Achilles the meed that had
been awarded to him. What could I do? All things are in the hand
of heaven, and Folly, eldest of Jove's daughters, shuts men's
eyes to their destruction. She walks delicately, not on the solid
earth, but hovers over the heads of men to make them stumble or
to ensnare them.

"Time was when she fooled Jove himself, who they say is greatest
whether of gods or men; for Juno, woman though she was, beguiled
him on the day when Alcmena was to bring forth mighty Hercules in
the fair city of Thebes. He told it out among the gods saying,
'Hear me, all gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as I am
minded; this day shall an Ilithuia, helper of women who are in
labour, bring a man child into the world who shall be lord over
all that dwell about him who are of my blood and lineage.' Then
said Juno all crafty and full of guile, 'You will play false, and
will not hold to your word. Swear me, O Olympian, swear me a
great oath, that he who shall this day fall between the feet of a
woman, shall be lord over all that dwell about him who are of
your blood and lineage.'

"Thus she spoke, and Jove suspected her not, but swore the great
oath, to his much ruing thereafter. For Juno darted down from the
high summit of Olympus, and went in haste to Achaean Argos where
she knew that the noble wife of Sthenelus son of Perseus then
was. She being with child and in her seventh month, Juno brought
the child to birth though there was a month still wanting, but
she stayed the offspring of Alcmena, and kept back the Ilithuiae.
Then she went to tell Jove the son of Saturn, and said, 'Father
Jove, lord of the lightning--I have a word for your ear. There is
a fine child born this day, Eurystheus, son to Sthenelus the son
of Perseus; he is of your lineage; it is well, therefore, that he
should reign over the Argives.'

"On this Jove was stung to the very quick, and in his rage he
caught Folly by the hair, and swore a great oath that never
should she again invade starry heaven and Olympus, for she was
the bane of all. Then he whirled her round with a twist of his
hand, and flung her down from heaven so that she fell on to the
fields of mortal men; and he was ever angry with her when he saw
his son groaning under the cruel labours that Eurystheus laid
upon him. Even so did I grieve when mighty Hector was killing the
Argives at their ships, and all the time I kept thinking of Folly
who had so baned me. I was blind, and Jove robbed me of my
reason; I will now make atonement, and will add much treasure by
way of amends. Go, therefore, into battle, you and your people
with you. I will give you all that Ulysses offered you yesterday
in your tents: or if it so please you, wait, though you would
fain fight at once, and my squires shall bring the gifts from my
ship, that you may see whether what I give you is enough."

And Achilles answered, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, you
can give such gifts as you think proper, or you can withhold
them: it is in your own hands. Let us now set battle in array; it
is not well to tarry talking about trifles, for there is a deed
which is as yet to do. Achilles shall again be seen fighting
among the foremost, and laying low the ranks of the Trojans: bear
this in mind each one of you when he is fighting."

Then Ulysses said, "Achilles, godlike and brave, send not the
Achaeans thus against Ilius to fight the Trojans fasting, for the
battle will be no brief one, when it is once begun, and heaven
has filled both sides with fury; bid them first take food both
bread and wine by the ships, for in this there is strength and
stay. No man can do battle the livelong day to the going down of
the sun if he is without food; however much he may want to fight
his strength will fail him before he knows it; hunger and thirst
will find him out, and his limbs will grow weary under him. But a
man can fight all day if he is full fed with meat and wine; his
heart beats high, and his strength will stay till he has routed
all his foes; therefore, send the people away and bid them
prepare their meal; King Agamemnon will bring out the gifts in
presence of the assembly, that all may see them and you may be
satisfied. Moreover let him swear an oath before the Argives that
he has never gone up into the couch of Briseis, nor been with her
after the manner of men and women; and do you, too, show yourself
of a gracious mind; let Agamemnon entertain you in his tents with
a feast of reconciliation, that so you may have had your dues in
full. As for you, son of Atreus, treat people more righteously in
future; it is no disgrace even to a king that he should make
amends if he was wrong in the first instance."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Son of Laertes, your words please
me well, for throughout you have spoken wisely. I will swear as
you would have me do; I do so of my own free will, neither shall
I take the name of heaven in vain. Let, then, Achilles wait,
though he would fain fight at once, and do you others wait also,
till the gifts come from my tent and we ratify the oath with
sacrifice. Thus, then, do I charge you: take some noble young
Achaeans with you, and bring from my tents the gifts that I
promised yesterday to Achilles, and bring the women also;
furthermore let Talthybius find me a boar from those that are
with the host, and make it ready for sacrifice to Jove and to the

Then said Achilles, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, see to
these matters at some other season, when there is breathing time
and when I am calmer. Would you have men eat while the bodies of
those whom Hector son of Priam slew are still lying mangled upon
the plain? Let the sons of the Achaeans, say I, fight fasting and
without food, till we have avenged them; afterwards at the going
down of the sun let them eat their fill. As for me, Patroclus is
lying dead in my tent, all hacked and hewn, with his feet to the
door, and his comrades are mourning round him. Therefore I can
take thought of nothing save only slaughter and blood and the
rattle in the throat of the dying."

Ulysses answered, "Achilles, son of Peleus, mightiest of all the
Achaeans, in battle you are better than I, and that more than a
little, but in counsel I am much before you, for I am older and
of greater knowledge. Therefore be patient under my words.
Fighting is a thing of which men soon surfeit, and when Jove, who
is war's steward, weighs the upshot, it may well prove that the
straw which our sickles have reaped is far heavier than the
grain. It may not be that the Achaeans should mourn the dead with
their bellies; day by day men fall thick and threefold
continually; when should we have respite from our sorrow? Let us
mourn our dead for a day and bury them out of sight and mind, but
let those of us who are left eat and drink that we may arm and
fight our foes more fiercely. In that hour let no man hold back,
waiting for a second summons; such summons shall bode ill for him
who is found lagging behind at our ships; let us rather sally as
one man and loose the fury of war upon the Trojans."

When he had thus spoken he took with him the sons of Nestor, with
Meges son of Phyleus, Thoas, Meriones, Lycomedes son of Creontes,
and Melanippus, and went to the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus.
The word was not sooner said than the deed was done: they
brought out the seven tripods which Agamemnon had promised, with
the twenty metal cauldrons and the twelve horses; they also
brought the women skilled in useful arts, seven in number, with
Briseis, which made eight. Ulysses weighed out the ten talents of
gold and then led the way back, while the young Achaeans brought
the rest of the gifts, and laid them in the middle of the

Agamemnon then rose, and Talthybius whose voice was like that of
a god came to him with the boar. The son of Atreus drew the knife
which he wore by the scabbard of his mighty sword, and began by
cutting off some bristles from the boar, lifting up his hands in
prayer as he did so. The other Achaeans sat where they were all
silent and orderly to hear the king, and Agamemnon looked into
the vault of heaven and prayed saying, "I call Jove the first and
mightiest of all gods to witness, I call also Earth and Sun and
the Erinyes who dwell below and take vengeance on him who shall
swear falsely, that I have laid no hand upon the girl Briseis,
neither to take her to my bed nor otherwise, but that she has
remained in my tents inviolate. If I swear falsely may heaven
visit me with all the penalties which it metes out to those who
perjure themselves."

He cut the boar's throat as he spoke, whereon Talthybius whirled
it round his head, and flung it into the wide sea to feed the
fishes. Then Achilles also rose and said to the Argives, "Father
Jove, of a truth you blind men's eyes and bane them. The son of
Atreus had not else stirred me to so fierce an anger, nor so
stubbornly taken Briseis from me against my will. Surely Jove
must have counselled the destruction of many an Argive. Go, now,
and take your food that we may begin fighting."

On this he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his
own ship. The Myrmidons attended to the presents and took them
away to the ship of Achilles. They placed them in his tents,
while the stable-men drove the horses in among the others.

Briseis, fair as Venus, when she saw the mangled body of
Patroclus, flung herself upon it and cried aloud, tearing her
breast, her neck, and her lovely face with both her hands.
Beautiful as a goddess she wept and said, "Patroclus, dearest
friend, when I went hence I left you living; I return, O prince,
to find you dead; thus do fresh sorrows multiply upon me one
after the other. I saw him to whom my father and mother married
me, cut down before our city, and my three own dear brothers
perished with him on the self-same day; but you, Patroclus, even
when Achilles slew my husband and sacked the city of noble Mynes,
told me that I was not to weep, for you said you would make
Achilles marry me, and take me back with him to Phthia, we should
have a wedding feast among the Myrmidons. You were always kind to
me and I shall never cease to grieve for you."

She wept as she spoke, and the women joined in her lament-making
as though their tears were for Patroclus, but in truth each was
weeping for her own sorrows. The elders of the Achaeans gathered
round Achilles and prayed him to take food, but he groaned and
would not do so. "I pray you," said he, "if any comrade will hear
me, bid me neither eat nor drink, for I am in great heaviness,
and will stay fasting even to the going down of the sun."

On this he sent the other princes away, save only the two sons of
Atreus and Ulysses, Nestor, Idomeneus, and the knight Phoenix,
who stayed behind and tried to comfort him in the bitterness of
his sorrow: but he would not be comforted till he should have
flung himself into the jaws of battle, and he fetched sigh on
sigh, thinking ever of Patroclus. Then he said--

"Hapless and dearest comrade, you it was who would get a good
dinner ready for me at once and without delay when the Achaeans
were hasting to fight the Trojans; now, therefore, though I have
meat and drink in my tents, yet will I fast for sorrow. Grief
greater than this I could not know, not even though I were to
hear of the death of my father, who is now in Phthia weeping for
the loss of me his son, who am here fighting the Trojans in a
strange land for the accursed sake of Helen, nor yet though I
should hear that my son is no more--he who is being brought up in
Scyros--if indeed Neoptolemus is still living. Till now I made
sure that I alone was to fall here at Troy away from Argos, while
you were to return to Phthia, bring back my son with you in your
own ship, and show him all my property, my bondsmen, and the
greatness of my house--for Peleus must surely be either dead, or
what little life remains to him is oppressed alike with the
infirmities of age and ever present fear lest he should hear the
sad tidings of my death."

He wept as he spoke, and the elders sighed in concert as each
thought on what he had left at home behind him. The son of Saturn
looked down with pity upon them, and said presently to Minerva,
"My child, you have quite deserted your hero; is he then gone so
clean out of your recollection? There he sits by the ships all
desolate for the loss of his dear comrade, and though the others
are gone to their dinner he will neither eat nor drink. Go then
and drop nectar and ambrosia into his breast, that he may know no

With these words he urged Minerva, who was already of the same
mind. She darted down from heaven into the air like some falcon
sailing on his broad wings and screaming. Meanwhile the Achaeans
were arming throughout the host, and when Minerva had dropped
nectar and ambrosia into Achilles so that no cruel hunger should
cause his limbs to fail him, she went back to the house of her
mighty father. Thick as the chill snow-flakes shed from the hand
of Jove and borne on the keen blasts of the north wind, even so
thick did the gleaming helmets, the bossed shields, the strongly
plated breastplates, and the ashen spears stream from the ships.
The sheen pierced the sky, the whole land was radiant with their
flashing armour, and the sound of the tramp of their treading
rose from under their feet. In the midst of them all Achilles put
on his armour; he gnashed his teeth, his eyes gleamed like fire,
for his grief was greater than he could bear. Thus, then, full of
fury against the Trojans, did he don the gift of the god, the
armour that Vulcan had made him.

First he put on the goodly greaves fitted with ancle-clasps, and
next he did on the breastplate about his chest. He slung the
silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then took
up the shield so great and strong that shone afar with a
splendour as of the moon. As the light seen by sailors from out
at sea, when men have lit a fire in their homestead high up among
the mountains, but the sailors are carried out to sea by wind and
storm far from the haven where they would be--even so did the
gleam of Achilles' wondrous shield strike up into the heavens. He
lifted the redoubtable helmet, and set it upon his head, from
whence it shone like a star, and the golden plumes which Vulcan
had set thick about the ridge of the helmet, waved all around it.
Then Achilles made trial of himself in his armour to see whether
it fitted him, so that his limbs could play freely under it, and
it seemed to buoy him up as though it had been wings.

He also drew his father's spear out of the spear-stand, a spear
so great and heavy and strong that none of the Achaeans save only
Achilles had strength to wield it; this was the spear of Pelian
ash from the topmost ridges of Mt. Pelion, which Chiron had once
given to Peleus, fraught with the death of heroes. Automedon and
Alcimus busied themselves with the harnessing of his horses; they
made the bands fast about them, and put the bit in their mouths,
drawing the reins back towards the chariot. Automedon, whip in
hand, sprang up behind the horses, and after him Achilles mounted
in full armour, resplendent as the sun-god Hyperion. Then with a
loud voice he chided with his father's horses saying, "Xanthus
and Balius, famed offspring of Podarge--this time when we have
done fighting be sure and bring your driver safely back to the
host of the Achaeans, and do not leave him dead on the plain as
you did Patroclus."

Then fleet Xanthus answered under the yoke--for white-armed Juno
had endowed him with human speech--and he bowed his head till his
mane touched the ground as it hung down from under the yoke-band.
"Dread Achilles," said he, "we will indeed save you now, but the
day of your death is near, and the blame will not be ours, for it
will be heaven and stern fate that will destroy you. Neither was
it through any sloth or slackness on our part that the Trojans
stripped Patroclus of his armour; it was the mighty god whom
lovely Leto bore that slew him as he fought among the foremost,
and vouchsafed a triumph to Hector. We two can fly as swiftly as
Zephyrus who they say is fleetest of all winds; nevertheless it
is your doom to fall by the hand of a man and of a god."

When he had thus said the Erinyes stayed his speech, and Achilles
answered him in great sadness, saying, "Why, O Xanthus, do you
thus foretell my death? You need not do so, for I well know that
I am to fall here, far from my dear father and mother; none the
more, however, shall I stay my hand till I have given the Trojans
their fill of fighting."

So saying, with a loud cry he drove his horses to the front.


The gods hold a council and determine to watch the fight, from
the hill Callicolone, and the barrow of Hercules--A fight
between Achilles and AEneas is interrupted by Neptune, who
saves AEneas--Achilles kills many Trojans.

THUS, then, did the Achaeans arm by their ships round you, O son
of Peleus, who were hungering for battle; while the Trojans over
against them armed upon the rise of the plain.

Meanwhile Jove from the top of many-delled Olympus, bade Themis
gather the gods in council, whereon she went about and called
them to the house of Jove. There was not a river absent except
Oceanus, nor a single one of the nymphs that haunt fair groves,
or springs of rivers and meadows of green grass. When they
reached the house of cloud-compelling Jove, they took their seats
in the arcades of polished marble which Vulcan with his
consummate skill had made for father Jove.

In such wise, therefore, did they gather in the house of Jove.
Neptune also, lord of the earthquake, obeyed the call of the
goddess, and came up out of the sea to join them. There, sitting
in the midst of them, he asked what Jove's purpose might be.
"Why," said he, "wielder of the lightning, have you called the
gods in council? Are you considering some matter that concerns
the Trojans and Achaeans--for the blaze of battle is on the point
of being kindled between them?"

And Jove answered, "You know my purpose, shaker of earth, and
wherefore I have called you hither. I take thought for them even
in their destruction. For my own part I shall stay here seated on
Mt. Olympus and look on in peace, but do you others go about
among Trojans and Achaeans, and help either side as you may be
severally disposed. If Achilles fights the Trojans without
hindrance they will make no stand against him; they have ever
trembled at the sight of him, and now that he is roused to such
fury about his comrade, he will override fate itself and storm
their city."

Thus spoke Jove and gave the word for war, whereon the gods took
their several sides and went into battle. Juno, Pallas Minerva,
earth-encircling Neptune, Mercury bringer of good luck and
excellent in all cunning--all these joined the host that came
from the ships; with them also came Vulcan in all his glory,
limping, but yet with his thin legs plying lustily under him.
Mars of gleaming helmet joined the Trojans, and with him Apollo
of locks unshorn, and the archer goddess Diana, Leto, Xanthus,
and laughter-loving Venus.

So long as the gods held themselves aloof from mortal warriors
the Achaeans were triumphant, for Achilles who had long refused
to fight was now with them. There was not a Trojan but his limbs
failed him for fear as he beheld the fleet son of Peleus all
glorious in his armour, and looking like Mars himself. When,
however, the Olympians came to take their part among men,
forthwith uprose strong Strife, rouser of hosts, and Minerva
raised her loud voice, now standing by the deep trench that ran
outside the wall, and now shouting with all her might upon the
shore of the sounding sea. Mars also bellowed out upon the other
side, dark as some black thunder-cloud, and called on the Trojans
at the top of his voice, now from the acropolis, and now speeding
up the side of the river Simois till he came to the hill

Thus did the gods spur on both hosts to fight, and rouse fierce
contention also among themselves. The sire of gods and men
thundered from heaven above, while from beneath Neptune shook the
vast earth, and bade the high hills tremble. The spurs and crests
of many-fountained Ida quaked, as also the city of the Trojans
and the ships of the Achaeans. Hades, king of the realms below,
was struck with fear; he sprang panic-stricken from his throne
and cried aloud in terror lest Neptune, lord of the earthquake,
should crack the ground over his head, and lay bare his mouldy
mansions to the sight of mortals and immortals--mansions so
ghastly grim that even the gods shudder to think of them. Such
was the uproar as the gods came together in battle. Apollo with
his arrows took his stand to face King Neptune, while Minerva
took hers against the god of war; the archer-goddess Diana with
her golden arrows, sister of far-darting Apollo, stood to face
Juno; Mercury the lusty bringer of good luck faced Leto, while
the mighty eddying river whom men can Scamander, but gods
Xanthus, matched himself against Vulcan.

The gods, then, were thus ranged against one another. But the
heart of Achilles was set on meeting Hector son of Priam, for it
was with his blood that he longed above all things else to glut
the stubborn lord of battle. Meanwhile Apollo set Aeneas on to
attack the son of Peleus, and put courage into his heart,
speaking with the voice of Lycaon son of Priam. In his likeness
therefore, he said to Aeneas, "Aeneas, counsellor of the Trojans,
where are now the brave words with which you vaunted over your
wine before the Trojan princes, saying that you would fight
Achilles son of Peleus in single combat?"

And Aeneas answered, "Why do you thus bid me fight the proud son
of Peleus, when I am in no mind to do so? Were I to face him now,
it would not be for the first time. His spear has already put me
to Right from Ida, when he attacked our cattle and sacked
Lyrnessus and Pedasus; Jove indeed saved me in that he vouchsafed
me strength to fly, else had the fallen by the hands of Achilles
and Minerva, who went before him to protect him and urged him to
fall upon the Lelegae and Trojans. No man may fight Achilles, for
one of the gods is always with him as his guardian angel, and
even were it not so, his weapon flies ever straight, and fails
not to pierce the flesh of him who is against him; if heaven
would let me fight him on even terms he should not soon overcome
me, though he boasts that he is made of bronze."

Then said King Apollo, son to Jove, "Nay, hero, pray to the
ever-living gods, for men say that you were born of Jove's
daughter Venus, whereas Achilles is son to a goddess of inferior
rank. Venus is child to Jove, while Thetis is but daughter to the
old man of the sea. Bring, therefore, your spear to bear upon
him, and let him not scare you with his taunts and menaces."

As he spoke he put courage into the heart of the shepherd of his
people, and he strode in full armour among the ranks of the
foremost fighters. Nor did the son of Anchises escape the notice
of white-armed Juno, as he went forth into the throng to meet
Achilles. She called the gods about her, and said, "Look to it,
you two, Neptune and Minerva, and consider how this shall be;
Phoebus Apollo has been sending Aeneas clad in full armour to
fight Achilles. Shall we turn him back at once, or shall one of
us stand by Achilles and endow him with strength so that his
heart fail not, and he may learn that the chiefs of the immortals
are on his side, while the others who have all along been
defending the Trojans are but vain helpers? Let us all come down
from Olympus and join in the fight, that this day he may take no
hurt at the hands of the Trojans. Hereafter let him suffer
whatever fate may have spun out for him when he was begotten and
his mother bore him. If Achilles be not thus assured by the voice
of a god, he may come to fear presently when one of us meets him
in battle, for the gods are terrible if they are seen face to

Neptune lord of the earthquake answered her saying, "Juno,
restrain your fury; it is not well; I am not in favour of forcing
the other gods to fight us, for the advantage is too greatly on
our own side; let us take our places on some hill out of the
beaten track, and let mortals fight it out among themselves. If
Mars or Phoebus Apollo begin fighting, or keep Achilles in check
so that he cannot fight, we too, will at once raise the cry of
battle, and in that case they will soon leave the field and go
back vanquished to Olympus among the other gods."

With these words the dark-haired god led the way to the high
earth-barrow of Hercules, built round solid masonry, and made by
the Trojans and Pallas Minerva for him fly to when the
sea-monster was chasing him from the shore on to the plain. Here
Neptune and those that were with him took their seats, wrapped in
a thick cloud of darkness; but the other gods seated themselves
on the brow of Callicolone round you, O Phoebus, and Mars the
waster of cities.

Thus did the gods sit apart and form their plans, but neither
side was willing to begin battle with the other, and Jove from
his seat on high was in command over them all. Meanwhile the
whole plain was alive with men and horses, and blazing with the
gleam of armour. The earth rang again under the tramp of their
feet as they rushed towards each other, and two champions, by far
the foremost of them all, met between the hosts to fight--to wit,
Aeneas son of Anchises, and noble Achilles.

Aeneas was first to stride forward in attack, his doughty helmet
tossing defiance as he came on. He held his strong shield before
his breast, and brandished his bronze spear. The son of Peleus
from the other side sprang forth to meet him, like some fierce
lion that the whole country-side has met to hunt and kill--at
first he bodes no ill, but when some daring youth has struck him
with a spear, he crouches openmouthed, his jaws foam, he roars
with fury, he lashes his tail from side to side about his ribs
and loins, and glares as he springs straight before him, to find
out whether he is to slay, or be slain among the foremost of his
foes--even with such fury did Achilles burn to spring upon

When they were now close up with one another Achilles was first
to speak. "Aeneas," said he, "why do you stand thus out before
the host to fight me? Is it that you hope to reign over the
Trojans in the seat of Priam? Nay, though you kill me Priam will
not hand his kingdom over to you. He is a man of sound judgement,
and he has sons of his own. Or have the Trojans been allotting
you a demesne of passing richness, fair with orchard lawns and
corn lands, if you should slay me? This you shall hardly do. I
have discomfited you once already. Have you forgotten how when
you were alone I chased you from your herds helter-skelter down
the slopes of Ida? You did not turn round to look behind you; you
took refuge in Lyrnessus, but I attacked the city, and with the
help of Minerva and father Jove I sacked it and carried its women
into captivity, though Jove and the other gods rescued you. You
think they will protect you now, but they will not do so;
therefore I say go back into the host, and do not face me, or you
will rue it. Even a fool may be wise after the event."

Then Aeneas answered, "Son of Peleus, think not that your words
can scare me as though I were a child. I too, if I will, can brag
and talk unseemly. We know one another's race and parentage as
matters of common fame, though neither have you ever seen my
parents nor I yours. Men say that you are son to noble Peleus,
and that your mother is Thetis, fair-haired daughter of the sea.
I have noble Anchises for my father, and Venus for my mother; the
parents of one or other of us shall this day mourn a son, for it
will be more than silly talk that shall part us when the fight is
over. Learn, then, my lineage if you will--and it is known to

"In the beginning Dardanus was the son of Jove, and founded
Dardania, for Ilius was not yet stablished on the plain for men
to dwell in, and her people still abode on the spurs of
many-fountained Ida. Dardanus had a son, king Erichthonius, who
was wealthiest of all men living; he had three thousand mares
that fed by the water-meadows, they and their foals with them.
Boreas was enamoured of them as they were feeding, and covered
them in the semblance of a dark-maned stallion. Twelve filly
foals did they conceive and bear him, and these, as they sped
over the rich plain, would go bounding on over the ripe ears of
corn and not break them; or again when they would disport
themselves on the broad back of Ocean they could gallop on the
crest of a breaker. Erichthonius begat Tros, king of the Trojans,
and Tros had three noble sons, Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymede who
was comeliest of mortal men; wherefore the gods carried him off
to be Jove's cupbearer, for his beauty's sake, that he might
dwell among the immortals. Ilus begat Laomedon, and Laomedon
begat Tithonus, Priam, Lampus, Clytius, and Hiketaon of the stock
of Mars. But Assaracus was father to Capys, and Capys to
Anchises, who was my father, while Hector is son to Priam.

"Such do I declare my blood and lineage, but as for valour, Jove
gives it or takes it as he will, for he is lord of all. And now
let there be no more of this prating in mid-battle as though we
were children. We could fling taunts without end at one another;
a hundred-oared galley would not hold them. The tongue can run
all whithers and talk all wise; it can go here and there, and as
a man says, so shall he be gainsaid. What is the use of our
bandying hard like women who when they fall foul of one another
go out and wrangle in the streets, one half true and the other
lies, as rage inspires them? No words of yours shall turn me now
that I am fain to fight--therefore let us make trial of one
another with our spears."

As he spoke he drove his spear at the great and terrible shield
of Achilles, which rang out as the point struck it. The son of
Peleus held the shield before him with his strong hand, and he
was afraid, for he deemed that Aeneas's spear would go through it
quite easily, not reflecting that the god's glorious gifts were
little likely to yield before the blows of mortal men; and indeed
Aeneas's spear did not pierce the shield, for the layer of gold,
gift of the god, stayed the point. It went through two layers,
but the god had made the shield in five, two of bronze, the two
innermost ones of tin, and one of gold; it was in this that the
spear was stayed.

Achilles in his turn threw, and struck the round shield of Aeneas
at the very edge, where the bronze was thinnest; the spear of
Pelian ash went clean through, and the shield rang under the
blow; Aeneas was afraid, and crouched backwards, holding the
shield away from him; the spear, however, flew over his back, and
stuck quivering in the ground, after having gone through both
circles of the sheltering shield. Aeneas though he had avoided
the spear, stood still, blinded with fear and grief because the
weapon had gone so near him; then Achilles sprang furiously upon
him, with a cry as of death and with his keen blade drawn, and
Aeneas seized a great stone, so huge that two men, as men now
are, would be unable to lift it, but Aeneas wielded it quite

Aeneas would then have struck Achilles as he was springing
towards him, either on the helmet, or on the shield that covered
him, and Achilles would have closed with him and despatched him
with his sword, had not Neptune lord of the earthquake been quick
to mark, and said forthwith to the immortals, "Alas, I am sorry
for great Aeneas, who will now go down to the house of Hades,
vanquished by the son of Peleus. Fool that he was to give ear to
the counsel of Apollo. Apollo will never save him from
destruction. Why should this man suffer when he is guiltless, to
no purpose, and in another's quarrel? Has he not at all times
offered acceptable sacrifice to the gods that dwell in heaven?
Let us then snatch him from death's jaws, lest the son of Saturn
be angry should Achilles slay him. It is fated, moreover, that he
should escape, and that the race of Dardanus, whom Jove loved
above all the sons born to him of mortal women, shall not perish
utterly without seed or sign. For now indeed has Jove hated the
blood of Priam, while Aeneas shall reign over the Trojans, he and
his children's children that shall be born hereafter."

Then answered Juno, "Earth-shaker, look to this matter yourself,
and consider concerning Aeneas, whether you will save him, or
suffer him, brave though he be, to fall by the hand of Achilles
son of Peleus. For of a truth we two, I and Pallas Minerva, have
sworn full many a time before all the immortals, that never would
we shield Trojans from destruction, not even when all Troy is
burning in the flames that the Achaeans shall kindle."

When earth-encircling Neptune heard this he went into the battle
amid the clash of spears, and came to the place where Achilles
and Aeneas were. Forthwith he shed a darkness before the eyes of
the son of Peleus, drew the bronze-headed ashen spear from the
shield of Aeneas, and laid it at the feet of Achilles. Then he
lifted Aeneas on high from off the earth and hurried him away.
Over the heads of many a band of warriors both horse and foot did
he soar as the god's hand sped him, till he came to the very
fringe of the battle where the Cauconians were arming themselves
for fight. Neptune, shaker of the earth, then came near to him
and said, "Aeneas, what god has egged you on to this folly in
fighting the son of Peleus, who is both a mightier man of valour
and more beloved of heaven than you are? Give way before him
whensoever you meet him, lest you go down to the house of Hades
even though fate would have it otherwise. When Achilles is dead
you may then fight among the foremost undaunted, for none other
of the Achaeans shall slay you."

The god left him when he had given him these instructions, and at
once removed the darkness from before the eyes of Achilles, who
opened them wide indeed and said in great anger, "Alas! what
marvel am I now beholding? Here is my spear upon the ground, but
I see not him whom I meant to kill when I hurled it. Of a truth
Aeneas also must be under heaven's protection, although I had
thought his boasting was idle. Let him go hang; he will be in no
mood to fight me further, seeing how narrowly he has missed being
killed. I will now give my orders to the Danaans and attack some
other of the Trojans."

He sprang forward along the line and cheered his men on as he did
so. "Let not the Trojans," he cried, "keep you at arm's length,
Achaeans, but go for them and fight them man for man. However
valiant I may be, I cannot give chase to so many and fight all of
them. Even Mars, who is an immortal, or Minerva, would shrink
from flinging himself into the jaws of such a fight and laying
about him; nevertheless, so far as in me lies I will show no
slackness of hand or foot nor want of endurance, not even for a
moment; I will utterly break their ranks, and woe to the Trojan
who shall venture within reach of my spear."

Thus did he exhort them. Meanwhile Hector called upon the Trojans
and declared that he would fight Achilles. "Be not afraid, proud
Trojans," said he, "to face the son of Peleus; I could fight gods
myself if the battle were one of words only, but they would be
more than a match for me, if we had to use our spears. Even so
the deed of Achilles will fall somewhat short of his word; he
will do in part, and the other part he will clip short. I will go
up against him though his hands be as fire--though his hands be
fire and his strength iron."

Thus urged the Trojans lifted up their spears against the
Achaeans, and raised the cry of battle as they flung themselves
into the midst of their ranks. But Phoebus Apollo came up to
Hector and said, "Hector, on no account must you challenge
Achilles to single combat; keep a lookout for him while you are
under cover of the others and away from the thick of the fight,
otherwise he will either hit you with a spear or cut you down at
close quarters."

Thus he spoke, and Hector drew back within the crowd, for he was
afraid when he heard what the god had said to him. Achilles then
sprang upon the Trojans with a terrible cry, clothed in valour as
with a garment. First he killed Iphition son of Otrynteus, a
leader of much people whom a naiad nymph had borne to Otrynteus
waster of cities, in the land of Hyde under the snowy heights of
Mt. Tmolus. Achilles struck him full on the head as he was coming
on towards him, and split it clean in two; whereon he fell
heavily to the ground and Achilles vaunted over him saying, "You
be low, son of Otrynteus, mighty hero; your death is here, but
your lineage is on the Gygaean lake where your father's estate
lies, by Hyllus, rich in fish, and the eddying waters of Hermus."

Thus did he vaunt, but darkness closed the eyes of the other.
The chariots of the Achaeans cut him up as their wheels passed
over him in the front of the battle, and after him Achilles
killed Demoleon, a valiant man of war and son to Antenor. He
struck him on the temple through his bronze-cheeked helmet. The
helmet did not stay the spear, but it went right on, crushing the
bone so that the brain inside was shed in all directions, and his
lust of fighting was ended. Then he struck Hippodamas in the
midriff as he was springing down from his chariot in front of
him, and trying to escape. He breathed his last, bellowing like a
bull bellows when young men are dragging him to offer him in
sacrifice to the King of Helice, and the heart of the
earth-shaker is glad; even so did he bellow as he lay dying.
Achilles then went in pursuit of Polydorus son of Priam, whom his
father had always forbidden to fight because he was the youngest
of his sons, the one he loved best, and the fastest runner. He,
in his folly and showing off the fleetness of his feet, was
rushing about among front ranks until he lost his life, for
Achilles struck him in the middle of the back as he was darting
past him: he struck him just at the golden fastenings of his belt
and where the two pieces of the double breastplate overlapped.
The point of the spear pierced him through and came out by the
navel, whereon he fell groaning on to his knees and a cloud of
darkness overshadowed him as he sank holding his entrails in his

When Hector saw his brother Polydorus with his entrails in his
hands and sinking down upon the ground, a mist came over his
eyes, and he could not bear to keep longer at a distance; he
therefore poised his spear and darted towards Achilles like a
flame of fire. When Achilles saw him he bounded forward and
vaunted saying, "This is he that has wounded my heart most deeply
and has slain my beloved comrade. Not for long shall we two quail
before one another on the highways of war."

He looked fiercely on Hector and said, "Draw near, that you may
meet your doom the sooner." Hector feared him not and answered,
"Son of Peleus, think not that your words can scare me as though
I were a child; I too if I will can brag and talk unseemly; I
know that you are a mighty warrior, mightier by far than I,
nevertheless the issue lies in the lap of heaven whether I, worse
man though I be, may not slay you with my spear, for this too has
been found keen ere now."

He hurled his spear as he spoke, but Minerva breathed upon it,
and though she breathed but very lightly she turned it back from
going towards Achilles, so that it returned to Hector and lay at
his feet in front of him. Achilles then sprang furiously on him
with a loud cry, bent on killing him, but Apollo caught him up
easily as a god can, and hid him in a thick darkness. Thrice did
Achilles spring towards him spear in hand, and thrice did he
waste his blow upon the air. When he rushed forward for the
fourth time as though he were a god, he shouted aloud saying,
"Hound, this time too you have escaped death--but of a truth it
came exceedingly near you. Phoebus Apollo, to whom it seems you
pray before you go into battle, has again saved you; but if I too
have any friend among the gods I will surely make an end of you
when I come across you at some other time. Now, however, I will
pursue and overtake other Trojans."

On this he struck Dryops with his spear, about the middle of his
neck, and he fell headlong at his feet. There he let him lie and
stayed Demouchus son of Philetor, a man both brave and of great
stature, by hitting him on the knee with a spear; then he smote
him with his sword and killed him. After this he sprang on
Laogonus and Dardanus, sons of Bias, and threw them from their
chariot, the one with a blow from a thrown spear, while the other
he cut down in hand-to-hand fight. There was also Tros the son of
Alastor--he came up to Achilles and clasped his knees in the hope
that he would spare him and not kill him but let him go, because
they were both of the same age. Fool, he might have known that he
should not prevail with him, for the man was in no mood for pity
or forbearance but was in grim earnest. Therefore when Tros laid
hold of his knees and sought a hearing for his prayers, Achilles
drove his sword into his liver, and the liver came rolling out,
while his bosom was all covered with the black blood that welled
from the wound. Thus did death close his eyes as he lay lifeless.

Achilles then went up to Mulius and struck him on the ear with a
spear, and the bronze spear-head came right out at the other ear.
He also struck Echeclus son of Agenor on the head with his sword,
which became warm with the blood, while death and stern fate
closed the eyes of Echeclus. Next in order the bronze point of
his spear wounded Deucalion in the fore-arm where the sinews of
the elbow are united, whereon he waited Achilles' onset with his
arm hanging down and death staring him in the face. Achilles cut
his head off with a blow from his sword and flung it helmet and
all away from him, and the marrow came oozing out of his backbone
as he lay. He then went in pursuit of Rhigmus, noble son of
Peires, who had come from fertile Thrace, and struck him through
the middle with a spear which fixed itself in his belly, so that
he fell headlong from his chariot. He also speared Areithous
squire to Rhigmus in the back as he was turning his horses in
flight, and thrust him from his chariot, while the horses were
struck with panic.

As a fire raging in some mountain glen after long drought--and
the dense forest is in a blaze, while the wind carries great
tongues of fire in every direction--even so furiously did
Achilles rage, wielding his spear as though he were a god, and
giving chase to those whom he would slay, till the dark earth ran
with blood. Or as one who yokes broad-browed oxen that they may
tread barley in a threshing-floor--and it is soon bruised small
under the feet of the lowing cattle--even so did the horses of
Achilles trample on the shields and bodies of the slain. The axle
underneath and the railing that ran round the car were
bespattered with clots of blood thrown up by the horses' hoofs,
and from the tyres of the wheels; but the son of Peleus pressed
on to win still further glory, and his hands were bedrabbled with


The fight between Achilles and the river Scamander--The gods
fight among themselves--Achilles drives the Trojans within
their gates.

NOW when they came to the ford of the full-flowing river Xanthus,
begotten of immortal Jove, Achilles cut their forces in two: one
half he chased over the plain towards the city by the same way
that the Achaeans had taken when flying panic-stricken on the
preceding day with Hector in full triumph; this way did they fly
pell-mell, and Juno sent down a thick mist in front of them to
stay them. The other half were hemmed in by the deep
silver-eddying stream, and fell into it with a great uproar. The
waters resounded, and the banks rang again, as they swam hither
and thither with loud cries amid the whirling eddies. As locusts
flying to a river before the blast of a grass fire--the flame
comes on and on till at last it overtakes them and they huddle
into the water--even so was the eddying stream of Xanthus filled
with the uproar of men and horses, all struggling in confusion
before Achilles.

Forthwith the hero left his spear upon the bank, leaning it
against a tamarisk bush, and plunged into the river like a god,
armed with his sword only. Fell was his purpose as he hewed the
Trojans down on every side. Their dying groans rose hideous as
the sword smote them, and the river ran red with blood. As when
fish fly scared before a huge dolphin, and fill every nook and
corner of some fair haven--for he is sure to eat all he can
catch--even so did the Trojans cower under the banks of the
mighty river, and when Achilles' arms grew weary with killing
them, he drew twelve youths alive out of the water, to sacrifice
in revenge for Patroclus son of Menoetius. He drew them out like
dazed fawns, bound their hands behind them with the girdles of
their own shirts, and gave them over to his men to take back to
the ships. Then he sprang into the river, thirsting for still
further blood.

There he found Lycaon, son of Priam seed of Dardanus, as he was
escaping out of the water; he it was whom he had once taken
prisoner when he was in his father's vineyard, having set upon
him by night, as he was cutting young shoots from a wild fig-tree
to make the wicker sides of a chariot. Achilles then caught him
to his sorrow unawares, and sent him by sea to Lemnos, where the
son of Jason bought him. But a guest-friend, Eetion of Imbros,
freed him with a great sum, and sent him to Arisbe, whence he had
escaped and returned to his father's house. He had spent eleven
days happily with his friends after he had come from Lemnos, but
on the twelfth heaven again delivered him into the hands of
Achilles, who was to send him to the house of Hades sorely
against his will. He was unarmed when Achilles caught sight of
him, and had neither helmet nor shield; nor yet had he any spear,
for he had thrown all his armour from him on to the bank, and was
sweating with his struggles to get out of the river, so that his
strength was now failing him.

Then Achilles said to himself in his surprise, "What marvel do I
see here? If this man can come back alive after having been sold
over into Lemnos, I shall have the Trojans also whom I have slain
rising from the world below. Could not even the waters of the
grey sea imprison him, as they do many another whether he will or
no? This time let him taste my spear, that I may know for certain
whether mother earth who can keep even a strong man down, will be
able to hold him, or whether thence too he will return."

Thus did he pause and ponder. But Lycaon came up to him dazed and
trying hard to embrace his knees, for he would fain live, not
die. Achilles thrust at him with his spear, meaning to kill him,
but Lycaon ran crouching up to him and caught his knees, whereby
the spear passed over his back, and stuck in the ground,
hungering though it was for blood. With one hand he caught
Achilles' knees as he besought him, and with the other he
clutched the spear and would not let it go. Then he said,
"Achilles, have mercy upon me and spare me, for I am your
suppliant. It was in your tents that I first broke bread on the
day when you took me prisoner in the vineyard; after which you
sold me away to Lemnos far from my father and my friends, and I
brought you the price of a hundred oxen. I have paid three times
as much to gain my freedom; it is but twelve days that I have
come to Ilius after much suffering, and now cruel fate has again
thrown me into your hands. Surely father Jove must hate me, that
he has given me over to you a second time. Short of life indeed
did my mother Laothoe bear me, daughter of aged Altes--of Altes
who reigns over the warlike Lelegae and holds steep Pedasus on
the river Satnioeis. Priam married his daughter along with many
other women and two sons were born of her, both of whom you will
have slain. Your spear slew noble Polydorus as he was fighting in
the front ranks, and now evil will here befall me, for I fear
that I shall not escape you since heaven has delivered me over to
you. Furthermore I say, and lay my saying to your heart, spare
me, for I am not of the same womb as Hector who slew your brave
and noble comrade."

With such words did the princely son of Priam beseech Achilles;
but Achilles answered him sternly. "Idiot," said he, "talk not to
me of ransom. Until Patroclus fell I preferred to give the
Trojans quarter, and sold beyond the sea many of those whom I had
taken alive; but now not a man shall live of those whom heaven
delivers into my hands before the city of Ilius--and of all
Trojans it shall fare hardest with the sons of Priam. Therefore,
my friend, you too shall die. Why should you whine in this way?
Patroclus fell, and he was a better man than you are. I too--see
you not how I am great and goodly? I am son to a noble father,
and have a goddess for my mother, but the hands of doom and death
overshadow me all as surely. The day will come, either at dawn or
dark, or at the noontide, when one shall take my life also in
battle, either with his spear, or with an arrow sped from his

Thus did he speak, and Lycaon's heart sank within him. He loosed
his hold of the spear, and held out both hands before him; but
Achilles drew his keen blade, and struck him by the collar-bone
on his neck; he plunged his two-edged sword into him to the very
hilt, whereon he lay at full length on the ground, with the dark
blood welling from him till the earth was soaked. Then Achilles
caught him by the foot and flung him into the river to go down
stream, vaunting over him the while, and saying, "Lie there among
the fishes, who will lick the blood from your wound and gloat
over it; your mother shall not lay you on any bier to mourn you,
but the eddies of Scamander shall bear you into the broad bosom
of the sea. There shall the fishes feed on the fat of Lycaon as
they dart under the dark ripple of the waters--so perish all of
you till we reach the citadel of strong Ilius--you in flight, and
I following after to destroy you. The river with its broad silver
stream shall serve you in no stead, for all the bulls you offered
him and all the horses that you flung living into his waters.
None the less miserably shall you perish till there is not a man
of you but has paid in full for the death of Patroclus and the
havoc you wrought among the Achaeans whom you have slain while I
held aloof from battle."

So spoke Achilles, but the river grew more and more angry, and
pondered within himself how he should stay the hand of Achilles
and save the Trojans from disaster. Meanwhile the son of Peleus,
spear in hand, sprang upon Asteropaeus son of Pelegon to kill
him. He was son to the broad river Axius and Periboea eldest
daughter of Acessamenus; for the river had lain with her.
Asteropaeus stood up out of the water to face him with a spear in
either hand, and Xanthus filled him with courage, being angry for
the death of the youths whom Achilles was slaying ruthlessly
within his waters. When they were close up with one another
Achilles was first to speak. "Who and whence are you," said he,
"who dare to face me? Woe to the parents whose son stands up
against me." And the son of Pelegon answered, "Great son of
Peleus, why should you ask my lineage. I am from the fertile land
of far Paeonia, captain of the Paeonians, and it is now eleven
days that I am at Ilius. I am of the blood of the river Axius--of
Axius that is the fairest of all rivers that run. He begot the
famed warrior Pelegon, whose son men call me. Let us now fight,

Thus did he defy him, and Achilles raised his spear of Pelian
ash. Asteropaeus failed with both his spears, for he could use
both hands alike; with the one spear he struck Achilles' shield,
but did not pierce it, for the layer of gold, gift of the god,
stayed the point; with the other spear he grazed the elbow of
Achilles' right arm drawing dark blood, but the spear itself went
by him and fixed itself in the ground, foiled of its bloody
banquet. Then Achilles, fain to kill him, hurled his spear at
Asteropaeus, but failed to hit him and struck the steep bank of
the river, driving the spear half its length into the earth. The
son of Peleus then drew his sword and sprang furiously upon him.
Asteropaeus vainly tried to draw Achilles' spear out of the bank
by main force; thrice did he tug at it, trying with all his might
to draw it out, and thrice he had to leave off trying; the fourth
time he tried to bend and break it, but ere he could do so
Achilles smote him with his sword and killed him. He struck him
in the belly near the navel, so that all his bowels came gushing
out on to the ground, and the darkness of death came over him as
he lay gasping. Then Achilles set his foot on his chest and
spoiled him of his armour, vaunting over him and saying, "Lie
there--begotten of a river though you be, it is hard for you to
strive with the offspring of Saturn's son. You declare yourself
sprung from the blood of a broad river, but I am of the seed of
mighty Jove. My father is Peleus, son of Aeacus ruler over the
many Myrmidons, and Aeacus was the son of Jove. Therefore as Jove

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