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The Iliad of Homer

Part 7 out of 8

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is mightier than any river that flows into the sea, so are his
children stronger than those of any river whatsoever. Moreover
you have a great river hard by if he can be of any use to you,
but there is no fighting against Jove the son of Saturn, with
whom not even King Achelous can compare, nor the mighty stream of
deep-flowing Oceanus, from whom all rivers and seas with all
springs and deep wells proceed; even Oceanus fears the lightnings
of great Jove, and his thunder that comes crashing out of

With this he drew his bronze spear out of the bank, and now that
he had killed Asteropaeus, he let him lie where he was on the
sand, with the dark water flowing over him and the eels and
fishes busy nibbling and gnawing the fat that was about his
kidneys. Then he went in chase of the Paeonians, who were flying
along the bank of the river in panic when they saw their leader
slain by the hands of the son of Peleus. Therein he slew
Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus, Mnesus, Thrasius, Oeneus, and
Ophelestes, and he would have slain yet others, had not the river
in anger taken human form, and spoken to him from out the deep
waters saying, "Achilles, if you excel all in strength, so do you
also in wickedness, for the gods are ever with you to protect
you: if, then, the son of Saturn has vouchsafed it to you to
destroy all the Trojans, at any rate drive them out of my stream,
and do your grim work on land. My fair waters are now filled with
corpses, nor can I find any channel by which I may pour myself
into the sea for I am choked with dead, and yet you go on
mercilessly slaying. I am in despair, therefore, O captain of
your host, trouble me no further."

Achilles answered, "So be it, Scamander, Jove-descended; but I
will never cease dealing out death among the Trojans, till I have
pent them up in their city, and made trial of Hector face to
face, that I may learn whether he is to vanquish me, or I him."

As he spoke he set upon the Trojans with a fury like that of the
gods. But the river said to Apollo, "Surely, son of Jove, lord of
the silver bow, you are not obeying the commands of Jove who
charged you straitly that you should stand by the Trojans and
defend them, till twilight fades, and darkness is over an the

Meanwhile Achilles sprang from the bank into mid-stream, whereon
the river raised a high wave and attacked him. He swelled his
stream into a torrent, and swept away the many dead whom Achilles
had slain and left within his waters. These he cast out on to the
land, bellowing like a bull the while, but the living he saved
alive, hiding them in his mighty eddies. The great and terrible
wave gathered about Achilles, falling upon him and beating on his
shield, so that he could not keep his feet; he caught hold of a
great elm-tree, but it came up by the roots, and tore away the
bank, damming the stream with its thick branches and bridging it
all across; whereby Achilles struggled out of the stream, and
fled full speed over the plain, for he was afraid.

But the mighty god ceased not in his pursuit, and sprang upon him
with a dark-crested wave, to stay his hands and save the Trojans
from destruction. The son of Peleus darted away a spear's throw
from him; swift as the swoop of a black hunter-eagle which is the
strongest and fleetest of all birds, even so did he spring
forward, and the armour rang loudly about his breast. He fled on
in front, but the river with a loud roar came tearing after. As
one who would water his garden leads a stream from some fountain
over his plants, and all his ground-spade in hand he clears away
the dams to free the channels, and the little stones run rolling
round and round with the water as it goes merrily down the bank
faster than the man can follow--even so did the river keep
catching up with Achilles albeit he was a fleet runner, for the
gods are stronger than men. As often as he would strive to stand
his ground, and see whether or no all the gods in heaven were in
league against him, so often would the mighty wave come beating
down upon his shoulders, and be would have to keep flying on and
on in great dismay; for the angry flood was tiring him out as it
flowed past him and ate the ground from under his feet.

Then the son of Peleus lifted up his voice to heaven saying,
"Father Jove, is there none of the gods who will take pity upon
me, and save me from the river? I do not care what may happen to
me afterwards. I blame none of the other dwellers on Olympus so
severely as I do my dear mother, who has beguiled and tricked me.
She told me I was to fall under the walls of Troy by the flying
arrows of Apollo; would that Hector, the best man among the
Trojans, might there slay me; then should I fall a hero by the
hand of a hero; whereas now it seems that I shall come to a most
pitiable end, trapped in this river as though I were some
swineherd's boy, who gets carried down a torrent while trying to
cross it during a storm."

As soon as he had spoken thus, Neptune and Minerva came up to him
in the likeness of two men, and took him by the hand to reassure
him. Neptune spoke first. "Son of Peleus," said he, "be not so
exceeding fearful; we are two gods, come with Jove's sanction to
assist you, I, and Pallas Minerva. It is not your fate to perish
in this river; he will abate presently as you will see; moreover
we strongly advise you, if you will be guided by us, not to stay
your hand from fighting till you have pent the Trojan host within
the famed walls of Ilius--as many of them as may escape. Then
kill Hector and go back to the ships, for we will vouchsafe you a
triumph over him."

When they had so said they went back to the other immortals, but
Achilles strove onward over the plain, encouraged by the charge
the gods had laid upon him. All was now covered with the flood of
waters, and much goodly armour of the youths that had been slain
was rifting about, as also many corpses, but he forced his way
against the stream, speeding right onwards, nor could the broad
waters stay him, for Minerva had endowed him with great strength.
Nevertheless Scamander did not slacken in his pursuit, but was
still more furious with the son of Peleus. He lifted his waters
into a high crest and cried aloud to Simois saying, "Dear
brother, let the two of us unite to save this man, or he will
sack the mighty city of King Priam, and the Trojans will not hold
out against him. Help me at once; fill your streams with water
from their sources, rouse all your torrents to a fury; raise your
wave on high, and let snags and stones come thundering down you
that we may make an end of this savage creature who is now
lording it as though he were a god. Nothing shall serve him
longer, not strength nor comeliness, nor his fine armour, which
forsooth shall soon be lying low in the deep waters covered over
with mud. I will wrap him in sand, and pour tons of shingle round
him, so that the Achaeans shall not know how to gather his bones
for the silt in which I shall have hidden him, and when they
celebrate his funeral they need build no barrow."

On this he upraised his tumultuous flood high against Achilles,
seething as it was with foam and blood and the bodies of the
dead. The dark waters of the river stood upright and would have
overwhelmed the son of Peleus, but Juno, trembling lest Achilles
should be swept away in the mighty torrent, lifted her voice on
high and called out to Vulcan her son. "Crook-foot," she cried,
"my child, be up and doing, for I deem it is with you that
Xanthus is fain to fight; help us at once, kindle a fierce fire;
I will then bring up the west and the white south wind in a
mighty hurricane from the sea, that shall bear the flames against
the heads and armour of the Trojans and consume them, while you
go along the banks of Xanthus burning his trees and wrapping him
round with fire. Let him not turn you back neither by fair words
nor foul, and slacken not till I shout and tell you. Then you may
stay your flames."

On this Vulcan kindled a fierce fire, which broke out first upon
the plain and burned the many dead whom Achilles had killed and
whose bodies were lying about in great numbers; by this means the
plain was dried and the flood stayed. As the north wind, blowing
on an orchard that has been sodden with autumn rain, soon dries
it, and the heart of the owner is glad--even so the whole plain
was dried and the dead bodies were consumed. Then he turned
tongues of fire on to the river. He burned the elms the willows
and the tamarisks, the lotus also, with the rushes and marshy
herbage that grew abundantly by the banks of the river. The eels
and fishes that go darting about everywhere in the water, these,
too, were sorely harassed by the flames that cunning Vulcan had
kindled, and the river himself was scalded, so that he spoke
saying, "Vulcan, there is no god can hold his own against you. I
cannot fight you when you flare out your flames in this way;
strive with me no longer. Let Achilles drive the Trojans out of
city immediately. What have I to do with quarrelling and helping

He was boiling as he spoke, and all his waters were seething. As
a cauldron upon a large fire boils when it is melting the lard of
some fatted hog, and the lard keeps bubbling up all over when the
dry faggots blaze under it--even so were the goodly waters of
Xanthus heated with the fire till they were boiling. He could
flow no longer but stayed his stream, so afflicted was he by the
blasts of fire which cunning Vulcan had raised. Then he prayed to
Juno and besought her saying, "Juno, why should your son vex my
stream with such especial fury? I am not so much to blame as all
the others are who have been helping the Trojans. I will leave
off, since you so desire it, and let son leave off also.
Furthermore I swear never again will I do anything to save the
Trojans from destruction, not even when all Troy is burning in
the flames which the Achaeans will kindle."

As soon as Juno heard this she said to her son Vulcan, "Son
Vulcan, hold now your flames; we ought not to use such violence
against a god for the sake of mortals."

When she had thus spoken Vulcan quenched his flames, and the
river went back once more into his own fair bed.

Xanthus was now beaten, so these two left off fighting, for Juno
stayed them though she was still angry; but a furious quarrel
broke out among the other gods, for they were of divided
counsels. They fell on one another with a mighty uproar--earth
groaned, and the spacious firmament rang out as with a blare of
trumpets. Jove heard as he was sitting on Olympus, and laughed
for joy when he saw the gods coming to blows among themselves.
They were not long about beginning, and Mars piercer of shields
opened the battle. Sword in hand he sprang at once upon Minerva
and reviled her. "Why, vixen," said he, "have you again set the
gods by the ears in the pride and haughtiness of your heart? Have
you forgotten how you set Diomed son of Tydeus on to wound me,
and yourself took visible spear and drove it into me to the hurt
of my fair body? You shall now suffer for what you then did to

As he spoke he struck her on the terrible tasselled aegis--so
terrible that not even can Jove's lightning pierce it. Here did
murderous Mars strike her with his great spear. She drew back and
with her strong hand seized a stone that was lying on the plain--
great and rugged and black--which men of old had set for the
boundary of a field. With this she struck Mars on the neck, and
brought him down. Nine roods did he cover in his fall, and his
hair was all soiled in the dust, while his armour rang rattling
round him. But Minerva laughed and vaunted over him saying,
"Idiot, have you not learned how far stronger I am than you, but
you must still match yourself against me? Thus do your mother's
curses now roost upon you, for she is angry and would do you
mischief because you have deserted the Achaeans and are helping
the Trojans."

She then turned her two piercing eyes elsewhere, whereon Jove's
daughter Venus took Mars by the hand and led him away groaning
all the time, for it was only with great difficulty that he had
come to himself again. When Queen Juno saw her, she said to
Minerva, "Look, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, that
vixen Venus is again taking Mars through the crowd out of the
battle; go after her at once."

Thus she spoke. Minerva sped after Venus with a will, and made at
her, striking her on the bosom with her strong hand so that she
fell fainting to the ground, and there they both lay stretched at
full length. Then Minerva vaunted over her saying, "May all who
help the Trojans against the Argives prove just as redoubtable
and stalwart as Venus did when she came across me while she was
helping Mars. Had this been so, we should long since have ended
the war by sacking the strong city of Ilius."

Juno smiled as she listened. Meanwhile King Neptune turned to
Apollo saying, "Phoebus, why should we keep each other at arm's
length? it is not well, now that the others have begun fighting;
it will be disgraceful to us if we return to Jove's
bronze-floored mansion on Olympus without having fought each
other; therefore come on, you are the younger of the two, and I
ought not to attack you, for I am older and have had more
experience. Idiot, you have no sense, and forget how we two alone
of all the gods fared hardly round about Ilius when we came from
Jove's house and worked for Laomedon a whole year at a stated
wage and he gave us his orders. I built the Trojans the wall
about their city, so wide and fair that it might be impregnable,
while you, Phoebus, herded cattle for him in the dales of many
valleyed Ida. When, however, the glad hours brought round the
time of payment, mighty Laomedon robbed us of all our hire and
sent us off with nothing but abuse. He threatened to bind us hand
and foot and sell us over into some distant island. He tried,
moreover, to cut off the ears of both of us, so we went away in a
rage, furious about the payment he had promised us, and yet
withheld; in spite of all this, you are now showing favour to his
people, and will not join us in compassing the utter ruin of the
proud Trojans with their wives and children."

And King Apollo answered, "Lord of the earthquake, you would have
no respect for me if I were to fight you about a pack of
miserable mortals, who come out like leaves in summer and eat the
fruit of the field, and presently fall lifeless to the ground.
Let us stay this fighting at once and let them settle it among

He turned away as he spoke, for he would lay no hand on the
brother of his own father. But his sister the huntress Diana,
patroness of wild beasts, was very angry with him and said, "So
you would fly, Far-Darter, and hand victory over to Neptune with
a cheap vaunt to boot. Baby, why keep your bow thus idle? Never
let me again hear you bragging in my father's house, as you have
often done in the presence of the immortals, that you would stand
up and fight with Neptune."

Apollo made her no answer, but Jove's august queen was angry and
upbraided her bitterly. "Bold vixen," she cried, "how dare you
cross me thus? For all your bow you will find it hard to hold
your own against me. Jove made you as a lion among women, and
lets you kill them whenever you choose. You will find it better
to chase wild beasts and deer upon the mountains than to fight
those who are stronger than you are. If you would try war, do so,
and find out by pitting yourself against me, how far stronger I
am than you are."

She caught both Diana's wrists with her left hand as she spoke,
and with her right she took the bow from her shoulders, and
laughed as she beat her with it about the ears while Diana
wriggled and writhed under her blows. Her swift arrows were shed
upon the ground, and she fled weeping from under Juno's hand as a
dove that flies before a falcon to the cleft of some hollow rock,
when it is her good fortune to escape. Even so did she fly
weeping away, leaving her bow and arrows behind her.

Then the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, said to Leto,
"Leto, I shall not fight you; it is ill to come to blows with any
of Jove's wives. Therefore boast as you will among the immortals
that you worsted me in fair fight."

Leto then gathered up Diana's bow and arrows that had fallen
about amid the whirling dust, and when she had got them she made
all haste after her daughter. Diana had now reached Jove's
bronze-floored mansion on Olympus, and sat herself down with many
tears on the knees of her father, while her ambrosial raiment was
quivering all about her. The son of Saturn drew her towards him,
and laughing pleasantly the while began to question her saying,
"Which of the heavenly beings, my dear child, has been treating
you in this cruel manner, as though you had been misconducting
yourself in the face of everybody?" and the fair-crowned goddess
of the chase answered, "It was your wife Juno, father, who has
been beating me; it is always her doing when there is any
quarrelling among the immortals."

Thus did they converse, and meanwhile Phoebus Apollo entered the
strong city of Ilius, for he was uneasy lest the wall should not
hold out and the Danaans should take the city then and there,
before its hour had come; but the rest of the ever-living gods
went back, some angry and some triumphant to Olympus, where they
took their seats beside Jove lord of the storm cloud, while
Achilles still kept on dealing out death alike on the Trojans and
on their horses. As when the smoke from some burning city ascends
to heaven when the anger of the gods has kindled it--there is
then toil for all, and sorrow for not a few--even so did Achilles
bring toil and sorrow on the Trojans.

Old King Priam stood on a high tower of the wall looking down on
huge Achilles as the Trojans fled panic-stricken before him, and
there was none to help them. Presently he came down from off the
tower and with many a groan went along the wall to give orders to
the brave warders of the gate. "Keep the gates," said he, "wide
open till the people come flying into the city, for Achilles is
hard by and is driving them in rout before him. I see we are in
great peril. As soon as our people are inside and in safety,
close the strong gates for I fear lest that terrible man should
come bounding inside along with the others."

As he spoke they drew back the bolts and opened the gates, and
when these were opened there was a haven of refuge for the
Trojans. Apollo then came full speed out of the city to meet them
and protect them. Right for the city and the high wall, parched
with thirst and grimy with dust, still they fied on, with
Achilles wielding his spear furiously behind them. For he was as
one possessed, and was thirsting after glory.

Then had the sons of the Achaeans taken the lofty gates of Troy
if Apollo had not spurred on Agenor, valiant and noble son to
Antenor. He put courage into his heart, and stood by his side to
guard him, leaning against a beech tree and shrouded in thick
darkness. When Agenor saw Achilles he stood still and his heart
was clouded with care. "Alas," said he to himself in his dismay,
"if I fly before mighty Achilles, and go where all the others are
being driven in rout, he will none the less catch me and kill me
for a coward. How would it be were I to let Achilles drive the
others before him, and then fly from the wall to the plain that
is behind Ilius till I reach the spurs of Ida and can hide in the
underwood that is thereon? I could then wash the sweat from off
me in the river and in the evening return to Ilius. But why
commune with myself in this way? Like enough he would see me as I
am hurrying from the city over the plain, and would speed after
me till he had caught me--I should stand no chance against him,
for he is mightiest of all mankind. What, then, if I go out and
meet him in front of the city? His flesh too, I take it, can be
pierced by pointed bronze. Life is the same in one and all, and
men say that he is but mortal despite the triumph that Jove son
of Saturn vouchsafes him."

So saying he stood on his guard and awaited Achilles, for he was
now fain to fight him. As a leopardess that bounds from out a
thick covert to attack a hunter--she knows no fear and is not
dismayed by the baying of the hounds; even though the man be too
quick for her and wound her either with thrust or spear, still,
though the spear has pierced her she will not give in till she
has either caught him in her grip or been killed outright--even
so did noble Agenor son of Antenor refuse to fly till he had made
trial of Achilles, and took aim at him with his spear, holding
his round shield before him and crying with a loud voice. "Of a
truth," said he, "noble Achilles, you deem that you shall this
day sack the city of the proud Trojans. Fool, there will be
trouble enough yet before it, for there is many a brave man of us
still inside who will stand in front of our dear parents with our
wives and children, to defend Ilius. Here therefore, huge and
mighty warrior though you be, here shall you die."

As he spoke his strong hand hurled his javelin from him, and the
spear struck Achilles on the leg beneath the knee; the greave of
newly wrought tin rang loudly, but the spear recoiled from the
body of him whom it had struck, and did not pierce it, for the
gods gift stayed it. Achilles in his turn attacked noble Agenor,
but Apollo would not vouchsafe him glory, for he snatched Agenor
away and hid him in a thick mist, sending him out of the battle
unmolested Then he craftily drew the son of Peleus away from
going after the host, for he put on the semblance of Agenor and
stood in front of Achilles, who ran towards him to give him chase
and pursued him over the corn lands of the plain, turning him
towards the deep waters of the river Scamander. Apollo ran but a
little way before him and beguiled Achilles by making him think
all the time that he was on the point of overtaking him.
Meanwhile the rabble of routed Trojans was thankful to crowd
within the city till their numbers thronged it; no longer did
they dare wait for one another outside the city walls, to learn
who had escaped and who were fallen in fight, but all whose feet
and knees could still carry them poured pell-mell into the town.


The death of Hector.

THUS the Trojans in the city, scared like fawns, wiped the sweat
from off them and drank to quench their thirst, leaning against
the goodly battlements, while the Achaeans with their shields
laid upon their shoulders drew close up to the walls. But stern
fate bade Hector stay where he was before Ilius and the Scaean
gates. Then Phoebus Apollo spoke to the son of Peleus saying,
"Why, son of Peleus, do you, who are but man, give chase to me
who am immortal? Have you not yet found out that it is a god whom
you pursue so furiously? You did not harass the Trojans whom you
had routed, and now they are within their walls, while you have
been decoyed hither away from them. Me you cannot kill, for death
can take no hold upon me."

Achilles was greatly angered and said, "You have baulked me,
Far-Darter, most malicious of all gods, and have drawn me away
from the wall, where many another man would have bitten the dust
ere he got within Ilius; you have robbed me of great glory and
have saved the Trojans at no risk to yourself, for you have
nothing to fear, but I would indeed have my revenge if it were in
my power to do so."

On this, with fell intent he made towards the city, and as the
winning horse in a chariot race strains every nerve when he is
flying over the plain, even so fast and furiously did the limbs
of Achilles bear him onwards. King Priam was first to note him as
he scoured the plain, all radiant as the star which men call
Orion's Hound, and whose beams blaze forth in time of harvest
more brilliantly than those of any other that shines by night;
brightest of them all though he be, he yet bodes ill for mortals,
for he brings fire and fever in his train--even so did Achilles'
armour gleam on his breast as he sped onwards. Priam raised a cry
and beat his head with his hands as he lifted them up and shouted
out to his dear son, imploring him to return; but Hector still
stayed before the gates, for his heart was set upon doing battle
with Achilles. The old man reached out his arms towards him and
bade him for pity's sake come within the walls. "Hector," he
cried, "my son, stay not to face this man alone and unsupported,
or you will meet death at the hands of the son of Peleus, for he
is mightier than you. Monster that he is; would indeed that the
gods loved him no better than I do, for so, dogs and vultures
would soon devour him as he lay stretched on earth, and a load of
grief would be lifted from my heart, for many a brave son has he
reft from me, either by killing them or selling them away in the
islands that are beyond the sea: even now I miss two sons from
among the Trojans who have thronged within the city, Lycaon and
Polydorus, whom Laothoe peeress among women bore me. Should they
be still alive and in the hands of the Achaeans, we will ransom
them with gold and bronze, of which we have store, for the old
man Altes endowed his daughter richly; but if they are already
dead and in the house of Hades, sorrow will it be to us two who
were their parents; albeit the grief of others will be more
short-lived unless you too perish at the hands of Achilles. Come,
then, my son, within the city, to be the guardian of Trojan men
and Trojan women, or you will both lose your own life and afford
a mighty triumph to the son of Peleus. Have pity also on your
unhappy father while life yet remains to him--on me, whom the son
of Saturn will destroy by a terrible doom on the threshold of old
age, after I have seen my sons slain and my daughters haled away
as captives, my bridal chambers pillaged, little children dashed
to earth amid the rage of battle, and my sons' wives dragged away
by the cruel hands of the Achaeans; in the end fierce hounds will
tear me in pieces at my own gates after some one has beaten the
life out of my body with sword or spear-hounds that I myself
reared and fed at my own table to guard my gates, but who will
yet lap my blood and then lie all distraught at my doors. When a
young man falls by the sword in battle, he may lie where he is
and there is nothing unseemly; let what will be seen, all is
honourable in death, but when an old man is slain there is
nothing in this world more pitiable than that dogs should defile
his grey hair and beard and all that men hide for shame."

The old man tore his grey hair as he spoke, but he moved not the
heart of Hector. His mother hard by wept and moaned aloud as she
bared her bosom and pointed to the breast which had suckled him.
"Hector," she cried, weeping bitterly the while, "Hector, my son,
spurn not this breast, but have pity upon me too: if I have ever
given you comfort from my own bosom, think on it now, dear son,
and come within the wall to protect us from this man; stand not
without to meet him. Should the wretch kill you, neither I nor
your richly dowered wife shall ever weep, dear offshoot of
myself, over the bed on which you lie, for dogs will devour you
at the ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did the two with many tears implore their son, but they
moved not the heart of Hector, and he stood his ground awaiting
huge Achilles as he drew nearer towards him. As serpent in its
den upon the mountains, full fed with deadly poisons, waits for
the approach of man--he is filled with fury and his eyes glare
terribly as he goes writhing round his den--even so Hector leaned
his shield against a tower that jutted out from the wall and
stood where he was, undaunted.

"Alas," said he to himself in the heaviness of his heart, "if I
go within the gates, Polydamas will be the first to heap reproach
upon me, for it was he that urged me to lead the Trojans back to
the city on that awful night when Achilles again came forth
against us. I would not listen, but it would have been indeed
better if I had done so. Now that my folly has destroyed the
host, I dare not look Trojan men and Trojan women in the face,
lest a worse man should say, 'Hector has ruined us by his
self-confidence.' Surely it would be better for me to return
after having fought Achilles and slain him, or to die gloriously
here before the city. What, again, if I were to lay down my
shield and helmet, lean my spear against the wall and go straight
up to noble Achilles? What if I were to promise to give up Helen,
who was the fountainhead of all this war, and all the treasure
that Alexandrus brought with him in his ships to Troy, aye, and
to let the Achaeans divide the half of everything that the city
contains among themselves? I might make the Trojans, by the
mouths of their princes, take a solemn oath that they would hide
nothing, but would divide into two shares all that is within the
city--but why argue with myself in this way? Were I to go up to
him he would show me no kind of mercy; he would kill me then and
there as easily as though I were a woman, when I had off my
armour. There is no parleying with him from some rock or oak
tree as young men and maidens prattle with one another. Better
fight him at once, and learn to which of us Jove will vouchsafe

Thus did he stand and ponder, but Achilles came up to him as it
were Mars himself, plumed lord of battle. From his right shoulder
he brandished his terrible spear of Pelian ash, and the bronze
gleamed around him like flashing fire or the rays of the rising
sun. Fear fell upon Hector as he beheld him, and he dared not
stay longer where he was but fled in dismay from before the
gates, while Achilles darted after him at his utmost speed. As a
mountain falcon, swiftest of all birds, swoops down upon some
cowering dove--the dove flies before him but the falcon with a
shrill scream follows close after, resolved to have her--even so
did Achilles make straight for Hector with all his might, while
Hector fled under the Trojan wall as fast as his limbs could take

On they flew along the waggon-road that ran hard by under the
wall, past the lookout station, and past the weather-beaten wild
fig-tree, till they came to two fair springs which feed the river
Scamander. One of these two springs is warm, and steam rises from
it as smoke from a burning fire, but the other even in summer is
as cold as hail or snow, or the ice that forms on water. Here,
hard by the springs, are the goodly washing-troughs of stone,
where in the time of peace before the coming of the Achaeans the
wives and fair daughters of the Trojans used to wash their
clothes. Past these did they fly, the one in front and the other
giving chase behind him: good was the man that fled, but better
far was he that followed after, and swiftly indeed did they run,
for the prize was no mere beast for sacrifice or bullock's hide,
as it might be for a common foot-race, but they ran for the life
of Hector. As horses in a chariot race speed round the
turning-posts when they are running for some great prize--a
tripod or woman--at the games in honour of some dead hero, so did
these two run full speed three times round the city of Priam. All
the gods watched them, and the sire of gods and men was the first
to speak.

"Alas," said he, "my eyes behold a man who is dear to me being
pursued round the walls of Troy; my heart is full of pity for
Hector, who has burned the thigh-bones of many a heifer in my
honour, one while on the crests of many-valleyed Ida, and again
on the citadel of Troy; and now I see noble Achilles in full
pursuit of him round the city of Priam. What say you? Consider
among yourselves and decide whether we shall now save him or let
him fall, valiant though he be, before Achilles, son of Peleus."

Then Minerva said, "Father, wielder of the lightning, lord of
cloud and storm, what mean you? Would you pluck this mortal whose
doom has long been decreed out of the jaws of death? Do as you
will, but we others shall not be of a mind with you."

And Jove answered, "My child, Trito-born, take heart. I did not
speak in full earnest, and I will let you have your way. Do
without let or hindrance as you are minded."

Thus did he urge Minerva who was already eager, and down she
darted from the topmost summits of Olympus.

Achilles was still in full pursuit of Hector, as a hound chasing
a fawn which he has started from its covert on the mountains, and
hunts through glade and thicket. The fawn may try to elude him by
crouching under cover of a bush, but he will scent her out and
follow her up until he gets her--even so there was no escape for
Hector from the fleet son of Peleus. Whenever he made a set to
get near the Dardanian gates and under the walls, that his people
might help him by showering down weapons from above, Achilles
would gain on him and head him back towards the plain, keeping
himself always on the city side. As a man in a dream who fails to
lay hands upon another whom he is pursuing--the one cannot escape
nor the other overtake--even so neither could Achilles come up
with Hector, nor Hector break away from Achilles; nevertheless he
might even yet have escaped death had not the time come when
Apollo, who thus far had sustained his strength and nerved his
running, was now no longer to stay by him. Achilles made signs to
the Achaean host, and shook his head to show that no man was to
aim a dart at Hector, lest another might win the glory of having
hit him and he might himself come in second. Then, at last, as
they were nearing the fountains for the fourth time, the father
of all balanced his golden scales and placed a doom in each of
them, one for Achilles and the other for Hector. As he held the
scales by the middle, the doom of Hector fell down deep into the
house of Hades--and then Phoebus Apollo left him. Thereon Minerva
went close up to the son of Peleus and said, "Noble Achilles,
favoured of heaven, we two shall surely take back to the ships a
triumph for the Achaeans by slaying Hector, for all his lust of
battle. Do what Apollo may as he lies grovelling before his
father, aegis-bearing Jove, Hector cannot escape us longer. Stay
here and take breath, while I go up to him and persuade him to
make a stand and fight you."

Thus spoke Minerva. Achilles obeyed her gladly, and stood still,
leaning on his bronze-pointed ashen spear, while Minerva left him
and went after Hector in the form and with the voice of
Deiphobus. She came close up to him and said, "Dear brother, I
see you are hard pressed by Achilles who is chasing you at full
speed round the city of Priam, let us await his onset and stand
on our defence."

And Hector answered, "Deiphobus, you have always been dearest to
me of all my brothers, children of Hecuba and Priam, but
henceforth I shall rate you yet more highly, inasmuch as you have
ventured outside the wall for my sake when all the others remain

Then Minerva said, "Dear brother, my father and mother went down
on their knees and implored me, as did all my comrades, to remain
inside, so great a fear has fallen upon them all; but I was in an
agony of grief when I beheld you; now, therefore, let us two make
a stand and fight, and let there be no keeping our spears in
reserve, that we may learn whether Achilles shall kill us and
bear off our spoils to the ships, or whether he shall fall before

Thus did Minerva inveigle him by her cunning, and when the two
were now close to one another great Hector was first to speak. "I
will-no longer fly you, son of Peleus," said he, "as I have been
doing hitherto. Three times have I fled round the mighty city of
Priam, without daring to withstand you, but now, let me either
slay or be slain, for I am in the mind to face you. Let us, then,
give pledges to one another by our gods, who are the fittest
witnesses and guardians of all covenants; let it be agreed
between us that if Jove vouchsafes me the longer stay and I take
your life, I am not to treat your dead body in any unseemly
fashion, but when I have stripped you of your armour, I am to
give up your body to the Achaeans. And do you likewise."

Achilles glared at him and answered, "Fool, prate not to me about
covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions,
wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other
out and out an through. Therefore there can be no understanding
between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us,
till one or other shall fall and glut grim Mars with his life's
blood. Put forth all your strength; you have need now to prove
yourself indeed a bold soldier and man of war. You have no more
chance, and Pallas Minerva will forthwith vanquish you by my
spear: you shall now pay me in full for the grief you have caused
me on account of my comrades whom you have killed in battle."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. Hector saw it
coming and avoided it; he watched it and crouched down so that it
flew over his head and stuck in the ground beyond; Minerva then
snatched it up and gave it back to Achilles without Hector's
seeing her; Hector thereon said to the son of Peleus, "You have
missed your aim, Achilles, peer of the gods, and Jove has not yet
revealed to you the hour of my doom, though you made sure that he
had done so. You were a false-tongued liar when you deemed that I
should forget my valour and quail before you. You shall not drive
spear into the back of a runaway--drive it, should heaven so
grant you power, drive it into me as I make straight towards you;
and now for your own part avoid my spear if you can--would that
you might receive the whole of it into your body; if you were
once dead the Trojans would find the war an easier matter, for it
is you who have harmed them most."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. His aim was true
for he hit the middle of Achilles' shield, but the spear
rebounded from it, and did not pierce it. Hector was angry when
he saw that the weapon had sped from his hand in vain, and stood
there in dismay for he had no second spear. With a loud cry he
called Deiphobus and asked him for one, but there was no man;
then he saw the truth and said to himself, "Alas! the gods have
lured me on to my destruction. I deemed that the hero Deiphobus
was by my side, but he is within the wall, and Minerva has
inveigled me; death is now indeed exceedingly near at hand and
there is no way out of it--for so Jove and his son Apollo the
far-darter have willed it, though heretofore they have been ever
ready to protect me. My doom has come upon me; let me not then
die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some
great thing that shall be told among men hereafter."

As he spoke he drew the keen blade that hung so great and strong
by his side, and gathering himself together be sprang on Achilles
like a soaring eagle which swoops down from the clouds on to some
lamb or timid hare--even so did Hector brandish his sword and
spring upon Achilles. Achilles mad with rage darted towards him,
with his wondrous shield before his breast, and his gleaming
helmet, made with four layers of metal, nodding fiercely forward.
The thick tresses of gold with which Vulcan had crested the
helmet floated round it, and as the evening star that shines
brighter than all others through the stillness of night, even
such was the gleam of the spear which Achilles poised in his
right hand, fraught with the death of noble Hector. He eyed his
fair flesh over and over to see where he could best wound it, but
all was protected by the goodly armour of which Hector had
spoiled Patroclus after he had slain him, save only the throat
where the collar-bones divide the neck from the shoulders, and
this is a most deadly place: here then did Achilles strike him as
he was coming on towards him, and the point of his spear went
right through the fleshy part of the neck, but it did not sever
his windpipe so that he could still speak. Hector fell headlong,
and Achilles vaunted over him saying, "Hector, you deemed that
you should come off scatheless when you were spoiling Patroclus,
and recked not of myself who was not with him. Fool that you
were: for I, his comrade, mightier far than he, was still left
behind him at the ships, and now I have laid you low. The
Achaeans shall give him all due funeral rites, while dogs and
vultures shall work their will upon yourself."

Then Hector said, as the life ebbed out of him, "I pray you by
your life and knees, and by your parents, let not dogs devour me
at the ships of the Achaeans, but accept the rich treasure of
gold and bronze which my father and mother will offer you, and
send my body home, that the Trojans and their wives may give me
my dues of fire when I am dead."

Achilles glared at him and answered, "Dog, talk not to me neither
of knees nor parents; would that I could be as sure of being able
to cut your flesh into pieces and eat it raw, for the ill you
have done me, as I am that nothing shall save you from the
dogs--it shall not be, though they bring ten or twenty-fold
ransom and weigh it out for me on the spot, with promise of yet
more hereafter. Though Priam son of Dardanus should bid them
offer me your weight in gold, even so your mother shall never lay
you out and make lament over the son she bore, but dogs and
vultures shall eat you utterly up."

Hector with his dying breath then said, "I know you what you are,
and was sure that I should not move you, for your heart is hard
as iron; look to it that I bring not heaven's anger upon you on
the day when Paris and Phoebus Apollo, valiant though you be,
shall slay you at the Scaean gates."

When he had thus said the shrouds of death enfolded him, whereon
his soul went out of him and flew down to the house of Hades,
lamenting its sad fate that it should enjoy youth and strength no
longer. But Achilles said, speaking to the dead body, "Die; for
my part I will accept my fate whensoever Jove and the other gods
see fit to send it."

As he spoke he drew his spear from the body and set it on one
side; then he stripped the blood-stained armour from Hector's
shoulders while the other Achaeans came running up to view his
wondrous strength and beauty; and no one came near him without
giving him a fresh wound. Then would one turn to his neighbour
and say, "It is easier to handle Hector now than when he was
flinging fire on to our ships" and as he spoke he would thrust
his spear into him anew.

When Achilles had done spoiling Hector of his armour, he stood
among the Argives and said, "My friends, princes and counsellors
of the Argives, now that heaven has vouchsafed us to overcome
this man, who has done us more hurt than all the others together,
consider whether we should not attack the city in force, and
discover in what mind the Trojans may be. We should thus learn
whether they will desert their city now that Hector has fallen,
or will still hold out even though he is no longer living. But
why argue with myself in this way, while Patroclus is still lying
at the ships unburied, and unmourned--he whom I can never forget
so long as I am alive and my strength fails not? Though men
forget their dead when once they are within the house of Hades,
yet not even there will I forget the comrade whom I have lost.
Now, therefore, Achaean youths, let us raise the song of victory
and go back to the ships taking this man along with us; for we
have achieved a mighty triumph and have slain noble Hector to
whom the Trojans prayed throughout their city as though he were a

On this he treated the body of Hector with contumely: he pierced
the sinews at the back of both his feet from heel to ancle and
passed thongs of ox-hide through the slits he had made: thus he
made the body fast to his chariot, letting the head trail upon
the ground. Then when he had put the goodly armour on the chariot
and had himself mounted, he lashed his horses on and they flew
forward nothing loth. The dust rose from Hector as he was being
dragged along, his dark hair flew all abroad, and his head once
so comely was laid low on earth, for Jove had now delivered him
into the hands of his foes to do him outrage in his own land.

Thus was the head of Hector being dishonoured in the dust. His
mother tore her hair, and flung her veil from her with a loud cry
as she looked upon her son. His father made piteous moan, and
throughout the city the people fell to weeping and wailing. It
was as though the whole of frowning Ilius was being smirched with
fire. Hardly could the people hold Priam back in his hot haste to
rush without the gates of the city. He grovelled in the mire and
besought them, calling each one of them by his name. "Let be, my
friends," he cried, "and for all your sorrow, suffer me to go
single-handed to the ships of the Achaeans. Let me beseech this
cruel and terrible man, if maybe he will respect the feeling of
his fellow-men, and have compassion on my old age. His own father
is even such another as myself--Peleus, who bred him and reared
him to be the bane of us Trojans, and of myself more than of all
others. Many a son of mine has he slain in the flower of his
youth, and yet, grieve for these as I may, I do so for one--
Hector--more than for them all, and the bitterness of my sorrow
will bring me down to the house of Hades. Would that he had died
in my arms, for so both his ill-starred mother who bore him, and
myself, should have had the comfort of weeping and mourning over

Thus did he speak with many tears, and all the people of the city
joined in his lament. Hecuba then raised the cry of wailing among
the Trojans. "Alas, my son," she cried, "what have I left to live
for now that you are no more? Night and day did I glory in you
throughout the city, for you were a tower of strength to all in
Troy, and both men and women alike hailed you as a god. So long
as you lived you were their pride, but now death and destruction
have fallen upon you."

Hector's wife had as yet heard nothing, for no one had come to
tell her that her husband had remained without the gates. She was
at her loom in an inner part of the house, weaving a double
purple web, and embroidering it with many flowers. She told her
maids to set a large tripod on the fire, so as to have a warm
bath ready for Hector when he came out of battle; poor woman, she
knew not that he was now beyond the reach of baths, and that
Minerva had laid him low by the hands of Achilles. She heard the
cry coming as from the wall, and trembled in every limb; the
shuttle fell from her hands, and again she spoke to her
waiting-women. "Two of you," she said, "come with me that I may
learn what it is that has befallen; I heard the voice of my
husband's honoured mother; my own heart beats as though it would
come into my mouth and my limbs refuse to carry me; some great
misfortune for Priam's children must be at hand. May I never live
to hear it, but I greatly fear that Achilles has cut off the
retreat of brave Hector and has chased him on to the plain where
he was singlehanded; I fear he may have put an end to the
reckless daring which possessed my husband, who would never
remain with the body of his men, but would dash on far in front,
foremost of them all in valour."

Her heart beat fast, and as she spoke she flew from the house
like a maniac, with her waiting-women following after. When she
reached the battlements and the crowd of people, she stood
looking out upon the wall, and saw Hector being borne away in
front of the city--the horses dragging him without heed or care
over the ground towards the ships of the Achaeans. Her eyes were
then shrouded as with the darkness of night and she fell fainting
backwards. She tore the attiring from her head and flung it from
her, the frontlet and net with its plaited band, and the veil
which golden Venus had given her on the day when Hector took her
with him from the house of Eetion, after having given countless
gifts of wooing for her sake. Her husband's sisters and the wives
of his brothers crowded round her and supported her, for she was
fain to die in her distraction; when she again presently breathed
and came to herself, she sobbed and made lament among the Trojans
saying, "Woe is me, O Hector; woe, indeed, that to share a common
lot we were born, you at Troy in the house of Priam, and I at
Thebes under the wooded mountain of Placus in the house of Eetion
who brought me up when I was a child--ill-starred sire of an
ill-starred daughter--would that he had never begotten me. You
are now going into the house of Hades under the secret places of
the earth, and you leave me a sorrowing widow in your house. The
child, of whom you and I are the unhappy parents, is as yet a
mere infant. Now that you are gone, O Hector, you can do nothing
for him nor he for you. Even though he escape the horrors of this
woeful war with the Achaeans, yet shall his life henceforth be
one of labour and sorrow, for others will seize his lands. The
day that robs a child of his parents severs him from his own
kind; his head is bowed, his cheeks are wet with tears, and he
will go about destitute among the friends of his father, plucking
one by the cloak and another by the shirt. Some one or other of
these may so far pity him as to hold the cup for a moment towards
him and let him moisten his lips, but he must not drink enough to
wet the roof of his mouth; then one whose parents are alive will
drive him from the table with blows and angry words. 'Out with
you,' he will say, 'you have no father here,' and the child will
go crying back to his widowed mother--he, Astyanax, who erewhile
would sit upon his father's knees, and have none but the
daintiest and choicest morsels set before him. When he had played
till he was tired and went to sleep, he would lie in a bed, in
the arms of his nurse, on a soft couch, knowing neither want nor
care, whereas now that he has lost his father his lot will be
full of hardship--he, whom the Trojans name Astyanax, because
you, O Hector, were the only defence of their gates and
battlements. The wriggling writhing worms will now eat you at the
ships, far from your parents, when the dogs have glutted
themselves upon you. You will lie naked, although in your house
you have fine and goodly raiment made by hands of women. This
will I now burn; it is of no use to you, for you can never again
wear it, and thus you will have respect shown you by the Trojans
both men and women."

In such wise did she cry aloud amid her tears, and the women
joined in her lament.


The funeral of Patroclus, and the funeral games.

Thus did they make their moan throughout the city, while the
Achaeans when they reached the Hellespont went back every man to
his own ship. But Achilles would not let the Myrmidons go, and
spoke to his brave comrades saying, "Myrmidons, famed horsemen
and my own trusted friends, not yet, forsooth, let us unyoke, but
with horse and chariot draw near to the body and mourn Patroclus,
in due honour to the dead. When we have had full comfort of
lamentation we will unyoke our horses and take supper all of us

On this they all joined in a cry of wailing and Achilles led them
in their lament. Thrice did they drive their chariots all
sorrowing round the body, and Thetis stirred within them a still
deeper yearning. The sands of the seashore and the men's armour
were wet with their weeping, so great a minister of fear was he
whom they had lost. Chief in all their mourning was the son of
Peleus: he laid his bloodstained hand on the breast of his
friend. "Fare well," he cried, "Patroclus, even in the house of
Hades. I will now do all that I erewhile promised you; I will
drag Hector hither and let dogs devour him raw; twelve noble sons
of Trojans will I also slay before your pyre to avenge you."

As he spoke he treated the body of noble Hector with contumely,
laying it at full length in the dust beside the bier of
Patroclus. The others then put off every man his armour, took the
horses from their chariots, and seated themselves in great
multitude by the ship of the fleet descendant of Aeacus, who
thereon feasted them with an abundant funeral banquet. Many a
goodly ox, with many a sheep and bleating goat did they butcher
and cut up; many a tusked boar moreover, fat and well-fed, did
they singe and set to roast in the flames of Vulcan; and rivulets
of blood flowed all round the place where the body was lying.

Then the princes of the Achaeans took the son of Peleus to
Agamemnon, but hardly could they persuade him to come with them,
so wroth was he for the death of his comrade. As soon as they
reached Agamemnon's tent they told the serving-men to set a large
tripod over the fire in case they might persuade the son of
Peleus to wash the clotted gore from this body, but he denied
them sternly, and swore it with a solemn oath, saying, "Nay, by
King Jove, first and mightiest of all gods, it is not meet that
water should touch my body, till I have laid Patroclus on the
flames, have built him a barrow, and shaved my head--for so long
as I live no such second sorrow shall ever draw nigh me. Now,
therefore, let us do all that this sad festival demands, but at
break of day, King Agamemnon, bid your men bring wood, and
provide all else that the dead may duly take into the realm of
darkness; the fire shall thus burn him out of our sight the
sooner, and the people shall turn again to their own labours."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They made
haste to prepare the meal, they ate, and every man had his full
share so that all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough
to eat and drink, the others went to their rest each in his own
tent, but the son of Peleus lay grieving among his Myrmidons by
the shore of the sounding sea, in an open place where the waves
came surging in one after another. Here a very deep slumber took
hold upon him and eased the burden of his sorrows, for his limbs
were weary with chasing Hector round windy Ilius. Presently the
sad spirit of Patroclus drew near him, like what he had been in
stature, voice, and the light of his beaming eyes, clad, too, as
he had been clad in life. The spirit hovered over his head and

"You sleep, Achilles, and have forgotten me; you loved me living,
but now that I am dead you think for me no further. Bury me with
all speed that I may pass the gates of Hades; the ghosts, vain
shadows of men that can labour no more, drive me away from them;
they will not yet suffer me to join those that are beyond the
river, and I wander all desolate by the wide gates of the house
of Hades. Give me now your hand I pray you, for when you have
once given me my dues of fire, never shall I again come forth out
of the house of Hades. Nevermore shall we sit apart and take
sweet counsel among the living; the cruel fate which was my
birth-right has yawned its wide jaws around me--nay, you too
Achilles, peer of gods, are doomed to die beneath the wall of the
noble Trojans.

"One prayer more will I make you, if you will grant it; let not
my bones be laid apart from yours, Achilles, but with them; even
as we were brought up together in your own home, what time
Menoetius brought me to you as a child from Opoeis because by a
sad spite I had killed the son of Amphidamas--not of set purpose,
but in childish quarrel over the dice. The knight Peleus took me
into his house, entreated me kindly, and named me to be your
squire; therefore let our bones lie in but a single urn, the
two-handled golden vase given to you by your mother."

And Achilles answered, "Why, true heart, are you come hither to
lay these charges upon me? will of my own self do all as you have
bidden me. Draw closer to me, let us once more throw our arms
around one another, and find sad comfort in the sharing of our

He opened his arms towards him as he spoke and would have clasped
him in them, but there was nothing, and the spirit vanished as a
vapour, gibbering and whining into the earth. Achilles sprang to
his feet, smote his two hands, and made lamentation saying, "Of a
truth even in the house of Hades there are ghosts and phantoms
that have no life in them; all night long the sad spirit of
Patroclus has hovered over head making piteous moan, telling me
what I am to do for him, and looking wondrously like himself."

Thus did he speak and his words set them all weeping and mourning
about the poor dumb dead, till rosy-fingered morn appeared. Then
King Agamemnon sent men and mules from all parts of the camp, to
bring wood, and Meriones, squire to Idomeneus, was in charge over
them. They went out with woodmen's axes and strong ropes in their
hands, and before them went the mules. Up hill and down dale did
they go, by straight ways and crooked, and when they reached the
heights of many-fountained Ida, they laid their axes to the roots
of many a tall branching oak that came thundering down as they
felled it. They split the trees and bound them behind the mules,
which then wended their way as they best could through the thick
brushwood on to the plain. All who had been cutting wood bore
logs, for so Meriones squire to Idomeneus had bidden them, and
they threw them down in a line upon the seashore at the place
where Achilles would make a mighty monument for Patroclus and for

When they had thrown down their great logs of wood over the whole
ground, they stayed all of them where they were, but Achilles
ordered his brave Myrmidons to gird on their armour, and to yoke
each man his horses; they therefore rose, girded on their armour
and mounted each his chariot--they and their charioteers with
them. The chariots went before, and they that were on foot
followed as a cloud in their tens of thousands after. In the
midst of them his comrades bore Patroclus and covered him with
the locks of their hair which they cut off and threw upon his
body. Last came Achilles with his head bowed for sorrow, so noble
a comrade was he taking to the house of Hades.

When they came to the place of which Achilles had told them they
laid the body down and built up the wood. Achilles then bethought
him of another matter. He went a space away from the pyre, and
cut off the yellow lock which he had let grow for the river
Spercheius. He looked all sorrowfully out upon the dark sea, and
said, "Spercheius, in vain did my father Peleus vow to you that
when I returned home to my loved native land I should cut off
this lock and offer you a holy hecatomb; fifty she-goats was I to
sacrifice to you there at your springs, where is your grove and
your altar fragrant with burnt-offerings. Thus did my father vow,
but you have not fulfilled his prayer; now, therefore, that I
shall see my home no more, I give this lock as a keepsake to the
hero Patroclus."

As he spoke he placed the lock in the hands of his dear comrade,
and all who stood by were filled with yearning and lamentation.
The sun would have gone down upon their mourning had not Achilles
presently said to Agamemnon, "Son of Atreus, for it is to you
that the people will give ear, there is a time to mourn and a
time to cease from mourning; bid the people now leave the pyre
and set about getting their dinners: we, to whom the dead is
dearest, will see to what is wanted here, and let the other
princes also stay by me."

When King Agamemnon heard this he dismissed the people to their
ships, but those who were about the dead heaped up wood and built
a pyre a hundred feet this way and that; then they laid the dead
all sorrowfully upon the top of it. They flayed and dressed many
fat sheep and oxen before the pyre, and Achilles took fat from
all of them and wrapped the body therein from head to foot,
heaping the flayed carcases all round it. Against the bier he
leaned two-handled jars of honey and unguents; four proud horses
did he then cast upon the pyre, groaning the while he did so. The
dead hero had had house-dogs; two of them did Achilles slay and
threw upon the pyre; he also put twelve brave sons of noble
Trojans to the sword and laid them with the rest, for he was full
of bitterness and fury. Then he committed all to the resistless
and devouring might of the fire; he groaned aloud and called on
his dead comrade by name. "Fare well," he cried, "Patroclus, even
in the house of Hades; I am now doing all that I have promised
you. Twelve brave sons of noble Trojans shall the flames consume
along with yourself, but dogs, not fire, shall devour the flesh
of Hector son of Priam."

Thus did he vaunt, but the dogs came not about the body of
Hector, for Jove's daughter Venus kept them off him night and
day, and anointed him with ambrosial oil of roses that his flesh
might not be torn when Achilles was dragging him about. Phoebus
Apollo moreover sent a dark cloud from heaven to earth, which
gave shade to the whole place where Hector lay, that the heat of
the sun might not parch his body.

Now the pyre about dead Patroclus would not kindle. Achilles
therefore bethought him of another matter; he went apart and
prayed to the two winds Boreas and Zephyrus vowing them goodly
offerings. He made them many drink-offerings from the golden cup
and besought them to come and help him that the wood might make
haste to kindle and the dead bodies be consumed. Fleet Iris heard
him praying and started off to fetch the winds. They were holding
high feast in the house of boisterous Zephyrus when Iris came
running up to the stone threshold of the house and stood there,
but as soon as they set eyes on her they all came towards her and
each of them called her to him, but Iris would not sit down. "I
cannot stay," she said, "I must go back to the streams of Oceanus
and the land of the Ethiopians who are offering hecatombs to the
immortals, and I would have my share; but Achilles prays that
Boreas and shrill Zephyrus will come to him, and he vows them
goodly offerings; he would have you blow upon the pyre of
Patroclus for whom all the Achaeans are lamenting."

With this she left them, and the two winds rose with a cry that
rent the air and swept the clouds before them. They blew on and
on until they came to the sea, and the waves rose high beneath
them, but when they reached Troy they fell upon the pyre till the
mighty flames roared under the blast that they blew. All night
long did they blow hard and beat upon the fire, and all night
long did Achilles grasp his double cup, drawing wine from a
mixing-bowl of gold, and calling upon the spirit of dead
Patroclus as he poured it upon the ground until the earth was
drenched. As a father mourns when he is burning the bones of his
bridegroom son whose death has wrung the hearts of his parents,
even so did Achilles mourn while burning the body of his comrade,
pacing round the bier with piteous groaning and lamentation.

At length as the Morning Star was beginning to herald the light
which saffron-mantled Dawn was soon to suffuse over the sea, the
flames fell and the fire began to die. The winds then went home
beyond the Thracian sea, which roared and boiled as they swept
over it. The son of Peleus now turned away from the pyre and lay
down, overcome with toil, till he fell into a sweet slumber.
Presently they who were about the son of Atreus drew near in a
body, and roused him with the noise and tramp of their coming. He
sat upright and said, "Son of Atreus, and all other princes of
the Achaeans, first pour red wine everywhere upon the fire and
quench it; let us then gather the bones of Patroclus son of
Menoetius, singling them out with care; they are easily found,
for they lie in the middle of the pyre, while all else, both men
and horses, has been thrown in a heap and burned at the outer
edge. We will lay the bones in a golden urn, in two layers of
fat, against the time when I shall myself go down into the house
of Hades. As for the barrow, labour not to raise a great one now,
but such as is reasonable. Afterwards, let those Achaeans who may
be left at the ships when I am gone, build it both broad and

Thus he spoke and they obeyed the word of the son of Peleus.
First they poured red wine upon the thick layer of ashes and
quenched the fire. With many tears they singled out the whitened
bones of their loved comrade and laid them within a golden urn in
two layers of fat: they then covered the urn with a linen cloth
and took it inside the tent. They marked off the circle where the
barrow should be, made a foundation for it about the pyre, and
forthwith heaped up the earth. When they had thus raised a mound
they were going away, but Achilles stayed the people and made
them sit in assembly. He brought prizes from the
ships--cauldrons, tripods, horses and mules, noble oxen, women
with fair girdles, and swart iron.

The first prize he offered was for the chariot races--a woman
skilled in all useful arts, and a three-legged cauldron that had
ears for handles, and would hold twenty-two measures. This was
for the man who came in first. For the second there was a
six-year old mare, unbroken, and in foal to a he-ass; the third
was to have a goodly cauldron that had never yet been on the
fire; it was still bright as when it left the maker, and would
hold four measures. The fourth prize was two talents of gold, and
the fifth a two-handled urn as yet unsoiled by smoke. Then he
stood up and spoke among the Argives saying--

"Son of Atreus, and all other Achaeans, these are the prizes that
lie waiting the winners of the chariot races. At any other time I
should carry off the first prize and take it to my own tent; you
know how far my steeds excel all others--for they are immortal;
Neptune gave them to my father Peleus, who in his turn gave them
to myself; but I shall hold aloof, I and my steeds that have lost
their brave and kind driver, who many a time has washed them in
clear water and anointed their manes with oil. See how they stand
weeping here, with their manes trailing on the ground in the
extremity of their sorrow. But do you others set yourselves in
order throughout the host, whosoever has confidence in his horses
and in the strength of his chariot."

Thus spoke the son of Peleus and the drivers of chariots
bestirred themselves. First among them all uprose Eumelus, king
of men, son of Admetus, a man excellent in horsemanship. Next to
him rose mighty Diomed son of Tydeus; he yoked the Trojan horses
which he had taken from Aeneas, when Apollo bore him out of the
fight. Next to him, yellow-haired Menelaus son of Atreus rose and
yoked his fleet horses, Agamemnon's mare Aethe, and his own horse
Podargus. The mare had been given to Agamemnon by Echepolus son
of Anchises, that he might not have to follow him to Ilius, but
might stay at home and take his ease; for Jove had endowed him
with great wealth and he lived in spacious Sicyon. This mare, all
eager for the race, did Menelaus put under the yoke.

Fourth in order Antilochus, son to noble Nestor son of Neleus,
made ready his horses. These were bred in Pylos, and his father
came up to him to give him good advice of which, however, he
stood in but little need. "Antilochus," said Nestor, "you are
young, but Jove and Neptune have loved you well, and have made
you an excellent horseman. I need not therefore say much by way
of instruction. You are skilful at wheeling your horses round the
post, but the horses themselves are very slow, and it is this
that will, I fear, mar your chances. The other drivers know less
than you do, but their horses are fleeter; therefore, my dear
son, see if you cannot hit upon some artifice whereby you may
insure that the prize shall not slip through your fingers. The
woodman does more by skill than by brute force; by skill the
pilot guides his storm-tossed barque over the sea, and so by
skill one driver can beat another. If a man go wide in rounding
this way and that, whereas a man who knows what he is doing may
have worse horses, but he will keep them well in hand when he
sees the doubling-post; he knows the precise moment at which to
pull the rein, and keeps his eye well on the man in front of him.
I will give you this certain token which cannot escape your
notice. There is a stump of a dead tree--oak or pine as it may
be--some six feet above the ground, and not yet rotted away by
rain; it stands at the fork of the road; it has two white stones
set one on each side, and there is a clear course all round it.
It may have been a monument to some one long since dead, or it
may have been used as a doubling-post in days gone by; now,
however, it has been fixed on by Achilles as the mark round which
the chariots shall turn; hug it as close as you can, but as you
stand in your chariot lean over a little to the left; urge on
your right-hand horse with voice and lash, and give him a loose
rein, but let the left-hand horse keep so close in, that the nave
of your wheel shall almost graze the post; but mind the stone, or
you will wound your horses and break your chariot in pieces,
which would be sport for others but confusion for yourself.
Therefore, my dear son, mind well what you are about, for if you
can be first to round the post there is no chance of any one
giving you the go-by later, not even though you had Adrestus's
horse Arion behind you--a horse which is of divine race--or those
of Laomedon, which are the noblest in this country."

When Nestor had made an end of counselling his son he sat down in
his place, and fifth in order Meriones got ready his horses.
They then all mounted their chariots and cast lots. Achilles
shook the helmet, and the lot of Antilochus son of Nestor fell
out first; next came that of King Eumelus, and after his, those
of Menelaus son of Atreus and of Meriones. The last place fell to
the lot of Diomed son of Tydeus, who was the best man of them
all. They took their places in line; Achilles showed them the
doubling-post round which they were to turn, some way off upon
the plain; here he stationed his father's follower Phoenix as
umpire, to note the running, and report truly.

At the same instant they all of them lashed their horses, struck
them with the reins, and shouted at them with all their might.
They flew full speed over the plain away from the ships, the dust
rose from under them as it were a cloud or whirlwind, and their
manes were all flying in the wind. At one moment the chariots
seemed to touch the ground, and then again they bounded into the
air; the drivers stood erect, and their hearts beat fast and
furious in their lust of victory. Each kept calling on his
horses, and the horses scoured the plain amid the clouds of dust
that they raised.

It was when they were doing the last part of the course on their
way back towards the sea that their pace was strained to the
utmost and it was seen what each could do. The horses of the
descendant of Pheres now took the lead, and close behind them
came the Trojan stallions of Diomed. They seemed as if about to
mount Eumelus's chariot, and he could feel their warm breath on
his back and on his broad shoulders, for their heads were close
to him as they flew over the course. Diomed would have now passed
him, or there would have been a dead heat, but Phoebus Apollo to
spite him made him drop his whip. Tears of anger fell from his
eyes as he saw the mares going on faster than ever, while his own
horses lost ground through his having no whip. Minerva saw the
trick which Apollo had played the son of Tydeus, so she brought
him his whip and put spirit into his horses; moreover she went
after the son of Admetus in a rage and broke his yoke for him;
the mares went one to one side of the course, and the other to
the other, and the pole was broken against the ground. Eumelus
was thrown from his chariot close to the wheel; his elbows,
mouth, and nostrils were all torn, and his forehead was bruised
above his eyebrows; his eyes filled with tears and he could find
no utterance. But the son of Tydeus turned his horses aside and
shot far ahead, for Minerva put fresh strength into them and
covered Diomed himself with glory.

Menelaus son of Atreus came next behind him, but Antilochus
called to his father's horses. "On with you both," he cried, "and
do your very utmost. I do not bid you try to beat the steeds of
the son of Tydeus, for Minerva has put running into them, and has
covered Diomed with glory; but you must overtake the horses of
the son of Atreus and not be left behind, or Aethe who is so
fleet will taunt you. Why, my good fellows, are you lagging? I
tell you, and it shall surely be--Nestor will keep neither of
you, but will put both of you to the sword, if we win any the
worse a prize through your carelessness. Fly after them at your
utmost speed; I will hit on a plan for passing them in a narrow
part of the way, and it shall not fail me."

They feared the rebuke of their master, and for a short space
went quicker. Presently Antilochus saw a narrow place where the
road had sunk. The ground was broken, for the winter's rain had
gathered and had worn the road so that the whole place was
deepened. Menelaus was making towards it so as to get there
first, for fear of a foul, but Antilochus turned his horses out
of the way, and followed him a little on one side. The son of
Atreus was afraid and shouted out, "Antilochus, you are driving
recklessly; rein in your horses; the road is too narrow here, it
will be wider soon, and you can pass me then; if you foul my
chariot you may bring both of us to a mischief."

But Antilochus plied his whip, and drove faster, as though he had
not heard him. They went side by side for about as far as a young
man can hurl a disc from his shoulder when he is trying his
strength, and then Menelaus's mares drew behind, for he left off
driving for fear the horses should foul one another and upset the
chariots; thus, while pressing on in quest of victory, they might
both come headlong to the ground. Menelaus then upbraided
Antilochus and said, "There is no greater trickster living than
you are; go, and bad luck go with you; the Achaeans say not well
that you have understanding, and come what may you shall not bear
away the prize without sworn protest on my part."

Then he called on his horses and said to them, "Keep your pace,
and slacken not; the limbs of the other horses will weary sooner
than yours, for they are neither of them young."

The horses feared the rebuke of their master, and went faster, so
that they were soon nearly up with the others.

Meanwhile the Achaeans from their seats were watching how the
horses went, as they scoured the plain amid clouds of their own
dust. Idomeneus captain of the Cretans was first to make out the
running, for he was not in the thick of the crowd, but stood on
the most commanding part of the ground. The driver was a long way
off, but Idomeneus could hear him shouting, and could see the
foremost horse quite plainly--a chestnut with a round white star,
like the moon, on its forehead. He stood up and said among the
Argives, "My friends, princes and counsellors of the Argives, can
you see the running as well as I can? There seems to be another
pair in front now, and another driver; those that led off at the
start must have been disabled out on the plain. I saw them at
first making their way round the doubling-post, but now, though I
search the plain of Troy, I cannot find them. Perhaps the reins
fell from the driver's hand so that he lost command of his horses
at the doubling-post, and could not turn it. I suppose he must
have been thrown out there, and broken his chariot, while his
mares have left the course and gone off wildly in a panic. Come
up and see for yourselves, I cannot make out for certain, but the
driver seems an Aetolian by descent, ruler over the Argives,
brave Diomed the son of Tydeus."

Ajax the son of Oileus took him up rudely and said, "Idomeneus,
why should you be in such a hurry to tell us all about it, when
the mares are still so far out upon the plain? You are none of
the youngest, nor your eyes none of the sharpest, but you are
always laying down the law. You have no right to do so, for there
are better men here than you are. Eumelus's horses are in front
now, as they always have been, and he is on the chariot holding
the reins."

The captain of the Cretans was angry, and answered, "Ajax you are
an excellent railer, but you have no judgement, and are wanting
in much else as well, for you have a vile temper. I will wager
you a tripod or cauldron, and Agamemnon son of Atreus shall
decide whose horses are first. You will then know to your cost."

Ajax son of Oileus was for making him an angry answer, and there
would have been yet further brawling between them, had not
Achilles risen in his place and said, "Cease your railing, Ajax
and Idomeneus; is it not you would be scandalised if you saw any
one else do the like: sit down and keep your eyes on the horses;
they are speeding towards the winning-post and will be here
directly. You will then both of you know whose horses are first,
and whose come after."

As he was speaking, the son of Tydeus came driving in, plying his
whip lustily from his shoulder, and his horses stepping high as
they flew over the course. The sand and grit rained thick on the
driver, and the chariot inlaid with gold and tin ran close behind
his fleet horses. There was little trace of wheel-marks in the
fine dust, and the horses came flying in at their utmost speed.
Diomed stayed them in the middle of the crowd, and the sweat from
their manes and chests fell in streams on to the ground.
Forthwith he sprang from his goodly chariot, and leaned his whip
against his horses' yoke; brave Sthenelus now lost no time, but
at once brought on the prize, and gave the woman and the
ear-handled cauldron to his comrades to take away. Then he
unyoked the horses.

Next after him came in Antilochus of the race of Neleus, who had
passed Menelaus by a trick and not by the fleetness of his
horses; but even so Menelaus came in as close behind him as the
wheel is to the horse that draws both the chariot and its master.
The end hairs of a horse's tail touch the tyre of the wheel, and
there is never much space between wheel and horse when the
chariot is going; Menelaus was no further than this behind
Antilochus, though at first he had been a full disc's throw
behind him. He had soon caught him up again, for Agamemnon's mare
Aethe kept pulling stronger and stronger, so that if the course
had been longer he would have passed him, and there would not
even have been a dead heat. Idomeneus's brave squire Meriones was
about a spear's cast behind Menelaus. His horses were slowest of
all, and he was the worst driver. Last of them all came the son
of Admetus, dragging his chariot and driving his horses on in
front. When Achilles saw him he was sorry, and stood up among the
Argives saying, "The best man is coming in last. Let us give him
a prize for it is reasonable. He shall have the second, but the
first must go to the son of Tydeus."

Thus did he speak and the others all of them applauded his
saying, and were for doing as he had said, but Nestor's son
Antilochus stood up and claimed his rights from the son of
Peleus. "Achilles," said he, "I shall take it much amiss if you
do this thing; you would rob me of my prize, because you think
Eumelus's chariot and horses were thrown out, and himself too,
good man that he is. He should have prayed duly to the immortals;
he would not have come in last if he had done so. If you are
sorry for him and so choose, you have much gold in your tents,
with bronze, sheep, cattle and horses. Take something from this
store if you would have the Achaeans speak well of you, and give
him a better prize even than that which you have now offered; but
I will not give up the mare, and he that will fight me for her,
let him come on."

Achilles smiled as he heard this, and was pleased with
Antilochus, who was one of his dearest comrades. So he said--

"Antilochus, if you would have me find Eumelus another prize, I
will give him the bronze breastplate with a rim of tin running
all round it which I took from Asteropaeus. It will be worth much
money to him."

He bade his comrade Automedon bring the breastplate from his
tent, and he did so. Achilles then gave it over to Eumelus, who
received it gladly.

But Menelaus got up in a rage, furiously angry with Antilochus.
An attendant placed his staff in his hands and bade the Argives
keep silence: the hero then addressed them. "Antilochus," said
he, "what is this from you who have been so far blameless? You
have made me cut a poor figure and baulked my horses by flinging
your own in front of them, though yours are much worse than mine
are; therefore, O princes and counsellors of the Argives, judge
between us and show no favour, lest one of the Achaeans say,
'Menelaus has got the mare through lying and corruption; his
horses were far inferior to Antilochus's, but he has greater
weight and influence.' Nay, I will determine the matter myself,
and no man will blame me, for I shall do what is just. Come here,
Antilochus, and stand, as our custom is, whip in hand before your
chariot and horses; lay your hand on your steeds, and swear by
earth-encircling Neptune that you did not purposely and
guilefully get in the way of my horses."

And Antilochus answered, "Forgive me; I am much younger, King
Menelaus, than you are; you stand higher than I do and are the
better man of the two; you know how easily young men are betrayed
into indiscretion; their tempers are more hasty and they have
less judgement; make due allowances therefore, and bear with me;
I will of my own accord give up the mare that I have won, and if
you claim any further chattel from my own possessions, I would
rather yield it to you, at once, than fall from your good graces
henceforth, and do wrong in the sight of heaven."

The son of Nestor then took the mare and gave her over to
Menelaus, whose anger was thus appeased; as when dew falls upon a
field of ripening corn, and the lands are bristling with the
harvest--even so, O Menelaus, was your heart made glad within
you. He turned to Antilochus and said, "Now, Antilochus, angry
though I have been, I can give way to you of my own free will;
you have never been headstrong nor ill-disposed hitherto, but
this time your youth has got the better of your judgement; be
careful how you outwit your betters in future; no one else could
have brought me round so easily, but your good father, your
brother, and yourself have all of you had infinite trouble on my
behalf; I therefore yield to your entreaty, and will give up the
mare to you, mine though it indeed be; the people will thus see
that I am neither harsh nor vindictive."

With this he gave the mare over to Antilochus's comrade Noemon,
and then took the cauldron. Meriones, who had come in fourth,
carried off the two talents of gold, and the fifth prize, the
two-handled urn, being unawarded, Achilles gave it to Nestor,
going up to him among the assembled Argives and saying, "Take
this, my good old friend, as an heirloom and memorial of the
funeral of Patroclus--for you shall see him no more among the
Argives. I give you this prize though you cannot win one; you can
now neither wrestle nor fight, and cannot enter for the
javelin-match nor foot-races, for the hand of age has been laid
heavily upon you."

So saying he gave the urn over to Nestor, who received it gladly
and answered, "My son, all that you have said is true; there is
no strength now in my legs and feet, nor can I hit out with my
hands from either shoulder. Would that I were still young and
strong as when the Epeans were burying King Amarynceus in
Buprasium, and his sons offered prizes in his honour. There was
then none that could vie with me neither of the Epeans nor the
Pylians themselves nor the Aetolians. In boxing I overcame
Clytomedes son of Enops, and in wrestling, Ancaeus of Pleuron who
had come forward against me. Iphiclus was a good runner, but I
beat him, and threw farther with my spear than either Phyleus or
Polydorus. In chariot-racing alone did the two sons of Actor
surpass me by crowding their horses in front of me, for they were
angry at the way victory had gone, and at the greater part of the
prizes remaining in the place in which they had been offered.
They were twins, and the one kept on holding the reins, and
holding the reins, while the other plied the whip. Such was I
then, but now I must leave these matters to younger men; I must
bow before the weight of years, but in those days I was eminent
among heroes. And now, sir, go on with the funeral contests in
honour of your comrade: gladly do I accept this urn, and my heart
rejoices that you do not forget me but are ever mindful of my
goodwill towards you, and of the respect due to me from the
Achaeans. For all which may the grace of heaven be vouchsafed you
in great abundance."

Thereon the son of Peleus, when he had listened to all the thanks
of Nestor, went about among the concourse of the Achaeans, and
presently offered prizes for skill in the painful art of boxing.
He brought out a strong mule, and made it fast in the middle of
the crowd--a she-mule never yet broken, but six years old--when
it is hardest of all to break them: this was for the victor, and
for the vanquished he offered a double cup. Then he stood up and
said among the Argives, "Son of Atreus, and all other Achaeans, I
invite our two champion boxers to lay about them lustily and
compete for these prizes. He to whom Apollo vouchsafes the
greater endurance, and whom the Achaeans acknowledge as victor,
shall take the mule back with him to his own tent, while he that
is vanquished shall have the double cup."

As he spoke there stood up a champion both brave and great
stature, a skilful boxer, Epeus, son of Panopeus. He laid his
hand on the mule and said, "Let the man who is to have the cup
come hither, for none but myself will take the mule. I am the
best boxer of all here present, and none can beat me. Is it not
enough that I should fall short of you in actual fighting? Still,
no man can be good at everything. I tell you plainly, and it
shall come true; if any man will box with me I will bruise his
body and break his bones; therefore let his friends stay here in
a body and be at hand to take him away when I have done with

They all held their peace, and no man rose save Euryalus son of
Mecisteus, who was son of Talaus. Mecisteus went once to Thebes
after the fall of Oedipus, to attend his funeral, and he beat all
the people of Cadmus. The son of Tydeus was Euryalus's second,
cheering him on and hoping heartily that he would win. First he
put a waistband round him and then he gave him some well-cut
thongs of ox-hide; the two men being now girt went into the
middle of the ring, and immediately fell to; heavily indeed did
they punish one another and lay about them with their brawny
fists. One could hear the horrid crashing of their jaws, and they
sweated from every pore of their skin. Presently Epeus came on
and gave Euryalus a blow on the jaw as he was looking round;
Euryalus could not keep his legs; they gave way under him in a
moment and he sprang up with a bound, as a fish leaps into the
air near some shore that is all bestrewn with sea-wrack, when
Boreas furs the top of the waves, and then falls back into deep
water. But noble Epeus caught hold of him and raised him up; his
comrades also came round him and led him from the ring, unsteady
in his gait, his head hanging on one side, and spitting great
clots of gore. They set him down in a swoon and then went to
fetch the double cup.

The son of Peleus now brought out the prizes for the third
contest and showed them to the Argives. These were for the
painful art of wrestling. For the winner there was a great tripod
ready for setting upon the fire, and the Achaeans valued it among
themselves at twelve oxen. For the loser he brought out a woman
skilled in all manner of arts, and they valued her at four oxen.
He rose and said among the Argives, "Stand forward, you who will
essay this contest."

Forthwith uprose great Ajax the son of Telamon, and crafty
Ulysses, full of wiles, rose also. The two girded themselves and
went into the middle of the ring. They gripped each other in
their strong hands like the rafters which some master-builder
frames for the roof of a high house to keep the wind out. Their
backbones cracked as they tugged at one another with their mighty
arms--and sweat rained from them in torrents. Many a bloody weal
sprang up on their sides and shoulders, but they kept on striving
with might and main for victory and to win the tripod. Ulysses
could not throw Ajax, nor Ajax him; Ulysses was too strong for
him; but when the Achaeans began to tire of watching them, Ajax
said to Ulysses, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, you shall either
lift me, or I you, and let Jove settle it between us."

He lifted him from the ground as he spoke, but Ulysses did not
forget his cunning. He hit Ajax in the hollow at back of his
knee, so that he could not keep his feet, but fell on his back
with Ulysses lying upon his chest, and all who saw it marvelled.
Then Ulysses in turn lifted Ajax and stirred him a little from
the ground but could not lift him right off it, his knee sank
under him, and the two fell side by side on the ground and were
all begrimed with dust. They now sprang towards one another and
were for wrestling yet a third time, but Achilles rose and stayed
them. "Put not each other further," said he, "to such cruel
suffering; the victory is with both alike, take each of you an
equal prize, and let the other Achaeans now compete."

Thus did he speak and they did even as he had said, and put on
their shirts again after wiping the dust from off their bodies.

The son of Peleus then offered prizes for speed in running--a
mixing-bowl beautifully wrought, of pure silver. It would hold
six measures, and far exceeded all others in the whole world for
beauty; it was the work of cunning artificers in Sidon, and had
been brought into port by Phoenicians from beyond the sea, who
had made a present of it to Thoas. Eueneus son of Jason had given
it to Patroclus in ransom of Priam's son Lycaon, and Achilles now
offered it as a prize in honour of his comrade to him who should
be the swiftest runner. For the second prize he offered a large
ox, well fattened, while for the last there was to be half a
talent of gold. He then rose and said among the Argives, "Stand
forward, you who will essay this contest."

Forthwith uprose fleet Ajax son of Oileus, with cunning Ulysses,
and Nestor's son Antilochus, the fastest runner among all the
youth of his time. They stood side by side and Achilles showed
them the goal. The course was set out for them from the
starting-post, and the son of Oileus took the lead at once, with
Ulysses as close behind him as the shuttle is to a woman's bosom
when she throws the woof across the warp and holds it close up to
her; even so close behind him was Ulysses--treading in his
footprints before the dust could settle there, and Ajax could
feel his breath on the back of his head as he ran swiftly on. The
Achaeans all shouted applause as they saw him straining his
utmost, and cheered him as he shot past them; but when they were
now nearing the end of the course Ulysses prayed inwardly to
Minerva. "Hear me," he cried, "and help my feet, O goddess." Thus
did he pray, and Pallas Minerva heard his prayer; she made his
hands and his feet feel light, and when the runners were at the
point of pouncing upon the prize, Ajax, through Minerva's spite
slipped upon some offal that was lying there from the cattle
which Achilles had slaughtered in honour of Patroclus, and his
mouth and nostrils were all filled with cow dung. Ulysses
therefore carried off the mixing-bowl, for he got before Ajax and
came in first. But Ajax took the ox and stood with his hand on
one of its horns, spitting the dung out of his mouth. Then he
said to the Argives, "Alas, the goddess has spoiled my running;
she watches over Ulysses and stands by him as though she were his
own mother." Thus did he speak and they all of them laughed

Antilochus carried off the last prize and smiled as he said to
the bystanders, "You all see, my friends, that now too the gods
have shown their respect for seniority. Ajax is somewhat older
than I am, and as for Ulysses, he belongs to an earlier
generation, but he is hale in spite of his years, and no man of
the Achaeans can run against him save only Achilles."

He said this to pay a compliment to the son of Peleus, and
Achilles answered, "Antilochus, you shall not have praised me to
no purpose; I shall give you an additional half talent of gold."
He then gave the half talent to Antilochus, who received it

Then the son of Peleus brought out the spear, helmet and shield
that had been borne by Sarpedon, and were taken from him by
Patroclus. He stood up and said among the Argives, "We bid two
champions put on their armour, take their keen blades, and make
trial of one another in the presence of the multitude; whichever
of them can first wound the flesh of the other, cut through his
armour, and draw blood, to him will I give this goodly Thracian
sword inlaid with silver, which I took from Asteropaeus, but the
armour let both hold in partnership, and I will give each of them
a hearty meal in my own tent."

Forthwith uprose great Ajax the son of Telamon, as also mighty
Diomed son of Tydeus. When they had put on their armour each on
his own side of the ring, they both went into the middle eager to
engage, and with fire flashing from their eyes. The Achaeans
marvelled as they beheld them, and when the two were now close up
with one another, thrice did they spring forward and thrice try
to strike each other in close combat. Ajax pierced Diomed's round
shield, but did not draw blood, for the cuirass beneath the
shield protected him; thereon the son of Tydeus from over his
huge shield kept aiming continually at Ajax's neck with the point
of his spear, and the Achaeans alarmed for his safety bade them
leave off fighting and divide the prize between them. Achilles
then gave the great sword to the son of Tydeus, with its
scabbard, and the leathern belt with which to hang it.

Achilles next offered the massive iron quoit which mighty Eetion
had erewhile been used to hurl, until Achilles had slain him and
carried it off in his ships along with other spoils. He stood up
and said among the Argives, "Stand forward, you who would essay
this contest. He who wins it will have a store of iron that will
last him five years as they go rolling round, and if his fair
fields lie far from a town his shepherd or ploughman will not
have to make a journey to buy iron, for he will have a stock of
it on his own premises."

Then uprose the two mighty men Polypoetes and Leonteus, with Ajax
son of Telamon and noble Epeus. They stood up one after the other
and Epeus took the quoit, whirled it, and flung it from him,
which set all the Achaeans laughing. After him threw Leonteus of
the race of Mars. Ajax son of Telamon threw third, and sent the
quoit beyond any mark that had been made yet, but when mighty
Polypoetes took the quoit he hurled it as though it had been a
stockman's stick which he sends flying about among his cattle
when he is driving them, so far did his throw out-distance those
of the others. All who saw it roared applause, and his comrades
carried the prize for him and set it on board his ship.

Achilles next offered a prize of iron for archery--ten
double-edged axes and ten with single edges: he set up a ship's
mast, some way off upon the sands, and with a fine string tied a
pigeon to it by the foot; this was what they were to aim at.
"Whoever," he said, "can hit the pigeon shall have all the axes
and take them away with him; he who hits the string without
hitting the bird will have taken a worse aim and shall have the
single-edged axes."

Then uprose King Teucer, and Meriones the stalwart squire of
Idomeneus rose also, They cast lots in a bronze helmet and the
lot of Teucer fell first. He let fly with his arrow forthwith,
but he did not promise hecatombs of firstling lambs to King
Apollo, and missed his bird, for Apollo foiled his aim; but he
hit the string with which the bird was tied, near its foot; the
arrow cut the string clean through so that it hung down towards
the ground, while the bird flew up into the sky, and the Achaeans
shouted applause. Meriones, who had his arrow ready while Teucer
was aiming, snatched the bow out of his hand, and at once
promised that he would sacrifice a hecatomb of firstling lambs to
Apollo lord of the bow; then espying the pigeon high up under the
clouds, he hit her in the middle of the wing as she was circling
upwards; the arrow went clean through the wing and fixed itself
in the ground at Meriones' feet, but the bird perched on the
ship's mast hanging her head and with all her feathers drooping;
the life went out of her, and she fell heavily from the mast.
Meriones, therefore, took all ten double-edged axes, while Teucer
bore off the single-edged ones to his ships.

Then the son of Peleus brought in a spear and a cauldron that had
never been on the fire; it was worth an ox, and was chased with a
pattern of flowers; and those that throw the javelin stood up--to
wit the son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, and Meriones,
stalwart squire of Idomeneus. But Achilles spoke saying, "Son of
Atreus, we know how far you excel all others both in power and in
throwing the javelin; take the cauldron back with you to your
ships, but if it so please you, let us give the spear to
Meriones; this at least is what I should myself wish."

King Agamemnon assented. So he gave the bronze spear to Meriones,
and handed the goodly cauldron to Talthybius his esquire.


Priam ransoms the body of Hector--Hector's funeral.

THE assembly now broke up and the people went their ways each to
his own ship. There they made ready their supper, and then
bethought them of the blessed boon of sleep; but Achilles still
wept for thinking of his dear comrade, and sleep, before whom all
things bow, could take no hold upon him. This way and that did he
turn as he yearned after the might and manfulness of Patroclus;
he thought of all they had done together, and all they had gone
through both on the field of battle and on the waves of the weary
sea. As he dwelt on these things he wept bitterly and lay now on
his side, now on his back, and now face downwards, till at last
he rose and went out as one distraught to wander upon the
seashore. Then, when he saw dawn breaking over beach and sea, he
yoked his horses to his chariot, and bound the body of Hector
behind it that he might drag it about. Thrice did he drag it
round the tomb of the son of Menoetius, and then went back into
his tent, leaving the body on the ground full length and with its
face downwards. But Apollo would not suffer it to be disfigured,
for he pitied the man, dead though he now was; therefore he
shielded him with his golden aegis continually, that he might
take no hurt while Achilles was dragging him.

Thus shamefully did Achilles in his fury dishonour Hector; but
the blessed gods looked down in pity from heaven, and urged
Mercury, slayer of Argus, to steal the body. All were of this
mind save only Juno, Neptune, and Jove's grey-eyed daughter, who
persisted in the hate which they had ever borne towards Ilius
with Priam and his people; for they forgave not the wrong done
them by Alexandrus in disdaining the goddesses who came to him
when he was in his sheepyards, and preferring her who had offered
him a wanton to his ruin.

When, therefore, the morning of the twelfth day had now come,
Phoebus Apollo spoke among the immortals saying, "You gods ought
to be ashamed of yourselves; you are cruel and hard-hearted. Did
not Hector burn you thigh-bones of heifers and of unblemished
goats? And now dare you not rescue even his dead body, for his
wife to look upon, with his mother and child, his father Priam,
and his people, who would forthwith commit him to the flames, and
give him his due funeral rites? So, then, you would all be on the
side of mad Achilles, who knows neither right nor ruth? He is
like some savage lion that in the pride of his great strength and
daring springs upon men's flocks and gorges on them. Even so has
Achilles flung aside all pity, and all that conscience which at
once so greatly banes yet greatly boons him that will heed it.
man may lose one far dearer than Achilles has lost--a son, it may
be, or a brother born from his own mother's womb; yet when he has
mourned him and wept over him he will let him bide, for it takes
much sorrow to kill a man; whereas Achilles, now that he has
slain noble Hector, drags him behind his chariot round the tomb
of his comrade. It were better of him, and for him, that he
should not do so, for brave though he be we gods may take it ill
that he should vent his fury upon dead clay."

Juno spoke up in a rage. "This were well," she cried, "O lord of
the silver bow, if you would give like honour to Hector and to
Achilles; but Hector was mortal and suckled at a woman's breast,
whereas Achilles is the offspring of a goddess whom I myself
reared and brought up. I married her to Peleus, who is above
measure dear to the immortals; you gods came all of you to her
wedding; you feasted along with them yourself and brought your
lyre--false, and fond of low company, that you have ever been."

Then said Jove, "Juno, be not so bitter. Their honour shall not
be equal, but of all that dwell in Ilius, Hector was dearest to
the gods, as also to myself, for his offerings never failed me.
Never was my altar stinted of its dues, nor of the
drink-offerings and savour of sacrifice which we claim of right.
I shall therefore permit the body of mighty Hector to be stolen;
and yet this may hardly be without Achilles coming to know it,
for his mother keeps night and day beside him. Let some one of
you, therefore, send Thetis to me, and I will impart my counsel
to her, namely that Achilles is to accept a ransom from Priam,
and give up the body."

On this Iris fleet as the wind went forth to carry his message.
Down she plunged into the dark sea midway between Samos and rocky
Imbrus; the waters hissed as they closed over her, and she sank
into the bottom as the lead at the end of an ox-horn, that is
sped to carry death to fishes. She found Thetis sitting in a
great cave with the other sea-goddesses gathered round her; there
she sat in the midst of them weeping for her noble son who was to
fall far from his own land, on the rich plains of Troy. Iris went
up to her and said, "Rise Thetis; Jove, whose counsels fail not,
bids you come to him." And Thetis answered, "Why does the mighty
god so bid me? I am in great grief, and shrink from going in and
out among the immortals. Still, I will go, and the word that he
may speak shall not be spoken in vain."

The goddess took her dark veil, than which there can be no robe
more sombre, and went forth with fleet Iris leading the way
before her. The waves of the sea opened them a path, and when
they reached the shore they flew up into the heavens, where they
found the all-seeing son of Saturn with the blessed gods that
live for ever assembled near him. Minerva gave up her seat to
her, and she sat down by the side of father Jove. Juno then
placed a fair golden cup in her hand, and spoke to her in words
of comfort, whereon Thetis drank and gave her back the cup; and
the sire of gods and men was the first to speak.

"So, goddess," said he, "for all your sorrow, and the grief that
I well know reigns ever in your heart, you have come hither to
Olympus, and I will tell you why I have sent for you. This nine
days past the immortals have been quarrelling about Achilles
waster of cities and the body of Hector. The gods would have
Mercury slayer of Argus steal the body, but in furtherance of our
peace and amity henceforward, I will concede such honour to your
son as I will now tell you. Go, then, to the host and lay these
commands upon him; say that the gods are angry with him, and that
I am myself more angry than them all, in that he keeps Hector at
the ships and will not give him up. He may thus fear me and let
the body go. At the same time I will send Iris to great Priam to
bid him go to the ships of the Achaeans, and ransom his son,
taking with him such gifts for Achilles as may give him

Silver-footed Thetis did as the god had told her, and forthwith
down she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus. She went to
her son's tents where she found him grieving bitterly, while his
trusty comrades round him were busy preparing their morning meal,
for which they had killed a great woolly sheep. His mother sat
down beside him and caressed him with her hand saying, "My son,
how long will you keep on thus grieving and making moan? You are
gnawing at your own heart, and think neither of food nor of
woman's embraces; and yet these too were well, for you have no
long time to live, and death with the strong hand of fate are
already close beside you. Now, therefore, heed what I say, for I
come as a messenger from Jove; he says that the gods are angry
with you, and himself more angry than them all, in that you keep
Hector at the ships and will not give him up. Therefore let him
go, and accept a ransom for his body."

And Achilles answered, "So be it. If Olympian Jove of his own
motion thus commands me, let him that brings the ransom bear the
body away."

Thus did mother and son talk together at the ships in long
discourse with one another. Meanwhile the son of Saturn sent Iris
to the strong city of Ilius. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, from the
mansions of Olympus, and tell King Priam in Ilius, that he is to
go to the ships of the Achaeans and free the body of his dear
son. He is to take such gifts with him as shall give satisfaction
to Achilles, and he is to go alone, with no other Trojan, save
only some honoured servant who may drive his mules and waggon,
and bring back the body of him whom noble Achilles has slain. Let
him have no thought nor fear of death in his heart, for we will
send the slayer of Argus to escort him, and bring him within the
tent of Achilles. Achilles will not kill him nor let another do
so, for he will take heed to his ways and sin not, and he will
entreat a suppliant with all honourable courtesy."

On this Iris, fleet as the wind, sped forth to deliver her
message. She went to Priam's house, and found weeping and
lamentation therein. His sons were seated round their father in
the outer courtyard, and their raiment was wet with tears: the
old man sat in the midst of them with his mantle wrapped close
about his body, and his head and neck all covered with the filth
which he had clutched as he lay grovelling in the mire. His
daughters and his sons' wives went wailing about the house, as
they thought of the many and brave men who lay dead, slain by the
Argives. The messenger of Jove stood by Priam and spoke softly to
him, but fear fell upon him as she did so. "Take heart," she
said, "Priam offspring of Dardanus, take heart and fear not. I
bring no evil tidings, but am minded well towards you. I come as
a messenger from Jove, who though he be not near, takes thought
for you and pities you. The lord of Olympus bids you go and
ransom noble Hector, and take with you such gifts as shall give
satisfaction to Achilles. You are to go alone, with no Trojan,
save only some honoured servant who may drive your mules and
waggon, and bring back to the city the body of him whom noble
Achilles has slain. You are to have no thought, nor fear of
death, for Jove will send the slayer of Argus to escort you. When
he has brought you within Achilles' tent, Achilles will not kill
you nor let another do so, for he will take heed to his ways and
sin not, and he will entreat a suppliant with all honourable

Iris went her way when she had thus spoken, and Priam told his
sons to get a mule-waggon ready, and to make the body of the
waggon fast upon the top of its bed. Then he went down into his
fragrant store-room, high-vaulted, and made of cedar-wood, where
his many treasures were kept, and he called Hecuba his wife.
"Wife," said he, "a messenger has come to me from Olympus, and
has told me to go to the ships of the Achaeans to ransom my dear
son, taking with me such gifts as shall give satisfaction to
Achilles. What think you of this matter? for my own part I am
greatly moved to pass through the camps of the Achaeans and go to
their ships."

His wife cried aloud as she heard him, and said, "Alas, what has
become of that judgement for which you have been ever famous both
among strangers and your own people? How can you venture alone to
the ships of the Achaeans, and look into the face of him who has
slain so many of your brave sons? You must have iron courage, for
if the cruel savage sees you and lays hold on you, he will know
neither respect nor pity. Let us then weep Hector from afar here
in our own house, for when I gave him birth the threads of
overruling fate were spun for him that dogs should eat his flesh
far from his parents, in the house of that terrible man on whose
liver I would fain fasten and devour it. Thus would I avenge my
son, who showed no cowardice when Achilles slew him, and thought
neither of flight nor of avoiding battle as he stood in defence
of Trojan men and Trojan women."

Then Priam said, "I would go, do not therefore stay me nor be as
a bird of ill omen in my house, for you will not move me. Had it
been some mortal man who had sent me some prophet or priest who
divines from sacrifice--I should have deemed him false and have
given him no heed; but now I have heard the goddess and seen her
face to face, therefore I will go and her saying shall not be in
vain. If it be my fate to die at the ships of the Achaeans even
so would I have it; let Achilles slay me, if I may but first have
taken my son in my arms and mourned him to my heart's

So saying he lifted the lids of his chests, and took out twelve
goodly vestments. He took also twelve cloaks of single fold,
twelve rugs, twelve fair mantles, and an equal number of shirts.
He weighed out ten talents of gold, and brought moreover two
burnished tripods, four cauldrons, and a very beautiful cup which
the Thracians had given him when he had gone to them on an
embassy; it was very precious, but he grudged not even this, so
eager was he to ransom the body of his son. Then he chased all
the Trojans from the court and rebuked them with words of anger.
"Out," he cried, "shame and disgrace to me that you are. Have you
no grief in your own homes that you are come to plague me here?
Is it a small thing, think you, that the son of Saturn has sent
this sorrow upon me, to lose the bravest of my sons? Nay, you
shall prove it in person, for now he is gone the Achaeans will
have easier work in killing you. As for me, let me go down within
the house of Hades, ere mine eyes behold the sacking and wasting
of the city."

He drove the men away with his staff, and they went forth as the
old man sped them. Then he called to his sons, upbraiding
Helenus, Paris, noble Agathon, Pammon, Antiphonus, Polites of the
loud battle-cry, Deiphobus, Hippothous, and Dius. These nine did
the old man call near him. "Come to me at once," he cried,
"worthless sons who do me shame; would that you had all been
killed at the ships rather than Hector. Miserable man that I am,
I have had the bravest sons in all Troy--noble Nestor, Troilus
the dauntless charioteer, and Hector who was a god among men, so
that one would have thought he was son to an immortal--yet there
is not one of them left. Mars has slain them and those of whom I
am ashamed are alone left me. Liars, and light of foot, heroes of
the dance, robbers of lambs and kids from your own people, why do
you not get a waggon ready for me at once, and put all these
things upon it that I may set out on my way?"

Thus did he speak, and they feared the rebuke of their father.
They brought out a strong mule-waggon, newly made, and set the
body of the waggon fast on its bed. They took the mule-yoke from
the peg on which it hung, a yoke of boxwood with a knob on the
top of it and rings for the reins to go through. Then they
brought a yoke-band eleven cubits long, to bind the yoke to the
pole; they bound it on at the far end of the pole, and put the
ring over the upright pin making it fast with three turns of the
band on either side the knob, and bending the thong of the yoke

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