The death of Patroklos

About Powers of Literature:
instructor
site map & outline
level of instruction
course objective
course textbooks
for best viewing
copyright notice

Links
(in this web):

Powers Home Page
Powers Index

1: Genesis

Homer Background
2. Odysseus' voyage
3. Magic words
4. Mission to Achilles
5. Hero Patroklos
6. They buried Hektor
7. Odysseus' Return
8. City of Dreams
9. Homer in Hades
10 Technology & Lit

Homer Exam
For further study

11. Socrates busted
12. Socrates' trial
13. Socrates in jail
14. Immortal Socrates

Plato Exam
For further study

15. Acts of God
16. Second Coming
17. Romance
18. Medieval self

More pages
coming soon!
See
site map
for details.

 

THE ILIAD of Homer

translated by Samuel Butler

revised by Timothy Power and Gregory Nagy

NOTE: Important Greek terms, in brackets,
are defined in the glossary.

from SCROLL XV

[592] The Trojans, fierce as lions, were still rushing on towards the ships in fulfillment of the behests of Zeus who kept spurring them on to new deeds of daring, while he deadened the courage of the Argives and defeated them by encouraging the Trojans. For he meant to give glory to Hektor, son of Priam, and to let him throw fire upon the ships, until he fulfilled the unrighteous prayer that Thetis had made him.  Zeus, therefore, bided his time until he should see the glare of a blazing ship. From that hour he was going to order that the Trojans be driven back from the ships and the Achaeans be granted glory. With this purpose he inspired Hektor, son of Priam, who was eager enough already, to assail the ships. Hektor's fury was as that of Ares, or as when a fire is raging in the glades of some dense forest upon the mountains. He foamed at the mouth, his eyes glared under his terrible eye-brows, and his helmet quivered on his temples with his fighting fury.

[610] Zeus from heaven was with him, and though he was but one against many, granted him victory and glory; for he was doomed to an early death, and already Pallas Athena was hurrying on the hour of his destruction at the hands of the son of Peleus. Now, however, he kept trying to break the ranks of the enemy wherever he could see them thickest, and in the goodliest armor; but do what he might he could not break through them, for they stood as a tower foursquare, or as some high cliff rising from the gray sea that braves the anger of the gale, and of the waves that thunder up against it. He fell upon them like flames of fire from every quarter. As when a wave, raised mountain high by wind and storm, breaks over a ship and covers it deep in foam, the fierce winds roar against the mast, the hearts of the sailors fail them for fear, and they are saved but by a very little from destruction - even so were the hearts of the Achaeans fainting within them. Or as a savage lion attacking a herd of cows while they are feeding by thousands in the low-lying meadows by some wide-watered shore - the herdsman is at his witís end how to protect his herd and keeps going about now in the van and now in the rear of his cattle, while the lion springs into the thick of them and fastens on a cow so that they all tremble for fear - even so were the Achaeans utterly panic-stricken by Hektor and father Zeus. Nevertheless Hektor killed only Periphetes of Mycenae; he was son of Kopreus who once took the orders of King Eurystheus to mighty Herakles, but the son was far better in excellence [aretÍ] than the father in every way. He was fleet of foot, a valiant warrior, and in understanding [noos] ranked among the foremost men of Mycenae. He it was who then afforded Hektor a triumph, for as he was turning back he stumbled against the rim of his shield which reached his feet, and served to keep the javelins off him. He tripped against this and fell face upward, his helmet ringing loudly about his head as he did so. Hektor saw him fall and ran up to him; he then thrust a spear into his chest, and killed him close to his own comrades. These, for all their sorrow, could not help him for they were themselves terribly afraid of Hektor.

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

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

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

[674] Ajax could not bring himself to retreat along with the rest, but strode from deck to deck with a great sea-pike in his hands twelve cubits long and jointed with rings. As a man skilled in feats of horsemanship couples four horses together and comes tearing full speed along the public way from the country into some large town - many both men and women marvel as they see him for he keeps all the time changing his horse, springing from one to another without ever missing his feet while the horses are at a gallop - even so did Ajax go striding from one shipís deck to another, and his voice went up into the heavens. He kept on shouting his orders to the Danaans and exhorting them to defend their ships and tents;

[688] neither did Hektor remain within the main body of the Trojan warriors, but as a dun eagle swoops down upon a flock of wild-fowl feeding near a river-geese, it may be, or cranes, or long-necked swans - even so did Hektor make straight for a dark-prowed ship, rushing right towards it; for Zeus with his mighty hand impelled him forward, and roused his people to follow him.

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

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

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

[742] As he spoke he wielded his spear with still greater fury, and when any Trojan made towards the ships with fire to win favor [kharis] with Hektor, he would be on the look-out for him, and drive at him with his long spear. Twelve men did he thus kill in hand-to-hand fight before the ships. [746]

SCROLL XVI

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

[20] Then, O horseman Patroklos, with a deep sigh you answered, "Achilles, son of Peleus, foremost champion of the Achaeans, do not be angry, but I feel grief [akhos] for the disaster that has now befallen the Argives. All those who have been their champions so far are lying at the ships, wounded by sword or spear. Brave Diomedes son of Tydeus has been hit with a spear, while famed Odysseus and Agamemnon have received sword-wounds;

[27] Eurypylos again has been struck with an arrow in the thigh. Skilled apothecaries are attending to these heroes, and healing them of their wounds. Are you still, O Achilles, so inexorable? May it never be my lot to nurse such a passion as you have done, to the banning of your own good name. Who in future story will speak well of you unless you now save the Argives from ruin? You know no pity; horseman Peleus was not your father nor Thetis your mother, but the gray sea bore you and the sheer cliffs begot you, so cruel and remorseless are you in your thinking [noos]. If however you are kept back through knowledge of some oracle, or if your mother Thetis has told you something from the mouth of Zeus, at least send me and the Myrmidons with me, if I may bring deliverance to the Danaans. Let me moreover wear your armor; the Trojans may thus mistake me for you and quit the field, so that the hard-pressed sons of the Achaeans may have breathing time- which while they are fighting may hardly be. We who are fresh might soon drive tired men back from our ships and tents to their own city."

[46] He knew not what he was asking, nor that he was suing for his own destruction. Achilles was deeply moved and answered, "Noble Patroklos, what are you saying? I know no prophesyings which I am heeding, nor has my mother told me anything from the mouth of Zeus, but I am cut to the very heart with grief [akhos] that one of my own rank should dare to rob me because he is more powerful than I am. This grief [akhos], after all that I have gone through, is more than I can endure. The girl whom the sons of the Achaeans chose for me, whom I won as the fruit of my spear on having sacked a city, King Agamemnon has taken from me as though I were some common vagrant. Still, let bygones be bygones: no man may keep his anger for ever. I said I would not relent till battle and the cry of war had reached my own ships; nevertheless, now gird my armor about your shoulders, and lead the Myrmidons to battle, for the dark cloud of Trojans has burst furiously over our fleet;

[67] the Argives are driven back on to the beach, cooped within a narrow space, and the whole people of Troy has taken heart to sally out against them, because they see not the visor of my helmet gleaming near them. Had they seen this, there would not have been a ditch that had not been filled with their dead as they fled back again. And so it would have been, if only King Agamemnon had dealt fairly by me. As it is the Trojans have beset our host. Diomedes son of Tydeus no longer wields his spear to defend the Danaans, neither have I heard the voice of the son of Atreus coming from his hated [ekhthrÍ] head, whereas that of murderous Hektor rings in my ears as he gives orders to the Trojans, who triumph over the Achaeans and fill the whole plain with their cry of battle. But even so, Patroklos, fall upon them and save the fleet, lest the Trojans fire it and deprive us of our safe homecoming [nostos]. Bring to fulfillment [telos] what I now order you to do, so that you may win me great honor [timÍ] from all the Danaans, and that they may restore the girl to me again and give me rich gifts into the bargain. When you have driven the Trojans from the ships, come back again. Though Heraís thundering husband should put triumph within your reach, do not fight the Trojans further in my absence, or you will rob me of glory that should be mine. And do not for lust of battle go on killing the Trojans nor lead the Achaeans on to Ilion, lest one of the ever-living gods from Olympus attack you - for Phoebus Apollo loves them well: return when you have freed the ships from peril, and let others wage war upon the plain. Would, by father Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, that not a single man of all the Trojans might be left alive, nor yet of the Argives, but that we two might be alone left to tear aside the mantle that veils the brow of Troy."

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

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

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

[131] As he spoke Patroklos put on his armor. First he greaved his legs with greaves of good make, and fitted with ankle-clasps of silver; after this he donned the cuirass of the son of Aiakos, richly inlaid and studded. He hung his silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then his mighty shield. On his comely head he set his helmet, well wrought, with a crest of horse-hair that nodded menacingly above it. He grasped two redoubtable spears that suited his hands, but he did not take the spear of noble Achilles, so stout and strong,

[141] for none other of the Achaeans could wield it, though Achilles could do so easily. This was the ashen spear from Mount Pelion, which Chiron had cut upon a mountain top and had given to Peleus, wherewith to deal out death among heroes. He bade Automedon yoke his horses with all speed, for he was the man whom he held in honor next after Achilles, and on whose support in battle he could rely most firmly. Automedon therefore yoked the fleet horses Xanthos and Balios, steeds that could fly like the wind: these were they whom the harpy Podarge bore to the west wind, as she was grazing in a meadow by the waters of the river Okeanos. In the side traces he set the noble horse Pedasos, whom Achilles had brought away with him when he sacked the city of Eetion, and who, mortal steed though he was, could take his place along with those that were immortal.

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

[168] Fifty ships had noble Achilles brought to Troy, and in each there was a crew of fifty oarsmen. Over these he set five leaders whom he could trust, while he was himself commander over them all. Menesthios of the gleaming corselet, son to the river Spercheios that streams from heaven, was leader of the first company. Fair Polydora daughter of Peleus bore him to ever-flowing Spercheios - a woman mated with a god - but he was called son of Boros son of Perieres, with whom his mother was living as his wedded wife, and who gave great wealth to gain her.

[178] The second company was led by noble Eudoros, son to an unwedded woman. Polymele, daughter of Phylas, graceful in dancing [khoros], bore him; Hermes the mighty slayer of Argos was enamored of her as he saw her among the singing women at a dance [khoros] held in honor of Artemis the rushing huntress of the golden arrows. Hermes, giver of all good, went with her into an upper chamber, and lay with her in secret, whereon she bore him a noble son Eudoros, singularly fleet of foot and in fight valiant. When Eileithuia goddess of the pains of child-birth brought him to the light of day, and he saw the face of the sun, mighty Echekles son of Aktor took the mother to wife, and gave great wealth to gain her, but her father Phylas brought the child up, and took care of him, doting as fondly upon him as though he were his own son. The third company was led by Peisandros son of Maimalos, the finest spearman among all the Myrmidons next to Achillesí own comrade Patroklos. The old horseman Phoenix was leader of the fourth company, and Alkimedon, noble son of Laerceus of the fifth.

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

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

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

[249] Thus did he pray, and all-counseling Zeus heard his prayer. Part of it he did indeed grant him - but not the whole. He granted that Patroklos should thrust back war and battle from the ships, but refused to let him come safely out of the fight.

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

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

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

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

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

[306] The fight then became more scattered, and the chieftains killed one another when and how they could. The valiant son of Menoitios first drove his spear into the thigh of Areilykos just as he was turning round; the point went clean through, and broke the bone so that he fell forward. Meanwhile Menelaos struck Thoas in the chest, where it was exposed near the rim of his shield, and he fell dead. The son of Phyleus saw Amphiklos about to attack him, and ere he could do so took aim at the upper part of his thigh, where the muscles are thicker than in any other part; the spear tore through all the sinews of the leg, and his eyes were closed in darkness.

[316] Of the sons of Nestor one, Antilokhos, speared Atymnios, driving the point of the spear through his throat, and down he fell. Maris then sprang on Antilokhos in hand-to-hand fight to avenge his brother, and bestrode the body spear in hand; but valiant Thrasymedes was too quick for him, and in a moment had struck him in the shoulder ere he could deal his blow; his aim was true, and the spear severed all the muscles at the root of his arm, and tore them right down to the bone, so he fell heavily to the ground and his eyes were closed in darkness. Thus did these two noble comrades of Sarpedon go down to Erebos slain by the two sons of Nestor; they were the warrior sons of Amisodoros, who had reared the invincible Chimaera, to the bane of many. Ajax son of Oileus sprang on Kleoboulos and took him alive as he was entangled in the crush; but he killed him then and there by a sword-blow on the neck. The sword reeked with his blood, while dark death and the strong hand of fate gripped him and closed his eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[458] The sire of gods and men assented, but he shed a rain of blood upon the earth in honor [timÍ] of his son whom Patroklos was about to kill on the fertile plain of Troy far from his home.

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

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

[503] The outcome [telos] of death closed his eyes as he spoke. Patroklos planted his heel on his breast and drew the spear from his body, whereon his diaphragm came out along with it, and he drew out both spear-point and Sarpedonís life-breath [psukhÍ] at the same time. Hard by the Myrmidons held his snorting steeds, who were wild with panic at finding themselves deserted by their lords. Glaukos was overcome with grief [akhos] when he heard what Sarpedon said, for he could not help him. He had to support his arm with his other hand, being in great pain through the wound which Teucerís arrow had given him when Teucer was defending the wall as he, Glaukos, was assailing it. Therefore he prayed to far-darting Apollo saying, "Hear me O king from your seat, may be in the fertile district [dÍmos] of Lycia, or may be in Troy, for in all places you can hear the prayer of one who is in distress, as I now am. I have a grievous wound; my hand is aching with pain, there is no staunching the blood, and my whole arm drags by reason of my hurt, so that I cannot grasp my sword nor go among my foes and fight them, though our prince, Zeusí son Sarpedon, is slain. Zeus defended not his son, do you, therefore, O king, heal me of my wound, ease my pain and grant me strength both to cheer on the Lycians and to fight along with them round the body of him who has fallen."

[527] Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He eased his pain, staunched the black blood from the wound, and gave him new strength. Glaukos perceived this, and was thankful that the mighty god had answered his prayer; forthwith, therefore, he went among the Lycian leaders, and bade them come to fight about the body of Sarpedon. From these he strode on among the Trojans to Polydamas son of Panthoos and Agenor; he then went in search of Aeneas and Hektor, and when he had found them he said, "Hektor, you have utterly forgotten your allies, who languish here for your sake far from friends and home while you do nothing to support them.

[540] Sarpedon leader of the Lycian warriors has fallen - he who was at once the right and might of Lycia; Ares has laid him low by the spear of Patroklos. Stand by him, my friends, and suffer not the Myrmidons to strip him of his armor, nor to treat his body with contumely in revenge for all the Danaans whom we have speared at the ships."

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

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

[569] At first the Trojans made some headway against the Achaeans, for one of the best men among the Myrmidons was killed, Epeigeus, son of noble Agakles who had erewhile been king in the good city of Boudeion; but presently, having killed a valiant kinsman of his own, he took refuge with Peleus and Thetis, who sent him to Ilion the land of noble steeds to fight the Trojans under Achilles. Hektor now struck him on the head with a stone just as he had caught hold of the body,

[578] and his brains inside his helmet were all battered in, so that he fell face foremost upon the body of Sarpedon, and there died. Patroklos was enraged with grief [akhos] over by the death of his comrade, and sped through the front ranks as swiftly as a hawk that swoops down on a flock of daws or starlings. Even so swiftly, O noble horseman Patroklos, did you make straight for the Lycians and Trojans to avenge your comrade. Forthwith he struck Sthenelaos the son of Ithaimenes on the neck with a stone, and broke the tendons that join it to the head and spine. On this Hektor and the front rank of his men gave ground. As far as a man can throw a javelin in competition [athlos] for some prize, or even in battle - so far did the Trojans now retreat before the Achaeans. Glaukos, leader of the Lycians, was the first to rally them, by killing Bathykles son of Khalkon who lived in Hellas and was supreme in wealth [olbos] among the Myrmidons. Glaukos turned around suddenly, just as Bathykles who was pursuing him was about to lay hold of him, and drove his spear right into the middle of his chest, whereon he fell heavily to the ground, and the fall of so good a man filled the Achaeans with dismay [akhos], while the Trojans were exultant, and came up in a body round the corpse. Nevertheless the Achaeans, mindful of their prowess, bore straight down upon them.

[603] Meriones then killed a helmed warrior of the Trojans, Laogonos son of Onetor, who was priest of Zeus of Mount Ida, and was honored in the district [dÍmos] as though he were a god. Meriones struck him under the jaw and ear, so that life went out of him and the darkness of death laid hold upon him. Aeneas then aimed a spear at Meriones, hoping to hit him under the shield as he was advancing, but Meriones saw it coming and stooped forward to avoid it, whereon the spear flew past him and the point stuck in the ground, while the butt-end went on quivering till Ares robbed it of its force. The spear, therefore, sped from Aeneasí hand in vain and fell quivering to the ground. Aeneas was angry and said, "Meriones, you have danced well, but if I had hit you my spear would soon have made an end of you."

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

[627] On this the son of Menoitios rebuked him and said, "Meriones, hero though you be, you should not speak thus; taunting speeches, my good friend, will not make the Trojans draw away from the dead body; some of them must go under ground first; the outcome [telos] of battle is in the force of hands, while the outcome of deliberation is words; fight, therefore, and say nothing."

[632] He led the way as he spoke and the hero went forward with him. As the sound of woodcutters in some forest glade upon the mountains- and the thud of their axes is heard afar - even such a din now rose from earth-clash of bronze armor and of good ox-hide shields, as men smote each other with their swords and spears pointed at both ends. A man had need of good eyesight now to know Sarpedon, so covered was he from head to foot with spears and blood and dust. Men swarmed about the body, as flies that buzz round the full milk-pails in the season [hŰra] of spring when they are brimming with milk - even so did they gather round Sarpedon; nor did Zeus turn his keen eyes away for one moment from the fight, but kept looking at it all the time, for he was settling how best to kill Patroklos, and considering whether Hektor should be allowed to end him now in the fight round the body of Sarpedon, and strip him of his armor, or whether he should let him give yet further trouble [ponos] to the Trojans. In the end, he deemed it best that the brave squire [therapŰn] of Achilles son of Peleus should drive Hektor and the Trojans back towards the city and take the lives of many. First, therefore, he made Hektor turn fainthearted, whereon he mounted his chariot and fled, bidding the other Trojans flee also,

[658] for he saw that the scales of Zeus had turned against him. Neither would the brave Lycians stand firm; they were dismayed when they saw their king lying struck to the heart amid a heap of corpses - for when the son of Kronos made the fight wax hot many had fallen above him. The Achaeans, therefore stripped the gleaming armor from his shoulders and the brave son of Menoitios gave it to his men to take to the ships. Then Zeus lord of the storm-cloud said to Apollo, "Dear Phoebus, go, I pray you, and take Sarpedon out of range of the weapons; cleanse the black blood from off him, and then bear him a long way off where you may wash him in the river, anoint him with ambrosia, and clothe him in immortal raiment; this done, commit him to the arms of the two fleet messengers, Death, and Sleep, who will carry him straightway to the fertile district [dÍmos] of Lycia, where his brothers and kinsmen will give him a funeral, and will raise both mound and pillar to his memory, in due honor to the dead."

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

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

[692] Who then first, and who last, was slain by you, O Patroklos, when the gods had now called you to meet your doom? First Adrastos, Autonoos, Echeklos, Perimos the son of Megas, Epistor and Melanippos; after these he killed Elasus, Moulios, and Pylartes. These he slew, but the rest saved themselves by flight.

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

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

[726] With this the god went back into the struggle [ponos], and Hektor bade Kebriones drive again into the fight. Apollo passed in among them, and struck panic into the Argives, while he gave triumph to Hektor and the Trojans. Hektor let the other Danaans alone and killed no man, but drove straight at Patroklos. Patroklos then sprang from his chariot to the ground,

[734] with a spear in his left hand, and in his right a jagged stone as large as his hand could hold. He stood still and threw it, nor did it go far without hitting some one; the cast was not in vain, for the stone struck Kebriones, Hektorís charioteer, a bastard son of Priam, as he held the reins in his hands. The stone hit him on the forehead and drove his brows into his head for the bone was smashed, and his eyes fell to the ground at his feet. He dropped dead from his chariot as though he were diving, and there was no more life left in him. Over him did you then vaunt, O horseman Patroklos, saying, "Bless my heart, how active he is, and how well he dives. If we had been at sea [pontos] this man would have dived from the shipís side and brought up as many oysters as the whole crew could stomach, even in rough water, for he has dived beautifully off his chariot on to the ground. It seems, then, that there are divers also among the Trojans."

[751] As he spoke he flung himself on Kebriones with the spring, as it were, of a lion that while attacking a stockyard is himself struck in the chest, and his courage is his own bane - even so furiously, O Patroklos, did you then spring upon Kebriones. Hektor sprang also from his chariot to the ground. The pair then fought over the body of Kebriones. As two lions fight fiercely on some high mountain over the body of a stag that they have killed, even so did these two mighty warriors, Patroklos son of Menoitios and brave Hektor, hack and hew at one another over the corpse of Kebriones. Hektor would not let him go when he had once got him by the head, while Patroklos kept fast hold of his feet, and a fierce fight raged between the other Danaans and Trojans. As the east and south wind buffet one another when they beat upon some dense forest on the mountains - there is beech and ash and spreading cornel; the two of the trees roar as they beat on one another, and one can hear the boughs cracking and breaking -

[770] even so did the Trojans and Achaeans spring upon one another and lay about each other, and neither side would give way. Many a pointed spear fell to ground and many a winged arrow sped from its bow-string about the body of Kebriones; many a great stone, moreover, beat on many a shield as they fought around his body, but there he lay in the whirling clouds of dust, all huge and hugely, heedless of his driving now.

[777] So long as the sun was still high in mid-heaven the weapons of either side were alike deadly, and the people fell; but when he went down towards the time when men loose their oxen, the Achaeans proved to be beyond all forecast stronger, so that they drew Kebriones out of range of the darts and tumult of the Trojans, and stripped the armor from his shoulders. Then Patroklos sprang like Ares with fierce intent and a terrific shout upon the Trojans, and thrice did he kill nine men; but as he was coming on like a daimŰn for a time, at that moment, O Patroklos, was your doom approaching, for Phoebus fought you in fell earnest. Patroklos did not see him as he moved about in the crush, for he was enshrouded in thick darkness, and the god struck him from behind on his back and his broad shoulders with the flat of his hand, so that his eyes turned dizzy. Phoebus Apollo beat the helmet from off his head, and it rolled rattling off under the horsesí feet, where its horse-hair plumes were all begrimed with dust and blood. Before this, it would not have been right [themis] for this to happen. For before, this helmet had served to protect the head and comely forehead of the godlike hero Achilles. Now, however, Zeus delivered it over to be worn by Hektor. Nevertheless the end of Hektor also was near. The bronze-shod spear, so great and so strong, was broken in the hand of Patroklos, while his shield that covered him from head to foot fell to the ground as did also the band that held it, and Apollo undid the fastenings of his corselet.

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

[843] Then, as the life ebbed out of you, you answered, O horseman Patroklos: "Hektor, vaunt as you will, for Zeus the son of Kronos and Apollo have granted you victory; it is they who have vanquished me so easily, and they who have stripped the armor from my shoulders; had twenty such men as you attacked me, all of them would have fallen before my spear. Fate and the son of Leto have overpowered me, and among mortal men Euphorbos; you are yourself third only in the killing of me. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart, you too shall live but for a little season; death and the day of your doom are close upon you, and they will lay you low by the hand of Achilles son of Aiakos." When he had thus spoken his eyes were closed in the doom [telos] of death, his life-breath [psukhÍ] left his body and flitted down to the house of Hades, mourning its sad fate and bidding farewell to the youth and vigor of its manhood. Dead though he was, Hektor still spoke to him saying, "Patroklos, why should you thus foretell my doom? Who knows but Achilles, son of lovely Thetis, may be smitten by my spear and die before me?"

[862] As he spoke he drew the bronze spear from the wound, planting his foot upon the body, which he thrust off and let lie on its back. He then went spear in hand after Automedon, squire [therapŰn] of the fleet descendant of Aiakos, for he longed to lay him low, but the immortal steeds which the gods had given as a rich gift to Peleus bore him swiftly from the field. [867]

 

[SCROLL XVII: omitted. Hektor strips the armor of Achilles from Patroklos' body, and he puts it on. The Trojans now drive the Achaeans back to their ships again. There is a long, bloody struggle for Patroklos' corpse. The Trojans want the body to be eaten by vultures or fed to the dogs; the Achaeans want it for proper funeral rites.]

 

SCROLL XVIII

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

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

[22] A dark cloud of grief [akhos] fell upon Achilles as he listened. He filled both hands with dust from off the ground, and poured it over his head, disfiguring his comely face, and letting the refuse settle over his shirt so fair and new. He flung himself down all at full length, and tore his hair with his hands.

[28] The bondswomen whom Achilles and Patroklos had taken captive screamed aloud for grief, beating their breasts, and with their limbs failing them for sorrow. Antilokhos bent over him the while, weeping and holding both his hands as he lay groaning for he feared that he might plunge a knife into his own throat. Then Achilles gave a loud cry and his mother heard him as she was sitting in the depths of the sea by the old man her father, whereon she screamed, and all the goddesses daughters of Nereus that dwelt at the bottom of the sea, came gathering round her. There were Glauke, Thalia and Kymodoke, Nesaia, Speo, Thoe, and dark-eyed Halie, Kymothoe, Aktaia and Limnorea, Melite, Iaira, Amphithoe and Agaue, Doto and Proto, Pherousa and Dynamene, Dexamene, Amphinome and Kallianeira, Doris, Panope, and the famous sea-nymph Galatea, Nemertes, Apseudes and Kallianassa. There were also Klymene, Ianeira and Ianassa, Maira, Oreithuia and Amatheia of the lovely locks, with other Nereids who dwell in the depths of the sea. The crystal cave was filled with their multitude and they all beat their breasts while Thetis led them in their lament.

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

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

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

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

[97] Then said Achilles in his great grief, "I would die here and now, in that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home, and in his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What is there for me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have brought no saving neither to Patroklos nor to my other comrades of whom so many have been slain by mighty Hektor; I stay here by my ships a bootless burden upon the earth, I, who in fight have no peer among the Achaeans, though in council there are better than I.

[107] Therefore, perish strife both from among gods and men, and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden his heart - which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey. Even so has Agamemnon angered me. And yet - so be it, for it is over; I will force my soul into subjection as I needs must; I will go; I will pursue Hektor who has slain him whom I loved so dearly, and will then abide my doom when it may please Zeus and the other gods to send it. Even Herakles, the best beloved of Zeus - even he could not escape the hand of death, but fate and Heraís fierce anger laid him low, as I too shall lie when I am dead if a like doom awaits me. Till then I will win fame [kleos], and will bid Trojan and Dardanian women wring tears from their tender cheeks with both their hands in the grievousness of their great sorrow; thus shall they know that he who has held aloof so long will hold aloof no longer. Hold me not back, therefore, in the love you bear me, for you shall not move me."

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

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

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

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

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

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

[183] Iris answered, "It was Hera the royal spouse of Zeus, but the son of Kronos does not know of my coming, nor yet does any other of the immortals who dwell on the snowy summits of Olympus."

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

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

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

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

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

[239] Then Hera sent the busy sun, loath though he was, into the waters of Okeanos; so he set, and the Achaeans had rest from the tug and turmoil of war.

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

[254] "Look to it well, my friends; I would urge you to go back now to your city and not wait here by the ships till morning, for we are far from our walls. So long as this man has anger [mÍnis] against Agamemnon, the Achaeans were easier to deal with, and I would have gladly camped by the ships in the hope of taking them; but now I go in great fear of the fleet son of Peleus; he is so daring that he will never bide here on the plain whereon the Trojans and Achaeans fight with equal valor, but he will try to storm our city and carry off our women.

[265] Do then as I say, and let us retreat. For this is what will happen. The darkness of night will for a time stay the son of Peleus, but if he find us here in the morning when he sallies forth in full armor, we shall have knowledge of him in good earnest. Glad indeed will he be who can escape and get back to Ilion, and many a Trojan will become meat for dogs and vultures--may I never live to hear it. If we do as I say, little though we may like it, we shall have strength in counsel during the night, and the great gates with the doors that close them will protect the city. At dawn we can arm and take our stand on the walls; he will then rue it if he sallies from the ships to fight us. He will go back when he has given his horses their fill of being driven in every which direction under our walls, and will be in no mind to try and force his way into the city. Neither will he ever sack it, dogs shall devour him ere he do so."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[462] And Hephaistos answered, "Take heart, and be no more disquieted about this matter; would that I could hide him from deathís sight when his hour is come, so surely as I can find him armor that shall amaze the eyes of all who behold it."

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

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

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

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

[497] Meanwhile the people were gathered in assembly, for there was a quarrel [neikos], and two men were wrangling about the blood-price for a man who had died, the one claiming to the dÍmos that he had the right to pay off the damages in full, and the other refusing to accept anything. Each was seeking a limit [peirar], in the presence of an arbitrator [histŰr], and the people took sides, each man backing the side that he had taken;

[502] but the heralds kept them back, and the elders sat on their seats of stone in a solemn circle, holding the staves which the heralds had put into their hands. Then they rose and each in his turn gave judgment [dikÍ], and there were two measures of gold laid down, to be given to him whose judgment [dikÍ] should be deemed the fairest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[607] All round the outermost rim of the shield he set the mighty stream of the river Okeanos.

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

[614] Lastly, when the famed lame god had made all the armor, he took it and set it before the mother of Achilles; whereon she darted like a falcon from the snowy summits of Olympus and bore away the gleaming armor from the house of Hephaistos. [617]

SCROLL XIX

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

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

[28] Silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, be not disquieted about this matter. I will find means to protect him from the swarms of noisome flies that prey on the bodies of men who have been killed in battle. He may lie for a whole year, and his flesh shall still be as sound as ever, or even sounder. Call, therefore, the Achaean heroes in assembly; unsay your anger [mÍnis] against Agamemnon; arm at once, and fight with might and main." As she spoke she put strength and courage into his heart, and she then dropped ambrosia and red nectar into the wounds of Patroklos, that his body might suffer no change.

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

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

[74] Thus did he speak, and the Achaeans rejoiced in that he had put away his anger [mÍnis]. Then Agamemnon spoke, rising in his place, and not going into the middle of the assembly. "Danaan heroes," said he, "squires [therapontes] of Ares, it is well to listen when a man stands up to speak, and it is not seemly to interrupt him, or it will go hard even with a practiced speaker. Who can either hear or speak in an uproar? Even the finest orator will be disconcerted by it. I will expound to the son of Peleus, and do you other Achaeans heed me and mark me well. Often have the Achaeans spoken to me of this matter and upbraided me, but it was not I who was responsible [aitios]: Zeus, and Fate [Moira], and Erinys that walks in darkness struck me with derangement [atÍ] when we were assembled on the day that I took from Achilles the prize that had been awarded to him. What could I do? All things are in the hand of heaven, and AtÍ, eldest of Zeusí daughters, shuts menís eyes to their destruction. She walks delicately, not on the solid earth, but hovers over the heads of men to make them stumble or to ensnare them.

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

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

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

[145] And Achilles answered, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, you can give such gifts as you think proper, or you can withhold them: it is in your own hands. Let us now set battle in array;

[149] it is not well to tarry talking about trifles, for there is a deed which is as yet to do. Achilles shall again be seen fighting among the foremost, and laying low the ranks of the Trojans: bear this in mind each one of you when he is fighting."

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

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

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

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

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

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

[266] He cut the boarís throat as he spoke, whereon Talthybios whirled it round his head, and flung it into the wide sea to feed the fishes. Then Achilles also rose and said to the Argives, "Father Zeus, truly you give atÍ to men and bane to them. The son of Atreus had not else stirred me to so fierce an anger, nor so stubbornly taken Briseis from me against my will. Surely Zeus must have counseled the destruction of many an Argive. Go, now, and take your food that we may begin fighting."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Return to Lesson 5

Powers of Literature home

Instructor: gutchess@englishare.net 
Copyright © 2001

 

READINGS for Powers of Literature
(with Lesson numbers):

1. Genesis 1
Creation Story

1. Genesis 11
Babel Story

2. Odyssey 8
Odysseus' voyage 1

3. Iliad 1-2
Achilles' anger

4. Iliad 9
Mission to Achilles

4. Peleus & Thetis
ancient sources

5. Iliad 15 ff
Death of Patroklos

6. Iliad 20 ff
Burial of Hektor

7. Odyssey 13-18
Return of Odysseus

8. Odyssey 20-24
City of Dreams

9. Life of Alexander
the Homeric king

10. Origins of writing
ancient sources

11. Plato, Euthyphro
Socrates gets busted

12. Plato, Apology
Socrates on trial

13. Plato, Crito
Socrates in jail

14. Plato, Phaedo
Socrates in heaven

15. Luke, Acts
Paul does Christ

16. Saint Francis
gospel without text

17. Chretien, The Knight of the Cart
Sire Lance's genes

18. Virgil, Aeneid
Aeneas & Dido