Iliad of Homer, The



Agamemnon and the other wounded chiefs visit the battle with Nestor. Juno, having borrowed the cestus of Venus, first obtains the assistance of Sleep, and then hastens to Ida to inveigle Jove. She prevails, Jove sleeps, and Neptune seizes the opportunity to aid the Trojans.

But the shouting did not entirely escape the notice of Nestor, although drinking, but he addressed winged words to the son of Æsculapius: "Consider, noble Machaon, how these things will be; greater, certainly, [grows] the shouting of the blooming youths at the ships. But sitting here at present, drink indeed the dark wine, until fair-haired Hecamede has warmed the tepid baths, and washed away the bloody gore; whilst I, going with speed to a watchtower, will gain information."

So saying, he took the well-made shield of his own son, horse-breaking Thrasymedes, [which was] lying in the tent, all shining with brass (for he had the shield of his sire); and seized a strong spear, pointed with sharp brass; and stood without the tent, and soon beheld an unseemly deed,--these [the Greeks] in confusion, and those, the haughty Trojans, routing them in the rear; but the wall of the Greeks had fallen. And as when the vast deep blackens with the noiseless 454 wave, foreboding with no effect, the rapid courses of the shrill blasts, nor yet is it rolled forwards or backwards, before some decisive blast comes down from Jove: so meditated the old man, distracted in his mind between two opinions: whether he should go amongst the throng of fleet-horsed Greeks, or to Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, shepherd of the people. But to him thus reflecting, it appeared better to go in quest of the son of Atreus. Meanwhile they kept slaughtering each other, contending, and the solid brass around their bodies rang, as they were stricken with the swords and two-edged spears.

Footnote 454: (return) Literally, "deaf." So "surdi fluctus," Ovid, Epist. xviii. 211; "Omnia surda tacent," Propert. iv. 3, 53; "Surdaque vota condidit Ionio," Pers. Sat. vi. 28.

But the Jove-cherished kings, coming up from the vessels, met Nestor, as many as had been wounded with the brass,--Tydides, and Ulysses, and Agamemnon, the son of Atreus. Their ships indeed were drawn up upon the shore of the hoary deep, very far away from the battle; for they had drawn the first as far as the plain, and had built a wall at their sterns. For, broad as it was, the shore was by no means able to contain their vessels, and the people were crowded. Wherefore they drew them up in rows one behind the other, and filled the wide mouth of the whole shore, as much as the promontories enclosed. There then were they walking together, leaning upon the spear, in order to behold the tumult and the battle; and the heart in their bosoms was grieved. But aged Nestor met them, and terrified the souls in the breasts of the Greeks: whom first king Agamemnon addressing, said:

"O Neleïan Nestor, great glory of the Greeks, why, leaving the man-destroying battle, comest thou hither? Truly I fear lest impetuous Hector make good his speech, as once he threatened, haranguing among the Trojans, that he would not return to Ilium from the ships, before that he had burned the ships with fire, and slain us also: thus indeed he harangued; and now are all things fulfilling. Ye gods, surely the other well-greaved Greeks, as well as Achilles, store up wrath against me in their minds; nor are they willing to fight at the sterns of the ships."

But him the Gerenian knight Nestor then answered: "Assuredly these things are in active accomplishment, nor could even lofty-thundering Jove himself contrive them otherwise; for the wall, in which we trusted that it would be an impregnable defence to the ships and to ourselves, has now fallen. But they are sustaining an obstinate contest at the swift ships; nor couldst thou any longer distinguish, though examining particularly, on which side the Greeks, confounded, are routed; so promiscuously are they slain, whilst the shout reaches heaven. Let us, however, deliberate how these things will be, if counsel avail anything; although I advise not that we enter the battle; for it is by no means proper that a wounded man should fight."

But him then answered Agamemnon, king of men. "Nestor, since they are combating at the sterns of the ships, and the constructed rampart avails not, nor the ditch, at which the Greeks suffered much, and hoped in their minds that it would be an impregnable defence to the ships and to themselves, surely it will be agreeable to all-powerful Jove that the Greeks perish here, inglorious, far away from Argos. For I was conscious when he willingly gave assistance to the Greeks, and I now know that he honours those [the Trojans] equally with the happy gods, but hath fettered our courage and our hands. But come, let us all obey as I shall advise. Let us draw down the ships, as many as are drawn up first near the sea, and launch them all into the vast ocean. Let us moor them at anchor in the deep, till mortal-deceiving 455 night arrive, if even then the Trojans may abstain from battle, and then we may perhaps draw down all the vessels; for there is no disgrace in flying from evil, not even during the night. It is better for a flying man to escape from evil, than to be taken."

Footnote 455: (return) 'Αβρότη is akin to ἤμβροτον from άμαρτάνω, and therefore = "making mortals go astray," or else = άμβροσιη in ii. 57. See Buttm. Lexil. p. 82. Or it may be regarded as the "nox intempesta," i.e. "muita nox, qua nihil agi tempestivum est," Censorinus de Die Nat. xxiv.

But him sternly regarding, wise Ulysses then addressed: "Son of Atreus, what speech hath escaped thy lips? Lost man! thou shouldst command some worthless army, and not rule over us, to whom Jove hath granted, from youth even unto old age, to accomplish toilsome wars, until we, each of us, shall perish. Dost thou then desire thus to leave wide-wayed Troy, on account of which we have endured so many woes? Be silent, lest some other of the Greeks hear a speech, which a man ought not to have brought through his mouth, whoever understands in his mind how to speak prudent things, who is a sceptre-bearer, and whom so many people obey, as many as thou dost govern among the Greeks. For now do I reprobate thy judgment, in what thou hast said; who commandest us, whilst the war and battle are waged, to draw down the well-benched ships to the sea, in order that the wishes of the Trojans may be still better fulfilled, victorious though they be, and dire destruction fall upon us: for the Greeks will not maintain the fight whilst the ships are being dragged to the sea, but will look back, and retire from the combat. Then will thy counsel be injurious, O leader of the people."

But him Agamemnon, the king of men, then answered: "Much, O Ulysses, hast thou touched me to the soul with thy severe reproof; yet I commanded not the sons of the Greeks against their will to draw the well-benched ships down to the sea. But now would that there were one, either young or old, who would deliver an opinion better than this; it would be to my joy." 456

But among them Diomede, valiant in the din of battle, also spoke: "The man is near, we need not seek far, if indeed ye are willing to be persuaded; and do not find fault each through wrath, because I am by birth the youngest amongst you; for I boast that my race is from a noble sire, Tydeus, whom the heaped-up earth 457 covers at Thebes. For to Portheus were born three distinguished sons, and they dwelt in Pleuron and lofty Calydon: Agrius and Melas, but the third was the knight Œneus, the father of my father, who was conspicuous among them for valour. He indeed remained there, but my father, as an exile, dwelt at Argos, for so Jove willed and the other gods. But he married [one] of the daughters 458 of Adrastus, and he inhabited a mansion opulent in resources, and corn-bearing fields were his in abundance, and there were many rows 459 of plants around him. Numerous were his herds, and he surpassed the Greeks in the use of the spear; but these things ye ought to know, since it is a truth. Do not, therefore, dispute the opinion freely delivered, which I give advisedly, deeming that I am base by birth, and unwarlike. Come, then, let us go to battle, wounded as we are, from necessity. There, then, let us ourselves approach the combat, out [of the reach] of weapons, lest any one receive wound upon wound; and, encouraging others, we will urge them on, who hitherto, gratifying their souls, have stood apart, nor fought."

Footnote 456: (return) For this use of the dative, cf. Plato Phædon, § 24. So Tacit. Agric. "Quibus bellum volentibus erat."--Kennedy. Cf. Æsch. Prom. s.i., ἀσμένῳ δέ σοι Ἡ ποικιλείμων νῦζ ἀποκρύψει φάος.
Footnote 457: (return) See my note on Od. ii. p. 21, n. 35, ed. Bohn, and an admirable dissertation on these classic barrow-tombs in Stephen's notes on Saxo-Grammaticus, pp. 90-92.
Footnote 458: (return) Deipyle. See Scholiast.
Footnote 459: (return) Not "gardens." Schol. Theocrit. i. 48. Ὄρχατον τὴν ἐπιστιχον φυτείαν ... καὶ Αριστοφάνης τὸ μεταξὺ τῶν φυτῶν μετόρχμιον ἐκάλεσεν ἐν τοῖς γεωργοῖς' καὶ Ἡσίοδος ὄρχον λέγει τὴν ἐπιστιχον τῶν ἀμπέλων φυτείαν. Cf. Schol. on Lycophr. 857; Hesych. t. ii. p. 792.

Thus he spoke; and to him they all listened readily, and obeyed. Wherefore they hastened to advance, and the king of men, Agamemnon, led them.

Nor did the illustrious Earth-shaker keep a negligent look-out, but he went amongst them like unto an aged man, and he caught the right hand of Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, and addressing him, spoke winged words:

"Son of Atreus, now perchance the revengeful heart of Achilles rejoices in his breast, beholding the slaughter and rout of the Greeks; since there is no feeling in him, not even a little. May he, however, thus perish, and may a god cover him with disgrace. But with thee the blessed gods are not yet altogether enraged, but again the leaders and chiefs of the Trojans will perchance raise the dust upon the wide plain, and thou wilt behold them flying towards the city from the ships and the tents."

So saying, he shouted aloud, rushing over the plain. As loud as nine or ten thousand men shout, beginning the contest of Mars, so loud a cry did king Neptune send forth from his breast; and he cast great resolution into every heart among the Greeks, to war and to fight incessantly.

But golden-throned Juno, standing, looked down with her eyes from the summit of Olympus, and immediately recognized her own brother, [who was] also her brother-in-law, exerting himself through the glorious battle, and she rejoiced in her mind. She also beheld Jove sitting upon the highest top of many-rilled Ida, and he was hateful to her soul. Then the venerable large-eyed Juno next anxiously considered how she could beguile the mind of ægis-bearing Jove. And now this plan appeared best to her mind, to proceed to Ida, having well arrayed herself, if perchance he might desire to lie beside her form 460 in dalliance, so that she might pour upon his eyelids and vigilant mind careless and genial sleep. And she proceeded to her chamber, which Vulcan, her dear son, had made for her, and had fitted the thick doors to the lintels with a secret bolt; 461 and this no other god could remove. There entering in, she closed the shining doors. First she washed all impurities from her lovely person with rich oil, ambrosial, 462 and anointed herself with rich oil, ambrosial and agreeable, 463 which was odoriferous to her; and the perfume of which, when shaken in the brazen-floored 464 mansion of Jove, reached even to earth and to heaven. With this having anointed her body, and having also combed her hair, with her hands she arranged her shining locks, beautiful, ambrosial, [which flowed] from her immortal head. Next she threw around her an ambrosial robe, which Minerva had wrought 465 for her in needlework, and had embroidered much varied work upon it, and she fastened it upon her breast with golden clasps. Then she girded herself with a zone, adorned with a hundred fringes, and in her well-perforated ears placed her triple-gemmed, elaborate, 466earrings, and much grace shone from [her]. From above she, divine of goddesses, covered herself with a veil, beautiful, newly wrought, and it was bright as the sun; and beneath her shining feet she fastened her beautiful sandals. But when she had arranged all her ornaments around her person, she proceeded straight from her chamber; and having called Venus apart from the other gods, addressed her in speech:

Footnote 460: (return) Construe παραδραθέειν ᾖ χροιῇ.
Footnote 461: (return) Respecting the different meanings of κλεὶς, see Kennedy.
Footnote 462: (return) See Buttm. Lexil. p 81, 3.
Footnote 463: (return) Buttmann, p. 242, regards έδανὸς as "perhaps a stronger and higher meaning of ἐός, or ἒός, good, which may be compared with οὐτιδανός, μηκεδανός."
Footnote 464: (return) See my note on Od. ii. 2.
Footnote 465: (return) "The proper sense of ἔξυσε is, scraped or rubbed over and its use here is best explained by supposing a reference to some process among the ancients whereby a shining appearance was given to their vestments, as by calendering or glazing with us."--Kennedy.
Footnote 466: (return) Μορόεντα, περὶ ἃ ἐμόρησεν ὁ τεχνίτης.--Schol.

"Wilt thou now be at all obedient to me, dear child, in what I shall say? Or wilt thou refuse, enraged in thy mind on this account, because I aid the Greeks whilst thou [aidest] the Trojans?"

But her Venus, the daughter of Jove, then answered: "Juno, venerable goddess, daughter of mighty Saturn, declare whatsoever thou dost meditate; for my mind urges me to accomplish it, if indeed I can accomplish it, and if it be practicable."

But her the venerable Juno, meditating guile, addressed: "Give now to me that loveliness and desire with which thou dost subdue all, immortals, and mortal men; for I go to visit the limits of the fertile earth, and Oceanus, the parent of the gods, and mother Tethys; who, receiving me from Rhea, nurtured and educated me with care in their abodes, when far-resounding Jove cast down Saturn beneath the earth and the fruitless sea. These I go to visit, and I will put an end to eternal quarrels. 467 For already have they abstained for a length of time from the couch and embrace of each other, since anger fell upon their mind. But if, by persuading their hearts by my words, I should lead them back to the bed, to be united in love, then should I always be called by them beloved and revered."

Footnote 467: (return) These passages were regarded by the ancients as referring to the perpetual strife of the elements. Thus Plato, in Theætet. says: Ὅμηρος εἰπὼν, Ὠκεανόν τε θεῶν γένεσιν, καὶ μητέρα Τηθὺν, πάντα εἴρηκεν ἔκγονα ροῆς τε καὶ κινήσεως. See Sextus Empir. adv. Grammat. i. 13, p. 280, ed. Fabr.; Stobæus, Ecl. i. 11. Grote, vol. i. p. 16, note, observes that, "Oceanus and Tethys seem to be presented in the Iliad as the primitive father and mother of the gods," although he says that "Uranos and Gæa, like Oceanus, Tethys, and Nyx, are with Homer great and venerable gods, but neither the one nor the other present the character of predecessors of Kronos and Zeus."

But her laughter-loving Venus in turn addressed: "It is not possible nor becoming to refuse thy request, for thou reclinest in the arms of mightiest Jove."

She said, and loosed from her bosom the embroidered, variegated cestus; 468 where all allurements were enclosed. In it were love, and desire, converse, seductive speech, which steals away the mind even of the very prudent. This then she placed in her hands, spoke, and addressed her:

"Take 469 this, now place in thy bosom this variegated belt, in which all things are contained; and I think that thou wilt not return with thy object unaccomplished, whatsoever thou desirest in thy mind."

Footnote 468: (return) I have avoided translating "cestus," as it is very doubtful what is meant by it. It could not have been an ordinary girdle, since it was to be hidden in the bosom (ver. 219), and since its power appears to have been secret. See Heyne's note.
Footnote 469: (return) Τῆ is an old imperative from a root ΤΑ--"formed like ζῆν, according to Doric analogy.... In all cases it stands either quite absolute, that is, with the object understood, or the accusative belongs to a verb immediately following."--Buttm. Lexil. pp. 505, sq.

Thus she spake, and the large-eyed, venerable Juno smiled, and smiling, then placed it in her bosom. But Venus, the daughter of Jove, departed to the palace; and Juno, hastening, quitted the summit of Olympus, and, having passed over Pieria and fertile Emathia, she hastened over the snowy mountains of equestrian Thrace, most lofty summits, nor did she touch the ground with her feet. From Athos she descended to the foaming deep, and came to Lemnos, the city of divine Thoas, where she met Sleep, the brother of Death; to whose hand she then clung, and spoke, and addressed him:

"O Sleep, 470 king of all gods and all men, 471 if ever indeed thou didst listen to my entreaty, now too be persuaded; and I will acknowledge gratitude to thee all my days. Close immediately in sleep for me the bright eyes of Jove under his eyelids, after I couch with him in love; and I will give thee, as gifts, a handsome golden throne, for ever incorruptible. And my limping son, Vulcan, adorning it, shall make it, and below thy feet he shall place a footstool, upon which thou mayest rest thy shining feet while feasting."

Footnote 470: (return) Cf. Hesiod, Theog. 214. The dying words of Gorgias of Leontium are very elegant: Ἤδε με ὁ ὕπνος ἄρχεται παρακατατίθεσθαι τῶ ἀδελφῳ.--Ælian, Var. Hist. ii. 35.
Footnote 471: (return) So in the Orphic hymn: Ὕπνε, ἄναξ πάντων μακάρων θνητῶν τ' άνθρώπων.

But her sweet Sleep answering, addressed: "Juno, venerable goddess, daughter of great Saturn, any other of the everlasting gods could I easily lull to sleep, and even the flowing of rapid Ocean, who is the parent of all; but I could not approach Saturnian Jove, nor lull him to sleep, unless, at least, he himself command me. For once already, at least, has he terrified me by his threats, on that day when the magnanimous son of Jove (Hercules) sailed from Ilium, having sacked the city of the Trojans. Then I lulled the mind of ægis-bearing Jove, being poured gently around him, whilst thou wast planning evils in thy mind [against the hero], rousing the blasts of bitter winds over the deep; and thou didst afterwards carry him away apart from all his friends to well-inhabited Cos. But he, when awakened, was enraged, hurling about the gods through his mansion, and me chiefly of all he sought, and would have cast me down, a lost one, from the æther into the deep, had not Night, vanquisher of gods and men, preserved me, to whom I came flying. So he restrained himself, angry as he was; for he dreaded lest he should do things which were disagreeable to swift 472 Night. And now again dost thou urge me to perform this another dangerous deed."

But him the venerable large-eyed Juno in turn answered: "Ο Sleep, why thinkest thou these things within thy mind? Canst thou suppose that far-sounding Jove favours the Trojans, as he was enraged on account of Hercules, his own son? But come, [do this], and I will give thee one of the younger Graces to wed, and to be called thy spouse, Pasithea, 473 whom thou fondly desirest day after day."

Footnote 472: (return) But see Buttm. Lexil. p. 369. Translate, "quick and fearful night."
Footnote 473: (return) The most beautiful of the Graces,--"blandarum prima sororum," according to Statius, Theb. ii. 286. Cf. Virg. Æn. i. 267, sqq.

Thus she spoke; but Sleep was delighted, and, answering, addressed her: "Come now, swear to me by the inviolable water of the Styx, and touch with one hand the fertile earth, and with the other the marble sea; so that all the gods beneath, around Saturn, may be witnesses between us, that thou wilt surely give me one of the younger Graces, Pasithea, whom I will desire all my days."

Thus he spoke, nor did the white-armed goddess Juno disobey, but she swore as he desired, and named all gods who dwell under Tartarus, which are called Titans. 474 When then she had sworn, and performed her oath, they both proceeded, leaving the city of Lemnos and Imbrus, mantled in haze, quickly making their way; and they came to Ida of many rills, the mother of wild beasts, to Lectos, where first they quitted the sea: but they both advanced over the land, and the summit of the wood was shaken beneath their feet. There Sleep on his part remained, before the eyes of Jove should perceive him; ascending a lofty fir, which then growing the highest upon Ida, sprung up through the air to the clouds. There he sat, thickly covered with the fir branches, like unto a shrill bird, which, living in the mountains, the gods call Chalcis, and men Cymindis.

Footnote 474: (return) On this oath, see Grote, vol. i. p. 17.

But Juno proceeded hastily to Gargarus, the summit of lofty Ida, and cloud-compelling Jove beheld her. But the instant he beheld her, that instant 475 desire entirely shadowed around his august mind, just as when they first were united in love, retiring to the bed, without the knowledge of their dear parents. And he stood before her, and spoke, and addressed her:

"Wherefore hastening from Olympus, Juno, comest thou hither, but thy horses and chariot are not near, which thou mayest ascend."

Footnote 475: (return) Cf. Theocrit. ii. 82: Ὡς ἴδον, ώς ἐμάνην, ώς μεῦ περὶ θυμὸς ἴάφθη. iii. 42: Ὡς ἴδον, ὡς ἐμάνη. Ovid, Epist. xii. 33: "Ut vidi, ut perii, nec notis ignibus arsi."

But him the venerable Juno, meditating guiles, addressed; "I go to visit the limits of the fertile earth, and Oceanus, the parent of the gods, and mother Tethys, who nurtured and trained me with care in their palaces. Them I go to see, and will take away their bitter quarrels. For already they abstain a long while from the couch and embrace of each other; since anger has invaded their minds. But my steeds, which will bear me over dry and wet, stand near the base of Ida with many rills. Now, however, on thy account have I come hither from Olympus, lest perchance thou shouldst afterwards be angry with me, were I to depart in secret to the abode of deep-flowing Oceanus?"

But her cloud-collecting Jove answering, addressed: "Juno, thither thou canst go even by-and-by, but come [now], let us, reclining, be delighted with love; for never at any time did the love of a goddess or a woman, poured around the heart within my breast, so subdue me: neither when I loved the wife of Ixion, who bore Pirithous, a counsellor equal to the gods; nor when [I loved] fair-ankled Danaë, the daughter of Acrisius, who bore Perseus, most illustrious of all men; nor when with that of the celebrated daughter of Phoenix, 476 who bore to me Minos and godlike Rhadamanthus: 477 nor yet when [I loved] Semele, nor Alcmena in Thebes, who brought forth my valiant son Hercules: but Semele bore [me] Bacchus, a joy to mortals: nor when [I loved] Ceres, the fair-haired queen: nor when glorious Latona nor thyself; as I now love thee, and sweet desire seizes me."

Footnote 476: (return) But Europa is generally considered to be the daughter of Agenor. See Grote, vol. i. p. 350.
Footnote 477: (return) On the career of Rhadamanthus, who is "after death promoted to an abode of undisturbed bliss in the Elysian plain at the extremity of the earth," see Grote, vol. i. p. 300.

But him venerable Juno, meditating guiles, addressed: "Most shameless son of Saturn, what word hast thou spoken? If now thou desire to recline in love upon the summit of Ida, where all places are exposed, how will it be, if any of the immortal gods should perceive us sleeping, and, going amongst all the gods, disclose it? I for my part could never return to thy mansion, arising from the couch; for surely it would be unbecoming. But if in truth thou desirest it, and it be agreeable to thy soul, there is a chamber of thine which Vulcan, thy beloved son, formed for thee, and fitted its secure doors to its lintels. Thither let us repair, about to recline, since an embrace is indeed thy desire."

But her cloud-collecting Jove, answering, addressed:

"Fear not, O Juno, that any of either gods or men shall behold this. Such a golden cloud will I spread around, that not even the Sun may see us through it, although his eye is very keen to behold." 478

Thus he spake, and the son of Saturn encircled his wife in his arms. And the divine earth produced 479 fresh herbage under them, the dewy lotus, and the crocus, and the hyacinth, close and soft, which elevated them from the earth. Upon this [couch] they reclined, and clothed themselves above with a beautiful golden cloud; and lucid dew-drops fell from it.

Footnote 478: (return) On the god Hêlios, and his overseeing influence, the student should compare Grote, vol. i. p. 466.
Footnote 479: (return) So Milton, describing the couch of our first parents, P. L. iv. 700:---

---- "underfoot the violet,

Crocus, and hyacinth with rich inlay,

Broider'd the ground."

Thus quietly slumbered the sire upon the summit of Gargarus, subdued by sleep and love, and held his spouse in his arms. But sweet Sleep hastened to run to the ships of the Greeks, that he might deliver a message to Neptune, the shaker of the earth. And, standing near, he addressed to him winged words:

"Now, Neptune, heartily give aid to the Greeks, and bestow glory upon them, at least for a little, whilst yet Jove sleeps; since I have enveloped him in a veil 480 of soft slumber, and Juno hath deceived [him], that he might sleep in love."

Footnote 480: (return) Observe the force of περικάλυψα.

So saying, he indeed departed to the illustrious tribes of men; but he still more impelled [Neptune] to assist the Greeks, and immediately springing forward far into the van, he exhorted them:

"O Greeks, yet again do we yield the victory to Hector, the son of Priam, that he may seize the ships and bear away glory? For so indeed he supposes and boasts, because Achilles remains at the hollow ships, enraged at heart. However, there would not be a great need of him, if the rest of us were incited to assist one another. But come? let us all obey as I shall advise. Let us, clad with shields, as many as are best and greatest in the army, who are covered as to our heads with glittering helmets, and hold the longest spears in our hands, advance, and I will lead the way; nor do I think that Hector, the son of Priam, will await us, though very eager. Whatsoever man also is obstinate in the fight, and bears but a small shield upon his shoulder, let him give it to an inferior man, and let him clothe himself in a larger shield."

Thus he spoke; but they listened to him readily, and obeyed. The kings themselves, Tydides, Ulysses, and Agamemnon, son of Atreus, marshalled [the troops], wounded as they were; and, going about among them all, exchanged their martial arms, the brave [soldier] put on the good [armour], and the worse they gave to the inferior man. But when they had girded the splendid brass around their bodies, they began to advance; and earth-shaking Neptune led them on, grasping in his firm hand a dreadful tapering sword, like unto a thunderbolt, with which [sword] it is not possible to engage in destructive battle, for the fear [of it] restrains men.

On the other side again illustrious Hector drew up the Trojans. Then truly azure-haired Neptune and illustrious Hector drew forth the severest struggle of war, the one indeed aiding the Trojans, and the other the Greeks. But the sea was dashed up to the tents and ships of the Greeks and they engaged with a mighty shout. Not so loudly does the billow of the ocean roar against the main land, when driven from the deep by the rough blast of Boreas; nor so great is the crackling of blazing fire in the glens of a mountain, when it is raised aloft to consume the wood; nor so loud howls the wind amidst the high-foliaged oaks (which, in particular, loudly roars in its wrath), as was the cry of the Trojans and Greeks shouting dreadfully, when they rushed one upon the other.

At Ajax illustrious Hector first took aim with his spear, as he was turned right against him; nor did he miss. [He struck him] where the two belts were crossed upon his breast, both that of the shield and that of the silver-studded sword; for these protected the tender skin: but Hector was enraged because his swift weapon had fled from his hand in vain, and he retired back into the crowd of his companions, shunning death. At him then, retiring, mighty Telamonian Ajax [threw] with a stone, for [stones] in great numbers were rolled about among the feet of the combatants, props for the fleet barks; lifting up one of these, he struck him upon the breast, above the orb of the shield, near the neck. And, throwing, he twirled it like a top, and it (the stone) rolled round on all sides. As when, beneath a violent stroke from father Jove, an oak falls uprooted, and a terrible smell of sulphur arises from it; but confidence no longer possesses the man, whosoever being near beholds it, because the thunderbolt of mighty Jove is terrible: so rapidly upon the ground fell the might of Hector in the dust. And he dropped his spear from his hand, his shield and helmet followed above him, and his armour, variegated with brass, rang upon him. Then the sons of the Greeks, loudly shouting, rushed in, hoping to draw him off, and they hurled numerous javelins; but no one was able either to strike from a distance, or to smite close at hand, the shepherd of the people, for the bravest [of the warriors], Polydamas, Æneas, and noble Agenor, Sarpedon, leader of the Lycians, and illustrious Glaucus, first threw themselves round him. And no one of the rest neglected him, but they held their well-orbed shields before him. But his companions, up-raising him in their hands, bore him out of the conflict, till they reached his fleet horses, which stood for him in rear of the combat and the war, holding both the charioteer and the variegated car; which then carried him towards the city, groaning heavily. 481

Footnote 481: (return) Milton, P.L. vi. 335:--

"Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run

By angels many and strong, who interposed

Defence, while others bore him on their shields

Back to his chariot, where it stood retired

From off the files of war; there they him laid,

Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame."

But when now they came to the ford of the rapid-flowing current of eddying Xanthus, whom immortal Jove begat, there they removed him from his car to the ground, and poured water over him; but he breathed again, and looked up with his eyes; and, sitting upon his knees, disgorged black blood. Again he fell back upon the ground, and dark night overshadowed his eyes; for the blow still subdued his spirits.

But when the Greeks saw Hector going apart, they pressed the more on the Trojans, and were mindful of contest. Then swift Oïlean Ajax before others, leaping forward with his fir-tree spear, wounded Satnius, son of Enops, whom a Naiad, the fairest nymph, bore to Enops, when keeping his flocks by the banks of Satnio. Him the spear-renowned son of Oïleus, drawing near, wounded in the flank; but he fell supine, and round him the Trojans and Greeks engaged in a valiant battle. But to him spear-brandishing Polydamas, son of Panthous, came as an avenger, and smote Prothoënor, son of Areïlochus, upon the right shoulder. The tough spear passed on through his shoulder, but falling in the dust, he grasped the earth with his hand. And Polydamas boasted mightily over him, shouting aloud:

"I do not think, indeed, that the weapon hath fled vainly from the sturdy hand of the magnanimous son of Panthous, but some one of the Greeks has received it in his body; and I think that he, leaning upon it, will descend to the mansion of Pluto."

Thus he spoke, but grief arose among the Greeks at his boasting, and particularly agitated the mind of warlike Ajax, the son of Telamon, for he had fallen very near him; and he immediately hurled with his shining spear at him departing. Polydamas himself indeed avoided black fate, springing off obliquely; but Archilochus, son of Antenor, received [the blow], for to him the gods had doomed destruction. Him then he struck upon the last vertebra, in the joining of the head and neck, and he disjoined both tendons; but the head, the mouth, and the nostrils of him falling, met the ground much sooner than his legs and knees. Then Ajax in turn cried out to blameless Polydamas:

"Reflect, O Polydamas, and tell me the truth; is not this man worthy to be slain in exchange of Prothoënor? He appears not to me indeed a coward, nor [sprung] from cowards, but [to be] the brother or the son of horse-breaking Antenor, for he seems most like him as to his race."

Thus he spoke, well knowing [him], but grief possessed the minds of the Trojans. Then Acamas, stalking round his brother, wounded with his spear Promachus, the Bœotian; whilst he was dragging him off by the feet. But over him Acamas greatly boasted, calling out aloud:

"Ye Argive archers, 482 insatiable in threats, assuredly not to us alone will toil and sorrow accrue, but thus thou also wilt at some time be slain. Consider how your Promachus sleeps, subdued by my spear, that a requital for my brother might not be long unpaid. Therefore should a man wish a brother to be left in his family, as an avenger of his death."

Footnote 482: (return) See note on iv. 242.

Thus he spoke; but grief arose among the Greeks as he boasted, and he particularly agitated the mind of warlike Peneleus. Accordingly he rushed upon Acamas, who awaited not the charge of king Peneleus; but he wounded Ilioneus, son of Phorbas, rich in flocks, whom Mercury loved most of all the Trojans, and had presented with possessions; and to whom his mother bore Ilioneus alone. Him then he wounded below the brow, in the socket of the eye, and he forced out the pupil: but the spear went forward through the eye, and through the back of the head; and he sat down, stretching out both his hands. But Peneleus, drawing his sharp sword, smote him upon the middle of the neck, and lopped off his head with its helmet to the ground, and the strong spear still remained in his eye. But he (Peneleus), holding it up like a poppy, shouted to the Trojans, and boasting spoke thus:

"Tell for me, ye Trojans, the beloved father and mother of illustrious Ilioneus, that they may lament him in their halls; for neither shall the wife of Promachus, the son of Alegenor, present herself with joy to her dear husband coming [back], when we, sons of the Greeks, return from Troy with our ships."

Thus he spoke; but pale fear seized upon them all, and each gazed about, [seeking] where he might escape utter destruction.

Tell me now, ye muses, possessing Olympian dwellings, which of the Greeks now first bore away gore-stained spoils of men, when the illustrious Earth-shaker turned the [tide of] battle.

Telamonian Ajax then first wounded Hyrtius, son of Gyrtias, leader of the undaunted Mysians; and Antilochus spoiled Phalces and Mermerus; Meriones slew Morys and Hippotion; and Teucer slew Prothous and Periphœtes. But the son of Atreus next wounded upon the flank Hyperenor, the shepherd of the people, and the spear, cutting its way, drank his entrails; and his soul, expelled, fled in haste through the inflicted wound, and darkness veiled his eyes. But Ajax, the swift son of Oïleus, slew the most; because there was not one equal to him on foot, to follow the flying men, when Jove had excited flight amongst them.

1 of 2
2 of 2