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Book XIII

BOOK XIII

NOW when Jove had thus brought Hector and the Trojans to the

ships, he left them to their never-ending toil, and turned his

keen eyes away, looking elsewhither towards the horse-breeders of

Thrace, the Mysians, fighters at close quarters, the noble

Hippemolgi, who live on milk, and the Abians, justest of mankind.

He no longer turned so much as a glance towards Troy, for he did

not think that any of the immortals would go and help either

Trojans or Danaans.

But King Neptune had kept no blind look-out; he had been looking

admiringly on the battle from his seat on the topmost crests of

wooded Samothrace, whence he could see all Ida, with the city of

Priam and the ships of the Achaeans. He had come from under the

sea and taken his place here, for he pitied the Achaeans who were

being overcome by the Trojans; and he was furiously angry with

Jove.

Presently he came down from his post on the mountain top, and as

he strode swiftly onwards the high hills and the forest quaked

beneath the tread of his immortal feet. Three strides he took,

and with the fourth he reached his goal--Aegae, where is his

glittering golden palace, imperishable, in the depths of the sea.

When he got there, he yoked his fleet brazen-footed steeds with

their manes of gold all flying in the wind; he clothed himself in

raiment of gold, grasped his gold whip, and took his stand upon

his chariot. As he went his way over the waves the sea-monsters

left their lairs, for they knew their lord, and came gambolling

round him from every quarter of the deep, while the sea in her

gladness opened a path before his chariot. So lightly did the

horses fly that the bronze axle of the car was not even wet

beneath it; and thus his bounding steeds took him to the ships of

the Achaeans.

Now there is a certain huge cavern in the depths of the sea

midway between Tenedos and rocky Imbrus; here Neptune lord of the

earthquake stayed his horses, unyoked them, and set before them

their ambrosial forage. He hobbled their feet with hobbles of

gold which none could either unloose or break, so that they might

stay there in that place until their lord should return. This

done he went his way to the host of the Achaeans.

Now the Trojans followed Hector son of Priam in close array like

a storm-cloud or flame of fire, fighting with might and main and

raising the cry battle; for they deemed that they should take the

ships of the Achaeans and kill all their chiefest heroes then and

there. Meanwhile earth-encircling Neptune lord of the earthquake

cheered on the Argives, for he had come up out of the sea and had

assumed the form and voice of Calchas.

First he spoke to the two Ajaxes, who were doing their best

already, and said, "Ajaxes, you two can be the saving of the

Achaeans if you will put out all your strength and not let

yourselves be daunted. I am not afraid that the Trojans, who have

got over the wall in force, will be victorious in any other part,

for the Achaeans can hold all of them in check, but I much fear

that some evil will befall us here where furious Hector, who

boasts himself the son of great Jove himself, is leading them on

like a pillar of flame. May some god, then, put it into your

hearts to make a firm stand here, and to incite others to do the

like. In this case you will drive him from the ships even though

he be inspired by Jove himself."

As he spoke the earth-encircling lord of the earthquake struck

both of them with his sceptre and filled their hearts with

daring. He made their legs light and active, as also their hands

and their feet. Then, as the soaring falcon poises on the wing

high above some sheer rock, and presently swoops down to chase

some bird over the plain, even so did Neptune lord of the

earthquake wing his flight into the air and leave them. Of the

two, swift Ajax son of Oileus was the first to know who it was

that had been speaking with them, and said to Ajax son of

Telamon, "Ajax, this is one of the gods that dwell on Olympus,

who in the likeness of the prophet is bidding us fight hard by

our ships. It was not Calchas the seer and diviner of omens; I

knew him at once by his feet and knees as he turned away, for the

gods are soon recognised. Moreover I feel the lust of battle burn

more fiercely within me, while my hands and my feet under me are

more eager for the fray."

And Ajax son of Telamon answered, "I too feel my hands grasp my

spear more firmly; my strength is greater, and my feet more

nimble; I long, moreover, to meet furious Hector son of Priam,

even in single combat."

Thus did they converse, exulting in the hunger after battle with

which the god had filled them. Meanwhile the earth-encircler

roused the Achaeans, who were resting in the rear by the ships

overcome at once by hard fighting and by grief at seeing that the

Trojans had got over the wall in force. Tears began falling from

their eyes as they beheld them, for they made sure that they

should not escape destruction; but the lord of the earthquake

passed lightly about among them and urged their battalions to the

front.

First he went up to Teucer and Leitus, the hero Peneleos, and

Thoas and Deipyrus; Meriones also and Antilochus, valiant

warriors; all did he exhort. "Shame on you young Argives," he

cried, "it was on your prowess I relied for the saving of our

ships; if you fight not with might and main, this very day will

see us overcome by the Trojans. Of a truth my eyes behold a great

and terrible portent which I had never thought to see--the

Trojans at our ships--they, who were heretofore like

panic-stricken hinds, the prey of jackals and wolves in a forest,

with no strength but in flight for they cannot defend themselves.

Hitherto the Trojans dared not for one moment face the attack of

the Achaeans, but now they have sallied far from their city and

are fighting at our very ships through the cowardice of our

leader and the disaffection of the people themselves, who in

their discontent care not to fight in defence of the ships but

are being slaughtered near them. True, King Agamemnon son of

Atreus is the cause of our disaster by having insulted the son of

Peleus, still this is no reason why we should leave off fighting.

Let us be quick to heal, for the hearts of the brave heal

quickly. You do ill to be thus remiss, you, who are the finest

soldiers in our whole army. I blame no man for keeping out of

battle if he is a weakling, but I am indignant with such men as

you are. My good friends, matters will soon become even worse

through this slackness; think, each one of you, of his own honour

and credit, for the hazard of the fight is extreme. Great Hector

is now fighting at our ships; he has broken through the gates and

the strong bolt that held them."

Thus did the earth-encircler address the Achaeans and urge them

on. Thereon round the two Ajaxes there gathered strong bands of

men, of whom not even Mars nor Minerva, marshaller of hosts could

make light if they went among them, for they were the picked men

of all those who were now awaiting the onset of Hector and the

Trojans. They made a living fence, spear to spear, shield to

shield, buckler to buckler, helmet to helmet, and man to man. The

horse-hair crests on their gleaming helmets touched one another

as they nodded forward, so closely serried were they; the spears

they brandished in their strong hands were interlaced, and their

hearts were set on battle.

The Trojans advanced in a dense body, with Hector at their head

pressing right on as a rock that comes thundering down the side

of some mountain from whose brow the winter torrents have torn

it; the foundations of the dull thing have been loosened by

floods of rain, and as it bounds headlong on its way it sets the

whole forest in an uproar; it swerves neither to right nor left

till it reaches level ground, but then for all its fury it can go

no further--even so easily did Hector for a while seem as though

he would career through the tents and ships of the Achaeans till

he had reached the sea in his murderous course; but the closely

serried battalions stayed him when he reached them, for the sons

of the Achaeans thrust at him with swords and spears pointed at

both ends, and drove him from them so that he staggered and gave

ground; thereon he shouted to the Trojans, "Trojans, Lycians, and

Dardanians, fighters in close combat, stand firm: the Achaeans

have set themselves as a wall against me, but they will not check

me for long; they will give ground before me if the mightiest of

the gods, the thundering spouse of Juno, has indeed inspired my

onset."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Deiphobus

son of Priam went about among them intent on deeds of daring with

his round shield before him, under cover of which he strode

quickly forward. Meriones took aim at him with a spear, nor did

he fail to hit the broad orb of ox-hide; but he was far from

piercing it for the spear broke in two pieces long ere he could

do so; moreover Deiphobus had seen it coming and had held his

shield well away from him. Meriones drew back under cover of his

comrades, angry alike at having failed to vanquish Deiphobus, and

having broken his spear. He turned therefore towards the ships

and tents to fetch a spear which he had left behind in his tent.

The others continued fighting, and the cry of battle rose up into

the heavens. Teucer son of Telamon was the first to kill his man,

to wit, the warrior Imbrius, son of Mentor, rich in horses.

Until the Achaeans came he had lived in Pedaeum, and had married

Medesicaste, a bastard daughter of Priam; but on the arrival of

the Danaan fleet he had gone back to Ilius, and was a great man

among the Trojans, dwelling near Priam himself, who gave him like

honour with his own sons. The son of Telamon now struck him under

the ear with a spear which he then drew back again, and Imbrius

fell headlong as an ash-tree when it is felled on the crest of

some high mountain beacon, and its delicate green foliage comes

toppling down to the ground. Thus did he fall with his

bronze-dight armour ringing harshly round him, and Teucer sprang

forward with intent to strip him of his armour; but as he was

doing so, Hector took aim at him with a spear. Teucer saw the

spear coming and swerved aside, whereon it hit Amphimachus, son

of Cteatus son of Actor, in the chest as he was coming into

battle, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily

to the ground. Hector sprang forward to take Amphimachus's helmet

from off his temples, and in a moment Ajax threw a spear at him,

but did not wound him, for he was encased all over in his

terrible armour; nevertheless the spear struck the boss of his

shield with such force as to drive him back from the two corpses,

which the Achaeans then drew off. Stichius and Menestheus,

captains of the Athenians, bore away Amphimachus to the host of

the Achaeans, while the two brave and impetuous Ajaxes did the

like by Imbrius. As two lions snatch a goat from the hounds that

have it in their fangs, and bear it through thick brushwood high

above the ground in their jaws, thus did the Ajaxes bear aloft

the body of Imbrius, and strip it of its armour. Then the son of

Oileus severed the head from the neck in revenge for the death of

Amphimachus, and sent it whirling over the crowd as though it had

been a ball, till it fell in the dust at Hector's feet.

Neptune was exceedingly angry that his grandson Amphimachus

should have fallen; he therefore went to the tents and ships of

the Achaeans to urge the Danaans still further, and to devise

evil for the Trojans. Idomeneus met him, as he was taking leave

of a comrade, who had just come to him from the fight, wounded in

the knee. His fellow-soldiers bore him off the field, and

Idomeneus having given orders to the physicians went on to his

tent, for he was still thirsting for battle. Neptune spoke in the

likeness and with the voice of Thoas son of Andraemon who ruled

the Aetolians of all Pleuron and high Calydon, and was honoured

among his people as though he were a god. "Idomeneus," said he,

"lawgiver to the Cretans, what has now become of the threats with

which the sons of the Achaeans used to threaten the Trojans?"

And Idomeneus chief among the Cretans answered, "Thoas, no one,

so far as I know, is in fault, for we can all fight. None are

held back neither by fear nor slackness, but it seems to be the

will of almighty Jove that the Achaeans should perish

ingloriously here far from Argos: you, Thoas, have been always

staunch, and you keep others in heart if you see any fail in

duty; be not then remiss now, but exhort all to do their utmost."

To this Neptune lord of the earthquake made answer, "Idomeneus,

may he never return from Troy, but remain here for dogs to batten

upon, who is this day wilfully slack in fighting. Get your armour

and go, we must make all haste together if we may be of any use,

though we are only two. Even cowards gain courage from

companionship, and we two can hold our own with the bravest."

Therewith the god went back into the thick of the fight, and

Idomeneus when he had reached his tent donned his armour, grasped

his two spears, and sallied forth. As the lightning which the son

of Saturn brandishes from bright Olympus when he would show a

sign to mortals, and its gleam flashes far and wide--even so did

his armour gleam about him as he ran. Meriones his sturdy squire

met him while he was still near his tent (for he was going to

fetch his spear) and Idomeneus said:

"Meriones, fleet son of Molus, best of comrades, why have you

left the field? Are you wounded, and is the point of the weapon

hurting you? or have you been sent to fetch me? I want no

fetching; I had far rather fight than stay in my tent."

"Idomeneus," answered Meriones, "I come for a spear, if I can

find one in my tent; I have broken the one I had, in throwing it

at the shield of Deiphobus."

And Idomeneus captain of the Cretans answered, "You will find one

spear, or twenty if you so please, standing up against the end

wall of my tent. I have taken them from Trojans whom I have

killed, for I am not one to keep my enemy at arm's length;

therefore I have spears, bossed shields, helmets, and burnished

corslets."

Then Meriones said, "I too in my tent and at my ship have spoils

taken from the Trojans, but they are not at hand. I have been at

all times valorous, and wherever there has been hard fighting

have held my own among the foremost. There may be those among the

Achaeans who do not know how I fight, but you know it well enough

yourself."

Idomeneus answered, "I know you for a brave man: you need not

tell me. If the best men at the ships were being chosen to go on

an ambush--and there is nothing like this for showing what a man

is made of; it comes out then who is cowardly and who brave; the

coward will change colour at every touch and turn; he is full of

fears, and keeps shifting his weight first on one knee and then

on the other; his heart beats fast as he thinks of death, and one

can hear the chattering of his teeth; whereas the brave man will

not change colour nor be frightened on finding himself in ambush,

but is all the time longing to go into action--if the best men

were being chosen for such a service, no one could make light of

your courage nor feats of arms. If you were struck by a dart or

smitten in close combat, it would not be from behind, in your

neck nor back, but the weapon would hit you in the chest or belly

as you were pressing forward to a place in the front ranks. But

let us no longer stay here talking like children, lest we be ill

spoken of; go, fetch your spear from the tent at once."

On this Meriones, peer of Mars, went to the tent and got himself

a spear of bronze. He then followed after Idomeneus, big with

great deeds of valour. As when baneful Mars sallies forth to

battle, and his son Panic so strong and dauntless goes with him,

to strike terror even into the heart of a hero--the pair have

gone from Thrace to arm themselves among the Ephyri or the brave

Phlegyans, but they will not listen to both the contending hosts,

and will give victory to one side or to the other--even so did

Meriones and Idomeneus, captains of men, go out to battle clad in

their bronze armour. Meriones was first to speak. "Son of

Deucalion," said he, "where would you have us begin fighting? On

the right wing of the host, in the centre, or on the left wing,

where I take it the Achaeans will be weakest?"

Idomeneus answered, "There are others to defend the centre--the

two Ajaxes and Teucer, who is the finest archer of all the

Achaeans, and is good also in a hand-to-hand fight. These will

give Hector son of Priam enough to do; fight as he may, he will

find it hard to vanquish their indomitable fury, and fire the

ships, unless the son of Saturn fling a firebrand upon them with

his own hand. Great Ajax son of Telamon will yield to no man who

is in mortal mould and eats the grain of Ceres, if bronze and

great stones can overthrow him. He would not yield even to

Achilles in hand-to-hand fight, and in fleetness of foot there is

none to beat him; let us turn therefore towards the left wing,

that we may know forthwith whether we are to give glory to some

other, or he to us."

Meriones, peer of fleet Mars, then led the way till they came to

the part of the host which Idomeneus had named.

Now when the Trojans saw Idomeneus coming on like a flame of

fire, him and his squire clad in their richly wrought armour,

they shouted and made towards him all in a body, and a furious

hand-to-hand fight raged under the ships' sterns. Fierce as the

shrill winds that whistle upon a day when dust lies deep on the

roads, and the gusts raise it into a thick cloud--even such was

the fury of the combat, and might and main did they hack at each

other with spear and sword throughout the host. The field

bristled with the long and deadly spears which they bore.

Dazzling was the sheen of their gleaming helmets, their

fresh-burnished breastplates, and glittering shields as they

joined battle with one another. Iron indeed must be his courage

who could take pleasure in the sight of such a turmoil, and look

on it without being dismayed.

Thus did the two mighty sons of Saturn devise evil for mortal

heroes. Jove was minded to give victory to the Trojans and to

Hector, so as to do honour to fleet Achilles, nevertheless he did

not mean to utterly overthrow the Achaean host before Ilius, and

only wanted to glorify Thetis and her valiant son. Neptune on the

other hand went about among the Argives to incite them, having

come up from the grey sea in secret, for he was grieved at seeing

them vanquished by the Trojans, and was furiously angry with

Jove. Both were of the same race and country, but Jove was elder

born and knew more, therefore Neptune feared to defend the

Argives openly, but in the likeness of man, he kept on

encouraging them throughout their host. Thus, then, did these two

devise a knot of war and battle, that none could unloose or

break, and set both sides tugging at it, to the failing of men's

knees beneath them.

And now Idomeneus, though his hair was already flecked with grey,

called loud on the Danaans and spread panic among the Trojans as

he leaped in among them. He slew Othryoneus from Cabesus, a

sojourner, who had but lately come to take part in the war. He

sought Cassandra, the fairest of Priam's daughters, in marriage,

but offered no gifts of wooing, for he promised a great thing, to

wit, that he would drive the sons of the Achaeans willy nilly

from Troy; old King Priam had given his consent and promised her

to him, whereon he fought on the strength of the promises thus

made to him. Idomeneus aimed a spear, and hit him as he came

striding on. His cuirass of bronze did not protect him, and the

spear stuck in his belly, so that he fell heavily to the ground.

Then Idomeneus vaunted over him saying, "Othryoneus, there is no

one in the world whom I shall admire more than I do you, if you

indeed perform what you have promised Priam son of Dardanus in

return for his daughter. We too will make you an offer; we will

give you the loveliest daughter of the son of Atreus, and will

bring her from Argos for you to marry, if you will sack the

goodly city of Ilius in company with ourselves; so come along

with me, that we may make a covenant at the ships about the

marriage, and we will not be hard upon you about gifts of

wooing."

With this Idomeneus began dragging him by the foot through the

thick of the fight, but Asius came up to protect the body, on

foot, in front of his horses which his esquire drove so close

behind him that he could feel their breath upon his shoulder. He

was longing to strike down Idomeneus, but ere he could do so

Idomeneus smote him with his spear in the throat under the chin,

and the bronze point went clean through it. He fell as an oak, or

poplar, or pine which shipwrights have felled for ship's timber

upon the mountains with whetted axes--even thus did he lie full

length in front of his chariot and horses, grinding his teeth and

clutching at the bloodstained dust. His charioteer was struck

with panic and did not dare turn his horses round and escape:

thereupon Antilochus hit him in the middle of his body with a

spear; his cuirass of bronze did not protect him, and the spear

stuck in his belly. He fell gasping from his chariot and

Antilochus, great Nestor's son, drove his horses from the Trojans

to the Achaeans.

Deiphobus then came close up to Idomeneus to avenge Asius, and

took aim at him with a spear, but Idomeneus was on the look-out

and avoided it, for he was covered by the round shield he always

bore--a shield of oxhide and bronze with two arm-rods on the

inside. He crouched under cover of this, and the spear flew over

him, but the shield rang out as the spear grazed it, and the

weapon sped not in vain from the strong hand of Deiphobus, for it

struck Hypsenor son of Hippasus, shepherd of his people, in the

liver under the midriff, and his limbs failed beneath him.

Deiphobus vaunted over him and cried with a loud voice saying,

"Of a truth Asius has not fallen unavenged; he will be glad even

while passing into the house of Hades, strong warden of the gate,

that I have sent some one to escort him."

Thus did he vaunt, and the Argives were stung by his saying.

Noble Antilochus was more angry than any one, but grief did not

make him forget his friend and comrade. He ran up to him,

bestrode him, and covered him with his shield; then two of his

staunch comrades, Mecisteus son of Echius, and Alastor, stooped

down, and bore him away groaning heavily to the ships. But

Idomeneus ceased not his fury. He kept on striving continually

either to enshroud some Trojan in the darkness of death, or

himself to fall while warding off the evil day from the Achaeans.

Then fell Alcathous son of noble Aesyetes; he was son-in-law to

Anchises, having married his eldest daughter Hippodameia, who was

the darling of her father and mother, and excelled all her

generation in beauty, accomplishments, and understanding,

wherefore the bravest man in all Troy had taken her to wife--him

did Neptune lay low by the hand of Idomeneus, blinding his bright

eyes and binding his strong limbs in fetters so that he could

neither go back nor to one side, but stood stock still like

pillar or lofty tree when Idomeneus struck him with a spear in

the middle of his chest. The coat of mail that had hitherto

protected his body was now broken, and rang harshly as the spear

tore through it. He fell heavily to the ground, and the spear

stuck in his heart, which still beat, and made the butt-end of

the spear quiver till dread Mars put an end to his life.

Idomeneus vaunted over him and cried with a loud voice saying,

"Deiphobus, since you are in a mood to vaunt, shall we cry quits

now that we have killed three men to your one? Nay, sir, stand in

fight with me yourself, that you may learn what manner of

Jove-begotten man am I that have come hither. Jove first begot

Minos, chief ruler in Crete, and Minos in his turn begot a son,

noble Deucalion. Deucalion begot me to be a ruler over many men

in Crete, and my ships have now brought me hither, to be the bane

of yourself, your father, and the Trojans."

Thus did he speak, and Deiphobus was in two minds, whether to go

back and fetch some other Trojan to help him, or to take up the

challenge single-handed. In the end, he deemed it best to go and

fetch Aeneas, whom he found standing in the rear, for he had long

been aggrieved with Priam because in spite of his brave deeds he

did not give him his due share of honour. Deiphobus went up to

him and said, "Aeneas, prince among the Trojans, if you know any

ties of kinship, help me now to defend the body of your sister's

husband; come with me to the rescue of Alcathous, who being

husband to your sister brought you up when you were a child in

his house, and now Idomeneus has slain him."

With these words he moved the heart of Aeneas, and he went in

pursuit of Idomeneus, big with great deeds of valour; but

Idomeneus was not to be thus daunted as though he were a mere

child; he held his ground as a wild boar at bay upon the

mountains, who abides the coming of a great crowd of men in some

lonely place--the bristles stand upright on his back, his eyes

flash fire, and he whets his tusks in his eagerness to defend

himself against hounds and men--even so did famed Idomeneus hold

his ground and budge not at the coming of Aeneas. He cried aloud

to his comrades looking towards Ascalaphus, Aphareus, Deipyrus,

Meriones, and Antilochus, all of them brave soldiers--"Hither my

friends," he cried, "and leave me not single-handed--I go in

great fear by fleet Aeneas, who is coming against me, and is a

redoubtable dispenser of death battle. Moreover he is in the

flower of youth when a man's strength is greatest; if I was of

the same age as he is and in my present mind, either he or I

should soon bear away the prize of victory."

On this, all of them as one man stood near him, shield on

shoulder. Aeneas on the other side called to his comrades,

looking towards Deiphobus, Paris, and Agenor, who were leaders of

the Trojans along with himself, and the people followed them as

sheep follow the ram when they go down to drink after they have

been feeding, and the heart of the shepherd is glad--even so was

the heart of Aeneas gladdened when he saw his people follow him.

Then they fought furiously in close combat about the body of

Alcathous, wielding their long spears; and the bronze armour

about their bodies rang fearfully as they took aim at one another

in the press of the fight, while the two heroes Aeneas and

Idomeneus, peers of Mars, outvied everyone in their desire to

hack at each other with sword and spear. Aeneas took aim first,

but Idomeneus was on the lookout and avoided the spear, so that

it sped from Aeneas' strong hand in vain, and fell quivering in

the ground. Idomeneus meanwhile smote Oenomaus in the middle of

his belly, and broke the plate of his corslet, whereon his bowels

came gushing out and he clutched the earth in the palms of his

hands as he fell sprawling in the dust. Idomeneus drew his spear

out of the body, but could not strip him of the rest of his

armour for the rain of darts that were showered upon him:

moreover his strength was now beginning to fail him so that he

could no longer charge, and could neither spring forward to

recover his own weapon nor swerve aside to avoid one that was

aimed at him; therefore, though he still defended himself in

hand-to-hand fight, his heavy feet could not bear him swiftly out

of the battle. Deiphobus aimed a spear at him as he was

retreating slowly from the field, for his bitterness against him

was as fierce as ever, but again he missed him, and hit

Ascalaphus, the son of Mars; the spear went through his shoulder,

and he clutched the earth in the palms of his hands as he fell

sprawling in the dust.

Grim Mars of awful voice did not yet know that his son had

fallen, for he was sitting on the summits of Olympus under the

golden clouds, by command of Jove, where the other gods were also

sitting, forbidden to take part in the battle. Meanwhile men

fought furiously about the body. Deiphobus tore the helmet from

off his head, but Meriones sprang upon him, and struck him on the

arm with a spear so that the visored helmet fell from his hand

and came ringing down upon the ground. Thereon Meriones sprang

upon him like a vulture, drew the spear from his shoulder, and

fell back under cover of his men. Then Polites, own brother of

Deiphobus passed his arms around his waist, and bore him away

from the battle till he got to his horses that were standing in

the rear of the fight with the chariot and their driver. These

took him towards the city groaning and in great pain, with the

blood flowing from his arm.

The others still fought on, and the battle-cry rose to heaven

without ceasing. Aeneas sprang on Aphareus son of Caletor, and

struck him with a spear in his throat which was turned towards

him; his head fell on one side, his helmet and shield came down

along with him, and death, life's foe, was shed around him.

Antilochus spied his chance, flew forward towards Thoon, and

wounded him as he was turning round. He laid open the vein that

runs all the way up the back to the neck; he cut this vein clean

away throughout its whole course, and Thoon fell in the dust face

upwards, stretching out his hands imploringly towards his

comrades. Antilochus sprang upon him and stripped the armour from

his shoulders, glaring round him fearfully as he did so. The

Trojans came about him on every side and struck his broad and

gleaming shield, but could not wound his body, for Neptune stood

guard over the son of Nestor, though the darts fell thickly round

him. He was never clear of the foe, but was always in the thick

of the fight; his spear was never idle; he poised and aimed it in

every direction, so eager was he to hit someone from a distance

or to fight him hand to hand.

As he was thus aiming among the crowd, he was seen by Adamas, son

of Asius, who rushed towards him and struck him with a spear in

the middle of his shield, but Neptune made its point without

effect, for he grudged him the life of Antilochus. One half,

therefore, of the spear stuck fast like a charred stake in

Antilochus's shield, while the other lay on the ground. Adamas

then sought shelter under cover of his men, but Meriones followed

after and hit him with a spear midway between the private parts

and the navel, where a wound is particualrly painful to wretched

mortals. There did Meriones transfix him, and he writhed

convulsively about the spear as some bull whom mountain herdsmen

have bound with ropes of withes and are taking away perforce.

Even so did he move convulsively for a while, but not for very

long, till Meriones came up and drew the spear out of his body,

and his eyes were veiled in darkness.

Helenus then struck Deipyrus with a great Thracian sword, hitting

him on the temple in close combat and tearing the helmet from his

head; the helmet fell to the ground, and one of those who were

fighting on the Achaean side took charge of it as it rolled at

his feet, but the eyes of Deipyrus were closed in the darkness of

death.

On this Menelaus was grieved, and made menacingly towards

Helenus, brandishing his spear; but Helenus drew his bow, and the

two attacked one another at one and the same moment, the one with

his spear, and the other with his bow and arrow. The son of Priam

hit the breastplate of Menelaus's corslet, but the arrow glanced

from off it. As black beans or pulse come pattering down on to a

threshing-floor from the broad winnowing-shovel, blown by shrill

winds and shaken by the shovel--even so did the arrow glance off

and recoil from the shield of Menelaus, who in his turn wounded

the hand with which Helenus carried his bow; the spear went right

through his hand and stuck in the bow itself, so that to his life

he retreated under cover of his men, with his hand dragging by

his side--for the spear weighed it down till Agenor drew it out

and bound the hand carefully up in a woollen sling which his

esquire had with him.

Pisander then made straight at Menelaus--his evil destiny luring

him on to his doom, for he was to fall in fight with you, O

Menelaus. When the two were hard by one another the spear of the

son of Atreus turned aside and he missed his aim; Pisander then

struck the shield of brave Menelaus but could not pierce it, for

the shield stayed the spear and broke the shaft; nevertheless he

was glad and made sure of victory; forthwith, however, the son of

Atreus drew his sword and sprang upon him. Pisander then seized

the bronze battle-axe, with its long and polished handle of olive

wood that hung by his side under his shield, and the two made at

one another. Pisander struck the peak of Menelaus's crested

helmet just under the crest itself, and Menelaus hit Pisander as

he was coming towards him, on the forehead, just at the rise of

his nose; the bones cracked and his two gore-bedrabbled eyes fell

by his feet in the dust. He fell backwards to the ground, and

Menelaus set his heel upon him, stripped him of his armour, and

vaunted over him saying, "Even thus shall you Trojans leave the

ships of the Achaeans, proud and insatiate of battle though you

be, nor shall you lack any of the disgrace and shame which you

have heaped upon myself. Cowardly she-wolves that you are, you

feared not the anger of dread Jove, avenger of violated

hospitality, who will one day destroy your city; you stole my

wedded wife and wickedly carried off much treasure when you were

her guest, and now you would fling fire upon our ships, and kill

our heroes. A day will come when, rage as you may, you shall be

stayed. O father Jove, you, who they say art above all, both gods

and men, in wisdom, and from whom all things that befall us do

proceed, how can you thus favour the Trojans--men so proud and

overweening, that they are never tired of fighting? All things

pall after a while--sleep, love, sweet song, and stately dance--

still these are things of which a man would surely have his fill

rather than of battle, whereas it is of battle that the Trojans

are insatiate."

So saying Menelaus stripped the blood-stained armour from the

body of Pisander, and handed it over to his men; then he again

ranged himself among those who were in the front of the fight.

Harpalion son of King Pylaemenes then sprang upon him; he had

come to fight at Troy along with his father, but he did not go

home again. He struck the middle of Menelaus's shield with his

spear but could not pierce it, and to save his life drew back

under cover of his men, looking round him on every side lest he

should be wounded. But Meriones aimed a bronze-tipped arrow at

him as he was leaving the field, and hit him on the right

buttock; the arrow pierced the bone through and through, and

penetrated the bladder, so he sat down where he was and breathed

his last in the arms of his comrades, stretched like a worm upon

the ground and watering the earth with the blood that flowed from

his wound. The brave Paphlagonians tended him with all due care;

they raised him into his chariot, and bore him sadly off to the

city of Troy; his father went also with him weeping bitterly, but

there was no ransom that could bring his dead son to life again.

Paris was deeply grieved by the death of Harpalion, who was his

host when he went among the Paphlagonians; he aimed an arrow,

therefore, in order to avenge him. Now there was a certain man

named Euchenor, son of Polyidus the prophet, a brave man and

wealthy, whose home was in Corinth. This Euchenor had set sail

for Troy well knowing that it would be the death of him, for his

good old father Polyidus had often told him that he must either

stay at home and die of a terrible disease, or go with the

Achaeans and perish at the hands of the Trojans; he chose,

therefore, to avoid incurring the heavy fine the Achaeans would

have laid upon him, and at the same time to escape the pain and

suffering of disease. Paris now smote him on the jaw under his

ear, whereon the life went out of him and he was enshrouded in

the darkness of death.

Thus then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. But Hector

had not yet heard, and did not know that the Argives were making

havoc of his men on the left wing of the battle, where the

Achaeans ere long would have triumphed over them, so vigorously

did Neptune cheer them on and help them. He therefore held on at

the point where he had first forced his way through the gates and

the wall, after breaking through the serried ranks of Danaan

warriors. It was here that the ships of Ajax and Protesilaus were

drawn up by the sea-shore; here the wall was at its lowest, and

the fight both of man and horse raged most fiercely. The

Boeotians and the Ionians with their long tunics, the Locrians,

the men of Phthia, and the famous force of the Epeans could

hardly stay Hector as he rushed on towards the ships, nor could

they drive him from them, for he was as a wall of fire. The

chosen men of the Athenians were in the van, led by Menestheus

son of Peteos, with whom were also Pheidas, Stichius, and

stalwart Bias; Meges son of Phyleus, Amphion, and Dracius

commanded the Epeans, while Medon and staunch Podarces led the

men of Phthia. Of these, Medon was bastard son to Oileus and

brother of Ajax, but he lived in Phylace away from his own

country, for he had killed the brother of his stepmother Eriopis,

the wife of Oileus; the other, Podarces, was the son of Iphiclus,

son of Phylacus. These two stood in the van of the Phthians, and

defended the ships along with the Boeotians.

Ajax son of Oileus, never for a moment left the side of Ajax, son

of Telamon, but as two swart oxen both strain their utmost at the

plough which they are drawing in a fallow field, and the sweat

steams upwards from about the roots of their horns--nothing but

the yoke divides them as they break up the ground till they reach

the end of the field--even so did the two Ajaxes stand shoulder

to shoulder by one another. Many and brave comrades followed the

son of Telamon, to relieve him of his shield when he was overcome

with sweat and toil, but the Locrians did not follow so close

after the son of Oileus, for they could not hold their own in a

hand-to-hand fight. They had no bronze helmets with plumes of

horse-hair, neither had they shields nor ashen spears, but they

had come to Troy armed with bows, and with slings of twisted wool

from which they showered their missiles to break the ranks of the

Trojans. The others, therefore, with their heavy armour bore the

brunt of the fight with the Trojans and with Hector, while the

Locrians shot from behind, under their cover; and thus the

Trojans began to lose heart, for the arrows threw them into

confusion.

The Trojans would now have been driven in sorry plight from the

ships and tents back to windy Ilius, had not Polydamas presently

said to Hector, "Hector, there is no persuading you to take

advice. Because heaven has so richly endowed you with the arts of

war, you think that you must therefore excel others in counsel;

but you cannot thus claim preeminence in all things. Heaven has

made one man an excellent soldier; of another it has made a

dancer or a singer and player on the lyre; while yet in another

Jove has implanted a wise understanding of which men reap fruit

to the saving of many, and he himself knows more about it than

any one; therefore I will say what I think will be best. The

fight has hemmed you in as with a circle of fire, and even now

that the Trojans are within the wall some of them stand aloof in

full armour, while others are fighting scattered and outnumbered

near the ships. Draw back, therefore, and call your chieftains

round you, that we may advise together whether to fall now upon

the ships in the hope that heaven may vouchsafe us victory, or to

beat a retreat while we can yet safely do so. I greatly fear that

the Achaeans will pay us their debt of yesterday in full, for

there is one abiding at their ships who is never weary of battle,

and who will not hold aloof much longer."

Thus spoke Polydamas, and his words pleased Hector well. He

sprang in full armour from his chariot and said, "Polydamas,

gather the chieftains here; I will go yonder into the fight, but

will return at once when I have given them their orders."

He then sped onward, towering like a snowy mountain, and with a

loud cry flew through the ranks of the Trojans and their allies.

When they heard his voice they all hastened to gather round

Polydamas, the excellent son of Panthous, but Hector kept on

among the foremost, looking everywhere to find Deiphobus and

prince Helenus, Adamas son of Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus;

living, indeed, and scatheless he could no longer find them, for

the two last were lying by the sterns of the Achaean ships, slain

by the Argives, while the others had been also stricken and

wounded by them; but upon the left wing of the dread battle he

found Alexandrus, husband of lovely Helen, cheering his men and

urging them on to fight. He went up to him and upbraided him.

"Paris," said he, "evil-hearted Paris, fair to see but woman-mad

and false of tongue, where are Deiphobus and King Helenus? Where

are Adamas son of Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus? Where too is

Othryoneus? Ilius is undone and will now surely fall!"

Alexandrus answered, "Hector, why find fault when there is no one

to find fault with? I should hold aloof from battle on any day

rather than this, for my mother bore me with nothing of the

coward about me. From the moment when you set our men fighting

about the ships we have been staying here and doing battle with

the Danaans. Our comrades about whom you ask me are dead;

Deiphobus and King Helenus alone have left the field, wounded

both of them in the hand, but the son of Saturn saved them alive.

Now, therefore, lead on where you would have us go, and we will

follow with right goodwill; you shall not find us fail you in so

far as our strength holds out, but no man can do more than in him

lies, no matter how willing he may be."

With these words he satisfied his brother, and the two went

towards the part of the battle where the fight was thickest,

about Cebriones, brave Polydamas, Phalces, Orthaeus, godlike

Polyphetes, Palmys, Ascanius, and Morys son of Hippotion, who had

come from fertile Ascania on the preceding day to relieve other

troops. Then Jove urged them on to fight. They flew forth like

the blasts of some fierce wind that strike earth in the van of a

thunderstorm--they buffet the salt sea into an uproar; many and

mighty are the great waves that come crashing in one after the

other upon the shore with their arching heads all crested with

foam--even so did rank behind rank of Trojans arrayed in gleaming

armour follow their leaders onward. The way was led by Hector son

of Priam, peer of murderous Mars, with his round shield before

him--his shield of ox-hides covered with plates of bronze--and

his gleaming helmet upon his temples. He kept stepping forward

under cover of his shield in every direction, making trial of the

ranks to see if they would give way before him, but he could not

daunt the courage of the Achaeans. Ajax was the first to stride

out and challenge him. "Sir," he cried, "draw near; why do you

think thus vainly to dismay the Argives? We Achaeans are

excellent soldiers, but the scourge of Jove has fallen heavily

upon us. Your heart, forsooth, is set on destroying our ships,

but we too have hands that can keep you at bay, and your own fair

town shall be sooner taken and sacked by ourselves. The time is

near when you shall pray Jove and all the gods in your flight,

that your steeds may be swifter than hawks as they raise the dust

on the plain and bear you back to your city."

As he was thus speaking a bird flew by upon his right hand, and

the host of the Achaeans shouted, for they took heart at the

omen. But Hector answered, "Ajax, braggart and false of tongue,

would that I were as sure of being son for evermore to

aegis-bearing Jove, with Queen Juno for my mother, and of being

held in like honour with Minerva and Apollo, as I am that this

day is big with the destruction of the Achaeans; and you shall

fall among them if you dare abide my spear; it shall rend your

fair body and bid you glut our hounds and birds of prey with your

fat and your flesh, as you fall by the ships of the Achaeans."

With these words he led the way and the others followed after

with a cry that rent the air, while the host shouted behind them.

The Argives on their part raised a shout likewise, nor did they

forget their prowess, but stood firm against the onslaught of the

Trojan chieftains, and the cry from both the hosts rose up to

heaven and to the brightness of Jove's presence.

 Homer

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