The Iliad of Homer (Buckley)/BOOK THE FIFTEENTH

The Iliad of Homer  (1860)  by Homer, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley



Jove awaking, and finding the Trojans routed, menaces Juno. He then sends Iris to desire Neptune to relinquish the battle, and Apollo to restore Hector to health. Armed with the ægis, Apollo puts the Greeks to flight; who are pursued home to their fleet, while Telamonian Ajax slays twelve Trojans who were bringing fire to burn it.

But after the fugitives had crossed both the ramparts and the trench, and many were subdued by the hands of the Greeks, the rest were at length detained, waiting beside their chariots, pallid with fear, and terrified. But Jove arose on the summits of Ida, from beside golden-throned Juno; and starting up, he stood and beheld the Trojans and Greeks, those indeed in confusion, and the Greeks throwing them into confusion in the rear; and among them king Neptune. Hector he beheld lying upon the plain, and his companions sat round him:[1] but he was afflicted with grievous difficulty of respiration, and devoid of his senses,[2] vomiting blood, for it was not the weakest of the Greeks who had wounded him. The father of men and gods, seeing, pitied him, and sternly regarding Juno, severely addressed her:

"O Juno, of evil arts, impracticable, thy stratagem has made noble Hector cease from battle, and put his troops to flight. Indeed I know not whether again thou mayest not be the first to reap the fruits of thy pernicious machinations, and I may chastise thee with stripes. Dost thou not remember when thou didst swing from on high, and I hung two anvils from thy feet, and bound a golden chain around thy hands, that could not be broken? And thou didst hang in the air and clouds, and the gods commiserated thee throughout lofty Olympus; but standing around, they were not able to release thee; but whomsoever I caught, seizing, I hurled from the threshhold [of heaven], till he reached the earth, hardly breathing. Nor even thus did my vehement anger, through grief for divine Hercules, leave me; whom thou, prevailing upon the storms, with the north wind, didst send over the unfruitful sea, designing evils, and afterward bore him out of his course, to well-inhabited Cos. I liberated him, indeed, and brought him back thence to steed-nourishing Argos, although having accomplished many toils. These things will I again recall to thy memory, that thou mayest cease from deceits; in order that thou mayest know whether the intercourse and a couch will avail thee, in which thou wast mingled, coming apart from the gods, and having deceived me."

Thus he spoke; but venerable large-eyed Juno shuddered, and addressing him, spoke winged words:

"Be witness now, Earth, and boundless Heaven above, and the water of Styx gliding beneath, which is the greatest and most dreaded oath among the blessed gods; likewise thy sacred head, and our own nuptial couch, by which I would not rashly swear at any time, that it is not by my instigation that earth-shaking Neptune harasses the Trojans and Hector, and aids the other side; but certainly his own mind incites and orders him; for, beholding the Greeks oppressed at the ships, he took compassion on them. And even him would I advise to go there, where thou, O Cloud-collector, mayest command."

Thus she spoke; but the father of men and gods smiled, and answering her, spoke winged words:

"If indeed thou from henceforth, O venerable, large-eyed Juno, wouldst sit among the immortals, being of the same mind with me, then truly would Neptune, even although he very much wishes otherwise, immediately change his mind to the same point, to thy wish and mine. But if indeed thou speakest in sincerity and truly, go now to the assemblies of the gods, and call Iris to come hither, and Apollo, renowned in archery, that she may go to the people of the brazen-mailed Greeks, and tell king Neptune, ceasing from battle, to repair to his own palaces; but let Phœbus Apollo excite Hector to battle, and breathe strength into him again, and make him forgetful of the pains which now afflict him in his mind: but let him again put the Greeks to flight, exciting unwarlike panic [among them], and, flying, let them fell back upon the many-benched ships of Achilles, the son of Peleus. Then shall he stimulate his companion Patroclus, whom illustrious Hector shall slay with his spear before Ilium, [Patroclus] having slain many other youths, and with them my son, noble Sarpedon; but noble Achilles shall slay Hector. From this time forward will I always continually effect for thee, that there shall be a retreat [of the Trojans] from the ships, until the Greeks, by the counsel of Minerva, shall take lofty Ilium. However, I shall not abate my anger, nor will I here permit any of the immortals to assist the Greeks before that the request of the son of Peleus be completed; as first I promised to him, and nodded ascent with my head, on that day when the goddess Thetis touched my knees, beseeching me that I would honor Achilles, the destroyer of cities."

Thus he spoke, nor did the white-armed goddess Juno disobey, but went down from the Idæan mountains to lofty Olympus. And as when the mind of a man flashes swiftly [in thought], who, having traversed over many a land, thinks within his prudent heart, "I was here, I was there," and deliberates much: thus quickly hastening, up sprung venerable Juno. But she reached lofty Olympus, and came in upon the immortal gods assembled in the house of Jove: but they beholding her, all rose up and welcomed her with their cups. The rest, however, she neglected, but received a goblet from fair-cheeked Themis; for she first running, came to meet her, and addressing her, spoke winged words:

"Why, O Juno, hast thou come [hither], and art like unto one in consternation? Has then the son of Saturn, who is thy husband, greatly terrified thee?"

But her the white-armed goddess Juno then answered: "Do not, O goddess Themis, ask me these things; even thou thyself knowest how overbearing and cruel a spirit is his. But do thou preside over the equal feast, in the palaces of the gods, and thou shalt hear these thmgs along with all the immortals, what evil deeds Jove denounces. Nor do I at all think that the mind will equally rejoice to all, neither to mortals nor to the gods, although some one even yet be feasting pleasantly."

Thus having spoken, venerable Juno sat down; but the gods were grieved throughout the palace of Jove. But she laughed with her lips [only], nor was her forehead above her dark brows exhilarated;[3] and, indignant, she spoke among them all:

"Senseless we, who are thus foolishly enraged with father Jove! Of a truth we still desire to restrain him, approaching near, either by persuasion or by force; while he, sitting apart, does not regard, nor is moved, for he says he is decidedly the most mighty in strength and power among the immortal gods. Wherefore endure whatever evil he may please to send upon each of you; for now already, I think, misfortune hath been inflicted upon Mars, since his son has perished in the fight, the dearest of mortals, Ascalaphus, whom impetuous Mars calls his own."

Thus she spake; but Mars smote his brawny thighs with his dropped hands, and sorrowing, addressed them:

"Do not now blame me, ye who possess the Olympic mansions, repairing to the ships of the Greeks, to avenge the slaughter of my son, even although it should be my fate, smitten with the thunderbolt of Jove, to lie together with the dead bodies in blood and dust."

Thus he spake, and he commanded Fear and Flight to yoke his steeds, but he himself girded on his shining armor. Then indeed some other greater and more grievous wrath and indignation had fallen upon the immortals from Jove, had not Minerva, greatly fearing for all the gods, leaped forth from the vestibule, and left the throne where she sat. From his head she snatched the helmet, and the shield from his shoulders, and taking the brazen spear out of his strong hand, she placed it upright; and rebuked impetuous Mars with [these] words:

"Infuriated one, infatuated in mind, thou art undone! are thy ears indeed useless for hearing, and have thy sense and shame perished? Dost thou not hear what the white-armed goddess Juno says, and she has just now come from Olympian Jove? Dost thou thyself wish, having fulfilled many misfortunes, to return to Olympus very much grieved, and by compulsion, and also to create a great evil to all the rest? For he will immediately leave the Trojans and magnanimous Greeks, and will come against us, about to disturb us in Olympus; and will seize us one after the other, whoever is culpable and who is not. Wherefore I exhort thee now to lay aside thy wrath on account of thy son, for already some one, even superior to him in strength and in hands, either is slain, or will be hereafter; for it would be a difficult task to liberate [from death] the race and offspring of all men."

So saying, she seated impetuous Mars upon his throne. But Juno called Apollo outside the house, and Iris, who is the messenger among the immortal gods, and addressing them, spoke winged- words:

"Jove orders you twain to repair with all haste to Ida; but when ye arrive, and look upon the countenance of Jove, do whatsoever he may urge and command."

Then indeed, having thus spoken, venerable Juno retired, and sat down upon her throne; but they, hastening, flew and arrived at Ida of many rills, the mother of wild beasts. They found the far-seeing son of Saturn sitting upon lofty Gargarus, and an odoriferous cloud encircled him around. But coming before cloud-compelling Jove, they stood; nor was he enraged in his mmd, beholding them, because they quickly obeyed the commands of his dear wife. And first to Iris he addressed winged words:

"Haste, begone, fleet Iris, tell all these things to king Neptune, nor be thou a false messenger. Order him, having ceased from the battle and the war, to repair to the assemblies of the gods, or to the vast sea. If, however, he will not obey my words, but shall despise them, let him then consider in his mind and soul, lest, however powerful he may be, he may not be able to withstand me coming against him; for I say that I am superior to him in strength, and elder in birth; but his heart fears not to assert himself equal to me, whom even the others dread."

Thus he spoke, nor was wind-footed, swift Iris disobedient; but she descended from the Idæan mountains to sacred Ilium, And as when snow drifts from the clouds, or cold hail, by the impulse of cloud-dispelling[4] Boreas, so quickly swift Iris with eagerness flew along, and standing near illustrious Neptune, she addressed him:

"O azure-haired Earth-shaker, I have come hither, bringing a certain message to thee from ægis-bearing Jove. He has commanded thee, having ceased from the battle and the war, to repair either to the assemblies of the gods or to the vast sea. But if thou will not obey his words, but shalt despise them, he threatens that he will come hither himself to fight against thee; and advises thee to avoid his hands, because he asserts that he is greatly superior to thee in strength, and elder in birth: but thy heart does not fear to profess that thou art equal to him, whom even the others dread."

But her illustrious Neptune, greatly indignant, then addressed: "Gods! powerful though he be, he surely has spoken proudly, if he will by force restrain me unwilling, who am of equal honor. For we are three brothers [descended] from Saturn, whom Rhea brought forth: Jupiter and I, and Pluto, governing the infernal regions, the third; all things were divided into three parts, and each was allotted his dignity.[5] I in the first place, the lots being shaken, was allotted to inhabit forever the hoary sea, and Pluto next obtained the pitchy darkness; but Jove in the third place had allotted to him the wide heaven in the air and in the clouds. Nevertheless the earth is still the common property of all, and lofty Olympus. Wherefore I shall not live according to the will of Jove, but although being very powerful, let him remain quiet in his third part; and let him by no means terrify me as a coward with his hands. For it would be better for him to insult with terrific language the daughters and sons whom he hath begotten, who will also through necessity attend to him, exhorting them."

But him the fleet wind-footed Iris then answered: "O[6] azure-haired Earth-shaker, shall I really thus bear back from thee to Jove this relentless and violent reply? Or wilt thou change it at all? The minds of the prudent indeed are flexible. Thou knowest that the Furies are ever attendant on the elders."[7]

But her again earth-shaking Neptune in turn addressed: "Goddess Iris, very rightly hast thou delivered this opinion; moreover, it is good when a messenger knows fitting things. But on this account severe indignation comes upon my heart and soul, because he wishes to chide with angry words me, equal to him by lot, and doomed to an equal destiny. Nevertheless, at present, although being indignant, I will give way. But another thing will I tell thee, and I will threaten this from my soul; if indeed, without me and prey-hunting Minerva, Juno, Mercury, and king Vulcan, he shall spare lofty Ilium, nor shall wish to destroy it, and give great glory to the Greeks; let him know this, that endless animosity shall arise between us."

So saying, the Earth-shaker quitted the Grecian army, and proceeding, he plunged into the deep; but the Grecian heroes longed for him. And then cloud-compelling Jove addressed Apollo:

"Go now, dear Phœbus, to brazen-helmed Hector; for already hath earth-encircling Neptune departed to the vast sea, avoiding our dreadful anger; for otherwise the rest, who are infernal gods, being around Saturn, would surely have heard our quarrel. This, however, is much better for me as well as for himself, that he hath first yielded to my hands accounting himself worthy of blame, because the matter would not have been accomplished without sweat. But do thou take the fringed ægis in thy hands, with which, by violently shaking it, do thou greatly terrify the Grecian heroes. To thyself, however, O far-darting [Apollo], let illustrious Hector be a care. So long then arouse his great might unto him, until the Greeks in flight reach the ships

and the Hellespont. Thenceforth I shall myself deliberate in deed and word, how the Greeks also may revive from labor."

Thus he spoke, nor did Apollo disobey his sire, but he descended from the Idæan mountains like unto a swift hawk, the dove-destroyer, the swiftest of birds. He found the son of warlike Priam, noble Hector sitting; for he no longer lay [on the ground], but had just collected his senses, recognizing his friends around him. But the panting and perspiration had ceased, since the will of ægis-bearing Jove had aroused him. Then far-darting Apollo, standing near, addressed him:

"Hector, son of Priam, why sittest thou apart from the rest, failing in strength? Has any grief invaded thee?"

But him then crest-tossing Hector languidly addressed: "And who art thou, best of the gods, who inquirest face to face? Hast thou not heard that Ajax, brave in the din of battle, smote me with a stone upon the breast, and caused me to cease from impetuous valor, when slaying his companions at the sterns of the Grecian ships? And truly I thought that I should this day behold the dead, and the mansion of Pluto, since I was [on the point of] breathing out my dear life."

But him far-darting king Apollo addressed in turn: "Be of good courage now, so great an assistant has the son of Saturn sent forth from Ida to stand up and help thee, Phœbus Apollo, of the golden sword: who am accustomed to defend at the same time thyself and the lofty city. But come, encourage now thy numerous cavalry to drive their fleet steeds toward the hollow ships; but I, going before, will level the whole way for the horses, and I will turn to flight the Grecian heroes."

Thus speaking, he inspired great strength into the shepherd of the people. As when some stalled horse, fed on barley[8] at the manger, having snapped his halter, runs over the plain, striking the earth with his feet (accustomed to bathe in the smooth-flowing river), exulting, he holds his head on high, and around his shoulders his mane is disheveled; and, trusting to his beauty[9]—his knees easily bear him to the accustomed places and pasture of the mares: so Hector swiftly moved his feet and knees, encouraging the horsemen, after he had heard the voice of the god. But they—as dogs and rustic men rush against either a horned stag or wild goat; which however a lofty rock and shady forest protect, nor is it destined from them to catch it; but at their clamor[10] a bushy-bearded lion appears in the way, and turns them all back, although ardently pursuing: thus the Greeks hitherto indeed ever kept following in troops, striking with their swords and double-edged spears. But when they beheld Hector entering the ranks of heroes, they were troubled, and the courage of all fell at their feet.

Then Thoas, the son of Andræmon, addressed them, by far the bravest of the Ætolians, skilled in the use of the javelin, and brave in the standing fight; few also of the Greeks excelled him in the council when the youths contended in eloquence. Who wisely counseling, harangued them, and said:

"O gods, surely I behold with mine eyes this mighty miracle, since Hector has thus risen again, having escaped death. Certainly the mind of each was in great hopes that he had died by the hands of Telamonian Ajax. But some one of the gods has again liberated and preserved Hector, who hath already relaxed the knees of many Greeks; as I think is about [to occur] now also, for not without far-sounding Jove does he stand in the van, thus earnest. But come, let us all obey as I shall desire. Let us order the multitude to retreat toward the ships. But let us, as many as boast ourselves to be the best in the army, take a stand, if indeed, opposing, we may at the outset interrupt him, upraising our spears; and I think that he, although raging, will dread in mind to enter the band of the Greeks."

Thus he spoke; but all heard him attentively, and obeyed. Those around the Ajaces and king Idomeneus, Teucer, Meriones, and Meges, equal to Mars, calling the chiefs together, marshaled their lines against Hector and the Trojans; while the multitude in the rear retreated to the ships of the Greeks. But the Trojans in close array pressed forward; and Hector, taking long strides, led the way; but before him walked Phœbus Apollo, clad as to his shoulders with a cloud,[11] and he held the mighty, dreadful, fringed,[12] dazzling ægis, which the artist Vulcan had given to Jove, to be borne along for the routing of men. Holding this in his hands, he led on the people. But the Greeks remained in close array, and a shrill shout arose on both sides. [Many] arrows bounded from the strings, and many spears from gallant hands: some were fixed in the bodies of warlike youths, but many half way, before they had touched the fair body, stuck in the earth, longing to satiate themselves with flesh. As long as Phœbus Apollo held the ægis unmoved in his hands, so long did the weapons reach both sides, and the people fell. But when, looking full in the faces of the swift-horsed Greeks, he shook it, and he himself besides shouted very loudly, then he checked the courage in their breasts, and they became forgetful of impetuous valor. But they—as when two wild beasts, in the depth of the dark night,[13] disturb a drove of oxen or a great flock of sheep, coming suddenly upon them, the keeper not being present—so the enfeebled Greeks were routed; for among them Apollo sent terror, and gave glory to the Trojans and to Hector. Then indeed man slew man, when the battle gave way. Hector slew Stichius and Arcesilaus; the one the leader of the brazen-mailed Bœotians; but the other the faithful companion of magnanimous Menestheus. But Æneas slew Medon and Iasus: Medon indeed was the illegitimate son of godlike Oïleus, and brother of Ajax; and he dwelt in Phylace, away from his fatherland, having slain a man, the brother of his stepmother Eriopis, whom Oïleus had betrothed. Iasus, however, was appointed leader of the Athenians, and was called the son of Sphelus, the son of Bucolus. But Polydamas slew Mecistis, and Polites Echius, in the van, and noble Agenor slew Klonius. Paris also wounded Dëiochous in the extremity of the shoulder from behind, while he was flying among the foremost combatants; and drove the brass quite through.

While they were spoiling these of their armor, the Greeks in the mean time falling into the dug trench and stakes, fled here and there; and from necessity entered within the rampart. But Hector, shouting aloud, exhorted the Trojans to rush upon the ships, and to let go the bloody spoils: "And whatever person I[14] shall perceive apart from the ships any where, there will I cause his death; nor indeed shall his male and female relatives make him when dead partaker of a funeral pile, but dogs shall tear him before our city."

So saying, with the lash upon the shoulder he drove on his horses against the ranks, cheering on the Trojans; but they all shouting along with him, directed their car-drawing steeds with a mighty clamor. But Phœbus Apollo in front of them, easily overthrowing the banks of the deep ditch with his feet, cast [them] into the middle; and bridged a causeway long and wide, as far as the cast of a spear reaches, when a man, making trial of his strength, hurls it. In that way they poured onward by troops, and Apollo [went] before them, holding the highly prized ægis. But he overthrew the wall of the Greeks very easily, as when any boy does the sand from the shore; who, when amusing himself in childishness he has made playthings, again destroys them with his feet and hands. Thus, O archer Phœbus, didst thou destroy the great labor and toil of the Greeks, and didst excite flight among themselves. In this manner indeed, remaining, they were penned up at the ships; animating each other, and raising up their hands to all the gods, they each loudly offered vows. But the guardian of the Greeks, Gerenian Nestor, most particularly prayed, stretching forth his hands to the starry heaven: "O father Jove, if ever any one in fruitful Argos, to thee burning the fat thighs of either oxen or sheep, supplicated that he might return, and thou didst promise and assent; be mindful of these things, O Olympian, and avert the cruel day; nor thus permit the Greeks to be subdued by the Trojans."

Thus he spoke, praying: but provident Jove loudly thundered, hearing the prayers of the Neleïan old man. But the Trojans, when they understood the will of ægis-bearing Jove, rushed the more against the Greeks, and were mindful of battle. And as a mighty wave of the wide-flowing ocean dashes over the sides of a ship, when the force of the wind impels it (for the most of all increases waves); so the Trojans with a mighty shout mounted over the wall. And having driven in their horses, they fought at the sterns, hand to hand with two-edged spears, the one party from their chariots, but the other on high from their black ships, having ascended them with long poles which lay in their vessels, for fighting by sea, well glued, and clad on the tip with brass.

But Patroclus, as long indeed as the Greeks and Trojans fought round the wall, without the swift ships, so long he sat in the tent of valor-loving Eurypylus, and delighted him with his discourse; and to the severe wound he applied medicines, assuagers of dark pains. But when he perceived that the Trojans had burst within the walls, and moreover that a clamor and flight of the Greeks had arisen, then indeed he groaned, and smote both his thighs with his downward-bent hands; and lamenting, spoke:

"O Eurypylus, I can not remain any longer here with thee, although needing much, for now has a mighty contest arisen. But let thy attendant entertain thee, and I will hasten to Achilles, that I may encourge him to fight. And who knows whether, with God's assistance, persuading, I may move his soul? for the admonition of a companion is effectual." But him his feet then bore away thus speaking. Meanwhile the Greeks firmly withstood the Trojans rushing on, nor were they able to repel them from the ships, although being fewer; nor could the Trojans, breaking through the phalanxes of the Greeks, be mingled with the tents or ships. But as a plumb-line in the hands of a skillful ship-wright (who knows well the whole art by the precepts of Minerva) correctly adjusts the naval plank, so was the battle and war equally extended. Some indeed supported the conflict round one ship, and others round another, but Hector advanced against glorious Ajax. Thus these two undertook the task round one ship, nor were they able, the one to drive the other away and burn the ship with fire, nor the other to repulse him, since a divinity had brought him near. Then illustrious Ajax smote upon the breast with his spear Caletor, son of Clytius, bearing fire against the ship; and falling, he resounded, and the torch fell from his hand. But when Hector perceived with his eyes his cousin fallen in the dust before the black ship, he cheered on the Trojans and Lycians, loudly exclaiming:

"Ye Trojans and Lycians, and close-fighting Dardanians, do not now retire from the fight in this narrow pass. But preserve the son of Clytius, lest the Greeks despoil him of his armor, having fallen in the contest at the ships." Thus having spoken, he took aim with his shining spear at Ajax, whom he missed; but [he smote] Lycophron, the son of Mastor, the servant of Ajax, a Cytherean, who dwelt with him, since he had killed a man among the celebrated Cythereans. He struck him on the head over the ear, with the sharp brass, while he was standing near Ajax; but he fell supine to the ground from the stern of the ship in the dust, and his limbs were relaxed. Then Ajax shuddered, and accosted his brother: "Dear Teucer, now is our faithful companion, the son of Mastor, whom being domesticated in Cythera, we honored equally with our beloved parents in our palaces; but him magnanimous Hector has slain. Where now are thy death-bearing arrows and bow, which Phœbus Apollo gave thee?"

Thus he spoke; but he understood; and running, he stood near him, holding in his hand his bent bow, and arrow-bearing quiver; and very quickly he shot his arrows among the Trojans. He struck Clitus, the illustrious son of Pisenor, the companion of Polydamas, the renowned son of Panthous, holding the reins in his hands. He indeed was employed in [guiding] the horses; for he directed them there, where the most numerous phalanxes were thrown in confusion, gratifying Hector and the Trojans. But soon came evil upon him, which no one averted from him, although eager; for the bitter shaft fell upon his neck from behind, and he fell from the chariot, while his horses started back, rattling the empty car. But king Polydamas very quickly perceived it, and first came to meet his horses. Them he intrusted to Astynous, son of Protiaon, and exhorted him much to keep the horses near him within sight; but he himself returning was mingled with the foremost combatants. Teucer, however, drew another arrrow against brazen-armed Hector, and would have made him cease from battle, at the ships of the Greeks, if striking him while bravely fighting, he had taken away his life. But it did not escape the prudent mind of Jove, who protected Hector, and deprived Teucer, the son of Telamon, of glory; and who (Jove) broke the well-twisted string, in his blameless bow, as he was drawing against [Hector]; but the brass-laden arrow was turned off in another direction, and the bow fell from his hand. Then Teucer shuddered, and addressed his brother:

"Ye gods! a deity, without doubt, cuts short the plans of our battle, who has shaken the bow from my hand, and has snapped asunder the newly-twisted string which I tied to it this morning, that it might sustain the shafts frequently bounding from it."

But him the mighty Telamonian Ajax then answered: "O my friend, permit then thy bow and numerous arrows to lie aside, since a god has confounded them, envying the Greeks; but, taking a long spear in thy hands, and a shield upon thy shoulder, fight against the Trojans, and encourage the other forces. Nor let them take the well-benched ships without labor at least, although having subdued us, but let us be mindful of the fight."

Thus he spoke; and he placed his bow within the tents. Then around his shoulders he hung a fourfold shield, and upon his brave head fixed a well-made helmet, crested with horse hair, and the plume nodded dreadfully from above. And he grasped a stout spear, tipped with sharp brass, and hastened to advance, and running very quickly, stood beside Ajax. But when Hector perceived the arrows of Teucer frustrated, he encouraged the Trojans and Lycians, calling aloud:

"Ye Trojans, Lycians, and close-fighting Dardanians, be men, my friends, and be mindful of impetuous valor at the hollow ships; for I have beheld with my eyes the arrows of their chief warrior rendered vain by Jove. Easily recognizable among men is the power of Jove, as well among those into whose hands he has delivered superior glory, as those whom he deteriorates, and does not wish to defend. As now he diminishes the might of the Greeks, and aids us. But fight in close array at the ships, and whichever of you, wounded or stricken, shall draw on his death and fate, let him die; it is not inglorious to him to die fighting for his country; but his wife shall be safe, and his children left behind him, his house and patrimony unimpaired, if indeed the Greeks depart with their ships to their dear fatherland."

So saying, he kindled the strength and spirit of each: and Ajax again, on the other side, animated his companions:

"Shame, oh Argives! now is the moment for us either to perish, or to be preserved and to repel destruction from the ships. Do ye expect that if crest-tossing Hector capture the ships, ye will reach on foot each his native land? Do ye not hear Hector, who now rages to fire the ships, inciting all his people? Nor indeed does he invite them to come to a dance, but to battle. But for us there is no opinion or design better than this, to join in close fight our hands and strength. Better, either to perish at once, or live, rather than thus uselessly to be wasted away[15] for a length of time in dire contention at the ships, by inferior men."

So saying, he aroused the strength and courage of each. Then Hector indeed slew Schedius, son of Perimedes, prince of the Phoceans; and Ajax slew Laodamas, leader of the infantry, the illustrious son of Antenor. Polydamas slew Cyllenian Otus, the companion of the son of Phyleus, chief of the magnanimous Epeans. Meges rushed upon him, perceiving it, but Polydamas stooped obliquely, and he missed him; for Apollo did not suffer the son of Panthous to be subdued among the foremost warriors. But he wounded Crœsmus in the middle of the breast with his spear, but falling, he resounded; and he stripped the arms from his shoulders. In the mean time Dolops, the descendant of Lampus, well skilled in the spear, leaped upon him (he whom Lampus, son of Laomedon, the best of men, begat, skilled in impetuous fight), who then attacking him in close fight, struck the middle of Meges' shield with his spear: but the thick corselet defended him, which he wore, compact in its cavities. This Phyleus formerly brought from Ephyre, from the river Selleïs: for his host, Euphetes, king of men, had given it to him, to bear into the battle as a defense against the enemy; and which then warded off destruction from the body of his son. But Meges with his sharp spear smote the base of the highest cone of his brazen horse-haired helmet, and struck off his horse-haired crest; and the whole fell on the ground in the dust, lately shining with purple. While the one (Meges) standing firm, fought with the other (Dolops), and still expected victory; meanwhile, warlike Menelaus came as an assistant to him (Meges), and stood at his side with his spear, escaping notice, and wounded him from behind in the shoulder; but the spear, driven with violence, passed through his breast, proceeding further; and he fell on his face. Both then rushed on, about to tear the brazen armor from his shoulders; but Hector strenuously exhorted all his relations, and rebuked the gallant Melanippus first, the son of Hicetaon. He till then had fed his curved-footed oxen at Percote, the enemy being yet at a distance; but when the equally-plied barks of the Greeks had arrived, he came back to Troy, and was distinguished among the Trojans; and he dwelt near Priam, and he honored him equally with his sons. But Hector rebuked him; and spoke and addressed him:

"Shall we be thus remiss, O Melanippus? Is not thy heart moved, thy kinsman being slain? Dost thou not perceive how busy they are about the arms of Dolops? But follow; for it is no longer justifiable to fight at a distance with the Greeks, before that either we slay them, or that they tear lofty Ilium from its summit, and slay its citizens." So saying, he led on, and the godlike hero followed with him. But mighty Telamonian Ajax aroused the Greeks.

"O my friends, be men, and set honor[16] in your hearts, and have reverence for each other during the vehement conflicts. For more of those men who reverence [each other] are saved than slain; but of the fugitives, neither glory arises, nor any defense."

Thus he spoke, but they too were eager to repel [the enemy]. And they fixed his advice in their mind, and inclosed the ships with a brazen fence; but Jove urged on the Trojans. And Menelaus, brave in the din of battle, incited Antilochus:

"O Antilochus, no other of the Greeks is younger than thou, nor swifter of foot, nor strong, as thou [art], to fight. Would[17] that, attacking some hero of the Trojans, thou couldst wound him."

So saying, he on his part withdrew again, and he aroused him. But he (Antilochus) leaped forth from among the foremost warriors, and took aim with his shining spear, gazing around him; but the Trojans retired, the hero hurling. But he did not cast his weapon in vain, for he struck magnanimous Melanippus, the son of Hicetaon, in the breast, near the pap, advancing to the battle. And falling, he made a crash, and his arms rang upon him. But Antilochus sprang upon him, as a dog that rushes on a wounded fawn, which the huntsman aiming at, has wounded, leaping from its lair, and relaxed its limbs under it. Thus, O Melanippus, did warlike Antilochus spring on thee, about to despoil thee of thy armor: but he did not escape noble Hector, who came against him, running through the battle. But Antilochus did not await him, though being an expert warrior, but he fled, like unto a wild beast that has done some mischief, which, having slain a dog or herdsman in charge of oxen, flies, before a crowd of men is assembled: so fled the son of Nestor; but the Trojans and Hector, with great clamor, poured forth their deadly weapons. Yet when he reached the band of his own companions, being turned round, he stood. But the Trojans, like raw-devouring lions, rushed upon the ships, and were fulfilling the commands of Jove; who ever kept exciting their great strength, and enervated the courage of the Greeks, and took away their glory; but encouraged those. For his mind wished to bestow glory on Hector, the son of Priam, that he might cast the dreadfully-burning, indefatigable fire upon the crooked barks; and accomplish all the unseasonable prayer of Thetis.

For this did provident Jove await, till he should behold with his eyes the flame of a burning vessel; for from that time he was about to make a retreat of the Trojans from the ships, and to afford glory to the Greeks. Designing these things, he aroused Hector, the son of Priam, against the hollow ships, although himself very eager. But he raged, as when Mars [rages], brandishing his spear, or [when a destructive fire rages in the mountains, in the thickets of a deep wood. And foam arose about his mouth, and his eyes flashed from beneath his grim eyebrows; and the helm was shaken awfully upon the temples of Hector, fighting; for Jove himself from the æther was an assistant to him, and honored and glorified him alone among many men; because he was destined to be short-lived: for Pallas Minerva already impelled him toward the fatal day, by the might of the son of Peleus. And he wished to break the ranks of heroes, trying them, wheresoever he beheld the greatest crowd and the best arms. But not thus was he able to break through them, although very eager; for they, compact in squares, sustained his attack, as a lofty, huge cliff, being near the hoary deep, which abides the impetuous inroads of the shrill winds, and the swollen billows which are dashed against it. Thus the Greeks firmly awaited the Trojans, nor fled. But he, gleaming with fire on all sides, rushed upon the crowd; and fell upon them, as when an impetuous wave, wind-nurtured from the clouds, dashes against a swift ship, and it [the ship] is wholly enveloped with the spray, and a dreadful blast of wind roars within the sail: but the sailors tremble in mind, fearing, because they are borne but a little way from death: thus was the mind of the Greeks divided in their breasts. He, however, like a destructive lion coming upon oxen which feed in myriads in the moist ground of a spacious marsh, and among them a keeper not very skillful in fighting with a wild beast for the slaughter of a crooked-horned ox;[18] he indeed always accompanies the foremost or the hindmost cattle, while [the lionj springing into the midst, devours an ox, and all the rest fly in terror; thus then were the Greeks wondrously put to flight by Hector and father Jove, all—but [Hector] slew only Mycenæan Periphetes, the dear son of Copreus, who went with a messenger of king Eurystheus to mighty Hercules. From this far inferior father sprung a son superior in all kinds of accomplishments, as well in the race as in the combat, and who in prudence was among the first of the Mycenæans, who at that time gave into the hands of Hector superior glory. For, turning backward, he trod upon the rim of his shield which he bore, a fence against javelins, which reached to his feet; by this incommoded, he fell upon his back, and the helmet terribly sounded round the temples of him fallen. But Hector quickly perceived, and running, stood near him, and fixed his spear in his breast, and slew him near his beloved companions, nor indeed were they able, although grieved for their comrade, to avail him, for they themselves greatly feared noble Hector. But they retreated within the line of their ships,[19] and the extreme ships inclosed them, which were first drawn up: and the others were poured in. The Argives, therefore, from necessity, retreated from the foremost vessels, and remained there at their tents in close array, and were not dispersed through the camp, for shame and fear restrained them, and they unceasingly exhorted one another with shouting. More particularly did Gerenian Nestor, the guardian of the Greeks, adjure them by their parents, earnestly supplicating each man:

"O my friends, be men, and place a sense of reverence[20] of other men in your minds. Call to memory, each of you, your children, wives, property, and parents, as well he to whom they survive as he to whom they are dead; for by those not present I here supplicate you to stand bravely, nor be ye turned to flight." So saying, he aroused the might and spirit of each. But for them Minerva removed the heaven-sent cloud of darkness from their eyes; and abundant light arose to them on both sides, both toward the ships and toward the equally destructive battle. Then they observed Hector, brave in the din of battle, and his companions, as well whatever of them stood behind and did not fight as those who fought the battle at the swift ships. Nor was it longer pleasing to the mind of great-hearted Ajax to stand there where the other sons of the Greeks stood together; but he went about upon the decks of the vessels, taking long strides, and wielding in his hands a great sea-fighting pole, studded with iron nails, twenty-two cubits long. And as when a man well skilled in vaulting upon steeds, who, after he has selected four horses out of a greater number, driving them from the plain, urges them toward a mighty city, along the public way; and him many men and women behold with admiration; but he, always leaping up firmly and safely, changes alternately from one to the other,[21] while they are flying along: so went Ajax along many decks of swift ships, shouting loudly, and his voice reached to the sky; and, always terribly shouting, he ordered the Greeks to defend their ships and tents. Nor, indeed, did Hector remain among the crowd of well-corseleted Trojans; but as the tawny eagle pounces upon a flock of winged birds, feeding on a river's bank, either geese or cranes, or long-necked swans, so did Hector direct his course toward an azure-prowed vessel, rushing against it; but Jove, with a very mighty hand, impelled him from behind, and animated his forces along with him. Again was a sharp contest waged at the ships. You would have said that unwearied and indefatigable they met each other in battle, so furiously they fought. And to them fighting this was the opinion: the Greeks, indeed, thought that they could not escape from destruction, but must perish. But the soul of each within his breast, to the Trojans, hoped, to burn the ships, and slay the Grecian heroes. They thinking these things, opposed one another.

But Hector seized the stern of a sea-traversing bark, beautiful, swift, which had carried Protesilaus[22] to Troy, but did not bear him back again to his fatherland. Round his ship the Greeks and Trojans were now slaying one another in close combat; nor did they indeed at a distance await the attacks of arrows and of javelins, but standing near, having one mind, they fought with sharp battle-axes and hatchets, with large swords and two-edged spears. And many fair swords, black-hilted, with massive handles, fell to the ground, some indeed from the hands, and others from the shoulders of the contending heroes; and the dark earth streamed with gore. But Hector, after he had seized [the vessel] by the stern, did not let go, holding the furthest[23] edge with his hands, and he cheered on the Trojans:

"Bring fire, and at the same time do yourselves together excite the battle. Now hath Jove vouchsafed us a day worth all,[24] to take the ships, which, coming hither against the will of the gods, brought many evils upon us through the cowardice of our elders, who kept me back when desirous myself to fight at the sterns of the ships, and restrained the people. But if, indeed, far-sounding Jove then injured[25] our minds, he now impels and orders us." Thus he spoke, but they rushed the more against the Greeks. Even Ajax no longer sustained them, for he was overwhelmed with darts; but, thinking he should fall, retired back a short space to the seven-feet bench, and deserted the deck of his equal ship. There he stood watching, and with his spear continually repulsed the Trojans from the ships, whoever might bring the indefatigable fire; and always shouting dreadfully, he animated the Greeks:

"O my friends, Grecian heroes, servants of Mars, be men, my friends, and be mindful of impetuous strength. Whether do we think that we have any assistants in the rear, or any stronger rampart which may avert destruction from the men? Indeed there is not any other city near, fortified with towers, where we may be defended, having a reinforcing army; but bordering on the sea, we sit in the plain of the well-armed Trojans, far away from our native land; therefore safety is in our exertions, not in remission of battle."

He said, and furious, charged with his sharp spear whoever of the Trojans was borne toward the hollow ships with burning fire, for the sake of Hector who incited them;—him Ajax wounded, receiving him with his long spear; and he slew twelve in close fight before the ships.

  1. Δὴ here has the force of demum.
  2. Ἐξεστηκὼς τῇ ψυχῇ.—Scholiast.
  3. Compare Virg. Æn. i. 211: "Spem vultu simulat, premit altum corde dolorem," with Seneca ad Pol. 24. Nemesian. Eclog. iv. 17: "Quid vultu mentem premis, ac spem fronte serenas." Liv. xxviii. 8: "Mœrebat quidem et angebatur . . . . in concilio tamen dissimulans ægritudinem, elato animo disseruit."
  4. More literally, "producing clear air." So Eustathius, or Eumathius, Erotic, ii. p. 14: Αἰθρηγενέτης Βοῤῥᾶς. Heyne prefers "in aere genitus."
  5. On this division of things, see Servius on Virg. Æn. i. 143: Fulgent. Myth. i. 1, 3. The Scholiasts attempt to refer it to the ancient theory of the elements.
  6. These three verses were elegantly applied by Sostrates in mitigating the intemperate language which Antigonus would fain have addressed to Ptolemy Philadelphus. See Sextus Emp. adv. Gramm. i. 13, p. 276.
  7. The Furies are said to wait on men in a double sense; either for evil, as upon Orestes after he had slain his mother; or else for good, as upon elders when they are injured, to protect them and avenge their wrongs. This is an instance that the pagans looked upon birthright as a right divine. Eustath. quoted in ed. Dubl. cf. ix. 507.
  8. Cf. vi. 508; and on ἀκοστήσας, Buttm. Lexil. p. 75, sq.
  9. Observe the abrupt change of construction.
  10. Ὑπὸ ἰαχῆς, attracted by their shouting.
  11. "Nube candentes humeros amictus, Augur Apollo."—Hor. Od. 2, 31.
  12. Cf. ii. 448. Literally, "shaggy, rugged, with fringes around."
  13. Cf. Buttm. Lexil. p. 89, whose translation of νυκτὸς ἀμολγῷ I have followed.
  14. Observe this sudden and animated change of person, which has been noticed by Longinus, xxvii. and Dionys. Halic. de Hom. Poes. § 8. This irregularity is very common in the Greek Testament. Cf. Luke v. 14; Acts i. 4; xvii. 3; xxiii. 22; xxv. 8; with the notes of Kuinoel and Pricæus.
  15. The verb στρεύγεσθαι, which may be compared with ἀπολιβάζειν in Od. xii. 351, is interpreted by Apollonius καταπονεῖσθαι. Cf. Hesych. t. i. p. 1603, t. ii. p. 1278.
  16. Cf. v. 530, xiii. 121, with the notes.
  17. Εἰ is put for εἴθε.
  18. i. e., about its carcass. The Scholiast also gives another interpretation, viz., "to prevent his killing an ox;" but Kennedy, with reason, prefers the former one.
  19. "They now held their ships in view, which were arranged in a two-fold line, from the outermost whereof the Greeks were driven in upon their tents, disposed in the intermediate position between the lines of the vessels."—Kennedy.
  20. Cf. v. 530.
  21. As the "desultores" (Liv. xxiii. 29). Hence "desultor amoris," in Ovid, Amor. i. 3, 15, to denote an inconstant lover; "desultoria scientia," Apuleius, Met. i. præf., speaking of his own varied fable.
  22. The reader will do well to read the beautiful sketch of this hero's deification after death in Philostratus's preface to the Heroica. He was the first of the Greeks who fell, being slain by Hector as he leaped from the vessel (Hygin. Fab. ciii.; Auson. Epigr. xx). He was buried on the Chersonese, near the city Plagusa. Hygin. P. A. ii. 40.
  23. The Oxford translator renders ἄφλαστον "the tafferel."
  24. This is, I think, much more spirited than the Scholiast's πάντων πόνων ἰσοῤῥοπον, or πάντων τῶν τολμηθέντων. Supply, therefore, ἠμάτων.
  25. i. e., befooled our senses, taking away our proper spirit. So Theognis has νοοῦ βεβλαμμένος ἐσθλοῦ.