Jump to Content

Main Text

pg 68BOOK FIVE

  • 1Next, to Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, Pallas Athena gave
  • 2fury and daring, so that he might distinguish himself
  • 3among all the Argives, and also win illustrious fame.
  • 4From his helmet and shield she caused unwearied fire to blaze,
  • 5like the star* that in late summer rises to shine with especial
  • 6brightness after it has bathed in the waters of Ocean. Such
  • 7was the fire she made blaze from his head and shoulders, and
  • 8she thrust him into the battle's midst, where the turmoil was greatest.
  • 9    There was among the Trojans a man called Dares, a
  • 10blameless, rich man, a priest of Hephaestus. He had two sons,
  • 11Phegeus and Idaeus, both skilled in every art of battle.
  • 12These separated themselves from the rest and rushed out to face
  • 13Diomedes from their chariot, while he was on the ground, on foot.
  • 14When they had advanced to within close range of each other,
  • 15Phegeus was the first to fling his far-shadowing spear, but
  • 16the spear-point passed over the left shoulder of Tydeus' son
  • 17and did not hit him. Then Tydeus' son threw his bronze-tipped spear,
  • 18and the weapon did not fly in vain from his hand, but
  • 19hit Phegeus in mid-chest, and toppled him from the chariot.
  • 20Idaeus sprang back, leaving his beautifully made chariot,
  • 21and did not have the courage to stand over his slain brother;
  • 22nor indeed would he himself have escaped death's black spectre,
  • 23had not Hephaestus rescued him, shrouding him in night, unharmed,
  • 24so that his old priest might not be utterly overwhelmed by grief.
  • 25The son of great-spirited Tydeus drove off their horses
  • 26and gave them to his companions to take back to the hollow ships.
  • 27When the great-spirited Trojans saw the two sons of Dares,
  • 28that one had fled and the other was lying dead by his chariot,
  • 29anger swelled up in them all; but grey-eyed Athena took
  • 30impetuous Ares by the hand and addressed him in these words:
  • 31'Ares, doom of mortals Ares, bloodstained sacker of walled cities,
  • 32shall we not leave the Trojans and Achaeans alone to struggle
  • 33together, and see to which side father Zeus grants the glory?
  • 34Let us withdraw, and in this way avoid the anger of Zeus.'
  • 35    So she spoke, and led impetuous Ares away from the battle,
  • 36and made him sit beside the high banks of Scamander,
  • pg 6937and the Danaans began to drive the Trojans back. Each of
  • 38their leaders killed his man: first, Agamemnon, lord of men,
  • 39toppled huge Odius, captain of the Halizones, from his chariot;
  • 40he was the first to turn away, and Agamemnon planted his spear
  • 41in his back between the shoulders, and drove it out through his chest.
  • 42He fell with a thud, and his armour clattered about him.
  • 43    Then Idomeneus killed Phaestus, the son of Borus,
  • 44the Maeonian, who had come from rich-soiled Tarne.
  • 45Spear-famed Idomeneus pierced him with his long lance
  • 46in the right shoulder as he was about to climb into his chariot;
  • 47he tumbled from the chariot, and hateful darkness took him.
  • 48    Idomeneus' attendants stripped him of his armour, and
  • 49then Menelaus, Atreus' son, with his sharp spear killed
  • 50Scamandrius, the son of Strophius, a man skilled in the chase,
  • 51a fine hunter, whom Artemis herself had taught to
  • 52shoot down all kinds of wild beasts that live in mountain forests.
  • 53But this time Artemis shooter of arrows could not help him,
  • 54nor could the marksmanship in which he formerly excelled,
  • 55because Atreus' son Menelaus, famed with the spear,
  • 56struck him with a spear in the back as he fled before him,
  • 57between the shoulders, and drove it through his chest.
  • 58He collapsed on to his face, and his armour clattered about him.
  • 59    Meriones struck down Phereclus, son of Tecton who was
  • 60Harmon's son, who had the skill in his hands to fashion all kinds
  • 61of intricate work, for Pallas Athena loved him above all others.
  • 62It was he who had built for Alexander the well-balanced ships
  • 63which began the trouble, and brought misery to all the Trojans
  • 64and to himself, since he knew nothing of the gods' ordinances.
  • 65Meriones went after him, and when he caught up with him
  • 66struck him in the right buttock, and the spear-point
  • 67passed clean through under the bone into his bladder.
  • 68Phereclus screamed and fell to his knees, and death enveloped him.
  • 69    Meges killed Pedaeus, son of Antenor—a bastard son, but
  • 70glorious Theano had brought him up with the same faithful care
  • 71that she gave to her own dear children, out of regard for her husband.
  • 72The spear-famed son of Phyleus came close to him and
  • 73struck with his sharp spear at the muscle in his neck; the bronze
  • 74passed clean through his teeth, severing the tongue's root, and
  • 75he collapsed in the dust, the cold bronze clenched in his teeth.
  • 76    Eurypylus, son of Euaemon, killed glorious Hypsenor,
  • pg 7077the son of proud-spirited Dolopion, who was the priest of
  • 78Scamander and was honoured by the people as if he were a god.
  • 79As he fled before him Eurypylus, Euaemon's splendid son,
  • 80ran him down and lunging forward drove his sword through
  • 81Hypsenor's shoulder, and sheared off his heavy arm.
  • 82The bloody arm fell to the ground, and dark death and
  • 83his cruel destiny came down and fastened on his eyes.
  • 84    So they laboured on in the fierce conflict. As for the son
  • 85of Tydeus, you could not tell whose side he was on,
  • 86whether he was allied with the Trojans or with the Achaeans.*
  • 87He stormed over the plain like a river in spate, a winter
  • 88torrent that quickly sweeps dykes away in its surging course;
  • 89close-built embankments cannot hold it back, nor can
  • 90walls raised to defend flourishing orchards resist its
  • 91sudden onslaught, when the heavy rain from Zeus has fallen,
  • 92and far and wide destroys the fruits of strong men's toil.
  • 93So the close-packed ranks of Trojans were thrown by Tydeus' son
  • 94into confusion, nor for all their numbers could they withstand him.
  • 95    Now when Pandarus, the splendid son of Lycaon, saw him
  • 96storming over the plain, scattering the companies before him,
  • 97he quickly aimed his curved bow at the son of Tydeus,
  • 98and hit him in the right shoulder as he charged forward,
  • 99on a plate of his corslet. The bitter arrow flew through it,
  • 100holding a straight course, and his corslet was spattered with blood.
  • 101Then Lycaon's splendid son let out a great shout over him:
  • 102'Up with you, great-spirited Trojans, whippers of horses!
  • 103The best of the Achaeans has been wounded, and I do not think
  • 104he will long hold out against my mighty arrow, if it truly was
  • 105the lord son of Zeus* who sent me here when I left Lycia.'
  • 106    So he spoke, boasting, but the swift arrow did not fell Diomedes,
  • 107and he turned back and stood in front of his horses and
  • 108chariot and spoke to Sthenelus, son of Capaneus:
  • 109'Quick, dear son of Capaneus, get down from the chariot,
  • 110so that you can pull the bitter arrow from my shoulder for me.'
  • 111    So he spoke, and Sthenelus jumped from the chariot to the ground,
  • 112and standing by him pulled the swift arrow out from behind his shoulder,
  • 113and the blood speared up through the closely woven tunic.
  • 114Then Diomedes, master of the war-cry, spoke in prayer:
  • 115'Hear me, daughter of Zeus who wears the aegis, Atrytone:
  • 116if ever you stood beside my father with kindly intent
  • pg 71117in deadly war, this time be a friend to me too, Athena.
  • 118Let me kill this man; grant that he may come within my spear-cast,
  • 119this man who shot me before I saw him, and who claims that
  • 120I do not have long to look upon the bright light of the sun.'
  • 121    So he spoke in prayer, and Pallas Athena heard him,
  • 122and brought lightness to his legs and his arms again.
  • 123Standing nearby she addressed him with winged words:
  • 124'Take courage now, Diomedes, to fight against the Trojans;
  • 125I have thrust into your breast the fury of your father,
  • 126fearless fury, such as the shield-wielding horseman Tydeus had.
  • 127And I have taken from your eyes the mist that was there before,
  • 128so that you can easily distinguish between god and man.
  • 129So if some god now comes down here to test you,
  • 130you must not fight face to face with any of the immortal gods—
  • 131except only that if Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, enters
  • 132the battle, you may wound her with the sharp bronze.'
  • 133    So grey-eyed Athena spoke, and went away, and the son
  • 134of Tydeus at once set off and joined the front-fighters.
  • 135Though even before he was raging in his heart to fight the Trojans,
  • 136yet now three times that fury seized him, like a lion that a
  • 137shepherd watching over thick-fleeced sheep in open country
  • 138has wounded but not killed when it leapt over his sheepfold's fence;
  • 139he has provoked its strength, but he cannot then defend his flock,
  • 140and the lion gets into the enclosures, and the helpless sheep
  • 141run about in panic. They fall in heaps, piled one on another,
  • 142and the lion, still raging, leaps away over the fold's high fence.
  • 143So did mighty Diomedes plunge raging in among the Trojans.
  • 144    Next he killed Astynous and Hypeiron, shepherd of the people;
  • 145one he pierced above the nipple with his bronze-tipped spear,
  • 146and struck the other's collarbone with his great sword
  • 147next to the shoulder, and sheared it away from his back and neck.
  • 148He left them where they were, and went after Abas and Polyidus,
  • 149the sons of Eurydamas, the aged expounder of dreams.
  • 150He had interpreted no dreams for them when they left for Troy,
  • 151and now mighty Diomedes stripped them of their armour.
  • 152Next he went after Xanthus and Thoön, two sons of Phaenops,
  • 153both late-born; their father was now worn out by grim old age,
  • 154and had fathered no other son to inherit his possessions.
  • 155Diomedes killed them, depriving them of their dear lives,
  • 156both of them, and bequeathed lamentation and cruel grief
  • pg 72157to their father, since he could not welcome them back alive
  • 158from the war. Distant cousins shared out his wealth.
  • 159    Next he caught two sons of Priam of the line of Dardanus,
  • 160Echemmon and Chromius, as they rode out in one chariot.
  • 161As a lion springs on a herd of cattle and breaks the neck
  • 162of a calf or cow as they graze in a wooded place,
  • 163so the son of Tydeus thrust them both brutally from their chariot,
  • 164though they resisted, and stripped them of their arms.
  • 165He gave the horses to his companions, to drive back to the ships.
  • 166    While he was spreading havoc among the ranks of men, Aeneas
  • 167saw him and set off through the battle and the confusion of spears,
  • 168seeking godlike Pandarus, in the hope of finding him.
  • 169And he came upon the blameless and mighty son of Lycaon,
  • 170and standing before him spoke directly to him:
  • 171'Pandarus, where now are your bow and your winged arrows,
  • 172and your fame? No man here can compete with you in archery,
  • 173nor does any man in Lycia boast that he is better than you.
  • 174Come now, lift your hands to Zeus and let fly an arrow at this man,
  • 175the one who stands supreme here, who is inflicting great hurt
  • 176on the Trojans, loosening the knees of many fine men—
  • 177unless he is some god who has a grudge against the Trojans,
  • 178being angry over a missed offering; a god's anger is hard to bear.'
  • 179    Then in answer the splendid son of Lycaon addressed him:
  • 180'Aeneas, counsellor of the bronze-shirted Trojans,
  • 181this man seems to me exactly like Tydeus' war-minded son,
  • 182for I recognize him by his shield and his vizored helmet,
  • 183and the look of his horses; but I do not know for sure if it is a god.
  • 184If this is the man I think it is, Tydeus' war-minded son, this
  • 185crazed assault cannot happen without a god, and some immortal
  • 186must be standing close to him, his shoulders shrouded in mist,
  • 187who has turned aside the swift arrow that was on course to hit him;
  • 188I have already let fly an arrow at him, and it hit his right
  • 189shoulder, passing right through the plate of his corslet, and
  • 190I believed that I was on the point of sending him to Hades, but
  • 191even so I did not fell him. So some resentful god must be here.
  • 192Here I do not have horses, or a chariot that I can mount;
  • 193yet in Lycaon's halls you must know that I have eleven chariots,
  • 194fine ones, freshly built, brand new. Over them cloths
  • 195are spread, and next to each of them pairs of horses
  • 196stand, champing on white barley and emmer wheat.
  • pg 73197And indeed as I left, my father, the old spear-fighter
  • 198Lycaon, gave me much advice in his well-built house,
  • 199telling me I should take my stand in a horse-drawn chariot
  • 200and lead the Trojans into the harsh conflict of battle.
  • 201I did not listen to him—and it would have been much better if
  • 202I had—wanting to spare my horses, in case they ran short of fodder in
  • 203places where men are crowded together, and they used to plentiful food.
  • 204So I left them behind, and I came to Ilium on foot,
  • 205relying on my bow, but that was to turn out no use to me:
  • 206already I have let fly an arrow at two of their champions,
  • 207the son of Tydeus and Atreus' son, and in both I have
  • 208made the blood flow with a clear hit, but it only provoked them
  • 209the more. So it was for a miserable destiny that I took down my
  • 210curved bow from its peg, on the day that I came leading my
  • 211Trojans to beautiful Ilium, doing a service to glorious Hector.
  • 212But if I ever go back home and cast eyes on my native land,
  • 213on my wife and on my great high-roofed house,
  • 214may some stranger cut off my head, there and then,
  • 215if I do not smash this bow with my hands and throw it
  • 216into the blazing fire; it was useless gear to bring with me.'
  • 217    Then Aeneas, captain of the Trojans, answered him:
  • 218'Do not talk like that, I beg you! Nothing will change until
  • 219you and I go to meet this man with chariot and horses,
  • 220to match our strength and bring him to the test in full armour.
  • 221So come, climb into my chariot, and you will see the
  • 222worth of the horses of Tros,* which have the skill to range
  • 223swiftly over all the plain, whether in pursuit or retreat.
  • 224They will carry us safely back to the city, if Zeus continues
  • 225to give the glory to Diomedes, the son of Tydeus.
  • 226Come now, take the whip and the shining reins, and
  • 227I will get down from the chariot, and enter the fighting—
  • 228or you can go to meet this man, while I take care of the horses.'
  • 229    Then the splendid son of Lycaon addressed him:
  • 230'Aeneas, you must take care of the reins and the horses yourself;
  • 231they are more likely to pull the curved chariot under the hands of
  • 232their accustomed driver, if we have to flee from Tydeus' son.
  • 233I am afraid that if they cannot hear your voice they will grow
  • 234restive and take fright, and refuse to carry us out of the battle,
  • 235and then the son of great-spirited Tydeus could attack
  • 236and kill us and drive away your single-hoofed horses.
  • pg 74237No, you must drive the chariot and horses yourself,
  • 238and I will face his onslaught with my sharp spear.'
  • 239    So they spoke, and mounted the finely worked chariot,
  • 240and, raging, guided the swift horses towards Tydeus' son.
  • 241Sthenelus, the splendid son of Capaneus, saw them coming,
  • 242and quickly addressed Tydeus' son with winged words:
  • 243'Diomedes, son of Tydeus, delight of my heart, I can
  • 244see two mighty men coming at you, raging for the fight,
  • 245filled with immense strength; one is the skilled bowman,
  • 246Pandarus, who boasts that he is the son of Lycaon,
  • 247while the other boasts that he was born the son of
  • 248blameless Anchises, and that his mother was Aphrodite.
  • 249Come, let us retreat in our chariot, and do not, I beg you, storm
  • 250like this through the front-fighters, or you may lose your dear life.'
  • 251    But mighty Diomedes looked at him darkly and addressed him:
  • 252'Do not talk to me of flight; I do not think you will persuade me.
  • 253I am not the kind of man to hang back from the fight,
  • 254nor to cower in fear; my fury is still firmly fixed within me.
  • 255But I am loath to mount my chariot, and will go to meet them
  • 256just as I am; Pallas Athena does not allow me to be afraid.
  • 257As for those two, their swift horses will not carry them home,
  • 258away from me, even if one or the other of them escapes.
  • 259And I tell you another thing, and you should store it in your mind:
  • 260if Athena of many counsels grants me the glory of
  • 261killing these two, you must leave these swift horses
  • 262of ours here, tying their reins to the chariot-rail, and
  • 263turn your mind to Aeneas' horses; make a dash for him
  • 264and drive them from the Trojans to the well-greaved Achaeans.
  • 265You must know, they are of the same stock that Zeus the wide-
  • 266thunderer gave to Tros as compensation for his son Ganymedes,
  • 267for they were the best of all horses under the dawn and the sun.
  • 268Anchises, lord of men, bred from this bloodstock by deceit,
  • 269by putting mares to the stallions without Laomedon's knowledge.*
  • 270From them six foals were born in his halls, and of these
  • 271he kept four for himself, and raised them at his manger,
  • 272and he gave two, provokers of panic, to Aeneas.
  • 273If we were to capture these we would win glorious fame.'
  • 274    As they were speaking to one another in this way,
  • 275the other two quickly closed on them, driving their swift horses.
  • 276Then the splendid son of Lycaon was the first to speak:
  • pg 75277'Steadfast-hearted, war-minded son of proud Tydeus!
  • 278So my swift shot, my bitter arrow, did not fell you; but this time
  • 279I will test you with my spear, and perhaps I will strike you down.'
  • 280So he spoke, and poised his long-shadowing spear and threw it,
  • 281and hit the shield of Tydeus' son; and the bronze point
  • 282flew clean through it and reached Diomedes' corslet.
  • 283At this Lycaon's splendid son gave a great shout:
  • 284'You are hit, deep in your side! I do not think you will
  • 285hold out much longer; you have given me great glory.'
  • 286    Fearlessly, mighty Diomedes addressed him:
  • 287'You missed—you did not hit me! I think that before
  • 288you are finished with all this one or other of you will fall and
  • 289with his blood glut Ares, the fighter with the oxhide shield.'
  • 290    So he spoke and hurled his spear, and Athena guided it on to
  • 291Pandarus' nose by his eye, and it went through his white teeth.
  • 292The relentless bronze cut his tongue away at the root,
  • 293and the point then came out underneath his chin.
  • 294He tumbled from the chariot, and his bright-glittering armour
  • 295clattered about him, and the swift-footed horses
  • 296started in fear; and there his life and fury ebbed away.
  • 297    Now Aeneas jumped down, holding his shield and long spear,
  • 298fearing that the Achaeans would drag the dead man away from him.
  • 299He stood astride him like a lion, trusting in his strength,
  • 300holding before him his spear and perfectly balanced shield,
  • 301raging to kill anyone who might come to challenge him,
  • 302and yelling terribly. But the son of Tydeus picked up a rock
  • 303in his hand, a mighty feat, which not even two men such as
  • 304mortals now are could hold up, but he easily lifted it on his own.
  • 305With this he hit Aeneas on the hip-joint, where the thigh-bone
  • 306revolves in the hip socket, and men call it the cup.
  • 307He smashed Aeneas' cup, and severed both sinews as well,
  • 308and the rough rock stripped away his skin. The hero sank to
  • 309his knees and stayed there, propping himself on the ground
  • 310with his brawny hand; and black night covered his eyes.
  • 311    Then indeed Aeneas lord of men would have died,
  • 312had not Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, been quick to see him—
  • 313his mother, who had borne him to Anchises, herdsman of cattle.
  • 314Around her dear son she wrapped her white arms, and
  • 315held before him a concealing fold of her white dress as a
  • 316defence against missiles, in case any of the swift-horsed Danaans
  • pg 76317should hurl a spear into his chest and take away his life.
  • 318    So she set about rescuing her dear son from the fighting by
  • 319stealth; but the son of Capaneus did not forget the agreement
  • 320that Diomedes, master of the war-cry, had made with him.
  • 321He held back his own single-hoofed horses, keeping them
  • 322from the battle's confusion, and tied their reins to the chariot-rail,
  • 323and made a dash for the fine-maned horses of Aeneas, and
  • 324drove them away from the Trojans to the well-greaved Achaeans.
  • 325He gave them to Deipylus, his dear companion, whom he esteemed
  • 326above all his peers, because their minds thought alike,
  • 327telling him to drive them to the hollow ships. Then the hero
  • 328mounted his own chariot and took up the shining reins,
  • 329and at once drove the strong-hoofed horses towards Tydeus' son,
  • 330raging. Diomedes was pursuing Cypris* with the pitiless bronze,
  • 331knowing what an unwarlike goddess she was, and not one
  • 332of those reckoned to take command when men are at war—
  • 333she was certainly no Athena, nor Enyo,* sacker of cities.
  • 334When the son of great-spirited Tydeus caught up with her,
  • 335after pursuing her through the dense soldiery, he sprang forward
  • 336and, lunging, stabbed her with his sharp spear on the wrist,
  • 337where it was soft. The spear passed clean through the deathless
  • 338garment which the Graces had woven for her, piercing the flesh
  • 339above the palm's base, and the goddess' deathless blood flowed;
  • 340this was ichor, the kind of blood that flows in the blessed gods,
  • 341for they eat no bread, and do not drink gleaming wine,
  • 342and so are without blood, and men call them immortals.
  • 343She gave a loud scream, and let her son fall from her,
  • 344but Phoebus Apollo caught him up in his arms, protecting him
  • 345in a dark cloud, in case any of the swift-horsed Danaans
  • 346should hurl a bronze spear into his chest and take away his life.
  • 347Then Diomedes, master of the war-cry, shouted aloud over her:
  • 348'Daughter of Zeus, stay away from warfare and fighting!
  • 349Is it not enough that you lead feeble women astray?
  • 350If you keep joining the battle, I think you will come to be
  • 351terrified of war, even when you only hear others speak of it.'
  • 352    So he spoke, and she went away, distraught and in great pain.
  • 353Wind-footed Iris lifted her up and led her out of the mass of men,
  • 354exhausted with pain, and her lovely skin was darkening.
  • 355On the left of the battlefield she found impetuous Ares
  • pg 77356sitting alone, his spear and swift horses resting against a cloud.
  • 357Falling to her knees she urgently entreated her dear brother,
  • 358begging him for his horses with their headbands of gold:
  • 359'Dear brother, help me to escape. Give me your horses, so that
  • 360I may reach Olympus, where the immortal gods have their seat.
  • 361I am sorely troubled with a wound, which a mortal man gave me—
  • 362Tydeus' son, who would now fight even against father Zeus.'
  • 363    So she spoke, and Ares gave her the horses with golden headbands,
  • 364and she mounted the chariot, suffering in her dear heart,
  • 365and Iris mounted beside her and took up the reins in her hand,
  • 366and whipped the pair to make them go; and they flew willingly on.
  • 367Soon they arrived at steep Olympus, seat of the gods,
  • 368and there swift wind-footed Iris pulled up the horses, unyoked
  • 369them from the chariot, and threw immortal fodder before them.
  • 370Bright Aphrodite collapsed on to the knees of Dione
  • 371her mother, who took her daughter in her arms, and
  • 372stroking her with her hand addressed her, saying:
  • 373'Dear child, which of the Uranian* gods has done this to you
  • 374so thoughtlessly, as if you had committed some public mischief?'
  • 375    Then Aphrodite who loves to smile answered her:
  • 376'It was the son of Tydeus, arrogant Diomedes, who wounded me,
  • 377because I rescued my dear son from the fighting by stealth—
  • 378Aeneas, who is by far the dearest of all men to me.
  • 379This grim conflict is no longer between Trojans and Achaeans,
  • 380but now the Danaans are fighting against immortals as well.'
  • 381    Then Dione, bright among goddesses, answered her:
  • 382'Endure, my child, and bear this, distressed though you are;
  • 383many of us who have our homes on Olympus have suffered
  • 384at men's hands, when we tried to inflict harsh pain on each other.
  • 385Ares for one suffered, when Otus and mighty Ephialtes,
  • 386the sons of Aloeus, bound him in strong chains;
  • 387for thirteen months he was imprisoned in a bronze jar,
  • 388and then even Ares, insatiable in war, would have died
  • 389had not their stepmother, the beautiful Eëriboea, taken
  • 390the news to Hermes; he stole Ares out of the jar—and he was
  • 391now in a weak state, for the cruel chains were wearing him down.*
  • 392Again, Hera suffered when the mighty son of Amphitryon*
  • 393wounded her in her right breast with a three-barbed
  • 394arrow, and incurable anguish seized hold of her.
  • 395Monstrous Hades suffered too with the rest,* hit by a swift arrow
  • pg 78396when that same man, the son of Zeus who wears the aegis,
  • 397shot him at Pylos among the dead men and gave him over to pain.
  • 398He went away to the house of Zeus on high Olympus, grieving
  • 399in his heart and pierced through with agony, for the arrow
  • 400had driven into his massive shoulder, and was vexing his heart.
  • 401But Paeëon* spread pain-killing ointments on his wound
  • 402and healed him, since he was not made to suffer death.
  • 403Heracles was a hard and violent man, not troubled by the outrages
  • 404he committed with his bow on the gods who hold Olympus.
  • 405As for you, the goddess grey-eyed Athena set this man against you,
  • 406fool that he is, since Tydeus' son does not know in his heart
  • 407that the man who fights with immortals is not at all long-lived;
  • 408such a man has no homecoming from war and grim conflict*
  • 409to find his children crying 'Daddy' as they climb on to his knees.
  • 410So let the son of Tydeus, even if he is very mighty, now
  • 411take care that no god more warlike than you fights against him;
  • 412or else Aegialeia, the prudent daughter of Adrestus
  • 413and the steadfast wife of Diomedes, breaker of horses, may
  • 414one day rouse her household from sleep with mourning cries,
  • 415longing in vain for her wedded husband, the best of the Achaeans.'
  • 416    So she spoke, and with her hands wiped away the ichor from
  • 417Aphrodite's wrist; it was healed, and the harsh pain was soothed.
  • 418Now the others had been watching this, Athena and Hera,
  • 419and they began to tease Cronus' son Zeus with mocking words;
  • 420and the first to speak was the goddess grey-eyed Athena:
  • 421'Father Zeus, will you be angry at what I am going to say?
  • 422I do believe that Cypris has been persuading some Achaean woman
  • 423into following the Trojans, whom she now loves to excess,
  • 424and while she was caressing this lovely robed Achaean woman
  • 425she scratched her delicate hand on a golden pin.'
  • 426    So she spoke, and the father of gods and men smiled,
  • 427and calling golden Aphrodite to him spoke to her:
  • 428'Warfare's business, my child, is not for you; your task is
  • 429to occupy yourself with matters of desire and marriage,
  • 430leaving all this to be the concern of swift Ares and Athena.'
  • 431    As they were talking to each other in this way,
  • 432Diomedes, master of the war-cry, sprang forward at Aeneas.
  • 433He knew that Apollo himself had spread his arms over him,
  • 434but even so he was not in awe of the great god, and kept rushing at
  • 435Aeneas, to kill him and to strip him of his famous armour.
  • pg 79436Three times he sprang at him, raging for the kill, and
  • 437three times Apollo battered his shining shield back;
  • 438but when he charged for the fourth time, like some divine being,
  • 439Apollo who shoots from afar gave a terrible shout and addressed him:
  • 440'Think, son of Tydeus, and shrink back, and do not hope to
  • 441match yourself with gods! The races of immortal gods and
  • 442of men who walk upon the earth can never be the same.'
  • 443    So he spoke, and Tydeus' son drew back a little space,
  • 444avoiding the anger of Apollo who shoots from afar.
  • 445As for Aeneas, Apollo set him apart from the mass of men
  • 446in the holy shrine on Pergamus where his temple stood.*
  • 447There Leto and Artemis,* shooter of arrows,
  • 448nursed him in the spacious sanctuary and renewed his glory;
  • 449and Apollo of the silver bow fashioned a phantom in the
  • 450exact likeness of Aeneas and with the same armour,
  • 451and around this phantom the Trojans and glorious Achaeans
  • 452hewed at each other's oxhide shields, held before their chests,
  • 453both round shields and those made from stretched shaggy hides.
  • 454Then indeed Phoebus Apollo addressed impetuous Ares:
  • 455'Ares, doom of mortals, bloodstained Ares, sacker of walled cities,
  • 456will you not go after this man and take him from the battle?
  • 457I mean Tydeus' son, who would now fight even against father Zeus.
  • 458First he grappled with Cypris and wounded her on the wrist,
  • 459and after that he came at me like some divine being.'
  • 460    So he spoke, and settled down on the heights of Pergamus,
  • 461while murderous Ares went among the Trojan ranks and urged them
  • 462on, in the likeness of Acamas, swift commander of the Thracians,
  • 463and gave instructions to the Zeus-nurtured sons of Priam:
  • 464'You sons of Priam, a king nurtured by Zeus, how long
  • 465will you allow your people to be killed by the Achaeans?
  • 466Will you wait until they are fighting about your strongly made gates?
  • 467Lying there is a man whom we honour as much as glorious Hector—
  • 468Aeneas, the son of great-hearted Anchises. Come, let us
  • 469rescue our fine companion from the roaring tumult of battle.'
  • 470    So he spoke, and quickened the fury and spirit in each man.
  • 471Then Sarpedon too rebuked glorious Hector with hard words:
  • 472'Hector, tell me, where has that fury gone that you had before?
  • 473You used to say, I recall, that you could hold the city on your own,
  • 474without men or allies, just you and your brothers and brothers-in-law.
  • 475And yet I cannot see or make out a single one of them now,
  • pg 80476but they are cowering like hounds around a lion,
  • 477while we, who are only here as your allies, do the fighting.
  • 478I indeed have come a very great distance to be your ally:
  • 479Lycia is far away, beside the Xanthus with its swirling waters,
  • 480where I left my dear wife and my infant son, and
  • 481a great store of treasure, such as a poor man would envy;
  • 482but for all that I urge on the Lycians, and am myself raging
  • 483to fight man to man, even though I have no possessions here
  • 484that the Achaeans would want to plunder and carry off.
  • 485Meanwhile, you stand idle, and do not even order your people
  • 486to stand their ground and fight to protect their wives.
  • 487Take care that you are not caught in the all-embracing meshes
  • 488of a corded net, and so become the prey and spoil of your enemies,
  • 489because they will very soon sack your well-populated city.
  • 490And yet all this should be your concern day and night—
  • 491to entreat the captains of your far-famed allies to hold unceasingly
  • 492to their task; this way you may shake off their harsh rebuke.'
  • 493    So Sarpedon spoke, and his words bit into Hector's thoughts;
  • 494at once he leapt fully armed from his chariot to the ground,
  • 495and ranged through the whole camp, shaking two spears,
  • 496urging the Trojans to fight, and rousing up the grim conflict.
  • 497They turned and rallied, and stood facing the Achaeans,
  • 498but the Argives massed and stood their ground, and did not run.
  • 499As when on a sacred threshing-floor a wind carries the chaff away
  • 500when men are winnowing, at the time when fair-haired Demeter*
  • 501separates grain and chaff under the hurrying winds, and
  • 502the heaps of chaff grow white; so then did the Achaeans
  • 503turn white under the fall of dust which the horses' hoofs
  • 504kicked up through their ranks, and sent up to the high brazen sky,
  • 505as the men closed again in battle, and the charioteers kept wheeling back.
  • 506So they drove their hands' fury forward; and impetuous Ares,
  • 507roaming everywhere, drew a veil of night over the battle
  • 508to help the Trojans. He was carrying out the commands of
  • 509Phoebus Apollo of the golden sword, who had ordered him
  • 510to wake the spirit of the Trojans, when he saw Pallas Athena
  • 511leaving the field; for she was the Danaans' champion.
  • 512Then he sent Aeneas out from his richly endowed sanctuary,
  • 513and thrust fury into the breast of the shepherd of the people.
  • 514Aeneas took his place among his companions, and they were glad
  • pg 81515when they saw him coming back alive and restored to health,
  • 516and full of noble fury; but they did not question him at all, for the toil
  • 517before them, stirred up by the god of the silver bow and by Ares,
  • 518doom of mortals, and by endlessly raging Strife, would not let them.
  • 519    As for the Danaans, the two called Ajax, with Odysseus and Diomedes,
  • 520were driving them on to fight; but even without their urging
  • 521the men had no fear of the Trojans' violent onslaught,
  • 522but stood their ground like clouds that the son of Cronus
  • 523holds motionless over the peaks of mountains on a windless day,
  • 524while the fury of the North Wind and of the other
  • 525blustering winds which scatter the shadowing clouds with
  • 526their shrill blasts is asleep; so the Danaans stood unmoved,
  • 527waiting for the Trojans, and refused to turn in flight.
  • 528Atreus' son roamed through the ranks, with constant exhortations:
  • 529'My friends, be men, and put courage in your hearts,
  • 530and feel shame before each other in the fierce crush of battle!
  • 531Men who feel shame are more often saved than killed,
  • 532while those who run away find neither glory nor courage.'
  • 533    So he spoke, and quickly threw his spear and hit a leading man,
  • 534a companion of great-spirited Aeneas, Deicoön, who was
  • 535the son of Pergasus, and whom the Trojans honoured as much as
  • 536Priam's sons, since he was always quick to fight in the front ranks.
  • 537Lord Agamemnon hit him with his spear on the shield,
  • 538which could not stop it, and the bronze flew right through,
  • 539driving beyond the belt into the base of his belly.
  • 540He fell with a thud, and his armour clattered about him.
  • 541    Then in his turn Aeneas killed two of the best men of the Danaans,
  • 542Crethon and Orsilochus, the sons of Diocles,
  • 543whose father's home was in well-built Pherae;* he was a
  • 544man of great wealth, and was descended from a river,
  • 545Alpheus, which flows in a broad stream through the Pylians' land,
  • 546and he fathered Ortilochus to be king over many men.
  • 547Ortilochus in turn was father to great-spirited Diocles,
  • 548and to Diocles there were born two sons, twins,
  • 549Crethon and Orsilochus, who were skilled in all battle's arts.
  • 550When they reached youth's fullness they accompanied
  • 551the Argives in their black ships to Ilium rich in horses,
  • 552to win compensation for Atreus' sons, Agamemnon and
  • 553Menelaus; but there the end of death covered them both.
  • 554They were like a pair of lions raised by their mother
  • pg 82555in deep wooded thickets high in the mountains, lions
  • 556that pillage the enclosures of men's farms, and carry off
  • 557their cattle and sturdy sheep, until they in their turn
  • 558fall into men's hands and are killed with the sharp bronze;
  • 559just so were they overcome at the hands of Aeneas
  • 560and crashed to the ground like lofty pine trees.
  • 561    When they had fallen the warrior Menelaus felt pity for them,
  • 562and strode through the front-fighters helmeted in gleaming bronze,
  • 563shaking his spear. Ares stirred up the fury in him, intending
  • 564that he should be beaten down by the hands of Aeneas.
  • 565But Antilochus, great-spirited Nestor's son, saw him, and
  • 566strode up through the front-fighters; he was greatly afraid that
  • 567the people's shepherd might be hurt and bring all their toil to nothing.
  • 568The two men were poising their sharp spears ready in their hands,
  • 569facing each other and in a frenzy to fight, when Antilochus came
  • 570and stood very close to the shepherd of the people, and
  • 571Aeneas, swift fighter though he was, did not stand his ground
  • 572when he saw the two men standing firm, side by side.
  • 573So these dragged the dead men back into the Achaean people,
  • 574and laid the wretched pair in the arms of their companions,
  • 575and turned back and began to fight again in the front ranks.
  • 576    There they killed Pylaemenes, who was the equal of Ares,
  • 577captain of the great-spirited shield-bearing Paphlagonians.
  • 578He was standing still when Menelaus, son of Atreus, famed
  • 579with the spear, pierced him with his spear, hitting his collarbone.
  • 580Antilochus struck down Mydon, his attendant and charioteer,
  • 581Atymnius' fine son, as he wheeled his single-hoofed horses,
  • 582hitting him with a rock full on his elbow; and the reins with their
  • 583white ivory decoration fell from his hands and dropped into the dust.
  • 584Antilochus sprang at him and drove his sword into Mydon's temples,
  • 585and he fell from the well-made chariot, gasping for breath,
  • 586head-first in the dust, buried up to his head and shoulders.
  • 587For some time he stuck there—for the sand was deep—until
  • 588his horses kicked him and laid him flat on the dusty ground.
  • 589Antilochus whipped them up, and drove them back to the Achaean camp.
  • 590    But Hector noticed them across the ranks, and sprang after them
  • 591with a yell; and companies of the Trojans followed him
  • 592in all their strength. They were led by Ares and lady Enyo,
  • 593she bringing with her Confusion, reckless in war,
  • 594while Ares held a spear of prodigious size in his hands,
  • pg 83595roaming now in front of Hector and now behind him.
  • 596    When he saw him Diomedes, master of the war-cry, shuddered.
  • 597As when a man who is crossing a great plain stands
  • 598helpless before a swift-moving river that flows towards the sea,
  • 599and seeing it churned into foam runs back a little way;
  • 600so then Tydeus' son drew back, and spoke to his people:
  • 601'My friends, in the past we have been filled with amazement at
  • 602glorious Hector, as a spearman and a brave fighter, but there is
  • 603always one of the gods at his side, to save him from ruin,
  • 604as now Ares stands there next to him, in the likeness of a mortal.
  • 605Come, keep your faces towards the Trojans, and retreat
  • 606steadily, and do not rage to pit your strength in battle against gods.'
  • 607    So he spoke, and the Trojans came up very close to them.
  • 608Then Hector killed two men who were skilled in warfare,
  • 609Menesthes and Anchialus, who were both in one chariot.
  • 610When they fell huge Ajax, Telamon's son, felt pity for them;
  • 611he went forward, and standing nearby let fly with his shining spear,
  • 612and hit Amphius, the son of Selagus, who lived in Paesus,
  • 613a man of much property and rich in corn-land; but his destiny
  • 614had brought him to come to the help of Priam and his sons.
  • 615Ajax, son of Telamon, hit him on his belt, and
  • 616the far-shadowing spear lodged at the base of his belly,
  • 617and he fell with a thud. Illustrious Ajax ran up to strip him
  • 618of his armour, but the Trojans rained their spears on him,
  • 619sharp and gleaming, and he caught many of them on his shield.
  • 620Setting his heel on the dead man he pulled the bronze-tipped spear
  • 621out of him; but he could not then strip the fine armour
  • 622from Amphius' shoulders, since he was hard pressed by missiles,
  • 623and was also frightened by the proud Trojans' steadfast defence,
  • 624who confronted him bravely in numbers, grasping their spears,
  • 625and who, for all his size and strength and splendour,
  • 626forced him back from them; and he was shaken and withdrew.
  • 627    So they laboured away in the fierce crush of battle.
  • 628Then Tlepolemus, the great and valiant son of Heracles,
  • 629was roused by his harsh destiny to attack godlike Sarpedon.
  • 630When they had advanced to within close range of each other,
  • 631one a son and the other a grandson of Zeus the cloud-gatherer,
  • 632Tlepolemus was the first to speak to the other man:
  • 633'Sarpedon, counsellor of the Lycians, what compulsion
  • 634is forcing you, a man unskilled in fighting, to cower here?
  • pg 84635Men lie when they say that you are the offspring of Zeus
  • 636who wears the aegis, since you fall far short of those men
  • 637who in former generations were fathered by Zeus—
  • 638such men as they say the mighty Heracles was.
  • 639He was my steadfast-spirited, lion-hearted father, and
  • 640long ago came here in search of the mares of Laomedon,*
  • 641with no more than six ships and a smaller force of men,
  • 642but he sacked the city of Ilium and made widows of its streets.
  • 643But you have a coward's heart, and your people are dying.
  • 644I do not think that your coming here from Lycia will prove
  • 645to be a defence to the Trojans, not even if you are very strong;
  • 646no, you will pass through Hades' gates, beaten down at my hands.'
  • 647    In answer to him Sarpedon, the captain of the Lycians, said:
  • 648'Tlepolemus, Heracles did indeed destroy sacred Ilium,
  • 649but only through the folly of a man, splendid Laomedon,
  • 650who rewarded his good deeds with words of abuse and
  • 651refused him the mares, on whose account he had come so far.
  • 652As for you, I say that you will here meet death and the
  • 653black spectre at my hands; beaten down under my spear, you will
  • 654give the glory to me and your life to Hades, master of famous horses.'
  • 655    So spoke Sarpedon, and Tlepolemus lifted his ash spear,
  • 656and both the long spears flew from their hands at the same
  • 657time. Sarpedon hit the other in the middle of his neck,
  • 658and the pain-loaded point passed clean through it,
  • 659and dark night came down and covered his eyes.
  • 660But Tlepolemus hit Sarpedon on the left thigh with his
  • 661long spear, and the point sped furiously through, grazing
  • 662the bone; but as yet his father kept destruction from him.
  • 663    The glorious companions of godlike Sarpedon began
  • 664to carry him from the fighting; the long spear dragged
  • 665and weighed him down, but in their haste no one noticed
  • 666or thought to pull the ash spear from his thigh so that
  • 667he could stand, such was the trouble they had in protecting him.
  • 668    On the other side the well-greaved Achaeans began to carry
  • 669Tlepolemus from the fighting. Glorious Odysseus of the enduring
  • 670spirit saw him, and his dear heart within him was raging:
  • 671he pondered then in his heart and in his spirit
  • 672whether to pursue the son of loud-thundering Zeus further
  • 673or to take away the lives of more of the Lycians.
  • 674But it was not great-hearted Odysseus' destiny to
  • pg 85675kill the mighty son of Zeus with the sharp bronze, and so
  • 676Athena turned his thoughts towards the mass of Lycians.
  • 677He killed Coeranus and Alastor and Chromius,
  • 678Alcandrus and Halius and Noëmon and Prytanis; and then
  • 679glorious Odysseus would have slain yet more Lycians,
  • 680had not great Hector of the glittering helmet been quick to notice.
  • 681He strode through the front-fighters, helmeted in gleaming bronze,
  • 682bringing terror to the Danaans; and at his coming Sarpedon,
  • 683the son of Zeus, was glad, and addressed him plaintively:
  • 684'Son of Priam, do not let me lie here, to become the prey
  • 685of the Danaans, but help me; and after this may my life leave me
  • 686in your city of Troy, since it seems I was not after all
  • 687destined to return to my home in my dear native land,
  • 688to bring gladness to my dear wife and my infant son.'
  • 689    So he spoke, but Hector of the glittering helmet did not reply,
  • 690and rushed past him, impatient to thrust back the Argives
  • 691as quickly as possible, and to take away the lives of many.
  • 692Then his glorious companions made godlike Sarpedon
  • 693sit beneath a handsome oak, sacred to Zeus who wears the aegis;
  • 694and the ash spear was wrenched out of his thigh
  • 695by mighty Pelagon, who was his dear companion.
  • 696His life's breath left him, and a mist spread over his eyes,
  • 697but then he recovered, and a gust of the North Wind
  • 698blew on him and revived his feebly breathing spirit.
  • 699    Now the Argives, faced by Ares and bronze-helmeted Hector,
  • 700at no time turned in flight towards the black ships
  • 701nor made a counter-attack, but retreated steadily to the
  • 702rear when they realized that Ares was helping the Trojans.
  • 703    Who was the first, and who the last to be slaughtered
  • 704by Hector, son of Priam, and by brazen Ares?
  • 705Teuthras first, and then Orestes, whipper of horses,
  • 706Trechus the spearman from Aetolia, and Oenomaus,
  • 707Helenus, son of Oenops, and Oresbius with his glittering loin-plate,
  • 708who lived in Hyle, carefully husbanding his wealth,
  • 709on the shore of the Cephisian lake; and near him
  • 710lived other Boeotians, possessors of a richly fertile land.
  • 711    When the goddess white-armed Hera saw the Argives
  • 712being slaughtered in the fierce crush of battle,
  • 713she straightaway addressed Athena in winged words:
  • 714'Daughter of Zeus the aegis-wearer, Atrytone, this will not do!
  • pg 86715Worthless indeed was the undertaking we gave to Menelaus—
  • 716that he would sack strongly walled Ilium before returning home—
  • 717if we allow murderous Ares to rage in this way.
  • 718Come now, let us two also call up our surging courage.'
  • 719    So she spoke, and the goddess grey-eyed Athena did not disobey her.
  • 720Hera set about harnessing her horses with golden headbands,
  • 721Hera, elder goddess, daughter of great Cronus,
  • 722and Hebe quickly fitted the curved wheels to the chariot.
  • 723These are bronze, with eight spokes, on the ends of the iron axle;
  • 724their rims are made of gold, imperishable, and on them
  • 725are fitted tyres of bronze, a wonder to look on, and
  • 726the hubs are made of silver, revolving on both sides.
  • 727The car is woven of tightly plaited gold and silver straps,
  • 728and there are double rails running right round it;
  • 729from it extends a silver pole, and on to its end Hera
  • 730lashed a fine golden yoke, and to this she fastened
  • 731the golden yoke-straps. Then she led her swift-footed horses
  • 732under the yoke, impatient for strife and the battle-cry.
  • 733    And Athena, the daughter of Zeus who wears the aegis,
  • 734let fall on to her father's threshold the soft embroidered
  • 735robe which she herself had laboured over with her own hands,
  • 736and put on the tunic of Zeus who gathers the clouds,
  • 737and clothed herself in armour for war, the bringer of tears.
  • 738Around her shoulders she threw the tasselled aegis,
  • 739a terrifying sight, around which is set in a circle Panic,
  • 740and with it Strife and Courage, and with it chilling Rout,
  • 741and with it the head of the hideous monster Gorgon,
  • 742terrifying and grim, a portent of Zeus who wears the aegis.
  • 743On her head she placed a twin-crested helmet with four plates,
  • 744golden, decorated with foot-soldiers from a hundred cities.
  • 745She stepped on to the brightly blazing chariot, and gripped the spear,
  • 746heavy, thick, and massive, with which she beats down ranks of men,
  • 747of heroes with whom she, child of a mighty father, is enraged.
  • 748Then Hera quickly lashed the horses with her whip, and
  • 749of their own accord the gates of the high sky groaned open, gates held
  • Editor’s Note750by the Seasons,* who have charge of the great sky and Olympus,
  • 751either to push aside the dense cloud or to close it up together.
  • 752Through these gates they steered the horses, driven on by the whip,
  • 753and they found the son of Cronus sitting apart from the
  • 754other gods on the topmost peak of many-ridged Olympus.
  • pg 87755There the goddess white-armed Hera reined in the horses
  • 756and put a question to Zeus, the supreme son of Cronus, saying:
  • 757'Father Zeus, are you not angry with Ares for these cruel deeds,
  • 758the great numbers of fine Achaean people he has killed,
  • 759pointlessly and recklessly—a cause of grief to me, while Cypris
  • 760and Apollo of the silver bow take their ease, delighted to have
  • 761unleashed this madman, who has no notion of divine order?'
  • 762Father Zeus, will you be at all angry with me if I give Ares
  • 763a painful thrashing and drive him from the battlefield?'
  • 764    Then in answer Zeus who gathers the clouds addressed her:
  • 765'I will not; stir up Athena who gathers the spoils against him,
  • 766for she is the one most used to dealing out harsh pain to him.'
  • 767    So he spoke, and the goddess white-armed Hera did not disobey him,
  • 768and whipped the horses; and they flew willingly onward
  • 769between the earth and the high sky, set with stars.
  • 770As far as a man can see with his eyes into the misty distance
  • 771as he sits on a lookout, gazing out over the wine-faced sea,
  • 772so far is the leap of the loud-whinnying horses of the gods.
  • 773When they came to Troy and the streams of the two rivers,
  • 774to the place where Simoeis and Scamander unite their waters,*
  • 775there the goddess white-armed Hera reined in the horses and
  • 776freed them from the chariot, and poured a thick mist around them;
  • 777and Simoeis thrust up ambrosia for them to graze on.
  • 778    But the two goddesses set out, stepping like wild pigeons,
  • 779full of rage to come to the help of the Argives.
  • 780When they came to where the most numerous and the best men
  • 781were standing, crowding around the mighty horse-breaker
  • 782Diomedes, in the likeness of flesh-devouring lions
  • 783or wild boars whose strength is in no way feeble, there
  • 784the goddess white-armed Hera stopped and cried aloud,
  • 785taking the appearance of great-hearted Stentor the brazen-voiced,
  • 786whose shout was as loud as that of fifty other men:
  • 787'Shame, Argives, you things of disgrace, admired only for your
  • 788handsome looks! As long as glorious Achilles came into the battle
  • 789the Trojans never marched out in front of the Dardanian
  • 790gates,* because they were in terror of his massive spear.
  • 791But now they are fighting far from their city, by our hollow ships.'
  • 792    So speaking she quickened the fury and spirit in each man.
  • 793Then the goddess grey-eyed Athena made quickly for the son
  • 794of Tydeus, and she found the lord beside his horses and chariot,
  • pg 88795cooling the wound which Pandarus had dealt him with his arrow,
  • 796for sweat was causing the broad strap of his round shield
  • 797to chafe it. It was troubling him, and his hand was growing
  • 798weary as he held up the strap and wiped away the dark blood.
  • 799The goddess laid her hand on the horses' yoke and spoke to him:
  • 800'Truly Tydeus fathered a son who bears him little resemblance:
  • 801Tydeus was short in stature, but he was a fighter!
  • 802Even at the time when I would not allow him to fight or
  • 803push himself forward—when alone of the Achaeans he came
  • 804as an envoy to Thebes,* alone among a crowd of Cadmeians,
  • 805and I told him to restrain himself as he feasted in their halls—
  • 806even then, with the same audacious spirit as in former times
  • 807he challenged the young Cadmeians and beat them in every event,
  • 808easily; that was the kind of supporter I was to him.
  • 809And now here I stand beside you and keep you from harm,
  • 810and with all my heart urge you to do battle with the Trojans;
  • 811but either weariness from your many assaults has sunk into your limbs,
  • 812or perhaps it is heart-sapping fear that has gripped you. If so,
  • 813you are no offspring of Tydeus, the son of war-minded Oeneus.'
  • 814    Then in answer mighty Diomedes addressed her:
  • 815'I know you, goddess, daughter of Zeus who wears the aegis;
  • 816so I shall speak openly and hide nothing from you.
  • 817It is not heart-sapping fear that grips me, nor irresolution;
  • 818I am still holding in my mind the commands that you gave me:
  • 819you would not allow me to fight the blessed gods face to face,
  • 820except only that if Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, should enter
  • 821the battle I was allowed to wound her with the sharp bronze.
  • 822For that reason I am now falling back, and I have ordered
  • 823all the rest of the Argives to gather around me here;
  • 824I can see that it is Ares who is lording it on the battlefield.'
  • 825    Then in answer the goddess grey-eyed Athena addressed him:
  • 826'Diomedes, son of Tydeus, delight of my heart,
  • 827you should not on this account be afraid of Ares or any other
  • 828of the immortals; that is the kind of support I give to you.
  • 829So come now, direct your single-hoofed horses first against Ares,
  • 830go close and strike him; do not be in awe of impetuous Ares,
  • 831this crazed god, this shape formed of evil, this two-faced scoundrel,
  • 832who not long ago spoke with Hera and me and undertook
  • 833to fight against the Trojans and bring aid to the Argives, but
  • 834now stands alongside the Trojans, and has forgotten his promise.'
  • pg 89835    So speaking she pulled Sthenelus back with her hand and shoved
  • 836him from the chariot towards the ground, and he quickly leapt down.
  • 837She mounted the chariot and stood beside glorious Diomedes,
  • 838a raging goddess; and the oaken axle groaned aloud at its
  • 839load, for it carried a fearsome goddess and the best of men.
  • 840Pallas Athena laid hold of the whip and reins, and
  • 841at once directed the single-hoofed horses straight at Ares,
  • 842who was stripping the armour from huge Periphas,
  • 843Ochesius' illustrious son, by far the best man of the Aetolians.
  • 844Bloodstained Ares was busy stripping him, but Athena put on
  • 845the helmet of Hades, so that the towering god should not see her.
  • 846    When Ares, doom of mortals, saw glorious Diomedes,
  • 847he left monstrous Periphas to lie there, in the place
  • 848where he had killed him and robbed him of his life,
  • 849and made straight for Diomedes, breaker of horses.
  • 850When they had advanced to within close range of each other,
  • 851Ares first lunged over the yoke and the horses' reins
  • 852with his bronze-tipped spear, raging to take the life from him;
  • 853but the goddess grey-eyed Athena caught it with her hand
  • 854and forced it up and out of the chariot, so that it flew aimlessly by.
  • 855Then Diomedes, master of the war-cry, lunged in his turn
  • 856with his bronze-tipped spear, and Pallas Athena drove it
  • 857at the base of Ares' belly, where his loin-plate was belted;
  • 858here Diomedes hit and wounded him, biting through his fine flesh,
  • 859and pulled the spear out again; brazen Ares bellowed,
  • 860as loud as the yells of nine- or ten-thousand men grappling
  • 861with each other on a battlefield in the war-god's strife.
  • 862At this, fear and trembling seized both Achaeans and Trojans,
  • 863so loud was the bellowing of Ares, insatiable in war.
  • 864    Like a dark mass of air that appears out of the clouds
  • 865when a violent wind springs up after burning heat,
  • 866so brazen Ares appeared before Tydeus' son Diomedes,
  • 867rising with the clouds right up to the wide high sky.
  • 868Quickly he came to the seat of the gods, steep Olympus,
  • 869and took his seat next to Zeus, Cronus' son, grieving in his heart,
  • 870and showed him the immortal blood flowing from the wound;
  • 871full of complaint he addressed Zeus with winged words:
  • 872'Father Zeus, are you not angry when you see cruel deeds like this?
  • 873We gods always have to endure the most appalling sufferings
  • pg 90874through each other's scheming when we do favours to men.
  • 875We are all at war with you, because you fathered this witless girl,
  • 876this cursed goddess, whose mind is always set on deeds of malice.
  • 877All of the other gods who live on Olympus obey
  • 878your will, and we are each of us subject to you; but her
  • 879you do not reproach in word or deed, but let her run free,
  • 880just because you yourself are the father of this murderous child.
  • 881Now she has let loose Tydeus' son, arrogant Diomedes,
  • 882in crazed assault against the immortal gods.
  • 883First he closed with Cypris and wounded her on the wrist,
  • 884then hurled himself at me, Ares himself, like some divine being.
  • 885But my swift feet carried me away, or I would now be suffering
  • 886long-lasting anguish there among the ghastly piles of dead,
  • 887or would live on enfeebled by the blows of his bronze.'
  • 888    Zeus who gathers the clouds looked at him darkly and said:
  • 889'You two-faced scoundrel, do not sit here and whine to me!
  • 890Of all the gods who live on Olympus you are the most hateful to me:
  • 891strife and war and fighting are always dear to your heart.
  • 892Your mother's spirit too is ungovernable, one that does not yield—
  • 893Hera, whom I find it hard to control with my words;
  • 894so I think it is at her prompting that you are suffering like this.
  • 895Even so, I shall not allow you to be in pain any longer,
  • 896for you are my offspring, and your mother bore you to me;
  • 897but if any other god had fathered you, to cause such carnage,
  • 898you would long ago have been lower than the offspring of Uranus.'
  • 899    So he spoke, and summoned Paeëon to cure him,
  • 900and Paeëon spread pain-killing ointments over his wound
  • 901and healed it; for Ares was not made to suffer death.
  • 902As when fig-juice thickens white milk when it is
  • 903liquid but very quickly becomes clotted when a man
  • 904stirs it,* so swiftly did Paeëon heal impetuous Ares.
  • 905Then Hebe bathed him, and dressed him in fine clothes, and
  • 906he took his seat beside Cronus' son Zeus, exulting in his glory.
  • 907    Then the two goddesses returned to the house of great Zeus,
  • 908Argive Hera and Athena of Alalcomenae, when they had
  • 909halted the man-slaying exploits of Ares, doom of mortals.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
Encouraged by Athena, Diomedes begins his onslaught, and immediately dominates the battlefield like a river in flood (1–94). Although Pandarus wounds him with an arrow, Athena grants him extraordinary strength, and his onslaught continues (95–165). Aeneas seeks out Pandarus, and together they plan how to stop Diomedes (166–239). As the two approach him, Diomedes steps forward to meet them (240–73). In the confrontation that follows Pandarus dies, and Diomedes smashes Aeneas' hip with a stone; Aphrodite intervenes to rescue her son Aeneas, and Diomedes wounds her too (274–362). Ares takes Aphrodite back to Olympus, and her mother Dione consoles her; Athena and Hera, by contrast, make fun of her with Zeus, and he finally tells Aphrodite to concern herself with love, not war (363–430). Diomedes tries to attack Apollo, who tells him to step back; the god then fashions an image of Aeneas, over which the two sides fight while he rescues the actual hero; Apollo finally tells Ares to put an end to Diomedes' rampage; and Aeneas, now healed, returns to the battlefield (431–518). The Trojans slowly gain ground, until Athena and Hera determine to stop Ares: they enter the battlefield with Zeus' permission, and Athena leaps on to Diomedes' chariot, making it creak under her weight (519–845). At the instigation of the goddess Diomedes wounds Ares, who screams as loud as nine- or ten-thousand men and withdraws to Olympus; Zeus expresses his contempt for Ares, and yet ensures that he is healed; Hera and Athena return to Olympus, having accomplished their mission (846–909).
Editor’s Note
5 the star: Sirius, see note to 22.27–31.
Editor’s Note
84–6 As for the son of Tydeus … with the Achaeans: the front ranks are intertwined and Diomedes cuts his own course.
Editor’s Note
105 the lord son of Zeus: Apollo.
Editor’s Note
222 the horses of Tros: when Zeus abducted the beautiful boy Ganymedes he gave some divine horses to King Tros, the boy's father, by way of compensation, see below on 5.268–70.
Editor’s Note
268–9 Anchises… Laomedon's knowledge: the divine breed of horses was handed down from king to king: Tros, Laomedon, and finally Priam. Anchises belongs to a different branch of the family (see note to 20.215–41) and thus has no right to the horses, which are evidently a royal prerogative. This is one of several passages where the line of Anchises and Aeneas is subordinated to that of Priam and Hector, see especially 13.460–1 and 20.179–83.
Editor’s Note
330 Cypris: Aphrodite.
Editor’s Note
333 Enyo: goddess of war, cf. Ares' epithet Enyalius.
Editor’s Note
373 Uranian: descendants of Uranus, Zeus' grandfather.
Editor’s Note
385–91 when Otus … wearing him down: there is no other reference to this episode, though another myth about the two brothers is mentioned at Odyssey 11.305–20. There we learn that their father was Poseidon, that they were giants (9 fathoms tall at age nine), and that they challenged the Olympians.
Editor’s Note
392 the mighty son of Amphitryon: Heracles.
Editor’s Note
395 Monstrous Hades suffered too with the rest: Heracles' wounding of Hades at Pylos is attested only here, and provoked much debate in antiquity.
Editor’s Note
401 Paeëon: a god of healing mentioned only here and at Odyssey 4.232, and later identified with Apollo.
Editor’s Note
408 such a man has no homecoming … conflict: in fact Diomedes did return, though some late sources claim that he was not welcomed home and immediately left for Italy, because by then his wife had settled with another man. This myth seems to spell out the consequences of offending Aphrodite, as Diomedes does in the Iliad.
Editor’s Note
446 in the holy shrine on Pergamus … stood: i.e. in Troy, cf. note to 4.508.
Editor’s Note
447 Leto and Artemis: Apollo's mother and his twin sister are not normally associated with healing, but on this occasion seem to act on Apollo's behalf.
Editor’s Note
500 Demeter: one of the very few references to this goddess in the Iliad.
Editor’s Note
543 Pherae: one of the seven Messenian cities promised by Agamemnon to Achilles at 9.151, probably on the site of modern Kalamata.
Editor’s Note
640 the mares of Laomedon: see note to 5.268–70. Heracles saved Laomedon's daughter from a sea-monster and was promised some of these semi-divine horses in return. When Laomedon cheated him of them, he proceeded to sack Troy.
Editor’s Note
750 the Seasons: see note to 8.394.
Editor’s Note
773–4 When they came … unite their waters: the battlefield consists of a triangle formed by the two rivers and the walls of Troy; the Simoeis and the Scamander unite before reaching the sea. The actual geography of the area does not fit Homer's description, and may never have done: ancient geographers also struggled to reconcile this and other passages in the Iliad with the landscape of the Troad.
Editor’s Note
789–90 Dardanian | gates: the ancient scholar Aristarchus thought this was a different name for the Scaean gates, but it is possible that it refers to another entrance to the city.
Editor’s Note
804 as an envoy to Thebes: cf. 4.380–4.
Editor’s Note
902–4 As when fig-juice thickens white milk … stirs it: fig-juice was used for curdling milk. This is a good image for the coagulation of human blood, though here it describes the swiftness of Ares' divine recovery.
logo-footer Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.