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fear. Then the twain came up with him, panting, and gripped his hands,
and weeping he spake: "Take me alive, and I will ransom myself, for
within our house there is bronze, and gold, and smithied iron, wherefrom
my father would do you grace with ransom untold, if he should learn that
I am alive among the ships of the Achaians."

Then Odysseus of the many counsels answered him and said: "Take courage,
let not death be in thy mind, but come speak and tell me truly all the
tale, why thus from the host lost thou come all alone among the ships,
through the black night, when other mortals are sleeping? Comest thou to
strip certain of the dead men fallen, or did Hector send thee forth to
spy out everything at the hollow ships, or did thine own spirit urge
thee on?"

Then Dolon answered him, his limbs trembling beneath him: "With many a
blind hope did Hector lead my wits astray, who vowed to give me the
whole-hooved horses of the proud son of Peleus, and his car bedight with
bronze: and he bade me fare through the swift black night, and draw nigh
the foemen, and seek out whether the swift ships are guarded, as of old,
or whether, already, being subdued beneath our hands, they are devising
of flight among themselves, and have no care to watch through the night,
being fordone with dread weariness."

And smiling thereat did Odysseus of the many counsels make him answer:
"Verily now thy soul was set on great rewards, even the horses of the
wise son of Aiakos, but hard are they for mortal men to master, and hard
to drive, for any but Achilles only, whom a deathless mother bare. But
come, tell me all this truly, all the tale: where when thou camest
hither didst thou leave Hector, shepherd of the host, and where lie his
warlike gear, and where his horses? And how are disposed the watches,
and the beds of the other Trojans? And what counsel take they among
themselves; are they fain to abide there nigh the ships afar from the
city, or will they return to the city again, seeing that they have
subdued unto them the Achaiana?"

Then Dolon son of Eumedes made him answer again: "Lo, now all these
things will I recount to thee most truly. Hector with them that are
counsellors holdeth council by the barrow of godlike Ilos, apart from
the din, but as for the guards whereof thou askest, oh hero, no chosen
watch nor guard keepeth the host. As for all the watch fires of the
Trojans - on them is necessity, so that they watch and encourage each
other to keep guard; but, for the allies called from many lands, they
are sleeping and to the Trojans they leave it to keep watch, for no wise
near dwell the children and wives of the allies." Then Odysseus of the
many counsels answered him and said: "How stands it now, do they sleep
amidst the horse-taming Trojans, or apart? tell me clearly, that I may

Then answered him Dolon son of Eumedes: "Verily all this likewise will I
recount to thee truly. Towards the sea lie the Karians, and Paionians of
the bended bow, and the Leleges and Kaukones, and noble Pelasgoi. And
towards Thymbre the Lykians have their place, and the haughty Mysians,
and the Phrygians that fight from chariots, and Maionians lords of
chariots. But wherefore do ye inquire of me throughly concerning all
these things? for if ye desire to steal into the throng of Trojans, lo,
there be those Thracians, new comers, at the furthest point apart from
the rest, and among them their king Rhesos, son of Eioneus. His be the
fairest horses that ever I beheld, and the greatest, whiter than snow,
and for speed like the winds. And his chariot is fashioned well with
gold and silver, and golden is his armour that he brought with him,
marvellous, a wonder to behold; such as it is in no wise fit for mortal
men to bear, but for the deathless gods. But bring me now to the swift
ships, or leave me here, when ye have bound me with a ruthless bond,
that ye may go and make trial of me whether I have spoken to you truth,
or lies."

Then strong Diomedes, looking grimly on him, said: "Put no thought of
escape, Dolon, in thy heart, for all the good tidings thou hast brought,
since once thou halt come into our hands. For if now we release thee or
let thee go, on some later day wilt thou come to the swift ships of the
Achaians, either to play the spy, or to fight in open war, but if
subdued beneath my hands thou lose thy life, never again wilt thou prove
a bane to the Argives."

He spake, and that other with strong hand was about to touch his chin,
and implore his mercy, but Diomedes smote him on the midst of the neck,
rushing on him with the sword, and cut through both the sinews, and the
head of him still speaking was mingled with the dust. And they stripped
him of the casque of ferret's skin from off his head, and of his
wolf-skin, and his bended bow, and his long spear, and these to Athene
the Giver of Spoil did noble Odysseus hold aloft in his hand, and he
prayed and spake a word: "Rejoice, O goddess, in these, for to thee
first of all the immortals in Olympus will we call for aid; nay, but yet
again send us on against the horses and the sleeping places of the
Thracian men."

So spake he aloud, and lifted from him the spoils on high, and set them
on a tamarisk bush, and raised thereon a mark right plain to see,
gathering together reeds, and luxuriant shoots of tamarisk, lest they
should miss the place as they returned again through the swift dark

So the twain went forward through the arms, and the black blood, and
quickly they came to the company of Thracian men. Now they were
slumbering, fordone with toil, but their goodly weapons lay by them on
the ground, all orderly, in three rows, and by each man his pair of
steeds. And Rhesos slept in the midst, and beside him his swift horses
were bound with thongs to the topmost rim of the chariot. Him Odysseus
spied from afar, and showed him unto Diomedes: "Lo, Diomedes, this is
the man, and these are the horses whereof Dolon that we slew did give us
tidings. But come now, put forth thy great strength; it doth not behove
thee to stand idle with thy weapons: nay, loose the horses; or do thou
slay the men, and of the horses will I take heed."

So spake he, and into that other bright-eyed Athene breathed might, and
he began slaying on this side and on that, and hideously went up their
groaning, as they were smitten with the sword, and the earth was
reddened with blood. And like as a lion cometh on flocks without a
herdsman, on goats or sheep, and leaps upon them with evil will, so set
the son of Tydeus on the men of Thrace, till he had slain twelve. But
whomsoever the son of Tydeus drew near and smote with the sword, him did
Odysseus of the many counsels seize by the foot from behind, and drag
him out of the way, with this design in his heart, that the fair-maned
horses might lightly issue forth, and not tremble in spirit, when they
trod over the dead; for they were not yet used to dead men. But when the
son of Tydeus came upon the king, he was the thirteenth from whom he
took sweet life away, as he was breathing hard, for an evil dream stood
above his head that night through the device of Athens. Meanwhile the
hardy Odysseus loosed the whole-hooved horses, and bound them together
with thongs, and drave them out of the press, smiting them with his bow,
since he had not taken thought to lift the shining whip with his hands
from the chariot; then he whistled for a sign to noble Diomedes.

But Diomedes stood and pondered what most daring deed he might do,
whether he should take the chariot, where lay the armour, and drag it
out by the pole, or lift it upon high, and so bear it forth, or whether
he should take the life away from yet more of the Thracians. And while
he was pondering this in his heart, then Athene drew near, and stood,
and spake to noble Diomedes: "Bethink thee of returning, O son of
great-hearted Tydeus, to the hollow ships, lest perchance thou come
thither in flight, and perchance another god rouse up the Trojans

So spake she, and he observed the voice of the utterance of the goddess,
and swiftly he sprang upon the steeds, and Odysseus smote them with his
bow, and they sped to the swift ships of the Achaians.

Nay, nor a vain watch kept Apollo of the silver bow, when he beheld
Athene caring for the son of Tydeus; in wrath against her he stole among
the crowded press of Trojans, and aroused a counsellor of the Thracians,
Hippokoon, the noble kinsman of Rhesos. And he started out of sleep,
when he beheld the place desolate where the swift horses had stood, and
beheld the men gasping in the death struggle; then he groaned aloud, and
called out by name to his comrade dear. And a clamour arose and din
unspeakable of the Trojans hasting together, and they marvelled at the
terrible deeds, even all that the heroes had wrought, and had gone
thereafter to the hollow ships.

But when those others came to the place where they had slain the spy of
Hector, there Odysseus, dear to Zeus, checked the swift horses, and
Tydeus' son, leaping to the ground, set the bloody spoil in the hands of
Odysseus, and again mounted, and lashed the horses, and they sped onward
nothing loth. But Nestor first heard the sound, and said: "O friends,
leaders and counsellors of the Argives, shall I be wrong or speak sooth?
for my heart bids me speak. The sound of swift-footed horses strikes
upon mine ears. Would to god that Odysseus and that strong Diomedes may
even instantly be driving the whole-hooved horses from among the
Trojans; but terribly I fear in mine heart lest the bravest of the
Argives suffer aught through the Trojans' battle din."

Not yet was his whole word spoken, when they came themselves, and leaped
down to earth, but gladly the others welcomed them with hand-clasping,
and with honeyed words. And first did knightly Nestor of Gerenia make
question: "Come, tell me now, renowned Odysseus, great glory of the
Achaians, how ye twain took those horses? Was it by stealing into the
press of Trojans? Or did some god meet you, and give you them? Wondrous
like are they to rays of the sun. Ever with the Trojans do I mix in
fight, nor methinks do I tarry by the ships, old warrior as I am. But
never yet saw I such horses, nor deemed of such. Nay, methinks some god
must have encountered you and given you these. For both of you doth Zeus
the cloud-gatherer love, and the maiden of aegis-bearing Zeus,
bright-eyed Athene."

And him answered Odysseus of the many counsels: "O Nestor, son of
Neleus, great glory of the Achaians, lightly could a god, if so he
would, give even better steeds than these, for the gods are far stronger
than we. But as for these new-come horses, whereof, old man, thou askest
me, they are Thracian, but their lord did brave Diomedes slay, and
beside him all the twelve best men of his company. The thirteenth man
was a spy we took near the ships, one that Hector and the other haughty
Trojans sent forth to pry upon our camp."

So spake he, and drave the whole-hooved horses through the foss,
laughing; and the other Achaians went with him joyfully. But when they
had come to the well-built hut of the son of Tydeus, they bound the
horses with well-cut thongs, at the mangers where the swift horses of
Diomedes stood eating honey-sweet barley.

And Odysseus placed the bloody spoils of Dolon in the stern of the ship,
that they might make ready a sacred offering to Athene. But for
themselves, they went into the sea, and washed off the thick sweat from
shins, and neck, and thighs. But when the wave of the sea had washed the
thick sweat from their skin, and their hearts revived again, they went
into polished baths, and were cleansed.

And when they had washed, and anointed them with olive oil, they sat
down at supper, and from the full mixing bowl they drew off the
honey-sweet wine, and poured it forth to Athene.


Despite the glorious deeds of Agamemnon, the Trojans press
hard on the Achaians, and the beginning of evil comes on

Now Dawn arose from her couch beside proud Tithonos, to bring light to
the immortals and to mortal men. But Zeus sent forth fierce Discord unto
the fleet ships of the Achaians, and in her hands she held the signal of
war. And she stood upon the huge black ship of Odysseus, that was in the
midst, to make her voice heard on either side, both to the huts of Aias,
son of Telamon, and to the huts of Achilles, for these twain, trusting
in their valour and the might of their hands, had drawn up their trim
ships at the two ends of the line. There stood the goddess and cried
shrilly in a great voice and terrible, and mighty strength she set in
the heart of each of the Achaians, to war and fight unceasingly. And
straightway to them war grew sweeter than to depart in the hollow ships
to their dear native land.

Then each man gave in charge his horses to his charioteer, to hold them
in by the foss, well and orderly, and themselves as heavy men at arms
were hasting about, being harnessed in their gear, and unquenchable the
cry arose into the Dawn. And long before the charioteers were they
arrayed at the foss, but after them a little way came up the drivers.
And among them the son of Kronos aroused an evil din, and from above
rained down dew danked with blood out of the upper air, for that he was
about to send many strong men down to Hades.

But the Trojans on the other side, on the high ground of the plain,
gathered them around great Hector, and noble Polydamus, and Aineias that
as a god was honoured by the people of the Trojans, and the three sons
of Antenor, Polybos, and noble Agenor, and young Akamas like unto the
immortals. And Hector in the foremost rank bare the circle of his
shield. And as from amid the clouds appeareth glittering a baneful star,
and then again sinketh within the shadowy clouds, even so Hector would
now appear among the foremost ranks, and again would be giving command
in the rear, and all in bronze he shone, like the lightning of
aegis-bearing father Zeus.

And even as when reapers over against each other drive their swaths
through a rich man's field of wheat or barley, and thick fall the
handfuls, even so the Trojans and Achaians leaped upon each other,
destroying, and neither side took thought of ruinous flight; and equal
heads had the battle, and they rushed on like wolves. And woful Discord
was glad at the sight, for she alone of the gods was with them in the
war; for the other gods were not beside them, but in peace they sat
within their halls, where the goodly mansion of each was builded in the
folds of Olympus. And they all were blaming the son of Kronos, lord of
the storm-cloud, for that he willed to give glory to the Trojans. But of
them took the father no heed, but aloof from the others he sat apart,
glad in his glory, looking toward the city of the Trojans, and the ships
of the Achaians, and the glitter of bronze, and the slayers and the

So long as morning was, and the sacred day still waxed, so long did the
shafts of both hosts strike, and the folk fell, but about the hour when
a woodman maketh ready his meal, in the dells of a mountain, when he
hath tired his hands with felling tall trees, and weariness cometh on
his soul, and desire of sweet food taketh his heart, even then the
Danaans by their valour brake the battalions, and called on their
comrades through the lines. And in rushed Agamemnon first of all, where
thickest clashed the battalions, there he set on, and with him all the
well-greaved Achaians. Footmen kept slaying footmen as they were driven
in flight, and horsemen slaying horsemen with the sword, and from
beneath them rose up the dust from the plain, stirred by the thundering
hooves of horses. And the lord Agamemnon, ever slaying, followed after,
calling on the Argives. And as when ruinous fire falleth on dense
woodland, and the whirling wind beareth it everywhere, and the thickets
fall utterly before it, being smitten by the onset of the fire, even so
beneath Agamemnon son of Atreus fell the heads of the Trojans as they
fled; and many strong-necked horses rattled empty cars along the
highways of the battle, lacking their noble charioteers; but they on the
earth were lying, far more dear to the vultures than to their wives. But
Hector did Zeus draw forth from the darts and the dust, from the
man-slaying, and the blood, and the din, and the son of Atreus followed
on, crying eagerly to the Danaans. And past the tomb of ancient Ilos,
son of Dardanos, across the mid plain, past the place of the wild
fig-tree they sped, making for the city, and ever the son of Atreus
followed shouting, and his invincible hands were defiled with gore. But
when they were come to the Skaian gates, and the oak-tree, there then
they halted, and awaited each other. But some were still in full flight
through the mid plain, like kine that a lion hath scattered, coming on
them in the dead of night; all hath he scattered, but to one sheer death
appeareth instantly, and he breaketh her neck first, seizing her with
strong teeth, and thereafter swalloweth greedily the blood and all the
guts; even so lord Agamemnon son of Atreus followed hard on the Trojans,
ever slaying the hindmost man, and they were scattered in flight, and on
face or back many of them fell from their chariots beneath the hands of
Agamemnon, for mightily he raged with the spear. But when he was
nowabout coming below the city, and the steep wall, then did the father
of men and gods sit him down on the crests of many-fountained Ida, from
heaven descending, with the thunderbolt in his hands.

Then sent he forth Iris of the golden wings, to bear his word: "Up and
go, swift Iris, and tell this word unto Hector: So long as he sees
Agamemnon, shepherd of the host, raging among the foremost fighters, and
ruining the ranks of men, so long let him hold back, but bid the rest of
the host war with the foe in strong battle. But when, or smitten with
the spear or wounded with arrow shot, Agamemnon leapeth into his
chariot, then will I give Hector strength to slay till he come even to
the well-timbered ships, and the sun go down, and sacred darkness draw

So swift-footed Iris spake to Hector the words of Zeus and departed, but
Hector with his harness leaped from the chariot to the ground, and,
shaking his sharp spears went through all the host, stirring up his men
to fight, and he roused the dread din of battle. And they wheeled round,
and stood and faced the Achaians, while the Argives on the other side
strengthened their battalions. And battle was made ready, and they stood
over against each other, and Agamemnon first rushed in, being eager to
fight far in front of all.

Tell me now, ye Muses that inhabit mansions in Olympus, who was he that
first encountered Agamemnon, whether of the Trojans themselves, or of
their allies renowned? It was Iphidamas, son of Antenor, great and
mighty, who was nurtured in Thrace rich of soil, the mother of sheep; he
it was that then encountered Agamemnon son of Atreus. And when they were
come near in onset against each other, Atreus' son missed, and his spear
was turned aside, but Iphidamas smote him on the girdle, below the
corslet, and himself pressed on, trusting to his heavy hand, but pierced
not the gleaming girdle, for long ere that the point struck on the
silver, and was bent like lead. Then wide-ruling Agamemnon caught the
spear with his hand and drew it toward him furiously, like a lion, and
snatched it out of the hand of Iphidamas, and smote his neck with the
sword, and unstrung his limbs. So even there he fell, and slept a sleep
of bronze most piteously. Then did Agamemnon son of Atreus strip him,
and went bearing his goodly harness into the throng of the Achaians.

Now when Koon beheld him, Koon Antenor's eldest son, illustrious among
men, strong sorrow came on him, covering his eyes, for his brother's
fall: and he stood on one side with his spear, and unmarked of noble
Agamemnon smote him on the mid-arm, beneath the elbow, and clean through
went the point of the shining spear. Then Agamemnon king of men
shuddered, yet not even so did he cease from battle and war, but rushed
against Koon, grasping his wind-nurtured spear. Verily then Koon seized
right lustily by the foot Iphidamas, his brother, and his father's son,
and called to all the best of his men; but him, as he dragged the dead
through the press, beneath his bossy shield Agamemnon wounded with a
bronze-shod spear, and unstrung his limbs, and drew near and cut off his
head over Iphidamas. There the sons of Antenor, at the hands of
Agamemnon the king, filled up the measure of their fate, and went down
within the house of Hades.

But Agamemnon ranged among the ranks of men, with spear, and sword, and
great stones for throwing, while yet the blood welled warm from his
wound. But when the wound waxed dry, and the blood ceased to flow, then
keen pangs came on the might of the son of Atreus. Then leaped he into
his chariot, and bade his charioteer drive to the hollow ships, for he
was sore vexed at heart. And he called in a piercing voice, and shouted
to the Danaans: "O friends, leaders and counsellors of the Argives, do
ye now ward from the seafaring ships the harsh din of battle, for Zeus
the counsellor suffers me not all day to war with the Trojans."

So spake he, and his charioteer lashed the fair-maned steeds toward the
hollow ships, and they flew onward nothing loth, and their breasts were
covered with foam, and their bellies were stained with dust, as they
bore the wounded king away from the war.

But Hector, when he beheld Agamemnon departed, cried to the Trojans and
Lykians with a loud shout: "Ye Trojans and Lykians, and Dardanians that
war in close fight, be men, my friends, and be mindful of your impetuous
valour. The best man of them hath departed and to me hath Zeus, the son
of Kronos, given great renown. But straightway drive ye the whole-hooved
horses against the mighty Danaans, that ye may be the masters and bear
away the higher glory."

So spake he, and aroused the might and spirit of every man. Himself with
high thoughts he fared among the foremost, and fell upon the fight; like
a roaring blast, that leapeth down and stirreth the violet-coloured
deep. There whom first, whom last did he slay, even Hector, son of
Priam, when Zeus vouchsafed him renown?

Asaios first, and Autonoos, and Opites, and Dolops, son of Klytios, and
Opheltios, and Agelaos, and Aisymnos, and Oros, and Hipponoos steadfast
in the fight; these leaders of the Danaans he slew, and thereafter smote
the multitude, even as when the West Wind driveth the clouds of the
white South Wind, smiting with deep storm, and the wave swelleth huge,
rolling onward, and the spray is scattered on high beneath the rush of
the wandering wind; even so many heads of the host were smitten by

There had ruin begun, and deeds remedeless been wrought, and now would
all the Achaians have fled and fallen among the ships, if Odysseus had
not called to Diomedes, son of Tydeus: "Tydeus' son, what ails us that
we forget our impetuous valour? Nay, come hither, friend, and take thy
stand by me, for verily it will be shame if Hector of the glancing helm
take the ships."

And to him strong Diomedes spake in answer: "Verily will I abide and
endure, but short will be all our profit, for Zeus, the cloud-gatherer,
clearly desireth to give victory to the Trojans rather than to us."

He spake, and drave Thymbraios from his chariot to the ground, smiting
him with the spear in the left breast, and Odysseus smote Molion the
godlike squire of that prince. These then they let be, when they had
made them cease from war, and then the twain fared through the crowd
with a din, as when two boars full of valour fall on the hunting hounds;
so rushed they on again, and slew the Trojans, while gladly the Achaians
took breath again in their flight from noble Hector.

But Hector quickly spied them among the ranks, and rushed upon them
shouting, and with him followed the battalions of the Trojans. And
beholding him, Diomedes of the loud war-cry shuddered, and straightway
spake to Odysseus that was hard by: "Lo, on us this ruin, even mighty
Hector, is rolling: let us stand, and await him, and ward off his

So spake he, and swayed and sent forth his far-shadowing spear, and
smote him nor missed, for he aimed at the head, on the summit of the
crest, and bronze by bronze was turned, nor reached his fair flesh, for
it was stopped by the threefold helm with its socket, that Phoebus
Apollo to Hector gave. But Hector sprang back a wondrous way, and
mingled with the throng, and he rested, fallen on his knee, and leaned

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