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and stout, wherewith she vanquisheth the ranks of men, even of heroes
with whom she of the awful sire is wroth. Then Hera swiftly smote the
horses with the lash; self-moving groaned upon their hinges the gates of
heaven whereof the Hours are warders, to whom is committed great heaven
and Olympus, whether to throw open the thick cloud or set it to. There
through the gates guided they their horses patient of the lash. And they
found the son of Kronos sitting apart from all the gods on the topmost
peak of many-ridged Olympus. Then the white-armed goddess Hera stayed
her horses and questioned the most high Zeus, the son of Kronos, and
said: "Father Zeus, hast thou no indignation with Ares for these violent
deeds? How great and goodly a company of Achaians hath he destroyed
recklessly and in unruly wise, unto my sorrow. But here in peace Kypris
and Apollo of the silver bow take their pleasure, having set on this mad
one that knoweth not any law. Father Zeus, wilt thou at all be wroth
with me if I smite Ares and chase him from the battle in sorry plight?"

And Zeus the cloud-gatherer answered and said to her: "Go to now, set
upon him Athene driver of the spoil, who most is wont to bring sore pain
upon him."

So spake he, and the white-armed goddess Hera disregarded not, and
lashed her horses; they nothing loth flew on between earth and starry
heaven. As far as a man seeth with his eyes into the haze of distance as
he sitteth on a place of outlook and gazeth over the wine-dark sea, so
far leap the loudly neighing horses of the gods. Now when they came to
Troy and the two flowing rivers, even to where Simoeis and Skamandros
join their streams, there the white-armed goddess Hera stayed her horses
and loosed them from the car and poured thick mist round about them, and
Simoeis made ambrosia spring up for them to graze. So the goddesses went
their way with step like unto turtle-doves, being fain to bring succour
to the men of Argos. And when they were now come where the most and most
valiant stood, thronging about mighty Diomedes tamer of horses, in the
semblance of ravening lions or wild boars whose strength is nowise
feeble, then stood the white-armed goddess Hera and shouted in the
likeness of great-hearted Stentor with voice of bronze, whose cry was
loud as the cry of fifty other men: "Fie upon you, Argives, base things
of shame, so brave in semblance! While yet noble Achilles entered
continually into battle, then issued not the Trojans even from the
Dardanian gate; for they had dread of his terrible spear. But now fight
they far from the city at the hollow ships."

So saying she aroused the spirit and soul of every man. And to Tydeides'
side sprang the bright-eyed goddess Athene. That lord she found beside
his horses and chariot, cooling the wound that Pandaros with his dart
had pierced, for his sweat vexed it by reason of the broad baldrick of
his round shield; therewith was he vexed and his arm grew weary, so he
was lifting up the baldrick and wiping away the dusky blood. Then the
goddess laid her hand on his horses' yoke, and said: "Of a truth Tydeus
begat a son little after his own likeness. Tydeus was short of stature,
but a man of war."

And stalwart Diomedes made answer to her and said: "I know thee, goddess
daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus: therefore with my whole heart will I
tell thee my thought and hide it not. Neither hath disheartening terror
taken hold upon me, nor any faintness, but I am still mindful of thy
behest that thou didst lay upon me. Thou forbadest me to fight face to
face with all the blessed gods, save only if Zeus' daughter Aphrodite
should enter into battle, then to wound her with the keen bronze.
Therefore do I now give ground myself and have bidden all the Argives
likewise to gather here together; for I discern Ares lording it in the

Then the bright-eyed goddess Athene answered him: "Diomedes son of
Tydeus, thou joy of mine heart, fear thou, for that, neither Ares nor
any other of the immortals; so great a helper am I to thee. Go to now,
at Ares first guide thou thy whole-hooved horses, and smite him hand to
hand, nor have any awe of impetuous Ares, raving here, a curse incarnate,
the renegade that of late in converse with me and Hera pledged him
to fight against the Trojans and give succour to the Argives, but now
consorteth with the Trojans and hath forgotten these."

So speaking, with her hand she drew back Sthenelos and thrust him from
the chariot to earth, and instantly leapt he down; so the goddess
mounted the car by noble Diomedes' side right eagerly. The oaken axle
creaked loud with its burden, bearing the dread goddess and the man of
might. Then Athene grasped the whip and reins; forthwith against Ares
first guided she the whole-hooved horses. Now he was stripping huge
Periphas, most valiant far of the Aitolians, Ochesios' glorious son. Him
was blood-stained Ares stripping; and Athene donned the helm of Hades,
that terrible Ares might not behold her. Now when Ares scourge of
mortals beheld noble Diomedes, he left huge Periphas lying there, where
at the first he had slain him and taken away his life, and made straight
at Diomedes tamer of horses. Now when they were come nigh in onset on
one another, first Ares thrust over the yoke and horse's reins with
spear of bronze, eager to take away his life. But the bright-eyed
goddess Athene with her hand seized the spear and thrust it up over the
car, to spend itself in vain. Next Diomedes of the loud war-cry attacked
with spear of bronze; and Athene drave it home against Ares' nethermost
belly, where his taslets were girt about him. There smote he him and
wounded him, rending through his fair skin, and plucked forth the spear
again. Then brazen Ares bellowed loud as nine thousand warriors or ten
thousand cry in battle as they join in strife and fray. Thereat
trembling gat hold of Achaians and Trojans for fear, so mightily
bellowed Ares insatiate of battle.

Even as gloomy mist appeareth from the clouds when after beat a stormy
wind ariseth, even so to Tydeus' son Diomedes brazen Ares appeared amid
clouds, faring to wide heaven. Swiftly came he to the gods' dwelling,
steep Olympus, and sat beside Zeus son of Kronos with grief at heart,
and shewed the immortal blood flowing from the wound, and piteously
spake to him winged words: "Father Zeus, hast thou no indignation to
behold these violent deeds? For ever cruelly suffer we gods by one
another's devices, in shewing men grace. With thee are we all at
variance, because thou didst beget that reckless maiden and baleful,
whose thought is ever of iniquitous deeds. For all the other gods that
are in Olympus hearken to thee, and we are subject every one; only her
thou chastenest not, neither in deed nor word, but settest her on,
because this pestilent one is thine own offspring. Now hath she urged on
Tydeus' son, even overweening Diomedes, to rage furiously against the
immortal gods. Kypris first he wounded in close fight, in the wrist of
her hand, and then assailed he me, even me, with the might of a god.
Howbeit my swift feet bare me away; else had I long endured anguish
there amid the grisly heaps of dead, or else had lived strengthless from
the smitings of the spear."

Then Zeus the cloud-gatherer looked sternly at him and said: "Nay, thou
renegade, sit not by me and whine. Most hateful to me art thou of all
gods that dwell in Olympus: thou ever lovest strife and wars and
battles. Truly thy mother's spirit is intolerable, unyielding, even
Hera's; her can I scarce rule with words. Therefore I deem that by her
prompting thou art in this plight. Yet will I no longer endure to see
thee in anguish; mine offspring art thou, and to me thy mother bare

So spake he and bade Paieon heal him. And Paieon laid assuaging drugs
upon the wound. Even as fig juice maketh haste to thicken white milk,
that is liquid but curdleth speedily as a man stirreth, even so swiftly
healed he impetuous Ares. And Hebe bathed him, and clothed him in
gracious raiment, and he sate him down by Zeus son of Kronos, glorying
in his might.

Then fared the twain back to the mansion of great Zeus, even Hera and
Athene, having stayed Ares scourge of mortals from his man-slaying.


How Diomedes and Glaukos, being about to fight, were known
to each other, and parted in friendliness. And how Hector
returning to the city bade farewell to Andromache his wife.

So was the dread fray of Trojans and Achaians left to itself, and the
battle swayed oft this way and that across the plain, as they aimed
against each other their bronze-shod javelins, between Simoeis and the
streams of Xanthos.

Now had the Trojans been chased again by the Achaians, dear to Ares, up
into Ilios, in their weakness overcome, but that Prism's son Helenos,
far best of augurs, stood by Aineias' side and Hector's, and spake to
them: "Aineias and Hector, seeing that on you lieth the task of war in
chief of Trojans and Lykians, because for every issue ye are foremost
both for fight and counsel, stand ye your ground, and range the host
everywhither to rally them before the gates, ere yet they fall fleeing
in their women's arms, and be made a rejoicing to the foe. Then when ye
have aroused all our battalions we will abide here and fight the
Danaans, though in sore weariness; for necessity presseth us hard: but
thou, Hector, go into the city, and speak there to thy mother and mine;
let her gather the aged wives to bright-eyed Athene's temple in the
upper city, and with her key open the doors of the holy house; and let
her lay the robe, that seemeth to her the most gracious and greatest in
her hall and far dearest unto herself, upon the knees of
beauteous-haired Athene; and vow to her to sacrifice in her temple
twelve sleek kine, that have not felt the goad, if she will have mercy
on the city and the Trojans' wives and little children. So may she
perchance hold back Tydeus' son from holy Ilios, the furious spearman,
the mighty deviser of rout, whom in good sooth I deem to have proved
himself mightiest of the Achaians. Never in this wise feared we
Achilles, prince of men, who they say is born of a goddess; nay, but he
that we see is beyond measure furious; none can match him for might."

So spake he, and Hector disregarded not his brother's word, but leapt
forthwith from his chariot in his armour to earth, and brandishing two
sharp spears passed everywhere through the host, rousing them to battle,
and stirred the dread war-cry. So they were rallied and stood to face
the Achaians, and the Argives gave ground and ceased from slaughter, and
deemed that some immortal had descended from starry heaven to bring the
Trojans succour, in such wise rallied they. Then Hector called to the
Trojans with far-reaching shout: "O high-souled Trojans and ye far-famed
allies, quit you like men, my friends, and take thought of impetuous
courage, while I depart to Ilios and bid the elders of the council and
our wives pray to the gods and vow them hecatombs."

So saying Hector of the glancing helm departed, and the black hide beat
on either side against his ankles and his neck, even the rim that ran
uttermost about his bossed shield.

Now Glaukos son of Hippolochos and Tydeus' son met in the mid-space of
the foes, eager to do battle. Thus when the twain were come nigh in
onset on each other, to him first spake Diomedes of the loud war-cry:
"Who art thou, noble sir, of mortal men? For never have I beheld thee in
glorious battle ere this, yet now hast thou far outstripped all men in
thy hardihood, seeing thou abidest my far-shadowing spear. Luckless are
the fathers whose children face my might. But if thou art some immortal
come down from heaven, then will not I fight with heavenly gods. But if
thou art of men that eat the fruit of the field, come nigh, that anon
thou mayest enter the toils of destruction."

Then Hippolochos' glorious son made answer to him: "Great-hearted
Tydeides, why enquirest thou of my generation? Even as are the
generations of leaves such are those likewise of men; the leaves that be
the wind scattereth on the earth, and the forest buddeth and putteth
forth more again, when the season of spring is at hand; so of the
generations of men one putteth forth and another ceaseth. Yet if thou
wilt, have thine answer, that thou mayest well know our lineage, whereof
many men have knowledge. Hippolochos, son of Bellerophon, begat me, and
of him do I declare me to be sprung; he sent me to Troy and bade me very
instantly to be ever the best and to excel all other men, nor put to
shame the lineage of my fathers that were of noblest blood in Ephyre and
in wide Lykia. This is the lineage and blood whereof I avow myself to

So said he, and Diomedes of the loud war-cry was glad. He planted his
spear in the bounteous earth and with soft words spake to the shepherd
of the host: "Surely then thou art to me a guest-friend of old times
through my father: for goodly Oineus of yore entertained noble
Bellerophon in his halls and kept him twenty days. Moreover they gave
each the other goodly gifts of friendship; Oineus gave a belt bright
with purple, and Bellerophon a gold two-handled cup. Therefore now am I
to thee a dear guest-friend in midmost Argos, and thou in Lykia,
whene'er I fare to your land. So let us shun each other's spears, even
amid the throng; Trojans are there in multitudes and famous allies for
me to slay, whoe'er it be that God vouchsafeth me and my feet overtake;
and for thee are there Achaians in multitude, to slay whome'er thou
canst. But let us make exchange of arms between us, that these also may
know how we avow ourselves to be guest-friends by lineage."

So spake the twain, and leaping from their cars clasped each the other
by his hand, and pledged their faith. But now Zeus son of Kronos took
from Glaukos his wits, in that he made exchange with Diomedes Tydeus'
son of golden armour for bronze, the price of five score oxen for the
price of nine.

Now when Hector came to the Skaian gates and to the oak tree, there came
running round about him the Trojans' wives and daughters, enquiring of
sons and brethren and friends and husbands. But he bade them thereat all
in turn pray to the gods; but sorrow hung over many.

But when he came to Priam's beautiful palace, adorned with polished
colonnades - and in it were fifty chambers of polished stone, builded
hard by one another, wherein Priam's sons slept beside their wedded
wives; and for his daughters over against them on the other side within
the courtyard were twelve roofed chambers of polished stone builded hard
by one another, wherein slept Priam's sons-in-law beside their chaste
wives - then came there to meet him his bountiful mother, leading with
her Laodike, fairest of her daughters to look on; and she clasped her
hand in his, and spake, and called upon his name: "My son, why hast thou
left violent battle to come hither. Surely the sons of the
Achaians - name of evil! - press thee hard in fight about thy city, and so
thy spirit hath brought thee hither, to come and stretch forth thy hands
to Zeus from the citadel. But tarry till I bring thee honey-sweet wine,
that thou mayest pour libation to Zeus and all the immortals first, and
then shalt thou thyself also be refreshed if thou wilt drink. When a man
is awearied wine greatly maketh his strength to wax, even as thou art
awearied in fighting for thy fellows."

Then great Hector of the glancing helm answered her: "Bring me no
honey-hearted wine, my lady mother, lest thou cripple me of my courage
and I be forgetful of my might. But go thou to the temple of Athene,
driver of the spoil, with offerings, and gather the aged wives together;
and the robe that seemeth to thee the most gracious and greatest in thy
palace, and dearest unto thyself, that lay thou upon the knees of
beauteous-haired Athene, and vow to her to sacrifice in her temple
twelve sleek kine, that have not felt the goad, if she will have mercy
on the city and the Trojans' wives and little children. So go thou to
the temple of Athene, driver of the spoil; and I will go after Paris, to
summon him, if perchance he will hearken to my voice. Would that the
earth forthwith might swallow him up! The Olympian fostered him to be a
sore bane to the Trojans and to great-hearted Priam, and to Priam's
sons. If I but saw him going down to the gates of death, then might I
deem that my heart had forgotten its sorrows."

So said he, and she went unto the hall, and called to her handmaidens,
and they gathered the aged wives throughout the city. Then she herself
went down to her fragrant chamber where were her embroidered robes, the
work of Sidonian women, whom godlike Alexandros himself brought from
Sidon, when he sailed over the wide sea, that journey wherein he brought
home high-born Helen. Of these Hekabe took one to bear for an offering
to Athene, the one that was fairest for adornment and greatest, and
shone like a star, and lay nethermost of all. Then went she her way and
the multitude of aged wives hasted after her. And Hector was come to
Alexandros' fair palace, that himself had builded with them that were
most excellent carpenters then in deep-soiled Troy-land; these made him
his chamber and hall and courtyard hard by to Priam and Hector, in the
upper city. There entered in Hector dear to Zeus, and his hand bare his
spear, eleven cubits long: before his face glittered the bronze
spear-point, and a ring of gold ran round about it. And he found Paris
in his chamber busied with his beauteous arms, his shield and
breastplate, and handling his curved bow; and Helen of Argos sate among
her serving-women and appointed brave handiwork for her handmaidens.
Then when Hector saw him he rebuked him with scornful words: "Good sir,
thou dost not well to cherish this rancour in thy heart. The folk are
perishing about the city and high wall in battle, and for thy sake the
battle-cry is kindled and war around this city; yes thyself wouldest
thou fall out with another, didst thou see him shrinking from hateful
war. Up then, lest the city soon be scorched with burning fire."

And godlike Alexandros answered him: "Hector, since in measure thou
chidest me and not beyond measure, therefore will I tell thee; lay thou
it to thine heart and hearken to me. Not by reason so much of the
Trojans, for wrath and indignation, sate I me in my chamber, but fain
would I yield me to my sorrow. Even now my wife hath persuaded me with
soft words, and urged me into battle; and I moreover, even I, deem that
it will be better so; for victory shifteth from man to man. Go to then,
tarry awhile, let me put on my armour of war; or else fare thou forth,
and I will follow; and I think to overtake thee."

So said he, but Hector of the glancing helm answered him not a word. But
Helen spake to him with gentle words: "My brother, even mine that am a
dog, mischievous and abominable, would that on the day when my mother
bare me at the first, an evil storm-wind had caught me away to a
mountain or a billow of the loud-sounding sea, where the billow might
have swept me away before all these things came to pass. Howbeit, seeing
the gods devised all these ills in this wise, would that then I had been
mated with a better man, that felt dishonour and the multitude of men's
reproachings. But as for him, neither hath he now sound heart, nor ever
will have; thereof deem I moreover that he will reap the fruit. But now
come, enter in and sit thee here upon this bench, my brother, since thy
heart chiefly trouble hath encompassed, for the sake of me, that am a
dog, and for Alexandros' sin; on whom Zeus bringeth evil doom, that even
in days to come we may be a song in the ears of men that shall be

Then great Hector of the glancing helm answered her: "Bid me not sit,
Helen, of thy love; thou wilt not persuade me. Already my heart is set
to succour the men of Troy, that have great desire for me that am not
with them. But rouse thou this fellow, yea let himself make speed, to
overtake me yet within the city. For I shall go into mine house to
behold my housefolk and my dear wife, and infant boy; for I know not if
I shall return home to them again, or if the gods will now overthrow me
at the hands of the Achaians."

So spake Hector of the glancing helm and departed; and anon he came to
his well-stablished house. But he found not white-armed Andromache in
the halls; she with her boy and fair-robed handmaiden had taken her
stand upon the tower, weeping and wailing. And when Hector found not his
noble wife within, he came and stood upon the threshold and spake amid
the serving women: "Come tell me now true, my serving women. Whither
went white-armed Andromache forth from the hall? Hath she gone out to my
sisters or unto my brothers' fair-robed wives, or to Athene's temple,
where all the fair-tressed Trojan women propitiate the awful goddess?"

Then a busy housedame spake in answer to him: "Hector, seeing thou
straitly chargest us tell thee true, neither hath she gone out to any of
thy sisters or thy brothers' fair-robed wives, neither to Athene's
temple, where all the fair-tressed Trojan women are propitiating the
awful goddess; but she went to the great tower of Ilios, because she
heard the Trojans were hard pressed, and great victory was for the
Achaians. So hath she come in haste to the wall, like unto one frenzied;
and the nurse with her beareth the child."

So spake the housedame, and Hector hastened from his house back by the
same way down the well-builded streets. When he had passed through the
great city and was come to the Skaian gates, whereby he was minded to
issue upon the plain, then came his dear-won wife, running to meet him,
even Andromache daughter of great-hearted Eetion. So she met him now,
and with her went the handmaid bearing in her bosom the tender boy, the
little child, Hector's loved son, like unto a beautiful star. Him Hector
called Skamandrios, but all the folk Astyanax [Astyanax = "City King."];
for only Hector guarded Ilios. So now he smiled and gazed at his boy
silently, and Andromache stood by his side weeping, and clasped her hand
in his, and spake and called upon his name. "Dear my lord, this thy
hardihood will undo thee, neither hast thou any pity for thine infant
boy, nor for me forlorn that soon shall be thy widow; for soon will the
Achaians all set upon thee and slay thee. But it were better for me to
go down to the grave if I lose thee; for never more will any comfort be
mine, when once thou, even thou, hast met thy fate, but only sorrow.
Nay, Hector, thou art to me father and lady mother, yea and brother,
even as thou art my goodly husband. Come now, have pity and abide here
upon the tower, lest thou make thy child an orphan and thy wife a

Then great Hector of the glancing helm answered her: "Surely I take
thought for all these things, my wife; but I have very sore shame of the
Trojans and Trojan dames with trailing robes, if like a coward I shrink
away from battle. Moreover mine own soul forbiddeth me, seeing I have
learnt ever to be valiant and fight in the forefront of the Trojans,
winning my father's great glory and mine own. Yea of a surety I know
this in heart and soul; the day shall come for holy Ilios to be laid
low, and Priam and the folk of Priam of the good ashen spear. Yet doth
the anguish of the Trojans hereafter not so much trouble me, neither
Hekabe's own, neither king Priam's, neither my brethren's, the many and
brave that shall fall in the dust before their foemen, as doth thine
anguish in the day when some mail-clad Achaian shall lead thee weeping
and rob thee of the light of freedom. So shalt thou abide in Argos and
ply the loom at another woman's bidding, and bear water from fount
Messeis or Hypereia, being grievously entreated, and sore constraint
shall be laid upon thee. And then shall one say that beholdeth thee
weep: 'This is the wife of Hector, that was foremost in battle of the
horse-taming Trojans when men fought about Ilios.' Thus shall one say
hereafter, and fresh grief will be thine for lack of such an husband as
thou hadst to ward off the day of thraldom. But me in death may the
heaped-up earth be covering, ere I hear thy crying and thy carrying into

So spake glorious Hector, and stretched out his arm to his boy. But the
child shrunk crying to the bosom of his fair-girdled nurse, dismayed at
his dear father's aspect, and in dread at the bronze and horse-hair
crest that he beheld nodding fiercely from the helmet's top. Then his
dear father laughed aloud, and his lady mother; forthwith glorious

Online LibraryHomerThe Iliad → online text (page 8 of 31)