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Hector took the helmet from his head, and laid it, all gleaming, upon
the earth; then kissed he his dear son and dandled him in his arms, and
spake in prayer to Zeus and all the gods, "O Zeus and all ye gods,
vouchsafe ye that this my son may likewise prove even as I, pre-eminent
amid the Trojans, and as valiant in might, and be a great king of Ilios.
Then may men say of him, 'Far greater is he than his father' as he
returneth home from battle; and may he bring with him blood-stained
spoils from the foeman he hath slain, and may his mother's heart be

So spake he, and laid his son in his dear wife's arms; and she took him
to her fragrant bosom, smiling tearfully. And her husband had pity to
see her, and caressed her with his hand, and spake and called upon her
name: "Dear one, I pray thee be not of oversorrowful heart; no man
against my fate shall hurl me to Hades; only destiny, I ween, no man
hath escaped, be he coward or be he valiant, when once he hath been
born. But go thou to thine house and see to thine own tasks, the loom
and distaff, and bid thine handmaidens ply their work; but for war shall
men provide, and I in chief of all men that dwell in Ilios."

So spake glorious Hector, and took up his horse-hair crested helmet; and
his dear wife departed to her home, oft looking back, and letting fall
big tears. Anon she came to the well-stablished house of man-slaying
Hector, and found therein her many handmaidens, and stirred lamentation
in them all. So bewailed they Hector, while yet he lived, within his
house: for they deemed that he would no more come back to them from
battle, nor escape the fury of the hands of the Achaians.

Neither lingered Paris long in his lofty house, but clothed on him his
brave armour, bedight with bronze, and hasted through the city, trusting
to his nimble feet. Even as when a stalled horse, full-fed at the
manger, breaketh his tether and speedeth at the gallop across the plain,
being wont to bathe him in the fair-flowing stream, exultingly; and
holdeth his head on high, and his mane floateth about his shoulders, and
he trusteth in his glory, and nimbly his limbs bear him to the haunts
and pasturages of mares; even so Priam's son Paris, glittering in his
armour like the shining sun, strode down from high Pergamos laughingly,
and his swift feet bare him. Forthwith he overtook his brother noble
Hector, even as he was on the point to turn him away from the spot where
he had dallied with his wife. To him first spake godlike Alexandros:
"Sir, in good sooth I have delayed thee in thine haste by my tarrying,
and came not rightly as thou badest me."

And Hector of the glancing helm answered him and said: "Good brother, no
man that is rightminded could make light of thy doings in fight, seeing
thou art strong: but thou art wilfully remiss and hast no care; and for
this my heart is grieved within me, that I hear shameful words
concerning thee in the Trojans' mouths, who for thy sake endure much
toil. But let us be going; all this will we make good hereafter, if Zeus
ever vouchsafe us to set before the heavenly gods that are for
everlasting the cup of deliverance in our halls, when we have chased out
of Troy-land the well-greaved Achaians."


Of the single combat between Aias and Hector, and of the
burying of the dead, and the building of a wall about the
Achaian ships.

So spake glorious Hector and issued from the gates, and with him went
his brother Alexandros; and both were eager of soul for fight and
battle. Even as God giveth to longing seamen fair wind when they have
grown weary of beating the main with polished oars, and their limbs are
fordone with toil, even so appeared these to the longing Trojans.

Now when the goddess bright-eyed Athene marked them making havoc of the
Argives in the press of battle, she darted down from the crests of
Olympus to holy Ilios. But Apollo rose to meet her, for he beheld her
from Pergamos, and would have victory for the Trojans. So the twain met
each the other by the oak-tree. To her spake first king Apollo son of
Zeus: "Why now art thou come thus eagerly from Olympus, thou daughter of
great Zeus, and why hath thy high heart sent thee? Surely it is to give
the Danaans unequal victory in battle! seeing thou hast no mercy on the
Trojans, that perish. But if thou wouldest hearken to me - and it were
far better so - let us now stay battle and warring for the day; hereafter
shall they fight again, till they reach the goal of Ilios, since thus it
seemeth good to your hearts, goddesses immortal, to lay waste this

And the goddess bright-eyed Athene made answer to him: "So be it,
Far-darter; in this mind I likewise came from Olympus to the midst of
Trojans and Achaians. But come, how thinkest thou to stay the battle of
the warriors?"

And king Apollo, son of Zeus, made answer to her: "Let us arouse the
stalwart spirit of horse-taming Hector, if so be he will challenge some
one of the Danaans in single fight man to man to meet him in deadly
combat. So shall the bronze-greaved Achaians be jealous and stir up one
to fight singly with goodly Hector." So spake he and the bright-eyed
goddess Athene disregarded not. Now Helenos Priam's dear son understood
in spirit their resolve that the gods in counsel had approved; and he
went to Hector and stood beside him, and spake a word to him: "Hector
son of Priam, peer of Zeus in counsel, wouldest thou now hearken at all
to me? for I am thy brother. Make the other Trojans sit, and all the
Achaians, and thyself challenge him that is best of the Achaians to meet
thee man to man in deadly combat. It is not yet thy destiny to die and
meet thy doom; for thus heard I the voice of the gods that are from
everlasting." So said he, and Hector rejoiced greatly to hear his
saying, and went into the midst and refrained the battalions of the
Trojans with his spear grasped by the middle; and they all sate them
down: and Agamemnon made the well-greaved Achaians sit. And Athene
withal and Apollo of the silver bow, in the likeness of vulture birds,
sate them upon a tall oak holy to aegis-bearing father Zeus, rejoicing
in their warriors; and the ranks of all of them sate close together,
bristling with shields and plumes and spears. Even as there spreadeth
across the main the ripple of the west wind newly risen, and the sea
grows black beneath it, so sate the ranks of Achaians and Trojans upon
the plain. And Hector spake between both hosts: "Hearken to me, Trojans
and well-greaved Achaians, that I may speak what my mind within my
breast biddeth me. Our oaths of truce Kronos' son, enthroned on high,
accomplished not; but evil is his intent and ordinance for both our
hosts, until either ye take fair-towered Troy or yourselves be
vanquished beside your seafaring ships. But in the midst of you are the
chiefest of all the Achaians; therefore now let the man whose heart
biddeth him fight with me come hither from among you all to be your
champion against goodly Hector. And this declare I, and be Zeus our
witness thereto; if that man slay me with the long-edged sword, let him
spoil me of my armour and bear it to the hollow ships, but give back my
body to my home, that Trojans and Trojans' wives may give me my due of
burning in my death. But if I slay him and Apollo vouchsafe me glory, I
will spoil him of his armour and bear it to holy Ilios and hang it upon
the temple of far-darting Apollo, but his corpse will I render back to
the well-decked ships, that the flowing-haired Achaians may entomb him,
and build him a barrow beside wide Hellespont. So shall one say even of
men that be late born, as he saileth in his benched ship over the
wine-dark sea: 'This is the barrow of a man that died in days of old, a
champion whom glorious Hector slew.' So shall a man say hereafter, and
this my glory shall never die."

So spake he and they all were silent and held their peace; to deny him
they were ashamed, and feared to meet him. But at the last stood up
Menelaos and spake amid them and chiding upbraided them, and groaned
deep at heart: "Ah me, vain threateners, ye women of Achaia and no more
men, surely all this shall be a shame, evil of evil, if no one of the
Danaans now goeth to meet Hector. Nay, turn ye all to earth and water,
sitting there each man disheartened, helplessly inglorious; against him
will I myself array me; and from on high the threads of victory are
guided of the immortal gods."

So spake he and donned his fair armour. And now, O Menelaos, had the end
of life appeared for thee at Hector's hands, seeing he was stronger far,
but that the princes of the Achaians started up and caught thee. And
Atreus' son himself, wide-ruling Agamemnon, took him by his right hand
and spake a word and called upon his name: "Thou doest madly, Menelaos
fosterling of Zeus; yet is it no time for this thy madness. Draw back,
though it be with pain, nor think for contention's sake to fight with
one better than thou, with Hector Priam's son, whom others beside thee
abhor. Yea, this man even Achilles dreadeth to meet in battle, wherein
is the warrior's glory; and Achilles is better far than thou. Go
therefore now and sit amid the company of thy fellows; against him shall
the Achaians put forth another champion. Fearless though he be and
insatiate of turmoil, I ween that he shall be fain to rest his knees, if
he escape from the fury of war and terrible fray."

So spake the hero and persuaded his brother's heart with just counsel;
and he obeyed. So his squires thereat with gladness took his armour from
his shoulders; and Nestor stood up and spake amid the Argives: "Fie upon
it, verily sore lamentation cometh on the land of Achaia. Verily old
Peleus driver of chariots would groan sore, that goodly counsellor of
the Myrmidons and orator, who erst questioned me in his house, and
rejoiced greatly, inquiring of the lineage and birth of all the Argives.
If he heard now of those that all were cowering before Hector, then
would he lift his hands to the immortals, instantly praying that his
soul might depart from his limbs down to the house of Hades. Would to
God I were thus young and my strength were sound; then would Hector of
the glancing helm soon find his combat. But of those of you that be
chieftains of the host of the Achaians, yet desireth no man of good
heart to meet Hector face to face." So the old man upbraided them, and
there stood up nine in all. Far first arose Agamemnon king of men, and
after him rose Tydeus' son stalwart Diomedes, and after them the Aiantes
clothed with impetuous might, and after them Idomeneus and Idomeneus'
brother-in-arms Meriones, peer of Enyalios slayer of men, and after them
Eurypylos Euaimon's glorious son; and up rose Thoas Andraimon's son and
goodly Odysseus. So all these were fain to fight with goodly Hector. And
among them spake again knightly Nestor of Gerenia: "Now cast ye the lot
from the first unto the last, for him that shall be chosen: for he shall
in truth profit the well-greaved Achaians, yea and he shall have profit
of his own soul, if he escape from the fury of war and terrible fray."

So said he, and they marked each man his lot and cast them in the helmet
of Agamemnon Atreus' son; and the hosts prayed and lifted up their hands
to the gods. And thus would one say, looking up to wide heaven: "O
father Zeus, vouchsafe that the lot fall upon Aias or Tydeus' son, or
else on the king of Mykene rich in gold."

So spake they, and knightly Nestor of Gerenia shook the helmet, and
there leapt forth the lot that themselves desired, even the lot of Aias.
And Aias saw and knew the token upon the lot, and rejoiced in heart, and
spake: "My friends, verily the lot is mine, yea and myself am glad at
heart, because I deem that I shall vanquish goodly Hector. But come now,
while I clothe me in my armour of battle, pray ye the while to Kronos'
son king Zeus, in silence to yourselves, that the Trojans hear you
not - nay rather, openly if ye will, for we have no fear of any man
soever. For none by force shall chase me, he willing me unwilling,
neither by skill; seeing I hope that not so skill-less, either, was I
born in Salamis nor nurtured."

So said he, and they prayed to Kronos' son, king Zeus; and thus would
one speak, looking up to wide heaven: "O father Zeus that rulest from
Ida, most glorious, most great, vouchsafe to Aias victory and the
winning of great glory. But if thou so lovest Hector indeed, and carest
for him, grant unto either equal prowess and renown."

So said they, while Aias arrayed him in flashing bronze. And when he had
now clothed upon his flesh all his armour, then marched he as huge Ares
coming forth, when he goeth to battle amid heroes whom Kronos' son
setteth to fight in fury of heart-consuming strife. So rose up huge
Aias, bulwark of the Achaians, with a smile on his grim face: and went
with long strides of his feet beneath him, shaking his far-shadowing
spear. Then moreover the Argives rejoiced to look upon him, but sore
trembling came upon the Trojans, on the limbs of every man, and Hector's
own heart beat within his breast. But in no wise could he now flee nor
shrink back into the throng of the host, seeing he had challenged him to
battle. And Aias came near bearing his tower-like shield of bronze, with
sevenfold ox-hide, and stood near to Hector, and spake to him threatening:
"Hector, now verily shalt thou well know, man to man, what manner
of princes the Danaans likewise have among them, even after Achilles,
render of men, the lion-hearted. But he amid his beaked seafaring ships
lieth in sore wrath with Agamemnon shepherd of the host; yet are we such
as to face thee, yea and many of us. But make thou beginning of war and

And great Hector of the glancing helm answered him: "Aias of the seed of
Zeus, son of Telamon, chieftain of the host, tempt not thou me like some
puny boy or woman that knoweth not deeds of battle. But I well know wars
and slaughterings. To right know I, to left know I the wielding of my
tough targe; therein I deem is stalwart soldiership. And I know how to
charge into the mellay of fleet chariots, and how in close battle to
join in furious Ares' dance. Howbeit, I have no mind to smite thee,
being such an one as thou art, by spying thee unawares; but rather
openly, if perchance I may hit thee."

He spake, and poised his far-shadowing spear, and hurled and smote Aias'
dread shield of sevenfold hide upon the uttermost bronze, the eighth
layer that was thereon. Through six folds went the stubborn bronze
cleaving, but in the seventh hide it stayed. Then heaven-sprung Aias
hurled next his far-shadowing spear, and smote upon the circle of the
shield of Priam's son. Through the bright shield passed the violent
spear, and through the curiously wrought corslet pressed it on; and
straight forth beside the flank the spear rent his doublet; but he
swerved aside and escaped black death. Then both together with their
hands plucked forth their long spears and fell to like ravening lions or
wild boars whose might is nowise feeble. Then Priam's son smote the
shield's midst with his dart, but the bronze brake not through, for the
point turned back; but Aias leapt on him and pierced his buckler, and
straight through went the spear and staggered him in his onset, and
cleft its way unto his neck, so that the dark blood gushed up. Yet even
then did not Hector of the glancing helm cease from fight, but yielded
ground and with stout hand seized a stone lying upon the plain, black
and rugged and great; therewith hurled he and smote Aias' dread shield
of sevenfold ox-hide in the midst upon the boss, and the bronze
resounded. Next Aias lifted a far greater stone, and swung and hurled
it, putting might immeasurable therein. So smote he the buckler and
burst it inwards with the rock like unto a millstone, and beat down his
knees; and he was stretched upon his back, pressed into his shield; but
Apollo straightway raised him up. And now had they been smiting hand to
hand with swords, but that the heralds, messengers of gods and men,
came, one from the Trojans, one from the mail-clad Achaians, even
Talthybios and Idaios, both men discreet. Between the two held they
their staves, and herald Idaios spake a word, being skilled in wise
counsel: "Fight ye no more, dear sons, neither do battle; seeing Zeus
the cloud-gatherer loveth you both, and both are men of war; that verily
know we all. But night already is upon us: it is well withal to obey the
hest [behest] of night."

Then Telamonian Aias answered and said to him: "Idaios, bid ye Hector
to speak those words; of his own self he challenged to combat all our
best. Let him be first, and I will surely follow as he saith."

Then great Hector of the glancing helm said to him: "Aias, seeing God
gave thee stature and might and wisdom, and with the spear thou art
excellent above all the Achaians, let us now cease from combat and
battle for the day; but hereafter will we fight until God judge between
as, giving to one of us the victory: But come, let us give each the
other famous gifts, that men may thus say, Achaians alike and Trojans:
'These, having fought for sake of heart-consuming strife, parted again
reconciled in friendship.'"

So said he, and gave him his silver-studded sword, with scabbard and
well-cut baldrick; and Aias gave his belt bright with purple. So they
parted, and one went to the Achaian host, and one betook him to the
throng of Trojans. And these rejoiced to behold him come to them alive
and sound, escaped from the fury of Aias and his hands unapproachable;
and they brought him to the city saved beyond their hope. And Aias on
their side the well-greaved Achaians brought to noble Agamemnon,
exulting in his victory.

So when these were come unto the huts of Atreides, then did Agamemnon
king of men slay them an ox, a male of five years old, for the most
mighty son of Kronos. This they flayed and made ready, and divided it
all, and minced it cunningly, and pierced it through with spits, and
roasted it carefully, and drew all off again. Then as soon as they had
rest from the task and had made ready the meal, they began the feast,
nor was their soul aught stinted of the equal banquet. And the hero son
of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon, gave to Aias slices of the chine's
full length for his honour. And when they had put from them the desire
of meat and drink, then first the old man began to weave the web of
counsel, even Nestor whose rede [counsel] of old time was proved most
excellent. He made harangue among them and said: "Son of Atreus and ye
other princes of the Achaians, seeing that many flowing-haired Achaians
are dead, and keen Ares hath spilt their dusky blood about fair-flowing
Skamandros, and their souls have gone down to the house of Hades;
therefore it behoveth thee to make the battle of the Achaians cease with
daybreak; and we will assemble to wheel hither the corpses with oxen and
mules; so let us burn them; and let us heap one barrow about the pyre,
rearing it from the plain for all alike; and thereto build with speed
high towers, a bulwark for our ships and for ourselves. In the midst
thereof let us make gates well compact, that through them may be a way
for chariot-driving. And without let us dig a deep foss hard by, to be
about it and to hinder horses and footmen, lest the battle of the lordly
Trojans be heavy on us hereafter."

So spake he and all the chiefs gave assent. But meanwhile there was in
the high town of Ilios an assembly of the Trojans, fierce, confused,
beside Priam's gate. To them discreet Antenor began to make harangue:
"Hearken to me, Trojans and Dardanians and allies, that I may tell you
that my soul within my breast commandeth me. Lo, go to now, let us give
Helen of Argos and the wealth with her for the sons of Atreus to take
away. Now fight we in guilt against the oaths of faith; therefore is
there no profit for us that I hope to see fulfilled, unless we do thus."

So spake he and sate him down; and there stood up among them noble
Alexandros, lord of Helen beautiful-haired; he made him answer and spake
winged words: "Antenor, these words from thee are no longer to my
pleasure; yet thou hast it in thee to devise other sayings more
excellent than this. But if indeed thou sayest this in earnest, then
verily the gods themselves have destroyed thy wit. But I will speak
forth amid the horse-taming Trojans, and declare outright; my wife will
I not give back; but the wealth I brought from Argos to our home, all
that I have a mind to give, and add more of mine own substance."

So spake he and sate him down, and there stood up among them Priam of
the seed of Dardanos, the peer of gods in counsel; he made harangue to
them, and said: "Hearken to me, Trojans and Dardanians and allies, that
I may tell you that my soul within my breast commandeth me. Now eat your
supper throughout the city as of old, and take thought to keep watch,
and be wakeful every man. And at dawn let Idaios fare to the hollow
ships to tell to Atreus' sons Agamemnon and Menelaos the saying of
Alexandros, for whose sake strife is come about: and likewise to ask
them this wise word, whether they are minded to refrain from noisy war
till we have burned our dead; afterwards will we fight again, till
heaven part us and give one or other victory."

So spake he, and they hearkened diligently to him and obeyed: and at
dawn Idaios fared to the hollow ships. He found the Danaans in assembly,
the men of Ares' company, beside the stern of Agamemnon's ship; and so
the loud-voiced herald stood in their midst and said unto them:
"Atreides and ye other princes of the Achaians, Priam and all the noble
Trojans bade me tell you-if perchance it might find favour and
acceptance with you-the saying of Alexandros, for whose sake strife hath
come about. The wealth that Alexandros brought in his hollow ships to
Troy-would he had perished first!-all that he hath a mind to give, and
to add more thereto of his substance. But the wedded wife of glorious
Menelaos he saith he will not give; yet verily the Trojans bid him do
it. Moreover they bade me ask this thing of you; whether ye are minded
to refrain from noisy war until we have burned our dead; afterwards will
we fight again, till heaven part us and give one or other victory."

So said he and they all kept silence and were still. But at the last
spake Diomedes of the loud war-cry in their midst: "Let no man now
accept Alexandros' substance, neither Helen's self; known is it, even to
him that hath no wit at all, how that the issues of destruction hang
already over the Trojans."

So spake he, and all the sons of the Achaians shouted, applauding the
saying of horse-taming Diomedes. And then lord Agamemnon spake to
Idaios: "Idaios, thyself thou hearest the saying of the Achaians, how
they answer thee; and the like seemeth good to me. But as concerning the
dead, I grudge you not to burn them; for dead corpses is there no
stinting; when they once are dead, of the swift propitiation of fire.
And for the oaths let Zeus be witness, the loud-thundering lord of

So saying he lifted up his sceptre in the sight of all the gods, and
Idaios departed back to holy Ilios. Now Trojans and Dardanians sate in
assembly, gathered all together to wait till Idaios should come; and he
came and stood in their midst and declared his message. Then they made
them ready very swiftly for either task, some to bring the dead, and
some to seek for wood. And on their part the Argives hasted from their
well-decked ships, some to bring the dead and some to seek for wood.

Now the sun was newly beating on the fields as he climbed heaven from
the deep stream of gently-flowing Ocean, when both sides met together.
Then was it a hard matter to know each man again; but they washed them
with water clean of clotted gore, and with shedding of hot tears lifted
them upon the wains. But great Priam bade them not wail aloud; so in
silence heaped they the corpses on the pyre, stricken at heart; and when
they had burned them with fire departed to holy Ilios. And in like
manner on their side the well-greaved Achaians heaped the corpses on the
pyre, stricken at heart, and when they had burned them with fire
departed to the hollow ships.

And when day was not yet, but still twilight of night, then was the
chosen folk of the Achaians gathered together around the pyre, and made
one barrow about it, rearing it from the plain for all alike; and
thereto built they a wall and lofty towers, a bulwark for their ships
and for themselves. In the midst thereof made they gates well-compacted,

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