The Events of the Iliad (page 614)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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Homer, Iliad Book 15

[1] But when the Trojans in their flight had passed over the palisade and the trench, and many had been vanquished beneath the hands of the Danaans, then beside their chariots they stayed, and were halted, pale with fear, terror-stricken; and Zeus awoke [5] on the peaks of Ida beside Hera of the golden throne. Then he sprang up, and stood, and saw Trojans alike and Achaeans, these in rout, and the Argives driving them on from the rear, and amid them the lord Poseidon. And Hector he saw lying on the plain, while about him sat his comrades, [10] and he was gasping with painful breath, distraught in mind, and vomiting blood; for not the weakest of the Achaeans was it that had smitten him. At sight of him the father of men and gods had pity, and with a dread glance from beneath his brows he spake to Hera, saying: “Hera, that art hard to deal with, it is the craft of thine evil wiles [15] that hath stayed goodly Hector from the fight, and hath driven the host in rout. Verily I know not but thou shalt yet be the first to reap the fruits of thy wretched ill-contriving, and I shall scourge thee with stripes. Dost thou not remember when thou wast hung from on high, and from thy feet I suspended two anvils, and about thy wrists cast [20] a band of gold that might not be broken? And in the air amid the clouds thou didst hang, and the gods had indignation throughout high Olympus; howbeit they availed not to draw nigh and loose thee. Nay, whomsoever I caught, I would seize and hurl from the threshold until he reached the earth, his strength all spent. Yet not even so was my heart [25] eased of its ceaseless pain for godlike Heracles, whom thou when thou hadst leagued thee with the North Wind and suborned his blasts, didst send over the unresting sea, by thine evil devising, and thereafter didst bear him away unto well-peopled Cos. Him did I save from thence, and brought again [30] to horse-pasturing Argos, albeit after he had laboured sore. Of these things will I mind thee yet again, that thou mayest cease from thy beguilings, to the end that thou mayest see whether they anywise avail thee, the dalliance and the couch, wherein thou didst lie with me when thou hadst come forth from among the gods, and didst beguile me.”  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Homer, Iliad Book 16

[1] Thus then they were warring around the well-benched ship, but Patroclus drew nigh to Achilles, shepherd of the host, shedding hot tears, even as a fountain of dark water that down over the face of a beetling cliff poureth its dusky stream; [5] and swift-footed goodly Achilles had pity when he saw him, and spake and addressed him with winged words: “Why, Patroclus, art thou bathed in tears, like a girl, a mere babe, that runneth by her mother’s side and biddeth her take her up, and clutcheth at her gown, and hindereth her in her going, [10] and tearfully looketh up at her, till the mother take her up? Even like her, Patroclus, dost thou let fall round tears. Hast thou haply somewhat to declare to the Myrmidons or to mine own self, or is it some tidings out of Phthia that thyself alone hast heard? Still lives Menoetius, men tell us, Actor’s son, [15] and still lives Peleus. son of Aeacus, amid the Myrmidons, for which twain would we grieve right sore, were they dead. Or art thou sorrowing for the Argives, how they are being slain beside the hollow ships by reason of their own presumptuous act? Speak out; hide it not in thy mind;that we both may know.” [20] Then with a heavy groan, didst thou make answer, O knight Patroclus:“O Achilles, son of Peleus, far the mightiest of the Achaeans, be not wroth; so great a sorrow hath overmastered the Achaeans. For verily all they that aforetime were bravest, lie among the ships smitten by darts or wounded with spear-thrusts. [25] Smitten is the son of Tydeus, mighty Diomedes, wounded with spear-thrust is Odysseus, famed for his spear, and Agamemnon, and smitten, too, is Eurypylus with an arrow in the thigh. About these the leeches, skilled in many simples, are busied, seeking to heal their wounds; but with thee may no man deal, Achilles. [30] Never upon me let such wrath lay hold, as that thou dost cherish, O thou whose valour is but a bane! Wherein shall any other even yet to be born have profit of thee, if thou ward not off shameful ruin from the Argives? Pitiless one, thy father, meseems, was not the knight Peleus, nor was Thetis thy mother, but the grey sea bare thee, [35] and the beetling cliffs, for that thy heart is unbending. But if in thy mind thou art shunning some oracle, and thy queenly mother hath declared to thee aught from Zeus, yet me at least send thou forth speedily, and with me let the rest of the host of the Myrmidons follow, if so be I may prove a light of deliverance to the Danaans. [40] And grant me to buckle upon my shoulders that armour of thine, in hope that the Trojans may take me for thee, and so desist from war, and the warlike sons of the Achaeans may take breath, wearied as they are; for scant is the breathing-space in battle. And lightly might we that are unwearied [45] drive men that are wearied with the battle back to the city from the ships and the huts.”  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Homer, Iliad Book 17

[1] And the son of Atreus, Menelaus, dear to Ares, failed not to mark that Patroclus had been slain in battle by the Trojans, but fared amid the foremost fighters, harnessed in flaming bronze, and bestrode the dead, as over a calf standeth lowing plaintively its mother, that hath brought forth [5] her first-born, ere then knowing naught of motherhood; even so over Patroclus strode fair-haired Menelaus, and before him he held his spear and his shield that was well-balanced upon every side, eager to slay the man who should come to seize the corpse. Then was Panthous’ son, of the good spear of ash, not unheedful [10] of the falling of peerless Patroclus, but he took his stand hard by him, and spake to Menelaus, dear to Ares: “Menelaus, son of Atreus, fostered of Zeus, thou leader of hosts, give back, and leave the corpse, and let be the bloody spoils; for before me no man of the Trojans and their famed allies smote [15] Patroclus with the spear in the fierce conflict; wherefore suffer thou me to win goodly renown among the Trojans, lest I cast and smite thee, and rob thee of honey-sweet life.” Then, his heart mightily stirred, fair-haired Menelaus spake unto him: “O father Zeus, no good thing is it to boast overweeningly. [20] Verily neither is the spirit of pard so high, nor of lion, nor of wild boar, of baneful mind, in whose breast the greatest fury exulteth exceedingly in might, as is the spirit of Panthous’ sons, of the good spear of ash. Nay, but in sooth even the mighty Hyperenor, tamer of horses, [25] had no profit of his youth, when he made light of me and abode my coming, and deemed that among the Danaans I was the meanest warrior; not on his own feet, I ween, did he fare home to make glad his dear wife and his worthy parents. Even so, meseems, shall I loose thy might as well, [30] if thou stand to face me; nay, of myself I bid thee get thee back into the throng, and stand not forth to face me, ere yet some evil befall thee; when it is wrought even a fool getteth understanding.” So spake he, yet persuaded not the other, but he answered, saying: “Now in good sooth, Menelaus, nurtured of Zeus, [35] shalt thou verily pay the price for my brother whom thou slewest, and over whom thou speakest vauntingly; and thou madest his wife a widow in her new-built bridal chamber, and broughtest grief unspeakable and sorrow upon his parents. Verily for them in their misery should I prove an assuaging of grief, if I but bring thy head and thy armour [40] and lay them in the hands of Panthous and queenly Phrontis. Howbeit not for long shall the struggle be untried or unfought, be it for victory or for flight.”  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Homer, Iliad Book 18

[1] So fought they like unto blazing fire, but Antilochus, swift of foot, came to bear tidings to Achilles. Him he found in front of his ships with upright horns,1 boding in his heart the thing that even now was brought to pass; [5] and sore troubled he spake unto his own great-hearted spirit: “Ah, woe is me, how is it that again the long-haired Achaeans are being driven toward the ships in rout over the plain? Let it not be that the gods have brought to pass grievous woes for my soul, even as on a time my mother declared unto me, and said that [10] while yet I lived the best man of the Myrmidons should leave the light of the sun beneath the hands of the Trojans! in good sooth the valiant son of Menoetius must now, be dead, foolhardy one. Surely I bade him come back again to the ships when he had thrust off the consuming fire, and not to fight amain with Hector.” [15] While he pondered thus in mind and heart, there drew nigh unto him the son of lordly Nestor, shedding hot tears, and spake the grievous tidings: “Woe is me, thou son of wise-hearted Peleus, full grievous is the tidings thou must hear, such as I would had never been. [20] Low lies Patroclus, and around his corpse are they fighting—his naked corpse; but his armour is held by Hector of the flashing helm.”  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, January 2023

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