The Events of the Iliad (page 615)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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Il Book 19 – Homer, Iliad

[1] Now Dawn the saffron-robed arose from the streams of Oceanus to bring light to immortals and to mortal men, and Thetis came to the ships bearing gifts from the god. And she found her dear son as he lay, clasping Patroclus, [5] and wailing aloud; and in throngs round about him his comrades were weeping. Then in the midst of them the bright goddess came to his side, and she clasped his hand, and spake and addressed him:“My child, this man must we let be, for all our sorrow, to lie as he is, seeing he hath been slain once for all by the will of the gods. [10] But receive thou from Hephaestus glorious armour, exceeding fair, such as never yet a man bare upon his shoulders.” So saying the goddess set down the arms in front of Achilles, and they all rang aloud in their splendour. Then trembling seized all the Myrmidons, [15] neither dared any man to look thereon, but they shrank in fear. Howbeit, when Achilles saw the arms, then came wrath upon him yet the more, and his eyes blazed forth in terrible wise from beneath their lids, as it had been flame; and he was glad as he held in his arms the glorious gifts of the god. But when in his soul he had taken delight in gazing on the glory of them, [20] forthwith to his mother he spake winged words:“My mother, the arms that the god hath given are such as the works of immortals should fitly be, such as no mortal man could fashion. Now therefore will I array me for battle; [25] yet am I sore afraid lest meantime flies enter the wounds that the bronze hath dealt on the corpse of the valiant son of Menoetius, and breed worms therein, and work shame upon his corpse—for the life is slain out of him—and so all his flesh shall rot.” Then the goddess, silver-footed Thetis, answered him:“My child, let not these things distress thy heart. [30] From him will I essay to ward off the savage tribes, the flies that feed upon men slain in battle. For even though he lie for the full course of a year, yet shall his flesh be sound continually, or better even than now it is. But do thou call to the place of gathering the Achaean warriors, [35] and renounce thy wrath against Agamemnon, shepherd of the host, and then array thee with all speed for battle and clothe thee in thy might.”  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Il Book 20 – Homer, Iliad

[1] So by the beaked ships around thee, O son of Peleus, insatiate of fight, the Achaeans arrayed them for battle; and likewise the Trojans over against them on the rising ground of the plain. But Zeus bade Themis summon the gods to the place of gathering from the [5] brow of many-ribbed Olympus; and she sped everywhither, and bade them come to the house of Zeus. There was no river that came not, save only Oceanus, nor any nymph, of all that haunt the fair copses, the springs that feed the rivers, and the grassy meadows. [10] And being come to the house of Zeus they sate them down within the polished colonnades which for father Zeus Hephaestus had builded with cunning skill. Thus were they gathered within the house of Zeus; nor did the Shaker of Earth fail to heed the call of the goddess, but came forth from the sea to join their company; [15] and he sate him in the midst, and made question concerning the purpose of Zeus: “Wherefore, thou lord of the bright lightning, hast thou called the gods to the place of gathering? Is it that thou art pondering on somewhat concerning the Trojans and Achaeans? for now is their battle and fighting kindled hard at hand.” Then Zeus, the cloud-gatherer, answered him, and said: [20] “Thou knowest, O Shaker of Earth, the purpose in my breast, for the which I gathered you hither; I have regard unto them, even though they die. Yet verily, for myself will I abide here sitting in a fold of Olympus, wherefrom I will gaze and make glad my heart; but do ye others all go forth till ye be come among the Trojans and Achaeans, and bear aid to this side or that, even as the mind of each may be. [25] For if Achilles shall fight alone against the Trojans, not even for a little space will they hold back the swift-footed son of Peleus. Nay, even aforetime were they wont to tremble as they looked upon him, and now when verily his heart is grievously in wrath for his friend, I fear me lest even beyond what is ordained he lay waste the wall.”  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Il Book 21 – Homer, Iliad

[1] But when they were now come to the ford of the fair-flowing river, even eddying Xanthus that immortal Zeus begat, there Achilles cleft them asunder, and the one part he drave to the plain toward the city, even where the Achaeans were fleeing in rout [5] the day before, what time glorious Hector was raging—thitherward poured forth some in rout, and Hera spread before them a thick mist to hinder them; but the half of them were pent into the deep-flowing river with its silver eddies. Therein they flung themselves with a great din, and the sheer-falling streams resounded, [10] and the banks round about rang loudly; and with noise of shouting swam they this way and that, whirled about in the eddies. And as when beneath the onrush of fire locusts take wing to flee unto a river, and the unwearied fire burneth them with its sudden oncoming, and they shrink down into the water; [15] even so before Achilles was the sounding stream of deep-eddying Xanthus filled confusedly with chariots and with men. But the Zeus-begotten left there his spear upon the bank, leaning against the tamarisk bushes, and himself leapt in like a god with naught but his sword; and grim was the work he purposed in his heart, and turning him this way [20] and that he smote and smote; and from them uprose hideous groaning as they were anchorage in their terror, for greedily doth he devour whatsoever one he catcheth; [25] even so cowered the Trojans in the streams of the dread river beneath the steep banks. And he, when his hands grew weary of slaying, chose twelve youths alive from out the river as blood-price for dead Patroclus, son of Menoetius. These led he forth dazed like fawns, [30] and bound their hands behind them with shapely thongs, which they themselves wore about their pliant tunics, and gave them to his comrades to lead to the hollow ships. Then himself he sprang back again, full eager to slay.  Continue Reading  Greek Text

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

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