The Iliad of Homer (Buckley)/BOOK THE EIGHTH

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The Iliad of Homer  (1860)  by Homer, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley
BOOK THE EIGHTH

BOOK THE EIGHTH.

ARGUMENT.

Jove assembles the gods, and forbids them to interfere between the Greeks and Trojans. He then repairs to Ida, where, having consulted the scales of destiny, he directs his lightning against the Greeks. Nestor, in the chariot of Diomede, goes against Hector, whose charioteer is slain by Diomede. Jove again interposes his thunders, and the Greeks seek refuge within the rampart. Upon a favorable omen accompanying the prayer of Agamemnon, Diomede and the rest set out, and Teucer performs great exploits, but is disabled by Hector. Juno and Minerva are prevented interfering by Jove, and Hector takes measures to insure the safety of Troy during the night.

Now did saffron-mantled morn diffuse herself over all the earth, and thunder-rejoicing Jove made an assembly of the gods on the highest peak of many-topped Olympus. And he himself harangued them, and all the other deities hearkened [to his command]:[1]

"Hear me, all ye gods and all ye goddesses, that I may tell you what the soul in my breast prompts me. Let no female deity, therefore, nor any male, attempt to infringe this my injunction; but do ye all at once assent, that I may very speedily bring these matters to their issue. Whomsoever of the gods I shall discover, having gone apart from [the rest], wishing to aid either the Trojans or the Greeks, disgracefully smitten shall he return to Olympus: or seizing, I will hurl him into gloomy Tartarus, very far hence, where there is a very deep gulf beneath the earth, and iron portals, and a brazen threshold, as far below Hades as heaven is from earth;[2] then shall he know by how much I am the most powerful of all the gods. But come, ye gods, and try me, that ye may all know. Having suspended a golden chain from heaven, do all ye gods and goddesses suspend yourselves therefrom; yet would ye not draw down from heaven to earth your supreme counselor Jove, not even if ye labor ever so much: but whenever I, desiring, should wish to pull it, I could draw it up together, earth, and ocean, and all: then, indeed, would I bind the chain around the top of Olympus, and all these should hang aloft. By so much do I surpass both gods and men."[3]

Thus he said. But they all became mute in silence, wondering at his speech; for he spoke very menacingly. But at length the azure-eyed goddess Minerva thus spoke in the midst:

"O sire of ours! son of Saturn! most supreme of kings! well do we all know that thy strength is irresistible: yet do we truly mourn for the warlike Greeks! who are now perishing, fulfilling their evil fate. But nevertheless, we will refrain from war, since thus thou commandest. Yet will we suggest counsel to the Greeks, which will avail them, that they may not all perish because thou art wrathful."

But her the cloud-impelling Jove smiling addressed: "Be of good cheer, Tritonia, my dear daughter—I speak not with a serious intent; but I am willing to be lenient toward thee."

Thus having said, under his chariot he yoked his brazen-footed, swift-flying steeds, adorned with golden manes. He himself put on gold about his person, and took his golden well-made whip, and ascended the chariot; and lashed them on to proceed, and they, not unwilling, flew midway between the earth and starry heaven. He came to spring-fed Ida, the mother of wild beasts, to Gargarus, where he had a consecrated inclosure, and a fragrant altar. There the father of gods and men stopped his steeds, having loosed them from the chariot, and poured a thick haze around. But he sat upon the summits, exulting in glory, looking upon the city of the Trojans and the ships of the Greeks.

Meanwhile the long-haired Greeks were taking their repast in a hurried manner through the tents, and after that they put on their armor. But the Trojans, on the other side, were arming themselves through the city, fewer in number; yet even thus, they were eager to fight in battle, compelled by necessity, in defense of their children and their wives. And the gates were opened wide, and the forces rushed out, both chariot-warriors and foot, and much tumult arose. But when these collecting together came into one place, they clashed together shields and spears, and the might of brazen-mailed men; but the bossy shields approached one another, and much tumult arose. There at the same time were both lamentation and boasting of men destroying and destroyed, and the earth flowed with blood. As long as the forenoon lasted, and the sacred day was in progress, so long did the weapons touch both, and the people fell. But when the sun had ascended the middle heaven, then at length did Father Jove raise the golden scales, and placed in them two destinies of long-reposing death, [the destinies] both of the horse-breaking Trojans and of the brazen-mailed Greeks, and holding them in the middle, he poised them; but the fatal day of the Greeks inclined low. The destinies of the Greeks, indeed, rested on the bounteous earth, but those of the Trojans on the contrary were elevated to the wide heaven.

But he himself mightily thundered from Ida, and sent his burning lightning against the army of the Greeks: they having seen it, were amazed, and pale fear seized them all. Then neither Idomeneus, nor Agamemnon, nor the two Ajaces, the servants of Mars, dared to remain. Gerenian Nestor alone, the guardian of the Greeks, remained, not willingly, but one of his horses was disabled, which noble Alexander, husband of fair-haired Helen, had pierced with an arrow in the top of the forehead, where the forelocks of horses grow out of the head, and is most fatal.[4] In torture he reared, for the arrow had entered the brain; and he disordered the [other] horses, writhing round the brazen barb. While the old man hastening, was cutting away the side reins of the horse with his sword, then were the swift steeds of Hector coming through the crowd, bearing the bold charioteer Hector. And then the old man would certainly have lost his life, if Diomede, brave in the din of battle, had not quickly observed it; and he shouted, dreadfully exhorting Ulysses, [thus]:

"Jove-born son of Laërtes, much-contriving Ulysses, whither dost thou fly, turning thy back in the throng, like a coward? [Beware], lest some man with a spear transpierce thee in the back, flying. But stay, that we may repel the fierce hero from the aged man."

Thus he spoke: but much-enduring, noble Ulysses heard him not, but passed by to the hollow ships of the Greeks. But the son of Tydeus, though being alone, was mixed with the van, and stood before the steeds of the aged son of Neleus, and addressing him, spoke winged words:

"O old man, certainly the youthful warriors greatly oppress thee: but thy strength is relaxed, and tiresome old age attends thee: thy servant is exhausted, and thy steeds are slow. But come, ascend my chariot, that thou mayest see what kind are the steeds of Tros, skilled to fly and to pursue very rapidly, here and there, through the plain; which lately I took from Æneas, authors of flight. Let the attendants take care of those steeds [of thine], but let us direct these against the horse-breaking Trojans, that even Hector may know whether my spear also rages madly in my hands."

Thus he said: but the Gerenian knight Nestor disobeyed him not. Accordingly, at once their attendants, brave Sthenelus and valorous Eurymedon, took care of Nestor's steeds: and the two chiefs ascended the chariot of Diomede. Nestor took the shining reins in his hands, and lashed the steeds, and soon they came near Hector. At him rushing impetuously forward, the son of Tydeus lanched a spear; but the weapon missed him, and struck his attendant charioteer in the breast, near the pap, who was holding the reins of the steeds, Eniopeus, the son of magnanimous Thebæus: but he fell from the chariot, and the swift steeds started back, and there his soul and his strength were dissolved. But excessive grief overshadowed Hector in his mind, on account of [the loss of] his charioteer. There, though grieving for his companion, he let him lie, and sought a bold charioteer: nor did his steeds long want a guide; for soon he found courageous Archeptolemus, the son of Iphitus, whom then he made to mount the swift-footed steeds, and gave the reins into his hands.

Then, indeed, had slaughter arisen, and dreadful deeds had been done, and [the Trojans] had been pent up in Ilium like lambs, had not the father of both men and gods quickly perceived it. Therefore, dreadfully thundering he sent forth his glowing thunderbolt, and cast it into the earth before the steeds of Diomede: but there arose a terrible flame of burning sulphur, and the two frightened steeds crouched trembling beneath the chariot. Moreover, the beautiful reins fell from the hand of Nestor, and he feared in his soul, and addressed Diomede:

"Son of Tydeus, come now, turn thy solid-hoofed steeds to flight. Dost thou not perceive that victory from Jove does not attend thee? For now, this very day, of a truth, Saturnian Jove awards him glory; afterward again will he give it to us, if he shall be willing. By no means can a man impede the will of Jove, not even a very mighty one; since he is by far the most powerful."

But him Diomede, brave in the din of war, then answered: "Old man, certainly thou hast said all this rightly: but this grievous sorrow invades my heart and my soul: for Hector at some time will say, haranguing among the Trojans, 'The son of Tydeus, routed by me, fled to his ships.' Thus at some time will he boast: but then, may the earth yawn wide for me."

But him the Gerenian knight Nestor then answered: "Alas! warlike son of Tydeus, what hast thou said? Even though Hector call thee coward and unwarlike, yet the Trojans and Dardanians, and the wives of the stout-hearted shield-bearing Trojans, whose vigorous husbands thou hast prostrated in the dust, will not believe him."

Thus having said, he turned the solid-hoofed steeds to flight, back into the crowd. But the Trojans and Hector, with a mighty shout, poured destructive missiles upon them. And then after him loud roared mighty crest-tossing Hector:

"Son of Tydeus, the swift-horsed Greeks honored thee, indeed, above [others] with a seat, with meat, and full cups; but now will they dishonor thee; for thou hast become like a woman. Away! timorous girl! since thou shalt never climb our towers, I giving way, nor bear away our women in thy ships; first shall I give thee thy doom."

Thus he said; but the son of Tydeus debated whether to turn his steeds, and to fight against him. Thrice, indeed, he thought in mind and soul, but thrice, on the other hand, the provident Jove thundered from the Idæan mountains, giving a signal to the Trojans, the alternating success of battle. But Hector exhorted the Trojans, vociferating aloud:

"Ye Trojans and Lycians, and close-fighting Dardanians, be men, my friends, and be mindful of impetuous might! I know the son of Saturn hath willingly accorded me victory and great renown, but to the Greeks destruction. Fools, who indeed built those weak, worthless walls, which shall not check my strength; but our steeds will easily overleap the dug trench. But when, indeed, I come to their hollow ships, then let there be some memory of burning fire, that I may consume their fleet with the flame, and slay the Argives themselves at the ships, bewildered by the smoke."

Thus having spoken, he cheered on his steeds, and said: "Xanthus, and thou Podargus, and Æthon, and noble Lampus, now repay to me the attention, with which, in great abundance, Andromache, the daughter of magnanimous Eetion, gave to you the sweet barley, mixing wine also [for you] to drink, whenever your mind ordered it, even before me, who boast to be her vigorous husband. But follow and hasten, that we may take the shield of Nestor, the fame of which has now reached the heaven, that it is entirely golden, the handles and itself: but, from the shoulders of horse-breaking Diomede, the well-made corselet, which the artist Vulcan wrought. If we can take these, I expect that the Greeks this very night will ascend their swift ships."

Thus he said boasting; but venerable Juno was indignant, and shook herself on her throne, and made great Olympus tremble; and openly accosted the mighty deity, Neptune:

"Alas! far-ruling Earth-shaker, dost thou not in thy soul pity the perishing Greeks? But they bring thee many and grateful gifts to Helice and Ægæ. Do thou, therefore, will to them the victory. For if we were willing, as many of us as are assistants to the Greeks, to repulse the Trojans and restrain far-sounding Jove, then might he grieve sitting alone there on Ida."

But her king Neptune, greatly excited, thus addressed: "Juno, petulant[5] in speech, what hast thou said? I would not wish, indeed, that we, the other gods, should fight with Saturnian Jove, since he is by far most powerful."

Thus indeed were they holding such converse with each other. But whatever space before the ships the trench belonging to the tower inclosed, was filled with horses and shielded men crowded together.[6] But Hector, the son of Priam, equal to swift Mars, had crowded them thus, when Jupiter awarded him glory. And now would he have burned the equal ships with blazing fire, had not venerable Juno put it into the soul of Agamemnon, himself actively engaged, briskly to urge on the Greeks. He therefore hastened to go along the tents and ships of the Greeks, holding in his stout hand his great purple robe. But in the huge black ship of Ulysses he stood, which was in the midst, that he might shout audibly to either side, as well to the tent of Telamonian Ajax, as to that of Achilles, for they had drawn up their equal ships at the extremities of the line, relying on their valor and the strength of their hands. Then he shouted distinctly, calling upon the Greeks:

"Shame! ye Greeks, foul subjects of disgrace! gallant in form [alone]! Where are those boastings gone, when we professed ourselves the bravest; those which, once in Lemnos, vain braggants! ye did utter, eating much flesh of horned oxen, and drinking goblets crowned with wine,[7] that each would in battle be equivalent to a hundred and even two hundred of the Trojans? But now, indeed, we are not equal to Hector alone, who shortly will burn our ships with flaming fire. O father Jove, hast thou indeed ever yet afflicted with such destruction any one of mighty kings, and so deprived him of high renown? And yet I say that I never passed by thy fair altar in my many-benched ship, coming here with ill luck.[8] But on all I burned the fat of oxen and the thighs, desiring to sack well-walled Troy. But, O Jove, accomplish for me this vow, at least permit us to escape and get away; nor suffer the Greeks to be thus subdued by the Trojans."

Thus he said: and the Sire[9] pitied him weeping, and granted to him that the army should be safe, and not perish. And forthwith he sent an eagle, the most perfect[10] of birds, holding a fawn in his talons, the offspring of a swift deer: and near the very beauteous altar of Jove he cast down the fawn, where the Greeks were sacrificing to Panomphæan[11] Jove.

When, therefore, they saw that the bird had come from Jove, they rushed the more against the Trojans, and were mindful of battle. Then none of the Greeks, numerous as they were, could have boasted that he had driven his own swift steeds before Diomede, and urged them beyond the ditch, and fought against [the enemy]; for far the first he slew a helmeted Trojan hero, Agelaus, son of Phradmon. He, indeed, was turning his horses for flight; but as he was turning, Diomede fixed his spear in his back, between his shoulders, and drove it through his breast. He fell from his chariot, and his arms rattled upon him. After him the sons of Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus; after them the Ajaces, clad in impetuous valor; after them, Idomeneus and Meriones, the armor-bearer of Idomeneus, equal to man-slaughtering Mars; and after them Eurypylus, the illustrious son of Evæmon. Teucer came the ninth, stretching his bent[12] bow, and stood under the shield of Telamonian Ajax. Then, Ajax, indeed, kept moving the shield aside, and the hero looking around, when shooting, he had hit any one in the crowd, the one[13] falling there, lost his life. But he[14] retiring like a child to his mother, sheltered himself beneath Ajax, and he covered him with his splendid shield. Then what Trojan first did blameless Teucer slay? Orsilochus first, and Ormenus, and Ophelestes, and Dætor, and Chromius, and godlike Lycophontes, and Amopaon, son of Polyæmon, and Melanippus—all, one after the other, he stretched upon the bounteous earth. But Agamemnon, king of men, rejoiced at seeing him destroying the phalanxes of the Trojans with his stout bow. And advancing near him he stood, and thus addressed him:

"Teucer, beloved one, son of Telamon, ruler of forces, shoot thus, if perchance thou mayest become a light[15] to the Greeks, and to thy father Telamon, who brought thee up carefully, being a little one, and treated thee with care in his palace, though being a spurious son. Him, though far away, do thou exalt with glory. But I will declare to thee, as it shall be brought to pass, if ægis-bearing Jove and Minerva shall grant me to sack the well-built city of Ilium, next to myself I will place an honorable reward in thy hands, either a tripod, or two steeds with their chariot, or some fair one, who may ascend the same couch with thee."

But him blameless Teucer answering, addressed: "Most glorious son of Atreus, why dost thou urge on me hastening; nor, as far as I have any strength, do I loiter: but from the time we have driven the Trojans toward Ilium, since that period have I slain men, intercepting them with my shafts. Already have I discharged eight long-bearded arrows, and they have all been fixed in the bodies of warlike youths; but I can not strike this raging dog."

He said; and another arrow from the string he shot right against Hector, for his mind was eager to strike him; and him indeed he missed: but in the breast he struck blameless Gorgythion with an arrow, the brave son of Priam. Him his fair mother Castianira, like unto a goddess in person, brought forth, being wedded from Æsyma. And as a poppy, which in the garden is weighed down with fruit and vernal showers, droops its head to one side, so did his head incline aside, depressed by the helmet. But Teucer discharged another arrow from the string against Hector, for his mind longed to strike him. Yet even then he missed, for Apollo warded off the shaft: but he struck in the breast, near the pap, Archeptolemus, the bold charioteer of Hector, rushing to battle: and he fell from his chariot, and his swift steeds sprang back. There his soul and strength were dissolved. But sad grief darkened the mind of Hector, on account of his charioteer. Then indeed he left him, although grieved for his companion, and ordered his brother Cebriones, being near, to take the reins of the steeds; but he was not disobedient, having heard him. Then [Hector] himself leaped from his all-shining chariot to the ground, roaring dreadfully: and he seized a large stone in his hand, and went straight against Teucer, for his mind encouraged him to strike him. He on his part took out a bitter arrow from his quiver, and applied it to the string: but him, on the other hand, near the shoulder, where the collar-bone separates the neck and breast, and it is a particularly fatal spot, there, as he was drawing back [the bow], the active warrior Hector[16] with a rugged stone struck him earnestly rushing against him. He broke his bowstring, and his hand was numbed at the wrist-joint. Falling on his knees he stood, and the bow dropped from his hands. But Ajax did not neglect his fallen brother; for running up, he protected him, and stretched his shield before him. Afterward his two dear companions, Mecistheus, son of Echius, and noble Alastor, coming up, carried him, groaning heavily, to the hollow ships.

But again did Olympian Jove rouse the strength of the Trojans; and they drove back the Greeks straight to the deep foss. But Hector went in the van, looking grim through ferocity; as when some dog, relying on his swift feet, seizes from the rear a wild boar or lion on the haunch and buttocks, and marks him as he turns: so Hector hung on the rear of the long-haired Greeks, always slaying the hindmost: and they fled. But when they flying had passed through the stakes and the foss, and many were subdued beneath the hands of the Trojans, they, on the one hand, remaining at the ships were restrained, and having exhorted one another, and raised their hands to all the gods, they prayed each with a loud voice. But, on the other hand, Hector, having the eyes of a Gorgon, or of man-slaughtering Mars, drove round his beauteous-maned steeds in all directions.

But them [the Greeks] white-armed goddess Juno having beheld, pitied them, and thus straightway to Minerva addressed winged words:

"Alas! daughter of ægis-bearing Jove, shall we no longer be anxious about the perishing Greeks, although in extremity;—who now, indeed, fulfilling evil fate, are perishing by the violence of one man? for Hector, the son of Priam, rages, no longer to be endured, and already has he done many evils."

But her the azure-eyed goddess Minerva in turn addressed: "And beyond doubt this warrior would have lost his vigor and his life, destroyed by the hands of the Greeks in his fatherland, were it not that this my sire rages with no sound mind; cruel, ever unjust, a counteractor of my efforts. Nor does he remember aught of my services, that I have very often preserved his son, when oppressed by the labors of Eurystheus. He truly wept to heaven; but me Jove sent down from heaven to aid him. But had I known this in my prudent[17] mind, when he sent me to [the dwelling] of the jailor Pluto to drag from Erebus the dog of hateful Pluto, he had not escaped the profound stream of the Stygian wave. But now, indeed, he hates me, and prefers the wish of Thetis, who kissed his knees, and took his beard in her hand, beseeching him to honor city-destroying Achilles. The time will be when he will again call me his dear Minerva. But do thou now harness for us thy solid-hoofed steeds, while I, having entered the palace of ægis-bearing Jove, equip myself with arms for war, that I may see whether crest-tossing Hector, the son of Priam, will rejoice at us, as I appear in the walks[18] of war. Certainly also some one of the Trojans will satiate the dogs and birds with his fat and flesh, having fallen at the ships of the Greeks."

Thus she said: nor did the white-armed goddess Juno disobey her. Juno, on her part, venerable goddess, daughter of mighty Saturn, running in haste, caparisoned the golden-bridled steeds. But Minerva, the daughter of ægis-bearing Jove, let fall upon the pavement of her father her beauteous variegated robe, which she had wrought and labored with her own hands. But she, having put on the coat of mail of cloud-compelling Jove, was equipped in armor for the tearful war. She mounted her flaming chariot on her feet, and took her heavy, huge, sturdy spear, with which she is wont to subdue the ranks of heroic men, with whomsoever she, sprung from a powerful sire, is enraged. But Juno with the lash speedily urged on the steeds. The portals of heaven opened spontaneously, which the Hours[19] guarded, to whom are intrusted the great heaven and Olympus, either to open the dense cloud, or to close it. Then through these they guided their goaded steeds.

But father Jove, when he beheld them from Ida, was grievously enraged, and roused golden-winged Iris to bear this message:

"Away, depart, swift Iris, turn them back, nor suffer them to come against me; for we shall not advantageously engage in battle. For thus I speak, and it shall moreover be accomplished, I will lame their swift steeds under their chariot; dislodge them from the chariot, and break the chariot; nor for ten revolving years shall ye be healed of the wounds which the thunderbolt shall inflict: that Minerva may know when she may be fighting with her sire. But with Juno I am neither so indignant nor so angry; for she is ever accustomed to counteract me, in whatever I intend."

Thus he said: but Iris, swift as the storm, hastened to bear the message. Down from the Idæan mountains she went to great Olympus: meeting them in the foremost gates of many-valleyed Olympus, she restrained them, and pronounced to them the message of Jove:

"Where do ye go? Why does your soul rage in your breasts? The sun of Saturn does not suffer you to aid the Greeks. For thus has the son of Saturn threatened, and he will assuredly perform it, to lame your swift steeds under your chariot, and dislodge yourselves from the chariot, and break the chariot; nor for ten revolving years shall ye be healed of the wounds which his thunderbolt shall inflict: that thou, O Azure-eyed, mayest know when thou art fighting with thy sire. But with Juno he is neither so indignant nor so angry; for she is always accustomed to counteract him in whatever he devises. But thou, most insolent and audacious hound! if thou in reality shalt dare to raise thy mighty spear against Jove—"[20]

Thus indeed having said, swift-footed Iris departed. Then Juno addressed these words to Minerva:

"Alas! daughter of ægis-bearing Jove, I can not any longer suffer that we ourselves shall fight against Jove, on account of mortals. Of whom let one perish, and let another live, whoever may chance. But let him, meditating his own affairs in his mind, adjudicate to the Trojans and the Greeks as is fair."

Thus then having said, she turned back the solid-hoofed steeds. The Hours unyoked for them the fair-maned steeds, and bound them to the ambrosial mangers; but they tilted the chariots against the splendid walls. But they themselves sat, mingled with the other deities, on their golden couches, sad at heart.

Then father Jove drove his beauteous-wheeled chariot and steeds from Ida to Olympus, and came to the seats of the gods. His horses, indeed, the illustrious Earth-shaker loosed, but he laid the chariot on its support, spreading a linen coverlet [over it]. But loud-sounding Jove himself sat on his golden throne, and mighty Olympus was shaken under his feet. But Minerva and Juno by themselves sat apart from Jove, nor did they at all address him, nor question him. But he knew in his mind, and said:

"Why are ye so sad, Minerva and Juno? Indeed, ye have not labored long in glorious battle to destroy the Trojans, against whom ye have taken grievous hatred. Not all the gods in Olympus could altogether turn me to flight, such are my strength and my invincible hands. But trembling seized the shining limbs of both of you, before ye saw battle, and the destructive deeds of war. For so I tell you, which would also have been performed: no more should ye, stricken with my thunder, have returned in your chariots to Olympus, where are the seats of the immortals."

Thus he said: but Minerva and Juno murmured. They sat near each other, and were devising evils for the Trojans. Minerva, indeed, was silent, nor said any thing, angry with father Jove, for wild rage possessed her. But Juno contained not her wrath in her breast, but addressed him:

"Most terrible son of Saturn, what hast thou said? Well do we know that thy might is invincible: yet do we lament the warlike Greeks, who will now perish, fulfilling their evil destiny. But nevertheless, we will desist from war, if thou desirest it. But we will suggest counsel to the Greeks, which will avail them, that they may not all perish, thou being wrathful."

But her cloud-compelling Jove answering, addressed: "Tomorrow, if thou wilt, O venerable, large-eyed Juno, thou shalt behold the very powerful son of Saturn even with greater havoc destroying the mighty army of the warlike Greeks. For warlike Hector will not cease from battle before that he arouse the swift-footed son of Peleus at the ships. On that day, when they indeed are fighting at the ships, in a very narrow pass, for Patroclus fallen. For thus is it fated. But I do not make account of thee enraged, not if thou shouldst go to the furthest limits of land and ocean, where Iapetus and Saturn sitting, are delighted neither with the splendor of the sun that journeys on high, nor with the winds; but profound Tartarus [is] all around—not even if wandering, thou shouldst go there, have I regard for thee enraged, since there is nothing more impudent than thou."

Thus he said: but white-armed Juno answered naught. And the bright light of the sun fell into the ocean, drawmg dark night over the fruitful earth.[21] The light set to the Trojans indeed unwilling; but gloomy and much-desired night came on, grateful to the Greeks.

But illustrious Hector then formed a council of the Trojans, having led them apart from the ships, at the eddying river, in a clear space, where the place appeared free from dead bodies. But alighting to the ground from their horses, they listened to the speech which Hector, beloved of Jove, uttered. In his hand he held a spear of eleven cubits: and before him shone the golden point of the spear, and a golden ring surrounded it. Leaning on this, he spoke winged words:

"Hear me, ye Trojans, and Dardanians, and allies: I lately thought that having destroyed the ships and all the Greeks, I should return back to wind-swept Ilium. But darkness has come on first, which has now been the chief means of preserving the Greeks and their ships on the shore of the sea. But, however, let us now obey dark night, and make ready our repasts; and do ye loose from your chariots your beautiful-maned steeds, and set fodder before them: and quickly bring from the city oxen and fat sheep; bring sweet wine and bread from your homes; and besides collect many fagots, that all night till Aurora, mother of dawn, we may kindle many fires, and the splendor may ascend to heaven: lest haply in the night the long-haired Greeks attempt to fly over the broad ridge of the ocean. That they may not at all events without toil and without harm ascend their ships; but [let us] take care that each of them may have to heal a wound[22] at home, being stricken either with an arrow, or with a sharp spear, bounding into his ship; that every other too may dread to wage tearful war against the horse-breaking Trojans, Let the heralds, dear to Jove, proclaim through the city, that the youths at the age of puberty, and the hoary-templed sages, keep watch around the city, in the god-built turrets; and let the females also, the feebler sex, in their halls each kindle a mighty fire: and let there be some strong guard, lest a secret band enter the city, the people being absent. Thus let it be, magnanimous Trojans, as I say: and let the speech, which is now most salutary, be thus spoken. But for that which will be [most expedient] in the morning, I will [then] speak among the horse-breaking Trojans. Making vows both to Jove and to the other gods, I hope to banish hence those dogs borne hither by the fates, whom the fates bear in their black ships.[23] But let us keep watch during the night, and in the morning, at dawn, equipped with arms, let us stir up sharp conflict at the hollow ships. I will see whether valiant Diomede. the son of Tydeus, will force me back from the ships to our walls, or whether I shall bear away his bloody spoils, having slain him with my brazen spear. To-morrow shall he make manifest his valor, if he shall withstand my assaulting spear. But I think that he will lie wounded among the first at sunrise to-morrow, and many companions around him. Would that I were so certainly immortal, and free from old age all my days, and honored, as Minerva and Apollo are honored, as [I am certain] that this day will bring evil upon the Greeks."

Thus Hector harangued them; but the Trojans applauded aloud. And they loosed from the yoke their sweating steeds, and bound them with halters, each to his own chariot. Quickly they brought from the city oxen and fat sheep: and they brought sweet wine, and bread from their homes, and also collected many faggots. But the winds raised the savor from the plain to heaven.

But they, greatly elated, sat all night in the ranks of war, and many fires blazed for them. As when in heaven the stars appear very conspicuous[24] around the lucid moon, when the æther is wont to be without a breeze, and all the pointed rocks and lofty summits and groves appear, but in heaven the immense æther is disclosed, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his soul. Thus did many fires of the Trojans kindling them appear before Ilium, between the ships and the streams of Xanthus. A thousand fires blazed in the plain, and by each sat fifty men, at the light of the blazing fire. But their steeds eating white barley and oats, standing by the chariots, awaited beautiful-throned Aurora.


  1. i. e., dii obsequtii sunt, ut convocati convenirent.—Heyne.
  2. See the notes of Newton on Parad. Lost, i. 74.
  3. Referring to this address of Jove, Coleridge remarks: "Although the supremacy of Jove comes far short of the true conception of almighty power, the characteristic point which seem, to be fairly established is, that he is the active and ruling power of the popular mythology, the supreme and despotic chief of an aristocracy of weaker divinities, accustomed to consult with them and liable to their opposition and even violence, yet, upon the whole, substantially aristocratic, and independent of any recognized permanent superior."—Classic Poets, p. 159.
  4. Or "opportune," viz. for inflicting a fatal wound.—Kennedy.
  5. Compare the phrase καθάπτεσθαι ἐπέεσσιν.—Od. ii. 240. Suidas: Ἀπτοεπής· ἀπτόητος ἐν τῷ λέγειν. Apollon. Lex. p. 188: Ἀπτωτε, ἢ ἀπτόητε τοῖς λόγοις, ἢ καθάπτομένη διὰ τῶν λογῶν.
  6. Observe that τῶν belongs to ἵππων and ἀνδρῶν, and that ὅσον ἐκ νηῶν ἀπὸ πύργου τάφρος ἔεργε, means that "the space between the rampart and the sea was inclosed." Ἀπὸ does not govern πύργου, but is compounded with ἔεργε.
  7. Cf. Buttm. Lexil. 292, sqq. who has, however, been long since anticipated by Paschal, de Coron. i. 4.
  8. Schol. Ἔῤῥων, ἐπὶ φθορᾷ παραγενόμενος. See Alberti on Hesych. s. v. t. i. p. 1445. So, also, Apollon. p. 364: Ἐπὶ φθορᾷ πορευόμενος.
  9. See my note on Æsch. Prom. p. 3, n. 3.
  10. i. e., with reference to augury. Hesych. p. 1360, explains it by ἐπιτελεστικώτατον (see Alberti). Tho eagle is said to have foretold Jove's own sovereignty, and hence to have been placed among the constellations. Cf. Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 16; Eratosthen. Catast. 30; Serv. on Æn. ix. 564.
  11. So called, as being the author of all augury.
  12. i. e., prepared for action.
  13. i. e., the wounded man.
  14. Teucer.
  15. See on vi. 6.
  16. See Buttm. Lexil. p. 64.
  17. The Scholiast, and Apollon. Lex. p. 658, interpret πευκαλίμῃσι, πικραῖς καὶ δυνεταῖς. Perhaps "sharp devising" would bo the best translation.
  18. Literally, "bridges," i. e., tho open spaces between tho different battalions.
  19. Hence the Hours also possess the office of tending and harnessing the horses of the sun, as is shown by Dausq. on Quint. Calab. i. p. 9.
  20. Observe the aposiopesis.
  21. Beautifully expressed by Ennius apud Macrob. Sat. vi. 4: "Interea fax Occidit, Oceanumque rubra tractim obruit æthra." See Columna on Enn. p. 113, ed. Hessel.
  22. Literally, "digest a weapon," i. e., have a wound to attend to. So telum and vulnus are used for each other in Latin.
  23. Surely thia line is a gloss upon κηρρεσσιφορήτους.
  24. Cf. Æsch. Ag. 6: Λαμπροὺς δυνάστας, ἐμπρέποντας αἰθέρι.