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THE ILIAD
Introduction. Jupiter, king of the gods, refrained from an alliance with Thetis, a sea divinity, because he was told her son would be greater than his father. To console her, however, he decreed that all the gods should attend her nuptials with Peleus, King of Thessaly. At this wedding banquet the Goddess of Discord produced a golden apple, inscribed "To the fairest," which Juno, Minerva, and Venus claimed.

Because the gods refused to act as umpires in this quarrel, Paris, son of the King of Troy, was chosen. As an oracle had predicted before his birth that he would cause the ruin of his city, Paris was abandoned on a mountain to perish, but was rescued by kindly shepherds.

On hearing Juno offer him worldly power, Minerva boundless wisdom, and Venus the most beautiful wife in the world, Paris bestowed the prize of beauty upon Venus. She, therefore, bade him return to Troy, where his family was ready to welcome him, and sail thence to Greece to kidnap Helen, daughter of Jupiter and Leda and wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta. So potent were this lady's charms that her step-father had made all her suitors swear never to carry her away from her husband, and to aid in her recovery should she ever be kidnapped.

Shortly after his arrival at Sparta and during a brief absence of its king, Paris induced Helen to elope with him. On his return the outraged husband summoned the suitors to redeem their pledge, and collected a huge force at Aulis, where Agamemnon his brother became leader of the expedition. Such was the popularity of this war that even heroes who had taken no oath were anxious to make part of the punitive expedition, the most famous of these warriors being Achilles, son of Thetis and Peleus.

After many adventures the Greeks, landing on the shores of Asia, began besieging the city, from whose ramparts Helen watched her husband and his allies measure their strength against the Trojans. Such was the bravery displayed on both sides that the war raged nine years without any decisive advantage being obtained. At the end of this period, during a raid, the Greeks secured two female captives, which were awarded to Agamemnon and to Achilles in recognition of past services.

Although the above events are treated in sundry other Greek poems and epics,—which no longer exist entire, but form part of a cycle,—"The Iliad," accredited to Homer, takes up the story at this point, and relates the wrath of Achilles, together with the happenings of some fifty days in the ninth year.

Book I. After invoking the Muse to aid him sing the wrath of Achilles, the poet relates how Apollo's priest came in person to the Greek camp to ransom his captive daughter, only to be treated with contumely by Agamemnon. In his indignation this priest besought Apollo to send down a plague to decimate the foe's forces, and the Greeks soon learned from their oracles that its ravages would not cease until the maiden was restored to her father.

  Nor will the god's awaken'd fury cease,
  But plagues shall spread, and funeral fires increase,
  Till the great king, without a ransom paid,
  To her own Chrysa send the black-eyed maid.[2]

In a formal council Agamemnon is therefore asked to relinquish his captive, but violently declares that he will do so only in case he receives Achilles' slave. This insolent claim so infuriates the young hero that he is about to draw his sword, when Minerva, unseen by the rest, bids him hold his hand, and state that should Agamemnon's threat be carried out he will withdraw from the war.

Although the aged Nestor employs all his honeyed eloquence to soothe this quarrel, both chiefs angrily withdraw, Agamemnon to send his captive back to her father, and Achilles to sulk in his tent.

It is while he is thus engaged that Agamemnon's heralds appear and lead away his captive. Mindful of Minerva's injunctions, Achilles allows her to depart, but registers a solemn oath that, even were the Greeks to perish, he will lend them no aid. Then, strolling down to the shore, he summons his mother from the watery deep, and implores her to use her influence to avenge his wrongs. Knowing his life will prove short though glorious, Thetis promises to visit Jupiter on Olympus in his behalf. There she wins from the Father of the Gods a promise that the Greeks will suffer defeat as long as her son does not fight in their ranks,—a promise confirmed by his divine nod. This, however, arouses the wrath and jealousy of Juno, whom Jupiter is compelled to chide so severely that peace and harmony are restored in Olympus only when Vulcan, acting as cup-bearer, rouses the inextinguishable laughter of the gods by his awkward limp.

Book II. That night, while all are sleeping, Zeus sends a deceptive dream to Agamemnon to suggest the moment has come to attack Troy. At dawn, therefore, Agamemnon calls an assembly, and the chiefs decide to test the mettle of the Greeks by ordering a return home, and, in the midst of these preparations, summoning the men to fight.

These signs of imminent departure incense Juno and Minerva, who, ever since the golden apple was bestowed upon Venus, are sworn foes of Paris and Troy. In disguise, therefore, Minerva urges Ulysses, wiliest of the Greeks, to silence the clown Thersites, and admonish his companions that if they return home empty-handed they will be disgraced. Only too pleased, Ulysses reminds his countrymen how, just before they left home, a serpent crawled from beneath the altar and devoured eight young sparrows and the mother who tried to defend them, adding that this was an omen that for nine years they would vainly besiege Troy but would triumph in the tenth.

His eloquent reminder, reinforced by patriotic speeches from Nestor
and Agamemnon, determines the Greeks to attempt a final attack upon
Troy. So, with the speed and destructive fury of a furious fire, the
Greek army, whose forces and leaders are all named, sweeps on toward
Troy, where Iris has flown to warn the Trojans of their approach.

  As on some mountain, through the lofty grove
  The crackling flames ascend and blaze above;
  The fires expanding, as the winds arise,
  Shoot their long beams and kindle half the skies:
  So from the polish'd arms and brazen shields
  A gleamy splendor flash'd along the fields.

It is in the form of one of Priam's sons that this divinity enters the palace, where, as soon as Hector hears the news, he musters his warriors, most conspicuous among whom are his brother Paris, and Aeneas, son of Venus and Anchises.

Book III. Both armies now advance toward each other, the Trojans uttering shrill cries like migratory cranes, while the Greeks maintain an impressive silence. When near enough to recognize his wife's seducer, Menelaus rushes forward to attack Paris, who, terrified, takes refuge in the ranks of the Trojan host. So cowardly a retreat, however, causes Hector to express the bitter wish that his brother had died before bringing disgrace upon Troy. Although conscious of deserving reproof, Paris, after reminding his brother all men are not constituted alike, offers to redeem his honor by fighting Menelaus, provided Helen and her treasures are awarded to the victor. This proposal proves so welcome, that Hector checks the advance of his men and proposes this duel to the Greeks, who accept his terms, provided Priam will swear in person to the treaty.

Meanwhile Iris, in guise of a princess, has entered the Trojan palace and bidden Helen hasten to the ramparts to see the two armies—instead of fighting—offering sacrifices as a preliminary to the duel, of which she is to be the prize. Donning a veil and summoning her attendants, Helen seeks the place whence Priam and his ancient counsellors gaze down upon the plain. On beholding her, even these aged men admit the two nations are excusable for so savagely disputing her possession, while Priam, with fatherly tact, ascribes the war to the gods alone.

  These, when the Spartan queen approach'd the tower,
  In secret own'd resistless beauty's power:
  They cried, "No wonder such celestial charms
  For nine long years have set the world in arms;
  What winning grace! what majestic mien!
  She moves a goddess and she looks a queen!"

Then he invites Helen to sit beside him and name the Greeks he points out, among whom she recognizes, with bitter shame, her brother-in-law Agamemnon, Ulysses the wily, and Ajax the bulwark of Greece. Then, while she is vainly seeking the forms of her twin brothers, messengers summon Priam down-to the plain to swear to the treaty, a task he has no sooner performed than he drives back to Troy, leaving Hector and Ulysses to measure out the duelling ground and to settle by lot which champion shall strike first.

Fate having favored Paris, he advances in brilliant array, and soon contrives to shatter Menelaus' sword. Thus deprived of a weapon, Menelaus boldly grasps his adversary by his plumed helmet and drags him away, until, seeing her protégé in danger, Venus breaks the fastenings of his helmet, which alone remains in Menelaus' hands. Then she spirits Paris back to the Trojan palace, where she leaves him resting on a couch, and hurries off, in the guise of an old crone, to twitch Helen's veil, whispering that Paris awaits her at home. Recognizing the goddess in spite of her disguise, Helen reproaches her, declaring she has no desire ever to see Paris again, but Venus, awing Helen into submission, leads her back to the palace. There Paris, after artfully ascribing Menelaus' triumph to Minerva's aid, proceeds to woo Helen anew. Meantime Menelaus vainly ranges to and fro, seeking his foe and hotly accusing the Trojans of screening him, while Agamemnon clamors for the immediate surrender of Helen, saving the Greeks have won.

Book IV. The gods on Mount Olympus, who have witnessed all, now taunt each other with abetting the Trojans or Greeks, as the case may be. After this quarrel has raged some time, Jupiter bids Minerva go down, and violate the truce; so, in the guise of a warrior, she prompts a Trojan archer to aim at Menelaus a dart which produces a nominal wound. This is enough, however, to excite Agamemnon to avenge the broken treaty. A moment later the Greek phalanx advances, urged on by Minerva, while the Trojans, equally inspired by Mars, rush to meet them with similar fury. Streams of blood now flow, the earth trembles beneath the crash of falling warriors, and the roll of war chariots is like thunder. Although it seems for a while as if the Greeks are gaining the advantage, Apollo spurs the Trojans to new efforts by reminding them that Achilles, their most dreaded foe, is absent.

Book V. Seeing the battle well under way, Minerva now drags Mars out of the fray, suggesting that mortals settle their quarrel unaided. Countless duels now occur, many lives are lost, and sundry miracles are performed. Diomedes, for instance, being instantly healed of a grievous wound by Minerva, plunges back into the fray and fights until Aeneas bids an archer check his destructive career. But this man is slain before he can obey, and Aeneas himself would have been killed by Diomedes had not Venus snatched him away from the battle-field. While she does this, Diomedes wounds her in the hand, causing her to drop her son, whom Apollo rescues, while she hastens off to obtain from Mars the loan of his chariot, wherein to drive back to Olympus. There, on her mother's breast, Venus sobs out the tale of her fright, and, when healed, is sarcastically advised to leave fighting to the other gods and busy herself only with the pleasures of love.

  The sire of gods and men superior smiled,
  And, calling Venus, thus address'd his child:
  "Not these, O daughter, are thy proper cares,
  Thee milder arts befit, and softer wars;
  Sweet smiles are thine, and kind endearing charms;
  To Mars and Pallas leave the deeds of arms."

Having snatched Aeneas out of danger, Apollo conveys him to Pergamus to be healed, leaving on the battle-field in his stead a phantom to represent him. Then Apollo challenges Mars to avenge Venus' wound, and the fray which ensues becomes so bloody that "Homeric battle" has been ever since the accepted term for fierce fighting. It is because Mars and Bellona protect Hector that the Trojans now gain some advantage, seeing which, Juno and Minerva hasten to the rescue of the Greeks. Arriving on the battle-field, Juno, assuming the form of Stentor (whose brazen tones have become proverbial), directs the Greek onslaught. Meanwhile, instigated by Minerva, Diomedes attacks Mars, who, receiving a wound, emits such a roar of pain that both armies shudder. Then he too is miraculously conveyed to Olympus, where, after exhibiting his wound, he denounces Minerva who caused it. But, although Jupiter sternly rebukes his son, he takes such prompt measures to relieve his suffering, that Mars is soon seated at the Olympian board, where before long he is joined by Juno and Minerva.

Book VI. Meanwhile the battle rages, and in the midst of broken chariots, flying steeds, and clouds of dust, we descry Menelaus and Agamemnon doing wonders and hear Nestor cheering on the Greeks. The Trojans are about to yield before their onslaught, when a warrior warns Hector, and the just returned Aeneas, of their dire peril. After conferring hastily with his friends, Hector returns to Troy to direct the women to implore Minerva's favor, while Aeneas goes to support their men. At the Scaean Gate, Hector meets the mothers, wives, and daughters of the combatants, who, at his suggestion, gladly prepare costly offerings to be borne to Minerva's temple in solemn procession.

Then Hector himself rushes to the palace, where, refusing all refreshment, he goes in quest of Paris, whom he finds in the company of Helen and her maids, idly polishing his armor. Indignantly Hector informs his brother the Trojans are perishing without the walls in defence of the quarrel he kindled, but which he is too cowardly to uphold! Although admitting he deserves reproaches, Paris declares he is about to return to the battle-field, for Helen has just rekindled all his ardor. Seeing Hector does not answer, Helen timidly expresses her regret at having caused these woes, bitterly wishing fate had bound her to a man noble enough to feel and resent an insult. With a curt recommendation to send Paris after him as soon as possible, Hector hastens off to his own dwelling, for he longs to embrace his wife and son, perhaps for the last time.

There he finds none but the servants at home, who inform him that his wife has gone to the watch-tower, whither he now hastens. The meeting between Hector and Andromache, her tender reproaches at the risks he runs, and her passionate reminder that since Achilles deprived her of her kin he is her sole protector, form the most touching passage in the Iliad. Gently reminding her he must go where honor calls, and sadly admitting he is haunted by visions of fallen Troy and of her plight as a captive, Hector adds that to protect her from such a fate he must fight. But when he holds out his arms to his child, the little one, terrified by the plumes on his helmet, refuses to come to him until he lays it aside. Having embraced his infant son, Hector fervently prays he may grow up to defend the Trojans, ere he hands him back to Andromache, from whom he also takes tender leave.

  Thus having spoke, the illustrious chief of Troy
  Stretch'd his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy.
  The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast,
  Seared at the dazzling helm and nodding crest.
  With secret pleasure each fond parent smiled
  And Hector hasted to relieve his child,
  The glittering terrors from his brows unbound,
  And placed the beaming helmet on the ground;
  Then kiss'd the child, and, lifting high in air,
  Thus to the gods preferr'd a father's prayer:
  "O thou! whose glory fills the ethereal throne,
  And all ye deathless powers! protect my son!
  Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown,
  To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown,
  Against his country's foes the war to wage,
  And rise the Hector of the future age!
  So when triumphant from successful toils
  Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils,
  Whole hosts may hail him with deserved acclaim,
  And say, 'This chief transcends his father's fame:'
  While pleased amidst the general shouts of Troy,
  His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy."

Then, resuming his helmet, Hector drives out of the Scaean Gate and is joined by his brother Paris, now full of ambition to fight.

Book VII. Joyfully the Trojans hail the arrival of both brothers, before whose fierce onslaught the Greeks soon fall back in their turn. Meanwhile Minerva and Apollo, siding with opposite forces, decide to inspire the Trojans to challenge the Greeks to a single fight, and, after doing this, perch upon a tree, in the guise of vultures, to watch the result. Calling for a suspension of hostilities, Hector dares any Greek to fight him, stipulating that the arms of the vanquished shall be the victor's prize, but that his remains shall receive honorable burial. Conscious that none of their warriors—save Achilles—match Hector, the Greeks at first hesitate, but, among the nine who finally volunteer, Ajax is chosen by lot to be the Greek champion. Overjoyed at this opportunity to distinguish himself, Ajax advances with boastful confidence to meet Hector, who, undismayed by his size and truculent speeches, enters into the fight. The duel is, however, not fought to a finish, for the heralds interrupt it at nightfall, pronouncing the champions equal in strength and skill and postponing its issue until the morrow.

In his elation Ajax offers thanks to Jupiter before attending a banquet, where Nestor prudently advises his friends to fortify their camp by erecting earthworks. While the Greeks are feasting, the Trojans debate whether it would not be wise to apologize for the broken truce and restore Helen and her treasures to the Greeks. But this suggestion is so angrily rejected by Paris that Priam suggests they propose instead an armistice of sufficient length to enable both parties to bury their dead.

At dawn, therefore, Trojan heralds visit Agamemnon's tent to propose a truce, and offer any indemnification save Helen's return. But, although the Greeks consent to an armistice, they feel so confident of success that they refuse all offers of indemnity. Both parties now bury their dead, a sight witnessed by the gods, who, gazing down from Olympus, become aware of the earthen ramparts .erected during the night to protect the Greek fleet. This sight prompts Neptune to express jealous fears lest these may eclipse the walls he built around Troy, but Jupiter pacifies him by assuring him he can easily bury them beneath the sand as soon as the war is over.

Book VIII. At daybreak Jupiter summons the gods, forbidding them to lend aid to either party, under penalty of perpetual imprisonment in Tartarus. Having decreed this, Jupiter betakes himself to Mount Ida, whence he proposes to watch all that is going on. It is there, at noon, that he takes out his golden balances, and places in opposite scales the fates of Troy and Greece. A moment later a loud clap of thunder proclaims the day's advantage will remain with the Trojans, whose leader, Hector, is protected by Jupiter's thunder-bolts each time that Diomedes attacks him. This manifestation of divine favor strikes terror in the hearts of the Greeks, but encourages the Trojans. They, therefore, hotly pursue the Greeks to their ramparts, which Hector urges them to scale when the foe seeks refuge behind them.

Seeing the peril of the Greeks, Juno urges Agamemnon to visit Ulysses' tent, and there proclaim, in such loud tones that Achilles cannot fail to overhear him, that their vessels will soon be in flames. Then, fearing for his companions, Agamemnon prays so fervently for aid that an eagle flies over the camp and drops a lamb upon the Greek altar. This omen of good fortune renews the courage of the Greeks, and stimulates the archer Teucer to cause new havoc in the Trojan ranks with his unfailing arrows, until Hector hurls a rock, which lays him low, and rushes into the Greek camp.

Full of anxiety for their protégés, Juno and Minerva forget Jupiter's injunctions, and are about to hurry off to their rescue, when the king of the gods bids them stop, assuring them the Greeks will suffer defeat, until, Patroclus having fallen, Achilles arises to avenge him. When the setting sun signals the close of the day's fight, although the Greeks are still in possession of their tents, the Trojans bivouac in the plain, just outside the trench, to prevent their escape.

Book IX. Such anxiety reigns in the Greek camp that Agamemnon holds a council in his tent. There, almost choked by tears, he declares no alternative remains save flight, but Diomedes so hotly contradicts him that the Greeks decide to remain. At Nestor's suggestion, Agamemnon then tries to atone for his insult to Achilles by gifts and apologies, instructing the bearers to promise the return of the captive and to offer an alliance with one of his daughters, if Achilles will only come to their aid. Wending their way through the moonlit camp, these emissaries find Achilles idly listening to Patroclus' music. After delivering the message, Ulysses makes an eloquent appeal in behalf of his countrymen, but Achilles coldly rejoins the Greeks will have to defend themselves as he is about to depart. Such is his resentment that he refuses to forgive Agamemnon, although his aged tutor urges him to be brave enough to conquer himself. Most reluctantly therefore Ulysses and Ajax return, and, although sleep hovers over Achilles' tent, dismay reigns within that of Agamemnon, until Diomedes vows they will yet prove they do not need Achilles' aid.

Book X. Exhausted by the day's efforts, most of the Greeks have fallen asleep, when Agamemnon, after conversing for a while with Menelaus, arouses Nestor, Ulysses, and Diomedes to inspect their posts. It is in the course of these rounds that Nestor suggests one of their number steal into the Trojan camp to discover their plans. This suggestion is eagerly seized by Diomedes and Ulysses, who, on their way to the enemy's camp, encounter Dolon, a Trojan spy, who is coming to find out what they are planning. Crouching among the corpses, Diomedes and Ulysses capture this man, from whom they wring all the information they require, together with exact directions to find the steeds of Rhesus. To secure this prize, Ulysses and Diomedes steal into the Trojan camp, where, after slaying a few sleepers, they capture the steeds and escape in safety, thanks to Minerva's aid. On seeing his friends emerge from the gloom with so glorious a prize, Nestor, who has been anxiously watching, expresses great joy, and invites his companions to refresh themselves after their exertions.

  Old Nestor first perceived the approaching sound,
  Bespeaking thus the Grecian peers around:
  "Methinks the noise of trampling steeds I hear,
  Thickening this way, and gathering on my ear;
  Perhaps some horses of the Trojan breed
  (So may, ye gods! my pious hopes succeed)
  The great Tydides and Ulysses bear,
  Return'd triumphant with this prize of war."

Book XI. At daybreak Jupiter sends Discord to waken the Greeks and, when they appear in battle array, hurls a thunder-bolt as a signal for the fight to begin. Stimulated by Hector's ardor, the Trojans now pounce like ravening wolves upon their foes, but, in spite of their courage, are driven back almost to the Scean Gate. To encourage Hector, however, Jupiter warns him, that once Agamemnon is wounded the tide will turn. Soon after, a javelin strikes Agamemnon, and Hector, seeing him borne to his tent, urges his men on with new vehemence until he forces back the Greeks in his turn. In the ensuing medley both Diomedes and Ulysses are wounded, and Achilles, moodily lounging on the prow of his ship, sees Nestor bring them into camp. Wishing to ascertain who has been hurt, he sends Patroclus to find out. Thus this warrior learns how many of the Greeks are wounded, and is persuaded to try to induce Achilles to assist their countrymen, or at least to allow his friend to lead his forces to their rescue.

Book XII. Although the Trojans are now fiercely trying to enter the Greek camp, their efforts are baffled until Hector, dismounting from his chariot, attacks the mighty wall which the gods are to level as soon as the war is over. Thanks to his efforts, its gates are battered in, and the Trojans pour into the Greek camp, where many duels occur, and where countless warriors are slain on both sides.

Book XIII. Having effected an entrance into the camp, the Trojans rush forward to set fire to the ships, hoping thus to prevent the escape of their foes. Perceiving the peril of the Greeks, Neptune, in the guise of a priest, urges them to stand fast.

  Then with his sceptre, that the deep controls,
  He touched the chiefs and steel'd their manly souls:
  Strength, not their own, the touch divine imparts,
  Prompts their light limbs, and swells their daring hearts.
  Then, as a falcon from the rocky height,
  Her quarry seen, impetuous at the sight,
  Forth-springing instant, darts herself from high,
  Shoots on the wing, and skims along the sky:
  Such, and so swift, the power of ocean flew;
  The wide horizon shut him from their view.

But the advantage does not remain continuously with the Trojans, for Hector is soon beaten back, and, seeing his people's peril, again hotly reviles Paris, whose crime has entailed all this bloodshed.

Book XIV. In the midst of the gloom caused by a new irruption of the Trojans in the Greek camp, Nestor hastens to the spot where the wounded Agamemnon, Ulysses, and Diomedes are watching the fight. But, although Agamemnon renews his former suggestion that they depart, Diomedes and Ulysses, scorning it, prepare to return to the fray, in spite of their wounds. This renewal of Greek courage pleases Juno, who, fearing Jupiter will again interfere in behalf of the Trojans, proceeds by coquettish wiles and with the aid of the God of Sleep to lull him into a state of forgetfulness. This feat accomplished, Juno sends Sleep to urge the Greeks to make the most of this respite, and, thus stimulated, they fight on, until Ajax hurls a rock which lays Hector low. But, before he and his companions can secure this victim, Hector is rescued by his men, who speedily convey him to the river, where plentiful bathing soon restores his senses.

Book XV. Thus temporarily deprived of a leader, the Trojans fall back to the place where they left their chariots. They are just mounting in confusion, in order to flee, when Jupiter, rousing from his nap, and realizing how he has been tricked, discharges his wrath upon Juno's head. Hearing her attribute the blame to Neptune, Jupiter wrathfully orders his brother back to his realm and despatches Apollo to cure Hector. Then he reiterates that the Greeks shall be worsted until Patroclus, wearing Achilles' armor, takes part in the fray. He adds that, after slaying his son Sarpedon, this hero will succumb beneath Hector's sword, and that, to avenge Patroclus' death, Achilles will slay Hector and thus insure the fall of Troy.

Once more the Trojans drive back the Greeks, who would have given up in despair had not Jupiter encouraged them by a clap of thunder. Hearing the Trojans again burst into camp, Patroclus rushes out of Achilles' tent and sees Teucer winging one deadly arrow after another among the foe. But, in spite of his skill, and although Ajax fights like a lion at bay, Hector and the Trojans press fiercely forward, torch in hand, to fire the Greek ships.

Book XVI. Appalled by this sight, Patroclus rushes back to Achilles, and, after vainly urging him to fight, persuades him to lend him his armor, chariot, and men. But, even while furthering his friend's departure, Achilles charges him neither to slay Hector nor take Troy, as he wishes to reserve that double honor for himself. It is just as the first vessels are enveloped in flames that Patroclus rushes to the rescue of his countrymen. At the sight of a warrior whom they mistake for Achilles, and at this influx of fresh troops, the Trojans beat a retreat, and the Greeks, fired with new courage, pursue them across the plain and to the very gates of Troy. Such is Patroclus' ardor that, forgetting Achilles' injunctions, he is about to attack Hector, when Sarpedon challenges him to a duel. Knowing this fight will prove fatal to his beloved son, Jupiter causes a bloody dew to fall upon earth, and despatches Sleep and Death to take charge of his remains, which they are to convey first to Olympus to receive a fatherly kiss and then to Lycia for burial. No sooner is Sarpedon slain than a grim fight ensues over his spoil and remains, but while the Greeks secure his armor, his corpse is borne away by Apollo, who, after purifying it from all battle soil, entrusts it to Sleep and Death.

Meantime, renewing his pursuit of the Trojans, Patroclus is about to scale the walls of Troy, when Apollo reminds him the city is not to fall a prey either to him or to his friend. Then, in the midst of a duel in which Patroclus engages with Hector, Apollo snatches the helmet off the Greek hero's head, leaving him thus exposed to his foe's deadly blows. The dying Patroclus, therefore, declares that had not the gods betrayed him he would have triumphed, and predicts that Achilles will avenge his death. Meantime, pleased with having slain so redoubtable a foe, Hector makes a dash to secure Achilles' chariot and horses, but fails because the driver (Automedon) speeds away.

Book XVII. On seeing Patroclus fall, Menelaus rushes forward to defend his remains and rescue Achilles' armor from the foe. Warned of this move, Hector abandons the vain pursuit of Achilles' chariot, and returns to claim his spoil. He has barely secured it when Menelaus and Ajax attack him, and a mad battle takes place over Patroclus' remains, while Achilles' horses weep for the beloved youth who so often caressed them.

Book XVIII. No sooner is the death of Patroclus known in Achilles' tent than the female captives wail, while the hero groans so loudly that Thetis hears him. Rising from the depths of the sea, she hurries to his side, regretting his brief life should be marred by so much sorrow. Then, hearing him swear to avenge his friend, she entreats him to wait until the morrow, so she can procure him armor from Vulcan. Having obtained this promise, she hastens off to visit the god and bespeak his aid in behalf of her son.

Meanwhile the Greeks, who are trying to bear away Patroclus' remains, are so hard pressed by the Trojans that Juno sends word Achilles must interfere. Hampered by a lack of armor and by the promise to his mother, the hero ventures only as far as the trench, where, however, he utters so threatening a war-cry that the Trojans flee, and the Greeks are thus able to bring Patroclus' body safely into camp, just as the sun sets and the day's fighting ends.

Having unharnessed their steeds, the Trojans assemble to consider whether it will not be best to retreat within their walls, for they know Achilles will appear on the morrow to avenge Patroclus. But Hector so vehemently insists that they maintain the advantage gained, that they camp on the plain, where Jupiter predicts his wife's wish will be granted and her favorite Achilles win great glory. It is in the course of that night that Thetis visits Vulcan's forge and in the attitude of a suppliant implores the divine blacksmith to make an armor for her son. Not only does Vulcan consent, but hurries off to his anvil, where he and Cyclops labor to such good purpose that a superb suit of armor is ready by dawn.

Book XIX. Aurora has barely risen from the bosom of the sea, when Thetis enters her son's tent, bearing these wonderful weapons. Finding him still weeping over his friend's remains, Thetis urges him to rouse himself and fight. At the sight of the armor she brings, Achilles' ardor is so kindled that he proclaims he will avenge his friend. Pleased to think the Greeks will have the help of this champion, Agamemnon humbly apologizes for the past, proffering gifts and a feast, which latter Achilles refuses to attend as long as Patroclus is unavenged. Before entering into battle, however, our hero implores his divine steeds to do their best, only to be warned by one of them that, although they will save him to-day, the time is fast coming when he too will fall victim to the anger of the gods. Undaunted by this prophecy, Achilles jumps into his chariot and sets out for the fray, uttering his blood-curdling war-cry.

  With unabated rage—"So let it be!
  Portents and prodigies are lost on me.
  I know my fate: to die, to see no more
  My much-loved parents and my native shore—
  Enough—when heaven ordains, I sink in night:
  Now perish Troy!" He said, and rush'd to fight.

Book XX. The gods, assembled on Mount Olympus, are told by Jupiter that, whereas he intends merely to witness the fight, they may all take part in it, provided they remember Achilles is to reap the main honors of the day. Hearing this, the gods dart off to side with Troy and Greece, as their inclinations prompt, and thus take an active part in the battle, for which Jupiter gives the signal by launching a thunder-bolt. Not only do the gods fight against each other on this day, but use all their efforts to second their favorites in every way. Before long, however, it becomes so evident they are merely delaying the inevitable issue, that they agree to withdraw from the field, leaving mortals to settle the matter themselves.

There are vivid descriptions of sundry encounters, including one between Achilles and Aeneas, wherein both heroes indulge in boastful speeches before coming to blows. At one time, when Aeneas is about to get the worst of it, the gods, knowing he is reserved for greater things, snatch him from the battle-field and convey him to a place of safety. Thus miraculously deprived of his antagonist, Achilles resumes his quest for Hector, who has hitherto been avoiding him, but who, seeing one of his brothers fall beneath the Greek's blows, meets him bravely. But, as the moment of Hector's death has not yet come, the gods separate these two fighters, although their hatred is such that, whenever they catch a glimpse of each other, they rush forward to renew the fight.

Book XXI. Fleeing before the Greeks, the Trojans reach the Xanthus River, into which Achilles plunges after them, and where, after killing hosts of victims, he secures a dozen prisoners to sacrifice on his friend's tomb. Hearing Achilles refuse mercy to a young Trojan, and enraged because he has choked his bed with corpses, the River God suddenly rises to chide him, but Achilles is now in so defiant a mood that he is ready to fight even the gods themselves. In spite of his courage he would, however, have been drowned, had not Neptune and Minerva come to his rescue, fighting the waters with fire, and assuring him Hector will soon lie lifeless at his feet.

  He ceased; wide conflagration blazing round;
  The bubbled waters yield a hissing sound.
  As when the flames beneath a cauldron rise,
  To melt the fat of some rich sacrifice,
  Amid the fierce embrace of circling fires
  The waters foam, the heavy smoke aspires:
  So boils the imprison'd flood, forbid to flow,
  And choked with vapors feels his bottom glow.

The course of this day's fighting is anxiously watched by old King Priam from the top of the Trojan ramparts, and, when he sees Achilles' forces pursuing his fleeing army across the plain, he orders the gates opened to admit the fugitives, and quickly closed again so the foe cannot enter too. To facilitate this move, Apollo assumes the guise of Hector and decoys Achilles away from the gates until the bulk of the Trojan army is safe.

Book XXII. Meantime the real Hector is stationed beside the gate, and Achilles, suddenly perceiving he has been pursuing a mere phantom, darts with a cry of wrath toward his foe. Seeing him coming, Hector's parents implore him to seek refuge within the walls, but the young man is too brave to accept such a proposal. Still, when he sees the fire in Achilles' eyes, he cannot resist an involuntary recoil, and turning, flees, with Achilles in close pursuit, hurling taunts at him.

These warriors circle the citadel, until the gods, looking on, knowing they can no longer defer Hector's death, but wishing it to be glorious, send Apollo down to urge him to fight. In the guise of one of Hector's brothers, this god offers to aid him, so, thus supported, Hector turns to meet Achilles, with whom before fighting he tries to bargain that the victor shall respect the remains of the vanquished. But Achilles refuses to listen to terms, and in the course of the ensuing duel is ably seconded by Minerva, while Hector, who depends upon his supposed brother to supply him with weapons when his fail, is basely deserted by Apollo.

Seeing him disarmed, Achilles finally deals him a deadly blow, and, although the dying hero tries to abate his resentment, loudly proclaims he shall be a prey to vultures and wolves. Hearing this, Hector curses his conqueror and dies, predicting Achilles shall be slain by Paris. His victim having breathed his last, Achilles ties him by the heels to his chariot, and then drives off with Hector's noble head trailing in the dust!

Meantime Andromache, busy preparing for her husband's return, is so startled by loud cries that she rushes off to the ramparts to find out what has occurred. Arriving there just in time to see her husband dragged away, she faints at the pitiful sight, and, on coming back to her senses, bewails her sad fate, foresees an unhappy fate for her infant son, and regrets not being able to bury her beloved husband.

Book XXIII. On reaching his tent with his victim, Achilles drags it around Patroclus' remains, apostrophizing him and assuring him that twelve Trojans shall be executed on his pyre, while his slayer's body shall be a prey to the dogs. Then, having cast Hector's corpse on the refuse heap, Achilles assembles the Greeks in his tent for a funeral repast, after which they retire, leaving him to mourn. That night he is visited by Patroclus' spirit, which warns him he will soon have to die, and bespeaks funeral rites. This vision convinces Achilles that the human soul does not perish with the body, and impels him to rouse his companions at dawn to erect a huge pyre on the shore, where innumerable victims are to be sacrificed to satisfy his friend's spirit. Then he renews his promise that Hector's body shall be a prey to the dogs, little suspecting that Venus has mounted guard over it, so that no harm may befall it.

In describing the building and lighting of the pyre, the poet relates how the flames were fanned by opposite winds, depicts the sacrifices offered, the funeral games celebrated, and explains how the ashes were finally placed in an urn, where those of Achilles were in time to mingle with those of his friend.

Book XXIV. Although most of the Greek warriors are resting after the strenuous pleasures of the day, Achilles weeps in his tent until daybreak, when he harnesses his horses to his chariot and again drags Hector's body around Patroclus' tomb, little suspecting how Venus and Apollo guard it from all harm. It is only on the twelfth day after Patroclus' death, that the gods interfere in behalf of the Trojans, by sending Iris to Priam to guide him to Achilles' tent, where they assure him his prayers will obtain his son's body. The rainbow goddess not only serves as guide to the mourning father, but brings him unseen into Achilles' tent, where, falling at the hero's feet, the aged Priam sues in such touching terms that the Greek warrior's heart melts and tears stream down his cheeks. Not only does he grant Priam's request, but assures him he is far happier than Peleus, since he still has several sons to cheer him although Hector has been slain.

  These words soft pity in the chief inspire,
  Touch'd with the dear remembrance of his sire.
  Then with his hand (as prostrate still he lay)
  The old man's cheek he gently turn'd away.
  Now each by turns indulged the gush of woe;
  And now the mingled tides together flow:
  This low on earth, that gently bending o'er;
  A father one, and one a son deplore:
  But great Achilles different passions rend,
  And now his sire he mourns, and now his friend.
  The infectious softness through the heroes ran
  One universal solemn shower began;
  They bore as heroes, but they felt as man.

Still guided by Iris, Priam conveys the body of his son back to Troy, where his mother, wife, and the other Trojan women utter a touching lament. Then a funeral pyre is built, and the Iliad of Homer closes with brave Hector's obsequies.

  All Troy then moves to Priam's court again,
  A solemn, silent, melancholy train:
  Assembled there, from pious toil they rest,
  And sadly shared the last sepulchral feast.
  Such honors Ilion to her hero paid,
  And peaceful slept the mighty Hector's shade.


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