Once upon a time there was a certain King of Sparta who had a most beautiful daughter, Helen by name. There was not a prince in Greece but wished to marry her. The King said to them: "Now you must all swear that you will be good friends with the man whom my daughter shall choose for her husband, and that if any one is wicked enough to steal her away from him, you will help him get her back." And this they did. Then the Fair Helen chose a prince whose name was Menelaüs, brother of Agamemnon, who reigned in Mycenæ, and was the chief of all the Kings of Greece. After a while Helen's father died, and her husband became King of Sparta. The two lived happily together till there came to Sparta a young prince, Paris by name, who was son of Priam, King of Troy. This Paris carried off the Fair Helen, and with her much gold and many precious stones.
Menelaüs and his brother Agamemnon sent to the princes of Greece and said, "Now you must keep your oath, and help us to get back the Fair Helen." So they all came to a place called Aulis, with many ships and men. Others also who had not taken the oath came with them. The greatest of these chiefs were these: Diomed, son of Tydeus; Ajax the Greater and Ajax the Less, and Teucer the Archer, who was brother of Ajax the Greater. Nestor, who was the oldest man in the world. The wise Ulysses. Achilles, who was the bravest and strongest of all the Greeks, and with him his dear friend Patroclus.
For nine years the Greeks besieged the city of Troy, but they could not break through the walls; and as they had been away from their homes for all this time, they came to be in great want of food and clothes and other things. So they left part of the army to watch the city, and with part they went about and spoiled other cities. Thus came about the great quarrel of which I am now going to tell.
The Greeks took the city of Chrysé and divided the spoils among the chiefs; to Agamemnon they gave a girl named Chryseïs, who was the daughter of the priest of Apollo, the god who was worshipped in the city. Then the priest came bringing much gold, with which he wished to buy back his daughter.
First of all he went to Agamemnon and his brother, then to the other chiefs, and begged them to take the gold and give him back the girl. "So," he said, "may the gods help you take the city of Troy, and bring you back safe to your homes."
All the other chiefs were willing, but Agamemnon cried, "Away with you, old man. Do not linger here now, and do not come again, or it will be the worse for you, though you are a priest. As for your daughter, I will carry her back with me when I have taken Troy."
So the old man went out in great fear and trouble, and he prayed to Apollo to help him. And Apollo heard him. Very angry was the god that his priest should suffer such things, and he came down from his palace on the top of the mountain Olympus. He came as night comes across the sky, and his arrows rattled terribly as he went. Then he began to shoot and his arrows carried death, first to the dogs and the mules, and then to the men. For nine days the people died, and on the tenth day Achilles called an assembly.
When the Greeks were gathered together he stood up in the middle and said: "Surely it would be better to go home than to stay here and die. Many are slain in battle, and still more are slain by the plague. Let us ask the prophets why it is that Apollo is angry with us."
Then Calchas the prophet stood up: "You wish to know why Apollo is angry. I will tell you, but first you must promise to stand by me, for King Agamemnon will be angry when he hears what I shall say."
"Say on," cried Achilles: "no man shall harm you while I live, no, not Agamemnon himself."
Then Calchas said: "Apollo is angry because when his priest came to buy back his daughter, Agamemnon would not listen to him. Now you must send back the girl, taking no money for her, and with her a hundred beasts as a sacrifice."
Then King Agamemnon stood up in a rage and cried:
"You always prophesy evil, ill prophet that you are. The girl I will send back, for I would not have the people die, but I will not go without my share of the spoil."
"You think too much of gain, King Agamemnon," said Achilles. "Surely you would not take from any man that which has been given him. Wait till Troy has been conquered, and then we will make up to you what has been lost three times over."
"Do not try to cheat me in this way," answered Agamemnon. "My share I will have at once. If the Greeks will give it to me, well and good; but if not, then I will take it from one of the chiefs, from you, Achilles, or from Ajax, or from Ulysses. But now let us see about the sending back of the girl."
Then Achilles was altogether carried away with rage and said: "Never was there a king so shameless and so greedy of gain. The Trojans never did harm to me or mine. I have been fighting against them for your sake and your brother's. And you sit in your tent at ease, but when the spoil is divided, then you have the lion's share. And now you will take the little that was given me. I will not stay here to be shamed and robbed. I will go home."
"Go," said Agamemnon, "and take your people with you. I have other chiefs as good as you, and ready to honour me, as you are not. But mark this: the girl Briseïs, who was given to you as your share of the spoil, I will take, if I have to come and fetch her myself. For you must learn that I am master here."
Achilles was mad with anger to hear this, and said to himself, "Now I will slay this villain where he sits," and he half drew his sword from its scabbard. But at that instant the goddess Athené stood behind him and seized him by his long yellow hair. And when he turned to see who had done this, he perceived the goddess—but no one else in the assembly could see her—and said: "Are you come to see this villain die?" "Nay," she answered, "I am come to stay your rage. Queen Hera and I love you both. Draw not your sword, but say what you will. Some day he will pay you back three times and four times for all the wrong he shall do."
Achilles answered: "I will do as you bid; for he who hears the gods is heard by them." So he thrust back his sword into the scabbard, and Athené went back to Olympus. Then he turned to Agamemnon and cried: "Drunkard with the eyes of a dog and the heart of a deer, hear what I tell you now. See this sceptre that I have in my hand. Once it was the branch of a tree; now a king carries it in his hand. As surely as it will never more shoot forth in leaves, so surely will the Greeks one day miss Achilles. And you, when you see your people falling by the swords of the Trojans, will be sorry that you have done this wrong to the bravest man in your army." And he dashed the sceptre on the ground and sat down.
Then the old man Nestor stood up and would have made peace between the two. "Listen to me," he said. "Great chiefs of old, with whom no one now alive would dare to fight, were used to listen to me. You, King Agamemnon, do not take away from the brave Achilles the gift that the Greeks gave him; and you Achilles, pay due respect to him who is the King of Kings in Greece."
So spoke Nestor, but he spoke in vain, for Agamemnon answered: "Peace is good; but this fellow would lord it over all. The gods have made him a great warrior, but they have not given him leave to set himself up above law and order. He must learn that there is one here better than he."
And Achilles cried: "You better than me! I were a slave and a coward if I owned it. What the Greeks gave me, let them take away if they will. But mark this: if you lay your hands on anything that is my own, that hour you will die."
Then the assembly was broken up. After a while Agamemnon said to the heralds: "Go now to the tent of Achilles, and fetch thence the girl Briseïs. And if he will not let her go, say that I will come with others to fetch her, and that it will be worse for him."
So the heralds went, but it was much against their will that they did this errand. And when they came to that part of the camp where Achilles and his people were, they found him sitting between his tent and his ship. And they stood in great fear and shame. But when he saw them he spoke kind words to them, for all that his heart was full of rage. "Draw near, heralds. 'Tis no fault of yours that you are come on such an errand."
Then he turned to Patroclus and said: "Fetch Briseïs from her tent and give her to the heralds. Let them be witnesses of this evil deed, that they may remember it in the day when he shall need my help and shall not have it."
So Patroclus brought out the girl and gave her to the heralds. And she went with them, much against her will, and often looking back. And when she was gone, Achilles left his companions and sat upon the sea-shore, weeping aloud and stretching out his hands to his mother Thetis, the daughter of the sea. She heard his voice where she sat in the depths by the side of her father, and rose from the sea, as a cloud rises, and came to him where he sat weeping, shaking him with her hand, and calling him by his name.
"Why do you weep, my son?" she said.
And he told her what had been done. And when he had finished the story, he said: "Now go to Olympus, to the palace of Zeus. You helped him once in the old time, when the other gods would have put him in chains, fetching the great giant with the hundred hands to sit by his side, so that no one dared to touch him. Remind him of these things, and ask him to help the Trojans, and to make the Greeks flee before them, so that Agamemnon may learn how foolish he has been."
His mother said: "Surely, my son, your lot is hard. Your life must be short, and it should be happy; but, as it seems to me, it is both short and sad. Truly I will go to Zeus, but not now; for he is gone with the other gods to a twelve days' feast. But when he comes back, then I will go to him and persuade him. Meanwhile do you sit still, and do not go forth to battle."
Meanwhile Ulysses was taking back the priest's daughter to her father. Very glad was he to see her again, and he prayed to his god that the plague among the Greeks might cease, and so it happened. But Achilles sat in his tent and fretted, for there was nothing that he liked so much as the cry of the battle.
When the twelve days of feasting were over, Thetis rose out of the sea and went her way to Olympus. There she found Zeus sitting alone on the highest peak of the mountain. She knelt down before him, and her left hand she laid upon his knees, and with her right hand she caught hold of his beard. Then she made this prayer to him:—
"O father Zeus, if I have ever helped thee at all, now give me what I ask, namely, that my son Achilles may have honour done to him. Agamemnon has shamed him, taking away the gift that the Greeks gave him. Do thou, therefore, make the Trojans prevail for a while in battle, so that the Greeks may find that they cannot do without him. So shall my son have honour."
For a long time Zeus sat saying nothing, for he knew that great trouble would come out of this thing. But Thetis still held him fast by the knees and by the beard; and she spoke again, saying: "Promise me this thing, and make your promise sure by nodding your head; or, else, say outright that you will not do it. Then I shall know that you despise me."
Zeus answered: "This is a hard thing that you ask. You will make a dreadful quarrel between me and the Lady Hera, my wife, and she will say many bitter words to me. Even now she tells me I favour the Trojans too much. Go, then, as quickly as you can, that she may not know that you have been here, and I will think how I may best do what you ask. And see, I will make my promise sure with a nod, for when I nod my head, then the thing may not be repented of or undone."
So he nodded his head, and all Olympus was shaken.
Then Thetis went away, and dived down into the sea. And Zeus went to his palace, and when he came in at the door, all the gods rose up in their places, and stood till he sat down on his throne. But Hera knew that Thetis had been with him, and she was very angry, and spoke bitter words: "Who has been with you, O lover of plots? When I am not here, then you take pleasure in hiding what you do, and in keeping things from me."
Zeus answered: "O Hera, do not think to know all of my thoughts; that is too hard for you, even though you are my wife. That which it is right for you to know, I will tell you before I tell it to any other god; but there are matters which I keep to myself. Do not seek to know these."
But Hera was even more angry than before. "What say you?" she cried. "I do not pry into your affairs. Settle them as you will. But this I know, that Thetis with the silver feet has been with you, and I greatly fear that she has had her way. At dawn of day I saw her kneeling before you; yes, and you nodded your head. I am sure that you have promised her that Achilles should have honour. Ah me! Many of the Greeks will die for this."
Then Zeus answered: "Truly there is nothing that you do not find out, witch that you are. But, if it be as you say, then know that such is my will. Do you sit still and obey. All the gods in Olympus cannot save you, if once I lay my hands upon you."
Hera sat still and said nothing, for she was very much afraid. Then her son, the god who made arms and armour and cups and other things out of silver and gold and copper, said to her: "It would be a great pity if you and the Father of the gods should quarrel on account of a man. Make peace with him, and do not make him angry again. It would be a great grief to me if I were to see you beaten before my eyes; for, indeed, I could not help you. Once before when I tried to come between him and you, he took me by the foot and threw me out the door of heaven. All day I fell and at evening I lighted in the island of Lemnos."
Then he thought how he might turn the thoughts of the company to something else. There was a very beautiful boy who used to carry the wine round. The god, who was a cripple, took his place, and mixed the cup, and hobbled round with it, puffing for breath as he went, and all the gods fell into great fits of laughter when they saw him. So the feast went on, and Apollo and the Muses sang, and no one thought any more about the quarrel.
But while all the other gods were sleeping, Zeus remained awake, thinking how he might do what Thetis had asked of him for her son. The best thing seemed to be to deceive Agamemnon, and make him think that he could take the city of Troy without the help of Achilles. So he called a Dream, and said to it: "Go, Dream, to the tent of Agamemnon, and tell him that if he will lead his army to battle, he will take the city of Troy."
So the Dream went, and it took the shape of Nestor, whom the King thought to be the wisest of the Greeks, and stood by his bedside and said: "Why do you waste your time in sleep? Arm the Greeks, and lead them out to battle, for you will take the city of Troy."
And the King believed that this false dream was true.
On the day after the False Dream had come to him Agamemnon called all his army to go out to battle. All the chiefs were glad to fight, for they thought that at last the long war was coming to an end. Only Achilles and his people stopped behind. And the Trojans, on the other hand, set their army in order.
Before they began to fight, Paris, who had been the cause of all the trouble, came out in front of the line. He had a panther's skin over his shoulders, and a bow and a quiver slung upon his back, for he was a great archer; by his side there hung a sword, and in each hand he carried a spear. He cried aloud to the Greeks: "Send out the strongest and the bravest man you have to fight with me." When King Menelaüs heard this, he said to himself: "Now this is my enemy; I will fight with him, and no one else." So he jumped down from his chariot, and ran out in front of the line of Greeks. But when Paris saw him he was very much afraid, and turned his back and ran behind the line of the Trojans.
Now the best and bravest of the Trojans was a certain Hector. He was one of the sons of King Priam; if it had not been for him the city would have been taken long before. When he saw Paris run away he was very angry, and said: "O Paris, you are good to look at, but you are worth nothing. And the Greeks think that you are the bravest man we have! You were brave enough to go across the sea and steal the Fair Helen from her husband, and now when he comes to fight with you, you run away. The Trojans ought to have stoned you to death long ago."
Paris answered: "You speak the truth great Hector; I am, indeed, greatly to be blamed. As for you, you care for nothing but battles, and your heart is made of iron. But now listen to me: set Menelaüs and me to fight, man to man, and let him that conquers have the Fair Helen and all her possessions. If he kills me, let him take her and depart; but if I kill him, then she shall stay here. So, whatever may happen, you will dwell in peace."
Hector was very glad to hear his brother Paris speak in this way. And he went along the line of the Trojans, holding his spear in the middle. This he did to show that he was not meaning to fight, and to keep his men in their places that they should not begin the battle. At first the Greeks made ready spears and stones to throw at him, but Agamemnon cried out: "Hold your hands; great Hector has something to say."
Then every one stood still and listened. And Hector said: "Hear, Trojans and Greeks, what Paris says, Paris, who is the cause of this quarrel between us. 'Let Menelaüs and me fight together. Every one else, whether he is Greek or Trojan, shall lay his arms upon the ground, and look on while we two fight together. For the Fair Helen and her riches we will fight, and the rest will cease from war and be good friends for ever.' "
When Hector had spoken, King Menelaüs stood up and said: "Listen to me, for this is my affair. It is well that the Greeks and Trojans should be at peace, for there is no quarrel between them. Let me and Paris fight together, and let him of us two be slain whose fate it is to die. And now let us make a sacrifice to the gods, and swear a great oath over it that we will keep our agreement. Only let King Priam himself come and offer the sacrifice and take the oath, for he is more to be trusted than the young men his sons."
So spoke Menelaüs; and both the armies were glad, for they were tired of the war.
Then Hector sent a messenger to Troy to fetch King Priam, and to bring sheep for the sacrifice. And when the herald was on his way, one of the gods put it into the heart of the Fair Helen as she sat in her hall to go out to the wall and see the army of the Greeks. So she went, leaving the needlework with which she was busy, a great piece of embroidery, on which the battles between the Greeks and the Trojans were worked.
Now King Priam sat on the wall, and with him were the other princes of the city, old men who could no longer fight, but could take counsel and make beautiful speeches. They saw the Fair Helen as she came, and one of them said to another: "See how beautiful she is! And yet it would be better that she should go back to her own country, than that she should stop here and bring a curse upon us and our children."
But Priam called to her and said: "Come hither, my daughter, and see your friends and kinsmen in yonder army, and tell us about them. Who is that warrior there, so fair and strong? There are others who are even a head taller than he is, but there is no one who is so like a king."
"That," said Helen, "is Agamemnon, a brave soldier and a wise king, and my brother-in-law in the old days."
And King Priam cried: "Happy Agamemnon, to rule over so many brave men as I see in yonder army! But tell me who is that warrior there, who is walking through the ranks of his men, and making them stand in good order? He is not so tall as Agamemnon, but he is broader in the shoulders."
"That," said Helen, "is Ulysses of Ithaca, who is wiser than all other men, and gives better advice."
"You speak truly, fair lady," said one of the old men, Antenor by name. "Well do I remember Ulysses when he came with Menelaüs on an embassy. They were guests in my house, and I knew them well. And when there was an assembly of the Trojans to hear them speak on the business for which they came, I remember how they looked. When they were standing, Menelaüs was the taller; but when they sat down, then Ulysses was the nobler of the two to look at. And when they spoke, Menelaüs said but a few words, and said them wisely and well; and Ulysses—at first you might have taken him to be a fool, so stiffly did he hold his staff, and so awkward did he seem, with his eyes cast down upon the ground; but when he began to speak, how grand was his voice and how his words poured out, thick as the falling snow! There never was a speaker such as he, and we thought no more about his looks."
Then King Priam asked again: "Who is that mighty hero, so big and strong, taller than all the rest by his head and shoulders?"
"That," said Helen, "is Ajax, a tower of strength to the Greeks. And other chiefs I see whom I know and could name. But my own dear brothers, Castor, tamer of horses, and Pollux, the mighty boxer, I see not. Is it that they are ashamed to come on account of me?"
So she spoke, not knowing that they were dead.
And now came the messenger to tell King Priam that the armies wanted him. So he went and Antenor with him, and they took the sheep for sacrifice. Then King Priam, on behalf of the Trojans, and King Agamemnon, on behalf of the Greeks, offered sacrifice, and made an agreement, confirming it with an oath, that Menelaüs and Paris should fight together, and that Fair Helen with her treasure should belong to him who should prevail.
When this was done, King Priam said: "I will go back to Troy, for I could not bear to see my dear son fighting with Menelaüs." So he climbed into the chariot, and Antenor took the reins and they went back to Troy.
Then Hector for the Trojans, and Ulysses for the Greeks, marked out a space for the fight, and Hector put two pebbles into a helmet, one for Paris and one for Menelaüs. These he shook, looking away as he did so, for it was agreed that the man whose pebble should first fly out of the helmet, should be the first to cast his spear at the other. And this might be much to his gain, for the spear, being well thrown, might kill his adversary or wound him to death, and he himself would not come into danger. And it so happened that the pebble of Paris first flew out. Then the two warriors armed themselves, and came into the space that had been marked out, and stood facing each other. Very fierce were their eyes, so that it could be seen how they hated each other. First Paris threw his spear. It hit the shield of Menelaüs, but did not pierce it, for the point was bent back. Then Menelaüs threw his spear; but first he prayed: "Grant, Father Zeus, that I may have vengeance on Paris, who has done me this great wrong!" And the spear went right through the shield, and through the armour that Paris wore upon his body, and through the tunic that was under the armour. But Paris shrank away, so that the spear did not wound him. Then Menelaüs drew his sword, and struck the helmet of Paris on the top with a great blow, but the sword was broken into four pieces. Then he rushed upon Paris and caught him by the helmet, and dragged him towards the army of the Greeks; neither could Paris help himself, for the strap of the helmet choked him. Then, indeed, would Paris have been taken prisoner and killed, but that the goddess Aphrodité helped him, for he was her favourite. She loosed the strap under his chin, and the helmet came off in the hand of Menelaüs. The King threw it among the Greeks, and, taking another spear in his hand, ran furiously at Paris. But the goddess covered him with a mist, and so snatched him away, and set him down in his own house at Troy. Everywhere did Menelaüs look for him, but he could not find him. It was no one of the Trojans that hid him, for they all hated him as death.
Then said King Agamemnon in a loud voice: "Now must you Trojans keep the covenant that you have made with an oath. You must give back the Fair Helen and her treasures, and we will take her and leave you in peace."
Now, if the Trojans had kept the promise which they made, confirming it with an oath, it would have been well with them. But it was not to be. And this is how it came to pass that the oath was broken and the promise not kept.
Among the chiefs who came from the countries round about to help King Priam and the Trojans there was a certain Pandărus, son of the King of Lycia. He was a great archer, and could shoot an arrow as far and with as good an aim as any man in the army. To this Pandărus, as he stood waiting for what should next happen, there came a youth, a son of King Priam. Such indeed, he seemed to be, but in truth the goddess Athené had taken his shape, for she and, as has been before said, the goddess Hera hated the city of Troy, and desired to bring it to ruin.
The false Trojan came up to Pandărus, as he stood among his men, and said to him: "Prince of Lycia, dare you to shoot an arrow at Menelaüs? Truly the Trojans would love you well, and Paris best of all, if they could see Menelaüs killed with an arrow from your bow. Shoot at him as he stands, not thinking of any danger, but first vow to sacrifice a hundred beasts to Zeus, so soon as you shall get back to your own country."
Pandărus had a bow made out of the horns of a wild goat which he had killed. It was four feet long from end to end, and on each end there was a tip of gold on which the bow-string was fixed. While he was stringing his bow, his men stood round and hid him; and when he had strung it, he took an arrow from his quiver, and laid it on the string, and drew back the string till it touched his breast, and then let the arrow fly.
But though none of the Greeks saw what Pandărus was doing, Athené saw it, and she flew to where Menelaüs stood, and kept the arrow from doing him deadly hurt. She would not ward it off altogether, for she knew that the Greeks would be angry to see the King whom they loved so treacherously wounded, and would have no peace with the Trojans. So she guided it to where there was a space between the belt and the breastplate. There it struck the King, passing through the edge of the belt and through the garment that was under the belt and piercing the skin; and the red blood gushed out, and dyed the thighs and the legs and the ankles of the King, as a woman dyes a piece of white ivory to make an ornament for a king's war-horse.
Now Agamemnon was standing near, and when he saw the blood gush out he cried: "Oh, my brother, it was a foolish thing that I did, when I made a covenant with the Trojans, for they are wicked men and break their oaths. I know that they who do such things will suffer for them. Sooner or later the man who breaks his oath will perish miserably. Nevertheless, it will be a great shame and sorrow if you, my brother, should be killed in this way. For the Greeks will go to their homes saying: 'Why should we fight any more for Menelaüs, seeing that he is dead?' And the Fair Helen for whom we have been fighting these many years will be left behind; and one of these false Trojans will say when he sees the tomb of Menelaüs: 'Surely the great Agamemnon has not got that for which he came. For he brought a great army to destroy the city of Troy, but Troy still stands, and he and his army have gone back: only he has left his brother behind him.' "
But Menelaüs said: "Do not trouble yourself, my brother, for the wound is not deep. See here is the barb of the arrow."
Then King Agamemnon commanded that they should fetch Machāon, the great physician. So Machāon came, and drew the arrow out of the wound, and wiped away the blood, and put healing drugs upon the place, which took away all the pain.
After this King Agamemnon went through the army to see that it was ready for battle. When he found any one bestirring himself, putting his men in order, and doing such things as it was his duty to do, him he praised; and if he saw any one idle and slow to move, him he rebuked. When all was ready, then the host went forward. In silence it went; but the Trojans, on the other hand, were as noisy as a flock of sheep, which bleats when they hear the voice of the lambs.
Many great deeds were done that day, and many chiefs showed themselves to be valiant men, but the greatest deeds were done by Diomed, and of all the chiefs there was not one who could be matched with him. No one could tell, so fierce was he, and so swiftly did he charge, in which host he was fighting, whether with the Greeks or with the sons of Troy. After a while the great archer Pandărus aimed an arrow at him, and hit him on the right shoulder. And when Pandărus saw that he had hit him, for the blood started out from the wound, he cried out in great joy: "On, men of Troy; I have wounded the bravest of the Greeks. He will soon either fall dead in his chariot, or grow so weak that he can fight no longer."
But Diomed was not to be conquered in this fashion. He leapt down from his chariot, and said to the man who drove the horses: "Come and draw this arrow out of the wound." And this the driver did, and when Diomed saw the blood spirt out from the wound he prayed to the goddess Athené: "O goddess, stand by me, as you did always stand by my father. And as for the man who has wounded me, let him come within a spear's cast of me, and he will never boast again." And Athené heard his prayer, and came and stood beside him, and took away the pain from his wound, and put new strength into his hands and feet. "Be bold, O Diomed, and fight against the men of Troy. As I stood by your father, so will I stand by you."
Then Diomed fought even more fiercely than before, just as a lion which a shepherd has wounded a little when he leaps into the fold, grows yet more savage, so it was with Diomed. And as he went to and fro through the battle, slaying all whom he met, Ænēas, who was the bravest of the Trojans after Hector, thought how he might best be stopped. So he passed through the army till he came to where Pandărus the archer stood. To him he said: "Where are your bow and arrows? Do you see this man how he is dealing death wherever he goes? Shoot an arrow at him; but first make your prayers to Zeus that you may not shoot in vain."
Pandărus answered: "This man is Diomed. I know his shield and his helmet; the horses too are his. Some god I am sure, stands by him and defends him. Only just now I sent an arrow at him, yes, and hit him in the shoulder. I thought that I had wounded him to the death, for I saw the blood spirt out; but I have not hurt him at all. And now I do not know what I can do, for I have no chariot here. Eleven chariots I have at home, and my father would have had me bring one of them with me. But I would not, for I was afraid that the horses would not have provender enough, being shut up in the city of Troy. So I came without a chariot, trusting to my bow, and lo! it has failed me these two times. Two of the chiefs I have hit, first Menelaüs and then this Diomed. Yes, I hit them, and I saw the red blood flow, but I have not harmed them. Surely if ever I get back to my home, I will break this useless bow."
Then Ænēas said to him: "Nay, my friend, do not talk this way. If you have no chariot, then come in mine, and see what horses we have in Troy. If Diomed should be too strong for us, still they will carry us safely back to Troy. Take the reins and the whip, and I will fight; or, if you would rather, do you fight and I will drive."
Pandărus said: "It is best that the horses should have the driver whom they know. If we should have to flee, they might stand still or turn aside, missing their master's voice."
Now Diomed was on foot, for he had not gone back to his chariot, and his charioteer was by his side. And the man said to him: "Look there; two mighty warriors, Pandărus and Ænēas, are coming against us. It would be well for us to go back to the chariot, that we may fight them on equal terms." But Diomed answered: "Do not talk of going back. I am not one of those who go back. As for my chariot, I do not want it. As I am, I will go against these men. Both of them, surely, shall not go back, even if one should escape. And if I slay them, then do you climb into the chariot and drive it away. There are no horses in the world as good as these, for they are the breed which Zeus himself gave to King Tros."
While he was speaking the two Trojan chiefs came near, and Pandărus cast his spear at Diomed. It pierced the shield and also the belt, so strongly was it thrown, but it went no further. But Pandărus cried: "Aha! you are hit in the loin. This wound will stay you from fighting." "Not so," said Diomed, "you have not wounded me at all. But now see what I will send." And he threw his spear, nor did he throw in vain, for it passed through the warrior's nose and teeth and tongue, and stood out under his chin. And the man fell from his chariot, and the armour clashed loudly upon him. But Ænēas would not leave his comrade. He leapt from the chariot and stood with shield and spear over the body, as a lion stands over the carcase of some beast which it has killed. Now Diomed had no spear in hand, neither could he draw out from the dead body that which he had thrown. Therefore he stooped and took up from the ground a big stone—so big was it that two men such as men are now could scarcely lift it up—and threw it at Ænēas. On the hip it struck him and crushed the bone, and the hero fell upon his knees, and clutched at the ground with his hands, and everything grew dark before his eyes. Thus had he died, but for his mother, the goddess Aphrodité. She caught him up in her arms, and threw her veil over him to hide him. But Diomed did not like that he should escape, and he rushed with his spear at the goddess and wounded her in the arm, and the blood gushed out—such blood as flows in the veins of gods, who eat not the food nor drink the drink of men. She dropped her son with a loud shriek and fled up into the sky. And bold Diomed called after her: "You should not join in the battle, daughter of Zeus. You have to do not with men but with women." But Apollo caught up Ænēas when his mother dropped him. Even then Diomed was loath to let him escape, for he was bent on killing him and stripping him of his arms. Three times did he spring forward, and three times did Apollo put back his shining shield. And when he came to the fourth time, Apollo called out to him in an awful voice: "Beware, Diomed; do not think to fight with gods." Then Diomed fell back, for he was afraid. But Apollo carried Ænēas to the citadel of Troy, and there his mother Latōna and his sister Artĕmis healed the hero of his wounds. But he left an image of the hero in the midst of the battle, and over him the Greeks and the Trojans fought, as if it had been the real Ænēas.
Now among the chiefs who came to help King Priam and the Trojans there was a certain Sarpēdon, who was Prince of Lycia, and with him there was one Glaucus who was his cousin. When Sarpēdon saw how Diomed was laying waste the army of the Trojans, and that no man was willing to stand up against him, he said to Hector: "Where are your boasts, O Hector? You used to say that you could keep the city of Troy safe, without your people, and without us, who have come to help you. Yes, you and your brothers and your brothers-in-law would be enough, you said; but now I look about me, and I cannot see one of them. They all go and hide themselves, as dogs before a lion. It is we who keep up the battle. Look at me; I have come far to help you, even from the land of Lycia, where I have left wife and child and wealth. Nor do I shrink back from the fight, but you also should do your part."
These words stung Hector to the heart. He jumped down from his chariot, and went through the army, telling the men to be brave. And Ares brought back Ænēas with his wound healed, and he himself went back with Hector, in the shape of a man. And even the brave Diomed, when he saw him and knew that he was a god, held back a little, saying to his companions: "See, Hector is coming, and Ares is with him, in the shape of a man. Let us give way a little, for we must not fight with gods; but we will still keep our faces to the enemy."
Just then a great Greek warrior, who was one of the sons of Hercules, the strongest of men, was killed by Sarpēdon the Lycian. This man cried out to Sarpēdon: "What are you doing here? You are foolish to fight with men who are better than you are. Men say that you are a son of Zeus, but the sons of Zeus are braver and stronger than you. Are you as good as my father Hercules? Have you not heard how he came to this city of Troy, and broke down the walls and spoiled the houses, because the King of Troy cheated him of his pay? For my father saved the King's daughter from a great monster of the sea, and the King promised him a team of horses, but did not keep his promise. And you have come to help the Trojans, so they say; small help will you be to them, when I have killed you."
Sarpēdon answered: " 'Tis true that your father broke down the walls of Troy, and spoiled the houses; the King of the city had cheated him and he was rightly punished for it. But you shall not do what he did; no, for I shall kill you first."
Then the two warriors drew their spears. At the same moment they threw them, and both of them hit the mark. The spear of Sarpēdon went right through the neck of the Greek, so that he fell down dead; and the spear of the Greek hit Sarpēdon on the thigh of the left leg and went through it close to the bone. It went very near to killing him; but it was not his fate to die that day. So his men carried him out of the battle with the spear sticking in the wound, for no one thought of drawing it out, so great was their hurry. As they were carrying him along, Hector passed by, and he cried out: "O Hector, do not let the Greeks take me! Let me, at least, die in your city which I came to help; for to Lycia I shall not go back, nor shall I see again my wife and my child." But Hector did not heed him, so eager was he to fight. So the men carried him to the great oak tree, and laid him down in the shade of it, and one of them drew the spear out of the wound. When it was drawn out he fainted, but the cool north wind blew on him and refreshed him, and he breathed again.
At this time the Greeks were being driven back; many were killed and many were wounded. For Hector, with Ares by his side, was so fierce and strong that no one dared to stand up against him. When the two goddesses, Hera and Athené, who loved the Greeks, saw this, they said to Zeus: "Father, do you see how furiously Ares is raging in the battle, driving the Greeks before him? May we stop him before he destroys them altogether?" Zeus said: "You may do what you please." Then they yoked the horses to Hera's chariot and went as fast as they could to the earth. Very fast they went, for every stride of the horses was over as much space as a man can see when he sits upon a cliff and looks over the sea to where the sky seems to come down upon it. When they came to the plain of Troy, they unharnessed the horses at a place where the two rivers met. They covered them and the chariot with a mist that no one might be able to see them, and they themselves flew as doves fly to where the Greeks and Trojans were fighting. There Hera took the shape of Stentor, who could shout as loud as fifty men shouting at once, and cried: "Shame, men of Greece! when Achilles came to battle the Trojans scarcely dared to go beyond the gates of their city, but now they are driving you to your ships." Athené went to Diomed, where he was standing and wiping away the blood from the wound which the arrow had made. "You are not like your father; he was a little man, but he was a great fighter. I do not know whether you are holding back because you are tired or because you are afraid; but certainly you are not like him."
Diomed knew who it was that was speaking to him, and answered: "Great goddess, I am not holding back because I am tired or because I am afraid. You yourself said to me: 'Do not fight against any god; only if Aphrodité comes into the battle, you may fight against her.' And this I have done. Her I wounded on the wrist and drove away; but when Apollo carried away Ænēas from me, then I held back. And now I see Ares rushing to and fro through the battle, and I do not dare to go against him."
Then said Athené: "Do not be afraid of Ares. I will come with you, and you shall wound him with your spear, and drive him away from the battle."
Then she pushed Diomed's charioteer with her hand, but the man did not see who it was that pushed him. And when he jumped down from the chariot she took his place, and caught the reins in her hand, and lashed the horses. Straight at Ares she drove, where he was standing by a Greek whom he had killed. Now Athené had put on her head the helmet of Hades, that is to say, of the god who rules the dead; Ares did not see her, for no one who wears the helmet can be seen. And he rushed at Diomed, thinking to kill him, and threw his spear with all his might. But Athené put out her hand and turned the spear aside, so that it flew through the air and hurt no one. Then Diomed thrust his spear at Ares, and Athené leant all her weight upon it, so that it pierced the god just below the girdle. And when Ares felt the spear, he shouted with the pain as loud as an army of ten thousand men shouts when it goes forth to battle. And Diomed saw him rise up to the sky as a thunder-cloud arises.
And this was the greatest of the deeds of Diomed, that he wounded Ares, the god of war, and drove him out of the battle.
And now the Trojans, in their turn, were driven back, for they could make no stand against the Greeks. Now there was one of the sons of King Priam who was a very wise prophet, and knew all that men should do to win the favour and help of the gods, and his name was Helĕnus. This man went up to Hector, and said to him and to Ænēas, who was standing near him: "Make the army fall back and get as close to the walls as may be, for it will be safer there than in the open plain. And go through the ranks, and speak to the men, and put as much courage into them as you can. And when you have done this, do you, Hector, go into the city, and tell your mother to gather together the daughters of Troy, and go with them to the temple of Athené, taking with her the most precious robe that she has, and lay the robe on the knees of the goddess, and promise to sacrifice twelve heifers, and beseech her to have pity on us and to keep Diomed from the walls. Never did I see so fierce a man; even Achilles himself was not so terrible as he is, so dreadful is he and so fierce. Go, and come back as soon as you can, and we will do what we can to bear up against the Greeks while you are away."
So Hector went through the ranks, bidding the men be of good courage; and when he had done this he went into the city.
And now the Trojans had a little rest. The way in which this happened shall now be told.
Sarpēdon and Lycian had a cousin, Glaucus by name: the two were sons of brothers. This Glaucus, being one of the bravest of men, went in front of the Trojan line to meet Diomed. When Diomed saw him, he said: "Tell me, mighty man of valour, who you are, for I have never seen you before; for this is a bold thing that you have done to come out in front of your comrades and to stand against me. Truly those men whose children come in my way in battle are un-lucky. Tell me then who you are, for if you are a god from heaven, then I will not fight with you. Already to-day have I done enough fighting with them, for it is an unlucky thing to do. King Lycurgus, in the land of Thrace, fought with a god, and it was a bad thing for him that he did so, for he did not live long. He drove Bacchus, the god of wine, into the sea. But the other gods were angry with him for this cause, and Zeus made him blind, and he perished miserably. But if you are no god, but a mortal man, then draw near that I may kill you with my spear."
Glaucus said: "Brave Diomed, why do you ask who I am, and who was my father, and my father's father? The generations of men are like the leaves on the trees. In the spring they shoot forth, and in autumn they fall, and the wind blows them to and fro. And then when the spring comes others shoot forth, and these also fall in their time. So are the generations of men; one goes and another comes. Still, if you would hear of what race I come, listen. In a certain city of Greece which is called Corinth there dwelt a great warrior, Bellerŏphon by name. Some one spoke evil of this man falsely to the King of the city, and the King believed this false thing, and plotted his death. He was ashamed to kill him, but he sent him with a message to the King of Lycia. This message was written on a tablet and the tablet was folded up in a cover, and the cover was sealed. But on the tablet was written: 'This is a wicked man; cause him to die.' So Bellerŏphon travelled to Lycia. And when he was come to the King's palace, the King made a great feast for him. For nine days did the feast last, and every day an ox was killed and eaten. On the morning of the tenth day the King said: 'Let me see the message which you have brought.' And when he had read it he thought how he might cause the man to die. First he sent him to conquer a great monster that there was in that country, called the Chimæra. Many men tried to conquer it, but it had killed them all. It had the head of a lion, and its middle parts were those of a goat, and it had the tail of a serpent; and it breathed out flames of fire. This monster he killed, the gods helping him. Then the King sent him against a very fierce tribe of men, who were called the Solymi. These he conquered after much fighting, for, as he said himself, there never were warriors stronger than they. After this he fought the Amazons, who were women fighting with the arms of men, and these also he conquered. And when he was coming back from fighting the Amazons, the King set an ambush against him, choosing for it the bravest men in the whole land of Lycia. But Bellerŏphon killed them all, and came back safe to the King's palace. When the King saw this, he said to himself: 'The gods love this man; he cannot be wicked.' So he asked him about himself, and Bellerŏphon told him the whole truth. Then the King divided his kingdom with him, and gave him his daughter to wife. Three sons he had, of whom one was the father of Sarpēdon and one was my father. And when my father sent me hither he said: 'Always seek to be the first, and to be worthy of those who have gone before.' This, then, brave Diomed, is the race to which I belong."
When Diomed heard this he was very glad, and said: "It is well that we did not fight, for we ought to be friends, as our fathers were before us. Long ago Œneus entertained Bellerŏphon in his house. For twenty days he kept him. And when they parted they gave great gifts to each other, the one a belt embroidered with purple, and the other a cup of gold with a mouth on either side of it. Now Œneus was my grandfather, as Bellerŏphon was yours. If then you should come to Corinth you will be my guest, and I will be yours if I go to the land of Lycia. But now we will not fight together. There are many Trojans and allies of the Trojans whom I may kill if I can overcome them, and there are many Greeks for you to fight with and conquer, if you can. But we two will not fight together. And now let us exchange our armour, that all men may know that we are friends."
So the two chiefs jumped down from their chariots and exchanged their armour. And men said afterwards that Glaucus had lost his wits, for he gave armour of gold in exchange for armour of brass, armour that was worth a hundred oxen for armour that was worth nine only.
Return to: Nike