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Book II

Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept
soundly, but Jove was wakeful, for he was thinking how to do
honour to Achilles, and destroyed much people at the ships of the
Achaeans. In the end he deemed it would be best to send a lying
dream to King Agamemnon; so he called one to him and said to it,
"Lying Dream, go to the ships of the Achaeans, into the tent of
Agamemnon, and say to him word for word as I now bid you. Tell
him to get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for he shall take
Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods; Juno
has brought them to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans."
The dream went when it had heard its message, and soon reached
the ships of the Achaeans. It sought Agamemnon son of Atreus and
found him in his tent, wrapped in a profound slumber. It hovered
over his head in the likeness of Nestor, son of Neleus, whom
Agamemnon honoured above all his councillors, and said:—
"You are sleeping, son of Atreus; one who has the welfare of his
host and so much other care upon his shoulders should dock his
sleep. Hear me at once, for I come as a messenger from Jove, who,
though he be not near, yet takes thought for you and pities you.
He bids you get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall
take Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods;
Juno has brought them over to her own mind, and woe betides the
Trojans at the hands of Jove. Remember this, and when you wake
see that it does not escape you."
The dream then left him, and he thought of things that were,
surely not to be accomplished. He thought that on that same day
he was to take the city of Priam, but he little knew what was in
the mind of Jove, who had many another hard-fought fight in store
alike for Danaans and Trojans. Then presently he woke, with the
divine message still ringing in his ears; so he sat upright, and
put on his soft shirt so fair and new, and over this his heavy
cloak. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet, and slung his
silver-studded sword about his shoulders; then he took the
imperishable staff of his father, and sallied forth to the ships
of the Achaeans.
The goddess Dawn now wended her way to vast Olympus that she
might herald day to Jove and to the other immortals, and
Agamemnon sent the criers round to call the people in assembly;
so they called them and the people gathered thereon. But first he
summoned a meeting of the elders at the ship of Nestor king of
Pylos, and when they were assembled he laid a cunning counsel
before them.
"My friends," said he, "I have had a dream from heaven in the
dead of night, and its face and figure resembled none but
Nestor's. It hovered over my head and said, 'You are sleeping,
son of Atreus; one who has the welfare of his host and so much
other care upon his shoulders should dock his sleep. Hear me at
once, for I am a messenger from Jove, who, though he be not near,
yet takes thought for you and pities you. He bids you get the
Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall take Troy. There are
no longer divided counsels among the gods; Juno has brought them
over to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans at the hands of
Jove. Remember this.' The dream then vanished and I awoke. Let us
now, therefore, arm the sons of the Achaeans. But it will be well
that I should first sound them, and to this end I will tell them
to fly with their ships; but do you others go about among the
host and prevent their doing so."
He then sat down, and Nestor the prince of Pylos with all
sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "My friends," said
he, "princes and councillors of the Argives, if any other man of
the Achaeans had told us of this dream we should have declared it
false, and would have had nothing to do with it. But he who has
seen it is the foremost man among us; we must therefore set about
getting the people under arms."
With this he led the way from the assembly, and the other
sceptred kings rose with him in obedience to the word of
Agamemnon; but the people pressed forward to hear. They swarmed
like bees that sally from some hollow cave and flit in countless
throng among the spring flowers, bunched in knots and clusters;
even so did the mighty multitude pour from ships and tents to the
assembly, and range themselves upon the wide-watered shore, while
among them ran Wildfire Rumour, messenger of Jove, urging them
ever to the fore. Thus they gathered in a pell-mell of mad
confusion, and the earth groaned under the tramp of men as the
people sought their places. Nine heralds went crying about among
them to stay their tumult and bid them listen to the kings, till
at last they were got into their several places and ceased their
clamour. Then King Agamemnon rose, holding his sceptre. This was
the work of Vulcan, who gave it to Jove the son of Saturn. Jove
gave it to Mercury, slayer of Argus, guide and guardian. King
Mercury gave it to Pelops, the mighty charioteer, and Pelops to
Atreus, shepherd of his people. Atreus, when he died, left it to
Thyestes, rich in flocks, and Thyestes in his turn left it to be
borne by Agamemnon, that he might be lord of all Argos and of the
isles. Leaning, then, on his sceptre, he addressed the Argives.
"My friends," he said, "heroes, servants of Mars, the hand of
heaven has been laid heavily upon me. Cruel Jove gave me his
solemn promise that I should sack the city of Priam before
returning, but he has played me false, and is now bidding me go
ingloriously back to Argos with the loss of much people. Such is
the will of Jove, who has laid many a proud city in the dust, as
he will yet lay others, for his power is above all. It will be a
sorry tale hereafter that an Achaean host, at once so great and
valiant, battled in vain against men fewer in number than
themselves; but as yet the end is not in sight. Think that the
Achaeans and Trojans have sworn to a solemn covenant, and that
they have each been numbered—the Trojans by the roll of their
householders, and we by companies of ten; think further that each
of our companies desired to have a Trojan householder to pour out
their wine; we are so greatly more in number that full many a
company would have to go without its cup-bearer. But they have in
the town allies from other places, and it is these that hinder me
from being able to sack the rich city of Ilius. Nine of Jove's
years are gone; the timbers of our ships have rotted; their
tackling is sound no longer. Our wives and little ones at home
look anxiously for our coming, but the work that we came hither
to do has not been done. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say:
let us sail back to our own land, for we shall not take Troy."
With these words he moved the hearts of the multitude, so many of
them as knew not the cunning counsel of Agamemnon. They surged to
and fro like the waves of the Icarian Sea, when the east and
south winds break from heaven's clouds to lash them; or as when
the west wind sweeps over a field of corn and the ears bow
beneath the blast, even so were they swayed as they flew with
loud cries towards the ships, and the dust from under their feet
rose heavenward. They cheered each other on to draw the ships
into the sea; they cleared the channels in front of them; they
began taking away the stays from underneath them, and the welkin
rang with their glad cries, so eager were they to return.
Then surely the Argives would have returned after a fashion that
was not fated. But Juno said to Minerva, "Alas, daughter of
aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, shall the Argives fly home to
their own land over the broad sea, and leave Priam and the
Trojans the glory of still keeping Helen, for whose sake so many
of the Achaeans have died at Troy, far from their homes? Go about
at once among the host, and speak fairly to them, man by man,
that they draw not their ships into the sea."
Minerva was not slack to do her bidding. Down she darted from the
topmost summits of Olympus, and in a moment she was at the ships
of the Achaeans. There she found Ulysses, peer of Jove in
counsel, standing alone. He had not as yet laid a hand upon his
ship, for he was grieved and sorry; so she went close up to him
and said, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, are you going to fling
yourselves into your ships and be off home to your own land in
this way? Will you leave Priam and the Trojans the glory of still
keeping Helen, for whose sake so many of the Achaeans have died
at Troy, far from their homes? Go about at once among the host,
and speak fairly to them, man by man, that they draw not their
ships into the sea."
Ulysses knew the voice as that of the goddess: he flung his cloak
from him and set off to run. His servant Eurybates, a man of
Ithaca, who waited on him, took charge of the cloak, whereon
Ulysses went straight up to Agamemnon and received from him his
ancestral, imperishable staff. With this he went about among the
ships of the Achaeans.
Whenever he met a king or chieftain, he stood by him and spoke
him fairly. "Sir," said he, "this flight is cowardly and
unworthy. Stand to your post, and bid your people also keep their
places. You do not yet know the full mind of Agamemnon; he was
sounding us, and ere long will visit the Achaeans with his
displeasure. We were not all of us at the council to hear what he
then said; see to it lest he be angry and do us a mischief; for
the pride of kings is great, and the hand of Jove is with them."
But when he came across any common man who was making a noise, he
struck him with his staff and rebuked him, saying, "Sirrah, hold
your peace, and listen to better men than yourself. You are a
coward and no soldier; you are nobody either in fight or council;
we cannot all be kings; it is not well that there should be many
masters; one man must be supreme—one king to whom the son of
scheming Saturn has given the sceptre of sovereignty over you
all."
Thus masterfully did he go about among the host, and the people
hurried back to the council from their tents and ships with a
sound as the thunder of surf when it comes crashing down upon the
shore, and all the sea is in an uproar.
The rest now took their seats and kept to their own several
places, but Thersites still went on wagging his unbridled
tongue—a man of many words, and those unseemly; a monger of
sedition, a railer against all who were in authority, who cared
not what he said, so that he might set the Achaeans in a laugh.
He was the ugliest man of all those that came before
Troy—bandy-legged, lame of one foot, with his two shoulders
rounded and hunched over his chest. His head ran up to a point,
but there was little hair on the top of it. Achilles and Ulysses
hated him worst of all, for it was with them that he was most
wont to wrangle; now, however, with a shrill squeaky voice he
began heaping his abuse on Agamemnon. The Achaeans were angry and
disgusted, yet none the less he kept on brawling and bawling at
the son of Atreus.
"Agamemnon," he cried, "what ails you now, and what more do you
want? Your tents are filled with bronze and with fair women, for
whenever we take a town we give you the pick of them. Would you
have yet more gold, which some Trojan is to give you as a ransom
for his son, when I or another Achaean has taken him prisoner? or
is it some young girl to hide and lie with? It is not well that
you, the ruler of the Achaeans, should bring them into such
misery. Weakling cowards, women rather than men, let us sail
home, and leave this fellow here at Troy to stew in his own meeds
of honour, and discover whether we were of any service to him or
no. Achilles is a much better man than he is, and see how he has
treated him—robbing him of his prize and keeping it himself.
Achilles takes it meekly and shows no fight; if he did, son of
Atreus, you would never again insult him."
Thus railed Thersites, but Ulysses at once went up to him and
rebuked him sternly. "Check your glib tongue, Thersites," said
be, "and babble not a word further. Chide not with princes when
you have none to back you. There is no viler creature come before
Troy with the sons of Atreus. Drop this chatter about kings, and
neither revile them nor keep harping about going home. We do not
yet know how things are going to be, nor whether the Achaeans are
to return with good success or evil. How dare you gibe at
Agamemnon because the Danaans have awarded him so many prizes? I
tell you, therefore—and it shall surely be—that if I again
catch you talking such nonsense, I will either forfeit my own
head and be no more called father of Telemachus, or I will take
you, strip you stark naked, and whip you out of the assembly till
you go blubbering back to the ships."
On this he beat him with his staff about the back and shoulders
till he dropped and fell a-weeping. The golden sceptre raised a
bloody weal on his back, so he sat down frightened and in pain,
looking foolish as he wiped the tears from his eyes. The people
were sorry for him, yet they laughed heartily, and one would turn
to his neighbour saying, "Ulysses has done many a good thing ere
now in fight and council, but he never did the Argives a better
turn than when he stopped this fellow's mouth from prating
further. He will give the kings no more of his insolence."
Thus said the people. Then Ulysses rose, sceptre in hand, and
Minerva in the likeness of a herald bade the people be still,
that those who were far off might hear him and consider his
council. He therefore with all sincerity and goodwill addressed
them thus:—
"King Agamemnon, the Achaeans are for making you a by-word among
all mankind. They forget the promise they made you when they set
out from Argos, that you should not return till you had sacked
the town of Troy, and, like children or widowed women, they
murmur and would set off homeward. True it is that they have had
toil enough to be disheartened. A man chafes at having to stay
away from his wife even for a single month, when he is on
shipboard, at the mercy of wind and sea, but it is now nine long
years that we have been kept here; I cannot, therefore, blame the
Achaeans if they turn restive; still we shall be shamed if we go
home empty after so long a stay—therefore, my friends, be
patient yet a little longer that we may learn whether the
prophesyings of Calchas were false or true.
"All who have not since perished must remember as though it were
yesterday or the day before, how the ships of the Achaeans were
detained in Aulis when we were on our way hither to make war on
Priam and the Trojans. We were ranged round about a fountain
offering hecatombs to the gods upon their holy altars, and there
was a fine plane-tree from beneath which there welled a stream of
pure water. Then we saw a prodigy; for Jove sent a fearful
serpent out of the ground, with blood-red stains upon its back,
and it darted from under the altar on to the plane-tree. Now
there was a brood of young sparrows, quite small, upon the
topmost bough, peeping out from under the leaves, eight in all,
and their mother that hatched them made nine. The serpent ate the
poor cheeping things, while the old bird flew about lamenting her
little ones; but the serpent threw his coils about her and caught
her by the wing as she was screaming. Then, when he had eaten
both the sparrow and her young, the god who had sent him made him
become a sign; for the son of scheming Saturn turned him into
stone, and we stood there wondering at that which had come to
pass. Seeing, then, that such a fearful portent had broken in
upon our hecatombs, Calchas forthwith declared to us the oracles
of heaven. 'Why, Achaeans,' said he, 'are you thus speechless?
Jove has sent us this sign, long in coming, and long ere it be
fulfilled, though its fame shall last for ever. As the serpent
ate the eight fledglings and the sparrow that hatched them, which
makes nine, so shall we fight nine years at Troy, but in the
tenth shall take the town.' This was what he said, and now it is
all coming true. Stay here, therefore, all of you, till we take
the city of Priam."
On this the Argives raised a shout, till the ships rang again
with the uproar. Nestor, knight of Gerene, then addressed them.
"Shame on you," he cried, "to stay talking here like children,
when you should fight like men. Where are our covenants now, and
where the oaths that we have taken? Shall our counsels be flung
into the fire, with our drink-offerings and the right hands of
fellowship wherein we have put our trust? We waste our time in
words, and for all our talking here shall be no further forward.
Stand, therefore, son of Atreus, by your own steadfast purpose;
lead the Argives on to battle, and leave this handful of men to
rot, who scheme, and scheme in vain, to get back to Argos ere
they have learned whether Jove be true or a liar. For the mighty
son of Saturn surely promised that we should succeed, when we
Argives set sail to bring death and destruction upon the Trojans.
He showed us favourable signs by flashing his lightning on our
right hands; therefore let none make haste to go till he has
first lain with the wife of some Trojan, and avenged the toil and
sorrow that he has suffered for the sake of Helen. Nevertheless,
if any man is in such haste to be at home again, let him lay his
hand to his ship that he may meet his doom in the sight of all.
But, O king, consider and give ear to my counsel, for the word
that I say may not be neglected lightly. Divide your men,
Agamemnon, into their several tribes and clans, that clans and
tribes may stand by and help one another. If you do this, and if
the Achaeans obey you, you will find out who, both chiefs and
peoples, are brave, and who are cowards; for they will vie
against the other. Thus you shall also learn whether it is
through the counsel of heaven or the cowardice of man that you
shall fail to take the town."
And Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, you have again outdone the sons
of the Achaeans in counsel. Would, by Father Jove, Minerva, and
Apollo, that I had among them ten more such councillors, for the
city of King Priam would then soon fall beneath our hands, and we
should sack it. But the son of Saturn afflicts me with bootless
wranglings and strife. Achilles and I are quarrelling about this
girl, in which matter I was the first to offend; if we can be of
one mind again, the Trojans will not stave off destruction for a
day. Now, therefore, get your morning meal, that our hosts join
in fight. Whet well your spears; see well to the ordering of your
shields; give good feeds to your horses, and look your chariots
carefully over, that we may do battle the livelong day; for we
shall have no rest, not for a moment, till night falls to part
us. The bands that bear your shields shall be wet with the sweat
upon your shoulders, your hands shall weary upon your spears,
your horses shall steam in front of your chariots, and if I see
any man shirking the fight, or trying to keep out of it at the
ships, there shall be no help for him, but he shall be a prey to
dogs and vultures."
Thus he spoke, and the Achaeans roared applause. As when the
waves run high before the blast of the south wind and break on
some lofty headland, dashing against it and buffeting it without
ceasing, as the storms from every quarter drive them, even so did
the Achaeans rise and hurry in all directions to their ships.
There they lighted their fires at their tents and got dinner,
offering sacrifice every man to one or other of the gods, and
praying each one of them that he might live to come out of the
fight. Agamemnon, king of men, sacrificed a fat five-year-old
bull to the mighty son of Saturn, and invited the princes and
elders of his host. First he asked Nestor and King Idomeneus,
then the two Ajaxes and the son of Tydeus, and sixthly Ulysses,
peer of gods in counsel; but Menelaus came of his own accord, for
he knew how busy his brother then was. They stood round the bull
with the barley-meal in their hands, and Agamemnon prayed,
saying, "Jove, most glorious, supreme, that dwellest in heaven,
and ridest upon the storm-cloud, grant that the sun may not go
down, nor the night fall, till the palace of Priam is laid low,
and its gates are consumed with fire. Grant that my sword may
pierce the shirt of Hector about his heart, and that full many of
his comrades may bite the dust as they fall dying round him."
Thus he prayed, but the son of Saturn would not fulfil his
prayer. He accepted the sacrifice, yet none the less increased
their toil continually. When they had done praying and sprinkling
the barley-meal upon the victim, they drew back its head, killed
it, and then flayed it. They cut out the thigh-bones, wrapped
them round in two layers of fat, and set pieces of raw meat on
the top of them. These they burned upon the split logs of
firewood, but they spitted the inward meats, and held them in the
flames to cook. When the thigh-bones were burned, and they had
tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put the
pieces upon spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew
them off; then, when they had finished their work and the feast
was ready, they ate it, and every man had his full share, so that
all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough to eat and
drink, Nestor, knight of Gerene, began to speak. "King
Agamemnon," said he, "let us not stay talking here, nor be slack
in the work that heaven has put into our hands. Let the heralds
summon the people to gather at their several ships; we will then
go about among the host, that we may begin fighting at once."
Thus did he speak, and Agamemnon heeded his words. He at once
sent the criers round to call the people in assembly. So they
called them, and the people gathered thereon. The chiefs about
the son of Atreus chose their men and marshalled them, while
Minerva went among them holding her priceless aegis that knows
neither age nor death. From it there waved a hundred tassels of
pure gold, all deftly woven, and each one of them worth a hundred
oxen. With this she darted furiously everywhere among the hosts
of the Achaeans, urging them forward, and putting courage into
the heart of each, so that he might fight and do battle without
ceasing. Thus war became sweeter in their eyes even than
returning home in their ships. As when some great forest fire is
raging upon a mountain top and its light is seen afar, even so as
they marched the gleam of their armour flashed up into the
firmament of heaven.
They were like great flocks of geese, or cranes, or swans on the
plain about the waters of Cayster, that wing their way hither and
thither, glorying in the pride of flight, and crying as they
settle till the fen is alive with their screaming. Even thus did
their tribes pour from ships and tents on to the plain of the
Scamander, and the ground rang as brass under the feet of men and
horses. They stood as thick upon the flower-bespangled field as
leaves that bloom in summer.
As countless swarms of flies buzz around a herdsman's homestead
in the time of spring when the pails are drenched with milk, even
so did the Achaeans swarm on to the plain to charge the Trojans
and destroy them.
The chiefs disposed their men this way and that before the fight
began, drafting them out as easily as goatherds draft their
flocks when they have got mixed while feeding; and among them
went King Agamemnon, with a head and face like Jove the lord of
thunder, a waist like Mars, and a chest like that of Neptune. As
some great bull that lords it over the herds upon the plain, even
so did Jove make the son of Atreus stand peerless among the
multitude of heroes.
And now, O Muses, dwellers in the mansions of Olympus, tell me—
for you are goddesses and are in all places so that you see all
things, while we know nothing but by report—who were the chiefs
and princes of the Danaans? As for the common soldiers, they were
so that I could not name every single one of them though I had
ten tongues, and though my voice failed not and my heart were of
bronze within me, unless you, O Olympian Muses, daughters of
aegis-bearing Jove, were to recount them to me. Nevertheless, I
will tell the captains of the ships and all the fleet together.
Peneleos, Leitus, Arcesilaus, Prothoenor, and Clonius were
captains of the Boeotians. These were they that dwelt in Hyria
and rocky Aulis, and who held Schoenus, Scolus, and the highlands
of Eteonus, with Thespeia, Graia, and the fair city of
Mycalessus. They also held Harma, Eilesium, and Erythrae; and
they had Eleon, Hyle, and Peteon; Ocalea and the strong fortress
of Medeon; Copae, Eutresis, and Thisbe the haunt of doves;
Coronea, and the pastures of Haliartus; Plataea and Glisas; the
fortress of Thebes the less; holy Onchestus with its famous grove
of Neptune; Arne rich in vineyards; Midea, sacred Nisa, and
Anthedon upon the sea. From these there came fifty ships, and in
each there were a hundred and twenty young men of the Boeotians.
Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, sons of Mars, led the people that dwelt
in Aspledon and Orchomenus the realm of Minyas. Astyoche a noble
maiden bore them in the house of Actor son of Azeus; for she had
gone with Mars secretly into an upper chamber, and he had lain
with her. With these there came thirty ships.
The Phoceans were led by Schedius and Epistrophus, sons of mighty
Iphitus the son of Naubolus. These were they that held
Cyparissus, rocky Pytho, holy Crisa, Daulis, and Panopeus; they
also that dwelt in Anemorea and Hyampolis, and about the waters
of the river Cephissus, and Lilaea by the springs of the
Cephissus; with their chieftains came forty ships, and they
marshalled the forces of the Phoceans, which were stationed next
to the Boeotians, on their left.
Ajax, the fleet son of Oileus, commanded the Locrians. He was not
so great, nor nearly so great, as Ajax the son of Telamon. He was
a little man, and his breastplate was made of linen, but in use
of the spear he excelled all the Hellenes and the Achaeans.
These dwelt in Cynus, Opous, Calliarus, Bessa, Scarphe, fair
Augeae, Tarphe, and Thronium about the river Boagrius. With him
there came forty ships of the Locrians who dwell beyond Euboea.
The fierce Abantes held Euboea with its cities, Chalcis, Eretria,
Histiaea rich in vines, Cerinthus upon the sea, and the
rock-perched town of Dium; with them were also the men of
Carystus and Styra; Elephenor of the race of Mars was in command
of these; he was son of Chalcodon, and chief over all the
Abantes. With him they came, fleet of foot and wearing their hair
long behind, brave warriors, who would ever strive to tear open
the corslets of their foes with their long ashen spears. Of these
there came fifty ships.
And they that held the strong city of Athens, the people of great
Erechtheus, who was born of the soil itself, but Jove's daughter,
Minerva, fostered him, and established him at Athens in her own
rich sanctuary. There, year by year, the Athenian youths worship
him with sacrifices of bulls and rams. These were commanded by
Menestheus, son of Peteos. No man living could equal him in the
marshalling of chariots and foot soldiers. Nestor could alone
rival him, for he was older. With him there came fifty ships.
Ajax brought twelve ships from Salamis, and stationed them
alongside those of the Athenians.
The men of Argos, again, and those who held the walls of Tiryns,
with Hermione, and Asine upon the gulf; Troezene, Eionae, and the
vineyard lands of Epidaurus; the Achaean youths, moreover, who
came from Aegina and Mases; these were led by Diomed of the loud
battle-cry, and Sthenelus son of famed Capaneus. With them in
command was Euryalus, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus; but
Diomed was chief over them all. With these there came eighty
ships.
Those who held the strong city of Mycenae, rich Corinth and
Cleonae; Orneae, Araethyrea, and Licyon, where Adrastus reigned
of old; Hyperesia, high Gonoessa, and Pellene; Aegium and all the
coast-land round about Helice; these sent a hundred ships under
the command of King Agamemnon, son of Atreus. His force was far
both finest and most numerous, and in their midst was the king
himself, all glorious in his armour of gleaming bronze—foremost
among the heroes, for he was the greatest king, and had most men
under him.
And those that dwelt in Lacedaemon, lying low among the hills,
Pharis, Sparta, with Messe the haunt of doves; Bryseae, Augeae,
Amyclae, and Helos upon the sea; Laas, moreover, and Oetylus;
these were led by Menelaus of the loud battle-cry, brother to
Agamemnon, and of them there were sixty ships, drawn up apart
from the others. Among them went Menelaus himself, strong in
zeal, urging his men to fight; for he longed to avenge the toil
and sorrow that he had suffered for the sake of Helen.
The men of Pylos and Arene, and Thryum where is the ford of the
river Alpheus; strong Aipy, Cyparisseis, and Amphigenea; Pteleum,
Helos, and Dorium, where the Muses met Thamyris, and stilled his
minstrelsy for ever. He was returning from Oechalia, where
Eurytus lived and reigned, and boasted that he would surpass even
the Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Jove, if they should sing
against him; whereon they were angry, and maimed him. They robbed
him of his divine power of song, and thenceforth he could strike
the lyre no more. These were commanded by Nestor, knight of
Gerene, and with him there came ninety ships.
And those that held Arcadia, under the high mountain of Cyllene,
near the tomb of Aepytus, where the people fight hand to hand;
the men of Pheneus also, and Orchomenus rich in flocks; of
Rhipae, Stratie, and bleak Enispe; of Tegea and fair Mantinea; of
Stymphelus and Parrhasia; of these King Agapenor son of Ancaeus
was commander, and they had sixty ships. Many Arcadians, good
soldiers, came in each one of them, but Agamemnon found them the
ships in which to cross the sea, for they were not a people that
occupied their business upon the waters.
The men, moreover, of Buprasium and of Elis, so much of it as is
enclosed between Hyrmine, Myrsinus upon the sea-shore, the rock
Olene and Alesium. These had four leaders, and each of them had
ten ships, with many Epeans on board. Their captains were
Amphimachus and Thalpius—the one, son of Cteatus, and the other,
of Eurytus—both of the race of Actor. The two others were
Diores, son of Amarynces, and Polyxenus, son of King Agasthenes,
son of Augeas.
And those of Dulichium with the sacred Echinean islands, who
dwelt beyond the sea off Elis; these were led by Meges, peer of
Mars, and the son of valiant Phyleus, dear to Jove, who
quarrelled with his father, and went to settle in Dulichium. With
him there came forty ships.
Ulysses led the brave Cephallenians, who held Ithaca, Neritum
with its forests, Crocylea, rugged Aegilips, Samos and Zacynthus,
with the mainland also that was over against the islands. These
were led by Ulysses, peer of Jove in counsel, and with him there
came twelve ships.
Thoas, son of Andraemon, commanded the Aetolians, who dwelt in
Pleuron, Olenus, Pylene, Chalcis by the sea, and rocky Calydon,
for the great king Oeneus had now no sons living, and was himself
dead, as was also golden-haired Meleager, who had been set over
the Aetolians to be their king. And with Thoas there came forty
ships.
The famous spearsman Idomeneus led the Cretans, who held Cnossus,
and the well-walled city of Gortys; Lyctus also, Miletus and
Lycastus that lies upon the chalk; the populous towns of Phaestus
and Rhytium, with the other peoples that dwelt in the hundred
cities of Crete. All these were led by Idomeneus, and by
Meriones, peer of murderous Mars. And with these there came
eighty ships.
Tlepolemus, son of Hercules, a man both brave and large of
stature, brought nine ships of lordly warriors from Rhodes. These
dwelt in Rhodes which is divided among the three cities of
Lindus, Ielysus, and Cameirus, that lies upon the chalk. These
were commanded by Tlepolemus, son of Hercules by Astyochea, whom
he had carried off from Ephyra, on the river Selleis, after
sacking many cities of valiant warriors. When Tlepolemus grew up,
he killed his father's uncle Licymnius, who had been a famous
warrior in his time, but was then grown old. On this he built
himself a fleet, gathered a great following, and fled beyond the
sea, for he was menaced by the other sons and grandsons of
Hercules. After a voyage, during which he suffered great
hardship, he came to Rhodes, where the people divided into three
communities, according to their tribes, and were dearly loved by
Jove, the lord of gods and men; wherefore the son of Saturn
showered down great riches upon them.
And Nireus brought three ships from Syme—Nireus, who was the
handsomest man that came up under Ilius of all the Danaans after
the son of Peleus—but he was a man of no substance, and had but
a small following.
And those that held Nisyrus, Crapathus, and Casus, with Cos, the
city of Eurypylus, and the Calydnian islands, these were
commanded by Pheidippus and Antiphus, two sons of King Thessalus
the son of Hercules. And with them there came thirty ships.
Those again who held Pelasgic Argos, Alos, Alope, and Trachis;
and those of Phthia and Hellas the land of fair women, who were
called Myrmidons, Hellenes, and Achaeans; these had fifty ships,
over which Achilles was in command. But they now took no part in
the war, inasmuch as there was no one to marshal them; for
Achilles stayed by his ships, furious about the loss of the girl
Briseis, whom he had taken from Lyrnessus at his own great peril,
when he had sacked Lyrnessus and Thebe, and had overthrown Mynes
and Epistrophus, sons of king Evenor, son of Selepus. For her
sake Achilles was still grieving, but ere long he was again to
join them.
And those that held Phylace and the flowery meadows of Pyrasus,
sanctuary of Ceres; Iton, the mother of sheep; Antrum upon the
sea, and Pteleum that lies upon the grass lands. Of these brave
Protesilaus had been captain while he was yet alive, but he was
now lying under the earth. He had left a wife behind him in
Phylace to tear her cheeks in sorrow, and his house was only half
finished, for he was slain by a Dardanian warrior while leaping
foremost of the Achaeans upon the soil of Troy. Still, though his
people mourned their chieftain, they were not without a leader,
for Podarces, of the race of Mars, marshalled them; he was son of
Iphiclus, rich in sheep, who was the son of Phylacus, and he was
own brother to Protesilaus, only younger, Protesilaus being at
once the elder and the more valiant. So the people were not
without a leader, though they mourned him whom they had lost.
With him there came forty ships.
And those that held Pherae by the Boebean lake, with Boebe,
Glaphyrae, and the populous city of Iolcus, these with their
eleven ships were led by Eumelus, son of Admetus, whom Alcestis
bore to him, loveliest of the daughters of Pelias.
And those that held Methone and Thaumacia, with Meliboea and
rugged Olizon, these were led by the skilful archer Philoctetes,
and they had seven ships, each with fifty oarsmen all of them
good archers; but Philoctetes was lying in great pain in the
Island of Lemnos, where the sons of the Achaeans left him, for he
had been bitten by a poisonous water snake. There he lay sick and
sorry, and full soon did the Argives come to miss him. But his
people, though they felt his loss were not leaderless, for Medon,
the bastard son of Oileus by Rhene, set them in array.
Those, again, of Tricca and the stony region of Ithome, and they
that held Oechalia, the city of Oechalian Eurytus, these were
commanded by the two sons of Aesculapius, skilled in the art of
healing, Podalirius and Machaon. And with them there came thirty
ships.
The men, moreover, of Ormenius, and by the fountain of Hypereia,
with those that held Asterius, and the white crests of Titanus,
these were led by Eurypylus, the son of Euaemon, and with them
there came forty ships.
Those that held Argissa and Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, and the white
city of Oloosson, of these brave Polypoetes was leader. He was
son of Pirithous, who was son of Jove himself, for Hippodameia
bore him to Pirithous on the day when he took his revenge on the
shaggy mountain savages and drove them from Mt. Pelion to the
Aithices. But Polypoetes was not sole in command, for with him
was Leonteus, of the race of Mars, who was son of Coronus, the
son of Caeneus. And with these there came forty ships.
Guneus brought two and twenty ships from Cyphus, and he was
followed by the Enienes and the valiant Peraebi, who dwelt about
wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river
Titaresius, which sends its waters into the Peneus. They do not
mingle with the silver eddies of the Peneus, but flow on the top
of them like oil; for the Titaresius is a branch of dread Orcus
and of the river Styx.
Of the Magnetes, Prothous son of Tenthredon was commander. They
were they that dwelt about the river Peneus and Mt. Pelion.
Prothous, fleet of foot, was their leader, and with him there
came forty ships.
Such were the chiefs and princes of the Danaans. Who, then, O
Muse, was the foremost, whether man or horse, among those that
followed after the sons of Atreus?
Of the horses, those of the son of Pheres were by far the finest.
They were driven by Eumelus, and were as fleet as birds. They
were of the same age and colour, and perfectly matched in height.
Apollo, of the silver bow, had bred them in Perea—both of them
mares, and terrible as Mars in battle. Of the men, Ajax, son of
Telamon, was much the foremost so long as Achilles' anger lasted,
for Achilles excelled him greatly and he had also better horses;
but Achilles was now holding aloof at his ships by reason of his
quarrel with Agamemnon, and his people passed their time upon the
sea shore, throwing discs or aiming with spears at a mark, and in
archery. Their horses stood each by his own chariot, champing
lotus and wild celery. The chariots were housed under cover, but
their owners, for lack of leadership, wandered hither and thither
about the host and went not forth to fight.
Thus marched the host like a consuming fire, and the earth
groaned beneath them when the lord of thunder is angry and lashes
the land about Typhoeus among the Arimi, where they say Typhoeus
lies. Even so did the earth groan beneath them as they sped over
the plain.
And now Iris, fleet as the wind, was sent by Jove to tell the bad
news among the Trojans. They were gathered in assembly, old and
young, at Priam's gates, and Iris came close up to Priam,
speaking with the voice of Priam's son Polites, who, being fleet
of foot, was stationed as watchman for the Trojans on the tomb of
old Aesyetes, to look out for any sally of the Achaeans. In his
likeness Iris spoke, saying, "Old man, you talk idly, as in time
of peace, while war is at hand. I have been in many a battle, but
never yet saw such a host as is now advancing. They are crossing
the plain to attack the city as thick as leaves or as the sands
of the sea. Hector, I charge you above all others, do as I say.
There are many allies dispersed about the city of Priam from
distant places and speaking divers tongues. Therefore, let each
chief give orders to his own people, setting them severally in
array and leading them forth to battle."
Thus she spoke, but Hector knew that it was the goddess, and at
once broke up the assembly. The men flew to arms; all the gates
were opened, and the people thronged through them, horse and
foot, with the tramp as of a great multitude.
Now there is a high mound before the city, rising by itself upon
the plain. Men call it Batieia, but the gods know that it is the
tomb of lithe Myrine. Here the Trojans and their allies divided
their forces.
Priam's son, great Hector of the gleaming helmet, commanded the
Trojans, and with him were arrayed by far the greater number and
most valiant of those who were longing for the fray.
The Dardanians were led by brave Aeneas, whom Venus bore to
Anchises, when she, goddess though she was, had lain with him
upon the mountain slopes of Ida. He was not alone, for with him
were the two sons of Antenor, Archilochus and Acamas, both
skilled in all the arts of war.
They that dwelt in Telea under the lowest spurs of Mt. Ida, men
of substance, who drink the limpid waters of the Aesepus, and are
of Trojan blood—these were led by Pandarus son of Lycaon, whom
Apollo had taught to use the bow.
They that held Adresteia and the land of Apaesus, with Pityeia,
and the high mountain of Tereia—these were led by Adrestus and
Amphius, whose breastplate was of linen. These were the sons of
Merops of Percote, who excelled in all kinds of divination. He
told them not to take part in the war, but they gave him no heed,
for fate lured them to destruction.
They that dwelt about Percote and Practius, with Sestos, Abydos,
and Arisbe—these were led by Asius, son of Hyrtacus, a brave
commander—Asius, the son of Hyrtacus, whom his powerful dark bay
steeds, of the breed that comes from the river Selleis, had
brought from Arisbe.
Hippothous led the tribes of Pelasgian spearsmen, who dwelt in
fertile Larissa—Hippothous, and Pylaeus of the race of Mars, two
sons of the Pelasgian Lethus, son of Teutamus.
Acamas and the warrior Peirous commanded the Thracians and those
that came from beyond the mighty stream of the Hellespont.
Euphemus, son of Troezenus, the son of Ceos, was captain of the
Ciconian spearsmen.
Pyraechmes led the Paeonian archers from distant Amydon, by the
broad waters of the river Axius, the fairest that flow upon the
earth.
The Paphlagonians were commanded by stout-hearted Pylaemanes from
Enetae, where the mules run wild in herds. These were they that
held Cytorus and the country round Sesamus, with the cities by
the river Parthenius, Cromna, Aegialus, and lofty Erithini.
Odius and Epistrophus were captains over the Halizoni from
distant Alybe, where there are mines of silver.
Chromis, and Ennomus the augur, led the Mysians, but his skill in
augury availed not to save him from destruction, for he fell by
the hand of the fleet descendant of Aeacus in the river, where he
slew others also of the Trojans.
Phorcys, again, and noble Ascanius led the Phrygians from the far
country of Ascania, and both were eager for the fray.
Mesthles and Antiphus commanded the Meonians, sons of Talaemenes,
born to him of the Gygaean lake. These led the Meonians, who
dwelt under Mt. Tmolus.
Nastes led the Carians, men of a strange speech. These held
Miletus and the wooded mountain of Phthires, with the water of
the river Maeander and the lofty crests of Mt. Mycale. These were
commanded by Nastes and Amphimachus, the brave sons of Nomion. He
came into the fight with gold about him, like a girl; fool that
he was, his gold was of no avail to save him, for he fell in the
river by the hand of the fleet descendant of Aeacus, and Achilles
bore away his gold.
Sarpedon and Glaucus led the Lycians from their distant land, by
the eddying waters of the Xanthus.
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