Ian Johnston, Malaspina
University-College, Nanaimo, BC. For information about copyright, use the
following link: Copyright.
For the Table of Contents use the following link: Contents.
This translation is available in the form of a published book from Richer
Resources Publications. And a complete recording of this translation is
available at Naxos Audio books.
July 22, 2008
Note that the
numbers in square brackets refer to the Greek text.
Thirteen The Trojans Attack the Ships
away from the battle; Poseidon secretly helps the Achaeans, talks to the two
Ajaxes and other warriors; Hector keeps advancing until stopped by close-packed
Achaeans; Poseidon talks with Idomeneus; Idomeneus and Meriones meet at the
huts, then return to battle; Idomeneus' exploits in the fight; Aeneas moves
against him; Menelaus on the battle field; Polydamas gives advice to Hector;
Hector insults Paris; Ajax and Hector exchange boasts; the armies resume the
Zeus brought Hector and the Trojans to the ships.
Then he left the soldiers there to carry on their strife,
their wretched endless war. He turned his shining gaze
away from them, looking far off into the distance,
at the land of Thracian horsemen, Mysians,
men who fight hand to hand, proud Hippemolgi,
who drink mare’s milk, to the most righteous men of all,
the Abii. Zeus no longer turned his radiant eyes
toward Troy, for in his heart he did not believe
a single one of the immortal gods would move 10 to
give assistance to the Trojans or Danaans.
mighty Earthshaker Poseidon was keeping watch. 
High on the tallest crest of wooded Samothrace
he sat looking down upon the war going on.
From that point, Mount Ida was clearly visible,
Priam’s city, too, and the Achaean ships.
He’d come up from the sea and seated himself there,
pitying Achaeans, as Trojans beat them back,
and nursing a powerful anger against Zeus.
Poseidon came down quickly from that rocky peak,20 moving swiftly on his feet.
Mountain peaks and woods
trembled under Poseidon’s immortal stride.
He took three paces—with the fourth he reached his goal, 
Aegae, where his famous palace had been built
of eternal gold and marble deep within the sea.
Going inside, he harnessed to his chariot
swift bronze-hooved horses with flowing golden manes.
Dressed in gold, he took his well-made golden whip,
climbed in the chariot, then set off across the waves.
From the depths, sea creatures played around him everywhere, 30 acknowledging their king. The
joyful ocean parted.
He sped on quickly, keeping the bronze axle dry. 
The prancing horses carried him to the Achaean ships.
between Tenedos and rocky Imbros,
a wide cavern sits deep within the sea. In that spot,
Earthshaker Poseidon reined in his horses,
freed them from the chariot, and threw down ambrosia,
food for them to eat. Around their feet he placed
golden hobbles which they could not slip or break,
so they’d remain secure there till their lord’s return. 40 Then Poseidon moved on to the
that point, Trojans, like some fire or windstorm,
marched behind Hector, son of Priam, in a mass,  shouting and screaming with
to seize Achaean ships and kill the best men there.
But Poseidon, who encircles and shakes the earth,
roused the Argives, once he’d moved up from the sea.
Taking on the shape and tireless voice of Calchas,
he first spoke to the Ajaxes, both keen to fight.
“You Ajaxes, you must save Achaean troops. 50 Think of your fighting power, not
In other places, I don’t fear the Trojans,
whose powerful arms have brought hordes of them
across our wall. For well-armed Achaeans
will check them all. But I fear them here,
where we may experience disaster,
because of Hector, who leads their charge.
He’s like a man possessed, a blazing fire,
as if he were a son of mighty Zeus.
But perhaps some god will inspire the hearts 60 in both your chests, so you two
can stand firm.
You could get other men to do the same.
Hector may be keen, but you could push him
back from our swift ships, even if Zeus himself
is driving him ahead.”
Poseidon finished speaking.
Then, the shaker and encircler of the earth
touched both men with his staff, infusing them  with power, strengthening their
legs and upper arms.
Then Poseidon left. Just as a swift-winged hawk
takes off while hovering above some high sheer rock,70 swooping down over the plain to
hunt another bird—
that how Earthshaker Poseidon went off then.
Swift Ajax, son of Oïleus, was the first
to recognize the god. At once he spoke to Ajax,
son of Telamon:
“Ajax, one of the gods
dwelling on Olympus, in a prophet’s shape,
tells us both to fight on by the ships.
For that man was no prophet Calchas,
who reads our omens. It was easy for me,
as he went away, to see that from the back 80 by the markings on his feet and
Besides, it’s easy to recognize the gods.
So now the spirit here in my own chest
is even keener than before to fight.
My upper arms have lots of energy.
I feel it also in my lower limbs.”
Ajax then answered Oïlean Ajax:
ready to wrap my conquering hands
around my spear. My fighting power grows.
My feet can now move fast. So I’m eager 90 to meet Hector, son of Priam, one
the man whose fury so desires this fight.”
the two Ajaxes talked like this to one another,
relishing the warlike spirit the god had put
into their hearts, the Encircler of the Earth
was encouraging Achaeans at the rear,
those whose spirits were recovering by the swift ships,
their limbs exhausted from their anguishing ordeals,
their hearts weighed down with sorrow at the sight
of Trojan soldiers coming over their great wall. 100 When they saw that, their eyes
shed tears—they thought
they’d not escape destruction. Earthshaker Poseidon
moved round with ease, bringing strength into the ranks.  He moved first to encourage Teucer
then brave Peneleous, Thoas, Deïpyrus,
then Meriones and Antilochus, both skilled
in war shouts. He spoke to them—his words had wings:
on you Argives, nothing but young boys!
I’m counting on your strength to save our ships.
If you’re holding back in this grim fight, 110 then now’s the day the Trojans
Alas! What my eyes witness here astounds me,
a dreadful thing I never thought would happen— 
Trojans moving up to our own ships,
men who previously were shy, like deer,
which in the woods are prey to jackals,
wolves, and leopards, as they wander round,
alone and frightened, with no will to fight.
Before now, Trojans never wished to stand
confronting the fierce fighting power 120 of Achaean arms, not even for a
But now, far from their city, they fight here,
right by our hollow ships. And the reason’s this—
our leadership’s been bad, our army slack.
For those who quarrel with our general
won’t protect our fast-moving ships from harm,
and so are being cut down among them there.
But even if wide-ruling Agamemnon,
heroic son of Atreus, is to blame,
if he really is the reason for all this, 130 because he treated swift Achilles
in this battle we must hold back nothing.
Let’s fix all this—and quickly. In their hearts
fine men can change. It’s bad if you restrain
your fighting spirit any longer,
especially you, the best of all our troops.
Myself, I wouldn’t argue with a man
not keen to fight because he is a coward.
But in you my heart is disappointed.
Friends, by this hanging back you’ll help to make 140 an even worse disaster. Let each
feel shame and indignation in his heart.
A great battle has just started. Hector,
skilled at war cries, is fighting by our ships.
His force has smashed our gates, our long bolts, too.”
rousing men this way, Earthshaker Poseidon
pushed Achaeans into action. Round both Ajaxes
soldiers made a stand and strongly held their ground.
If Ares had come there, he would have approved of them,
as would Athena, who inspires men in war. 150 Those known for their great
bravery did not back off.
They fought lord Hector and the Trojans spear for spear,  shield with layered shield, in
shields linked together and helmet touching helmet,
troops shoulder to shoulder. As men moved their heads,
horsehair crests on shining helmet ridges touched—
that’s how densely packed they stood in that formation.
Their strong hands held the spears out so they overlapped.
Their minds were firm and fully ready for the fight.
Trojans came on in a mass, led by Hector, 160 always charging forward, like a
which some river in a winter flood dislodges
from a cliff beside its banks, its great flood eroding
what supports that lethal stone. In its fall, it bounces—
woods crash underneath it, as it accelerates  in a straight line,
unimpeded—then it hits the plain,
where, for all its impetus, its motion stops.
That’s how Hector threatened then to smash his way
with ease down to the sea, to Achaea’s huts and ships.
But when he ran into the tight-packed lines of men, 170 he came close but was held in
check. Achaea’s sons
faced up to him with swords, with double-bladed spears,
and pushed him back. Shaken, Hector had to give ground.
He let out a piercing shout, calling to his Trojans:
Lycians, you Dardan spearmen, 
hold your place. Achaeans won’t keep me back,
not for long. Even though they’ve set themselves
in a defensive wall, I think they will retreat
before my spear, if the greatest of the gods,
Hera’s loud-thundering mate, inspires me.” 180
this, Hector gave heart and spirit to each man.
Deïphobus, son of Priam, moved out before them,
full of ambitious hopes. Holding his round shield
in front of him, he stepped lightly forward,
under cover of that shield. Then Meriones
after taking aim, threw his shining spear at him.
He didn’t miss. He struck that round leather shield.
But the spear did not break through. Before it could,
it snapped off at the socket. Then Deïphobus,
his heart afraid of warlike Meriones’ spear, 190 held his leather shield at arm’s
length away from him.
But Meriones had withdrawn into the group
of his companions, upset at his double loss—
the victory and the spear which he’d just shattered.
He set off for the Achaean huts and ships,
to fetch another spear he’d left inside his hut.
others kept on fighting. The din was constant.
The first to kill a man was Teucer, son of Telamon. He slew Imbrius, a spearman, son
who owned many horses. He’d lived in Pedaeum 200 before Achaea’s sons arrived. He
one of Priam’s bastard daughters, Medesicaste.
When the curved ships of the Danaans came to Troy,
he went back. The people there thought much of him.
He lived with Priam, who honoured him as well,
as if he were his child. But the son of Telamon
with a long spear thrust hit Imbrius below the ear.
Teucer pulled the weapon back. Imbrius collapsed.
Just as an ash tree growing on a mountain top,
visible from every side, is chopped down by bronze, 210 its foliage crashing to the
ground—that’s how he fell.
His armour, finely decorated bronze, rang out,
reverberating round him. Teucer then jumped out,
eager to strip away his armour, but as he charged,
Hector threw a shining spear at him. Teucer,
seeing it coming, safely dodged the bronze spear point.
But Hector’s spear hit Amphimachus, son of Cteatus,
Actor’s son, in the chest, as he was coming up,
about to join the battle. He fell with a crash,
his armour echoing around him. Hector ran up,220 eager to tug away the helmet
around the temples of brave Amphimachus.
But with his bright spear Ajax lunged at Hector, 
as he came forward. He didn’t touch his flesh,
for Hector was encased in terrifying bronze.
But Ajax struck the central boss on Hector’s shield,
and his great power pushed him back. Hector withdrew
and left the corpses, so Achaeans dragged them off.
Amphimachus was carried back to the Achaean troops
by Stichius and by noble Menestheus, 230 who led Athenian troops. The two
still full of battle rage, hauled Imbrius away.
As two lions snatch a goat from sharp-toothed hounds,
then take it in their jaws off through thick underbrush,
holding it well off the ground, that’s how both Ajaxes
held Imbrius up. They stripped off his armour.
In his anger at the killing of Amphimachus,
Oïlean Ajax hacked through the tender neck,
then, with a swing of his body, threw away the head,
like some ball, into the crowd. It fell into the dust, 240 right at Hector’s feet.
At that point, Poseidon,
angry that his grandson Amphimachus had died
in that harsh fight, went through Achaea’s huts and ships,
rousing Achaeans, planning trouble for the Trojans.
He met the famous spearman Idomeneus 
coming from a comrade who’d just left the fight.
A sharp bronze blow had struck him in the knee.
His companions brought him in. Idomeneus,
having issued his instructions to the healers,
was going to his hut, still eager to fight on. 250 The mighty Earthshaker spoke to
him, making his voice
sound like Thoas, son of Andraemon, who ruled
Aetolians all through Pleuron and steep Calydon,
honoured by his people like a god:
Cretan counsellor, what’s happened to those threats
Achaea’s sons once made against the Trojans?”
Cretan leader, then said in reply:
far as I know, Thoas, no one’s to blame.
For all of us are very skilled in fighting,
and no one is timid here or frightened, 260 or, gripped by doubts, holds back
from evil war.
Somehow it must please Cronos’ mighty son
that Achaeans perish now without a name,
far from Argos. But Thoas, in times past,
you were a man who always stood his ground
and encouraged other men to do the same,
if you saw someone shirking. Don’t stop now.
Issue your instructions to each man.”
Poseidon then replied:
may the man who will not fight today, 270 and willingly, never return from
May he become a toy for dogs to play with.
But get your armour and then come with me.
If we’re to work well, we must work together,
although we’re only two. For courage
of the highest sort comes when men combine,
even among men worth very little,
and we two know how to battle with the best.”
said this, Poseidon went away, a god
among the toiling men, and Idomeneus 280 went into his well-made hut,
strapped fine armour
round his body, took two spears and then strode out,
looking like a lightning bolt which Cronos’ son
grips in his hand and hurls down from bright Olympus,
revealing in its dazzling flash a sign for mortal men,
that’s how, as he moved, bronze glinted on his chest.
his brave attendant, met him
close by the hut. He’d come in search of a bronze spear.
Strong Idomeneus said to him:
swift-footed son of Molus, the companion 290 I cherish most, why have you come
leaving the war and giving up the fight?
Have you been hurt? Or wounded by a spear?
Are you in pain? Or have you come with news?
Me, I don’t want to stay here in my hut.
I want to fight.”
Wise Meriones then replied:
counsellor of bronze-armed Cretans,
I’ve come to get a spear, if by any chance
there’s one left in your huts. The one I had
shattered in pieces when I hit the shield 300 of that arrogant fighter Deïphobus.”
this, Idomeneus, Cretan leader, then replied:
As many as you want—in my hut
twenty-one stand against the sunny wall,
Trojans spears I take from warriors I kill.
I never think of fighting hostile troops
from far away—that’s why I’ve got there
brightly shining spears and embossed shields,
with helmets, too, and body armour.”
Meriones then answered Idomeneus: 310
my hut, too, and in my black ship,
there’s lots of Trojan loot. But it’s not close—
too inconvenient. For I can claim
I don’t neglect my fighting prowess.
Whenever battles start, I stand and fight
with men in front, in those encounters  where men win glory. Other
might not know my fighting quality, but you,
I think you’ve seen it for yourself.”
leader of the Cretans, answered Meriones: 320
know your courage. Why talk that way?
If by the ships right now we were naming
the best men for an ambush, where one sees
a warrior’s courage most conspicuously,
where cowards and brave men truly show themselves—
for a coward’s colour always changes,
the man’s so nervous he just can’t sit still,
shifting around, resting first on one foot,
then another, heart pounding in his chest,
his mind preoccupied with thoughts of death,330 and his teeth keep chattering in
while a brave man’s colour never changes,
he feels no great fear as he takes his place
in the group selected for the ambush,
no—he prays the killing will soon start.
In such a scene no one could challenge you,
or fault your battle rage or your strong arms.
For if, in the middle of the fighting,
some flying weapon hit you, or you were stabbed,
that weapon wouldn’t strike your neck or body 340 in the back. No, you’d be hit in
in chest or stomach, as you charged ahead,
getting your joy from fighting at the front.
But let’s not chat about this any longer,
standing here as if we were young children.
That could make some people very angry.
Go in my hut. Get yourself a heavy spear.”
finished. Then Meriones,
like swift Ares, quickly took a bronze spear from the hut.
Filled with an urge to fight, he went with Idomeneus. 350 Just as man-killing Ares sets off
accompanied by his son Terror, just as strong,
as fearless, who makes any man afraid, 
no matter how courageous he may be—the two of them
setting out from Thrace, having armed themselves to fight
Ephyreans or brave Phlegyans, giving glory
to one of them, without listening to either side—
that’s how Meriones and Idomeneus,
leaders of men, set off to battle, fully armed
in glittering bronze. Meriones was the first to speak: 360
of Deucalion, where do you think
we should rejoin the fight? On the right side
of the whole army, the middle, or the left?
To my mind, this last place is the one
where long-haired Achaeans stand most in need.” 
leader Idomeneus answered Meriones:
the middle there are other men
to shore up the troops—the two Ajaxes,
Teucer, too, the best Achaean archer,
good in hand-to-hand combat as well. 370 Those warriors will give Hector,
all he can handle, even if he’s keen
to fight and really strong. He’ll find it hard,
though in full battle frenzy, to overcome
their spirit, their all-powerful hands,
and then burn the fleet, unless Zeus himself,
son of Cronos, hurls a flaming firebrand  on our swift ships. That son of
great Ajax, will not yield to any mortal man
who eats Demeter’s grain, who can be smashed380 by massive rocks or bronze. He’d
not give way
in a stand-up fight, not even to Achilles,
who destroys ranks of men and is so fast—
in running no one can beat Achilles.
No, we should move toward the army’s left,
as you say, find out as soon as possible
if we’ll win glory or give it to another.”
spoke. Like swift Ares, Meriones
led the way until they reached the army,
where Idomeneus had instructed him to go. 390 When Trojans saw mighty Idomeneus, like some flame, and his attendant
in his richly shining armour, they called out
to each other in the crowd, then made a massive charge.
the ships’ sterns both sides met in frantic battle.
Just as keen winds sometimes whip up gusts of air,
when dirt lies heavy on the roads, and stir up
all the dust into huge clouds—that’s how this fight
gathered momentum then. In that crowd, men’s hearts
were set to slaughter one another with sharp bronze. 400 That man-destroying combat
bristled with long spears
gripped by men to hack each other’s flesh apart.
As troops moved up tightly bunched, men’s eyes went blind
in the blaze of glittering bronze, glaring helmets,
finely polished body armour, gleaming shields.
It would take a hard man to find joy in the sight
of all that suffering and show no trace of sorrow.
two mighty sons of Cronos, at cross purposes,
made painful trouble for those mortal warriors.
Zeus wanted victory for Hector and his Trojans, 410 to give swift Achilles glory—not
that he wished
Achaea’s army to be totally destroyed
in front of Troy, but he did want to honour Thetis,  and her great-hearted son, as
But Poseidon moved around among the Argives,
urging action, coming out in secret from the sea,
angry that Trojans were destroying Achaeans,
and incensed at Zeus. Both gods had a common father—
the same family, too—but Zeus was older and more wise.
So Poseidon avoided giving any overt help. 420 He did his work in secret through
in human form, urging men to fight. So these two
looped the cords of powerful war and deadly strife
around both contending armies, then pulled them taut,
a knot no one could undo or slip away from,
a knot that broke the limbs of many fighting men. 
though old enough to have grey hair,
called out to the Danaans and then charged the Trojans,
driving them away. He killed Othryoneus,
a man from Cabesus, who now lived in Troy. 430 He’d come recently, responding
to the news of war.
He’d asked to marry Cassandra, most beautiful
of Priam’s daughters, without paying a bride price.
Instead he’d promised a great action, saying he’d drive
Achaea’s sons from Troy. Old Priam had agreed,
promising he’d give her to him. Othryoneus,
trusting the king’s promises, went off to fight.
Aiming his shining spear at him, Idomeneus threw. 
The spear struck him as he was striding forward.
The bronze breastplate he was wearing didn’t help him—440 the spear lodged in his gut. He
fell down with a crash.
Then Idomeneus cried out in triumph:
of all mortal men I’d consider you
the happiest, if you’d accomplished
all those things you promised Dardan Priam,
so he’d give you his daughter. But come,
we’ll make you the same proposition—
and we’ll deliver. We’ll give you the loveliest
of Agamemnon’s daughters, bring her here
from Argos, so you can wed her, if you, 450 for your part, will join us to
the well-built city Ilion. So let’s go. 
We can arrange the marriage contract
by our seaworthy ships. We’ll be generous
about your marriage price.”
As he said this,
warrior Idomeneus dragged him by the feet
through lines of fighting men. But Asius then stepped up
to guard Othryoneus. He was on foot,
going before his horses, which his charioteer
kept so close they breathed on Asius’ shoulders. 460 He’d set his heart on hitting
But Idomeneus was too quick for him.
He hit Asius with a spear below his chin,
forcing the bronze straight through his neck. Asius fell.
Just as a mountain oak, poplar, or tall pine falls,
cut down by working men with freshly sharpened axes,
to make timbers for some ship, that how Asius lay,
stretched out there before his chariot and horses,
gagging, his fingers clawing at the bloody dust.
His charioteer, scared out of whatever wits he’d had,470 didn’t think of wheeling round
his horses to escape
his enemies’ hands. Taking aim, bold Antilochus
speared him in the stomach. The bronze breastplate he wore
was no protection. The spear struck in his stomach.
He fell out of the well-made chariot gasping.
Antilochus, brave Nestor’s son, then drove the horses
from the Trojans over to well-armed Achaeans.
the loss of Asius, Deïphobus
came up to Idomeneus and hurled his polished spear.
Idomeneus, seeing him clearly, dodged the spear, 480 covering himself with the round
shield he carried,
one made of bull’s hide and shining bronze in rings,
with two cross braces fitted on. Idomeneus
crouched down underneath this shield. The flying bronze
grazed the metal with a rasping sound. But that throw
from the strong arm of Deïphobus wasn’t wasted. 
His spear hit Hypsenor, son of Hippasus,
his people’s shepherd, low down in the liver.
His legs collapsed. Deïphobus gave a noisy shout,
boasting aloud about his triumph:
“Now Asius 490 is avenged! As he goes down to
the mighty gatekeeper, his heart, I think,
will be pleased I’ve given him an escort.”
spoke. His boast depressed the Argives,
and gave special pain to warlike Antilochus.
Despite his sorrow, Antilochus did not forget
his comrade. He came running up and stood over him,
with his shield above his body. Two loyal companions,
Mecistus, son of Echius, and Alastor, bent down,
then carried Hypsenor groaning to the hollow ships. 500
did not relent his fighting frenzy.
He kept on trying to wrap some Trojan soldier
in death’s dark night or to fall himself, defending
Achaeans from disaster. He killed Alcathous,
dear warrior son of divinely bred Aesyetes,
Anchises’ son-in-law. He’d married Hippodamia,
eldest of the daughters. Her mother and father
had set their heart’s love on her when she was at home.
She surpassed all girls her age in beauty, work,
good sense. That’s why the very finest man in Troy 510 had married her. Now at
Poseidon slaughtered Alcathous. The god cast a spell—
he covered his bright eyes and froze his glistening limbs,
so he couldn’t flee or dodge the spear, but stood there,
motionless, like a pillar or some high leafy tree.
Warrior Idomeneus hit him with his spear
square in the chest, shattering the bronze breastplate,
which earlier had kept his skin untouched by death. 
But now it cracked aloud as the spear ripped through.
He fell with a crash, the spear stuck in his chest. 520 The power of his heart beat made
that spear shaft quiver,
right to the butt, until great Ares stilled its force.
Idomeneus then spoke out, boasting aloud
about his triumph:
since you like to brag this way, my friend,
shall we now call it even, three men killed
a fair exchange for one? Why don’t you step out—
face me here, so you can see for yourself
what kind of child of Zeus confronts you.
Zeus first fathered Minos to rule Crete. 530 Minos then fathered worthy
Deucalion fathered me, a king ruling
many men in spacious Crete. Now my ships
have brought me here as a destroying force,
against you, your father, and other Trojans.”
spoke. Deïphobus was of two minds—
should he step back and pick out a companion
from stout-hearted Trojans, or should he try to fight
all on his own? As he thought about his options,
he thought his best plan was to find Aeneas. 540 He met him standing at the back,
among the crowd,
for Aeneas, who excelled among the warriors,
always resented Priam for not showing him 
enough respect. Deïphobus approached Aeneas,
then spoke to him—his words had wings.
“Aeneas, Trojan counsellor,
now you must defend your brother-in-law,
if you feel any grief. It’s urgent.
Come with me and fight for Alcathous,
who was your sister’s husband. He raised you
as an infant in his home. Now Idomeneus,550 that celebrated spearman, has just
finished. His words stirred the heart
in Aeneas’ chest. He strode off to face Idomeneus,
fiercely eager for this fight. But no fear gripped
Idomeneus, as if he were some pampered child.
He stood his ground. Just as a wild mountain boar,
trusting its own strength, stands firm against a mob,
a crowd of men who chase it in some lonely place,
with hair bristling along its back, its eyes lit up,
like fire, gnashing its teeth ferociously, eager 560 to toss dogs and men
aside—that’s just the way
the famous spearman Idomeneus stood then,
without backing off, as swift Aeneas came at him.
He called out to the companions he could see,
Ascalaphus, Aphareus, Deïpyrus, Meriones,
Antilochus—all famous for their war shouts.
Idomeneus yelled, urging them to help him—
his words had wings: 
“My friends—over here!
I’m alone, so bring some help. I’m worried.
Aeneas, who moves fast, is coming at me. 570 He’s powerful at killing men in
He’s also in the flower of his youth,
when strength is at its peak. Were I his age
and both of us had equal courage,
he or I would soon win a huge victory.”
finished. All his companions,
united by a common spirit, came at his call.
They stood beside him as a unit, sloping their shields
down from their shoulders. On his side, Aeneas
called out to those companions he’d caught sight of— 580 Deïphobus, Paris, and
just as he was, of those Trojan warriors.
Men came up behind them. Just as a flock of sheep
follows the ram from pasture to their water,
filling the shepherd’s heart with joy, so Aeneas
was happy in his chest to see that band of soldiers
standing there around him.
The men now battled on,
close combat with long spears, over Alcathous.
As they lunged at one another in the crowd of men,
their bronze chests echoed with the fearful noise. 590 Two men stood out above the rest
Aeneas and Idomeneus, equals of Ares, 
striving to slash each other’s flesh with ruthless bronze.
First, Aeneas threw a spear at Idomeneus,
who, seeing it coming, eluded the bronze spear,
which then impaled itself in earth, still quivering—
it had flown from that strong hand but missed its target.
Then Idomeneus struck Oenomaus in the stomach,
smashing the front plate on his body armour.
His bowels spilled out, as he dropped in the dust 600 and clutched the dirt. Idomeneus
yanked his long spear
out of the corpse. But he couldn’t strip away 
any of the lovely armour on its shoulders,
for he was being attacked with flying weapons.
His lower limbs were no longer fast enough
for him to charge in quickly after his own spear
or dodge aside. He could keep grim death at bay
in pitched battle, but that’s all his legs could do—
they were too slow for him to run away from combat.
As Idomeneus retreated step by step, 610 Deïphobus tried to hit him with a
he’d always hated Idomeneus—but he missed,
hitting Ascalaphus instead, a son of Ares.
The heavy spear passed straight through his shoulder.
He collapsed in the dust, hands clawing at the ground.
mighty Ares was not yet aware
his own son had fallen in the killing zone.
He sat on the highest part of Mount Olympus,
under golden clouds, confined by Zeus’ will,
along with the rest of the immortal gods, 620 forbidden to participate in
close fighting over Ascalaphus continued.
Deïphobus stripped off the corpse’s shining helmet.
But Meriones, like swift Ares, jumped out
and speared him in the arm. The plumed helmet,
with a clang, fell on the ground. Like a vulture,
Meriones leapt out again, pulled the heavy spear
out of his upper arm, then moved back to his group,
But Deïphobus’ blood brother Polites,
with both arms round his waist, hauled him from the fight, 630 until he came to his swift horses
in the rear.
They were standing there, waiting for him,
with charioteer and finely decorated chariot.
These took him away, back to the city, tired out,
moaning heavily, blood dripping from his wounded arm.
The rest kept fighting, with no let up in the noise.
Aeneas went at Aphareus, son of Caletor,
as he was facing him. His sharp spear hit his throat.
Aphareus’ head snapped back—his shield and helmet
fell down on him, and Death, which takes the living spirit, 640 gathered him in.
kept watching Thoön.
As he turned, he rushed up and stabbed him,
severing the vein which runs the full length of the back
up to the neck—Antilochus slashed through this vein.
Thoön fell, stretching his arms up from the dust,
reaching to his friends. Antilochus jumped on him
and began to strip the armour on his shoulders.
But he kept his eyes alert, for he was surrounded,
with Trojan men on every side, thrusting their spears
at his broad shining shield. But their ruthless bronze 650 could not scratch the tender skin
behind that shield,
for Earthshaker Poseidon was guarding Nestor’s son,
even in that hail of spears. So Antilochus
never moved far from his enemies. He kept going,
ranging around among them. His spear never stopped,
always in motion, quivering, his eager heart
keen to throw that spear at someone or attack him.
Antilochus went through that crowd of men,
he was observed by Adamas, son of Asius,
who charged close in—his sharp bronze spear struck 660 the middle of his shield. But
unwilling to concede Antilochus’ life,
made the spear point fail—so part of it got stuck
in Antilochus’ shield, like the charred end of a stick,
and half fell on the ground. Adamas then withdrew,
returning to the group of his companions,
avoiding death. But Meriones went after him,
as he moved back, and hit him underneath his navel,
in the scrotum, the most agonizing way
for men to perish miserably in battle. 670 When that spear struck Adamas, he
doubled up, 
bent down over the spear, writhing like a bull
which farmers in the mountains bind with willow shoots
and drag along by force, against the creature’s will.
That’s how Adamas, once hit, twitched there for a while,
but not for long. Warlike Meriones, running up,
pulled out his spear. Then darkness covered up his eyes.
close quarters, Helenus then hit Deïpyrus,
striking his helmet with a massive Thracian sword,
knocking it off, so it fell to earth and rolled away 680 among the soldiers’ feet. Some
Achaean picked it up.
Deïpyrus’ eyes grew cloudy, and darkness took him.
son Menelaus, skilled at war shouts, 
was overcome with grief. He stepped up, threatening
and waving a sharp spear at warrior Helenus.
Helenus pulled back on the centre of his bow.
They both let fly together—one with a sharp spear,
the other with an arrow from his bowstring.
Priam’s son hit Menelaus with his arrow—
on the front plate of his armour, in the chest.690 The keen arrow bounded off. Just
as black beans or peas
fly off a broad shovel on large threshing floors,
driven by the sharp wind or winnower’s strength— 
that’s how the arrow point glanced off the breast plate,
then flew aside, away from glorious Menelaus.
When Atreus’ son Menelaus, skilled at war shouts,
threw his spear, he hit Helenus in the hand,
the one which held the finely polished bow.
The bronze sliced through his hand into the bow.
Helenus drew back into the group of his companions, 700 escaping death. He let his hand
hang by his side,
dragging the ash spear behind him, till brave Agenor
pulled it out. Agenor then bound up his hand
in a strip of twisted sheep’s wool and made a sling,
which his attendant carried for him, his people’s shepherd.
Peisander made straight for glorious Menelaus.
But an evil fate was leading him towards his death,
destroyed at your hands, Menelaus, in lethal war.
When the two men had approached each other,
standing at close range, Menelaus threw but missed— 710 his spear point was deflected.
Then Peisander struck,
hitting glorious Menelaus’ shield, but his bronze
could not break through. The broad shield withstood the blow,
which snapped the spear off at its socket. But in his heart,
Peisander still felt a joyful hope of victory.
The son of Atreus pulled out his silver-studded sword,
then leapt at Peisander, who, from under his own shield,
produced a fine axe of well-cast bronze, with a long shaft
of finely-polished olive wood. The two men met.
Peisander struck Menelaus on his helmet ridge, 720 at the top, just underneath the
But as Peisander charged, Menelaus hit him—
right on the forehead, just above his nose.
The bones cracked. Both his bloody eyes fell out
into the dirt beside his feet. Peisander doubled up
and then collapsed. Menelaus stepped on his chest,
stripped off his armour, crying out in triumph:
arrogant Trojans, who can’t get enough
of war’s destructive noise, this is the way
you’ll go back from these ships of the Danaans, 730 who ride fast horses. You’re not
where insults and dishonour are concerned,
to go after me, you worthless mongrel dogs,
without fearing in your hearts harsh anger
from thundering Zeus, god of hospitality,
who some day will destroy your lofty town.
For you carried off the wife I married,
lots of my property, and brought them here,
although she’d entertained you royally
in her own home. Now you’re madly eager 740 to throw deadly fire on our
to kill Achaean warriors. But you’ll be stopped, no matter how much you now want to
O Father Zeus, people say for wisdom
you exceed all others, men and gods alike.
Yet all this comes from you, the way you show
favours to these insolent men, these Trojans,
whose aggressive spirit has no limit,
who can never get enough of battle,
though they’re not winning in an equal fight. 750 To all things there is a limit
to love, sweet songs, and gorgeous dancing.
A man would rather have his fill of these, not war.
But Trojans here are gluttons for a fight.”
Menelaus spoke, he stripped the body,
then gave its bloody armour to his comrades.
He went back and rejoined those fighting in the front.
next man to charge against him was Harpalion,
son of king Pylamenes, who came to fight at Troy
following his dear father. But he never did return 760 to his own country. With his spear
at close range,
he struck the centre of Menelaus’ shield,
but the bronze could not penetrate completely.
So he drew back into the throng of his companions,
escaping death. He looked around him carefully,
as he moved, so no warrior’s bronze would hit his flesh.
But on his way back, Meriones shot at him. 
The bronze-tipped arrow hit his right buttock, pushing
underneath the bone, going right into the bladder.
He sat down there, in the arms of his dear comrades, 770 choking his life away, convulsing
on the ground,
like some worm. His dark blood gushed out, soaking the earth.
Brave Paphlagonians came up to help Harpalion.
They set him in a chariot and took him away,
full of sorrow, to sacred Ilion. His father
went back with them, in tears, for he could find
no satisfaction for the slaughter of his son.
death made Paris really angry.
For with the Paphlagonians he’d welcomed Paris
as his guest. In a fit of anger, Paris shot off780 a bronze-tipped arrow. Now, there
was a certain man
called Euchenor, son of Polyidus the prophet,
a rich, brave man, who lived at home in Corinth.
He’d set sail knowing full well his deadly fate,
for many times his brave old father, Polyidus,
had told him—he would either die in his own home
from some foul disease or be destroyed by Trojans
among Achaean ships. Euchenor thus escaped
both the stiff penalty exacted by Achaeans
and deadly sickness—he felt worthy in his heart. 790 The arrow Paris shot hit this man
by his jaw,
right on the ear. At once his spirit left his limbs,
and hateful darkness carried him away.
the men keep fighting like a blazing fire.
But Hector, dear to Zeus, hadn’t heard and didn’t know
how the Achaeans were killing off his army
at the left end of the ships. Glory in this battle
would soon have been awarded to Achaeans—
that’s how powerfully Earthshaker Poseidon,
who enfolds the earth, was driving Argives forward, 800 helping them with his own strength
as well. But Hector
charged on from where he’d first breached the gates and wall,
smashing up the close-packed ranks of the Danaans, right to the ships of Protesilaus
drawn up on the beach beside the blue-grey sea.
By these ships the wall was lowest. So there the fight
with men and horses was particularly fierce.
There Boeotians fought, Ionians in long tunics,
Locrians, Phthians, and glittering Epeians.
But they had trouble standing up to Hector’s charge,810 as he attacked the ships. They
couldn’t push him back,
away from them, as he came up, like an inferno,
not even the finest men of the Athenians,
with their leader Menestheus, son of Peteos, 
alongside Pheidas, Stichius, and brave Bias,
with the Epeians led by Meges, son of Phyleus,
Amphion, Dracius, and the Phthians,
led by Medon and Podarces, both brave men.
Medon was a bastard son of noble Oïleus
and Ajax’s brother. But he lived in Phylace, 820 far from his native land, for
he’d killed a man,
one related to Eriopis, his stepmother,
wife of Oïleus. Podarcus was Iphicles’ son,
child of Phylaces. These men in their armour
were fighting at the head of those brave Phthians,
standing with Boeotians to defend the ships. 
son of Oïleus, would not move away
from Ajax, son of Telamon—he fought beside him.
Just as in a meadow a pair of wine-dark oxen
strain with the same heart to pull a jointed plough,830 beads of sweat running from the
bottom of their horns,
with nothing but a well-polished yoke between them,
as they labour down the furrows, till the plough
slices through the edges of the field—that’s the way
the two Ajaxes stood together then, side by side.
Telamonian Ajax had many comrades with him,
courageous soldiers, who’d relieve him of his shield
when his sweaty limbs grew tired. But the Locrians
had not come forward with brave Oïlean Ajax—
they lacked courage for fighting in the killing zone, 840 for they had no plumed bronze
helmets, no round shields,
and no ash spears. They’d come to Troy with Ajax
trusting in their bows and slings of twisted sheep’s wool.
Later they battled on with these, firing thick volleys,
breaking ranks of Trojans. So one group of men,
those with glittering weapons, fought at the front
against bronze-armed Hector and his Trojans, 
while another shot from safe positions at the back.
The arrows drained the Trojans’ fighting spirit.
Trojans would then have been shamed into retreat, 850 moving back from the ships and
huts to windy Troy,
if Polydamas hadn’t approached bold Hector, saying:
a difficult man to deal with, Hector,
for you don’t take advice. God has made you
more excellent in war than other men.
Thus, in council you want us all to think
you’re better than the rest. But in yourself
you can’t be everything at once. The gods
make one man superior in warfare, 
another in the dance, or singing, 860 or playing the lyre. For some
all-seeing Zeus puts wisdom in their hearts—
and from these men many people benefit,
many are saved, for such men know what’s right.
So I’ll say what I think it’s best to do.
All around you war’s fiery circle rages,
but some brave Trojans, having breached the wall,
are standing idle with their weapons.
Others, scattered around the ships, fight on—
but in small groups against a larger mass. 870 You should fall back, then summon
here to you
all our finest men. Then we can weigh our options—
whether we should assault the well-decked ships,
in the hope god wants to give us victory,
or whether, for safety’s sake, we leave the ships.
I’m afraid Achaeans may avenge the hurt
we gave them yesterday, since by their ships
there sits a man with appetite for war—
I think he may change his decision not to fight.”
finished. His advice pleased Hector. 880 At once he jumped out of his
chariot to the ground.
He took up his weapons and spoke—his words had wings: 
keep all the best men here.
I’ll go back to battle over there,
returning when I’ve told them what to do.”
that, Hector strode off, like a snowy mountain,
going by Trojans and allies, shouting instructions.
When these men heard what Hector wanted them to do,
they all came running over to Polydamas,
kind son of Panthous. Hector marched through the ranks 890 of their best warriors, looking
brave prince Helenus, Adamas, son of Asius,
and Asius, son of Hyrtacus. But these men
had not come through unscathed. Some were already dead,  killed at Argive hands by the
sterns of Achaea’s ships.
Others inside the wall had spear or arrow wounds.
On the left flank of that destructive battle,
Hector met Paris, husband of fair-haired Helen,
encouraging his comrades, urging them to fight.
Approaching him, Hector taunted Paris: 900
may be the best-looking man around,
but you’re a useless woman-mad seducer.
Where are Deïphobus, brave prince Helenus, 
Adamas, son of Asius, and Asius,
son of Hyrtacus? Where’s Othryoneus?
Tell me that. All of high Ilion
has been destroyed. Your own death is certain.”
noble Alexander answered Hector:
you’re now blaming someone innocent.
At other times I have held back from war, 910 but not this time. When my mother
she did not produce a total coward.
Since the moment you told your men to fight
beside the ships, we’ve been in combat here,
in a constant struggle with Danaans.
Those comrades you just mentioned have been killed.
Only Deïphobus and brave Helenus
have gone back, both wounded in the arm—
hit by long spears—but Zeus saved them from death.
But now, lead on where your spirit tells you, 920 we’ll follow you quite
willingly. I don’t think
we’ll show a lack of courage while our strength holds out.
Once that goes, no matter how keen a man may be,
he can no longer continue in the war.”
Paris’ words won his brother’s heart.
They set off for the centre of that noisy battle,
with Cebriones, noble Polydamas, 
Phalces, Orthaeus, godlike Polyphetes,
Palmys, Ascanius, Morus, son of Hippotion,
men who’d come from fertile Ascania the day before 930 as reinforcements. Now Zeus
incited them to war.
The Trojans advanced. Just like blasts of storming winds
striking the earth under Father Zeus’ thunder,
then with a roar slicing into the sea, whipping up
a crowd of surging waves across a booming ocean,
with lines of arching foam, one following another—
that how Trojans marched behind their leaders, 
in a tight formation, one behind the other,
glittering in bronze. Like man-destroying Ares,
Hector, son of Priam, led them. He held his shield940 in front of him, an even circle
made of hide,
densely packed, then covered with a solid layer
of hammered bronze, helmet gleaming round his temples.
He moved out, testing all parts of the Achaean lines,
to see if they’d retreat from him as he came forward
covered by his shield. But Achaean hearts stood firm.
The first fighter to challenge Hector was great Ajax,
who marched out with long strides and shouted:
you poor man. Why try to scare the Argives?
When it comes to fighting, we’re not ignorant. 950 Zeus’ harsh whip has lashed
and your heart now wants to break our ships.
But we’ve got hands to raise in their defence.
In fact, I think it’s far more likely now
we’ll take your well-built city—these hands of ours
will smash it long before you seize our ships.
I say the time has come when you’ll run back,
praying to Father Zeus and other gods,
to make your horses with their lovely manes
fly as fast as hawks, when they speed through dust 960 to get you to your city on the
Ajax spoke, a bird flew out on the right,
a high-flying eagle. Encouraged by the omen,
the Achaean soldiers responded with a cheer.
Glorious Hector then said to Ajax in reply:
are you saying, you stupid boaster?
I wish it were as certain that I was
the son of aegis-bearing Zeus himself,
with Hera for my mother, and honoured
like Apollo or Athena, as I am that this day 970 brings disaster to the
Argives—all of them.
You’ll lie among the dead, if you dare
to stand up to my long spear. It will slice  your lily skin. Then once you fall
beside Achaea’s ships, Trojan dogs and birds
will feed upon your flesh and fat.”
Then he advanced—the troops moved up behind him,
making a huge din, even from soldiers at the back.
On the other side, the Argives raised a shout.
They hadn’t lost their courage. They’d held their line980 against the finest Trojans
launching their attack.
The noise from both sides went up into bright Zeus’ sky