Homer: "Iliad": Book XI: The Achaean Retreat | Sabidius.com
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Ancient Greece

Homer: “Iliad”: Book XI: The Achaean Retreat


Book XI sees the beginning of the third successive day of fighting, a very long day, which features the most sustained and violent episode of fighting in the “Iliad”, and which continues until the end of Book XVIII, at which point the Achaeans’ defensive wall has been breached, their ships fired, and Patroclus has been killed by Hector. All this is in fulfilment of Zeus’ promise to Thetis that the Achaeans will be punished because of Agamemnon’s mistreatment of her son, Achilles. Book XI is essential to the plot of the “Iliad” because the wounding of the three Greek leaders Agamemnon, Diomedes and Odysseus, which occurs in this book, facilitates the successful Trojan attacks and Achilles’ decision to send Patroclus out in support of his countrymen, which is the beginning of the chain of events, which leads to Patroclus’ death and the consequent return of Achilles to the field of battle. Although much of the narrative of Book XI is pervaded by an atmosphere of grimness when the slaughter of the many victims is described, the Book also includes the long digression (ll. 670-761), in which Nestor reminisces at length about the experiences of his youth, in which, with the assistance of Athene, he leads the Pylians to victory over the Epeians, their neighbours from the Northern Peloponnese. Book XI is a relatively long book – indeed only three of the Iliad’s twenty-four books are longer – , but the variety of content contained in it contributes to its considerable entertainment value.

Ll. 1-46. Zeus’ envoy, Eris, induces the Achaeans to return to battle. Their leader, Agamemon, arms himself for the fray. 

Now, Dawn rose from her couch beside lordly Tithonus (i.e. brother of Priam and husband of the Dawn), in order to bring light to immortals and mortal (men); then, Zeus sent forth cruel Eris (i.e. the Goddess of Strife) to the swift ships of the Achaeans, holding a symbol of war in her hands. She stood by Odysseus’ huge-hulled black ship, which was (situated) in the midpoint (of the line, from where) one could shout in both (directions), both to the huts of Ajax (i.e. Aias in Greek), son of Telamon, and to (those) of Achilles, for they drew up their well-balanced ships at the furthest ends, relying on their courage and the strength of their hands. There stood the goddess, and she let out a loud and terrible cry in a high-pitched voice, and she put a great resolve into the heart of every man of the Achaeans to go to war and to fight unceasingly. And from then on war became sweeter to them than to go back in their hollow ships to their dear native land.

The son of Atreus (i.e. Agamemnon) shouted (orders) to the Argives and commanded (them) to put on their armour; and in (their midst) he himself donned his gleaming bronze. First, he placed greaves around his lower legs; fine (they were) (and) fitted with silver ankle-clasps; next, he put around his chest the breastplate which Cinyras (i.e. king of Cyprus) once gave him as a gift of friendship. For the great news had reached Cyprus that the Achaeans were about to set sail to Troy in their ships; for this reason he gave it to him in order to please the king. Now indeed, it had ten stripes of dark blue enamel, and twelve of gold and ten of tin; and serpents of blue enamel stretched up towards the neck, three on either side like rainbows, which the son of Cronos (i.e. Zeus) has fixed in the clouds (as) a portent for mortal men. And around his shoulders he slung his sword; and on it there gleamed studs of gold, while around (it) was a silver scabbard, hanging from golden straps. Then, he took up the richly wrought shield of a valorous warrior which covered the whole of a man, a beautiful (piece of work), round about which there were ten circles of bronze, and on it there were twenty bosses white with tin, and there was (one boss) of dark blue enamel in the centre. And on it a grim-faced Gorgon’s (head) was put as a crown; fearful looking (it was), and round about (it were) Terror and Rout. And from it was (hung) a baldric of silver; but upon it there writhed a serpent of blue enamel, and on it there were three heads growing out from one neck (and) turning in all directions. And on his head he placed a helmet with two horns, four bosses, (and) a plume of horse-hair; and its crest nodded savagely from above. Then, he took up two stout spears, tipped with bronze (and) sharp; and from that very spot the bronze shone far off into the heavens; and, at the sight (of it), Athene and Hera thundered (in response), so as to honour the king of Mycenae, rich in gold (i.e. Agamemnon).

Ll. 47-83. The armies join battle. 

Then, each (man) told his charioteer to keep the horses in good order there by the ditch, and they themselves, arrayed in their armour, hurried forward on foot; and in the early morning an endless cry rose up. Now they were the first to arrive and they got into position on the far side of the ditch much more quickly than the chariot-drivers, but the chariot-drivers followed a little afterwards, and the son of Cronos stirred up an evil noise among (them), and down from on high he sent raindrops of blood from the sky, since he was about to send forth to Hades many valiant heads (of heroes).

Now, on the other side, the Trojans (were gathered together) at (the point where) the plain was rising around mighty Hector, and peerless Polydamas, and Aeneas, who was honoured by the Trojan people like a god, and the three sons of Antenor, Polybus, and noble Agenor, and Acamas, (still) unmarried, (a man) like the immortals. And Hector bore his shield, round (as it was), amid the foremost, and, like a baleful star which appears out of the clouds gleaming, and then sinks down again beneath the shadowy clouds, so Hector kept on appearing, at one time with the foremost, and at another among the hindmost, urging (them) on; and his whole (body) shone with bronze, like the lightning of father Zeus who bears the aegis.

And as the reapers drive their furrows opposite one another in a rich man’s field of wheat or barley, and the handfuls fall thick and fast, so the Trojans and the Achaeans leapt upon one another and cut (each other) down, nor did either side consider ruinous flight. And the fight was equally balanced, and they raged about like wolves; and the much-sighing Eris rejoiced to see (them); for alone of (all) the gods she was among (them) as they fought, whereas the other gods were not there with them, but sat at ease in their own halls, where fine houses had been built for each one (of them) among the folds of Olympus. They were all blaming the cloud-wrapped son of Cronos, because he wished to give glory to the Trojans. But then the Father was not concerned about them. But, keeping aloof, he sat far away from the others, exulting in his own glory and looking down on the city of the Trojans and the ships of the Achaeans, and the flash of bronze, and (those) doing the killing and (those) being slain.

Ll. 84-121. Agamemnon cuts down two sons of Priam. 

Now, as long as it was morning and the sacred day was waxing greatly, so did the missiles of both sides continue to hit their targets, and men kept falling; but (at the hour) when a man (who is) a woodcutter makes his dinner in some mountain glade, since his hands are tired (from) cutting trees, and weariness comes over his soul and a longing for sweet food completely takes hold of his heart, then (at that very time), the Danaans, calling to one another through the ranks, broke the (enemy’s) battle-line by their valour. And (right in (their midst) Agamemnon rushed forward first and killed a man, the general Bienor himself, and then his charioteer Oïleus (who was) driving (his horses). He verily leapt down from his chariot and stood facing (him); but, as he came straight at him, he stabbed him in the forehead with his sharp spear, nor did his helmet, heavy with bronze, keep out the spear, but it passed through it and through the bone, and the whole of his brain was spattered inside (the helmet), and he overpowered him as he rushed forward. And Agamemnon, king of men, left them there with their (naked) breasts shining brightly, after he had stripped off their tunics; then, he went on to slay Isus and Antiphus, two sons of Priam, (one) a bastard, and (the other) legitimate, both (of them) being in one chariot; the bastard (i.e. Isus) drove the chariot, while in his turn the renowned Antiphus stood beside him as the warrior; Achilles had once captured (them) on the slopes of Ida as they were tending their sheep and bound (them) with willow shoots, and he freed (them) for a ransom. Then, the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon, hit (Isus) on the breast with his spear, just below the nipple, while he struck Antiphus by the ear with his sword, and flung (him) from the chariot. Then, he made haste to strip the fine armour from the two of them, knowing (them) well (as he did); for he had seen them before beside their swift ships, when swift-footed Achilles had brought (them) down from Ida. As a lion easily crunches up the young fawns of a swift-running deer, when he has come to their den and has caught (them) in his mighty jaws and has robbed them of their lives; and even if the (doe) happens to be very close by, she cannot be of any help to them; for dire trembling comes upon her; and she swiftly darts away through the forest and its dense thickets, driven into a sweat by the mighty beast’s attack. Even so, not one of the Trojans was able to ward off destruction from these two (men), but they themselves were driven to flight by the Argives.

 Ll. 122-162. Agamemnon continues to cut down the Trojans. 

Then he (was to slay) Peisander and Hipplochus, staunch in battle, sons of wise Antimachus, who, having received a splendid gift of gold from Alexander (i.e. Paris), was particularly dissuaded from (seeking to) restore Helen to the fair-haired Menelaus; yet now lord Agamemnon captured his two sons, who were in one car and trying together to control their speedy horses; for the shiny reins had slipped from their hands, and their two (horses) were running wild; but the son of Atreus sprang at (them) like a lion; and so the two (of them) began to entreat (him) from their chariot: “Take (us) alive, son of Atreus, and accept a worthy ransom; many treasures are stored in Antimachus’ house – bronze and gold, and iron wrought with much toil; of these our father would freely give you a ransom beyond counting, if he should learn that we (were) alive by the ships of the Achaeans.”

So, as they wept, the two (of them) addressed the king with gentle words: but they heard a harsh voice (in reply): “Now if you are (indeed) the sons of shrewd Antimachus, (the man), who, once during an assembly of the Trojans, when he had come as an ambassador with the godlike Odysseus, urged (them) to slay Menelaus then and there, and not to allow (him passage) back to the Achaeans, then you will now pay the price for your father’s shameful outrage.”

(So) he spoke, and he thrust Peisander from his chariot to the ground, hitting (him) with his spear on the chest; and he lay still on his back on the ground. But Hippolochus leapt down, and him he slew on the ground, slicing off his arms and cutting his throat with his sword, and he sent (his trunk) rolling through the ranks like a log. Them he let lie, but where the largest of his battalions were being driven in rout, there he leapt in, and with him other well-greaved Achaeans. Footmen were killing footmen, who were being forced to flee, and chariot-drivers (fell upon) chariot-drivers, and beneath them arose (a cloud of) dust from the plain, which the thundering hooves of the horses stirred up, ravaging the bronze; yet, lord Agamemnon followed after (them), always slaying, and shouting orders to the Argives. And, as when consuming fire falls upon dry woodland, and the whirling wind carries (it) everywhere, and the shrubs collapse root and branch as they are assailed by the onset of the fire, so the heads of the fleeing Trojans fell beneath Agamemnon, son of Atreus, and many horses with high-arching necks rattle empty carriages along the lines of battle, yearning for their peerless charioteers; but they were lying on the ground, much dearer to the vultures than to their wives.

Ll. 163-209. Zeus sends Hector a message. 

Then, Zeus led Hector away from the missiles, and the dust, and the slaughter of men, and the blood and the din (of battle); and the son of Atreus followed, shouting out loud orders to the Danaans. And they sped over the middle of the plain, past the tomb of ancient Ilus (i.e. the son of Tros, and the founder of Troy and grandfather of Priam), (and) past the wild fig-tree, eager to get to the city; and the son of Atreus followed, shouting all the time, and he smeared his invincible hands with blood. But, when they reached the Scaean gates (i.e. the main gates of the city of Troy) and the oak-tree, there they halted and awaited one another. But some (of the Trojans) were still taking fright in the middle of the plain, like cattle that a lion that has come at the dead of night has entirely put to flight; but one of them faces utter destruction; at first, he seizes her neck in his mighty jaws and breaks (it), and then he gulps down her blood and all her inwards; so did lord Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, pursue the (Trojans), ever slaying the hindmost; and they fled in panic. And many fell headlong on their backs from their chariots under the hands of the son of Atreus; for he raged around and in front of (him) with his spear. But, when he was just about to come beneath the city and its steep wall, then the father of men and gods came down from heaven and took his seat on the peaks of Ida, rich in springs (i.e. the mountain in the centre of the Troad); and in his hands he held a thunderbolt. And he sent forth the golden-winged Iris to take a message: “Be on your way, swift Iris, and say this to Hector. As long as he can see Agamemnon, the shepherd of the host, rushing along amid the foremost fighters, (and) laying waste the ranks of men, so let him keep back and urge the rest of his army to do battle with the foe in the mighty conflict. But when, either struck by a spear or hit by an arrow, he (i.e. Agamemnon) shall jump on his chariot, then shall I give him (i.e. Hector) the strength to go on killing until he comes to the well-benched ships, and the sun sets and the sacred darkness comes on.”

So he spoke and swift-footed Iris with her feet as quick as the wind did not disobey, but went down from the hills of Ida to sacred Ilium. She found wise Priam’s son, godlike Hector, standing beside his horses and his well-fastened chariot; swift-footed Iris cam close and addressed (him): “Hector, son of Priam, equal to Zeus in counsel, father Zeus has sent me forth to give you this message. As long as you can see Agamemnon, the shepherd of the host, rushing along amid the foremost fighters, (and) laying waste the ranks of men, so you should withdraw from the battle, and urge the rest of your army to do battle with the foe in the mighty conflict. But when, either struck by a spear or hit by an arrow, he shall jump on his chariot, then he (i.e. Zeus) will grant you the strength to go on killing, until you come to the well-benched ships, and the sun sets and the sacred darkness comes on.”

Ll. 210-247. Agamemnon slays Iphidamas.

When she had spoken, the swift-footed Iris departed, and Hector jumped down to the ground in his armour from his chariot, and, brandishing (two) sharp spears, he went everywhere through his army, urging (them) to fight, and he roused the dread din (of battle). Then, they turned around and took their stand facing the Achaeans, and, on the other side, the Argives strengthened their ranks. And the battle (line) was fixed, and they stood opposite (one another); and among (them) Agamemnon rushed forward first, and was eager to fight far in advance of (them) all.

Tell me now, (you) Muses who have your dwellings on Olympus, who (it was) that first came up against Agamemnon, whether (it was one) of the Trojans or (one) of their famous allies.  (It was) Iphidamas, the valiant and strong son of Antenor, (he) who was nurtured in deep-soiled Thrace, the mother of flocks; His mother’s father Cisseus, (he) who begat lovely-cheeked Theano (i.e. the wife of Antenor and priestess of Athene) raised him in his home when he was small,  But, when he reached the stage of ambitious youth, he tried to keep him there, and offered (him) his daughter (in marriage). But, having married (her), he went (straight) from the bridal-chamber, following the news (of the arrival) of the Achaeans, (and he came to Troy) with twelve beaked ships that accompanied him. Then, he left these well-balanced ships at Percote (i.e. a town on the south shore of the Hellespont, to the north-east of Troy), but he, being on foot, had come to Ilium, and now he came face to face with Agamemnon, son of Atreus. But, when they came to close quarters, as they advanced on one another, The son of Atreus missed his mark and his spear was turned aside, and Iphidamas stabbed at the belt beneath his breastplate, and he himself applied all his force (to his own spear), trusting in the strength of his hand. Yet it did not pierce his flashing girdle, but as soon as it struck the silver (in his belt), the point of his spear was bent like lead. And wide-ruling Agamemnon seized the spear in his hand, and drew (it) towards him, furious as a lion, and wrenched (it) from his grip; then, he struck him on the neck with his sword, and loosened his limbs. So there he fell and slept the sleep of the bronze – pitiable man – (far) from his wedded wife, whom he had married to bring help to his countrymen, but of whom he had seen no benefit, despite the many (gifts) he had given (to win her): first he gave a hundred cows, and then he promised a thousand (beasts), goats and sheep together, which were tended by him in unspeakably large numbers. But now, Agamemnon, son of Atreus, stripped (him) and went through the throng of the Achaeans bearing his fine armour.

Ll. 248-290. Coön wounds Agamemnon, so that he has to leave the battle-field. Hector sees his chance. 

But, when Coön, pre-eminent among warriors and Antenor’s eldest son, saw him, overpowering grief for his fallen brother clouded his eyes. He stood on one side with his spear, escaping godlike Agamemnon’s attention, and then he stabbed him on the middle of his arm below the elbow, and the point of his shining spear passed right through. Then, Agamemnon, king of men, shuddered; but he did not stop fighting or (withdraw) from the battle, but, grasping his wind-strengthened spear (i.e. the wood of the tree, from which his spear was made, had been strengthened in the wind), he leapt upon Coön. Now he was striving to drag Iphidamas, his brother and son of the same father, by the foot, and was calling upon the bravest (warriors to help him); but (even) as he was dragging him through the throng, he (i.e. Agamemnon) smote (him) beneath his bossed shield with his bronze-tipped spear-shaft; then he came close and hacked off his head over (the body of) Iphidamas. Then did the sons of Antenor fulfil their destiny and go down into the house of Hades.

But he (i.e. Agamemnon) went through the ranks of the other warriors, with spear and sword and huge stones, as long as his blood was still gushing forth hot from his wound. But, when the wound became dry and the blood ceased (to flow), then sharp pains began to depress the ardour of the son of Atreus. But, as when a sharp dart (of pain) may take hold of as woman in travail, the piercing (pain), which the Eilithyiae, the goddesses of childbirth, (and) the daughters of Hera send, (as it is they) who keep these bitter pangs, so sharp pains depressed the ardour of the son of Atreus. Then, he leapt upon his chariot, and told the charioteer to drive to the hollow ships; for he was sick at heart. And he cried out in a loud (piercing (shout) so he could be heard by (all) the Danaans: “O my friends, rulers and leaders of the Argives, now (it is) you who must ward off this grim battle from our sea-going ships, since Zeus the counsellor has not allowed me to fight all day long against the Trojans.”

So he spoke, and his charioteer lashed the lovely-maned horse back to the hollow ships; and they sped on their way not unwillingly; and their chests were covered with foam, and (their bellies) beneath (them) were covered with dust, as they bore the wounded king far away from the battle(-field).

But, when Hector saw Agamemnon going away, he urged on the Trojans and the Lycians, shouting out loudly: “(You) Trojans, and Lycians, and Dardanians that fight hand-to-hand, be men my friends, and remind yourselves of your strength in attack. The best of their men is gone, and Zeus, the son of Cronos, has granted me great glory; but now, drive your uncloven-hooved horses straight towards the mighty Danaans, so that you may win an (even) higher glory.”

Ll. 291-335. Odysseus and Diomedes stand against the Trojans. 

So speaking, he aroused the ardour and the spirit of every man. And, as when a huntsman sets his white-toothed hounds on a wild boar or a lion, so did Hector, son of Priam (and) the peer of Ares, the bane of men, set the great-hearted Trojans upon the Achaeans. He himself had gone with a high heart among the foremost, and he fell upon the conflict like a hard-blowing storm-wind that rushes down and lashes the violet-coloured deep.

Who then did Priam’s son, Hector, slay first and who (was) the last (that he slayed), when Zeus granted him glory? Asaeus (died) first, then Autonoüs and Opites, and Clytius’s son, Dolops, and Opheltius and Agelaus, and Aesymnus and Orus, and Hipponoüs, staunch in battle. These, then, (were) the leaders of the Danaans (that) he slew, and then (he fell upon) the throng, as when the West Wind batters the clouds which the South Wind has set bright (in the sky), smiting (them) with a violent squall; and many a swollen wave rolls onwards, and above (it) the spray is scattered by the blast of the much-roving wind. So many (were) the heads of the host laid low by Hector.

Then, there was havoc and irresistible deeds were happening (to them), and now would the Achaeans have fallen into their ships in flight, if Odysseus had not called out to Diomedes, the son of Tydeus: “What has come over us, son of Tydeus, that we forget our impetuous valour? But come hither, my friend, (and) stand by my side; for it will be a disgrace if Hector of the flashing helmet should capture our ships.”

Then, mighty Diomedes spoke to him in reply: “Of course I shall stay and endure; but our gain will be for a short time (only), since Zeus the cloud-gatherer plainly wishes to give victory to the Trojans rather than us.”

He spoke, and thrust Thymbraeus from his chariot to the ground, striking (him) on the left breast with his spear, and Odysseus (slew) Molion, the godlike comrade-in-arms of that prince. Then, when they ceased fighting, they left them (where they lay); but the two of them (i.e. Odysseus and Diomedes) went through the throng (of the enemy) creating havoc, as when two high-spirited boars fall upon the dogs that hunt (them); so they turned again upon the Trojans and slew (them); and the Achaeans gained a welcome respite, as they were fleeing from the godlike Hector.

Then, they took a chariot and its men, the best of their race, the two sons of Merops of Percote, who had knowledge of the art of divination beyond all (others), and (who) would not suffer his sons (i.e. Adrastus and Amphius) to go to deadly war; but the two of them would not listen (to him) at all; for the fates of black death were leading (them) on. The son of Tydeus, Diomedes, famed for his spear, deprived them of life and breath, and took away their splendid armour; and Odysseus slew Hippodamus and Hypeirochus.

Ll. 336-367. Diomedes’ spear hits Hector on the helmet. 

Then, the son of Cronos pulled tight the battle on equal (terms), as he looked down on them from Ida; and they kept on slaying one another. Now indeed, the son of Tydeus wounded Agastrophus, the heroic son of Paeon, on the hip with his spear; but his horses were not close-by (to help him) flee, and with regard to his life he made a great mistake. For his squire kept them at a distance, and he was rushing along on foot amid the foremost fighters, until he lost his life. But Hector (was) quick to notice (this) through the ranks, and he charged at them shouting; and the battalions of the Trojans followed after (him). And, when he saw him, Diomedes, good at the war-cry, shuddered, and quickly called out to Odysseus, who was nearby: “That bane, the mighty Hector, is rolling towards us; but come, let us stand our ground, and defend ourselves where we stand.”

So he spoke, and he raised his long-shafted spear and flung (it), and, aiming at his head, he hit (him) – he did not miss – on the top of his helmet; but bronze was turned aside by bronze, and it did not reach his fair flesh; for his three-layered plumed helmet stopped (it), (that helmet,) which Phoebus Apollo had given him. But Hector quickly ran back a long way and mingled with the throng, and, falling on his knees, he stayed (there), and leant on the earth with his stout hand; and dark night shrouded his eyes. But, just as the son of Tydeus was following the cast of his spear at a distance through the foremost fighters (to the place) where it had fallen to earth, so Hector came to his senses, and, leaping back into his chariot, he drove into the crowd and escaped black fate. Then, rushing at him with his spear, mighty Diomedes addressed (him): “Now, (you) dog, you have escaped from death once more; but in truth your end came near; now Phoebus Apollo has saved you again, (he) to whom you probably pray whenever you go towards the sound of spears. I shall surely make an end of you when I meet you next, if anyone of the gods (i.e. here Diomedes has Athene in mind) shall be my helper too. But now I will attack any of the others, with whom I shall meet.”

Ll. 368-410. Paris wounds Diomedes, who returns to the ships, leaving Odysseus unaccompanied. 

(So) he spoke, and began to strip the son of Paeon, famed for his spear. But Alexander, the husband of fair-haired Helen, aimed an arrow at Tydeus’ son, the shepherd of the host, (while) leaning on a block of stone on a burial mound that had been built for Ilus, son of Dardanus, an ancient elder (of the people). Now the former (i.e. Diomedes) was taking the gleaming breastplate of valiant Agastrophus from his chest, and the shield and strong helmet from his shoulders; then, the latter (i.e. Alexander) drew back the centre-piece of his bow and shot, and the shaft did not leave his hand in vain, (but hit him on) the flat of his right foot; and the arrow (went) right through (it) and stuck firmly in the ground; then, laughing very merrily, he leapt up from his hiding place (i.e. behind the pillar of Ilus’ tomb) and spoke these boastful words: “You have been struck, and that shaft did not leave (my hand) in vain; (but) how I wish I had hit you in the bottom of your belly and had taken the life from (you). Then would the Trojans have had respite from their woe, (they) who shudder (before) you like bleating goats (before) a lion.”

But mighty Diomedes replied to him without alarm: “(You) pretty bowman, (you) leering seducer of maidens with your curly locks, if you were to try to face (me) in your armour, (then) your bow and your swift arrows would be of no help to you; but now, having grazed the flat of my foot, you boast in such a manner as this. (But) I am (as) untroubled as if a woman or a silly child had hit (me); for blunt (is) the dart of a feeble and worthless man. (Very) different indeed (is one cast) by me, and, even if (there is) but a slight touch, my spear is sharp, and immediately makes a man lifeless. Then are his wife’s cheeks torn (with sorrow) on both sides, and his children (become) orphans; and he, reddening the ground with his blood, starts to rot, and vultures (are) around (him) rather than women.”

So he spoke, and Odysseus, famed for his spear, drew near to him and took his stand before (him); and he (i.e. Diomedes) sat down behind (him) and pulled the sharp arrow from his foot, and a grievous pain shot through his flesh. Then, he climbed into his chariot and told his charioteer to drive to the hollow ships; for he was sick at heart.

Then, Odysseus, famed for his spear, was left alone, nor did any of the Argives stay with him, since fear had taken hold of (them) all; then, heavy at heart, he spoke to his great-hearted spirit: “Woe (is) me, what is to become of me? (It would be) a great evil, if, fearing the throng, I were to flee; but it would be (even) more horrible if am caught alone; for the son of Cronos has put the rest of the Danaans to flight. But why is my heart debating these (matters) within me? For I know that (it is) cowards (who) depart from the battle, whereas (he) who is pre-eminent in fighting in truth he should boldly stand his ground among (them), whether he is smitten or smites another.”

Ll. 411-455. In his isolated situation, Odysseus continues to slay Trojans, even after he is injured.  

While he pondered these (things) in his mind and in his heart, so the ranks of the shield-bearing Trojans came on and penned (him) in their midst, (thus) causing trouble for themselves. And, as when hounds and sturdy huntsmen are crowding round a wild boar, and he comes forth from a deep thicket, whetting the white tusks in his curving jaws, and they rush (all) around (him), and at that there occurs a grating of tusks, but they stand their ground forthwith, however dread he is, so then did the Trojans crowd around Odysseus, beloved of Zeus; but, firstly, he sprang upon the peerless Deïopites, and wounded (him) on the shoulder from above with his sharp spear, and then he slew Thoon and Ennomus. And then, when Chersidamas jumped down from his chariot, he stabbed him in the crutch with his spear beneath his bossed shield; and he fell in the dust and clawed the earth with the palm of his hand. These he let lie, but he smote with his spear Charops, the son of Hippasus and the full brother of the wealthy Socus. That godlike man Socus came to his defence, and took his stand, coming very close (to Odysseus), and he spoke these words to him: “O much-praised Odysseus, (you) glutton for cunning and toil, this day you will either boast over both the sons of Hippasus, as you will have slain these men and stripped (them) of their armour, or, having been smitten by my spear, you will have lost your life.”

So saying, he struck at his shield, rounded (as it was) on every side. Through the shining shield the mighty spear went, and through his richly-wrought breastplate it forced its way, and it tore off all the flesh from his ribs, but yet Pallas Athene did not allow (it) to reach the man’s inwards. And Odysseus was aware that in his case the spear had not touched any fatal spot, and he drew back and spoke these words to Socus: “Ah, (you) poor wretch, for sure has sheer destruction met up with you. You have certainly caused me to cease to fight against the Trojans; but I know that here on this day death and black fate will come upon you, and that, overcome by my spear, (you) will give the glory to me and your life to Hades, renowned for horses.”

He finished speaking, and the other turned to flight and began running back, but, as turned, he (i.e. Odysseus) fixed the spear in his back between the shoulders, and drove (it) through his breast, and he fell with a crash, and the godlike Odysseus exulted over (him): ” O Socus,  son of wise Hippasus, the horse-tamer, the end of death was quick to come upon you, nor did you escape (it). Ah, (you) poor wretch, your father and your queenly mother will not (be there) to close your eyes in death, but birds that eat raw flesh will rend (you) as they beat their thick wings around (you). But, in my case, if I should die, the noble Achaeans will give (me) burial.”

Ll. 456-488. Menelaus and Ajax rescue Odysseus.

So saying, he pulled bold Socus’ mighty spear out of his flesh and his bossed shield, and blood shot up from him as (it) was drawn out, and it gave his heart pain. But the great-hearted Trojans, when they saw Odysseus’ blood, called out (to one another) across their lines and rushed at him all (together). And he was driven back and shouted to his comrades. Thrice then did he shout as loud as the head of any man can manage to do, and thrice did Menelaus, dear to Ares, hear (him) calling. And at once he spoke to Ajax, who was close at hand: “Ajax, Zeus-born son of Telamon, captain of the host, the cry of stout-hearted Odysseus has rung in my (ears), as though the Trojans are overpowering him, alone as he is, having cut him off in the fierce conflict. But (come), let us make our way through the throng; for to come to his assistance (is) the better (course of action). I fear lest some (evil) has befallen (him), alone as he is among the Trojans, brave (man) though he is, and that would be a great (source of) regret to the Danaans.”

So speaking, he led (the way), and the godlike man accompanied him. Then, they found Odysseus, beloved of Zeus; and the Trojans were crowding round him, like tawny jackals in the mountains around a horned stag that has been wounded and which a man has struck with an arrow from the string; but itha escaped the (man), fleeing on its feet, so long as its blood (is) warm and its knees are light; but, when the swift arrow overpowers it, the flesh-eating jackals devour it in a shady glade in the mountains, but some god brings a ravenous lion against (them); and the jackals flee in all directions, and the (lion) consumes (the stag). So (it was) then that many brave Trojans crowded round the warlike (and) resourceful Odysseus, but the hero, darting (at them) with his spear, warded off the pitiless day. Then, Ajax drew near, bearing his shield like a tower, and he took his stand beside (him); then the Trojans fled in terror in all directions. Now, the warlike Menelaus took him by the hand and led (him) from the throng, while his squire drove his chariot up close.

Ll. 489-530. Ajax and Nestor are in the thick of the fighting.

Then, Ajax sprang at the Trojans and slew Doryclus, a bastard son of Priam, and then he wounded Pandocus, and likewise Lysander, and Pyrasus, and Pylartes. As when a river, swollen by winter snow, comes down from the mountains to the plain, driven on by the heavy rain of Zeus, and carries with it many dried oaks, and many pines, and casts much driftwood into the sea, so then did glorious Ajax sweep tumultuously over the plain, cutting down both horses and men. Nor yet did Hector know (anything about it), since he was fighting on the left of the whole battle by the banks of the river Scamander, where the warrior’s heads were mainly falling, and a ceaseless clamour arose around great Nestor (i.e. the old king of Pylos) and the warlike Idomeneus (i.e. the king of Crete). With these (men) Hector was joined (in battle), performing terrible (deeds) with his spear and his skill in chariot-driving, and he was destroying the ranks of young (men; but the noble Achaeans would still not have been forced to give ground from their position, if Alexander, the husband of fair-haired Helen, had not put a stop to brave Machaon, shepherd of the host, (i.e. together with his brother Podalirius, a famous healer and surgeon to the Greek army) by hitting (him) on the right shoulder with a three-barbed arrow. Then did the boldly-breathing Achaeans fear greatly for him, lest (progress in) the battle shifted to the other side and they should capture him. Then, Idomeneus spoke at once to godlike Nestor: “O Nestor, son of Neleus, great glory of the Achaeans, come now and get up upon your chariot and let Machaon get up beside (you), and drive your single-hooved horses to the ships as swiftly as you can; for a healer is a man worth as much as many other (men put together), (as he has the skill) both to cut out arrows and to sprinkle healing herbs.

So he spoke, and the Gerenian horseman Nestor did not disobey (him). He mounted his chariot at once, and Machaon, the son of Asclepius, the peerless healer (i.e. the god of medicine), got up beside (him); and he whipped up the horses and, they, not unwillingly, sped to the hollow ships; for (that was) where it was dear to their hearts to be.

But Cebriones (i.e. Hector’s bastard brother and squire), standing beside Hector (in the chariot) saw that the Trojans were being thrown into confusion, and spoke these words to him: “Hector, we two are consorting here with the Danaans on the edge of this dreadful battle, but the rest of the Trojans, both horses and men, are being driven in confusion all over the place. And (it is) Ajax, son of Telamon, (who) is driving (them); and I know him well; for he has a broad shield around his shoulders; but let us also drive our horses and car to that place, where horsemen and footmen are especially exposing their wicked rivalry and are slaying one another, and the cry (of battle) goes up unquenched.”

Ll. 531-574.  Ajax retreats to the Achaeans’ ships.

So saying, he whips up his fair-maned horses with his shrill-sounding lash, and, hearing (the crack of) the whip, they quickly bore the swift car among the Trojans and Achaeans, trampling on bodies and shields (as they ran); and all of the axle and the rails (which were) around the chariot were bespattered with blood, which was thrown up in gouts from the horses’ hooves, and (with other drops) which (came) from the wheels. And he (i.e. Hector) was longing to make his way into that mass of men, and to charge in and break (it) up. And he caused a terrible commotion among the Danaans, and he (only) held back from the spear for a short time (i.e. his spear had little rest). Yet, he went through the ranks of the other warriors (i.e. the Achaeans) with spear, sword and huge stones, but he avoided combat with Ajax, son of Telamon. [For Zeus would have been displeased with him, whenever he fought a (man) better (than himself). n.b. this line, which is no. 543, is now omitted from most editions.]

But father Zeus, who sits on high, stirred Ajax into flight. And he stood astonished, and slung his shield of seven ox-hides behind (his back), and he trembled and looked sharply around (him) towards the mass (of his own army), and, like a wild beast, he kept on looking round, slowly exchanging knee for knee (i.e. retreating step by step). And, just as country-men and their dogs drive a tawny lion from an inner cattle-yard, and they keep watch all night long and do not allow him to seize the pick of the cattle: now he, in his hunger for meat, goes straight in, but achieves nothing: for showers of darts and burning faggots from sturdy hands fly to meet (him), and he flees from these, however eager he may be: and at dawn he departs with a sorrowful heart; so then did Ajax depart from the Trojans, distressed at heart and much against his will; for he feared for the ships of the Achaeans. And, as when a donkey, a lazy (creature), on whom many cudgels have been broken on both of his sides, gets the better of some boys, when he goes by a cornfield, and he goes in and consumes the deep corn: and the boys beat him with their cudgels, but their strength is weak; and they drove (him) out with difficulty when he was full of food; so then did the high-spirited Trojans and their numerous allies keep crowding round great Ajax, Telamon’s son, stabbing the middle of his shield with their spears. And every so often Ajax would be mindful of his attacking strength, and he would turn around again and check the battalions of the horse-taming Trojans, and at other times he would turn to flee (again). But he prevented (them) all from making their way to the swift ships, and he, himself, stood between the Trojans and the Achaeans and fought furiously; and (of) the spears (thrown) by bold hands, some were stuck in his great shield as they sped onwards, and many, before they could taste his white flesh, stood (fixed) in the midst of the earth, eager (as they were) to glut themselves with flesh.

Ll. 575-615. Eurypylus is wounded while assisting Ajax; then Achilles asks Patroclus to get information about the identity of Nestor’s wounded companion. 

But, when Euaemon’s splendid son Eurypylus saw him beset by a thick (shower of) missiles, he came and stood beside him and hurled his shining spear, and he hit Phausius’ son Apisaon, shepherd of the host, in the liver below the midriff, and loosened the limbs under (him); and Eurypylus sprang at (him) and began to strip the armour from his shoulders. But, when godlike Alexander saw him taking Apisaon’s armour, he fired his bow at Eurypylus at once and hit him with an arrow on the right thigh. Then, he (i.e. Eurypylus) fell back again into the body of his companions, avoiding his fate, and he let out a piercing cry, shouting (thus) at the Danaans: “My friends, leaders and rulers of the Argives, turn around and take your stand and ward off the pitiless day (of doom) from Ajax, who is beset with missiles, and I do not think he can escape from this hateful war; but (now) take your stand quite openly around mighty Ajax, son of Telamon.”

So spoke Eurypylus, wounded (as he was); and they stood close beside him, leaning their shields on their shoulders, and lifting up their spears; and Ajax came to meet them, and turned and took his stand, when he reached the body of his companions.

So they fought like a blazing fire; but the mares of Neleus, full of sweat, bore Nestor from the battle, and they (also) bore Machaon, shepherd of the host. And swift-footed godlike Achilles saw him and took note; for he had been standing on the stern of his huge ship, watching the hard stress (of battle) and the tearful pursuit. And he suddenly addressed his companion Patroclus, speaking from beside the ship; and, when he heard (him), he came forth out of the tent, (looking) like Ares, and for him this was the beginning of his doom. The valiant son of Menoetius spoke to him first: “Why are you calling me, Achilles? What need (do) you (have) of me? ” And, in answer, swift-footed Achilles spoke to him (thus): “Godlike son of Menoetius, you who are most welcome to my heart, now do I think that the Achaeans will stick fast around my knees in supplication, for a need has come upon (them that is) no longer bearable. But go now, Patroclus, dear to Zeus, and ask Nestor what man (is) this (that) he brings wounded from the battle; to be sure, from the back he looks in all respects like Machaon, the son of Asclepius, but I did not see the man’s eyes; for the horses darted by me, as they pressed eagerly onward.”

Ll. 616-654. As Nestor and Machaon are entertained by the lovely Hecamede, Patroclus arrives and recognises Machaon. 

So he spoke, and Patroclus obeyed his dear comrade, and set off running by the huts and ships of the Achaeans. But when they (i.e. Nestor and Machaon) came to the hut of the son of Neleus, they stepped down on to the much-nourishing earth, and the squire Eurymedon unyoked the horses from the chariot; and the two of them dried the sweat from their tunics, as they stood in the breeze by the sea-shore; and then they went into the hut and sat down on the chairs. And lovely-haired Hecamede prepared a potion for them, (she) whom the old man had taken from Tenedos (i.e. a small island in the Aegean near the Trojan coast) when Achilles sacked (it), (she who was) the daughter of great-hearted Arsinoüs (i.e. the ruler of Tenedos), whom the Achaeans had chosen (as a special gift for him), since in counsel (i.e. tactical planning) he was the best of (them) all. Firstly, she set out for them a beautiful polished table table with feet of cyanus (i.e. a dark blue substance used to adorn works of metal), and on it (she placed) a bronze vessel, and on (it) also a onion as an appetiser for the drink, and some fresh honey, and beside (it) the grain of sacred barley, and beside (it) too (was) a very beautiful goblet, which the old man had brought from home, pierced (as it was) with golden rivets; and there were four handles on it (i.e. almost certainly in pairs with two on each side), and on each side (of it) two golden doves were feeding, and beneath (it) there were two foundation platforms. Now another (man) could scarcely have moved (that cup) from the table when it was full, but the old man Nestor raised (it) without effort. Then  that woman who looked like the goddesses stirred up (a potion) of Pramnian wine (i.e. from Mount Pramne on the island of Icaria; it was often used as a medicine) in it for them, and on it she grated some goats’ cheese with a bronze grater, and on (it) too she sprinkled some white barley (meal), and then, when she had prepared the potion, she told (them) to drink (it). So, when the two of them had drunk and they had dispatched their parching thirst, they delighted in telling tales to one another, and that godlike man Patroclus stood by the doors. But, when he saw him, the old man sprang from his shiny chair, and, taking (him) by the hand, he led (him) in and bade (him) sit down. But Patroclus, (standing) opposite (him), refused, and spoke these words: “There is no sitting-place (here for me); old man, cherished by Zeus, nor will you persuade me. Worthy of awe and quick to anger (is he) who sent me out to learn who this man (is) that you bring (back) wounded: but I even recognise (him) myself, and I see (that it is) Machaon, shepherd of the host. And now, as his messenger, I shall go back again to give the word to Achilles. And you well know, old man, cherished by Zeus, what a fearful man he (is); he would quickly find fault even with the blameless.”

Ll. 655-695. After censuring Achilles for his lack of concern for the fate of his colleagues in the Greek army, Nestor begins to reminisce.

Then, the Gerenian horseman Nestor replied to him: “Why then does Achilles show such pity for those sons of the Achaeans who have been wounded by flying weapons? He knows nothing at all of the grief which has arisen throughout the army; for the best (warriors) lie (here) in the ships, shot (by arrows) or stabbed (by spear-thrusts). The mighty Diomedes, son of Tydeus, has been smitten, and Odysseus, renowned for his spear, has been wounded, and (so has) Agamemnon; Eurypylus, too, has been hit by an arrow in the thigh; another (is) this (man, whom) I have just brought in from the battle, hit by an arrow from the string. Now, Achilles, although he is a great (warrior), shows no concern or pity for the Danaans. Is he really waiting until the swift ships by the sea are blazing with destructive fire, despite the efforts of the Argives, and we are all slain one by one? For my strength is not such as it once was in my supple limbs. Would that I were (still) in the prime of life, and my strength were steadfast, as when strife broke out between the Eleans and ourselves over cattle-lifting, when I slew Itymoneus, the valiant son of Hypeirochus, (a man) who dwelt in Elis, as I was driving off what was seized in reprisal; and, as he was fighting for his cattle at the head (of his men), he was hit by a spear (thrown) from my hand, and down he fell and his rustic forces fled in terror. Then, did we drive a very large quantity of booty from the plain – fifty herds of cattle, as many flocks of sheep, as many droves of swine, as many wide-ranging herds of goats, and a hundred and fifty chestnut horses, all (of them) mares, and foals were under many (of them). These then we drove into (the city of) Nelean Pylos, (and) into the city at night; and Neleus was happy at heart because I had obtained (so) much, despite having gone to war as a youth. When dawn showed herself, heralds cried out in a loud voice that those (men) should come forward, to whom a debt was owed in goodly Elis; and the leading men of the Pylians gathered together and divided up (the spoils); for to many did the Epeians (i.e. the inhabitants of Elis and Buprasium in the North-Western Peloponnese) owe a debt, as we in Pylos were few (in number) and had been mistreated; for the might of Heracles had come and oppressed (us) in the  previous years and all our best (men) had been slain; for we had been the twelve sons of Neleus; (but,) of these, I was (now) the only (one) left, and all the others had perished. In their arrogance at these (things), the bronze-coated Epeians ill-treated us and devised reckless (schemes at our expense).

Ll. 696-736. Nestor continues to reminisce. 

“And, from (the spoil), the old man (i.e. Neleus) took for himself a herd of cattle and a great flock of sheep, selecting three hundred (of them) and their herdsmen (with them). For to him a great debt was owed in goodly Elis – four prize-winning horses, together with their chariot, which had gone to the contest; for they were intended to race for a tripod; but then Augeas, king of men (i.e. king of Elis, and warlord of the Epeians), held them back, but he sent back their driver, grieving, (as he was,) at (the loss) of the horses. Because of those (things), (both) words and deeds, the old man had become very angry, and he took out an unspeakably large amount for himself; but the rest he gave to the people to distribute, so that none of them should be deprived of an equal (share). So, we were settling everything and offering sacrifices to the gods around the city; then, on the third day, they (i.e. the Epeians) all came together, many (men) themselves and their single-hooved horses with all their speed; and among them, the two Moliones (i.e. Augeas’ nephews, Eurytus and Cteatus) put on their armour, though they were still boys and not yet very skilled in the strength of attack. Now, there is a certain steep hill-town (called) Thyroëssa far away on the Alpheus (i.e. a river in the Western Peloponnese) on the border of sandy Pylos. They laid siege to the (town) with the intention of utterly destroying (it). But, when they had crossed the plain, then did Athene come speeding down to us in the night from Olympus, with the message that we must arm ourselves, and throughout Pylos she raised an army (that was) in no way reluctant, but very eager to fight. But Neleus would not let me put on my armour, and he hid my horses. For he said that as yet I had no knowledge of the deeds of war. But even so, I distinguished myself among our horsemen, even though I was on foot, since Athene so directed the strife. Now, there is a certain river, (called) the Minyeius, that flows down to the sea near Arene (i.e. a city of Pylos), where we, the horsemen of the Pylians, waited for bright Dawn, and the companies of our foot-soldiers came streaming up (too). From there (we went) at full speed, clad in our armour, and at midday we reached the holy stream of the Alpheus. There, we made some fine sacrifices to almighty Zeus, and (we offered) a bull to Alpheus and a bull to Poseidon, but to Athene a heifer from the herd; then, we took our supper in our divisions across the army, and lay down to sleep, each (man) in his own armour, along the banks of the river. But the great-hearted Epeians were surrounding the city, intent on utterly destroying (it); but before (they could do that), they witnessed a great feat of arms: for, when the shining sun rose up above the earth, we joined battle, and offered prayers to Zeus and Athene.

Ll. 737-779.  Nestor reminds Patroclus that he met him and his father in the house of Achilles’ father, Peleus.

But, when the strife of the Pylians and the Epeians began, I (was) the first (to) kill a man, (namely) the spearman Mulius; now, he was the son-in-law of Augeas and was married to his eldest daughter, Agamede, (she) who knew all the drugs that the wide earth nourishes. As he came at (me), I smote him with my bronze-tipped spear, and he fell into the dust; then, I jumped into his chariot and took my place with the foremost fighters; but the great-hearted Epeians fled in all directions, when they saw this man had fallen, as he was the leader of their horsemen and their best (man) at fighting. And I came on (at them) like  a black hurricane and took fifty chariots, and around each (one) two men bit the ground with their teeth, having been overcome by my spear. And now I would have slain the two Moliones, the sons of Actor, if their (true) father, the wide-ruling Earthshaker (i.e. Poseidon), had not saved (them) from the battle and shrouded (them) in thick mist. Then, Zeus granted a great victory to the Pylians; for we chased (them) as I have described so far across the wide plain, killing the (men) and gathering up their fine armour, until we drove our horses to Buprasium, rich in wheat, and the Olenian rock, and then the hill (that is) called (the hill) of Alesium; (and) there Athene turned our army back again. (Then,) I slew my last (man) and left (him) there; and the Achaeans drove their swift horses back from Buprasium to Pylos, and they all glorified Zeus among the gods and Nestor among men.

“Such (a man) was I, if ever I was, among my (fellow-)men. But Achilles alone will get the benefit of his courage: indeed, I think that he will greatly lament hereafter, when his people are destroyed. Oh my friend, Menoetius surely gave you this advice on the day when he sent you from Phthia to (join) Agamemnon; we were inside (the house), myself and the godlike Odysseus, and in the halls we heard everything, just as he enjoined (you). For we had come to the comfortable house of Peleus, as we were gathering our host throughout Achaea. And then we found there in the house the hero Menoetius, and you, and Achilles with (you); and the old charioteer Peleus was burning the fat-wrapped thigh-bones of an ox (as a sacrifice) to Zeus who delights in thunder in the eating-place of the courtyard; and (in his hands) he was holding a golden cup, as he was making a drink-offering of flaming wine to accompany the burnt offerings. The two of you (i.e. Patroclus and Achilles) were busy with the flesh of the ox, but, when we (i.e. Nestor and Odysseus) stood in the doorway, Achilles, struck with wonder, leapt up, and, taking (us) by the hand, he led (us) in and bade us sit down, and he set before (us) that good hospitality which is the due of guests.

Ll. 780-821. Nestor encourages Patroclus to go into battle wearing Achilles’ armour; while returning, Patroclus encounters the wounded Eurypylus.  

“And, when we had had our fill of food and drink, I was the first to speak, and I urged you both to come with (us); and the two of you were very eager (to do so), and both your (fathers) gave you much advice. The old man Peleus bade his son Achilles always to be the bravest, and to be pre-eminent above (all) others. And this then was the advice that Menoetius, son of Actor, gave to you: ‘My child, by birth Achilles is your superior, but you are the elder; and in might he is by far the better. But speak to him well-made words of wisdom, and give him counsel and guidance; and he will follow your lead very much for the good.’ Thus did the old man advise (you), but you are forgetting (it), but yet even now you should speak such (words) to bold Achilles, and, if so, he may be persuaded. But who knows if with a god’s (help) you might arouse his spirit with your persuasion? For a friend’s persuasion is a good (thing). But, if in his heart he is avoiding some prophecy and some (message which) his queenly mother (i.e. Thetis) has brought him from Zeus, at least let him send you out, and let the rest of the host of the Myrmidons (i.e. the people of Phthia in Southern Thessaly, ruled by Peleus) follow after (you), and, if so, you should prove (to be) a light (of deliverance) to the Danaans. And let him give you his fine armour to be borne into battle, and, if so, the Trojans may mistake you for him and hold aloof from battle, and the warlike sons of the Achaeans may draw breath, worn out (though they are); for any respite in battle (is) brief. You, (who are) fresh, could readily drive men who have been exhausted by battle towards the city from the ships and the huts.”

So he spoke, and he stirred the heart in his (i.e. Patroclus’) breast, and he went running (along) beside the ships to Achilles, the grandson of Aeacus (i.e. the father of Peleus). But when, as he ran, Patroclus came by the ships of godlike Odysseus, where their meeting-place and court were, and there too their altars to the gods had been built, Eurypylus, the Zeus-born son of Euaemon, who had been wounded in the thigh by an arrow, met him there, as he limped out of the battle; and streams of sweat flowed from his head and shoulders, and dark blood was gushing from his grievous wound; yet his spirit was unshaken. When he saw him, the valiant son of Menoetius took pity on (him), and, in his sorrow, he spoke these winged words: “Oh you wretched leaders and rulers of the Danaans, so were you destined, far away from your families and your native land, to glut the quick dogs of Troy with your white fat. But come, tell me this, Eurypylus, (you) warrior cherished by Zeus, will the Achaeans still (be able) perhaps to hold back mighty Hector, or are they now going to perish, conquered by his spear?”

Ll. 822-848. Patroclus tends Euryplus’ wound. 

Then, the wounded Eurypylus answered him: ” Zeus-born Patroclus, there can no longer be any defence of the Achaeans, but they must fall, back on their black ships. For all those who were our bravest (men) lie in the ships, smitten and wounded at the hands of the Trojans; and their strength is growing all the time. But do you rescue me and take (me) to my black ship, and cut the arrow from my thigh and wash the black blood from it with warm water, and sprinkle on (me) those good soothing medicines, which they say you have learned from Achilles, whom Chiron, the most civilised of Centaurs, taught. (As for) our healers, Podalirius and Machaon, I think that one has a wound and is lying in his hut, in need himself of an excellent healer, and the other (i.e. Podalirius) steadfastly awaits sharp battle with the Trojans on the plain.”

Then, the valiant son of Menoetius answered him: “How can these things be? What shall we do, heroic Eurypylus? I am on my way to bold Achilles to give (him) a message, which Gerenian Nestor, the guardian of the Achaeans, has urged (on me); but, even so, I shall not desert you in your distressed (state).”

(So) he spoke, and, clasping the shepherd of the host beneath his chest (i.e. around the waist), he led (him) to his hut, and his squire, when he saw (him), spread ox-hides on (the ground). There he laid (him) down, and cut the very sharp arrow from his thigh with a knife, and he washed the dark blood from it with warm water, and on it, (as) a pain-killer, he applied a bitter root, after rubbing (it) hard in his hands, and it stopped all his pains; and the wound dried, and the blood ceased (to flow).

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