Arkesilaos, Prothoenor, and Klonios were leaders of the Boeotians. These were they that dwelt in Hyria and rocky Aulis, and who held Schoinos, Skolos, and the highlands of Eteonos, with Thespeia, Graia, and the fair city of Mykalessos. They also held Harma, Eilesium, and Erythrae;
and they had Eleon, Hyle, and Peteon; Ocalea and the strong fortress of Medeon; Copae, Eutresis, and Thisbe the haunt of doves; Coronea, and the pastures of Haliartus; Plataea and Glisas;
the fortress of Thebes the less; holy Onchestos with its famous grove of Poseidon; Arne rich in vineyards; Midea, sacred Nisa, and Anthedon upon the sea. From these there came fifty ships, and in each
there were a hundred and twenty young men of the Boeotians. Askalaphos and Ialmenos, sons of Ares, led the people that dwelt in Aspledon and Orkhomenos the realm of Minyas. Astyoche a noble maiden bore them in the house of Aktor son of Azeus; for she had gone with Ares secretly into an upper chamber,
and he had l
battle, for I never set eyes upon him myself. They say that there was no man like him. He came once to Mycenae, not as an enemy but as a guest, in company with Polyneikes to recruit his forces, for they were levying war against the strong city of Thebes, and prayed our people for a body of picked men to help them. The men of Mycenae were willing to let them have one, but Zeus dissuaded them by showing them unfavorable omens [sêmata]. Tydeus, therefore, and Polyneikes went their way. When they haer, for he was shamed by the rebuke of Agamemnon; but the son of Kapaneus took up his words and said, "Son of Atreus, tell no lies, for you can speak truth if you will.
We boast ourselves as even better men than our fathers; we took seven-gated Thebes, though the wall was stronger and our men were fewer in number, for we trusted in the omens of the gods and in the help of Zeus, whereas they perished through their own sheer folly; hold not, then, our fathers in like honor [timê] with us."
oling the wound that Pandaros had given him. For the sweat caused by the hand that bore the weight of his shield irritated the hurt: his arm was weary with pain, and he was lifting up the strap to wipe away the blood. The goddess laid her hand on the yoke of his horses and said, "The son of Tydeus is not such another as his father. Tydeus was a little man, but he could fight, and rushed madly into the fray even when I told him not to do so. When he went all unattended as envoy to the city of Thebes among the Cadmeans, I bade him feast in their houses and be at peace; but with that high spirit which was ever present with him, he challenged the youth of the Cadmeans, and at once beat them in all that he attempted, so mightily did I help him. I stand by you too to protect you, and I bid you be instant in fighting the Trojans; but either you are tired out, or you are afraid and out of heart, and in that case I say that you are no true son of Tydeus the son of Oeneus."
Diomedes answered, "
eart of Diomedes was glad. He planted his spear in the ground, and spoke to him with friendly words. "Then," he said, you are an old friend of my father's house. Great Oeneus once entertained Bellerophon for twenty days, and the two exchanged presents. Oeneus gave a belt rich with purple, and Bellerophon a double cup, which I left at home when I set out for Troy. I do not remember Tydeus, for he was taken from us while I was yet a child, when the army of the Achaeans was cut to pieces before Thebes.
Henceforth, however, I must be your host in middle Argos, and you mine in Lycia, if I should ever go to that district [dêmos]; let us avoid one another's spears even during a general engagement; there are many noble Trojans and allies whom I can kill, if I overtake them and heaven delivers them into my hand; so again with yourself, there are many Achaeans whose lives you may take if you can; we two, then, will exchange armor, that all present may know of the old ties that subsist between u
d to Athena:
"Hear me," he cried, "daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, you who spy out all my ways and who are with me in all my hardships [ponoi]; befriend me in this mine hour, and grant that we may return to the ships covered with glory after having achieved some mighty exploit that shall bring sorrow to the Trojans."
Then Diomedes of the loud war-cry also prayed: "Hear me too," said he, "daughter of Zeus, unweariable; be with me even as you were with my noble father Tydeus when he went to Thebes as envoy sent by the Achaeans. He left the Achaeans by the banks of the river Aesopos, and went to the city bearing a message of peace to the Cadmeans; on his return thence, with your help, goddess, he did great deeds of daring, for you were his ready helper. Even so guide me and guard me now, and in return I will offer you in sacrifice a broad-browed heifer of a year old, unbroken, and never yet brought by man under the yoke. I will gild her horns and will offer her up to you in sacrifice."
Agamemnon answered, "Odysseus, your rebuke has stung me to the heart. I am not, however, ordering the Achaeans to draw their ships into the sea whether they will or no. Some one, it may be, old or young, can offer us better counsel which I shall rejoice to hear."
Then said Diomedes, "Such an one is at hand; he is not far to seek, if you will listen to me and not resent my speaking though I am younger than any of you. I am by lineage son to a noble sire, Tydeus, who lies buried at Thebes. For Portheus had three noble sons, two of whom, Agrios and Melas, abode in Pleuron and rocky Calydon. The third was the horseman Oeneus, my father's father, and he was the most valor [aretê] of them all. Oeneus remained in his own country, but my father (as Zeus and the other gods ordained it) migrated to Argos. He married into the family of Adrastos, and his house was one of great abundance, for he had large estates of fertile grain-growing land, with much orchard ground as well, and he ha
et us devote ourselves to love and to the enjoyment of one another. Never yet have I been so overpowered by passion neither for goddess nor mortal woman as I am at this moment for yourself - not even when I was in love with the wife of Ixion who bore me Peirithoos, peer of gods in counsel, nor yet with Danae the daintily-ankled daughter of Acrisius, who bore me the famed hero Perseus. Then there was the daughter of Phoenix, who bore me Minos and Rhadamanthus: there was Semele, and Alkmene in Thebes by whom I begot my lion-hearted son Herakles, while Semele became mother to Bacchus the comforter of humankind. There was queen Demeter again, and lovely Leto, and yourself - but with none of these was I ever so much enamored as I now am with you."
Hera again answered him with a lying tale. "Most dread son of Kronos," she exclaimed, "what are you talking about? Would you have us enjoy one another here on the top of Mount Ida, where everything can be seen? What if one of the ever-living god
e that had been awarded to him. What could I do? All things are in the hand of heaven, and Atê, eldest of Zeus' daughters, shuts men's eyes to their destruction. She walks delicately, not on the solid earth, but hovers over the heads of men to make them stumble or to ensnare them.
"Time was when she fooled Zeus himself, who they say is greatest whether of gods or men; for Hera, woman though she was, beguiled him on the day when Alkmene was to bring forth mighty Herakles in the fair city of Thebes. He told it out among the gods saying, ‘Hear me all gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as I am minded; this day shall an Eileithuia, helper of women who are in labor, bring a man child into the world who shall be lord over all that dwell about him who are of my blood and lineage.’ Then said Hera all crafty and full of guile, ‘You will play false, and will not hold to the finality [telos] of your word. Swear me, O Olympian, swear me a great oath, that he who shall this day fall between
given her on the day when Hektor took her with him from the house of Eetion, after having given countless gifts of wooing for her sake. Her husband's sisters and the wives of his brothers crowded round her and supported her, for she was fain to die in her distraction; when she again presently breathed and came to herself, she sobbed and made lament among the Trojans saying, ‘Woe is me, O Hektor; woe, indeed, that to share a common lot we were born, you at Troy in the house of Priam, and I at Thebes under the wooded mountain of Plakos in the house of Eetion who brought me up when I was a child - ill-starred sire of an ill-starred daughter - would that he had never begotten me. You are now going into the house of Hades under the secret places of the earth, and you leave me a sorrowing widow in your house. The child, of whom you and I are the unhappy parents, is as yet a mere infant. Now that you are gone, O Hektor, you can do nothing for him nor he for you.
Even though he escape the hor
f all here present, and none can beat me. Is it not enough that I should fall short of you in actual fighting? Still, no man can be good at everything. I tell you plainly, and it shall come true; if any man will box with me I will bruise his body and break his bones; therefore let his friends stay here in a body and be at hand to take him away when I have done with him."
They all held their peace, and no man rose save Euryalos son of Mekisteus, who was son of Talaos. Mekisteus went once to Thebes after the fall of Oedipus, to attend his funeral, and he beat all the people of Cadmus. The son of Tydeus was Euryalos' second, cheering him on and hoping heartily that he would win. First he put a waistband round him and then he gave him some well-cut thongs of ox-hide; the two men being now girt went into the middle of the ring [agôn], and immediately fell to; heavily indeed did they punish one another and lay about them with their brawny fists. One could hear the horrid crashing of their