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Then among them spake Thoas, son of Andraemon, far the best of the Aetolians, well-skilled in throwing the javelin, but a good man too in close fight, and in the place of assembly could but few of the Achaeans surpass him, when the young men were striving in debate. [285] He with good intent addressed their gathering, and spake among them: “Now look you, verily a great marvel is this that mine eyes behold, how that now he is risen again and hath avoided the fates, even Hector. In sooth the heart of each man of us hoped that he had died beneath the hands of Aias, son of Telamon. [290] But lo, some one of the gods hath again delivered and saved Hector, who verily hath loosed the knees of many Danaans, as, I deem, will befall even now, since not without the will of loud-thundering Zeus doth he stand forth thus eagerly as a champion. Nay come, even as I shall bid, let us all obey. [295] The multitude let us bid return to the ships, but ourselves, all we that declare us to be the the best in the host, let us take our stand, if so be we first may face him, and thrust him back with our outstretched spears; methinks, for all his eagerness he will fear at heart to enter into the throng of the Danaans.” [300] So spake he, and they readily hearkened and obeyed. They that were in the company of Aias and prince Idomeneus, and Teucer, and Meriones, and Meges, the peer of Ares, called to the chieftains, and marshalled the fight, fronting Hector and the Trojans, [305] but behind them the multitude fared back to the ships of the Achaeans. Then the Trojans drave forward in close throng, and Hector led them, advancing with long strides, while before him went Phoebus Apollo, his shoulders wrapped in cloud, bearing the fell aegis, girt with shaggy fringe, awful, gleaming bright, that the smith [310] Hephaestus gave to Zeus to bear for the putting to rout of warriors; this Apollo bare in his hands as he led on the host.

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