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And when they were now come to the huts of the son of Atreus, then did the king of men, Agamemnon slay there a bull, [315] a male of five years, for the son of Cronos, supreme in might. This they flayed and dressed, and cut up all the limbs. Then they sliced these cunningly, and spitted them and roasted them carefully and drew all off the spits. But when they had ceased from their labour and had made ready the meal, [320] they feasted, nor did their hearts lack aught of the equal feast. And unto Aias for his honour was the long chine given by the warrior son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon. But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, first of all the old man began to weave the web of counsel for them, [325] even Nestor, whose rede had of old ever seemed the best. He with good intent addressed their gathering and spake among them:“Son of Atreus and ye other princes of the hosts of Achaea, lo, full many long-haired Achaeans are dead, whose dark blood keen Ares hath now spilt about fair-flowing Scamander, [330] and their souls have gone down to the house of Hades; therefore were it well that thou make the battle of the Achaeans to cease at daybreak, and we will gather to hale hither on carts the corpses with oxen and mules; and we will burn them a little way from the ships that each man may bear their bones home to their children, [335] whenso we return again to our native land. And about the pyre let us heap a single barrow, rearing1 it from the plain for all alike, and thereby build with speed a lofty wall, a defence for our ships and for ourselves. And therein let us build gates close-fastening, [340] that through them may be a way for the driving of chariots; and without let us dig a deep ditch hard by, which shall intervene and keep back chariots and footmen, lest ever the battle of the lordly Trojans press heavily upon us.” So spake he, and all the kings assented thereto. [345] And of the Trojans likewise was a gathering held in the citadel of Ilios, a gathering fierce and tumultuous, beside Priam's doors. Among them wise Antenor was first to speak, saying:“Hearken to me, ye Trojans and Dardanians and allies, that I may speak what the heart in my breast biddeth me. [350] Come ye now, let us give Argive Helen and the treasure with her unto the sons of Atreus to take away. Now do we fight after proving false to our oaths of faith, wherefore have I no hope that aught will issue to our profit, if we do not thus.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 463-512
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