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[19] And when night fell, and all were plunged in sleep, the Greeks drew near by sea from Tenedos, and Sinon kindled the beacon on the grave of Achilles to guide them.1 And Helen, going round the horse, called the chiefs, imitating the voices of each of their wives. But when Anticlus would have answered, Ulysses held fast his mouth.2


1 The beacon-light kindled by the deserter and traitor Sinon to guide the Greeks across the water to the doomed city is a regular feature in the narratives of the taking of Troy; but the only other writer who mentions that it shone from the grave of Achilles is Tryphiodorus, who adds that all night long there blazed a light like the full moon above Helen's chamber, for she too was awake and signalling to the enemy, while all the town was plunged in darkness and silence; the sounds of revelry and music had died away, and not even the barking of a dog broke the stillness of the summer night. See Tryphiodorus, Excidium Ilii 487-521. That the poet conceived the fall of Troy to have happened in the summer time is shown by his describing how the Trojans wreathed the mane of the Wooden Horse with flowers culled on river banks, and how the women spread carpets of roses under its feet (Tryphiodorus, Excidium Ilii 316ff., 340-344). For these flowers of fancy Tryphiodorus is severely taken to task by the pedantic Tzetzes on the ground that Troy fell at midwinter; and he clinches the lesson administered to his predecessor by observing that he had learned from Orpheus, “who had it from another man,” never to tell a lie. Such was the state of the Higher Criticism at Byzantium in the twelfth century of our era. See Tzetzes, Posthomerica 700-707.

2 This incident is derived from Hom. Od. 4.274-289. It is copied and told with fuller details by Tryphiodorus, who says that Anticlus expired under the iron grip of Ulysses (Tryphiodorus, Excidium Ilii 463-490).

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