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A course was marked out for them from the turning point,1 and they all sped swiftly, raising the dust of the plain; but among them noble Clytoneus was far the best at running, and by as far as is the range2 of a team of mules in fallow land, [125] by so far he shot to the front and reached the host, and the others were left behind. Then they made trial of toilsome wrestling, and here in turn Euryalus excelled all the princes. And in leaping Amphialus was best of all, and with the discus again far the best of all was Elatreus, [130] and in boxing Laodamas, the good son of Alcinous. But when the hearts of all had taken pleasure in the contests, Laodamas, the son of Alcinous, spoke among them: “Come, friends, let us ask yon stranger whether he knows and has learned any contests. In build, surely, he is no mean man, [135] in thighs and calves, and in his two arms above, his stout neck, and his great might. In no wise does he lack aught of the strength of youth, but he has been broken by many troubles. For to my mind there is naught worse than the sea to confound a man, be he never so strong.” [140] And Euryalus in turn answered him, and said:“Laodamas, this word of thine is right fitly spoken. Go now thyself and challenge him, and make known thy word.” Now when the good son of Alcinous heard this he came and took his stand in the midst and spoke to Odysseus: [145] “Come, Sir stranger, do thou, too, make trial of the contests, if thou knowest any; and it must be that thou knowest contests, for there is no greater glory for a man so long as he lives than that which he achieves by his own hands and his feet. Nay, come, make trial, and cast away care from thy heart. [150] Thy journey shall no more be long delayed, nay, even now thy ship is launched and the crew is ready.” Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Laodamas, why do ye mock me with this challenge? Sorrow is in my mind far more than contests, [155] seeing that in time past I have suffered much and toiled much, and now I sit in the midst of your assembly, longing for my return home, and making my prayer to the king and to all the people.” Then again Euryalus made answer and taunted him to his face: “Nay verily, stranger, for I do not liken thee to a man that is skilled [160] in contests, such as abound among men, but to one who, faring to and fro with his benched ship, is a captain of sailors who are merchantmen, one who is mindful of his freight, and has charge of a home-borne cargo, and the gains of his greed. Thou dost not look like an athlete.”

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 23.758
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