So the son of Menoitios was attending to the hurt of Eurypylos within the tent, but the Argives and Trojans still fought desperately, nor were the trench and the high wall above it, to keep the Trojans in check longer. They had built it to protect their ships, and had dug the trench all round it that it might safeguard both the ships and the rich spoils which they had taken, but they had not offered hecatombs to the gods. It had been built without the consent of the immortals, and therefore it did not last. So long as Hektor lived and Achilles continued his anger [mênis], and so long as the city of Priam remained untaken, the great wall of the Achaeans stood firm; but when the bravest of the Trojans were no more, and many also of the Argives, though some were yet left alive when, moreover, the city was sacked in the tenth year, and the Argives had gone back with their ships to their own country - then Poseidon and Apollo took counsel to destroy the wall, and they turned on to it the streams of all the rivers from Mount Ida
into the sea, Rhesus, Heptaporos, Caresus, Rhodios, Grenicus, Aesopos, and goodly Skamandros, with Simoeis, where many a shield and helm had fallen, and many a hero of the race of demigods had bitten the dust. Phoebus Apollo turned the mouths of all these rivers together and made them flow for nine days against the wall, while Zeus rained the whole time that he might wash it sooner into the sea. Poseidon himself, trident in hand, surveyed the work and threw into the sea all the foundations of beams and stones which the Achaeans had laid with so much toil;
he made all level by the mighty stream of the Hellespont
, and then when he had swept the wall away he spread a great beach of sand over the place where it had been. This done he turned the rivers back into their old courses.
This was what Poseidon and Apollo were to do in after time; but as yet battle and turmoil were still raging round the wall till its timbers rang under the blows that rained upon them. The Argives, cowed by the scourge of Zeus, were hemmed in at their ships in fear of Hektor the mighty minister of Rout, who as heretofore fought with the force and fury of a whirlwind. As a lion or wild boar turns fiercely on the dogs and men that attack him, while these form solid wall and shower their javelins as they face him - his courage is all undaunted, but his high spirit will be the death of him; many a time does he charge at his pursuers to scatter them, and they fall back as often as he does so - even so did Hektor go about among the host exhorting his men, and cheering them on to cross the trench.
But the horses dared not do so, and stood neighing upon its brink, for the width frightened them. They could neither jump it nor cross it, for it had overhanging banks all round upon either side, above which there were the sharp stakes that the sons of the Achaeans had planted so close and strong as a defense against all who would assail it; a horse, therefore, could not get into it and draw his chariot after him, but those who were on foot kept trying their very utmost. Then Polydamas went up to Hektor and said, "Hektor, and you other leaders of the Trojans and allies, it is madness for us to try and drive our horses across the trench; it will be very hard to cross, for it is full of sharp stakes, and beyond these there is the wall. Our horses therefore cannot get down into it, and would be of no use if they did; moreover it is a narrow place and we should come to harm. If, indeed, great Zeus is minded to help the Trojans, and in his anger will utterly destroy the Achaeans,
I would myself gladly see them perish now and here far from Argos
; but if they should rally and we are driven back from the ships pell-mell into the trench there will be not so much as a man get back to the city to tell the tale. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let our squires [therapontes] hold our horses by the trench, but let us follow Hektor in a body on foot, clad in full armor, and if the day of their doom is at hand the Achaeans will not be able to withstand us."
Thus spoke Polydamas and his saying pleased Hektor, who sprang in full armor to the ground, and all the other Trojans, when they saw him do so, also left their chariots. Each man then gave his horses over to his charioteer in charge to hold them ready, in proper order [kosmos], for him at the trench. Then they formed themselves into companies, made themselves ready, and in five bodies followed their leaders. Those that went with Hektor and Polydamas were the bravest and most in number, and the most determined to break through the wall and fight at the ships. Kebriones was also joined with them as third in command, for Hektor had left his chariot in charge of a less valiant warrior. The next company was led by Paris
, Alkathoos, and Agenor; the third by Helenos and Deiphobos, two sons of Priam, and with them was the hero Asios - Asios the son of Hyrtakos, whose great black horses of the breed that comes from the river Selleis had brought him from Arisbe. Aeneas the valiant son of Anchises led the fourth; he and the two sons of Antenor, Arkhelokhos and Akamas, men well versed in all the arts of war. Sarpedon was leader over the allies, and took with him Glaukos and Asteropaios whom he deemed most valiant after himself - for he was far the best man of them all. These helped to array one another in their ox-hide shields, and then charged straight at the Danaans, for they felt sure that they would not hold out longer and that they should themselves now fall upon the ships.
The rest of the Trojans and their allies now followed the counsel of Polydamas but Asios son of Hyrtakos would not leave his horses and his esquire [therapôn] behind him; in his foolhardiness he took them on with him towards the ships, nor did he fail to come by his end in consequence. Nevermore was he to return to wind-beaten Ilion
, exulting in his chariot and his horses; ere he could do so, death of ill-omened name had overshadowed him and he had fallen by the spear of Idomeneus the noble son of Deukalion. He had driven towards the left wing of the ships, by which way the Achaeans used to return with their chariots and horses from the plain. Hither he drove and found the gates with their doors opened wide, and the great bar down - for the gatemen kept them open so as to let those of their comrades enter who might be fleeing towards the ships. Hither of set purpose did he direct his horses, and his men followed him with a loud cry, for they felt sure that the Achaeans would not hold out longer, and that they should now fall upon the ships. Little did they know that at the gates they should find two of the bravest chieftains, proud sons of the fighting Lapiths - the one, Polypoites, mighty son of Peirithoos, and the other Leonteus, peer of murderous Ares. These stood before the gates like two high oak trees upon the mountains, that tower from their wide-spreading roots, and year after year battle with wind and rain - even so did these two men await the onset of great Asios confidently and without flinching. The Trojans led by him and by Iamenos, Orestes, Adamas the son of Asios, Thoon and Oinomaos, raised a loud cry of battle and made straight for the wall, holding their shields of dry ox-hide above their heads; for a while the two defenders remained inside and cheered the Achaeans on to stand firm in the defense of their ships; when, however, they saw that the Trojans were attacking the wall, while the Danaans were crying out for help and being routed, they rushed outside and fought in front of the gates like two wild boars upon the mountains that abide the attack of men and dogs, and charging on either side break down the wood all round them tearing it up by the roots,
and one can hear the clattering of their tusks, till some one hits them and makes an end of them - even so did the gleaming bronze rattle about their breasts, as the weapons fell upon them; for they fought with great fury, trusting to their own prowess and to those who were on the wall above them. These threw great stones at their assailants in defense of themselves their tents and their ships. The stones fell thick as the flakes of snow which some fierce blast drives from the dark clouds and showers down in sheets upon the earth - even so fell the weapons from the hands alike of Trojans and Achaeans. Helmet and shield rang out as the great stones rained upon them, and Asios the son of Hyrtakos in his dismay cried aloud and smote his two thighs. "Father Zeus," he cried, "of a truth you too are altogether given to lying. I made sure the Argive
heroes could not withstand us, whereas like slim-waisted wasps, or bees that have their nests in the rocks by the wayside - they leave not the holes wherein they have built undefended, but fight for their little ones against all who would take them - even so these men, though they be but two, will not be driven from the gates, but stand firm either to slay or be slain."