Then spoke Thoas son of Andraimon, leader of the Aetolians, a man who could throw a good throw, and who was staunch also in close fight, while few could surpass him in debate when opinions were divided. He then with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "What, in heaven's name, do I now see? Is it not Hektor come to life again? Every one made sure he had been killed by Ajax son of Telamon, but it seems that one of the gods has again rescued him. He has killed many of us Danaans already, and I take it will yet do so, for the hand of Zeus must be with him or he would never dare show himself so masterful in the forefront of the battle. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let us order the main body of our forces to fall back upon the ships, but let those of us who profess to be the flower of the army stand firm, and see whether we cannot hold Hektor back at the point of our spears as soon as he comes near us; I conceive that he will then think better of it before he tries to charge into the press of the Danaans."
Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. Those who were about Ajax and King Idomeneus, the followers moreover of Teucer, Meriones, and Meges peer of Ares called all their best men about them and sustained the fight against Hektor and the Trojans, but the main body fell back upon the ships of the Achaeans.
The Trojans pressed forward in a dense body, with Hektor striding on at their head. Before him went Phoebus Apollo shrouded in cloud about his shoulders. He bore aloft the terrible aegis with its shaggy fringe, which Hephaistos the smith had given Zeus to strike terror into the hearts of men. With this in his hand he led on the Trojans.
The Argives held together and stood their ground. The cry of battle rose high from either side, and the arrows flew from the bowstrings. Many a spear sped from strong hands and fastened in the bodies of many a valiant warrior, while others fell to earth midway, before they could taste of man's fair flesh and glut themselves with blood. So long as Phoebus Apollo held his aegis quietly and without shaking it, the weapons on either side took effect and the people fell, but when he shook it straight in the face of the Danaans and raised his mighty battle-cry their hearts fainted within them and they forgot their former prowess. As when two wild beasts spring in the dead of night on a herd of cattle or a large flock of sheep when the herdsman is not there - even so were the Danaans struck helpless, for Apollo filled them with panic and gave victory to Hektor and the Trojans.
The fight then became more scattered and they killed one another where they best could. Hektor killed Stichios and Arkesilaos, the one, leader of the Boeotians, and the other, friend and comrade of Menestheus. Aeneas killed Medon and Iasos
. The first was bastard son to Oileus, and brother to Ajax, but he lived in Phylake away from his own country, for he had killed a man, a kinsman of his stepmother Eriopis whom Oileus had married. Iasos
had become a leader of the Athenians, and was son of Sphelus the son of Boukolos. Polydamas killed Mekisteus, and Polites Echios, in the front of the battle, while Agenor slew Klonios. Paris
struck Deiochus from behind in the lower part of the shoulder, as he was fleeing among the foremost, and the point of the spear went clean through him.
While they were spoiling these heroes of their armor, the Achaeans were fleeing pellmell to the trench and the set stakes, and were forced back within their wall. Hektor then cried out to the Trojans, "Forward to the ships, and let the spoils be. If I see any man keeping back on the other side the wall away from the ships I will have him killed: his kinsmen and kinswomen shall not give him his dues of fire, but dogs shall tear him in pieces in front of our city."
As he spoke he laid his whip about his horses' shoulders and called to the Trojans throughout their ranks; the Trojans shouted with a cry that rent the air, and kept their horses neck and neck with his own. Phoebus Apollo went before, and kicked down the banks of the deep trench into its middle so as to make a great broad bridge, as broad as the throw of a spear when a man is trying his strength. The Trojan battalions poured over the bridge, and Apollo with his redoubtable aegis led the way. He kicked down the wall of the Achaeans as easily as a child who playing on the sea-shore has built a house of sand and then kicks it down again and destroys it - even so did you, O Apollo, shed toil and trouble upon the Argives, filling them with panic and confusion.
Thus then were the Achaeans hemmed in at their ships, calling out to one another and raising their hands with loud cries every man to heaven. Nestor of Gerene, tower of strength to the Achaeans, lifted up his hands to the starry firmament of heaven, and prayed more fervently than any of them. "Father Zeus," said he, "if ever any one in wheat-growing Argos
burned you fat thigh-bones of sheep or heifer and prayed that he might return safely home, whereon you bowed your head to him in assent, bear it in mind now, and suffer not the Trojans to triumph thus over the Achaeans."