who will shortly become meat for the dogs and vultures of Troy
, than for the safety of my own head and yours. Hektor has wrapped us round in a storm of battle from every quarter, and our destruction seems now certain. Call then upon the princes of the Danaans if there is any who can hear us."
Menelaos did as he said, and shouted to the Danaans for help at the top of his voice. "My friends," he cried, "princes and counselors of the Argives, all you who with Agamemnon and Menelaos drink at the public cost, and give orders each to his own people as Zeus grants him power and honor [timê], the fight is so thick about me that I cannot distinguish you severally; come on, therefore, every man unbidden, and think it shame that Patroklos should become meat and morsel for Trojan hounds."
Fleet Ajax son of Oileus heard him and was first to force his way through the fight and run to help him. Next came Idomeneus and Meriones his esquire, peer of murderous Ares. As for the others that came into the fight after these, who of his own self could name them?
The Trojans with Hektor at their head charged in a body. As a great wave that comes thundering in at the mouth of some heaven-born river, and the rocks that jut into the sea ring with the roar of the breakers that beat and buffet them - even with such a roar did the Trojans come on; but the Achaeans in singleness of heart stood firm about the son of Menoitios, and fenced him with their bronze shields. Zeus, moreover, hid the brightness of their helmets in a thick cloud, for he had borne no grudge against the son of Menoitios while he was still alive and squire [therapôn] to the descendant of Aiakos; therefore he was loath to let him fall a prey to the dogs of his foes the Trojans, and urged his comrades on to defend him.
At first the Trojans drove the Achaeans back, and they withdrew from the dead man daunted. The Trojans did not succeed in killing any one, nevertheless they drew the body away. But the Achaeans did not lose it long, for Ajax, foremost of all the Danaans after the son of Peleus alike in stature and prowess,
quickly rallied them and made towards the front like a wild boar upon the mountains when he stands at bay in the forest glades and routs the hounds and lusty youths that have attacked him - even so did Ajax son of Telamon passing easily in among the phalanxes of the Trojans, disperse those who had bestridden Patroklos and were most bent on winning glory by dragging him off to their city. At this moment Hippothoos brave son of the Pelasgian Lethus, in his zeal for Hektor and the Trojans, was dragging the body off by the foot through the press of the fight, having bound a strap round the sinews near the ankle; but a mischief soon befell him from which none of those could save him who would have gladly done so, for the son of Telamon sprang forward and smote him on his bronze-cheeked helmet. The plumed headpiece broke about the point of the weapon, struck at once by the spear and by the strong hand of Ajax, so that the bloody brain came oozing out through the crest-socket. His strength then failed him and he let Patroklos' foot drop from his hand, as he fell full length dead upon the body; thus he died far from the fertile land of Larissa, and never repaid his parents the cost of bringing him up, for his life was cut short early by the spear of mighty Ajax. Hektor then took aim at Ajax with a spear, but he saw it coming and just managed to avoid it; the spear passed on and struck Schedios son of noble Iphitos, leader of the Phoceans, who dwelt in famed Panopeus and reigned over many people; it struck him under the middle of the collar-bone the bronze point went right through him, coming out at the bottom of his shoulder-blade, and his armor rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground. Ajax in his turn struck noble Phorkys son of Phainops in the middle of the belly as he was bestriding Hippothoos, and broke the plate of his cuirass; whereon the spear tore out his entrails and he clutched the ground in his palm as he fell to earth. Hektor and those who were in the front rank then gave ground, while the Argives raised a loud cry of triumph, and drew off the bodies of Phorkys and Hippothoos which they stripped presently of their armor.
The Trojans would now have been worsted by the brave Achaeans and driven back to Ilion
through their own cowardice, while the Argives, so great was their courage and endurance, would have achieved a triumph even against the will of Zeus, if Apollo had not roused Aeneas, in the likeness of Periphas son of Epytos, an attendant who had grown old in the service of Aeneas' aged father, and was at all times devoted to him. In his likeness, then, Apollo said, "Aeneas, can you not manage, even though heaven be against us, to save high Ilion
? I have known men, whose numbers, courage, and self-reliance have saved their population [dêmos] in spite of Zeus, whereas in this case he would much rather give victory to us than to the Danaans, if you would only fight instead of being so terribly afraid."
Aeneas knew Apollo when he looked straight at him, and shouted to Hektor saying, "Hektor and all other Trojans and allies, shame [aidôs] on us if we are beaten by the Achaeans and driven back to Ilion
through our own cowardice. A god has just come up to me and told me that Zeus the supreme disposer will be with us. Therefore let us make for the Danaans, that it may go hard with them ere they bear away dead Patroklos to the ships."