With these words he urged Athena, who was already of the same mind. She darted down from heaven into the air like some falcon sailing on his broad wings and screaming. Meanwhile the Achaeans were arming throughout the host, and when Athena had dropped nectar and ambrosia into Achilles so that no cruel hunger should cause his limbs to fail him, she went back to the house of her mighty father. Thick as the chill snow-flakes shed from the hand of Zeus and borne on the keen blasts of the north wind, even so thick did the gleaming helmets, the bossed shields, the strongly plated breastplates, and the ashen spears stream from the ships. The sheen pierced the sky, the whole land was radiant with their flashing armor, and the sound of the tramp of their treading rose from under their feet. In the midst of them all Achilles put on his armor; he gnashed his teeth, his eyes gleamed like fire, for his grief [akhos] was greater than he could bear. Thus, then, full of fury against the Trojans, did he don the gift of the god, the armor that Hephaistos had made him.
First he put on the goodly greaves fitted with ankle-clasps, and next he did on the breastplate about his chest. He slung the silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then took up the shield so great and strong that shone afar with a splendor as of the moon. As the light seen by sailors from out at sea [pontos], when men have lit a fire in their homestead high up among the mountains, but the sailors are carried out to sea [pontos] by wind and storm far from the haven where they would be - even so did the gleam of Achilles' wondrous shield strike up into the heavens. He lifted the redoubtable helmet, and set it upon his head, from whence it shone like a star, and the golden plumes which Hephaistos had set thick about the ridge of the helmet, waved all around it. Then Achilles made trial of himself in his armor to see whether it fitted him, so that his limbs could play freely under it, and it seemed to buoy him up as though it had been wings.
He also drew his father's spear out of the spear-stand, a spear so great and heavy and strong that none of the Achaeans save only Achilles had strength to wield it; this was the spear of Pelian ash from the topmost ridges of Mount Pelion, which Chiron had once given to Peleus, fraught with the death of heroes. Automedon and Alkimos busied themselves with the harnessing of his horses; they made the bands fast about them, and put the bit in their mouths, drawing the reins back towards the chariot. Automedon, whip in hand, sprang up behind the horses, and after him Achilles mounted in full armor, resplendent as the sun-god Hyperion. Then with a loud voice he chided with his father's horses saying, "Xanthos
and Balios, famed offspring of Podarge - this time when we have done fighting be sure and bring your driver safely back to the host of the Achaeans, and do not leave him dead on the plain as you did Patroklos."
Then fleet Xanthos
answered under the yoke - for white-armed Hera had endowed him with human speech - and he bowed his head till his mane touched the ground as it hung down from under the yoke-band. "Dread Achilles," said he, "we will indeed save you now, but the day of your death is near, and we will not be responsible [aitioi], for it will be heaven and stern fate that will destroy you. Neither was it through any sloth or slackness on our part that the Trojans stripped Patroklos of his armor; it was the mighty god whom lovely Leto bore that slew him as he fought among the foremost, and granted a triumph to Hektor. We two can fly as swiftly as Zephyros who they say is fleetest of all winds; nevertheless it is your doom to fall by the hand of a man and of a god."
When he had thus spoken, the Erinyes stayed his speech, and Achilles answered him in great sadness, saying, "Why, O Xanthos
, do you thus foretell my death? You need not do so, for I well know that I am to fall here, far from my dear father and mother; none the more, however, shall I stay my hand till I have given the Trojans their fill of fighting."
So saying, with a loud cry he drove his horses to the front.