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robbing him of his prize and keeping it himself. Achilles takes it meekly and shows no fight; if he did, son of Atreus, you would never again insult him." Thus railed Thersites, but Odysseus at once went up to him

and rebuked him sternly. "Check your glib tongue, Thersites," said be, "and babble not a word further. Chide not with princes when you have none to back you. There is no viler creature come before Troy with the sons of Atreus.

Drop this chatter about kings, and neither revile them nor keep harping about homecoming [nostos]. We do not yet know how things are going to be, nor whether the Achaeans are to return with good success or evil. How dare you gibe at Agamemnon

because the Danaans have awarded him so many prizes? I tell you, therefore - and it shall surely be - that if I again catch you talking such nonsense, I will either forfeit my own head

and be no more called father of Telemakhos, or I will take you, strip away from you all respect [aidôs], and whip you out of the assembly till you go blubbering back to the ships."

On this he beat him with his staff about the back and shoulders till he dropped and fell a-weeping. The golden scepter raised a bloody weal on his back, so he sat down frightened and in pain, looking foolish as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

The people were sorry for him, yet they laughed heartily, and one would turn to his neighbor saying, "Odysseus has done many a good thing ere now in fight and council, but he never did the Argives a better turn

than when he stopped this man's mouth from prating further. He will give the kings no more of his insolence." Thus said the people. Then Odysseus rose, scepter in hand, and Athena

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    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books I-III, 1.354
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