The assembly [agôn] now broke up and the people went their ways each to his own ship. There they made ready their supper, and then bethought them of the blessed boon of sleep; but Achilles still wept for thinking of his dear comrade, and sleep, before whom all things bow, could take no hold upon him. This way and that did he turn as he yearned after the might and manfulness of Patroklos; he thought of all they had done together, and all they had gone through both on the field of battle and on the waves of the weary sea. As he dwelt on these things he wept bitterly and lay now on his side, now on his back, and now face downwards, till at last he rose and went out as one distraught to wander upon the seashore. Then, when he saw dawn breaking over beach and sea, he yoked his horses to his chariot, and bound the body of Hektor behind it that he might drag it about. Thrice did he drag it round the tomb [sêma] of the son of Menoitios, and then went back into his tent, leaving the body on the ground full length and with its face downwards. But Apollo would not suffer it to be disfigured, for he pitied the man, dead though he now was; therefore he shielded him with his golden aegis continually, that he might take no hurt while Achilles was dragging him.
Thus shamefully did Achilles in his fury dishonor Hektor; but the blessed gods looked down in pity from heaven, and urged Hermes, slayer of Argos
, to steal the body. All were of this mind save only Hera, Poseidon, and Zeus' gray-eyed daughter,
who persisted in the hate which they had ever borne towards Ilion
with Priam and his people; for they forgave not the wrong [atê] done them by Alexander in disdaining the goddesses who came to him when he was in his sheepyards, and preferring her who had offered him a wanton to his ruin.
When, therefore, the morning of the twelfth day had now come, Phoebus Apollo spoke among the immortals saying, "You gods ought to be ashamed of yourselves; you are cruel and hard-hearted. Did not Hektor burn you thigh-bones of heifers and of unblemished goats? And now dare you not rescue even his dead body, for his wife to look upon, with his mother and child, his father Priam, and his people, who would forthwith commit him to the flames, and give him his due funeral rites? So, then, you would all be on the side of mad Achilles, who knows neither right nor ruth? He is like some savage lion that in the pride of his great strength [biê] and spirit [thumos] springs upon men's flocks and gorges on them. Even so has Achilles flung aside all pity, and all that decency [aidôs] which at once so greatly banes yet greatly boons him that will heed it. man may lose one far dearer than Achilles has lost- a son, it may be, or a brother born from his own mother's womb; yet when he has mourned him and wept over him he will let him bide, for it takes much sorrow to kill a man; whereas Achilles, now that he has slain noble Hektor, drags him behind his chariot round the tomb [sêma] of his comrade. It were better of him, and for him, that he should not do so, for brave though he be we gods may take it ill that he should vent his fury upon dead clay."
Hera spoke up in a rage. "This were well," she cried, "O lord of the silver bow, if you would give like honor [timê] to Hektor and to Achilles; but Hektor was mortal and suckled at a woman's breast, whereas Achilles is the offspring of a goddess whom I myself reared and brought up. I married her to Peleus, who is above measure dear to the immortals; you gods came all of you to her wedding; you feasted along with them yourself and brought your lyre - false, and fond of low company, that you have ever been."
Then said Zeus, "Hera, be not so bitter. Their honor [timê] shall not be equal, but of all that dwell in Ilion
, Hektor was dearest to the gods, as also to myself, for his offerings never failed me. Never was my altar stinted of its dues, nor of the drink-offerings and savor of sacrifice which we claim of right. I shall therefore permit the body of mighty Hektor to be stolen; and yet this may hardly be without Achilles coming to know it, for his mother keeps night and day beside him. Let some one of you, therefore, send Thetis to me, and I will impart my counsel to her, namely that Achilles is to accept a ransom from Priam, and give up the body."
On this Iris fleet as the wind went forth to carry his message. Down she plunged into the dark sea [pontos] midway between Samos
and rocky Imbros; the waters hissed as they closed over her, and she sank into the bottom as the lead at the end of an ox-horn, that is sped to carry death to fishes. She found Thetis sitting in a great cave with the other sea-goddesses gathered round her; there she sat in the midst of them weeping for her noble son who was to fall far from his own land, on the fertile plains of Troy
. Iris went up to her and said, "Rise Thetis; Zeus, whose counsels fail not, bids you come to him." And Thetis answered, "Why does the mighty god so bid me? I am in great grief [akhos], and shrink from going in and out among the immortals. Still, I will go, and the word that he may speak shall not be spoken in vain."
The goddess took her dark veil, than which there can be no robe more somber, and went forth with fleet Iris leading the way before her. The waves of the sea opened them a path, and when they reached the shore they flew up into the heavens, where they found the all-seeing son of Kronos with the blessed gods that live for ever assembled near him. Athena gave up her seat to her, and she sat down by the side of father Zeus. Hera then placed a fair golden cup in her hand, and spoke to her in words of comfort, whereon Thetis drank and gave her back the cup; and the sire of gods and men was the first to speak.