Now the gods were sitting with Zeus in council upon the golden floor while Hebe went round pouring out nectar for them to drink, and as they pledged one another in their cups of gold they looked down upon the town of Troy
. The son of Kronos then began to tease Hera, talking at her so as to provoke her. "Menelaos," said he, "has two good friends among the goddesses, Hera of Argos
, and Athena of Alalkomene, but they only sit still and look on, while Aphrodite keeps ever by Alexander's side to defend him in any danger; indeed she has just rescued him when he made sure that it was all over with him - for the victory really did lie with Menelaos. We must consider what we shall do about all this; shall we set them fighting anew or make peace between them? If you will agree to this last Menelaos can take back Helen and the city of Priam may remain still inhabited."
Athena and Hera muttered their discontent as they sat side by side hatching mischief for the Trojans. Athena scowled at her father, for she was in a furious passion with him, and said nothing, but Hera could not contain herself. "Dread son of Kronos," said she, "what, pray, is the meaning of all this? Is my trouble [ponos], then, to go for nothing,
and the sweat that I have sweated, to say nothing of my horses, while getting the people together against Priam and his children? Do as you will, but we other gods shall not all of us approve your counsel."
Zeus was angry and answered, "My dear, what harm have Priam and his sons done you that you are so hotly bent on sacking the city of Ilion
? Will nothing do for you but you must within their walls and eat Priam raw, with his sons and all the other Trojans to boot? Have it your own way then; for I would not have this matter become a bone of contention between us. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart, if ever I want to sack a city belonging to friends of yours, you must not try to stop me; you will have to let me do it, for I am giving in to you sorely against my will. Of all inhabited cities under the sun and stars of heaven, there was none that I so much respected as Ilion
with Priam and his whole people. Equitable feasts were never wanting about my altar, nor the savor of burning fat, which is honor due to ourselves."
"My own three favorite cities," answered Hera, "are Argos
, and Mycenae
. Sack them whenever you may be displeased with them. I shall not defend them and I shall not care. Even if I did, and tried to stay you, I should take nothing by it, for you are much stronger than I am, but I will not have my own work wasted. I too am a god and of the same race with yourself. I am Kronos' eldest daughter, and am honorable not on this ground only, but also because I am your wife, and you are king over the gods. Let it be a case, then, of give-and-take between us, and the rest of the gods will follow our lead. Tell Athena to go and take part in the fight at once, and let her contrive that the Trojans shall be the first to break their oaths and set upon the Achaeans."
The sire of gods and men heeded her words, and said to Athena, "Go at once into the Trojan and Achaean hosts, and contrive that the Trojans shall be the first to break their oaths and set upon the Achaeans."
This was what Athena was already eager to do, so down she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus
. She shot through the sky as some brilliant meteor which the son of scheming Kronos has sent as a sign to mariners or to some great army, and a fiery train of light follows in its wake. The Trojans and Achaeans were struck with awe as they beheld, and one would turn to his neighbor, saying, "Either we shall again have war and din of combat, or Zeus the lord of battle will now make peace between us."
Thus did they converse. Then Athena took the form of Laodokos, son of Antenor, and went through the ranks of the Trojans to find Pandaros, the redoubtable son of Lykaon. She found him standing among the stalwart heroes who had followed him from the banks of the Aesepos, so she went close up to him and said, "Brave son of Lykaon, will you do as I tell you? If you dare send an arrow at Menelaos you will win honor and thanks [kharis] from all the Trojans, and especially from prince Alexander - he would be the first to requite you very handsomely if he could see Menelaos mount his funeral pyre, slain by an arrow from your hand. Take your home aim then, and pray to Lycian Apollo, the famous archer; vow that when you get home to your strong city of Zelea you will offer a hecatomb of firstling lambs in his honor."