His fool's heart was persuaded, and he took his bow from its case. This bow was made from the horns of a wild ibex which he had killed as it was bounding from a rock; he had stalked it, and it had fallen as the arrow struck it to the heart. Its horns were sixteen palms long, and a worker in horn had made them into a bow, smoothing them well down, and giving them tips of gold. When Pandaros had strung his bow he laid it carefully on the ground, and his brave followers held their shields before him lest the Achaeans should set upon him before he had shot Menelaos. Then he opened the lid of his quiver and took out a winged arrow that had yet been shot, fraught with the pangs of death.
He laid the arrow on the string and prayed to Lycian Apollo, the famous archer, vowing that when he got home to his strong city of Zelea he would offer a hecatomb of firstling lambs in his honor. He laid the notch of the arrow on the oxhide bowstring, and drew both notch and string to his breast till the arrow-head was near the bow; then when the bow was arched into a half-circle he let fly, and the bow twanged, and the string sang as the arrow flew gladly on over the heads of the throng.
But the blessed gods did not forget you, O Menelaos, and Zeus' daughter, driver of the spoil, was the first to stand before you and ward off the piercing arrow. She turned it from his skin as a mother whisks a fly from off her child when it is sleeping sweetly; she guided it to the part where the golden buckles of the belt that passed over his double cuirass were fastened, so the arrow struck the belt that went tightly round him. It went right through this and through the cuirass of cunning workmanship; it also pierced the belt beneath it, which he wore next his skin to keep out darts or arrows; it was this that served him in the best stead, nevertheless the arrow went through it and grazed the top of the skin, so that blood began flowing from the wound.
As when some woman of Meonia or Caria
strains purple dye on to a piece of ivory that is to be the cheek-piece of a horse, and is to be laid up in a treasure house - many a horseman is fain to bear it, but the king keeps it as an ornament [kosmos] of which both horse and driver may be proud - even so, O Menelaos, were your shapely thighs and your legs down to your fair ankles stained with blood.
When King Agamemnon saw the blood flowing from the wound he was afraid, and so was brave Menelaos himself till he saw that the barbs of the arrow and the thread that bound the arrow-head to the shaft were still outside the wound. Then he took heart, but Agamemnon heaved a deep sigh as he held Menelaos' hand in his own, and his comrades made moan in concert.
"Dear brother, "he cried, "I have been the death of you in pledging this covenant and letting you come forward as our champion. The Trojans have trampled on their oaths and have wounded you; nevertheless the oath, the blood of lambs, the drink-offerings and the right hands of fellowship in which have put our trust shall not be vain. If he that rules Olympus
fulfill it not here and now, he. will yet fulfill it hereafter, and they shall pay dearly with their lives and with their wives and children. The day will surely come when mighty Ilion
shall be laid low, with Priam and Priam's people, when the son of Kronos from his high throne shall overshadow them with his awful aegis in punishment of their present treachery. This shall surely be; but how, Menelaos, shall I feel grief [akhos] for you, if it be your lot now to die? I should return to Argos
as a by-word, for the Achaeans will at once go home. We shall leave Priam and the Trojans the glory of still keeping Helen, and the earth will rot your bones as you lie here at Troy
with your purpose not fulfilled. Then shall some braggart Trojan leap upon your tomb and say, ‘Ever thus may Agamemnon wreak his vengeance; he brought his army in vain; he is gone home to his own land with empty ships, and has left Menelaos behind him.’ Thus will one of them say, and may the earth then swallow me."
But Menelaos reassured him and said, "Take heart, and do not alarm the people; the arrow has not struck me in a mortal part, for my outer belt of burnished metal first stayed it, and under this my cuirass and the belt of mail which the bronze-smiths made me."
And Agamemnon answered, "I trust, dear Menelaos, that it may be even so, but the surgeon shall examine your wound and lay herbs upon it to relieve your pain."