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Idomeneus answered, "I will be a trusty comrade, as I promised you from the first I would be. Urge on the other Achaeans, that we may join battle at once, for the Trojans have trampled upon their covenants. Death and destruction shall be theirs, seeing they have been the first to break their oaths and to attack us."

The son of Atreus went on, glad at heart, till he came upon the two Ajaxes arming themselves amid a host of foot-soldiers. As when a goat-herd from some high post watches a storm drive over the deep [pontos] before the west wind

- black as pitch is the offing and a mighty whirlwind draws towards him, so that he is afraid and drives his flock into a cave - even thus did the ranks of stalwart youths move in a dark mass to battle under the Ajaxes, horrid with shield and spear. Glad was King Agamemnon when he saw them. "No need," he cried, "to give orders to such leaders of the Argives as you are, for of your own selves you spur your men on to fight with might and main. Would, by father Zeus, Athena, and Apollo that all were so minded as you are, for the city of Priam would then soon fall beneath our hands, and we should sack it."

With this he left them and went onward to Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians, who was marshaling his men and urging them on, in company with Pelagon, Alastor, Chromios, Haimon, and Bias shepherd of his people. He placed his horsemen with their chariots and horses in the front rank, while the foot-soldiers, brave men and many, whom he could trust, were in the rear. The cowards he drove into the middle, that they might fight whether they would or no. He gave his orders to the horsemen first, bidding them hold their horses well in hand, so as to avoid confusion. "Let no man," he said, "relying on his strength or horsemanship, get before the others and engage singly with the Trojans, nor yet let him lag behind or you will weaken your attack; but let each when he meets an enemy's chariot throw his spear from his own; this be much the best; this is how the men of old took towns and strongholds; in this wise was their thinking [noos]."

Thus did the old man charge them, for he had been in many a fight, and King Agamemnon was glad. "I wish," he said to him, that your limbs were as supple and your strength [biê] as sure as your judgment is; but age, the common enemy of humankind, has laid his hand upon you; would that it had fallen upon some other, and that you were still young."

And Nestor, horseman of Gerene, answered, "Son of Atreus, I too would gladly be the man I was when I slew mighty Ereuthalion; but the gods will not give us everything at one and the same time. I was then young, and now I am old;

still I can go with my horsemen and give them that counsel which old men have a right to give. The wielding of the spear I leave to those who are younger and has more force [biê] than myself."

Agamemnon went his way rejoicing, and presently found Menestheus, son of Peteos, tarrying in his place, and with him were the Athenians loud of tongue in battle. Near him also tarried cunning Odysseus, with his sturdy Cephallenians round him; they had not yet heard the battle-cry, for the ranks of Trojans and Achaeans had only just begun to move, so they were standing still, waiting for some other columns of the Achaeans to attack the Trojans and begin the fighting. When he saw this Agamemnon rebuked them and said, "Son of Peteos, and you other, steeped in cunning, heart of guile, why stand you here cowering and waiting on others? You two should be of all men foremost when there is hard fighting to be done, for you are ever foremost to accept my invitation when we councilors of the Achaeans are holding feast. You are glad enough then to take your fill of roast meats and to drink wine as long as you please, whereas now you would not care though you saw ten columns of Achaeans engage the enemy in front of you."

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    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books IV-VI, 5.217
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