let him, then, that will fight me stand forward as your champion against Hektor. Thus I say, and may Zeus be witness between us. If your champion slay me, let him strip me of my armor and take it to your ships, but let him send my body home that the Trojans and their wives may give me my dues of fire when I am dead. In like manner, if Apollo grant me glory and I slay your champion, I will strip him of his armor and take it to the city of Ilion
, where I will hang it in the temple of Apollo, but I will give up his body, that the Achaeans may bury him at their ships, and the build him a tomb [sêma] by the wide waters of the Hellespont
. Then will one say hereafter as he sails his ship over the sea [pontos], ‘This is the marker [sêma] of one who died long since a champion who was slain by mighty Hektor.’ Thus will one say, and my fame [kleos] shall not be lost."
Thus did he speak, but they all held their peace, ashamed to decline the challenge, yet fearing to accept it, till at last Menelaos rose and rebuked them, for he was angry. "Alas," he cried, "vain braggarts, women indeed not men, double-dyed indeed will be the stain upon us if no man of the Danaans will now face Hektor. May you be turned every man of you into earth and water as you sit spiritless and inglorious in your places. I will myself go out against this man, but the upshot of the fight will be from on high in the hands of the immortal gods."
With these words he put on his armor; and then, O Menelaos, your life would have come to an end at the hands of hands of Hektor, for he was far better the man, had not the princes of the Achaeans sprung upon you and checked you. King Agamemnon caught him by the right hand and said, "Menelaos, you are mad; a truce to this folly. Be patient in spite of passion, do not think of fighting a man so much stronger than yourself as Hektor son of Priam, who is feared by many another as well as you.
Even Achilles, who is far more doughty than you are, shrank from meeting him in battle. Sit down your own people, and the Achaeans will send some other champion to fight Hektor; fearless and fond of battle though he be, I ween his knees will bend gladly under him if he comes out alive from the struggle of this fight."
With these words of reasonable counsel he persuaded his brother, whereon his squires [therapontes] gladly stripped the armor from off his shoulders. Then Nestor rose and spoke, "For sure," said he, "grief [penthos] has befallen the Achaean land. The old horseman Peleus, counselor and orator among the Myrmidons, loved when I was in his house to question me concerning the race and lineage of all the Argives. How would it not grieve him could he hear of them as now quailing before Hektor? Many a time would he lift his hands in prayer that his soul might leave his body and go down within the house of Hades. Would, by father Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, that I were still young and strong as when the Pylians and Arcadians were gathered in fight by the rapid river Keladon under the walls of Pheia
, and round about the waters of the river Iardanos. The godlike hero Ereuthalion stood forward as their champion, with the armor of King Areithoos upon his shoulders - Areithoos whom men and women had surnamed ‘the Mace-man,’ because he fought neither with bow nor spear, but broke the battalions of the foe with his iron mace. Lycurgus killed him, not in fair fight, but by entrapping him in a narrow way where his mace served him in no stead; for Lycurgus was too quick for him and speared him through the middle, so he fell to earth on his back. Lycurgus then spoiled him of the armor which Ares had given him, and bore it in battle thenceforward; but when he grew old and stayed at home, he gave it to his faithful squire [therapôn] Ereuthalion, who in this same armor challenged the foremost men among us. The others quaked and quailed, but my high spirit bade me fight him though none other would venture; I was the youngest man of them all;
but when I fought him Athena granted me victory. He was the biggest and strongest man that ever I killed, and covered much ground as he lay sprawling upon the earth. Would that I were still young and strong as I then was, for the son of Priam would then soon find one who would face him. But you, foremost among the whole host though you be, have none of you any stomach for fighting Hektor."
Thus did the old man rebuke them, and forthwith nine men started to their feet. Foremost of all stood up King Agamemnon, and after him brave Diomedes the son of Tydeus. Next were the two Ajaxes, men clothed in valor as with a garment, and then Idomeneus, and Meriones his brother in arms. After these Eurypylos son of Euaemon, Thoas the son of Andraimon, and Odysseus also rose. Then Nestor horseman of Gerene again spoke, saying: "Cast lots among you to see who shall be chosen. If he come alive out of this fight he will have done good service alike to his own soul and to the Achaeans."
Thus he spoke, and when each of them had marked his lot, and had thrown it into the helmet of Agamemnon son of Atreus, the people lifted their hands in prayer, and thus would one of them say as he looked into the vault of heaven, "Father Zeus, grant that the lot fall on Ajax, or on the son of Tydeus, or upon the king of rich Mycenae