The son of Atreus then bade many councilors of the Achaeans to his quarters prepared a great feast in their honor. They laid their hands on the good things that were before them, and as soon as they had enough to eat and drink, old Nestor, whose counsel was ever truest, was the first to lay his mind before them. He, therefore, with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus.
"With yourself, most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon, will I both begin my speech and end it, for you are king over many people. Zeus, moreover, has granted you to wield the scepter and to uphold what is right [themis] that you may take thought for your people under you; therefore it behooves you above all others both to speak and to give ear, and to out the counsel of another who shall have been minded to speak wisely. All turns on you and on your commands, therefore I will say what I think will be best. No man will be of a truer mind [noos] than that which has been mine from the hour when you, sir, angered Achilles by taking the girl Briseis from his tent against my judgment [noos].
I urged you not to do so, but you yielded to your own pride, and dishonored a hero whom heaven itself had honored - for you still hold the prize that had been awarded to him. Now, however, let us think how we may appease him, both with presents and fair speeches that may conciliate him."
And King Agamemnon answered, "Sir, you have reproved my folly [atê] justly. I was wrong. I own it. One whom heaven befriends is in himself a host, and Zeus has shown that he befriends this man by destroying many people of the Achaeans. I was blinded with passion and yielded to my worser mind; therefore I will make amends, and will give him great gifts by way of atonement. I will tell them in the presence of you all. I will give him seven tripods that have never yet been on the fire, and ten talents of gold. I will give him twenty iron cauldrons and twelve strong horses that have won races and carried off prizes. Rich, indeed, both in land and gold is he that has as many prizes as my horses have won me. I will give him seven excellent workwomen, from Lesbos
, whom I chose for myself when he took Lesbos - all of surpassing beauty. I will give him these, and with them her whom I erewhile took from him, the daughter of Briseus; and I swear a great oath that I never went up into her couch, nor did I lie down with her, even though it is right [themis] for humans, both men and women, to do this.
"All these things will I give him now down, and if hereafter the gods grant me to sack the city of Priam, let him come when we Achaeans are dividing the spoil, and load his ship with gold and bronze to his liking; furthermore let him take twenty Trojan women, the loveliest after Helen herself. Then, when we reach Achaean Argos, wealthiest of all lands, he shall be my son-in-law and I will show him like honor with my own dear son Orestes, who is being nurtured in all abundance. I have three daughters, Chrysothemis, Laodike, and Iphianassa, let him take the one of his choice, freely and without gifts of wooing, to the house of Peleus;
I will add such dower to boot as no man ever yet gave his daughter, and will give him seven well established cities, Kardamyle
, Enope, and Hire, where there is grass; holy Pherai
and the fertile meadows of Anthea
; Aipeia also, and the vine-clad slopes of Pedasos, all near the sea, and on the borders of sandy Pylos
. The men that dwell there are rich in cattle and sheep; they will honor him with gifts as though he were a god, and be obedient to his comfortable ordinances [themistes]. All this will I do if he will now forgo his anger. Let him then yield: it is only Hades who is utterly ruthless and unyielding - and hence he is of all gods the one most hateful to humankind. Moreover I am older and more royal than himself. Therefore, let him now obey me."
Then Nestor answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon. The gifts you offer are no small ones, let us then send chosen messengers, who may go to the tent of Achilles son of Peleus without delay. Let those go whom I shall name. Let Phoenix, dear to Zeus, lead the way; let Ajax and Odysseus follow, and let the heralds Odios and Eurybates go with them. Now bring water for our hands, and bid all keep silence while we pray to Zeus the son of Kronos, if so be that he may have mercy upon us."
Thus did he speak, and his saying pleased them well. Men-servants poured water over the hands of the guests, while pages filled the mixing-bowls with wine and water, and handed it round after giving every man his drink-offering; then, when they had made their offerings, and had drunk each as much as he was minded, the envoys set out from the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus; and Nestor, looking first to one and then to another, but most especially at Odysseus, was instant with them that they should prevail with the noble son of Peleus.