And Aeneas answered, "Why do you thus bid me fight the proud son of Peleus, when I am in no mind to do so? Were I to face him now, it would not be for the first time. His spear has already put me to Right from Ida, when he attacked our cattle and sacked Lyrnessos and Pedasos; Zeus indeed saved me in that he granted me strength to flee, else had the fallen by the hands of Achilles and Athena, who went before him to protect him and urged him to fall upon the Leleges and Trojans. No man may fight Achilles, for one of the gods is always with him as his guardian, and even were it not so, his weapon flies ever straight, and fails not to pierce the flesh of him who is against him; if heaven would let me fight him to the finish [telos] on even terms, he should not soon overcome me, though he boasts that he is made of bronze."
Then said King Apollo, son to Zeus, "Nay, hero, pray to the ever-living gods, for men say that you were born of Zeus' daughter Aphrodite, whereas Achilles is son to a goddess of inferior rank. Aphrodite is child to Zeus, while Thetis is but daughter to the old man of the sea. Bring, therefore, your spear to bear upon him, and let him not scare you with his taunts and menaces."
As he spoke he put courage into the heart of the shepherd of his people, and he strode in full armor among the ranks of the foremost fighters. Nor did the son of Anchises escape the notice of white-armed Hera, as he went forth into the throng to meet Achilles. She called the gods about her, and said, "Look to it, you two, Poseidon and Athena, and consider how this shall be; Phoebus Apollo has been sending Aeneas clad in full armor to fight Achilles. Shall we turn him back at once, or shall one of us stand by Achilles and endow him with strength so that his heart fail not, and he may learn that the chiefs of the immortals are on his side, while the others who have all along been defending the Trojans are but vain helpers? Let us all come down from Olympus
and join in the fight, that this day he may take no hurt at the hands of the Trojans. Hereafter let him suffer whatever fate may have spun out for him when he was begotten and his mother bore him. If Achilles be not thus assured by the voice of a god, he may come to fear presently when one of us meets him in battle, for the gods are terrible if they are seen face to face."
Poseidon lord of the earthquake answered her saying, "Hera, restrain your fury, which has made you veer in your thinking [noos]; it is not well; I am not in favor of forcing the other gods to fight us, for the advantage is too greatly on our own side; let us take our places on some hill out of the beaten track, and let mortals fight it out among themselves. If Ares or Phoebus Apollo begin fighting, or keep Achilles in check so that he cannot fight, we too, will at once raise the cry of battle, and in that case they will soon leave the field and go back vanquished to Olympus
among the other gods."
With these words the dark-haired god led the way to the high earth-barrow of Herakles, built round solid masonry, and made by the Trojans and Pallas Athena for him flee to when the sea-monster was chasing him from the shore on to the plain. Here Poseidon and those that were with him took their seats, wrapped in a thick cloud of darkness; but the other gods seated themselves on the brow of Kallikolone round you, O Phoebus, and Ares the waster of cities.
Thus did the gods sit apart and form their plans, but neither side was willing to begin battle with the other, and Zeus from his seat on high was in command over them all. Meanwhile the whole plain was alive with men and horses, and blazing with the gleam of armor. The earth rang again under the tramp of their feet as they rushed towards each other, and two champions, by far the foremost of them all, met between the hosts to fight - to wit, Aeneas son of Anchises, and noble Achilles.
Aeneas was first to stride forward in attack, his doughty helmet tossing defiance as he came on. He held his strong shield before his breast, and brandished his bronze spear. The son of Peleus from the other side sprang forth to meet him, like some fierce lion that the whole population [dêmos] has met to hunt and kill - at first he bodes no ill, but when some daring youth has struck him with a spear, he crouches openmouthed, his jaws foam, he roars with fury, he lashes his tail from side to side about his ribs and loins, and glares as he springs straight before him, to find out whether he is to slay, or be slain among the foremost of his foes - even with such fury did Achilles burn to spring upon Aeneas.
When they were now close up with one another Achilles was first to speak. "Aeneas," said he, "why do you stand thus out before the host to fight me? Is it that you hope to reign over the Trojans, partaking of the honor [timê] of Priam? Nay, though you kill me Priam will not hand his kingdom over to you. He is a man of sound judgment, and he has sons of his own. Or have the Trojans been allotting you a demesne of passing richness, fair with orchard lawns and wheat lands, if you should slay me? This you shall hardly do. I have discomfited you once already. Have you forgotten how when you were alone I chased you from your herds helter-skelter down the slopes of Ida? You did not turn round to look behind you; you took refuge in Lyrnessos, but I attacked the city, and with the help of Athena and father Zeus I sacked it and carried its women into captivity, though Zeus and the other gods rescued you. You think they will protect you now, but they will not do so; therefore I say go back into the host, and do not face me, or you will rue it. Even a fool may be wise after the event."