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The fight between Trojans and Achaeans was now left to rage as it would, and the tide of war surged hither and thither over the plain as they aimed their bronze-shod spears at one another between the streams of Simoeis and Xanthos.

First, Ajax son of Telamon, tower of strength to the Achaeans, broke a phalanx of the Trojans, and came to the assistance of his comrades by killing Akamas son of Eussoros, the best man among the Thracians, being both brave and of great stature. The spear struck the projecting peak of his helmet: its bronze point then went through his forehead into the brain, and darkness veiled his eyes.

Then Diomedes killed Axylos son of Teuthranos, a rich man who lived in the strong city of Arisbe, and was beloved by all men; for he had a house by the roadside, and entertained every one who passed; howbeit not one of his guests stood before him to save his life, and Diomedes killed both him and his squire [therapôn] Kalesios, who was then his charioteer - so the pair passed beneath the earth.

Euryalos killed Dresus and Opheltios, and then went in pursuit of Aesepos and Pedasos, whom the naiad nymph Abarbarea had borne to noble Bucolion. Bucolion was eldest son to Laomedon, but he was a bastard. While tending his sheep he had converse with the nymph, and she conceived twin sons; these the son of Mekisteus now slew, and he stripped the armor from their shoulders. Polypoites then killed Astyalos, Odysseus Pidytes of Perkote, and Teucer Aretaon. Ablerus fell by the spear of Nestor's son Antilokhos, and Agamemnon, king of men, killed Elatus who dwelt in Pedasos by the banks of the river Satnioeis. Leitos killed Phylakos as he was fleeing, and Eurypylos slew Melanthos. Then Menelaos of the loud war-cry took Adrastos alive, for his horses ran into a tamarisk bush, as they were flying wildly over the plain, and broke the pole from the car; they went on towards the city along with the others in full flight, but Adrastos rolled out, and fell in the dust flat on his face by the wheel of his chariot; Menelaos came up to him spear in hand, but Adrastos caught him by the knees begging for his life. "Take me alive," he cried, "son of Atreus, and you shall have a full ransom for me: my father is rich and has much treasure of gold, bronze, and wrought iron laid by in his house. From this store he will give you a large ransom should he hear of my being alive and at the ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did he plead, and Menelaos was for yielding and giving him to a squire [therapôn] to take to the ships of the Achaeans, but Agamemnon came running up to him and rebuked him. "My good Menelaos," said he, "this is no time for giving quarter. Has, then, your house fared so well at the hands of the Trojans? Let us not spare a single one of them - not even the child unborn and in its mother's womb; let not a man of them be left alive, but let all in Ilion perish, unheeded and forgotten."

Thus did he speak, and his brother was persuaded by him, for his words were just. Menelaos, therefore, thrust Adrastos from him, whereon King Agamemnon struck him in the flank, and he fell: then the son of Atreus planted his foot upon his breast to draw his spear from the body.

Meanwhile Nestor shouted to the Argives, saying, "My friends, Danaan warriors, squires [therapontes] of Ares, let no man lag that he may spoil the dead, and bring back much booty to the ships. Let us kill as many as we can; the bodies will lie upon the plain, and you can despoil them later at your leisure."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. And now the Trojans would have been routed and driven back into Ilion, had not Priam's son Helenos, wisest of augurs, said to Hektor and Aeneas, "Hektor and Aeneas, the labors of you two make you the mainstays of the Trojans and Lycians, for you are foremost at all times, alike in fight and counsel; hold your ground here, and go about among the host to rally them in front of the gates, or they will fling themselves into the arms of their wives, to the great joy of our foes. Then, when you have put heart into all our companies, we will stand firm here and fight the Danaans however hard they press us, for there is nothing else to be done. Meanwhile do you, Hektor, go to the city and tell our mother what is happening. Tell her to bid the matrons gather at the temple of Athena in the acropolis; let her then take her key and open the doors of the sacred building; there, upon the knees of Athena, let her lay the largest, fairest robe she has in her house - the one she sets most store by; let her, moreover, promise to sacrifice twelve yearling heifers that have never yet felt the goad, in the temple of the goddess, if she will take pity on the town, with the wives and little ones of the Trojans, and keep the son of Tydeus from falling on the goodly city of Ilion; for he fights with fury and fills men's souls with panic. I hold him mightiest of them all; we did not fear even their great champion Achilles, son of a goddess though he be, as we do this man: his rage is beyond all bounds, and there is none can vie with him in prowess"

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hide References (11 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (5):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 17.615
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 20.95
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 21.538
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 7.228
    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books IV-VI, 5.462
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
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