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[230] Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows spake to him Hector of the flashing helm: “Polydamas, this that thou sayest is no longer to my pleasure; yea, thou knowest how to devise better words than these. But if thou verily speakest thus in earnest, then of a surety have the gods themselves destroyed thy wits, [235] seeing thou biddest me forget the counsels of loud-thundering Zeus, that himself promised me and bowed his head thereto. But thou biddest us be obedient to birds long of wing, that I regard not, nor take thought thereof, whether they fare to the right, toward the Dawn and the sun, [240] or to the left toward the murky darkness. nay, for us, let us be obedient to the counsel of great Zeus, that is king over all mortals and immortals. One omen is best, to fight for one's country. Wherefore dost thou fear war and battle? [245] For if the rest of us be slain one and all at the ships of the Argives, yet is there no fear that thou shouldest perish,—for thy heart is—not staunch in fight nor warlike. Howbeit, if thou shalt hold aloof from battle, or shalt beguile with thy words an other, and turn him from war, [250] forthwith smitten by my spear shalt thou lose thy life.” So spake he and led the way; and they followed after with a wondrous din; and thereat Zeus, that hurleth the thunderbolt, roused from the mountains of Ida a blast of wind, that bare the dust straight against the ships and he bewildered the mind of the Achaeans, but vouchsafed glory to the Trojans and to Hector. Trusting therefore in his portents and in their might they sought to break the great wall of the Achaeans. The pinnets1 of the fortifications they dragged down and overthrew the battlements, and pried out the supporting beams that the Achaeans had set [260] first in the earth as buttresses for the wall. These they sought to drag out, and hoped to break the wall of the Achaeans. Howbeit not even now did the Danaans give ground from the path, but closed up the battlements with bull's-hides, and therefrom cast at the foemen, as they came up against the wall. [265] And the two Aiantes ranged everywhere along the walls urging men on, and arousing the might of the Achaeans. One man with gentle words, another with harsh would they chide, whomsoever they saw giving ground utterly from the fight: “Friends, whoso is pre-eminent among the Danaans, whoso holds a middle place, [270] or whoso is lesser, for in nowise are all men equal in war, now is there a work for all, and this, I ween, ye know even of yourselves. Let no man turn him back to the ships now that he has heard one that cheers him on;2 nay, press ye forward, and urge ye one the other, [275] in hope that Olympian Zeus, lord of the lightning, may grant us to thrust back the assault and drive our foes to the city.”

1 563.1

2 565.1

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 18.284
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), DIVINA´TIO
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