Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept
soundly, but Jove was wakeful, for he was thinking how to do
honour to Achilles, and destroyed much people at the ships of the Achaeans. In the end he deemed it would be best to send a lying dream to King Agamemnon; so he called one to him and said to it,
Go to the Achive fleet,
and being arriv’d in Agamemnon’s tent,
Deliver truly all this charge: command him to convent
His whole host arm’d before these towers; for now Troy’s broad-way’d town He shall take in: the heaven-hous’d gods are now indifferent grown; Juno’s request hath won them: Troy now under imminent ills
At all parts labours.
Swift as the word the vain illusion fled,
Descends, and hovers o'er Atrides' head;
Clothed in the figure of the Pylian sage,
Renown'd for wisdom, and revered for age:
Around his temples spreads his golden wing,
And thus the flattering dream deceives the king.
Sleeping, son of Atreus, tamer of horses?
You should not sleep all night, not as a captain
responsible for his men, with many duties,
a great voice in the conferences of war.
Follow me closely: I am a messenger
from Zeus, who is far away but holds you dear.
'Prepare the troops,' he said, 'to take the field
without delay: now may you take by storm
the spacious town of Troy. The Olympian gods
are of two minds no longer: Hera's pleading
swayed them all, and bitter days from Zeus
await the Trojans. Hold on to this message
against forgetfulness in tides of day
when blissful sleep is gone.
So spake the Dream, and vanishing, him left
In false hopes occupied and musings vain.
Full sure he thought, ignorant of the plan
By Jove design'd, that day the last of Troy.
Fond thought! For toils and agonies to Greeks
And Trojans both, in many a bloody field
To be endured, the Thunderer yet ordain'd.
Starting he woke, and seeming still to hear
The warning voice divine, with hasty leap
Sprang from his bed, and sat. His fleecy vest
New-woven he put on, and mantle wide;
His sandals fair to his unsullied feet
He braced, and slung his argent-studded sword.
Then, incorruptible for evermore
The sceptre of his sires he took, with which
He issued forth into the camp of Greece.
Aurora now on the Olympian heights
Proclaiming stood new day to all in heaven,
When he his clear-voiced heralds bade convene
The Greeks in council. Went the summons forth
Into all quarters, and the throng began.
First, at the ship of Nestor, Pylian King,
The senior Chiefs for high exploits renown'd
He gather'd, whom he prudent thus address'd.
Hear me, friends –
a dream sent by the gods has come to me in sleep.
Down through the bracing godsent night it came
like good Nestor in features, height and build,
the old king himself, and hovering at my head
the dream called me on: 'Still asleep, Agamemnon?
The son of Atreus, that skilled breaker of horses?
How can you sleep all night, a man weighed down with duties?
Your armies turning over their lives to your command
responsibilities so heavy. Listen to me, quickly!
I bring you a message sent by Zeus, a world away
but he has you in his heart, he pities you now ...
Zeus commands you to arm your long-haired Achaeans,
to attack at once, full force now
you can take the broad streets of Troy!
The immortal gods who hold Olympus clash no more,
Hera's appeals have brought them round and all agree:
griefs from Zeus are about to crush the men of Troy!
But keep this message firmly in your mind.’
With that the dream went winging off and soothing sleep released me.
Come – see if we can arm the Achaeans for assault.
But first, according to time-honored custom,
I will test the men with a challenge, tell them all
to crowd the oarlocks, cut and run in their ships.
But you take up your battle-stations at every point.
command them, hold them back.
He indeed having thus spoken, sat down; but Nestor, who was king of sandy Pylus, rose up, who, wisely counseling, harangued them, and said:
My friends, said he, princes and councilors of the Argives, if any other man of the Achaeans had told us of this dream we should have declared it false, and would have had nothing to do with it. But he who has seen it is the foremost man among us; we must therefore set about getting the people under arms.
On this he turned and led the way from council,
and all the rest, staff-bearing counselors,
rose and obeyed their marshal. From the camp
the troops were turning out now, thick as bees
They swarmed like bees that sally from some hollow cave and flit in countless throng
and fly in troops over the vernal flowers,
Clustering in heaps on heaps the driving bees
Rolling and blackening, swarms succeeding swarms,
with deeper murmurs and more hoarse alarms,
from ships and huts
down the deep foreshore streamed those regiments
toward the assembly ground – and Rumor blazed
among them like a crier sent from Zeus.
Turmoil grew in the great field as they entered
and sat down, dangerous companies, the ground
under them groaning, hubbub everywhere.
Now nine men, criers, shouted to compose them:
Will ye restrain
Your clamors, that your heaven-taught Kings may speak?
Then stood divine Atrides up, and in his hand compress’d
His scepter, th’ elaborate work of fiery Mulciber:
Who gave it to Saturnian Jove; Jove to his messenger;
His Messenger, Argicides, to Pelops, skill’d in horse;
Pelops to Atreus, chief of men; he dying, gave it course
To Prince Thyestes, rich in herds; Thyestes to the hand
Of Agamemnon render’d it, and with it the command
Of many isles, and Argos all. On this he leaning said
Friends – fighting Danaans, aides-in-arms of Ares!
Cronus' son has trapped me in madness, blinding ruin –
Zeus is a harsh, cruel god. He vowed to me long ago,
he bowed his head that I should never embark for home
till I had brought the walls of Ilium crashing down.
But now, I see, he only plotted brutal treachery:
now he commands me back to Argos in disgrace,
whole regiments of my men destroyed in battle.
So it must please his overweening heart, who knows?
Father Zeus has lopped the crowns of a thousand cities,
true, and Zeus will lop still more – his power is too great.
What humiliation! Even for generations still to come,
to learn that Achaean armies so strong, so vast,
fought a futile war ... We are still fighting it,
no end in sight, and battling forces we outnumber –
by far. Say that Trojans and Argives both agreed
to swear a truce, to seal their oaths in blood,
and opposing sides were tallied out in full:
count one by one the Trojans who live in Troy
but count our Achaeans out by ten-man squads
and each squad pick a Trojan to pour its wine –
many Achaean tens would lack their steward then!
That's how far we outnumber them, I'd say – Achaeans
to Trojans – the men who hail from Troy at least.
But they have allies called from countless cities,
fighters brandishing spears who block my way,
who throw me far off course,
thwarting my will to plunder Ilium's rugged walls.
And now nine years of almighty Zeus have marched by,
our ship timbers rot and the cables snap and fray
and across the sea our wives and helpless children
wait in the halls, wait for our return ... And we?
Our work drags on, unfinished as always, hopeless –
the labor of war that brought us here to Troy.
So come, follow my orders. All obey me now.
Cut and run! Sail home to the fatherland we love!
We'll never take the broad streets of Troy.
His deep design unknown, the hosts approve
Atrides' speech. The mighty numbers move.
So roll the billows to the Icarian shore,
In sway, like rude and raging waves rous’d with the fervent blore
Of th’ east and south winds, when they break –
rushing from the clouds of father Jove.
And as on corn when western gusts descend,
or when the West Wind shakes the deep standing grain
with hurricane gusts that flatten down the stalks –
Thus o'er the field the moving host appears,
With nodding plumes and groves of waving spears.
The gathering murmur spreads, their trampling feet
Beat the loose sands, and thicken to the fleet;
With long-resounding cries they urge the train
To fit the ships, and launch into the main.
They toil, they sweat, thick clouds of dust arise,
The doubling clamours echo to the skies.
E'en then the Greeks had left the hostile plain,
And fate decreed the fall of Troy in vain;
But Jove's imperial queen their flight survey'd,
And sighing thus bespoke the blue-eyed maid:
Unconquer'd daughter of Jove AEgis-arm'd!
Ah foul dishonor! Is it thus at last
That the Achaians on the billows borne,
Shall seek again their country, leaving here,
To be the vaunt of Ilium and her King,
Helen of Argos, in whose cause the Greeks
Have numerous perish'd from their home remote?
Haste! Seek the mail-arm'd multitude, by force
Detain them of thy soothing speech, ere yet
All launch their oary barks into the flood.
Thus she spoke, nor did the azure-eyed goddess Minerva refuse compliance. But she, hastening, descended down from the summits of Olympus, and quickly reached the swift ships of the Achaeans. Then she found Ulysses, of equal weight with Jove in counsel, standing still; nor was he touching his well-benched, sable bark, since regret affected him in heart and mind. But standing near him, azure-eyed Minerva said:
Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, are you going to fling
yourselves into your ships and be off home to your own land in
this way? Will you leave Priam and the Trojans the glory of still
keeping Helen, for whose sake so many of the Achaeans have died
at Troy, far from their homes? Go about at once among the host, and
speak fairly to them, man by man, that they draw not their ships into the sea.
Thus spake she, and Ulysses knew ‘twas Pallas by her voice:
Ran to the runners; cast from him his mantle, which his man
And herald, grave Eurybates, the Ithacensian
That follow’d him, took up. Himself to Agamemnon went,
His incorrupted sceptre took, his sceptre of descent,
And with it went about the fleet. What prince or man of name,
he found flight-given, he would restrain with words of gentlest blame:
Don't be a fool!
It isn't like you to desert the field
the way some coward would! Come, halt, command
the troops back to their seats. You don't yet know
what Agamemnon means.
He means to test us,
and something punitive comes next. Not everyone
could hear what he proposed just now in council.
Heaven forbid he cripple, in his rage,
the army he commands. There's passion in kings;
they hold power from Zeus, they are dear to Zeus!
When he caught some common soldier shouting out,
he'd beat him with the scepter, dress him down:
Be still, thou slave,
and to thy betters yield;
Unknown alike in council and in field!
Ye gods, what dastards would our host command!
Swept to the war, the lumber of a land.
Be silent, wretch, and think not here allow'd
That worst of tyrants, an usurping crowd.
To one sole monarch Jove commits the sway;
His are the laws, and him let all obey.
Thus he, acting as chief, was arranging the army. But they again rushed with tumult from the ships and tents to an assembly, as when the waves of the much-resounding sea
as when a billow of the boisterous deep
as when a comber from the windy sea
roar against the lofty beach, and the deep resounds.
The others indeed sat down, and were kept to their respective seats.
But Thersites alone, immediate in words, was wrangling; who to wit, knew in his mind expressions both unseemly and numerous, so as idly, and not according to discipline, to wrangle with the princes, but [to blurt out] whatever seemed to him to be matter of laughter to the Greeks. And he was the ugliest man who came to Ilium. He was bandy-legged, and lame of one foot; his shoulders were crooked, and contracted toward his breast; and his head was peaked toward
the top, and thin woolly hair was scattered over it. To Achilles and Ulysses he was particularly hostile, for these two he used to revile. But on this occasion, shouting out shrilly, he uttered bitter taunts against noble Agamemnon; but the Greeks were greatly irritated against him, and were indignant in their minds. But vociferating aloud, he reviled Agamemnon with words:
What wouldst thou now? Whereof is thy complaint
Now, Agamemnon? Thou hast fill'd thy tents
With treasure, and the Grecians, when they take
A city, choose the loveliest girls for thee.
Is gold thy wish? More gold? A ransom brought
By some chief Trojan for his son's release
Whom I, or other valiant Greek may bind?
Or wouldst thou yet a virgin, one, by right
Another's claim, but made by force thine own?
It was not well, great Sir, that thou shouldst bring
A plague on the Achaians, as of late.
But come, my Grecian sisters, soldiers named
Unfitly, of a sex too soft for war,
Come, let us homeward: let him here digest
What he shall gorge, alone; that he may learn
If our assistance profit him or not.
For when he shamed Achilles, he disgraced
A Chief far worthier than himself, whose prize
He now withholds. But tush, – Achilles lacks
Himself the spirit of a man; no gall
Hath he within him,
he’s soft, he’s too remiss
no bile, no bad blood
or his hand long since
Had stopp'd that mouth, that it should scoff no more.
So Thersites taunted the famous field marshal.
But Odysseus stepped in quickly, faced him down
with a dark glance and threats to break his nerve:
Check your glib tongue, Thersites, said he, and babble not a word further. Chide not with princes when you have none to back you. There is no viler creature come before Troy with the sons of Atreus. Drop this chatter about kings, and neither revile them nor keep harping about going home. We do not yet know how things are going to be, nor whether the Achaeans are to return with good success or evil. How dare you gibe at Agamemnon because the Danaans have awarded him so many prizes? I tell you, therefore – and it shall surely be – that if I again catch you talking such nonsense, I will either forfeit my own head
and be no more called father of Telemachus, or I will take you,
strip you stark naked, and whip you out of the assembly till you
go blubbering back to the ships.
He ceased, and with his sceptre on the back
And shoulders smote him. Writhing to and fro,
He wept profuse, while many a bloody whelk
Protuberant beneath the sceptre sprang.
Awe-quell'd he sat, and from his visage mean,
Deep-sighing, wiped the rheums. It was no time
For mirth, yet mirth illumined every face,
And laughing, thus they spake.
Ye gods! what wonders has Ulysses wrought!
What fruits his conduct and his courage yield!
Great in the council, glorious in the field.
Generous he rises in the crown's defense,
To curb the factious tongue of insolence,
Such just examples on offenders shown,
Sedition silence, and assert the throne.
took it in this way. But the raider of cities,
Odysseus, with his staff, stood upright there,
and at his side grey-eyed Athena stood
in aspect like a crier, calling: "Silence!"
that every man, front rank and rear alike,
might hear his words and weigh what he proposed.
Now for their sake he spoke:
O son of Atreus, the Greeks wish to render thee now, O king, the meanest among articulately-speaking men; nor perform their promise to thee, which they held forth, coming hither from steed-nourishing Argos, that thou shouldst return home, having destroyed well-fortified Ilium. For, like tender boys, or widowed women, they bewail unto one another to return home. And truly it is a hardship to return [so], having been grieved. For he is impatient who is absent even for a single month from his wife, remaining with his many-benched ships, though wintery storms and the boisterous sea may be hemming in; but to us it is [now] the ninth revolving year since we have been lingering here. Wherefore I am not indignant that the Greeks are growing impatient by their curved ships; but still it would be disgraceful both to remain here so long, and to return ineffectually. Endure, my friends, and remain yet awhile, that we may know whether Calchas prophecies truly or not. For this we well know, and ye are all witnesses, whom the Fates of death carried not off yesterday and the day before, when the ships of the Greeks were collected at Aulis, bearing evils to Priam and the Trojans, and we round about the fountain, at the sacred altars, offered perfect hecatombs to
the immortals, beneath a beauteous plane-tree, whence flowed limpid water. There a great prodigy appeared; a serpent, spotted on the back, horrible, which the Olympian himself had sent forth into the light, having glided out from beneath the altar, proceeded forthwith to the plane-tree. And there were the young of a sparrow, an infant offspring, on a topmost branch, cowering among the foliage, eight in number; but the mother, which had brought forth the young ones, was the ninth. Thereupon he devoured them, twittering piteously, while the mother kept fluttering about, lamenting her dear young; but then, having turned himself about, he seized her by the wing, screaming around. But after he had devoured the young of the sparrow, and herself, the god who had displayed him rendered him very portentous, for the son of wily Saturn changed him into a stone; but we, standing by, were astonished at what happened. Thus, therefore, the dreadful portents of the gods approached the hecatombs. Calchas, then, immediately addressed us, revealing from the gods:
Why stand ye, Greeks, Astonished? Ye behold
A prodigy by Jove himself produced,
An omen, whose accomplishments indeed
Is distant, but whose fame shall never die.
E’en as this serpent in your sight devour’d
Eight youngling sparrows, with their dam, the ninth,
So we nine years must war on yonder plain,
And ‘n the tenth, wide-bulwark’d Troy is ours.
He indeed thus harangued: and all these things are now in course of accomplishment. But come, ye well-greaved Greeks, remain all here, until we shall take the great city of Priam.
He fired them so
the armies roared and the ships resounded round them,
shattering echoes ringing from their shouts
as Argives cried assent to King Odysseus' words.
And Nestor the noble horseman spurred them more:
Shame on you, he cried, to stay talking here like children, when you should fight like men. Where are our covenants now, and where the oaths that we have taken? Shall our counsels be flung into the fire, with our drink-offerings and the right hands of fellowship wherein we have put our trust? We waste our time in words, and for all our talking here shall be no further forward. Stand, therefore, son of Atreus, by your own steadfast purpose; lead the Argives on to battle, and leave this handful of men to rot, who scheme, and scheme in vain, to get back to Argos ere they have learned whether Jove be true or a liar. For the mighty son of Saturn surely promised that we should succeed, when we Argives set sail to bring death
and destruction upon the Trojans. He showed us favourable signs by flashing his lightning on our right hands; therefore let none make haste to go till he has first lain with the wife of some Trojan, and avenged the toil and sorrow that he has suffered for the sake of Helen. Nevertheless, if any man is in such haste to be at home again, let him lay his hand to his ship that he may meet his doom in the sight of all. But, O king, consider and give ear to my counsel, for the word that I say may not be neglected lightly. Divide your men, Agamemnon, into their several tribes and clans, that clans and tribes may stand by and help one another. If you do this, and if the
Achaeans obey you, you will find out who, both chiefs and
peoples, are brave, and who are cowards; for they will vie again the other. Thus you shall also learn whether it is through the counsel of heaven or the cowardice of man that you shall fail to take the town.
To this the king of men replied:
How much thy years excel
In arts of counsel, and in speaking well!
O would the gods, in love to Greece, decree
But ten such sages as they grant in thee;
Such wisdom soon should Priam's force destroy,
And soon should fall the haughty towers of Troy!
But Jove forbids, who plunges those he hates
In fierce contention and in vain debates:
Now great Achilles from our aid withdraws,
By me provoked; a captive maid the cause:
If e'er as friends we join, the Trojan wall
Must shake, and heavy will the vengeance fall!
But now, ye warriors, take a short repast;
And, well refresh'd, to bloody conflict haste.
His sharpen'd spear let every Grecian wield,
And every Grecian fix his brazen shield,
Let all excite the fiery steeds of war,
And all for combat fit the rattling car.
This day, this dreadful day, let each contend;
No rest, no respite, till the shades descend;
Till darkness, or till death, shall cover all:
Let the war bleed, and let the mighty fall;
Till bathed in sweat be every manly breast,
With the huge shield each brawny arm depress'd,
Each aching nerve refuse the lance to throw,
And each spent courser at the chariot blow.
Who dares, inglorious, in his ships to stay,
Who dares to tremble on this signal day;
That wretch, too mean to fall by martial power,
The birds shall mangle, and the dogs devour.
He spake; whom all applauded with a shout
a sea roused by the south wind
crashing against a cliff when the South wind whips it,
bearing down, some craggy headland
dashing against it and buffeting it without ceasing, as the storms from every quarter drive them
forth they rush'd, among the ships
All scatter'd; smoke from every tent arose,
The host their food preparing; next, his God
Each man invoked (of the Immortals him
Whom he preferr'd) with sacrifice and prayer
For safe escape from danger and from death.
But Agamemnon to Saturnian Jove
Omnipotent, an ox of the fifth year
Full-flesh'd devoted, and the Princes call'd
Noblest of all the Grecians to his feast.
First, Nestor with Idomeneus the King,
Then either Ajax, and the son he call'd
Of Tydeus, with Ulysses sixth and last,
Jove's peer in wisdom. Menelaus went,
Heroic Chief! unbidden, for he knew
His brother's mind with weight of care oppress'd.
The ox encircling, and their hands with meal
Of consecration fill'd, the assembly stood
When Agamemnon thus his prayer preferred.
O Jove, most glorious, most great dark-cloud-collector, dwelling in the air, may not the sun set, nor darkness come on, before I have laid prostrate Priam's hall, blazing, and consumed its gates with the hostile fire; and cut away Hector's coat of mail around his breast,
split asunder with the brass; and around him may many comrades, prone in the dust, seize the earth with their teeth.
Thus he prayed, but the son of Saturn would not fulfil his prayer. He accepted the sacrifice, yet none the less increased their toil continually. When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley-meal upon the victim, they drew back its head, killed it, and then flayed it. They cut out the thigh-bones, wrapped them round in two layers of fat, and set pieces of raw meat on the top of them. These they burned upon the split logs of firewood, but they spitted the inward meats, and held them in the flames to cook. When the thigh-bones were burned, and they had tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put the pieces upon spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew them off; then, when they had finished their work and the feast was ready, they ate it, and every man had his full share, so that all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, Nestor, knight of Gerene, began to speak.
Excellency. Lord Marshal Agamemnon,
we shall do well to tarry here no longer,
we officers, in our circle. Let us not
postpone the work heaven put into our hands.
Let criers among the Akhaian men-at-arms
muster our troops along the ships. Ourselves,
we'll pass together down the Akhaian lines
to rouse their appetite for war.
He spake, nor Agamemnon not complied.
At once he bade his clear-voiced heralds call
The Greeks to battle. They the summons loud
Gave forth, and at the sound the people throng'd.
Then Agamemnon and the Kings of Greece
Dispatchful drew them into order just,
With whom Minerva azure-eyed advanced,
The inestimable AEgis on her arm,
Immortal, unobnoxious to decay
A hundred braids, close twisted, all of gold,
Each valued at a hundred beeves, around
Dependent fringed it. She from side to side
Her eyes cerulean rolled, infusing thirst
Of battle endless into every breast.
War won them now, war sweeter now to each
Than gales to waft them over ocean home.
some great forest fire is raging upon a mountain
as a fire upon a huge wood
The fires expanding, as the winds arise,
Shoot their long beams, and kindle half the skies:
So from the polish’d arms, and brazen shields,
A gleamy splendor flash’d along the fields.
They were like great flocks of geese, or cranes, or swans on the plain about the waters of Cayster,
Like as the numerous nations of winged fowl, of geese, or cranes, or long-necked swans, on the Asian mead,
Lithe-neck’d, long hovering o’er Cayster’s banks
proud of their pinions fly,
And in their falls lay out such throats, that with their spiritful cry
The meadow shrieks again: so here, these many nation’d men
Flow’d over the Scamandrian field, from tents and ships: the din Was dreadful, that the feet of men and horse beat out of earth. And in the flourishing mead they stood, thick as the odorous birth. Of flow’rs or leaves bred in the spring
as countless as the leaves and blades of spring.
or thick as insects play
The wandering nation of a summer’s day
as the swarms of flies seething over the shepherd’s stalls
in the first spring days when the buckets flood with milk –
so the Grecians swarm’d
an unsumm’d multitude o’er all the plain,
Bright arm’d high crested, and athirst for war.
so did the generals here and there marshal them to go to battle; and among them commander Agamemnon, resembling, as to his eyes and head, the thunder-delighting Jove
as to his middle, Mars
and as to his breast, Neptune
and as a great bull in his majesty
towers supreme amid a grazing herd,
so on that day Zeus made the son of Atreus.
Sing to me now, you Muses who hold the halls of Olympus!
You are goddesses, you are everywhere, you know all things –
all we hear is the distant ring of glory, we know nothing –
who were the captains of Achaea? Who were the kings?
The mass of troops I could never tally, never name,
not even if I had ten tongues and ten mouths,
a tireless voice and the heart inside me bronze,
never unless you Muses of Olympus, daughters of Zeus
whose shield is rolling thunder, sing, sing in memory
all who gathered under Troy.
The princes then, and navy that did bring
Those so inenarrable troops; and all their soils, I sing.
Peneleus and Leitus, all that Boeotia bred,
Arcesilaus, Clonius and Prothoaenor led –
Th’ inhabitants of Hyria, and stony Aulida,
Schaene, Schole, the hilly Eteon, and holy Thespia;
Of Graea, and great Micalesse, that did remain
In Erith, and in Eleon; in Hylen, Peteona,
In fair Ocalea, and the town well-builded Medeona;
Capas, Eutresis, Thisbe that for pigeons doth surpass;
Of Coroneia, Haliart, that hath such store of grass;
All those that in Platea dwelt, that Glissa did possess;
And Hypothebs, whose well-built walls are rare and fellowless,
In rich Onchestus’ famous wood to watery Neptune vow’d;
And Arne, where the vine-trees are, with vigorous bunches bow’d; With them that dwelt in Mydea, and Nissa most divine;
All those whom utmost Anthedon did wealthily confine.
From all these coasts in general full fifty sail were sent,
And six score strong Boeotian youths in every burthen went.
But those who in Aspledon dwelt, and Mynian Orchomen,
God Mar’s sons did lead (Ascalaphus and Iahman),
Who in Azidon Actor’s house did of Astioche come;
The bashful maid, as she went up into the higher room,
The war-god secretly compress’d: in safe conduct of these,
Did thirty hollow-bottom’d barks divide the wavy seas.
Brave Schedius and Epistrophus the Phocian captains were,
Naubolida, Iphitus’ sons, all proof ‘gainst any fear;
With them the Cyparisians went, and bold Pythinians,
Men of religious Chrysa’s soil, and fat Daulidians,
Panopaeans, Anemores, and fierce Hyampolists;
And those that dwell where Cephisus casts up his silken mists;
The men that fair Lylea held near the Cephisian spring:
All which did forty sable barks to that designment bring.
About th’ entoil’d Phocensian fleet had these their sail assign’d,And near to the sinister wing the arm’d Boeotians shin’d. Ajax the less, Oileus’ son, the Locrians led to war,
Not like to Ajax Telemon, but lesser man by far:
Little he was and ever wore a breastplate made of lin;
But for the manage of his lance he general praise did win.
The Dwellers of Caliarus, of Bessa, Opoen,
The youths Cynus, Scaphis, and Aufias, lovely men;
Of Tarpis, and of Thronius, near flood Boagrius’ fall:
Twice twenty martial barks of these, less Ajax sail’d withal.
Euboea next her martial sons prepares,
And sends the brave Abantes to the wars:
Breathing revenge, in arms they take their way
From Chalcis' walls, and strong Eretria;
The Isteian fields for generous vines renown'd,
The fair Caristos, and the Styrian ground;
Where Dios from her towers o'erlooks the plain,
And high Cerinthus views the neighbouring main.
Down their broad shoulders falls a length of hair;
Their hands dismiss not the long lance in air;
But with protended spears in fighting fields
Pierce the tough corslets and the brazen shields.
Twice twenty ships transport the warlike bands,
Which bold Elphenor, fierce in arms, commands.
Full fifty more from Athens stem the main,
Led by Menestheus through the liquid plain.
(Athens the fair, where great Erectheus sway'd,
That owed his nurture to the blue-eyed maid,
But from the teeming furrow took his birth,
The mighty offspring of the foodful earth.
Him Pallas placed amidst her wealthy fane,
Adored with sacrifice and oxen slain;
Where, as the years revolve, her altars blaze,
And all the tribes resound the goddess' praise.)
No chief like thee, Menestheus! Greece could yield,
To marshal armies in the dusty field,
The extended wings of battle to display,
Or close the embodied host in firm array.
Nestor alone, improved by length of days,
For martial conduct bore an equal praise.
With these appear the Salaminian bands,
Whom the gigantic Telamon commands;
In twelve black ships to Troy they steer their course,
And with the great Athenians join their force.
Next move to war the generous Argive train,
From high Troezene, and Maseta's plain,
And fair Ægina circled by the main:
Whom strong Tyrinthe's lofty walls surround,
And Epidaure with viny harvests crown'd:
And where fair Asinen and Hermoin show
Their cliffs above, and ample bay below.
These by the brave Euryalus were led,
Great Sthenelus, and greater Diomed;
But chief Tydides bore the sovereign sway:
In fourscore barks they plough the watery way.
Those who held the strong city of Mycenae, rich Corinth and
Cleonae; Orneae, Araethyrea, and Licyon, where Adrastus reigned of old; Hyperesia, high Gonoessa, and Pellene; Aegium and all the coast-land round about Helice; these sent a hundred ships under the command of King Agamemnon, son of Atreus. His force was far both finest and most numerous, and in their midst was the king himself, all glorious in his armour of gleaming bronze – foremost among the heroes, for he was the greatest king, and had most men under him.
And those that dwelt in Lacedaemon, lying low among the hills, Pharis, Sparta, with Messe the haunt of doves; Bryseae, Augeae, Amyclae, and Helos upon the sea; Laas, moreover, and Oetylus; these were led by Menelaus of the loud battle-cry, brother to Agamemnon, and of them there were sixty ships, drawn up apart from the others. Among them went Menelaus himself, strong in zeal, urging his men to fight; for he longed to avenge the toil and sorrow that he had suffered for the sake of Helen. The men of Pylos and Arene, and Thryum where is the ford of the river Alpheus; strong Aipy, Cyparisseis, and Amphigenea; Pteleum, Helos, and Dorium, where the Muses met Thamyris, and stilled his minstrelsy for ever. He was returning from Oechalia, where Eurytus lived and reigned, and boasted that he would surpass even the Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Jove, if they should sing against him; whereon they were angry, and maimed him. They robbed him of his divine power of song, and thenceforth he could strike the lyre no more. These were commanded by Nestor, knight of Gerene, and with him there came ninety ships. And those that held Arcadia, under the high mountain of Cyllene,
near the tomb of Aepytus, where the people fight hand to hand; the men of Pheneus also, and Orchomenus rich in flocks; of Rhipae, Stratie, and bleak Enispe; of Tegea and fair Mantinea; of Stymphelus and Parrhasia; of these King Agapenor son of Ancaeus was commander, and they had sixty ships. Many Arcadians, good soldiers, came in each one of them, but Agamemnon found them the ships in which to cross the sea, for they were not a people that occupied their business upon the waters.
The dwellers in Buprasium, on the shores
Of pleasant Elis, and in all the land
Myrsinus and the Hyrminian plain between,
The rock Olenian, and the Alysian fount;
These all obey'd four Chiefs, and galleys ten
Each Chief commanded, with Epeans filled.
Amphimachus and Thalpius govern'd these,
This, son of Cteatus, the other, sprung
From Eurytus, and both of Actor's house.
Diores, son of Amarynceus, those
Led on, and, for his godlike form renown'd,
Polyxenus was Chieftain o'er the rest,
Son of Agasthenes, Augeias' son.
Dulichium, and her sister sacred isles
The Echinades, whose opposite aspect
Looks toward Elis o'er the curling waves,
Sent forth their powers with Meges at their head,
Brave son of Phyleus, warrior dear to Jove.
Phyleus in wrath, his father's house renounced,
And to Dulichium wandering, there abode.
Twice twenty ships had follow'd Meges forth.
Ulysses led the Cephallenians bold.
From Ithaca, and from the lofty woods
Of Neritus they came, and from the rocks
Of rude AEgilipa. Crocylia these,
And these Zacynthus own'd; nor yet a few
From Samos, from Epirus join'd their aid,
And from the opposite Ionian shore.
Them, wise as Jove himself, Ulysses led
In twelve fair ships, with crimson prows adorn'd.
From forty ships, Thoas, Andraemon's son,
Had landed his AEtolians; for extinct
Was Meleager, and extinct the house
Of Oeneus all, nor Oeneus self survived;
To Thoas therefore had AEtolia fallen;
Him Olenos, Pylene, Chalcis served,
With Pleuro, and the rock-bound Calydon.
Idomeneus, spear-practised warrior, led
The numerous Cretans. In twice forty ships
He brought his powers to Troy. The warlike bands
Of Cnossus, of Gortyna wall'd around,
Of Lyctus, of Lycastus chalky-white,
Of Phaestus, of Miletus, with the youth
Of Rhytius him obey'd; nor these were all,
But others from her hundred cities Crete
Sent forth, all whom Idomeneus the brave
Commanded, with Meriones in arms
Dread as the God of battles blood-imbrued.
But Tlepolemus, the brave and great descendant of Hercules, led from Rhodes nine ships of the haughty Rhodians, those who inhabited Rhodes, arranged in three bands, Lindus, and Ialyssus, and white Camirus. These spear-famed Tlepolemus led, he whom Astyochea brought forth to the might of Hercules, whom [Astyochea] he [Hercules] carried out of Ephyre, from the river Selleis, after having laid waste many cities of nobly-descended youths. Now Tlepolemus, after he had been trained up in the well-built palaces, straightway slew the beloved uncle of his father, Licymnius, now grown old, a branch of Mars; and instantly he built a fleet; and having collected many troops, he departed, flying over the ocean; for him the sons and grandsons of the might of Hercules had threatened. And he indeed came wandering to Rhodes, suffering woes. And they, divided into three parts, dwelt in tribes, and were beloved of Jove, who rules over gods and men: and on them the son of Saturn poured down immense wealth. Nireus moreover led three equal ships from Syme, Nireus son of Aglaea, and king Charopus, Nireus, the fairest of men that came to Ilium, of all the other Greeks, next to the unblemished son of Peleus. But he was feeble, and few troops followed him.
But those who possessed Nisyrus, and Crapathus, and Casus,
and Cos, the city of Eurypylus, and the Calydnae isles, Phidippus and Antiphus, both sons of the Thessalian king, the son of Hercules, commanded. Thirty hollow ships of these went in order. But now, [O muse, recount] those, as many as inhabited Pelasgian Argos, both those who dwelt in Alos and Alope, and Trechin, and those who possessed Phthia, and Hellas famous for fair dames. But they are called Myrmidons, and Hellenes, and Achaeans: of fifty ships of these was Achilles chief. But they remembered not dire-sounding war, for there was no one who might lead them to their ranks. For swift-footed Achilles lay at the ships, enraged on account of the fair-haired maid Briseis, whom he carried away from Lyrnessus, after having suffered many labors, and having laid waste Lyrnessus and the walls of Thebes; and he killed Mynetes and spear-killed Epistrophus, sons of king Evenus, the son of Selepius. On her account he lay grieving, but speedily was he about to be roused.
Next were the men of Phylake, and those
who held Pyrasos, garden of Demeter,
Iton, maternal town of grazing flocks,
Antron beside the water, and the beds
of meadow grass at Pteleos: all these
were under Protesilaos' command
when that intrepid fighter lived –
but black earth held him under now, and grieving
at Phylake with lacerated cheeks
his bride was left, his house unfinished there.
Plunging ahead from his long ship to be
first man ashore at Troy of all Akhaians,
he had been brought down by a Dardan spear.
By no means were his troops without a leader,
though sorely missing him: they had Podarkes,
another soldier son of Iphiklos
Phylakides, master of many flocks-
Podarkes, Protesllaos' blood brother,
a younger man, less noble. But the troops
were not at all in want of a commander,
though in their hearts they missed the braver one.
Forty black ships had sailed along with him.
Next were the soldiers who had lived at Pherai
by the great lake: at Glaphyrai and Boibe,
and in the well-kept city, Iaolkos.
Of their eleven ships Admetos' son
Eumelos had command – the child conceived
under Admeros by that splendid queen,
Alkesris, Pelias' most beautiful daughter.
Next, those of Methone and Thaumakie,
of rugged Olizon and Meliboia.
These in their seven ships had been commanded
at first by Philoktetes, the great archer.
Fifty oarsmen in every ship, they came
as expert archers to the Trojan war.
But he, their captain, lay on Lemnos isle
in anguish, where the Akhaians had marooned him,
bearing the black wound of a deadly snake.
He languished there, but soon, beside the ships,
the Argives would remember and call him back.
Meanwhile his men were not without a leader
though missing Philoktetes: Medon led them,
Oileus' bastard son, conceived
by the Rhene under Oileus, raider of cities.
Next were the men of Trike and Ithome,
that rocky-terraced town, and Oikhalia,
the city of Eurytos: over these
two sons of old Asklepios held command –
both skilled in healing: Podaleirios
and Makhaon. Thirty decked ships were theirs.
Next were the soldiers from Ormenios
and from the river source at Hypereia;
those of Asterion and those below
TItanos' high snow-whitened peaks. Eurypalos,
Euaimon's shining son, led all of these,
with forty black ships under his command .
And the men who settled Argissa and Gyrtone,
Orthe, Elone, the gleaming citadel Oloosson:
Polypoetes braced for battle led them on,
the son of Pirithous, son of deathless Zeus.
Famous Hippodamia bore the warrior to Pirithous
that day he wreaked revenge on the shaggy Centaurs,
routed them out of Pelion, drove them to the Aethices.
Polypoetes was not alone, Leonteus shared the helm,
companion of Ares, Caeneus' grandson, proud Coronus' son.
And in his command sailed forty long black ships.
And Guneus out of Cyphus led on two and twenty ships
and in his platoons came Enienes and battle-tried Peraebians
who pitched homes in the teeth of Dodona's bitter winters,
who held the tilled acres along the lovely Titaressus
that runs her pure crystal currents into Peneus –
never mixed with Peneus' eddies glistening silt
but gliding over the surface smooth as olive oil,
branching, breaking away from the river Styx,
the dark and terrible oath-stream of the gods.
And Prothous son of Tenthredon led the Magnesians,
men who lived around the Peneus, up along Mount Pelion
sloped in wind-whipped leaves. Racing Prothous led them on
and in his command sailed forty long black ships.
These, these were the captains of Achaea and the kings.
Now tell me, Muse, who were the bravest of them all,
of the men and chariot-teams that came with Atreus' sons?
The best by far of the teams were Eumelus' mares
and Pheres' grandson drove them – swift as birds,
matched in age and their glossy coats and matched
to a builder's level flat across their backs.
Phoebus Apollo lord of the silver bow
had bred them both in Perea, a brace of mares
that raced the War-god's panic through the lines.
But best by far of the men was Telamonian Ajax
while Achilles raged apart. The famed Achilles
towered over them all, he and the battle-team
that bore the peerless son of Peleus into war.
But off in his beaked seagoing ships he lay,
raging away at Atrides Agamemnon, king of armies,
while his men sported along the surf, marking time,
hurling the discus, throwing spears and testing bows.
And the horses, each beside its chariot, champing clover
and parsley from the marshes, waited, pawing idly.
Their masters' chariots stood under blankets now,
stored away in the tents while the rank and file,
yearning for their leader, the great man of war,
drifting here and there throughout the encampment,
hung back from the fighting.
But on the armies came
as if the whole earth were devoured by wildfire, yes,
and the ground thundered under them, deep as it does
for Zeus who loves the lightning, Zeus in all his rage
when he lashes the ground around Typhoeus in Arima,
there where they say the monster makes his bed of pain so
the earth thundered under their feet, armies trampling,
sweeping through the plain at blazing speed.
And now Iris, fleet as the wind, was sent by Jove to tell the bad
news among the Trojans. They were gathered in assembly, old and young, at Priam's gates, and Iris came close up to Priam, speaking with the voice of Priam's son Polites, who, being fleet of foot, was stationed as watchman for the Trojans on the tomb of old Aesyetes, to look out for any sally of the Achaeans. In his likeness Iris spoke, saying,
O Priam, thou art always pleas’d with indiscreet advice,
And fram’st thy life to times of peace, when such a war doth rise As threats inevitable spoil; I never did behold
Such and so mighty troops of men, who trample on the mould
In number like Autumns’ leaves, or like marine sand,
All ready round about the walls to use a ruining hand.
Hector, I therefore charge thee most, this charge to undertake:
A multitude remain in Troy will fight for Priam’s sake,
Of other lands and languages; let every leader then
Bring forth well arm’d into the field his several bands of men.
She ceased; her Hector heard intelligent,
And quick dissolved the council. All took arms,
Wide flew the gates; forth rushed the multitude,
Now there is a certain lofty mound before the city, far in the plain, that may be run round, which men indeed call Batiea, but the immortals, the tomb of nimbly-springing Myrinna. There the Trojans and their allies then marshaled separately.
First, tall Hector with helmet flashing led the Trojans –
Priam's son and in his command by far the greatest, bravest army, divisions harnessed in armor, veterans bristling spears.
And the noble son of Anchises led the Dardanians –
Aeneas whom the radiant Aphrodite bore Anchises
down the folds of Ida, a goddess bedded with a man.
Not Aeneas alone but flanked by Anterior's two sons,
Acamas and Archelochus, trained for every foray.
And men who lived in Zelea under the foot of Ida,
a wealthy clan that drank the Aesepus' dark waters –
Trojans all, and the shining son of Lycaon led them on.
Pandarus, with the bow that came from Apollo's own hands.
They that held Adresteia and the land of Apaesus, with Pityeia, and the high mountain of Tereia – these were led by Adrestus and Amphius, whose breastplate was of linen. These were the sons of Merops of Percote, who excelled in all kinds of divination. He told them not to take part in the war, but they gave him no heed, for fate lured them to destruction.
The warriors of Percote, and who dwelt
In Practius, in Arisba, city fair,
In Sestus, in Abydus, march'd behind
Princely Hyrtacides; his tawny steeds,
Strong-built and tall, from Sellcentes' bank
And from Arisba, had him borne to Troy.
Hippothous and Pilmus, branch of Mars,
Both sons of Lethus the Pelasgian, they,
Forth from Larissa for her fertile soil
Far-famed, the spear-expert Pelasgians brought.
But Acamus and the hero Pirous led the Thracians, all that the rapidly flowing Hellespont confines within.
Euphemus, son of heaven-descended Troezenus, son of Ceas, was commander of the warlike Cicones.But Pyraechmes led the Paeonians, who use darts fastened by a thong, far from Amydon, from wide-flowing Axius, from Axius, whose stream is diffused the fairest over the earth.
But the sturdy heart of Pylaemenes from the Eneti, whence is the race of wild mules, led the Paphlagonians, those who possessed Cytorus, and dwelt around Sesamus, and inhabited the famous dwellings around the river Parthenius, and Cromna, AEgialus, and the lofty Erythine hills.
Phorcys, and fair Ascanius, the Phrygians brought to war,
Well train’d for battle, and were come out of Ascania far.
With Methles, and Antiphus (Pylemen’s sons) did fight
The men of Mezon, whom the fen Gygaea brought light;
And those Maeonians that beneath the mountain Timolus sprung.
Odios and Epistrophos were captains
of Halizones from Alybe, far
eastward, where the mines of silver are.
The Mysians Khromis led, with Ennomos,
reader of birdflight; signs in flurrying wings
would never save him from the last dark wave
when he went down before the battering hands
of the great runner, Akhilleus, in the river,
with other Trojans slain.
Amphimachus and Naustes guide the train,
Naustes the bold, Amphimachus the vain,
Who, trick'd with gold, and glittering on his car,
Rode like a woman to the field of war.
Fool that he was! by fierce Achilles slain,
The river swept him to the briny main:
There whelm'd with waves the gaudy warrior lies
The valiant victor seized the golden prize.
The forces last in fair array succeed,
Which blameless Glaucus and Sarpedon lead
The warlike bands that distant Lycia yields,
Where gulfy Xanthus foams along the fields.