Achilles, admonished in a dream by the ghost of his friend, celebrates the funeral of Patroclus.
Thus they indeed were mourning through the city; but the Greeks, as soon as they reached the ships and the Hellespont, were separated each to his own ship. But Achilles did not permit the Myrmidons to be dispersed, but he spoke amongst his warlike companions [thus]:
"Ye swift-horsed Myrmidons, comrades dear to me, let us not yet loose the solid-hoofed steeds from under our chariots, but with the very horses and chariots, going near, let us bewail Patroclus; for this is the honour of the dead. But when we have indulged 720 sad lamentation, unyoking our steeds, we will all sup here."
Thus he spoke; but they mourned in a body; and Achilles led the way. Thrice they drove their fair-maned steeds around the body, 721 grieving; and among them Thetis kindled a longing for lamentation. Moistened were the sands, and moistened were the arms of the men with tears; for so brave a master of the flight they longed. But among them the son of Peleus led the abundant lamentation, laying his man-slaughtering hands upon the breast of his companion:
Footnote 720: (return) Excellently paraphrased by Gaza: Ἐπειδὰν δὲ τοῦ ὄλεθρίου θρήνου ἀπολαύσωμεν. Ernesti well observes that τεταρπώμεσθα implies "delight mingled with satiety."
Footnote 721: (return) This was a frequent rite at funerals. Cf. Apollon. Rh. i. 1059; Virg. Æn. xi. 188, sqq.; Heliodor. Ethiop. iii. p. 136: Ἐπειδὴ τὸ μνῆμα τοῦ Νεοπτολέμου περιεστοιχήσατο ἡ πομπὴ, καὶ τρίτον οἱ ἔφηβοι τὴν ἵππον περιήλασαν, λολύξαν μὲν αἱ γυναῖκες, λάλαξαν δὲ οἱ ἄνδρες. Among the Romans this rite was called decursio. Cf. Liv. xxv. 17: Tacit. Ann. ii. 7; Sueton. Claud. § i. According to Plutarch, Alexander the Great performed the same honours at the tomb of Achilles, that Achilles had bestowed upon the manes of his friend Patroclus. See also Bernart on Stat. Theb. vi. 217.
"Hail! O Patroclus, even in the dwellings of Hades; for now shall I accomplish all those things which formerly I promised, that having dragged Hector hither, I would give him to the dogs to be devoured raw; and that before thy pile I would cut the necks of twelve illustrious sons of the Trojans, enraged on account of thee slain."
He spoke, and meditated unworthy deeds against noble Hector, having stretched him prone in the dust before the bier of Menœtiades; but they each stripped off his brazen, glittering armour, and unyoked their high-sounding steeds. They sat also in crowds at the ship of swift-footed Æacides; but he afforded to them an agreeable funeral feast. 722 Many white bulls 723 were stretched around by the axe, having their throats cut, and many sheep and bleating goats. Many white-tusked swine also, abounding in fat, were extended for roasting in the flame of Vulcan; and on every side around the dead body flowed abundant blood. But the chiefs of the Greeks led the king, the swift-footed son of Peleus, to noble Agamemnon, hardly persuading him enraged at heart on account of his companion. But when advancing they reached the tent of Agamemnon, he straightway ordered the clear-voiced heralds to place a large tripod on the fire, if he could persuade the son of Peleus to wash away the bloody gore. But he sternly refused, and besides swore an oath: 724
Footnote 722: (return) Τάφος· τὸ γινόμενον περίδειπνον ἐπὶ τῇ τῶν κατοιχομένων τιμῇ.--Hesych.
Footnote 723: (return) On these funeral sacrifices, see Comm. on Æn. xi. l. c.; and Lomeier de Lustrationibus, § xxxi.
Footnote 724: (return) Buttm. Lexil. p. 436, after insisting strongly on the personification of Ὅρκος, observes on this passage: "I see no reason why we should not suppose that in the poet's mind Jupiter was put in opposition to ὅρκον, exactly in the same sense as ὄρκος is actually found in opposition to Ζεύς in Pindar, Pyth. iv. 297. Κάρτερος ὅρκος ἄμμι μάρτυς ἔστω Ζεὺς ὁ γενέθλιος άμφοτέροις. Further, the expressions μέγας όρκος, κάρτερος ὅρκος suit much better the idea of the witness or pledge of the oath, than they do the oath itself."
"No, by Jove, who is both the supreme and the best of gods, it is not lawful that ablutions should come near my head, before I place Patroclus on the pile, and have thrown up a mound, and shorn my hair; for not to such a degree will sorrow a second time invade my heart, whilst I am among the living. But nevertheless let us now yield to the loathsome banquet. But on the morrow, Ο king of men, Agamemnon, give orders to bring wood, and dispose it so as is proper that a dead body enjoying it, should descend beneath the obscure darkness; so that the indefatigable fire may consume him very quickly from our eyes, and the people may return to their occupations."
Thus he spoke; but they indeed readily listened to him, and obeyed. Then they, each sedulously preparing supper, feasted; nor did their mind lack aught of an equal feast. But when they had dismissed the desire of food and drink, some departed in order to lie down, each to his tent. But the son of Peleus, on the contrary, amid his many Myrmidons, lay near the shore of the far-sounding sea, heavily moaning, in a clear spot, where the waves plashed against the shore; when sweet 725 sleep, diffused around, took possession of him, relaxing the cares of his mind; for he was very much fatigued as to his fair knees, chasing Hector at wind-swept Ilium. But to him came the spirit of wretched Patroclus, like unto him in all things, as to bulk, and beautiful eyes, and his voice; and like garments also were around his body; and he stood over his head, and addressed him:
"Sleepest thou, O Achilles, and art thou forgetful of me? Thou didst not indeed neglect me when alive, but [now that I am] dead. Bury me, that I may as soon as possible pass the gates of Hades. The spirits, the images of the deceased, 726 drive me far away, nor by any means permit me to be mingled with them beyond the river; but thus I do wander round the ample-gated dwelling of Hades. But give me thy hand, 727 I beseech thee, for I shall not again return from Hades after thou hast made me a partaker of the fire. For by no means shall we, being alive, sitting apart from our dear companions, deliberate counsels; but the hateful fate which befel me when born, has snatched me away. And to thyself also, O godlike Achilles, thy fate is to perish beneath the wall of the noble Trojans. But another thing I bid, and will command, O Achilles, if thou wilt obey, not to lay my bones apart from thine; but as we were nurtured together in thy palaces, when Menœtius led me from Opus, a little boy, to thy home, on account of a melancholy homicide, on that day when, imprudent, I slew the son of Amphidamas, not wishing it, enraged about the dice: 728 then Peleus received me in his abode, carefully reared me, and named me thy attendant. So may the same tomb contain our bones, the golden vase which thy venerable mother gave thee."
Footnote 725: (return) On the epithet νήδνμος, cf. Buttm. p. 414, sqq.
Footnote 726: (return) Buttm. Lexil. p. 372, in a very interesting discussion, regards καμόντες as an euphemism, "by which the dead, whom we consider as still acting and feeling, and consequently as the objects of our kind offices, of which they are conscious, are represented as still living in another state, but deprived of their earthly powers."
Footnote 727: (return) Virg. Æn. vi. 370: "Da dextram misero."
Footnote 728: (return) See the Quaint remarks of Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living, p. 224, ed. Bohn.
But him swift-footed Achilles, answering, addressed:
"Why, O venerable friend, hast thou come to me, and commandest each of these things to me? Yet will I readily accomplish all these things for thee, and obey as thou commandest. But stand nearer to me, that embracing each other even for a little while, we may indulge in sad lamentation."
Thus then having spoken, he stretched out with his friendly arms, nor caught him; 729 for the spirit went gibbering 730 beneath the earth, like smoke. Then Achilles sprang up astonished, and clapped together his hands, and spoke this doleful speech:
"Alas! there is indeed then, even in the dwellings of Hades, a certain spirit and image, but there is no body 731 in it at all; for all night the spirit of miserable Patroclus stood by me, groaning and lamenting, and enjoined to me each particular, and was wonderfully like unto himself."
Footnote 729: (return) Cf. Georg. iv. 499; Æn. ii. 790, iv. 276; Lucan, iii. 34.
Footnote 730: (return) See Odyss. xxiv. sub init, where the same word is applied to the shades of the suitors of Penelope.
Footnote 731: (return) By φρένες we may understand the power of using reason and judgment, with Duport, Gnom. p. 128, and Jeremy Taylor, Holy Dying, p. 524, ed. Bohn. But ver. 100 seems to require the interpretation which I have followed; Clarke rendering it "præcordia."
Thus he spoke; and excited among them all a longing for lamentation; and rosy-fingered Morn appeared to them while weeping around the miserable corpse. But king Agamemnon incited everywhere from the tents both mules and men to bring wood; and for this a brave man was roused, Meriones, the servant of valour-loving Idomeneus. And they went, holding in their hands wood-lopping axes and well-twisted ropes; and before them went the mules. They passed over many ascents, 732 descents, and straight ways and crossways. But when they reached the forests of many-rilled Ida, hastening, they cut down the towering oaks with the keen-edged brass. These greatly resounding, fell; and the Greeks then splitting them, tied [them] upon the mules, but they pained the ground with their hoofs, eager to reach the plain through the close thickets. But all the wood-cutters carried trunks of trees, for so Meriones, the servant of valour-loving Idomeneus, ordered; and afterwards threw them in order upon the shore, where Achilles designed a mighty tomb for Patroclus, and for himself.
But when they had thrown on all sides immense quantities of wood, remaining there in a body, they sat down; but Achilles immediately ordered the warlike Myrmidons to gird on the brass, and to yoke each his horses to his chariot; but they arose, and were arrayed in their armour. And both the combatants and the charioteers ascended their chariots; the cavalry indeed first, but a cloud of infantry followed after in myriads; and in the midst his companions bore Patroclus. They covered all the dead body over with hair, which, cutting off, 733 they threw upon it; but noble Achilles held his head behind, grieving, for he was sending a blameless companion to Hades.
Footnote 732: (return) A most remarkable and beautiful example of the appropriation of sound to sense. Pope has admirably imitated the original by the following translation:--
"O'er hills, o'er dales, o'er crags, o'er rocks, they go."
Cowper less successfully:--
"They measured hill and dale,
Right onward now, and now circuitous."
Cf. Milton, P.L. ii. 948:--
"So eagerly the fiend
O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way,
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies."
Footnote 733: (return) So in Senec. Hippol. 1176, "Placemus umbras, capitis exuvias cape, laceræque frontis accipe abscissam comam." The custom is learnedly illustrated by Bernart on Stat. Theb. vi. 195, Lomeier de Lustrat. § xxv.
But they, when they reached the place where Achilles pointed out to them, laid him down; and immediately heaped on abundant wood for him. Then again swift-footed Achilles remembered another thing. Standing apart from the pile, he cut off his yellow hair, which he had nurtured, blooming, for the river Sperchius; 734 and, moaning, he spake, looking upon the dark sea:
Footnote 734: (return) On this custom, cf. Schol. Hesiod. Theog. 348: Ἀπόλλωνι καὶ ποταμοῖς οὶ νέοι ἀπέτεμον τὰς κόμας, διὰ τὸ αύξήσεως καὶ ἀνατροφῆς αἰτίους εἷναι. See Lindenbrog on Censorin. de Die Nat. i. p. 6, and Blomf. on Æsch. Choeph. s. init., with my own note. Statius, Achill. i. 628, "Quærisne meos, Sperchie, natatus, Promissasque comas?" Cf. Pausan. i. 43, 4; Philostrat. Her. xi.
"In vain, O Sperchius, did my father Peleus vow to thee, that I, returning to my dear native land, should there cut off my hair for thee, and offer a sacred hecatomb; and besides, that I would in the same place sacrifice fifty male sheep at the fountains, where are a grove and fragrant altar to thee. Thus the old man spake, but thou hast not fulfilled his will. And now, since I return not to my dear fatherland, I will give my hair to the hero Patroclus, to be borne [with him]." Thus saying, he placed his hair in the hands of his dear companion; and excited amongst them all a longing for weeping. And the light of the sun had certainly set upon them, mourning, had not Achilles, standing beside, straightway addressed Agamemnon:
"O son of Atreus (for to thy words the people of the Greeks most especially hearken), it is possible to satiate oneself even with weeping; 735 but now do thou dismiss them from the pile, and order them to prepare supper. We, to whom the corpse is chiefly a care, will labour concerning these things; but let the chiefs remain with us."
But when the king of men, Agamemnon, heard this, he immediately dispersed the people among the equal ships; but the mourners remained there, and heaped up the wood. They formed a pile 736 a hundred feet this way and that, and laid the body upon the summit of the pile, grieving at heart.
Footnote 735: (return) See Buttm. Lexil. p. 25. "Achilles speaks of the expediency of terminating the lamentations of the army at large, and leaving what remains to be performed in honour of the deceased to his more particular friends."--Kennedy.
Footnote 736: (return) In illustration of the following rites, cf. Virg. Æn. iii. 62; v. 96; vi. 215; x. 517; xi. 80, 197, sqq.; and the notes of Stephens on Saxo Grammat. p. 92.
Many fat sheep, and stamping-footed, bent-horned oxen, they skinned and dressed before the pile; from all of which magnanimous Achilles, taking the fat, covered over the dead body [with it] from head to feet, and heaped around the skinned carcases. Leaning towards the bier, he likewise placed vessels of honey and oil, 737 and, sighing deeply, hastily threw upon the pyre four high-necked steeds. There were nine dogs, companions at the table of the [departed] king, and, slaying two of them, he cast them upon the pile; also twelve gallant sons 738 of the magnanimous Trojans, slaying them with the brass; and he designed evil deeds in his mind. Next he applied to it the iron strength of fire, that it might feed upon it: then he groaned aloud, and addressed his beloved companion by name: 739
Footnote 737: (return) Cf. Alcæus apud Brunck, Ann. i. p. 490: Καὶ τάφον ὑψώσαντο, γάλακτι δὲ ποιμένες αἰγῶν Ἔῤῥαναν ξανθῷ μιξάμενοι μέλιτι. Compare the similar libations to the dead in Eur. Orest. 114; Heliodor. Eth. vi.; Apul. Met. 3; Stat. Theb. vi. 209; Virg. Æn. iii. 66.
Footnote 738: (return) This cruel custom was in vogue amongst the followers of Odin. See Olaus Magnus, iii. 3, and Mallet, Northern Antiquities, p. 213, sq., ed. Bohn.
Footnote 739: (return) On this προσφώνησις, or last address to the deceased, see my note on Eurip. Alcest. 625, t. i. p. 231, ed. Bohn; and Suppl. 773, 804; Virg. Æn. iii. 68, v. 79; Propert. i. 17; Auson. Parent. 159, 10.
"Hail! O Patroclus, even in the dwellings of Hades: for I now fulfil all things which I formerly promised thee; twelve brave sons of the magnanimous Trojans, all these, along with thee, shall the fire consume; but I will not suffer Hector, the son of Priam, to be devoured by fire, but by the dogs."
Thus he spoke, threatening; but about him the dogs were not busied; for Venus, the daughter of Jove, drove off the dogs both days and nights, and anointed him with a rosy unguent, ambrosial, that he might not lacerate him dragging him along. Over him also Phœbus Apollo drew a dark cloud from heaven to the plain, and overshadowed the whole space, as much as the dead body occupied, lest the influence of the sun should previously dry the body all around, with the nerves and limbs.
Yet the pile of dead Patroclus burnt not. Then again noble Achilles meditated other things. Standing apart from the pile, he prayed to two winds, Boreas and Zephyrus, and promised fair sacrifices; and, pouring out many libations with a golden goblet, he supplicated them to come, that they might burn the body with fire as soon as possible, and the wood might hasten to be burned. But swift Iris, hearing his prayers, went as a messenger to the winds. They, indeed, together at home with fierce-breathing Zephyrus, were celebrating a feast, when Iris, hastening, stood upon the stone threshold. But when they beheld her with their eyes, they rose up, and invited her to him, each of them. But she, on the contrary, refused to sit down, and spoke [this] speech:
"No seat [for me]; for I return again to the flowings of the ocean, to the land of the Æthiopians, where they sacrifice hecatombs to the immortals, that now I, too, may have a share in their offerings. But Achilles now supplicates Boreas, and sonorous Zephyrus, to come, that ye may kindle the pile to be consumed, on which lies Patroclus, whom all the Greeks bewail."
She, indeed, thus having spoken, departed; but they hastened to go with a great tumult, driving on the clouds before them. Immediately they reached the sea, blowing, and the billow was raised up beneath their sonorous blast: but they reached the very fertile Troad, and fell upon the pile, and mightily resounded the fiercely-burning fire. All night, indeed, did they together toss about the blaze of the pyre, shrilly blowing; and all night swift Achilles, holding a double cup, poured wine upon the ground, drawing it from a golden goblet, and moistened the earth, invoking the manes of wretched Patroclus. And as a father mourns, consuming the bones of his son, a bridegroom who, dying, has afflicted his unhappy parents, so mourned Achilles, burning the bones of his companion, pacing pensively beside the pile, groaning continually. But when Lucifer arrived, proclaiming light over the earth, after whom saffron-vested Morn is diffused over the sea, then the pyre grew languid, and the flame decayed; and the Winds departed again, to return home through the Thracian sea; but it (the sea) groaned indeed, raging with swelling billow.
But Pelides, going apart 740 from the pile, reclined fatigued, and upon him fell sweet sleep. The others, however, were assembling in crowds round the son of Atreus, the noise and tumult of whom, approaching, awoke him; and, being raised up, he sat, and addressed them:
Footnote 740: (return) On λιάζομαι, cf. Buttm. Lex. p. 404.
"O son of Atreus, and ye other chiefs of the Greeks, first, indeed, extinguish the whole pile, as much as the fire has seized, with dark wine; and then let us collect the bones of Patroclus, the son of Menœtius, well discriminating them (for they are readily distinguished; for he lay in the centre of the pyre, but the others, both horses and men, were burned promiscuously at the extremity), and let us place them in a golden vessel, and with a double [layer of] fat, till I myself be hidden in Hades. And I wish that a tomb should be made, not very large, but of such 741 a size as is becoming; but do ye, O Achæans, hereafter, make it both broad and lofty, you who may be left behind me at the many-benched barks."
Thus he spoke; and they obeyed the swift-footed son of Peleus. First of all, indeed, they totally extinguished the pyre with dark wine, as much as the fire had invaded, and the deep ashes fell in; and, weeping, they collected the white bones of their mild companion into a golden vessel, and a double [layer of] fat; then, laying them in the tent, they covered them with soft 742 linen. Next they marked out the area for the tomb, and laid the foundations around the pile; and immediately upraised a mound of earth; and, heaping up the tomb, returned. But Achilles detained the people there, and made the wide assembly sit down; but from the ships he brought forth prizes, goblets, tripods, horses, mules, and sturdy heads of oxen, and slender-waisted women, and hoary 743 iron. First he staked as prizes for swift-footed steeds, a woman to be borne away, faultless, skilled in works, as well as a handled tripod of two-and-twenty measures, for the first; but for the second he staked a mare six years old, unbroken, pregnant with a young mule; for the third he staked a fireless tripod, beautiful, containing four measures, yet quite untarnished; 744 for the fourth he staked two talents of gold; and for the fifth he staked a double vessel, untouched by the fire. Erect he stood, and spoke this speech to the Greeks:
Footnote 741: (return) Ernesti considers that τοῖον is here added to indicate magnitude, and Heyne accordingly renders it: "magnitudine fere hac," the speaker being supposed to use a gesture while thus speaking.
Footnote 742: (return) See Buttm. Lexil. pp. 236--9.
Footnote 743: (return) "Ernesti conceives that the colour is here maintained to express, not merely the shining aspect, but the newness of the metal; as λενκὸν in 268. This is ingenious; but why not receive it as expressive of colour, and borrowed from that to which the metal itself supplies a well-known epithet, viz., the hair of age?"--Kennedy.
Footnote 744: (return) Αὕτως here designates "that which is original, unchanged, in opposition to common changes, λενκὸν ἔθ΄ αὕτως, still in that its original state, completely unblackened with fire; and ω. 413; of the body of Hector, ἀλλ' ἔτε κεῖνος κεῖται. Αὕτως, in that state in which he was before, still free from corruption."--Buttm. Lexil. p. 173.
"O son of Atreus, and ye other well-greaved Greeks, these prizes lie in the circus, awaiting the charioteers. If now, indeed, in honour of another, we Grecians were contending, then truly would I, receiving, bear the first [prizes] to my tent. For ye know how much my steeds surpass in excellence; for they are both immortal, and Neptune gave them to my father Peleus, who, again, delivered them to me. But nevertheless I and my solid-hoofed steeds will remain apart [from the contest]; because they have lost the excellent might of such a charioteer, who very often poured the moist oil over their manes, having washed them with limpid water. They, indeed, standing, lament him, but their manes hang down upon the ground, and they stand, grieved at heart. However, do ye others through the army prepare, whoever of the Greeks confides in his steeds and well-fastened chariots."
Thus spoke the son of Peleus; but the swift charioteers arose. But, far the first, arose Eumelus, king of men, the dear son of Admetus, who surpassed in equestrian skill. After him arose the son of Tydeus, valiant Diomede, and led under the yoke the horses of Tros, which he formerly took from Æneas; but Apollo preserved himself 745 alive; next to whom arose the most noble son of yellow-haired Atreus, Menelaus, and led beneath the yoke fleet steeds, Agamemnon's mare Æthe, and his own stallion, Podargus. Her Echepolus, the son of Anchises, had presented as a gift to Agamemnon, that he need not follow him to wind-swept Ilium, but staying there might be delighted; for Jove had given him great wealth, and he dwelt in wise Sicyon. Her, persevering in the race, he led under the yoke. But Antilochus, the fourth, harnessed his beautiful-maned steeds (the illustrious son of the magnanimous king Nestor, the son of Neleus), and swift-footed Pelian-born steeds drew his chariot for him; but his father, standing near, spoke for his good, advising him, though himself prudent:
Footnote 745: (return) Æneas.
"O Antilochus, assuredly indeed both Jove and Neptune have loved thee, although being young, and have taught thee all kinds of equestrian exercise; wherefore there is no great need to instruct thee. For thou knowest how to turn the goals with safety; but thy horses are very slow to run, wherefore I think that disasters may happen. Their horses, indeed, are more fleet, but they themselves know not how to manoeuvre better than thou thyself. But come now, beloved one, contrive every manner of contrivance in thy mind, lest the prizes by any chance escape thee. By skill is the wood-cutter much better than by strength; and, again, by skill the pilot directs upon the dark sea the swift ship, tossed about by the winds; and by skill charioteer excels charioteer. One man who is confident in his steeds and chariot, turns imprudently hither and thither over much [ground], and his steeds wander through the course, nor does he rein them in. But he, on the contrary, who is acquainted with stratagem [though] driving inferior steeds, always looking at the goal, turns it close, nor does it escape him in what manner he may first turn [the course] 746 with his leathern reins; but he holds on steadily, and watches the one who is before him. But I will show thee the goal, easily distinguished, nor shall it escape thy notice. A piece of dry wood, as much as a cubit, stands over the ground, either of oak or of larch, which is not rotted by rain; and two white stones are placed on either side, in the narrow part of the way; 747 but the racecourse around is level: either it is the monument 748 of some man long since dead, or perhaps it has been a goal in the time of former men, and now swift-footed noble Achilles has appointed it the goal. Approaching this very closely, drive thy chariot and horses near; but incline thyself gently towards the left of them (the steeds), in the well-joined chariot-seat; and, cheering on the right-hand horse, apply the whip, and give him the rein with thy hands. Let thy left-hand horse, however, be moved close to the goal, so that the nave of the well-made wheel may appear to touch, the top [of the post]; but avoid to touch upon the stone, lest thou both wound thy horses, and break thy chariot in pieces, and be a joy to the others, and a disgrace to thyself. But, my beloved son, mind to be on thy guard; for if at the goal thou couldst pass by in the course, there will not be one who could overtake thee in pursuit, nor pass thee by; not if behind he drives noble Arion, the swift steed of Adrastus, 749 which was from a god in race; or those of Laomedon, which, excellent, have here been reared."
Footnote 746: (return) Or "pull with his leathern reins."--Oxf. Transl. "τανύσῃ, viz. δρόμον σὺν ἱμᾶσιν. Thus τάθη δρόμος, ver. 375. The same ellipsis occurs in the following verse, in the case of ἔχει, which, however, admits also of the construction ἔχει ἑαυτόν, one usual in the latter language."--Kennedy.
Footnote 747: (return) "The old interpreter explained ἐν ξυνοχῇσιν ὁδοῦ, and I think correctly, of a wide track in the open plain becoming somewhat narrower at the point where the old monument stood; but ἀμφίς they took in the opposite sense of χωρίς, or still more forced. Heyne, however, understood it quite correctly of the wide plain around, which was so suited to a chariot-race, and within which, in the distance, stood also the mark chosen by Achilles, ver. 359. Others see in this passage the course winding round the monument; but then it must have been an old course regularly drawn out for the purpose; whereas this monument was selected by Achilles for the goal or mark quite arbitrarily, and by his own choice; and Nestor, ver. 332, only conjectures that it might have formerly served for a goal."--Buttm. Lexil. p. 95.
Footnote 748: (return) Such monumental stones were frequently placed in public places. Cf. Theocrit. vi. 10; Virg. Eel. ix. 55; Dicæarchus in Athen. xiii. p. 594.
Footnote 749: (return) According to many authors, this horse was produced from the earth by a stroke of Neptune's trident. See Serv. on Virg. Georg. i. 12; Pausan. viii. p. 650; Apollodor. iii. 6, 8; and Bernart. on Stat. Theb. iv. 43.
Thus speaking, Neleian Nestor sat down again in his own place, when he had mentioned the most important points of each matter to his son; and Meriones, fifth, harnessed his beautiful-maned steeds. Then they ascended their chariots, and cast lots into [the helmet]. Achilles shook, and the lot of Antilochus, son of Nestor, leaped forth; after him king Eumelus was allotted; but after him spear-renowned Menelaus, son of Atreus, and Meriones was allotted to drive after him. But the son of Tydeus, by far the bravest, was allotted to drive his coursers last. Then they stood in order; and Achilles pointed out the goals, 750 far off in the level plain; and near it placed godlike Phoenix as an umpire, the armour-bearer of his own sire, that he might attend to the race, and report the truth.
Footnote 750: (return) Cf. Æn. v. 129; Quintus Calab. iv. 193: Τοῖσι δὲ σημαίνεσκε δρόμου τέλος κυτάτοιο Ἀτρείδης.
Then they all at once raised their lashes over their steeds, and struck them with the reins, and cheered them on with words incessantly; but they rapidly flew over the plain, far away from the ships, swiftly, and beneath their breasts the excited dust stood up, raised like a cloud or a whirlwind; whilst their manes were tossed about by the breath of the wind. Sometimes, indeed, the chariots approached the fruitful earth, and at others bounded aloft; but the drivers stood erect in their chariots, and the heart of each of them, eager for victory, palpitated: and each animated his own steeds, but they flew along, stirring up dust from the plain. But when now the fleet steeds were performing the last course, back towards the hoary deep, then appeared the excellence of each, and the course was immediately extended to the horses; 751 and then the swift-footed steeds of the son of Pheres 752 swiftly bore him away. The male Trojan steeds of Diomede, however, bore [themselves] next to them; nor were they at all far distant, but very near; for they always seemed as if about to mount into the chariot. And with their breathing the back and broad shoulders of Eumelus were warmed; for they flew along, leaning their heads over him. And certainly he had either passed, or made [the victory] doubtful, had not Phœbus Apollo been enraged with the son of Tydeus, and accordingly shaken out of his hands the shining lash. Then from the eyes of him indignant tears poured, because indeed he beheld the others now going much swifter, whilst his [steeds] were injured, running without a goad. Neither did Apollo, fraudulently injuring Tydides, escape the notice of Minerva, but she very quickly overtook the shepherd of the people, and gave him his lash, and put vigour into his steeds. And to the son of Admetus, the goddess, indignant, advanced, and broke for him his horse-yoke; and so his mares ran on both sides out of the way, and the pole was dashed upon the ground. He himself was thrown from the driving-seat close by the wheel, and was lacerated all round in his arms, his mouth, and nostrils, and his forehead was bruised near the eyebrows; but his eyes were filled with tears, and his liquid voice was clogged. Then Diomede passing by, directed his hollow-hoofed steeds, bounding far before the others; for Minerva had put vigour into his steeds, and given him glory. But after him, however, the son of Atreus, yellow-haired Menelaus, drove; but Antilochus cheered on the steeds of his father:
Footnote 751: (return) I.e. "the speed of the horses was immediately put to the stretch," as the Oxford Translator well, but freely, renders it.
Footnote 752: (return) Eumelus.
"Push on! and exert yourselves, both of you, as fast as possible. I indeed do not order you to contend with the steeds of warlike Diomede, to which Minerva has now given speed, and given glory to him; but quickly overtake the horses of Atrides, nor be left behind, lest Æthe, being a mare, shed disgrace upon you both. Why should ye be left inferior, O best [of steeds]? For thus I tell you, and it shall surely be accomplished; attention will not be paid to you by Nestor, the shepherd of the people, but he will immediately slay you with the sharp brass, if we, remiss, bear off the less worthy prize. But follow, and hasten as fast as possible. These things will I myself manage and look to, to pass him by in the narrow way; nor shall it escape me."
Thus he spoke; but they, dreading the threat of their master, ran faster for a short time: but immediately then warlike Antilochus perceived the narrow of the hollow way. It was a fissure of the earth, where the wintry torrent collected, had broken away [part] of the road, and gullied the whole place; thither drove Menelaus, avoiding the clash of wheels. But Antilochus, deviating, guided his solid-hoofed horses out of the way, and turning aside, pursued him a little. But the son of Atreus feared, and shouted to Antilochus:
"Antilochus, rashly art thou driving thy horses; but check thy steeds for the road is narrow, and thou wilt soon drive past in a wider lest thou damage both [of us], running foul of [my] chariot." Thus he spoke; but Antilochus drove even much faster, urging [them] on with the lash, like unto one not hearing. As far as is the cast of a quoit, hurled from the shoulder, which a vigorous youth has thrown, making experiments of his youthful strength; so far they ran abreast; but those of Atrides fell back: for he himself voluntarily ceased to drive, lest the solid-hoofed steeds should clash in the road, and overturn the well-joined chariots, and they themselves should fall in the dust, while contending for the victory. And him yellow-haired Menelaus, chiding, addressed:
"O Antilochus, no other mortal is more pernicious than thou. Avaunt! for we Greeks untruly said that thou wast prudent. Yet not even thus shalt thou bear away the prize without an oath." 753 Thus saying, he cheered on his steeds, and spoke to them:
"Be not kept back, nor stand, grieving in your hearts: sooner will the feet and knees grow weary to them than to you; for they are both deprived of vigour."
Thus he spoke; but they, dreading the exhortation of their master, ran more fleetly, and became very near the others. But the Greeks sitting in assembly, 754 beheld the steeds, and they flew along, raising dust over the plain. Then first Idomeneus, leader of the Cretans, distinguished the horses; for he sat outside the circus, very high up, on an observatory; and hearing him, being far off, encouraging [his steeds], knew him. He also perceived a remarkable steed outstripping, which in every other part indeed was chesnut, but in its forehead was a white round spot, like the moon. And he stood erect, and delivered this speech amongst the Greeks:
Footnote 753: (return) "Videtur proverbii loco dictum in eos, qui non facile, non sine gravi labore ac difficultate consequi possent, quod peterent, sive qui rem valde difficilem peterent."--Ernesti.
Footnote 754: (return) See note on vii. p. 129, n. 2.
"O friends, leaders and chieftains of the Greeks, do I alone recognize the horses, or do ye also? Different steeds indeed appear to me to be foremost, and there seems a different charioteer; but those [mares] which hitherto were successful, are probably hurt upon the plain somewhere: for surely I first saw them turning round the goal, but now I can no longer see them, although my eyes survey the Trojan plain as I gaze around. Surely the reins have fled the charioteer, and he could not rein well round the goal, and did not succeed in turning. There I imagine he fell out, and at the same time broke his chariot, whilst they (the mares) bolted, when fury seized their mind. But do ye also, standing up, look, for I cannot well distinguish; it appears to me to be an Ætolian hero by birth, and [who] rules amongst the Argives, the son of horse-breaking Tydeus, gallant Diomede."
But him swift Ajax, the son of Oïleus, bitterly reproached:
"Idomeneus, why dost thou prate endlessly? 755 Those high-prancing mares run over the vast plain afar. Neither art thou so much the youngest amongst the Greeks, nor do thine eyes see most sharply from thy head: but thou art always prating with words. Nor is it at all necessary for thee to be a prater, for others better than thou are present. For the mares of Eumelus are still 756 foremost, which were so before, and he himself is advancing, holding the reins."
But him the leader of the Cretans, indignant, answered in turn:
"Ajax, best at abuse, reviler, but in all other things thou art inferior to the Greeks, because thy temper is morose; come now, let us stake a tripod 757 or a goblet, and let us both appoint Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, arbiter, which horses are foremost; that paying, thou mayest learn."
Footnote 755: (return) " άρος implies habit, as in i. 553, particularly in connection with a verb of such import, as in xviii. 425."--Kennedy.
Footnote 756: (return) This is implied in περ.
Footnote 757: (return) "Ut supra, xxii. 254, erat ἐπιδόσθαι, pro δόσθαι μάρτυρας ἐπί τινι χρήματι, sic nunc τρίποδος περιδώμεθα est δώμεθα ὅρκον περὶ τρίποδος, quem pœnæ loco daturus erit uter nostrum temere contenderit."--Heyne.
Thus he spoke; but swift Ajax, son of Oïleus, immediately rose to reply in harsh words. And now doubtless the strife would have proceeded farther to both, had not Achilles himself risen up, and spoke:
"No longer now, O Ajax and Idomeneus, hold altercation in evil, angry words, for it is not fitting, and ye also would blame another, whoever should do such things; but, sitting down in the circus, look towards the steeds, which themselves will soon arrive, contending for victory; and then will ye know, each of you, the horses of the Greeks, which are second, and which first."
Thus he spoke; but the son of Tydeus came very near, pursuing, and always drove on [his horses] with the lash across the shoulders; whilst the steeds were raised up aloft into the air, quickly completing their course, and the drops of dust kept always bespattering their charioteer. The chariot, adorned with gold and tin, rolled on close to the swift-footed steeds; nor was there a deep trace of the tires behind in the fine dust, but they, hastening, flew. But he stood in the midst of the circus, and much perspiration exuded from the steeds, from their necks and chest to the ground. But he himself leaped to the ground from his all-shining chariot, and rested his scourge against the yoke; nor was gallant Sthenelus dilatory, but he eagerly seized the prize, and gave the woman to his magnanimous companions to escort, and the handled tripod to bear away; whilst he himself unyoked the steeds.
Next to him Nelcian Antilochus drove his steeds, outstripping Menelaus by stratagem, not indeed by speed. Yet even thus Menelaus drove his swift horses near; but as far as a horse is distant from the wheel, which, exerting its speed with the chariot, draws its master through the plain, and the extreme hairs of its tail touch the wheel-tire, but it rolls very near, nor is there much space between, while it runs over the vast plain; so far was illustrious Menelaus left behind by Antilochus: although at first he was left behind as much as the cast of a quoit, yet he quickly overtook him; for the doughty strength of Agamemnon's mare, the beautiful-maned Æthe, was increased. And if the course had been still longer to both, he would surely have passed him by, nor left it doubtful. Meriones again, the good attendant of Idomeneus, was left behind a spear's throw by the illustrious Menelaus, for his fair-maned steeds were the slowest, and he himself least skilful in driving a chariot in the contest. But the son of Admetus came last of others, dragging his beauteous chariot, driving his steeds before him. But him swift-footed, noble Achilles seeing, pitied, and standing amongst the Greeks, spoke [to him] winged words:
"The best man drives his solid-hoofed steeds the last. But come, let us give him, as is right, the second prize; and let the son of Tydeus bear away the first."
Thus he spoke; and all approved as he ordered. And now truly he had given the mare to him (for the Greeks approved it), had not Antilochus, the son of magnanimous Nestor, rising up, replied to Achilles, the son of Peleus, on the question of justice: 758
Footnote 758: (return) Not "with justice," as the translators, following the Scholiast, have interpreted δίκη. That would have required σὺν δίκη, as in Soph. Antig. 23.
"Ο Achilles, I shall be very indignant with thee, if thou fulfillest this promise; for thou art about to deprive me of my reward, considering these things, that his chariot and fleet steeds were injured, he himself being skilful; but he should have prayed to the immortals, then would he by no means have come up driving the last. But if thou pitiest him, and it be agreeable to thy mind, thou hast much gold and brass in thy tent, and cattle and maidens, and solid-hoofed steeds are thine. Taking from these, give him afterwards even a greater reward, or even now forthwith, that the Greeks may applaud thee. This, however, I will not resign, but let him of the warriors strive for her, whoever wishes to contend with me in strength of hands."
Thus he spoke; and swift-footed, noble Achilles smiled, favouring Antilochus, for he was a dear companion to him; and, answering, addressed to him winged words:
"O Antilochus, since thou now biddest me give something else to Eumelus from my house, this will I indeed accomplish. I will give him the corslet which I took from Asteropæus, brazen, around which there is entwined a rim of shining tin; and it is of great value."
He spoke; and ordered his dear comrade, Automedon, to bear it from the tent: and he went and brought it to him; then he placed it in the hands of Eumelus, and he received it rejoicing. But Menelaus also arose amongst them, grieving in his mind, vehemently enraged with Antilochus. Then a herald placed the sceptre in his hands, and ordered the Greeks to be silent; and then the godlike hero spoke:
"O Antilochus, hitherto prudent, what hast thou done? Thou hast disgraced my skill, and injured my steeds, driving thine before them, which indeed are greatly inferior. But come, ye leaders and chiefs of the Greeks, judge between us both, and not for favour; lest some one of the brazen-mailed Greeks should say: 'Menelaus having overcome Antilochus by falsehoods, came off, leading the mare [as a prize], for his steeds were very inferior, but he himself superior in skill and strength.' 759 But come, I myself will decide, and I think that no other of the Greeks will blame me, for it will be just."
"O Antilochus, nurtured of Jove, come hither, I pray, as it is just, standing before thy horses and chariot, and holding in thy hands the pliant lash with which thou didst formerly drive, touching thy steeds, swear by earth-encompassing Neptune, that thou didst not willingly impede my chariot by stratagem." 760
Footnote 759: (return) Cf. vers. 571, sq.
Footnote 760: (return) See ver. 441.
But him prudent Antilochus in turn answered:
"Have patience now, since I am much younger than thou, O king Menelaus, and thou art older and superior. Thou knowest of what sort are the errors of a youth; for his mind is indeed more volatile, and his counsel weak. Therefore let thy heart endure, and I myself will give thee the steed which I have received. And if indeed thou demandest anything else greater from my house, I should be willing to give it immediately rather than fall for ever, Ο Jove-nurtured, from thy good opinion, and be sinful towards the gods."
He spoke; and the son of magnanimous Nestor, leading the mare, placed it in the hands of Menelaus; but his 761 mind was cheered 762 as the dew [is diffused] over the ears of growing corn, when the fields are bristling. Thus indeed, Ο Menelaus, was thy soul in thy breast cheered; and speaking, he addressed to him winged words:
Footnote 761: (return) I.e. Menelaus.
Footnote 762: (return) Or softened, melted. See Heyne.
"Antilochus, now indeed will I cease being enraged with thee, for formerly thou wert neither foolish nor volatile; though now youth has subdued reason. Avoid a second time overreaching thy superiors; for not another man of the Greeks would have easily appeased me. But thou hast already suffered much, and accomplished many deeds, as well as thy good father and brother, for my sake: therefore will I be persuaded by thee, supplicating, and will give the mare also, although being mine; that these too may perceive that my soul is never overbearing or unrelenting."
He spoke, and gave the steed to Noëmon, the comrade of Antilochus, to lead away; and then he received the shining goblet [himself]. But Meriones, the fourth, took up the two talents of gold, in which order he drove; but the fifth prize was left, 763 which Achilles, bearing through the assembly of the Greeks, gave to Nestor, and standing by him, said:
"Receive now, and let this be a keepsake to thee, a memorial of the burial of Patroclus; for never more shalt thou behold him among the Greeks. I give this prize to thee even thus; 764 for thou indeed wilt not fight with the cæstus, nor wrestle, nor engage in the contest of hurling the javelin, nor run on the feet, for grievous old age now oppresses thee."
Footnote 763: (return) Because Eumelus had received an extraordinary prize.
Footnote 764: (return) I.e. although thou hast not shared the contests. See Kennedy.
Thus speaking, he placed it in his hands; but he rejoicing, accepted it, and addressing him, spoke in winged words:
"Assuredly, O my son, thou hast spoken all these things aright; for no longer are my limbs firm, my friend, nor my feet, nor yet do my hands move pliant on each side from my shoulders. Would that I were as young, and my strength was firm to me, as when the Epeans buried king Amarynceus at Byprasium, and his sons staked the prizes of the king. There no man was equal to me, neither of the Epeans, nor of the Pelians themselves, nor of the magnanimous Ætolians. In the cæstus I conquered Clytomedes, the son of Enops; and in wrestling, Ancæus, the Pleuronian, who rose up against me; and on foot I outstripped Iphiclus, though being excellent; and with the spear hurled beyond Phyleus and Polydorus. The two sons of Actor drove by me by their steeds only, exceeding me in number, envying me the victory, for the greatest rewards were left for that contest. But they were two; the one indeed steadily directed the reins, whilst the other urged on with the lash. Thus I formerly was, but now let younger men undertake such deeds, as it becomes me to obey sad old age, though I then excelled amongst heroes. But go, and celebrate thy comrade's obsequies with games. This, indeed, I willingly accept, and my soul rejoices that thou art ever mindful of me; nor am I forgotten by thee, with what honour it becomes me to be honoured among the Greeks. And for these things may the gods give thee a proper return."
Thus he spoke; but the son of Peleus went through the great assemblage of the Greeks, when he had heard all the praise of Nestor. Then he proposed prizes for a laborious boxing-match. 765 Leading a mule, patient of toil, six years old, unbroken, which is most difficult to be tamed, he tied it in the circus; and for the conquered again he staked a two-handled cup: then he stood up, and spoke amongst the Greeks:
Footnote 765: (return) Cf. Virg. Æn. v. 365.
"O ye sons of Atreus, and other well-greaved Greeks, we invite two men, who are very expert, raising their hands aloft, to strike for these with the fist. But to whom Apollo indeed may give victory, and all the Greeks approve, leading away the mule, patient of labour, let him conduct it to his tent; but the vanquished shall bear away a double cup."
Thus he spoke; and immediately arose a man brave and great, skilled in the art of boxing, Epëus, son of Panopeus; and grasping the patient-toiling mule, said:
"Let him draw near, whosoever will bear away the double cup; but I think that no other of the Greeks having conquered in boxing, will lead away the mule; for I boast myself to be the best man. Is it not enough that I am inferior in battle? 766 For it is by no means possible for a man to be skilled in every work. For thus I tell you, and it shall be accomplished, I will utterly fracture his body, and also break his bones. And let his friends remain here assembled, who may carry him away vanquished by my hands."
Footnote 766: (return) "I.e. is it not enough, that, though I am inferior in battle, I am superior in boxing?"--Oxford Transl.
Thus he spoke; but they were all mute, in silence. But Euryalus alone stood up against him, a godlike hero, son of king Mecisteus, a descendant of Talaïon, who formerly came to Thebes to the funeral of the deceased Œdipus, and there vanquished all the Cadmeans. About him the spear-renowned son of Tydeus was busied, encouraging him with words, for he greatly wished victory to him. And first he threw around him his girdle, and then gave him the well-cut thongs [made of the hide] of a rustic ox. But they twain, having girded themselves, proceeded into the middle of the circus, and both at the same time engaged, with their strong hands opposite, raising [them up], and their heavy hands were mingled. Then a horrid crashing of jaws ensued, and the sweat flowed on all sides from their limbs. Then noble Epëus rushed in, and smote him upon the cheek, while looking round, nor could he stand any longer; but his fair limbs tottered under him. And as when, from beneath the surface, rippled 767 by the north wind, a fish leaps out upon the weedy shore, and the dark billow covers it, so he, stricken, sprang up. But magnanimous Epëus, taking [him] in his hands, lifted him up; and his dear comrades stood around, who conducted him through the circus on tottering feet, spitting out clotted gore, [and] drooping his head on each side; and then, leading, placed him among them, insensible, while they, departing, received the double cup.
But the son of Peleus quickly staked other third prizes for laborious wrestling, exhibiting [them] to the Greeks; for the conqueror, indeed, a large tripod, ready for the fire, 768 which the Greeks estimated amongst themselves at twelve oxen; and for the conquered person he placed a female in the midst. She understood various works, and they reckoned her at four oxen. But he stood up, and spoke this speech among the Greeks:
"Arise, ye who will make trial of this contest." Thus he spoke; but then arose mighty Telamonian Ajax, and wise Ulysses stood up, skilled in stratagems. But these two, having girded themselves, advanced into the midst of the circus, and grasped each other's arms with their strong hands, like the rafters 769 of a lofty dome, which a renowned architect has fitted, guarding off the violence of the winds. Then their backs creaked, forcibly dragged by their powerful hands, and the copious 770 sweat poured down; and thick welds, purple with blood, arose upon their sides and shoulders. Yet always eagerly they sought desired victory, for the sake of the well-made tripod. Neither could Ulysses trip, nor throw him to the ground, nor could Ajax him, for the valiant might of Ulysses hindered him. But when at length they were wearying the well-greaved Greeks, then mighty Telamonian Ajax addressed him:
Footnote 767: (return) See Kennedy.
Footnote 768: (return) I.e. intended for domestic purposes, not a mere votive offering or ornament.
Footnote 769: (return) 'Αμείβοντες δόκοι μεγάλαι, άλλήλαις προσπίπτουσαι, ὥστε βαστάζειν τήν ὀροφήν· αἵτινες καὶ συστάται καλοῦνται.--Schol.
Footnote 770: (return) See Kennedy.
"Ο most noble son of Laërtes, Ulysses of many wiles, either lift up me, or I thee, and all these things will be a care to Jove."
So saying, he lifted him up: but yet was not Ulysses unmindful of a stratagem. Aiming at his ham, he struck him behind, and relaxed his limbs, and threw him on his back; but Ulysses fell upon his breast; then the people admiring gazed, and were stupified. Next noble, much-enduring Ulysses, lifted him in turn, and moved him a little from the ground, nor did he lift him up completely; but he bent his knee; and both fell upon the ground near to each other, and were defiled with dust. And, getting up, they had surely wrestled for the third time, had not Achilles himself stood up and restrained them:
"No longer contend, nor exhaust yourselves with evils; for there is victory to both: so depart, receiving equal rewards, in order that the other Greeks also may contend." Thus he spoke; but they indeed heard him willingly, and obeyed; and, wiping off the dust, put on their tunics. But the son of Peleus immediately staked other rewards of swiftness, a wrought silver cup, which contained, indeed, six measures, but in beauty much excelled [all] upon the whole earth, for the ingenious Sidonians had wrought it cunningly, and Phœnician men had carried it over the shadowy sea, and exposed it for sale in the harbours, and presented it as a gift to Thoas. Euneus, son of Jason, however, had given it to the hero Patroclus, as a ransom for Lycaon, son of Priam. This also Achilles offered as a new prize, to be contended for, in honour of his companion, whoever should be the nimblest on swift feet; for the second, again, he proposed an ox, large and luxuriant in fat; and for the last he staked half a talent of gold. But he stood upright, and spoke amongst the Greeks:
"Arise, ye who will make trial of this contest also." Thus he spoke; and immediately swift Ajax, son of Oïleus, arose, and much-enduring Ulysses; and after them Antilochus, son of Nestor; for he, indeed, excelled all the youths in fleetness. But they stood in order, and Achilles pointed out the goal; and their course was stretched out from the goal. 771 Then swiftly leaped forth the son of Oïleus; but very close after him rushed noble Ulysses; as when a shuttle is at the breast of a well-girdled dame, which she throws very skilfully with her hands, drawing out the woof, [and inserting them] into the warp, and holds it near her breast: so ran Ulysses near him; and with his feet trod on his footsteps behind, before the dust was shed over them. But noble Ulysses, constantly running swiftly, exhaled his breath upon his head; and all the Greeks shouted to him, eager for victory, and encouraged him, hastening rapidly. But when they were now completing their last course, Ulysses forthwith prayed in his mind to azure-eyed Minerva:
Footnote 771: (return) See Kennedy, and on the race of the δίαυλος, Smith's Dict. of Antiquities.
"Hear, O goddess, come a propitious assistant to my feet." Thus he spoke, praying; but Pallas Minerva heard him; and she made his limbs nimble, his feet and his hands above. But when they were just about to fly in upon the prize, then Ajax slipped, while running (for Minerva did the mischief), where the dung of the deep-lowing slaughtered oxen was around, which swift-footed Achilles had slain in honour of Fatroclus. Then much-enduring, noble Ulysses took up the goblet, as he came running the first; and illustrious Ajax received the ox. But he stood, holding the horn of the rustic ox in his hands; and, spitting out the dung, spoke amongst the Greeks:
"Alas! surely a goddess injured my feet, who ever of old stands by Ulysses as a mother, and assists him."
Thus he spoke; and they all then laughed heartily at him. But Antilochus next bore away the last prize, smiling, and spoke among the Greeks:
"I will tell you all, my friends, though now knowing it, that even still the immortals honour the aged. For Ajax, indeed, is a little older than I am: but he is of a former generation, and former men; and they say that he is of crude old age, and it is difficult for the Greeks to contend in swiftness with him, except for Achilles."
Thus he spoke; and praised the swift-footed son of Peleus. But Achilles, answering, addressed him with words:
"Thy praise, O Antilochus, shall not be spoken in vain, but for thee I will add half a talent of gold."
So saying, he placed it in his hands; and he, rejoicing, received it. But the son of Peleus, bearing into the circus, laid down a long spear, and a shield, and helmet, the arms of Sarpedon, which Patroclus had stripped him of; and stood upright, and spoke amongst the Greeks:
"We invite two warriors, whoever are bravest, having put; on these arms, [and] seizing the flesh-rending brass, to make trial of each other before the host for these. Whoever shall be the first to wound the fair flesh, and touch the entrails through the armour and black blood, to him, indeed, will I give this silver-studded, beautiful Thracian sword, which I formerly took from Asteropæus. But let both bear away these arms in common, and before them I will place a splendid banquet in my tents."
Thus he spoke; but then arose mighty Telamonian Ajax, and the son of Tydeus, valiant Diomede rose up. But they, after they had armed apart on either side from the ground, both came together into the midst, eager to fight, looking dreadfully; and stupor possessed all the Greeks. But when approaching each other, they were near, thrice indeed they rushed on, and thrice made the attack hand to hand. Then Ajax, indeed, pierced through his shield, equal on all sides, nor reached the flesh; for the corslet inside protected him. But next the son of Tydeus, with the point of his shining spear, endeavoured to reach the neck, over his great shield. And then, indeed, the Greeks, fearing for Ajax, desired them, ceasing, to take up equal rewards. The hero, however, gave the great sword to Diomede, bearing it both with the sheath and the well-cut belt.
Then the son of Peleus deposited a rudely-molten mass of iron, which the great might of Eëtion used formerly to hurl. But when swift-footed, noble Achilles slew him, he brought this also, with other possessions, in his ships. Then he stood up, and spoke amongst the Greeks:
"Arise, you who will make trial of this contest also. Even if his rich fields be of very far and wide extent, using this he will have it even for five revolving years; for indeed neither will his shepherd nor his ploughman go into the city wanting iron, but [this] will furnish it."
Thus he spoke; then up arose warlike Polypœtes, and the valiant might of godlike Leonteus arose; also Telamonian Ajax, and noble Epëus arose. Then they stood in order; but noble Epëus seized the mass, and, whirling it round, threw it; but all the Greeks laughed at him. Next Leonteus, a branch of Mars, threw second; but third, mighty Telamonian Ajax hurled with his strong hand, and cast beyond the marks of all. But when now warlike Polypœtes had seized the mass, as far as a cow-herdsman throws his crook, which, whirled around, flies through the herds of oxen, so far, through the whole stadium, did he cast beyond; but they shouted aloud; and the companions of brave Polypœtes, rising up, bore away the prize of the king to the hollow ships.
Next, for the archers, he staked iron fit for making arrows, 772 and laid down ten battle-axes, and also ten demi-axes. He also set upright the mast of an azure-prowed vessel, afar upon the sands; from [this] he fastened a timid dove by a slender cord, by the foot, at which he ordered [them] to shoot:
Footnote 772: (return) I.e. well-tempered.
"Whosoever indeed shall strike the timid dove, taking up all the battle-axes, may bear [them] to his tent; but whosoever shall hit the cord, missing the bird (for he is inferior), let him bear off the demi-axes."
Thus he spoke; but then up rose the might of king Teucer, and up rose Meriones, the active attendant of Idomeneus; and taking the lots, they shook them in a brazen helmet. But Teucer was appointed first by lot; and straightway he shot an arrow strenuously, nor did he vow to sacrifice a celebrated hecatomb of firstling lambs to king [Apollo]. He missed the bird indeed, because Apollo envied him this, but he hit the string with which the bird was fastened, close to its foot; and the bitter arrow cut the cord quite through. Then indeed the bird ascended towards heaven, but the cord was sent down towards the earth: and the Greeks shouted applause. But Meriones, hastening, snatched the bow from his hand; and now held the arrow for a long time, as he had directed it; and immediately vowed to sacrifice to far-darting Apollo a noble hecatomb of firstling lambs. But he saw the timid dove on high beneath the clouds, which, as she was turning round, he hit in the middle under the wing, and the arrow pierced quite through. And it indeed again was fixed in the ground at the foot of Meriones: but the bird, alighting upon the mast of the azure-beaked galley, drooped its neck, and its close wings were at the same time expanded. And swift its soul flitted from its members, and it fell far from [the mast]; but the people wondering, beheld, and were stupified. Then Meriones took up all the ten battle-axes, and Teucer carried off the demi-axes to the hollow barks.
Then the son of Peleus indeed, bearing it into the circus, staked a long spear, and also a caldron, untouched by fire, worth an ox, adorned with flowers; and immediately the spearmen arose. The son of Atreus rose up, wide-ruling Agamemnon, and Meriones, the expert attendant of Idomeneus; whom also swift-footed, noble Achilles addressed:
"O son of Atreus, for we know how much thou dost surpass all, as well as how much thou excellest in strength and in the javelin, wherefore thou indeed mayest repair to the hollow barks, possessing this reward; but let us give the spear to the hero Meriones, if, truly, thou dost thus wish it in thy mind; for I on my part advise it."
Thus he spoke; nor did the king of men, Agamemnon, disobey; but he gave the brazen spear to Meriones; and the hero himself gave the very splendid prize to the herald Talthybius.