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Timothy Power - Scroll 2 lyrics

[1] Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept soundly, but sweet sleep did not take hold of Zeus, for he was thinking how to do honor to Achilles, to destroy many people at the ships of the Achaeans.

[5] In the end he thought it would be best to send a false dream to Atreus' son King Agamemnon; so he called one to him and said to it, "False Dream, go to the ships of the flowing-haired Achaeans,
[10] into the tent of Agamemnon, and say to him word to word as I now bid you. Tell him to get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for he shall take Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods;

[15] Hera has brought them to her own mind, and woe to the Trojans!" The dream went off when it had heard its message, and soon reached the ships of the Achaeans. It sought out Agamemnon son of Atreus and found him in his tent, wrapped in a profound slumber.

[20] It hovered over his head in the likeness of Nestor, son of Neleus, whom Agamemnon honored above all his councilors, and said: "You are sleeping, son of Atreus;

[25] one who has the welfare of his a**embly of warriors and so much other care upon his shoulders should limit his sleep. Hear me at once, for I come as a messenger from Zeus, who, though he is not near, yet takes thought for you and pities you. He bids you get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall take

[30] Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods; Hera has brought them over to her own mind, and woe to the Trojans at the hands of Zeus! Remember this, and when you wake see that it does not escape you."

[35] The dream then left him, and he thought of things that were surely not to be accomplished. He thought that on that same day he was to take the city of Priam, but little did he know what was in the mind of Zeus, who had many another

[40] hard-fought fights in store for Danaans and Trojans alike. Then presently he woke, with the divine message still ringing in his ears; so he sat upright, and put on his soft khiton so fair and new, and over this his heavy cloak. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet,

[45] and slung his silver-studded sword about his shoulders; then he took the imperishable [aphthiton] staff of his father, and came forth to the ships of the bronze-armored Achaeans. The goddess Dawn now wended her way to vast Olympus that she might herald day to Zeus and to the other immortals,

[50] and Agamemnon sent the criers round to call the people in a**embly; so they called them and the people gathered then. But first he summoned a meeting of the elders at the ship of Nestor king of Pylos,

[55] and when they were a**embled he laid a cunning counsel before them. "My friends," said he, "I have had a divine dream in the dead of night, and the dream's face and figure resembled none but Nestor's. It hovered over my head and said,

[60] 'You are sleeping, son of high-spirited Atreus, breaker of horses; one who has the welfare of his a**embly of warriors and so much other care upon his shoulders should dock his sleep. Hear me at once, for I am a messenger from Zeus, who, though he be not near, yet takes thought for you and pities you.

[65] He bids you get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall take Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods; Hera has brought them over to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans

[70] at the hands of Zeus. Remember this.' The dream then vanished and I awoke. Let us now, therefore, arm the sons of the flowing-haired Achaeans. But it will be the right thing [themis] that I should first sound them, and to this end I will tell them to flee with their ships;

[75] but do you others go about among the army of warriors and prevent their doing so." He then sat down, and Nestor the prince of sandy Pylos with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "My friends," said he, "princes and councilors of the Argives,

[80] 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." With this he led the way from the a**embly,

[85] and the other sceptered kings rose with him in obedience to the word of Agamemnon; but the people pressed forward to hear. They swarmed like bees that come forth from some hollow cave and flit in countless throng among the spring flowers,

[90] bunched in knots and clusters; even so did the mighty multitude pour from ships and tents to the a**embly, and range themselves upon the wide-watered shore, while among them ran Wildfire Rumor, messenger of Zeus, urging them ever to the fore.

[95] Thus they gathered in a pell-mell of mad confusion, and the earth groaned under the tramp of men as the people sought their places. Nine heralds went crying about among them to stay their tumult and bid them listen to the kings, till at last they were got into their several places and ceased their clamor.

[100] Then powerful King Agamemnon rose, holding his scepter. It was the work of Hephaistos, who gave it to Zeus the son of Kronos. Zeus gave it to the courier Hermes, slayer of Argos, guide and guardian. King Hermes gave it to Pelops, the mighty charioteer, and

[105] Pelops to Atreus, shepherd of his people. Atreus, when he died, left it to Thyestes, rich in flocks, and Thyestes in his turn left it to be borne by Agamemnon, that he might be lord of all Argos and of the isles. Leaning, then, on his scepter, he addressed the Argives.

[110] "My friends," he said, "heroes, attendants [therapontes] of Ares, Zeus the son of Kronos has tied me down with atē. Cruel, he gave me his solemn promise that I should destroy the strong-walled city of Priam before returning, but he has played me false, and is now bidding me

[115] go ingloriously back to Argos with the loss of much people. Such is the will of strong Zeus, who has laid many a proud city in the dust, as he will yet lay others, for his power is above all. It will be a sorry tale hereafter that an

[120] Achaean army of warriors, at once so great and valiant, battled in vain against men fewer in number than themselves; but as yet the end is not in sight. Think that the Achaeans and Trojans have sworn to a solemn covenant, and that they have each been numbered –

[125] the Trojans by the counting of their householders, and we by companies of ten; think further that each of our companies desired to have a Trojan householder to pour out their wine; we are so greatly more in number that full many a company would have to go without its cup-bearer.

[130] But they have in the town allies from other places, and it is these that hinder me from being able to destroy the rich city of Ilion. Nine of Zeus' years are gone;

[135] the timbers of our ships have rotted; their tackling is sound no longer. Our wives and little ones at home look anxiously for our coming, but the work that we came here to do has not been done. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say:

[140] let us sail back to our own land, for we shall not take Troy of the wide ways." With these words he moved the hearts of the multitude, so many of them as knew not the cunning counsel of Agamemnon. They surged to and fro like the waves

[145] of the Icarian Sea [pontos], when the east and south winds break from celestial clouds to lash them; or as when the west wind sweeps over a field of wheat and the ears bow beneath the blast, even so were they swayed as they flew with loud cries

[150] towards the ships, and the dust from under their feet rose skyward. They cheered each other on to draw the ships into the sea; they cleared the channels in front of them; they began taking away the stays from underneath them, and the sky rang with their glad cries, so eager were they to return.

[155] Then surely the Argives would have had a return [nostos] after a fashion that was not fated. But Hera said to Athena, "Alas, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, the one who cannot be worn down, shall the Argives flee home to their own land over the broad sea,

[160] and leave Priam and the Trojans the glory of still keeping Helen, for whose sake so many of the bronze-armored Achaeans have died at Troy, far from their homes? Go about at once among the army of warriors, and speak fairly to them, man by man,

[165] that they draw not their ships into the sea." Owl-vision goddess Athena was not slack to do her bidding. Down she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus, and in a moment she was at the ships of the Achaeans. There she found Odysseus, peer of Zeus in counsel,

[170] standing alone. He had not as yet laid a hand upon his ship, for he felt grief [akhos] and was sorry; so she went close up to him and said, "Resourceful Odysseus, noble son of Laertes,

[175] 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 army of warriors,

[180] and speak fairly to them, man by man, that they draw not their ships into the sea." Odysseus knew the voice as that of the goddess: he flung his cloak from him and set off to run. His attendant Eurybates, a man of Ithaca, who waited on him, took charge of the cloak,

[185] whereon Odysseus went straight up to Agamemnon son of Atreus and received from him his ancestral, imperishable staff. With this he went about among the ships of the Achaeans. Whenever he met a king or chieftain, he stood by him and spoke to him fairly.

[190] "Sir," said he, "this flight is cowardly and unworthy. Stand by your post, and bid your people also keep their places. You do not yet know the full mind [noos] of Agamemnon; he was sounding us, and before long will visit the Achaeans with his displeasure. We were not all of us at the council to hear what he then said;

[195] see to it lest he be angry and do us harm; for the honor [timē] of kings is great, and the hand of Zeus is with them." But when he came across some man from some locale [dēmos] who was making a noise, he struck him with his staff and rebuked him, saying,

[200] "What kind of superhuman force [daimōn] has possessed you? Hold your peace, and listen to better men than yourself. You are a coward and no warrior; you are nobody either in fight or council; we cannot all be kings; it is not well that there should be many masters; one man must be supreme –

[205] one king to whom the son of scheming Kronos has given the scepter and divine laws to rule over you all." Thus masterfully did he go about among the army of warriors, and the people hurried back to the council from their tents and ships with a sound as the thunder of surf when it comes crashing down upon the shore,

[210] and all the sea [pontos] is in an uproar. The rest now took their seats and kept to their own several places, but Thersites still went on wagging his unbridled tongue – a man of many words, and those unseemly; a monger of sedition, a railer against all who were in authority [kosmos], who cared not what he said,

[215] so that he might set the Achaeans in a laugh. He was the ugliest man of all those that came to Troy – bandy-legged, lame of one foot, with his two shoulders rounded and hunched over his chest. His head ran up to a point, but there was little hair on the top of it.

[220] He was hateful to Achilles and Odysseus most of all, for it was with them that he used to wrangle the most; now, however, with a shrill squeaky voice he began heaping his abuse on radiant Agamemnon. The Achaeans were angry and disgusted, but nevertheless he kept on brawling and bawling at the son of Atreus.

[225] "Agamemnon," he cried, "what ails you now, and what more do you want? Your tents are filled with bronze and with fair women, for whenever we take a town we give you the pick of them. Would you have yet more gold,

[230] which some Trojan is to give you as a ransom for his son, when I or another Achaean has taken him prisoner? or is it some young girl to hide and lie with? It is not well that you, the ruler of the Achaeans, should bring them into such misery.

[235] Weakling cowards, women rather than men, let us sail home, and leave this man here at Troy to stew in his own prizes of honor, and discover whether or not we were of any service to him. Achilles is a much better man than he is, and see how he has treated him –

[240] robbing him of his prize and keeping it himself. Achilles takes it meekly and shows no fight; if he did, son of Atreus, you would never again insult him." Thus railed Thersites, but radiant Odysseus at once went up to him

[245] and rebuked him sternly. "Check your glib tongue, Thersites," said be, "and babble not a word further. Chide not princes when you have no one to back you. There is no viler creature that has come to Troy with the sons of Atreus.

[250] Drop this chatter about kings, and neither revile them nor keep harping about homecoming [nostos]. 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 berate Agamemnon, son of Atreus, shepherd of the people,

[255] 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

[260] and be no longer called father of Telemakhos, or I will take you, strip you stark naked to reveal your shame [aidōs], and whip you out of the a**embly till you go blubbering back to the ships."

[265] Then he beat him with his staff about the back and shoulders till he dropped and fell weeping. The golden scepter raised a bloody welt on his back, so he sat down frightened and in pain, looking foolish as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

[270] The people were sorry for him, but they laughed heartily, and one man would turn to his neighbor saying, "Odysseus has done many a good thing before now in fight and council, but he never did the Argives a better turn

[275] than when he stopped this man's mouth from barking any further. He will give the kings no more of his insolence." Thus said the people. Then Odysseus, ransacker of cities, rose, scepter in hand, and owl-vision Athena

[280] in the likeness of a herald bade the people be still, that those who were far off might hear him and consider his council. He therefore with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "King Agamemnon, son of Atreus, the Achaeans are for

[285] making you a by-word among all humankind. They forget the promise they made you when they set out from horse-pasturing Argos, that you should not return till you had destroyed the town of strong-walled Troy, and, like children or widowed women,

[290] they murmur and would set off homeward. True it is that they have had toil [ponos] enough to be disheartened. A man chafes at having to stay away from his wife even for a single month, when he is on shipboard, at the mercy of wind and sea,

[295] but it is now nine long years that we have been kept here; I cannot, therefore, blame the Achaeans if they turn restive; still we shall be shamed if we go home empty-handed after so long a stay – therefore, my friends, be patient yet a little longer that we may learn

[300] whether the prophecies of Kalkhas were false or true. All who have not since perished must remember as though it were yesterday or the day before, how the ships of the Achaeans were detained in Aulis when we were on our way here to make war on Priam and the Trojans.

[305] We were ranged round about a fountain offering hecatombs to the gods upon their holy altars, and there was a fine plane-tree from beneath which there welled a stream of pure water. Then we saw a sign [sēma]; for Zeus sent a fearful serpent out of the ground, with blood-red stains upon its back,

[310] and it darted from under the altar on to the plane-tree. Now there was a brood of young sparrows, quite small, upon the topmost bough, peeping out from under the leaves, eight in all, and their mother that hatched them made nine. The serpent ate the poor cheeping things,

[315] while the old bird flew about lamenting her little ones; but the serpent threw his coils about her and caught her by the wing as she was screaming. Then, when he had eaten both the sparrow and her young, the god who had sent him made him become a sign; for the son of scheming Kronos turned him into stone,

[320] and we stood there wondering at that which had come to pa**. Seeing, then, that such a fearful portent had broken in upon our hecatombs, Kalkhas right away declared to us the divine oracles. 'Why, flowing-haired Achaeans,' said he, 'are you thus speechless? Zeus has sent us this sign,

[325] long in coming, and long before it be fulfilled, though its fame [kleos] shall last for ever. As the serpent ate the eight fledglings and the sparrow that hatched them, which makes nine, so shall we fight nine years at Troy, but in the tenth shall take the town.'

[330] This was what he said, and now it is all coming true. Stay here, therefore, all of you, till we take the city of Priam." Then the Argives raised a shout, till the ships rang again with the uproar.

[335] Nestor, charioteer of Gerenia, then addressed them. "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?

[340] 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;

[345] 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 before they have learned whether Zeus be true or a liar.

[350] For the mighty son of all-powerful Kronos surely promised that we should succeed, when we Argives set sail to bring d**h and destruction upon the Trojans. He showed us favorable signs [sēmata] by flashing his lightning on our right hands; therefore let none make haste to go

[355] 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.

[360] But, O king, consider and listen to my counsel, for the word that I say may not be neglected lightly. Divide [krinein] 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,

[365] you will find out who, both chiefs and peoples, are brave, and who are cowards; for they will vie against the other. Thus you shall also learn whether it is through the counsel of the gods or the cowardice of men that you shall fail to take the town." And powerful Agamemnon answered,

[370] "Nestor, you have again outdone the sons of the Achaeans in counsel. Would, by Father Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, that I had among them ten more such councilors, for the city of King Priam would then soon fall beneath our hands, and we should destroy it.

[375] But Zeus of the aegis the son of Kronos afflicts me with bootless wranglings and strife. Achilles and I are quarrelling about this girl, in which matter I was the first to offend; if we can be of one mind again,

[380] the Trojans will not stave off destruction for a day. Now, therefore, get your morning meal, that our armies of warriors join in fight. Whet well your spears; see well to the ordering of your shields; give good feeds to your swift-footed horses, and look your chariots carefully over,

[385] that we may do battle the livelong day; for we shall have no rest, not for a moment, till night falls to part us. The bands that bear your shields shall be wet with the sweat upon your shoulders, your hands shall weary upon your spears,

[390] your horses shall steam in front of your chariots, and if I see any man shirking the fight, or trying to keep out of it at the ships, there shall be no help for him, but he shall be a prey to dogs and vultures." Thus he spoke, and the Achaeans roared approval. As when the waves run high

[395] before the blast of the south wind and break on some lofty headland, dashing against it and buffeting it without ceasing, as the storms from every quarter drive them, even so did the Achaeans rise and hurry in all directions to their ships. There they lighted their fires at their tents and got dinner,

[400] offering sacrifice every man to one or other of the gods, and praying each one of them that he might live to come out of the fight. Agamemnon, king of men, sacrificed a fat five-year-old bull to the mighty son of Kronos, and invited the princes and elders of his a**embly of warriors.

[405] First he asked Nestor and King Idomeneus, then the two Ajaxes and the son of Tydeus, and sixthly Odysseus, peer of gods in counsel; but Menelaos came of his own accord, for he knew how busy his brother then was.

[410] They stood round the bull with the barley-meal in their hands, and powerful Agamemnon prayed, saying, "Zeus, most glorious, supreme, that dwells in the sky, and rides upon the storm-cloud, grant that the sun may not go down, nor the night fall, till the palace of Priam is laid low,

[415] and its gates are consumed with fire. Grant that my sword may pierce the khiton of Hector about his heart, and that full many of his comrades may bite the dust as they fall dying round him." Thus he prayed, but the son of Kronos would not fulfill his prayer.

[420] He accepted the sacrifice, yet none the less increased their toil [ponos] continually. When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley-meal upon the victim, they drew back its head, k**ed 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.

[425] These they burned upon the split logs of firewood, but they spitted the innards, and held them in the flames to cook. When the thigh-pieces were burned, and they had tasted the innards, they cut the rest up small, put the pieces upon spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew them off;

[430] then, when they had finished their work [ponos] 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, charioteer of Gerenia, began to speak. "King Agamemnon," said he,

[435] "let us not stay talking here, nor be slack in the work that the gods have put into our hands. Let the heralds summon the bronze-armored people to gather at their several ships; we will then go about among the army of warriors,

[440] that we may begin fighting at once." Thus did he speak, and the lord of men Agamemnon heeded his words. He at once sent the criers round to call the people in a**embly. So they called them, and the people gathered then.
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[445] The chiefs about the son of Atreus chose their men and marshaled [krinein] them, while owl-vision Athena went among them holding her priceless aegis that knows neither age nor d**h. From it there waved a hundred ta**els of pure gold, all deftly woven, and each one of them worth a hundred oxen.

[450] With this she darted furiously everywhere among the ma**es of the Achaeans, urging them forward, and putting courage into the heart of each, so that he might fight and do battle without ceasing. Thus war became sweeter in their eyes even than returning home in their ships.

[455] As when some great forest fire is raging upon a mountain top and its light is seen afar, even so as they marched the gleam of their armor flashed up into the firmament of the sky. They were like great flocks

[460] of geese, or cranes, or swans on the plain about the waters of Cayster, that wing their way here and there, glorying in the pride of flight, and crying as they settle till the fen is alive with their screaming. Even thus did their tribes pour from ships and tents

[465] on to the plain of the Skamandros, and the ground rang as bra** under the feet of men and horses. They stood as thick upon the flower-bespangled field as leaves that bloom in season [hōra]. As countless swarms of flies

[470] buzz around a herdsman's homestead in the time [hōra] of spring when milk is splashing in the pails, even so did the Achaeans swarm on to the plain to charge the Trojans and destroy them. The chiefs disposed their men this way and that before the fight began, drafting them out

[475] as easily as goatherds draft their flocks when they have got mixed while feeding; and among them went powerful King Agamemnon, with a head and face like Zeus the lord of thunder, a waist like Ares, and a chest like that of Poseidon.

[480] As some great bull that lords it over the herds upon the plain, even so did Zeus make the son of Atreus stand peerless among the multitude of heroes.
And now, tell me, O Muses, you who live in your Olympian abodes,

[485] since you are goddesses and you were there and you know everything, 486 but we [= the Narrator] only hear the kleos and we know nothing 487 - who were the chiefs and princes of the Danaans [= the Achaeans]? As for the common warriors, they were so that I could not name every single one of them though I had ten tongues,

[490] and though my voice failed not and my heart were of bronze within me, unless you, O Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus, were to recount them to me. Nevertheless, I will tell the captains of the ships and all the fleet together. Peneleos, Leitos,

[495] Arkesilaos, Prothoenor, and Klonios were chiefs of the Boeotians. These were they that dwelt in Hyria and rocky Aulis, and who held Skhoinos, Skolos, and the highlands of Eteonos, with Thespeia, Graia, and the fair city of Mykalessos. They also held Harma, Eilesion, and Erythrai;

[500] and they had Eleon, Hyle, and Peteon; Ocalea and the strong fortress of Medeon; Copae, Eutresis, and Thisbe the haunt of doves; Coronea, and the pastures of Haliartos; Plataea and Glisas;

[505] the fortress of Thebes the less; holy Onkhestos with its famous grove of Poseidon; Arne rich in vineyards; Midea, sacred Nisa, and Anthedon upon the sea. From these there came fifty ships, and in each

[510] there were a hundred and twenty young men of the Boeotians. Askalaphos and Ialmenos, sons of Ares, led the people that dwelt in Aspledon and Orkhomenos the realm of Minyas. Astyokhe a noble maiden bore them in the house of Aktor son of Azeus; for she had gone with Ares secretly into an upper chamber,

[515] and he had lain with her. With these there came thirty ships. The Phocians were led by Skhedios and Epistrophos, sons of mighty Iphitos the son of great-hearted Naubolos. These were they that held Kyparissos, rocky Pytho [Delphi],

[520] holy Krisa, Daulis, and Panopeus; they also that dwelt in Anemorea and Hyampolis, and about the waters of the river Kephissos, and Lilaea by the springs of the Kephissos; with their chieftains came forty ships,

[525] and they marshaled the forces of the Phocians, which were stationed next to the Boeotians, on their left. Ajax, the fleet son of Oïleus, commanded the Locrians. He was not so great, nor nearly so great, as Ajax the son of Telamon. He was a little man, and his breastplate was made of linen,

[530] but in use of the spear he excelled all the Hellenes and the Achaeans. These dwelt in Kynos, Opous, Kalliaros, Bessa, Skarphe, fair Augeiai, Tarphe, and Thronion about the river Boagrios. With him there came forty ships

[535] of the Locrians who dwell beyond sacred Euboea. The fierce Abantes held Euboea with its cities, Khalkis, Eretria, Histiaia rich in vines, Kerinthos upon the sea, and the rock-perched town of Dion; with them were also the men of Karystos and Styra;

[540] Elephenor of the lineage of Ares was in command of these; he was son of Khalkodon, and chief over all the great-hearted Abantes. With him they came, fleet of foot and wearing their hair long behind, brave warriors, who would ever strive to tear open the armor of their foes with their long ashen spears.

[545] Of these there came fifty ships. And they that held the strong-founded city of Athens, the district [dēmos] of great-hearted Erekhtheus, who was born of the Earth herself, but Zeus' daughter, Athena, nursed him, and established him at Athens in her own rich sanctuary. There, year by year, the Athenian youths worship him

[550] with sacrifices of bulls and rams. These were commanded by Menestheus, son of Peteos. No man living could equal him in the marshalling of chariots and foot soldiers.

[555] Nestor could alone rival him, for he was older. With him there came fifty ships. Ajax brought twelve ships from Salamis, and stationed them alongside those of the Athenians. The men of Argos, again, and those who held the walls of Tiryns,

[560] with Hermione, and Asine upon the gulf; Trozen, Eionai, and the vineyard lands of Epidauros; the Achaean youths, moreover, who came from Aegina and Mases; these were led by Diomedes of the loud battle-cry, and Sthenelos son of famed Kapaneus.

[565] With them in command was Euryalos a godlike man, son of king Mekisteus, son of Talaos; but Diomedes of the great war cry was chief over them all. With these there came eighty ships. Those who held the strong city of Mycenae,

[570] rich Corinth and Kleonai; Orneai, lovely Araithyrea, and Likyon, where Adrastos reigned of old; Hyperesia, high Gonoessa, and Pellene; Aigion

[575] and all the coast-land round about Helike; these sent a hundred ships under the command of powerful 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 armor of gleaming bronze – foremost among the heroes,

[580] 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; Bryseai, lovely Augeiai, Amyklai, and Helos upon the sea;

[585] Laas, moreover, and Oitylos; these were led by Menelaos of the loud battle-cry, brother to Agamemnon, and of them there
were sixty ships, drawn up apart from the others. Among them went Menelaos himself, strong in zeal, urging his men to fight; for he longed to

[590] avenge the toil and sorrow that he had suffered for the sake of Helen. The men of Pylos and lovely Arene, and Thryon where is the ford of the river Alpheus; strong-built Aepy, Kyparisseis, and Amphigenea; Pteleon, Helos, and Dorion, where the Muses

[595] met Thamyris, and stilled his minstrelsy for ever. He was returning from Oikhalia, where Eurytos lived and reigned, and boasted that he would surpa** even the Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus, if they should sing against him; whereon they were angry, and maimed him.

[600] They robbed him of his divine power of song, and thenceforth he could strike the lyre no more. These were commanded by Nestor, charioteer of Gerenia, and with him there came ninety ships. And those that held Arcadia, under the high mountain of Cyllene, near the tomb of Aipytos, where the people fight hand to hand;

[605] the men of Pheneus also, and Orkhomenos rich in flocks; of Rhipai, Stratie, and bleak Enispe; of Tegea and fair Mantinea; of Stymphelos and Parrhasia; of these powerful King Agapenor son of Ankaios was commander,

[610] and they had sixty ships. Many Arcadians, good warriors, came in each one of them, but Agamemnon found them the ships in which to cross the sea [pontos], for they were not a people that occupied their business upon the waters.

[615] The men, moreover, of Bouprasion and of radiant Elis, so much of it as is enclosed between Hyrmine, Myrsinos upon the sea shore, the rock Olene and Alesion. These had four leaders, and each of them had ten ships, with many Epeioi on board.

[620] Their chiefs were Amphimakhos and Thalpios – the one, son of Kteatos, and the other, of Eurytos – both of the lineage of Aktor. The two others were Diores, son of Amarynkes, and godlike Polyxenos, son of King Agasthenes, son of Augeas.

[625] And those of Doulikhion with the sacred Echinean islands, who dwelt beyond the sea off Elis; these were led by Meges, peer of Ares, and the son of valiant Phyleus, dear to Zeus, who quarreled with his father, and went to settle in Doulikhion.

[630] With him there came forty ships. Odysseus led the brave Kephallēnians, who held Ithaca, Neriton with its forests, Crocylea, rugged Aigilips, Samos and Zakynthos,

[635] with the mainland also that was over against the islands. These were led by Odysseus, peer of Zeus in counsel, and with him there came twelve ships. Thoas, son of Andraimon, commanded the Aetolians, who dwelt in Pleuron, Olenos, Pylene,

[640] Khalkis by the sea, and rocky Calydon, for the great high-hearted king Oineus had now no sons living, and was himself dead, as was also golden-haired Meleager, who had been set over the Aetolians to be their king. And with Thoas there came forty ships.

[645] The famous spearman Idomeneus led the Cretans, who held Knossos, and the well-walled city of Gortys; Lyktos also, Miletus and silver-shining Lykastos that lies upon the chalk; the populous towns of Phaistos and Rhytion, with the other peoples that dwelt in the hundred cities of Crete.

[650] All these were led by Idomeneus, and by Meriones, peer of manslaughtering Ares. And with these there came eighty ships. Tlepolemos, son of Herakles, a man both brave and large of stature, brought nine ships of lordly warriors from Rhodes.

[655] These dwelt in Rhodes which is divided among the three cities of Lindos, Ialysos, and Kameiros, that lies upon the chalk. These were commanded by Tlepolemos, son of mighty Herakles and born of Astyochea, whom he had carried off from Ephyra, on the river Selleis,

[660] after destroying many cities of valiant warriors. When Tlepolemos grew up, he k**ed his father's uncle Likymnios, scion of Ares, who had been a famous warrior in his time, but was then grown old. Then he built himself a fleet, gathered a great following,

[665] and fled beyond the sea [pontos], for he was menaced by the other sons and grandsons of Herakles. After a voyage during which he suffered great hardship, he came as a wanderer to Rhodes, where the people divided into three communities, according to their tribes, and were dearly loved by Zeus, the lord of gods and men;

[670] wherefore the son of Kronos who is lord over all gods and all men, showered down great riches upon them. And Nireus brought three ships from Syme – Nireus, who was the handsomest man that came up under Ilion of all the Danaans after the perfect son of Peleus –

[675] but he was a man of no substance, and had but a small following. And those that held Nisyros, Karpathos, and Kasos, with Kos, the city of Eurypylos, and the Calydnian islands, these were commanded by Pheidippos and Antiphos, two sons of King Thessalos the son of Herakles.

[680] And with them there came thirty ships. Those again who held Pelasgian Argos, Alos, Alope, and Trachis; and those of Phthia and Hellas the land of fair women, who were called Myrmidons, Hellenes, and Achaeans;

[685] these had fifty ships, over which Achilles was in command. But they now took no part in the war, inasmuch as there was no one to marshal them; for swift-footed radiant Achilles stayed by his ships, furious about the loss of the girl of the lovely hair, Brisēis, whom he had taken from Lyrnessos at his own great peril,

[690] when he had destroyed Lyrnessos and Thebe, and had overthrown Mynes the furious spearman and Epistrophos, sons of king Euenor, son of Selepus. For her sake Achilles was still in grief [akhos], but before long he was again to join them.

[695] And then there were those that held Phylake and Pyrasos, with its flowery meadows, 696 precinct of Demeter; and Iton, the mother of sheep; 697 Antron upon the sea, and Pteleon that lies upon the gra** lands. 698 Of these men the Arēs-like Protesilaos had been leader 699 while he was still alive, but now he was held down by the black earth that covered him.

[700] He had left a wife behind him in Phylake to tear both her cheeks in sorrow, 701 and his house was only half completed [hēmi-telēs]. He was k**ed by a Dardanian warrior 702 while he was leaping out from his ship [on Trojan soil], and he was the very first of the Achaeans to make the leap. 703 Still, his people were not without a leader, though they longed [potheîn] for their leader. 704 But now his people were organized [kosmeîn] by Podarkes, attendant [ozos] of Arēs.

[705] He [= Podarkes] was son of Iphiklos, rich in sheep, who was the son of Phylakos, 706 and he [= Podarkes] was the blood brother of Protesilaos, the one with the great heart [thūmos]. 707 But he [= Podarkes] was younger, Protesilaos being both older and more Arēs-like, 708 yes, that hero [hērōs] Protesilaos, the Arēs-like. Still, his people were not 709 without a leader, though they longed [potheîn] for him [= Protesilaos], noble [esthlos] man that he was.

[710] With him there came forty ships. And those that held Pherai by the Boebean lake, with Boebe, Glaphyrai, and the strong-founded populous city of Iolkos, these with their eleven ships were led by Eumelos, dear son of Admetos,

[715] whom Alcestis bore to him, loveliest of the daughters of Pelias. And those that held Methone and Thaumakia, with Meliboia and rugged Olizon, these were led by the skilful archer Philoctetes, and they had seven ships, each with fifty oarsmen

[720] all of them good archers; but Philoctetes was lying in great pain in the Island of Lemnos, where the sons of the Achaeans left him, for he had been bitten by a poisonous water snake. There he lay sick and in grief [akhos],

[725] and full soon did the Argives come to miss him. But his people, though they felt his loss were not leaderless, for Medon, the bastard son of Oïleus by Rhene, set them in array. Those, again, of Tricca and the stony region of Ithome,

[730] and they that held Oikhalia, the city of Oikhalian Eurytos, these were commanded by the two sons of Asklepios, sk**ed in the art of healing, Podaleirios and Makhaon. And with them there came thirty ships. The men, moreover, of Ormenios, and by the fountain of Hypereia,

[735] with those that held Asterios, and the white crests of Titanos, these were led by Eurypylos, the shining son of Euaimon, and with them there came forty ships. Those that held Argissa and Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, and the white city of Oloösson,

[740] of these brave Polypoites, stubborn in battle, was leader. He was son of Perithoös, who was son of Zeus himself, for Hippodameia bore him to Perithoös on the day when he took his revenge on the shaggy mountain savages and drove them from Mount Pelion to the Aithikes.

[745] But Polypoites was not sole in command, for with him was Leonteus, of the lineage of Ares, who was son of high-hearted Koronos, the son of Kaineus. And with these there came forty ships. Gouneus brought two and twenty ships from Kyphos, and he was followed by the Enienes and the valiant Perrhaiboi,

[750] who dwelt about wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river Titaresios, which sends its waters into the Peneus. They do not mingle with the silver eddies of the Peneus, but flow on the top of them like oil;

[755] for the Titaresios is a branch of dread Orkos and of the river Styx, the fearful oath-river. Of the Magnetes, Prothoös son of Tenthredon was commander. They were they that dwelt about the river Peneus and Mount Pelion. Prothoös, fleet of foot, was their leader, and with him there came forty ships.

[760] Such were the chiefs and princes of the Danaans. Who, then, O Muse, was the foremost, whether man or horse, among those that followed after the sons of Atreus? Of the horses, those of the son of Pheres were by far the finest. They were driven by Eumelos, and were as fleet as birds.

[765] They were of the same age and color, and perfectly matched in height. Apollo, of the silver bow, had bred them in Perea – both of them mares, and terrifying as Ares in battle. Of the men, Ajax, son of Telamon, was much the foremost so long as Achilles' anger lasted, for Achilles the blameless son of Peleus excelled him greatly

[770] and he had also better horses; but Achilles was now holding aloof at his ships by reason of his quarrel with Agamemnon, shepherd of the people, and his people pa**ed their time upon the sea shore, throwing discs or aiming with spears at a mark,

[775] and in archery. Their horses stood each by his own chariot, champing lotus and wild celery. The chariots were housed under cover, but their owners, for lack of leadership, wandered here and there about the army of warriors and went not forth to fight.

[780] Thus marched the army like a consuming fire, and the earth groaned beneath them when the lord of thunder is angry and lashes the land about Typhoeus among the Arimoi, where they say Typhoeus lies. Even so did the earth groan beneath them

[785] as they sped over the plain. And now Iris, fleet as the wind, was sent by Zeus of the aegis to tell the bad news among the Trojans. They were gathered in a**embly, old and young, at Priam's gates,

[790] 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 Aisyetes, to look out for any attack of the Achaeans.

[795] In his likeness Iris the swift-running spoke, saying, "Old man, you talk idly, as in time of peace, while war is at hand. I have been in many a battle, but never yet saw such an army of warriors as is now advancing. They are crossing the plain to attack the city as

[800] thick as leaves or as the sands of the sea. Hector, I charge you above all others, do as I say. There are many allies dispersed about the city of Priam from distant places and speaking divers tongues.

[805] Therefore, let each chief give orders to his own people, setting them severally in array and leading them forth to battle." Thus she spoke, but Hector knew that it was the goddess, and at once broke up the a**embly. The men flew to arms; all the gates were opened, and the people thronged through them,

[810] horse and foot, with the tramp as of a great multitude. Now there is a high mound before the city, rising by itself upon the plain. Men call it Batieia, but the gods know that it is the tomb [sēma] of lithe dancing Myrrhine.

[815] Here the Trojans and their allies divided their forces. Priam's son, great Hector of the gleaming helmet, commanded the Trojans, and with him were arrayed by far the greater number and most valiant of those who were longing for the fray. The Dardanians were led by brave

[820] Aeneas, whom divine Aphrodite bore to Anchises, when she, goddess though she was, had lain with him upon the mountain slopes of Ida. He was not alone, for with him were the two sons of Antenor, Arkhilokhos and Akamas, both sk**ed in all the arts of war. They that dwelt in Telea under the lowest spurs of Mount Ida,

[825] men of substance, who drink the limpid waters of the Aisepos, and are of Trojan blood – these were led by Pandaros shining son of Lykaon, whom Apollo had taught to use the bow. They that held Adrasteia and the locale [dēmos] of Apaisos, with Pityeia, and the high mountain of Tereia –

[830] these were led by Adrastos and Amphios, whose breastplate was of linen. These were the sons of Merops of Perkote, 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.

[835] They that dwelt about Perkote and Praktios, with Sestos, Abydos, and radiant Arisbe – these were led by Asios, son of Hyrtakos, a brave commander – Asios, the son of Hyrtakos, whom his powerful dark bay steeds, of the breed that comes from the river Selleis, had brought from Arisbe.

[840] Hippothoös led the tribes of Pelasgian spearmen, who dwelt in fertile Larissa – Hippothoös, and Pylaios of the lineage of Ares, two sons of the Pelasgian Lethos, son of Teutamos. Akamas and the warrior Peiroös commanded the Thracians

[845] and those that came from beyond the mighty stream of the Hellespont. Euphemos, son of Troizenos, the son of Keos, was chief of the spear-carrying Kikones. Pyraikhmes led the Paeonian archers from distant Amydon, by the broad waters of the river Axios,

[850] the fairest that flow upon the earth. The Paphlagonians were commanded by stout-hearted Pylaimenes from Enetai, where the mules run wild in herds. These were they that held Kytoros and the country round Sesamos, with the cities by the river Parthenios,

[855] Kromna, Aigialos, and lofty Erythinoi. Odios and Epistrophos were chiefs over the Halizonoi from distant Alybe, where there are mines of silver. Khromis, and Ennomos the augur, led the Mysians, but his sk** in augury availed not to save him from destruction,

[860] for he fell by the hand of the fleet descendant of Aiakos in the river, where he slew others also of the Trojans. Phorkys, again, and noble godlike Ascanius led the Phrygians from the far country of Ascania, and both were eager for the fray. Mesthles and Antiphos commanded the Maeonians,

[865] sons of Talaimenes, born to him of the Gygaean lake. These led the Maeonians, who dwelt under Mount Tmolos. Nastes led the Carians, men of a strange speech. These held Miletus and the wooded mountain of Phthires, with the water of the river Maeander and the lofty crests of Mount Mykale.

[870] These were commanded by Nastes and Amphimakhos, the brave sons of Nomion. He came into the fight with gold about him, like a girl; fool that he was, his gold was of no avail to save him, for he fell in the river by the hand of the fleet descendant of Aiakos,

[875] and Achilles bore away his gold. Sarpedon and Glaukos led the Lycians from their distant land, by the eddying waters of the Xanthos.

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