Book V Then Pallas Minerva put valour into the heart of Diomed, son of Tydeus,
that he might excel all the other Argives, and cover himself with glory.
She made a stream of fire flare from his shield and helmet like the star
that shines most brilliantly in summer after its bath in the waters of
Oceanus- even such a fire did she kindle upon his head and shoulders as
she bade him speed into the thickest hurly-burly of the
Now there was a certain rich and honourable man among the Trojans,
priest of Vulcan, and his name was Dares. He had two sons, Phegeus and
Idaeus, both of them skilled in all the arts of war. These two came forward
from the main body of Trojans, and set upon Diomed, he being on foot, while
they fought from their chariot. When they were close up to one another,
Phegeus took aim first, but his spear went over Diomed′s left shoulder
without hitting him. Diomed then threw, and his spear sped not in vain,
for it hit Phegeus on the breast near the nipple, and he fell from his
chariot. Idaeus did not dare to bestride his brother′s body, but sprang
from the chariot and took to flight, or he would have shared his brother′s
fate; whereon Vulcan saved him by wrapping him in a cloud of darkness,
that his old father might not be utterly overwhelmed with grief; but the
son of Tydeus drove off with the horses, and bade his followers take them
to the ships. The Trojans were scared when they saw the two sons of Dares,
one of them in fright and the other lying dead by his chariot. Minerva,
therefore, took Mars by the hand and said, "Mars, Mars, bane of men, bloodstained
stormer of cities, may we not now leave the Trojans and Achaeans to fight
it out, and see to which of the two Jove will vouchsafe the victory? Let
us go away, and thus avoid his anger."
So saying, she drew Mars out of the battle, and set him down upon
the steep banks of the Scamander. Upon this the Danaans drove the Trojans
back, and each one of their chieftains killed his man. First King Agamemnon
flung mighty Odius, captain of the Halizoni, from his chariot. The spear
of Agamemnon caught him on the broad of his back, just as he was turning
in flight; it struck him between the shoulders and went right through his
chest, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the
Then Idomeneus killed Phaesus, son of Borus the Meonian, who had
come from Varne. Mighty Idomeneus speared him on the right shoulder as
he was mounting his chariot, and the darkness of death enshrouded him as
he fell heavily from the car.
The squires of Idomeneus spoiled him of his armour, while Menelaus,
son of Atreus, killed Scamandrius the son of Strophius, a mighty huntsman
and keen lover of the chase. Diana herself had taught him how to kill every
kind of wild creature that is bred in mountain forests, but neither she
nor his famed skill in archery could now save him, for the spear of Menelaus
struck him in the back as he was flying; it struck him between the shoulders
and went right through his chest, so that he fell headlong and his armour
rang rattling round him.
Meriones then killed Phereclus the son of Tecton, who was the son
of Hermon, a man whose hand was skilled in all manner of cunning workmanship,
for Pallas Minerva had dearly loved him. He it was that made the ships
for Alexandrus, which were the beginning of all mischief, and brought evil
alike both on the Trojans and on Alexandrus himself; for he heeded not
the decrees of heaven. Meriones overtook him as he was flying, and struck
him on the right buttock. The point of the spear went through the bone
into the bladder, and death came upon him as he cried aloud and fell forward
on his knees.
Meges, moreover, slew Pedaeus, son of Antenor, who, though he was
a bastard, had been brought up by Theano as one of her own children, for
the love she bore her husband. The son of Phyleus got close up to him and
drove a spear into the nape of his neck: it went under his tongue all among
his teeth, so he bit the cold bronze, and fell dead in the
And Eurypylus, son of Euaemon, killed Hypsenor, the son of noble
Dolopion, who had been made priest of the river Scamander, and was honoured
among the people as though he were a god. Eurypylus gave him chase as he
was flying before him, smote him with his sword upon the arm, and lopped
his strong hand from off it. The bloody hand fell to the ground, and the
shades of death, with fate that no man can withstand, came over his
Thus furiously did the battle rage between them. As for the son
of Tydeus, you could not say whether he was more among the Achaeans or
the Trojans. He rushed across the plain like a winter torrent that has
burst its barrier in full flood; no dykes, no walls of fruitful vineyards
can embank it when it is swollen with rain from heaven, but in a moment
it comes tearing onward, and lays many a field waste that many a strong
man hand has reclaimed- even so were the dense phalanxes of the Trojans
driven in rout by the son of Tydeus, and many though they were, they dared
not abide his onslaught.
Now when the son of Lycaon saw him scouring the plain and driving
the Trojans pell-mell before him, he aimed an arrow and hit the front part
of his cuirass near the shoulder: the arrow went right through the metal
and pierced the flesh, so that the cuirass was covered with blood. On this
the son of Lycaon shouted in triumph, "Knights Trojans, come on; the bravest
of the Achaeans is wounded, and he will not hold out much longer if King
Apollo was indeed with me when I sped from Lycia hither."
Thus did he vaunt; but his arrow had not killed Diomed, who withdrew
and made for the chariot and horses of Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus.
"Dear son of Capaneus," said he, "come down from your chariot, and draw
the arrow out of my shoulder."
Sthenelus sprang from his chariot, and drew the arrow from the
wound, whereon the blood came spouting out through the hole that had been
made in his shirt. Then Diomed prayed, saying, "Hear me, daughter of aegis-bearing
Jove, unweariable, if ever you loved my father well and stood by him in
the thick of a fight, do the like now by me; grant me to come within a
spear′s throw of that man and kill him. He has been too quick for me and
has wounded me; and now he is boasting that I shall not see the light of
the sun much longer."
Thus he prayed, and Pallas Minerva heard him; she made his limbs
supple and quickened his hands and his feet. Then she went up close to
him and said, "Fear not, Diomed, to do battle with the Trojans, for I have
set in your heart the spirit of your knightly father Tydeus. Moreover,
I have withdrawn the veil from your eyes, that you know gods and men apart.
If, then, any other god comes here and offers you battle, do not fight
him; but should Jove′s daughter Venus come, strike her with your spear
and wound her."
When she had said this Minerva went away, and the son of Tydeus
again took his place among the foremost fighters, three times more fierce
even than he had been before. He was like a lion that some mountain shepherd
has wounded, but not killed, as he is springing over the wall of a sheep-yard
to attack the sheep. The shepherd has roused the brute to fury but cannot
defend his flock, so he takes shelter under cover of the buildings, while
the sheep, panic-stricken on being deserted, are smothered in heaps one
on top of the other, and the angry lion leaps out over the sheep-yard wall.
Even thus did Diomed go furiously about among the Trojans.
He killed Astynous, and shepherd of his people, the one with a
thrust of his spear, which struck him above the nipple, the other with
a sword- cut on the collar-bone, that severed his shoulder from his neck
and back. He let both of them lie, and went in pursuit of Abas and Polyidus,
sons of the old reader of dreams Eurydamas: they never came back for him
to read them any more dreams, for mighty Diomed made an end of them. He
then gave chase to Xanthus and Thoon, the two sons of Phaenops, both of
them very dear to him, for he was now worn out with age, and begat no more
sons to inherit his possessions. But Diomed took both their lives and left
their father sorrowing bitterly, for he nevermore saw them come home from
battle alive, and his kinsmen divided his wealth among
Then he came upon two sons of Priam, Echemmon and Chromius, as
they were both in one chariot. He sprang upon them as a lion fastens on
the neck of some cow or heifer when the herd is feeding in a coppice. For
all their vain struggles he flung them both from their chariot and stripped
the armour from their bodies. Then he gave their horses to his comrades
to take them back to the ships.
When Aeneas saw him thus making havoc among the ranks, he went
through the fight amid the rain of spears to see if he could find Pandarus.
When he had found the brave son of Lycaon he said, "Pandarus, where is
now your bow, your winged arrows, and your renown as an archer, in respect
of which no man here can rival you nor is there any in Lycia that can beat
you? Lift then your hands to Jove and send an arrow at this fellow who
is going so masterfully about, and has done such deadly work among the
Trojans. He has killed many a brave man- unless indeed he is some god who
is angry with the Trojans about their sacrifices, and and has set his hand
against them in his displeasure."
And the son of Lycaon answered, "Aeneas, I take him for none other
than the son of Tydeus. I know him by his shield, the visor of his helmet,
and by his horses. It is possible that he may be a god, but if he is the
man I say he is, he is not making all this havoc without heaven′s help,
but has some god by his side who is shrouded in a cloud of darkness, and
who turned my arrow aside when it had hit him. I have taken aim at him
already and hit him on the right shoulder; my arrow went through the breastpiece
of his cuirass; and I made sure I should send him hurrying to the world
below, but it seems that I have not killed him. There must be a god who
is angry with me. Moreover I have neither horse nor chariot. In my father′s
stables there are eleven excellent chariots, fresh from the builder, quite
new, with cloths spread over them; and by each of them there stand a pair
of horses, champing barley and rye; my old father Lycaon urged me again
and again when I was at home and on the point of starting, to take chariots
and horses with me that I might lead the Trojans in battle, but I would
not listen to him; it would have been much better if I had done so, but
I was thinking about the horses, which had been used to eat their fill,
and I was afraid that in such a great gathering of men they might be ill-fed,
so I left them at home and came on foot to Ilius armed only with my bow
and arrows. These it seems, are of no use, for I have already hit two chieftains,
the sons of Atreus and of Tydeus, and though I drew blood surely enough,
I have only made them still more furious. I did ill to take my bow down
from its peg on the day I led my band of Trojans to Ilius in Hector′s service,
and if ever I get home again to set eyes on my native place, my wife, and
the greatness of my house, may some one cut my head off then and there
if I do not break the bow and set it on a hot fire- such pranks as it plays
Aeneas answered, "Say no more. Things will not mend till we two
go against this man with chariot and horses and bring him to a trial of
arms. Mount my chariot, and note how cleverly the horses of Tros can speed
hither and thither over the plain in pursuit or flight. If Jove again vouchsafes
glory to the son of Tydeus they will carry us safely back to the city.
Take hold, then, of the whip and reins while I stand upon the car to fight,
or else do you wait this man′s onset while I look after the
"Aeneas." replied the son of Lycaon, "take the reins and drive;
if we have to fly before the son of Tydeus the horses will go better for
their own driver. If they miss the sound of your voice when they expect
it they may be frightened, and refuse to take us out of the fight. The
son of Tydeus will then kill both of us and take the horses. Therefore
drive them yourself and I will be ready for him with my
They then mounted the chariot and drove full-speed towards the
son of Tydeus. Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, saw them coming and said to
Diomed, "Diomed, son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, I see two heroes
speeding towards you, both of them men of might the one a skilful archer,
Pandarus son of Lycaon, the other, Aeneas, whose sire is Anchises, while
his mother is Venus. Mount the chariot and let us retreat. Do not, I pray
you, press so furiously forward, or you may get killed."
Diomed looked angrily at him and answered: "Talk not of flight,
for I shall not listen to you: I am of a race that knows neither flight
nor fear, and my limbs are as yet unwearied. I am in no mind to mount,
but will go against them even as I am; Pallas Minerva bids me be afraid
of no man, and even though one of them escape, their steeds shall not take
both back again. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart- if Minerva
sees fit to vouchsafe me the glory of killing both, stay your horses here
and make the reins fast to the rim of the chariot; then be sure you spring
Aeneas′ horses and drive them from the Trojan to the Achaean ranks. They
are of the stock that great Jove gave to Tros in payment for his son Ganymede,
and are the finest that live and move under the sun. King Anchises stole
the blood by putting his mares to them without Laomedon′s knowledge, and
they bore him six foals. Four are still in his stables, but he gave the
other two to Aeneas. We shall win great glory if we can take
Thus did they converse, but the other two had now driven close
up to them, and the son of Lycaon spoke first. "Great and mighty son,"
said he, "of noble Tydeus, my arrow failed to lay you low, so I will now
try with my spear."
He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it from him. It struck
the shield of the son of Tydeus; the bronze point pierced it and passed
on till it reached the breastplate. Thereon the son of Lycaon shouted out
and said, "You are hit clean through the belly; you will not stand out
for long, and the glory of the fight is mine."
But Diomed all undismayed made answer, "You have missed, not hit,
and before you two see the end of this matter one or other of you shall
glut tough-shielded Mars with his blood."
With this he hurled his spear, and Minerva guided it on to Pandarus′s
nose near the eye. It went crashing in among his white teeth; the bronze
point cut through the root of his to tongue, coming out under his chin,
and his glistening armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to
the ground. The horses started aside for fear, and he was reft of life
Aeneas sprang from his chariot armed with shield and spear, fearing
lest the Achaeans should carry off the body. He bestrode it as a lion in
the pride of strength, with shield and on spear before him and a cry of
battle on his lips resolute to kill the first that should dare face him.
But the son of Tydeus caught up a mighty stone, so huge and great that
as men now are it would take two to lift it; nevertheless he bore it aloft
with ease unaided, and with this he struck Aeneas on the groin where the
hip turns in the joint that is called the "cup-bone." The stone crushed
this joint, and broke both the sinews, while its jagged edges tore away
all the flesh. The hero fell on his knees, and propped himself with his
hand resting on the ground till the darkness of night fell upon his eyes.
And now Aeneas, king of men, would have perished then and there, had not
his mother, Jove′s daughter Venus, who had conceived him by Anchises when
he was herding cattle, been quick to mark, and thrown her two white arms
about the body of her dear son. She protected him by covering him with
a fold of her own fair garment, lest some Danaan should drive a spear into
his breast and kill him.
Thus, then, did she bear her dear son out of the fight. But the
son of Capaneus was not unmindful of the orders that Diomed had given him.
He made his own horses fast, away from the hurly-burly, by binding the
reins to the rim of the chariot. Then he sprang upon Aeneas′s horses and
drove them from the Trojan to the Achaean ranks. When he had so done he
gave them over to his chosen comrade Deipylus, whom he valued above all
others as the one who was most like-minded with himself, to take them on
to the ships. He then remounted his own chariot, seized the reins, and
drove with all speed in search of the son of Tydeus.
Now the son of Tydeus was in pursuit of the Cyprian goddess, spear
in hand, for he knew her to be feeble and not one of those goddesses that
can lord it among men in battle like Minerva or Enyo the waster of cities,
and when at last after a long chase he caught her up, he flew at her and
thrust his spear into the flesh of her delicate hand. The point tore through
the ambrosial robe which the Graces had woven for her, and pierced the
skin between her wrist and the palm of her hand, so that the immortal blood,
or ichor, that flows in the veins of the blessed gods, came pouring from
the wound; for the gods do not eat bread nor drink wine, hence they have
no blood such as ours, and are immortal. Venus screamed aloud, and let
her son fall, but Phoebus Apollo caught him in his arms, and hid him in
a cloud of darkness, lest some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast
and kill him; and Diomed shouted out as he left her, "Daughter of Jove,
leave war and battle alone, can you not be contented with beguiling silly
women? If you meddle with fighting you will get what will make you shudder
at the very name of war."
The goddess went dazed and discomfited away, and Iris, fleet as
the wind, drew her from the throng, in pain and with her fair skin all
besmirched. She found fierce Mars waiting on the left of the battle, with
his spear and his two fleet steeds resting on a cloud; whereon she fell
on her knees before her brother and implored him to let her have his horses.
"Dear brother," she cried, "save me, and give me your horses to take me
to Olympus where the gods dwell. I am badly wounded by a mortal, the son
of Tydeus, who would now fight even with father Jove."
Thus she spoke, and Mars gave her his gold-bedizened steeds. She
mounted the chariot sick and sorry at heart, while Iris sat beside her
and took the reins in her hand. She lashed her horses on and they flew
forward nothing loth, till in a trice they were at high Olympus, where
the gods have their dwelling. There she stayed them, unloosed them from
the chariot, and gave them their ambrosial forage; but Venus flung herself
on to the lap of her mother Dione, who threw her arms about her and caressed
her, saying, "Which of the heavenly beings has been treating you in this
way, as though you had been doing something wrong in the face of
And laughter-loving Venus answered, "Proud Diomed, the son of Tydeus,
wounded me because I was bearing my dear son Aeneas, whom I love best of
all mankind, out of the fight. The war is no longer one between Trojans
and Achaeans, for the Danaans have now taken to fighting with the
"Bear it, my child," replied Dione, "and make the best of it. We
dwellers in Olympus have to put up with much at the hands of men, and we
lay much suffering on one another. Mars had to suffer when Otus and Ephialtes,
children of Aloeus, bound him in cruel bonds, so that he lay thirteen months
imprisoned in a vessel of bronze. Mars would have then perished had not
fair Eeriboea, stepmother to the sons of Aloeus, told Mercury, who stole
him away when he was already well-nigh worn out by the severity of his
bondage. Juno, again, suffered when the mighty son of Amphitryon wounded
her on the right breast with a three-barbed arrow, and nothing could assuage
her pain. So, also, did huge Hades, when this same man, the son of aegis-bearing
Jove, hit him with an arrow even at the gates of hell, and hurt him badly.
Thereon Hades went to the house of Jove on great Olympus, angry and full
of pain; and the arrow in his brawny shoulder caused him great anguish
till Paeeon healed him by spreading soothing herbs on the wound, for Hades
was not of mortal mould. Daring, head-strong, evildoer who recked not of
his sin in shooting the gods that dwell in Olympus. And now Minerva has
egged this son of Tydeus on against yourself, fool that he is for not reflecting
that no man who fights with gods will live long or hear his children prattling
about his knees when he returns from battle. Let, then, the son of Tydeus
see that he does not have to fight with one who is stronger than you are.
Then shall his brave wife Aegialeia, daughter of Adrestus, rouse her whole
house from sleep, wailing for the loss of her wedded lord, Diomed the bravest
of the Achaeans."
So saying, she wiped the ichor from the wrist of her daughter with
both hands, whereon the pain left her, and her hand was healed. But Minerva
and Juno, who were looking on, began to taunt Jove with their mocking talk,
and Minerva was first to speak. "Father Jove," said she, "do not be angry
with me, but I think the Cyprian must have been persuading some one of
the Achaean women to go with the Trojans of whom she is so very fond, and
while caressing one or other of them she must have torn her delicate hand
with the gold pin of the woman′s brooch."
The sire of gods and men smiled, and called golden Venus to his
side. "My child," said he, "it has not been given you to be a warrior.
Attend, henceforth, to your own delightful matrimonial duties, and leave
all this fighting to Mars and to Minerva."
Thus did they converse. But Diomed sprang upon Aeneas, though he
knew him to be in the very arms of Apollo. Not one whit did he fear the
mighty god, so set was he on killing Aeneas and stripping him of his armour.
Thrice did he spring forward with might and main to slay him, and thrice
did Apollo beat back his gleaming shield. When he was coming on for the
fourth time, as though he were a god, Apollo shouted to him with an awful
voice and said, "Take heed, son of Tydeus, and draw off; think not to match
yourself against gods, for men that walk the earth cannot hold their own
with the immortals."
The son of Tydeus then gave way for a little space, to avoid the
anger of the god, while Apollo took Aeneas out of the crowd and set him
in sacred Pergamus, where his temple stood. There, within the mighty sanctuary,
Latona and Diana healed him and made him glorious to behold, while Apollo
of the silver bow fashioned a wraith in the likeness of Aeneas, and armed
as he was. Round this the Trojans and Achaeans hacked at the bucklers about
one another′s breasts, hewing each other′s round shields and light hide-covered
targets. Then Phoebus Apollo said to Mars, "Mars, Mars, bane of men, blood-stained
stormer of cities, can you not go to this man, the son of Tydeus, who would
now fight even with father Jove, and draw him out of the battle? He first
went up to the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand near her wrist, and
afterwards sprang upon me too, as though he were a god."
He then took his seat on the top of Pergamus, while murderous Mars
went about among the ranks of the Trojans, cheering them on, in the likeness
of fleet Acamas chief of the Thracians. "Sons of Priam," said he, "how
long will you let your people be thus slaughtered by the Achaeans? Would
you wait till they are at the walls of Troy? Aeneas the son of Anchises
has fallen, he whom we held in as high honour as Hector himself. Help me,
then, to rescue our brave comrade from the stress of the
With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Then Sarpedon
rebuked Hector very sternly. "Hector," said he, "where is your prowess
now? You used to say that though you had neither people nor allies you
could hold the town alone with your brothers and brothers-in-law. I see
not one of them here; they cower as hounds before a lion; it is we, your
allies, who bear the brunt of the battle. I have come from afar, even from
Lycia and the banks of the river Xanthus, where I have left my wife, my
infant son, and much wealth to tempt whoever is needy; nevertheless, I
head my Lycian soldiers and stand my ground against any who would fight
me though I have nothing here for the Achaeans to plunder, while you look
on, without even bidding your men stand firm in defence of their wives.
See that you fall not into the hands of your foes as men caught in the
meshes of a net, and they sack your fair city forthwith. Keep this before
your mind night and day, and beseech the captains of your allies to hold
on without flinching, and thus put away their reproaches from
So spoke Sarpedon, and Hector smarted under his words. He sprang
from his chariot clad in his suit of armour, and went about among the host
brandishing his two spears, exhorting the men to fight and raising the
terrible cry of battle. Then they rallied and again faced the Achaeans,
but the Argives stood compact and firm, and were not driven back. As the
breezes sport with the chaff upon some goodly threshing-floor, when men
are winnowing- while yellow Ceres blows with the wind to sift the chaff
from the grain, and the chaff- heaps grow whiter and whiter- even so did
the Achaeans whiten in the dust which the horses′ hoofs raised to the firmament
of heaven, as their drivers turned them back to battle, and they bore down
with might upon the foe. Fierce Mars, to help the Trojans, covered them
in a veil of darkness, and went about everywhere among them, inasmuch as
Phoebus Apollo had told him that when he saw Pallas, Minerva leave the
fray he was to put courage into the hearts of the Trojans- for it was she
who was helping the Danaans. Then Apollo sent Aeneas forth from his rich
sanctuary, and filled his heart with valour, whereon he took his place
among his comrades, who were overjoyed at seeing him alive, sound, and
of a good courage; but they could not ask him how it had all happened,
for they were too busy with the turmoil raised by Mars and by Strife, who
raged insatiably in their midst.
The two Ajaxes, Ulysses and Diomed, cheered the Danaans on, fearless
of the fury and onset of the Trojans. They stood as still as clouds which
the son of Saturn has spread upon the mountain tops when there is no air
and fierce Boreas sleeps with the other boisterous winds whose shrill blasts
scatter the clouds in all directions- even so did the Danaans stand firm
and unflinching against the Trojans. The son of Atreus went about among
them and exhorted them. "My friends," said he, "quit yourselves like brave
men, and shun dishonour in one another′s eyes amid the stress of battle.
They that shun dishonour more often live than get killed, but they that
fly save neither life nor name."
As he spoke he hurled his spear and hit one of those who were in
the front rank, the comrade of Aeneas, Deicoon son of Pergasus, whom the
Trojans held in no less honour than the sons of Priam, for he was ever
quick to place himself among the foremost. The spear of King Agamemnon
struck his shield and went right through it, for the shield stayed it not.
It drove through his belt into the lower part of his belly, and his armour
rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.
Then Aeneas killed two champions of the Danaans, Crethon and Orsilochus.
Their father was a rich man who lived in the strong city of Phere and was
descended from the river Alpheus, whose broad stream flows through the
land of the Pylians. The river begat Orsilochus, who ruled over much people
and was father to Diocles, who in his turn begat twin sons, Crethon and
Orsilochus, well skilled in all the arts of war. These, when they grew
up, went to Ilius with the Argive fleet in the cause of Menelaus and Agamemnon
sons of Atreus, and there they both of them fell. As two lions whom their
dam has reared in the depths of some mountain forest to plunder homesteads
and carry off sheep and cattle till they get killed by the hand of man,
so were these two vanquished by Aeneas, and fell like high pine-trees to
Brave Menelaus pitied them in their fall, and made his way to the
front, clad in gleaming bronze and brandishing his spear, for Mars egged
him on to do so with intent that he should be killed by Aeneas; but Antilochus
the son of Nestor saw him and sprang forward, fearing that the king might
come to harm and thus bring all their labour to nothing; when, therefore
Aeneas and Menelaus were setting their hands and spears against one another
eager to do battle, Antilochus placed himself by the side of Menelaus.
Aeneas, bold though he was, drew back on seeing the two heroes side by
side in front of him, so they drew the bodies of Crethon and Orsilochus
to the ranks of the Achaeans and committed the two poor fellows into the
hands of their comrades. They then turned back and fought in the front
They killed Pylaemenes peer of Mars, leader of the Paphlagonian
warriors. Menelaus struck him on the collar-bone as he was standing on
his chariot, while Antilochus hit his charioteer and squire Mydon, the
son of Atymnius, who was turning his horses in flight. He hit him with
a stone upon the elbow, and the reins, enriched with white ivory, fell
from his hands into the dust. Antilochus rushed towards him and struck
him on the temples with his sword, whereon he fell head first from the
chariot to the ground. There he stood for a while with his head and shoulders
buried deep in the dust- for he had fallen on sandy soil till his horses
kicked him and laid him flat on the ground, as Antilochus lashed them and
drove them off to the host of the Achaeans.
But Hector marked them from across the ranks, and with a loud cry
rushed towards them, followed by the strong battalions of the Trojans.
Mars and dread Enyo led them on, she fraught with ruthless turmoil of battle,
while Mars wielded a monstrous spear, and went about, now in front of Hector
and now behind him.
Diomed shook with passion as he saw them. As a man crossing a wide
plain is dismayed to find himself on the brink of some great river rolling
swiftly to the sea- he sees its boiling waters and starts back in fear-
even so did the son of Tydeus give ground. Then he said to his men, "My
friends, how can we wonder that Hector wields the spear so well? Some god
is ever by his side to protect him, and now Mars is with him in the likeness
of mortal man. Keep your faces therefore towards the Trojans, but give
ground backwards, for we dare not fight with gods."
As he spoke the Trojans drew close up, and Hector killed two men,
both in one chariot, Menesthes and Anchialus, heroes well versed in war.
Ajax son of Telamon pitied them in their fall; he came close up and hurled
his spear, hitting Amphius the son of Selagus, a man of great wealth who
lived in Paesus and owned much corn-growing land, but his lot had led him
to come to the aid of Priam and his sons. Ajax struck him in the belt;
the spear pierced the lower part of his belly, and he fell heavily to the
ground. Then Ajax ran towards him to strip him of his armour, but the Trojans
rained spears upon him, many of which fell upon his shield. He planted
his heel upon the body and drew out his spear, but the darts pressed so
heavily upon him that he could not strip the goodly armour from his shoulders.
The Trojan chieftains, moreover, many and valiant, came about him with
their spears, so that he dared not stay; great, brave and valiant though
he was, they drove him from them and he was beaten back.
Thus, then, did the battle rage between them. Presently the strong
hand of fate impelled Tlepolemus, the son of Hercules, a man both brave
and of great stature, to fight Sarpedon; so the two, son and grandson of
great Jove, drew near to one another, and Tlepolemus spoke first. "Sarpedon,"
said he, "councillor of the Lycians, why should you come skulking here
you who are a man of peace? They lie who call you son of aegis-bearing
Jove, for you are little like those who were of old his children. Far other
was Hercules, my own brave and lion-hearted father, who came here for the
horses of Laomedon, and though he had six ships only, and few men to follow
him, sacked the city of Ilius and made a wilderness of her highways. You
are a coward, and your people are falling from you. For all your strength,
and all your coming from Lycia, you will be no help to the Trojans but
will pass the gates of Hades vanquished by my hand."
And Sarpedon, captain of the Lycians, answered, "Tlepolemus, your
father overthrew Ilius by reason of Laomedon′s folly in refusing payment
to one who had served him well. He would not give your father the horses
which he had come so far to fetch. As for yourself, you shall meet death
by my spear. You shall yield glory to myself, and your soul to Hades of
the noble steeds."
Thus spoke Sarpedon, and Tlepolemus upraised his spear. They threw
at the same moment, and Sarpedon struck his foe in the middle of his throat;
the spear went right through, and the darkness of death fell upon his eyes.
Tlepolemus′s spear struck Sarpedon on the left thigh with such force that
it tore through the flesh and grazed the bone, but his father as yet warded
off destruction from him.
His comrades bore Sarpedon out of the fight, in great pain by the
weight of the spear that was dragging from his wound. They were in such
haste and stress as they bore him that no one thought of drawing the spear
from his thigh so as to let him walk uprightly. Meanwhile the Achaeans
carried off the body of Tlepolemus, whereon Ulysses was moved to pity,
and panted for the fray as he beheld them. He doubted whether to pursue
the son of Jove, or to make slaughter of the Lycian rank and file; it was
not decreed, however, that he should slay the son of Jove; Minerva, therefore,
turned him against the main body of the Lycians. He killed Coeranus, Alastor,
Chromius, Alcandrus, Halius, Noemon, and Prytanis, and would have slain
yet more, had not great Hector marked him, and sped to the front of the
fight clad in his suit of mail, filling the Danaans with terror. Sarpedon
was glad when he saw him coming, and besought him, saying, "Son of Priam,
let me not he here to fall into the hands of the Danaans. Help me, and
since I may not return home to gladden the hearts of my wife and of my
infant son, let me die within the walls of your city."
Hector made him no answer, but rushed onward to fall at once upon
the Achaeans and. kill many among them. His comrades then bore Sarpedon
away and laid him beneath Jove′s spreading oak tree. Pelagon, his friend
and comrade drew the spear out of his thigh, but Sarpedon fainted and a
mist came over his eyes. Presently he came to himself again, for the breath
of the north wind as it played upon him gave him new life, and brought
him out of the deep swoon into which he had fallen.
Meanwhile the Argives were neither driven towards their ships by
Mars and Hector, nor yet did they attack them; when they knew that Mars
was with the Trojans they retreated, but kept their faces still turned
towards the foe. Who, then, was first and who last to be slain by Mars
and Hector? They were valiant Teuthras, and Orestes the renowned charioteer,
Trechus the Aetolian warrior, Oenomaus, Helenus the son of Oenops, and
Oresbius of the gleaming girdle, who was possessed of great wealth, and
dwelt by the Cephisian lake with the other Boeotians who lived near him,
owners of a fertile country.
Now when the goddess Juno saw the Argives thus falling, she said
to Minerva, "Alas, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, the promise
we made Menelaus that he should not return till he had sacked the city
of Ilius will be of none effect if we let Mars rage thus furiously. Let
us go into the fray at once."
Minerva did not gainsay her. Thereon the august goddess, daughter
of great Saturn, began to harness her gold-bedizened steeds. Hebe with
all speed fitted on the eight-spoked wheels of bronze that were on either
side of the iron axle-tree. The felloes of the wheels were of gold, imperishable,
and over these there was a tire of bronze, wondrous to behold. The naves
of the wheels were silver, turning round the axle upon either side. The
car itself was made with plaited bands of gold and silver, and it had a
double top-rail running all round it. From the body of the car there went
a pole of silver, on to the end of which she bound the golden yoke, with
the bands of gold that were to go under the necks of the horses Then Juno
put her steeds under the yoke, eager for battle and the
Meanwhile Minerva flung her richly embroidered vesture, made with
her own hands, on to her father′s threshold, and donned the shirt of Jove,
arming herself for battle. She threw her tasselled aegis about. her shoulders,
wreathed round with Rout as with a fringe, and on it were Strife, and Strength,
and Panic whose blood runs cold; moreover there was the head of the dread
monster Gorgon,, grim and awful to behold, portent of aegis-bearing Jove.
On her head she set her helmet of gold, with four plumes, and coming to
a peak both in front and behind- decked with the emblems of a hundred cities;
then she stepped into her flaming chariot and grasped the spear, so stout
and sturdy and strong, with which she quells the ranks of heroes who have
displeased her. Juno lashed the horses on, and the gates of heaven bellowed
as they flew open of their own accord -gates over which the flours preside,
in whose hands are Heaven and Olympus, either to open the dense cloud that
hides them, or to close it. Through these the goddesses drove their obedient
steeds, and found the son of Saturn sitting all alone on the topmost ridges
of Olympus. There Juno stayed her horses, and spoke to Jove the son of
Saturn, lord of all. "Father Jove," said she, "are you not angry with Mars
for these high doings? how great and goodly a host of the Achaeans he has
destroyed to my great grief, and without either right or reason, while
the Cyprian and Apollo are enjoying it all at their ease and setting this
unrighteous madman on to do further mischief. I hope, Father Jove, that
you will not be angry if I hit Mars hard, and chase him out of the
And Jove answered, "Set Minerva on to him, for she punishes him
more often than any one else does."
Juno did as he had said. She lashed her horses, and they flew forward
nothing loth midway betwixt earth and sky. As far as a man can see when
he looks out upon the sea from some high beacon, so far can the loud-neighing
horses of the gods spring at a single bound. When they reached Troy and
the place where its two flowing streams Simois and Scamander meet, there
Juno stayed them and took them from the chariot. She hid them in a thick
cloud, and Simois made ambrosia spring up for them to eat; the two goddesses
then went on, flying like turtledoves in their eagerness to help the Argives.
When they came to the part where the bravest and most in number were gathered
about mighty Diomed, fighting like lions or wild boars of great strength
and endurance, there Juno stood still and raised a shout like that of brazen-voiced
Stentor, whose cry was as loud as that of fifty men together. "Argives,"
she cried; "shame on cowardly creatures, brave in semblance only; as long
as Achilles was fighting, fi his spear was so deadly that the Trojans dared
not show themselves outside the Dardanian gates, but now they sally far
from the city and fight even at your ships."
With these words she put heart and soul into them all, while Minerva
sprang to the side of the son of Tydeus, whom she found near his chariot
and horses, cooling the wound that Pandarus had given him. For the sweat
caused by the hand that bore the weight of his shield irritated the hurt:
his arm was weary with pain, and he was lifting up the strap to wipe away
the blood. The goddess laid her hand on the yoke of his horses and said,
"The son of Tydeus is not such another as his father. Tydeus was a little
man, but he could fight, and rushed madly into the fray even when I told
him not to do so. When he went all unattended as envoy to the city of Thebes
among the Cadmeans, I bade him feast in their houses and be at peace; but
with that high spirit which was ever present with him, he challenged the
youth of the Cadmeans, and at once beat them in all that he attempted,
so mightily did I help him. I stand by you too to protect you, and I bid
you be instant in fighting the Trojans; but either you are tired out, or
you are afraid and out of heart, and in that case I say that you are no
true son of Tydeus the son of Oeneus."
Diomed answered, "I know you, goddess, daughter of aegis-bearing
Jove, and will hide nothing from you. I am not afraid nor out of heart,
nor is there any slackness in me. I am only following your own instructions;
you told me not to fight any of the blessed gods; but if Jove′s daughter
Venus came into battle I was to wound her with my spear. Therefore I am
retreating, and bidding the other Argives gather in this place, for I know
that Mars is now lording it in the field."
"Diomed, son of Tydeus," replied Minerva, "man after my own heart,
fear neither Mars nor any other of the immortals, for I will befriend you.
Nay, drive straight at Mars, and smite him in close combat; fear not this
raging madman, villain incarnate, first on one side and then on the other.
But now he was holding talk with Juno and myself, saying he would help
the Argives and attack the Trojans; nevertheless he is with the Trojans,
and has forgotten the Argives."
With this she caught hold of Sthenelus and lifted him off the chariot
on to the ground. In a second he was on the ground, whereupon the goddess
mounted the car and placed herself by the side of Diomed. The oaken axle
groaned aloud under the burden of the awful goddess and the hero; Pallas
Minerva took the whip and reins, and drove straight at Mars. He was in
the act of stripping huge Periphas, son of Ochesius and bravest of the
Aetolians. Bloody Mars was stripping him of his armour, and Minerva donned
the helmet of Hades, that he might not see her; when, therefore, he saw
Diomed, he made straight for him and let Periphas lie where he had fallen.
As soon as they were at close quarters he let fly with his bronze spear
over the reins and yoke, thinking to take Diomed′s life, but Minerva caught
the spear in her hand and made it fly harmlessly over the chariot. Diomed
then threw, and Pallas Minerva drove the spear into the pit of Mars′s stomach
where his under-girdle went round him. There Diomed wounded him, tearing
his fair flesh and then drawing his spear out again. Mars roared as loudly
as nine or ten thousand men in the thick of a fight, and the Achaeans and
Trojans were struck with panic, so terrible was the cry he
As a dark cloud in the sky when it comes on to blow after heat,
even so did Diomed son of Tydeus see Mars ascend into the broad heavens.
With all speed he reached high Olympus, home of the gods, and in great
pain sat down beside Jove the son of Saturn. He showed Jove the immortal
blood that was flowing from his wound, and spoke piteously, saying, "Father
Jove, are you not angered by such doings? We gods are continually suffering
in the most cruel manner at one another′s hands while helping mortals;
and we all owe you a grudge for having begotten that mad termagant of a
daughter, who is always committing outrage of some kind. We other gods
must all do as you bid us, but her you neither scold nor punish; you encourage
her because the pestilent creature is your daughter. See how she has been
inciting proud Diomed to vent his rage on the immortal gods. First he went
up to the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand near her wrist, and then
he sprang upon me too as though he were a god. Had I not run for it I must
either have lain there for long enough in torments among the ghastly corpes,
or have been eaten alive with spears till I had no more strength left in
Jove looked angrily at him and said, "Do not come whining here,
Sir Facing-bothways. I hate you worst of all the gods in Olympus, for you
are ever fighting and making mischief. You have the intolerable and stubborn
spirit of your mother Juno: it is all I can do to manage her, and it is
her doing that you are now in this plight: still, I cannot let you remain
longer in such great pain; you are my own off-spring, and it was by me
that your mother conceived you; if, however, you had been the son of any
other god, you are so destructive that by this time you should have been
lying lower than the Titans."
He then bade Paeeon heal him, whereon Paeeon spread pain-killing
herbs upon his wound and cured him, for he was not of mortal mould. As
the juice of the fig-tree curdles milk, and thickens it in a moment though
it is liquid, even so instantly did Paeeon cure fierce Mars. Then Hebe
washed him, and clothed him in goodly raiment, and he took his seat by
his father Jove all glorious to behold.
But Juno of Argos and Minerva of Alalcomene, now that they had
put a stop to the murderous doings of Mars, went back again to the house
Next page →