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Iliad of Homer, The

BOOK THE TWELFTH.



ARGUMENT.

The Trojans assail the rampart, and Hector, despite an omen, which Polydamas interprets unfavourably, attacks and forces the gate, and opens a way to the ships.


Thus then at the tents the valiant son of Menœtius was healing the wounded Eurypylus: but the Greeks and Trojans kept fighting in masses; nor was the ditch of the Greeks destined to prove a barrier any longer, and the wide wall from above, which they had erected in defence of the ships; but they had drawn a foss around (nor had they given splendid hecatombs to the gods); that it enclosing within, might defend the swift ships and the great booty. But it was built against the will of the immortal gods, therefore it remained not perfect for any long period. 390 As long as Hector was alive, and Achilles indignant, and the city of king Priam unravaged, so long was the mighty wall of the Greeks firm. But when all the bravest of the Trojans were dead, and many of the Greeks were subdued, but others left surviving, when in the tenth year the city of Priam was sacked, and the Greeks went in their ships to their dear fatherland; then at length Neptune and Apollo took counsel to demolish the wall, introducing the strength of rivers, as many as flow into the sea from the Idæan mountains, both the Rhesus and the Heptaporus, the Caresus and the Rhodius, the Granicus and the Æsepus, the divine Scamander and the Simoïs, where many shields and helmets fell in the dust, and the race of demigod men. The mouths of all these Phœbus Apollo turned to the same spot, and for nine days he directed their streams against the wall; and Jove in the meantime rained continually, that he might the sooner render the walls overwhelmed by the sea. But the Earth-shaker [Neptune] himself, holding the trident in his hands, led them on; and then dispersed among the billows all the foundations of beams and stones which the Greeks had laid with toil. And he made [all] level along the rapid Hellespont, and again covered the vast shore with sands, having demolished the wall: but then he turned the rivers to go back into their own channels, in which they had formerly poured their sweet-flowing water. 391

Footnote 390: (return) Cf. Pseudo-Socrat. Epist. i. ολλοῖς δὲ πολλὰ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων εἴρηται ποιητῶν περὶ θεῶν' καὶ ὅτι τὰ μὲν κατὰ τὴν αὐτῶν βούλησιν πραττόμενα ἐπὶ τὸ λώϊον ἐκθαίνει, τὰ δὲ παρὰ θεὸν ἀλυσιτελῆ ὑπάρχει τοῖς πράξασι, where Duport, p. 72, thinks there is a reference to the present passage.
Footnote 391: (return) On the present state of the Troad, which appears, from physical facts, to justify the mythical description of Homer,--see Heyne and Kennedy. Compare Virg. Æn. ii. 610, sqq.; Tryphiodor. 566, sqq. and 680, sqq.

Thus were Neptune and Apollo about to act hereafter; but then the battle and clamour burned around the well-built wall, and the stricken joists of the towers resounded: but the Greeks, subdued by the scourge 392 of Jove, were detained, hemmed in at the hollow ships, dreading Hector, the furious cause of flight; for he fought, as formerly, equal to a whirlwind. And as when a boar or lion is occupied amongst the dogs and huntsmen, looking dreadfully with strength, and they, drawing themselves up in a square form, 393 stand against him, and hurl frequent javelins from their hands; but never is his noble heart alarmed, nor is he put to flight; but his courage proves his death. And frequently he turns round, trying the ranks of men; and wheresoever he has directed his attack, there the ranks of men give way: so Hector, going through the crowd, rolled along, inciting his companions to cross the trench. Nor did the swift-footed horses dare [it]; 394 but they loudly neighed, standing upon the precipitous brink; for the wide ditch affrighted [them], nor was it easy to leap across, [by standing] near, 395 or to pass it, for overhanging brinks stood round it on both sides, and beneath it was fortified with sharp palisades, which the sons of the Greeks had fixed, close-set and large, as a defence against hostile men. There a horse, drawing a swift-rolling chariot, could not readily enter, but the infantry eagerly desired it, if they could accomplish it. Then indeed Polydamas, standing near, addressed daring Hector:

Footnote 392: (return) Heyne compares Il. xiii. 812; Pseud.--Eur. Rhes. 37; Find. Pyth. iv. 390; Tryphiod. 596. The Scholiast on both passages, Hesychius, t. i. p. 1006, and the Schol. on Oppian. Hal. v. 282, suppose that the lightning is meant; but it is far better to understand, with Heyne, "terrore divinitus immisso."
Footnote 393: (return) See Heyne, and Alberti on Hesych. t. ii. p. 1083.
Footnote 394: (return) Cf. Statius, Theb. x. 517:--

"----ut patulas saltu transmittere fossas

Horror equis; hærent trepidi, atque immane paventes

Abruptum mirantur agi."

Footnote 395: (return) Understand ἐκ τοῦ σχεδὸν, "adstando prope ad fossæ oram, ut saltu facilius transilias."--Heyne.

"Hector, and ye other leaders of the Trojans, and allies, unwisely do we drive our fleet steeds through the trench, which is very difficult to pass; since sharp palisades stand in it, and near them is the wall of the Greeks. Wherefore it is by no means possible for the cavalry to descend, or to fight, for it is a narrow place, where I think they would be wounded. For if indeed lofty-thundering Jove, designing evil, destroys the Greeks, but wishes to assist the Trojans, certainly I would wish this to take place even immediately, that the Greeks perish here inglorious, away from Argos. If, however, they rally, and a repulse from the ships take place, and we be entangled in the dug trench, I do not suppose that then even a messenger will return back to the city from the Greeks. But come, let us all be persuaded as I shall advise. Let the servants keep our horses at the trench, and let us, all on foot, clad in armour, follow Hector in a close body; but the Greeks will not withstand us, if indeed the end of destruction hang over them."

Thus spake Polydamas; but the safe counsel pleased Hector; and immediately he leaped with his armour from his chariot on the ground. Nor did the other Trojans assemble on horseback, but dismounting, they rushed on, when they beheld noble Hector. Then each commanded his own charioteer to rein his steeds in good order there at the trench, and they, separating, drawing themselves up, and being arranged in five columns, followed along with their leaders. Some then went with Hector and illustrious Polydamas, who were most numerous and brave, and who were most resolutely desirous, having broken down the wall, to fight at the hollow ships. And Cebriones followed as a third; for Hector left another, inferior to Cebriones, with his chariot. Others Paris commanded, and Alcathous, and Agenor. The third band Helenus and godlike Deïphobus, two sons of Priam; but the third [commander] was the hero Asius, Asius son of Hyrtacus, whom fiery, tall steeds brought from Arisba, from the river Selleïs. But the fourth, Æneas, the brave son of Anchises, led; along with him were the two sons of Antenor, Archilochus and Acamas, well skilled in every kind of fight. But Sarpedon commanded the illustrious allies, and chose to himself Glaucus and warlike Asteropæus; for they appeared to him, next to himself decidedly the bravest of the rest: for he, indeed, excelled among all. When they then had fitted each other together 396 with interlaced ox-hide bucklers, they advanced, full of courage, direct against the Greeks, nor expected that they would sustain them, but that they would fall in flight into their black ships.

Then the other Trojans and far-summoned allies obeyed the counsel of blameless Polydamas; but Asius, son of Hyrtacus, leader of heroes, was unwilling to relinquish his horses and attendant charioteer, but with them advanced to the swift ships,--foolish! Nor was he destined to return again, borne on his steeds and chariot from the ships to wind-swept Ilium, having avoided evil destiny. For him unlucky fate first encircled from the spear of Idomeneus, the illustrious son of Deucalion. For he rushed towards the left of the ships, by the way in which the Greeks were returning from the plain with their horses and chariots. Thither he drove his horses and his chariot, nor did he find the gates closed 397 in the portal, or the long bar up, but the men held them wide open, that they might safely receive at the ships any of their companions flying from the battle. He designedly guided his steeds right onward in that way, and [his troops], shrilly shouting, followed along with him; for they supposed that the Greeks could no longer sustain them, but would fall in flight into the black ships--fools! for at the gates they found two very brave heroes, the magnanimous sons of the warlike Lapithæ, the one the son of Pirithous, gallant Polypœtes, the other Leonteus, equal to man-slaughtering Mars. These two then stood before the lofty gates, as tall oaks on the mountains, which abide the wind and rain at all seasons, remaining firmly fixed by their great and wide-spreading roots; so they too, trusting to their hands and strength, awaited mighty Asius coming on, nor fled. But the troops, lifting high their well-seasoned bucklers, advanced with loud shouting directly towards the well-built wall, round their king Asius, and Iämenus, and Orestes, Acamas, the son of Asius, Thoon, and Œnomäus. Hitherto indeed these, remaining within, were exhorting the well-armed Greeks to fight for the ships; but when they perceived the Trojans rushing against the wall, and confusion and flight of the Greeks arose, both darting out, fought before the gates, like unto wild boars, which await the approaching tumult of men and dogs in the mountains, and, advancing obliquely to the attack, break down the wood around them, cutting it to the root; and a gnashing of teeth arises from beneath, till some one, having taken aim, deprive them of life. So resounded the shining brass upon their breasts, smitten in front, for very valiantly they fought, trusting to the troops above, and to their own valour. But they hurled stones down from the well-built towers, defending themselves, their tents, and the swift-voyaging ships. And as snow-flakes fall upon the earth, which the violent wind, having disturbed the shady clouds, pours down thick upon the fertile soil; thus poured the weapons from the hands as well of the Greeks as of the Trojans; and the helmets and bossy shields, smitten with large stones, sounded drily around. Then indeed Asius, son of Hyrtacus, groaned, and smote both his thighs, and indignant exclaimed:

"Father Jove, surely now at least thou also hast become utterly deceitful; for I did not expect that the Grecian heroes would abide our strength and invincible hands. But they, as wasps flexible 398 in the middle, and bees, [which] make their dwellings in a rugged path, nor quit their hollow mansion; but awaiting the huntsmen, fight for their offspring; so are these unwilling to retire from the gates, though being only two, until they be either killed or taken."

Footnote 396: (return) "Put for ἄραρον τὰς ἀσπίδας ἀλλήλων, ἐπ' ἀλλήλοις, clipeos consertos manibus ante se tenebant, συνασπισμῷ facto."--Heyne. Kennedy well observes that "we may trace here the rude outline of the celebrated phalanx, which formed so prominent a feature of the Macedonian tactics."
Footnote 397: (return) From this passage, Heyne observes that the gates must have opened inwards, being secured from within by a double bolt (cf. ver. 455, sqq.). See D'Orville on Chariton, i. xii. p. 274, ed. Lips. On the ὀχεῖς, on bars, cf. Pollux, x. 4.
Footnote 398: (return) Or "streaked." See Porphyr. Quæst. iii. But Buttmann, Lexil. p. 64, dwells much upon the force of μέσον, observing, "in no insect is flexibility more evident than in the wasp, where the lower part of its body is joined as it were by a point with the upper."

Thus he spake, nor did he persuade the mind of Jove, saying these things: for his soul designed to bestow glory upon Hector. In the meantime others were waging the battle at other gates; but difficult would it be for me, as if I were a god, to enumerate all these things; for around the wall in every direction a furiously-raging fire of stones was aroused, 399 and the Greeks, although grieving, fought from necessity for their ships; and all the gods were sorrowful in their minds; as many as were allies to the Greeks in battle.

Footnote 399: (return)

"Through the long walls the stony showers were heard,

The blaze of flames, the flash of arms appeared."--Pope.

But the Lapithæ began the battle and contest. Then the son of Pirithous, brave Polypœtes, smote Damasus with his spear, through his brazen-cheeked helmet; nor did the brazen casque withstand, but the brazen blade burst quite through the bone, and all the brain within was shattered. Thus he subdued him, rushing on, and afterwards he slew Pylon and Ormenus. And Leonteus, a branch of Mars, wounded Hippomachus, the son of Antimachus, with his spear, striking him at the belt. Next, drawing his sharp sword from the sheath, he, rushing through the crowd, smote Antiphates first, hand to hand, and he was dashed on his back to the ground; then Menon and Iämenus, and Orestes, all one over another he brought to the fertile earth.

Whilst they were stripping off their glittering armour, those youths, meantime, who were most numerous and most brave, and who were most eager to break down the wall, and burn the ships with fire, followed Polydamas and Hector, and they anxiously deliberated, standing at the trench. For an augury had appeared on the left to them while eager to cross, a high-flying eagle dividing the people, 400 bearing in his talons a monstrous blood-stained serpent, alive, still panting; nor was it yet forgetful of fighting; for, while holding it, writhing backwards, it wounded him upon the breast near the neck; but he let it drop from him to the ground, afflicted with anguish, and threw it into the midst of the crowd, and, flapping his wings, he fled away with the breeze of the wind. And the Trojans shuddered as they beheld the spotted serpent lying in the midst, a prodigy of ægis-bearing Jove. Then Polydamas, standing near, addressed gallant Hector:

"Hector, somehow or other thou art ever chiding me in the assemblies, although proposing good counsels; because it is by no means becoming for a man, being a citizen, to harangue contrary to thee, either in council or at any time in war; but ever to increase thy authority. Yet will I again speak as appears to me to be best. Let us not go about to fight with the Greeks for their ships; for thus do I think it will end, as sure as this augury has come to the Trojans desiring to cross, the high-flying eagle upon the left dividing the army, bearing in its talons a huge blood-stained serpent, [still] living; but presently it dropped it, before it reached its dear home, nor succeeded in carrying it to give it to its young: so we, if even we shall with great force break through the gates and wall of the Greeks, and the Greeks shall give way,--not in order shall we return by the same way from the ships: for we shall leave many Trojans, whom the Greeks, fighting for the ships, will subdue with the brass. Thus indeed would the diviner, who truly kens omens in his mind, interpret, and the people would obey him."

Footnote 400: (return) Either flying between the ranks of the Trojans, or between the two opposing armies. Compare Cicero's translation, de Divin. i. 47, and Virg. Æn. xi. 751, sqq. (with Macrob. Sat. v. 13), and xii. 247, sqq. The event of the Trojan war proved that Polydamas was right in his interpretation.

But him sternly regarding, crest-tossing Hector thus addressed: "O Polydamas, thou dost not say things agreeable to me: besides, thou knowest how to devise other counsel better than this. If, however, thou really speakest this with seriousness, then truly have the gods destroyed thy judgment from thee, who advisest me to be forgetful of the counsels of lofty-thundering Jove, which he hath himself undertaken for me, and confirmed. And thou exhortest me to obey the wing-expanding birds; which I very little regard, nor do I care for them, whether they fly to the right towards the Morn and the Sun, or to the left towards the darkening west; but let us obey the will of mighty Jove, who rules over all mortals and immortals. There is one augury, the best, to fight for our country. 401 Why dost thou dread the war and conflict? For although all the rest of us should perish round the ships of the Greeks, there is no fear that thou wilt perish, for thy heart is not persevering in the fight, nor warlike. But if thou darest to abstain from the combat, or dissuading, dost avert another from the battle, immediately stricken by my spear, shalt thou lose thy life."

Thus then having spoken, he led the way, but they followed him with an immense clamour. Then thunder-delighting Jove raised a storm of wind from the Idæan mountains, which bore the dust directly towards the ships; moreover, he weakened the courage of the Greeks, but bestowed glory upon the Trojans and Hector: so that, relying upon his prodigies, and [their own] strength, they endeavoured to break through the mighty wall of the Greeks. They tore down the niched battlements of the towers, and demolished the breast-works, 402 and with levers they upheaved the projecting buttresses, which the Greeks had planted first in the earth, as supporters of the towers. These then they tore down, and hoped to break through the wall of the Greeks.

Yet did not the Greeks retire as yet from the way; but fencing up the embrazures with their ox-hide shields, they wounded from behind them the enemy coming up under the wall. And both the Ajaces ranged in every direction upon the towers, cheering on, rousing the valour of the Greeks. One [they addressed] 403 with soothing, another they rebuked with harsh expressions, whomsoever they beheld totally neglectful of battle:

Footnote 401: (return) Cf. Aristot. Rhet. ii. 22; Cicero Ep. ad Attic, ii. 3. See, also, Duport, Gnom. Horn. p. 73.
Footnote 402: (return) Observe the zeugma, and compare Il. Ω. 8, Γ. 327; Od. Ξ. 291; and the most elaborate and accurate note on this construction of D'Orville on Charit. iv. 4, p. 440, sqq. ed. Lips., with Burm. and Schwabe on Phædr. iv. 17, 31; Duker on Flor. iii. 21, 26.
Footnote 403: (return) Id.

"O friends, whoever of the Greeks is excelling, or moderate, or inferior (since all men are not alike in war), now is there work for all; and ye yourselves, I ween, know this. Let not any one be turned back towards the ships, hearing the threatener [Hector], but advance onwards, and exhort each other, if perchance Olympic Jove, the darter of lightning, may grant that, having repulsed the conflict, we may pursue the enemy to the city."

Thus they, shouting in front, cheered on the attack of the Greeks. But of them--as when frequent flakes of snow fall upon a winter's day, when provident Jove has begun to snow, displaying his weapons in the sight of men, and, having lulled the winds, pours it down incessantly, till he covers the tops and highest peaks of the lofty mountains, and the lotus plains and rich husbandry of men: and likewise it is poured out upon the havens and shores of the hoary sea; but the approaching wave restrains its progress, whilst all other things are covered beneath it, when the shower of Jove comes down heavily; so flew the frequent stones from those hurling on both sides, some indeed towards the Trojans, and others from the Trojans towards the Greeks. And along the whole wall a tumult arose.

Yet never would the Trojans and illustrious Hector have burst open the gates of the wall, and the long bolt, had not provident Jove urged on his son, Sarpedon, against the Greeks, like a lion against crooked-horned oxen. But he immediately held before him his shield, equal on all sides, beautiful, brazen, plated; which the brazier indeed had plated over, and underneath had sewed together thick bulls' hides, with successive golden wires round its orb. He then, holding this before him, advanced, brandishing two spears, like a lion reared in the mountains, which hath been long in want of flesh, and whose valiant mind impels him to go even to the well-fenced fold, about to make an attempt upon the sheep. And although he there find the shepherds keeping watch about their flocks with dogs and spears, still he cannot bear to be driven away, without having made trial of the fold, but, springing in, he either carries [one] off, or is himself wounded among the first by a javelin from a quick hand. Thus then did his mind impel godlike Sarpedon to attack the wall, and to burst through the barriers; and instantly he addressed Glaucus, son of Hippolochus:

"Glaucus, 404 why are we especially honoured in Lycia, both with the [first] seat in banquet, and with full goblets, and why do all look to us as to gods? Why do we also possess a great and beautiful enclosure of the vine-bearing and corn-bearing land on the banks of Xanthus? Now, therefore, it behoves us, advancing among the foremost Lycians, to stand firm, and to bear the brunt of the raging fight; so that some one of the closely-armed Lycians may say, 'By no means inglorious do our kings govern Lycia, and eat the fat sheep, and [drink] 405 the choice sweet wine; but their valour likewise is excelling, because they fight among the foremost Lycians.' O dear friend, if indeed, by escaping from this war, we were destined to be ever free from old age, and immortal, neither would I combat myself in the van, nor send thee into the glorious battle. But now--for of a truth ten thousand Fates of death press upon us, which it is not possible for a mortal to escape or avoid--let us on: either we shall give glory to some one, or some one to us."

Thus he spake, nor did Glaucus turn aside or disobey, but both advanced straight forward, leading a numerous band of Lycians. But Menestheus, the son of Peteus, beholding them, shuddered, for they were advancing towards his company, bearing destruction. He looked round along the line of the Greeks, if he might see any of the leaders who could ward off the fight from his companions, and perceived the two Ajaces, insatiable of war, standing, and Teucer, lately come from his tent, near at hand. Yet was it not possible for him to be heard when shouting, so great was the din; and the crash of stricken shields, and of horse-hair crested helmets, and of the gates, reached to heaven. For they had assailed all, 406 and they, standing beside them, endeavoured to enter, bursting them open by force. But immediately he despatched the herald Thoötes to Ajax:

Footnote 404: (return) Milton, P.L. ii. 450:---

"---- wherefore do I assume

These royalties, and not refuse to reign,

Refusing to accept as great a share

Of hazard as of honour, due alike

To him who reigns, and so much to him due

Of hazard more, as he above the rest

High honoured sits?"

Footnote 405: (return) Zeugma. See on ver. 268.
Footnote 406: (return) Three interpretations are given for this line:--1. "All the gates were attacked." 2. "All the gates were bolted."--Butt. 3. Change the nominative case to the accusative, and translate--"They (the Lycians) had attacked all the gates."--Ed. Dubl.

"Go, noble Thoötes, running, call Ajax, rather indeed both: for this would be by far the best of all, since in a short while heavy destruction will arise here. For so vigorously do the leaders of the Lycians press on, who even before were impetuous in the sharp contest. If, however, labour and contest have arisen to them there, at least let brave Telamonian Ajax come, and with him let Teucer follow, well skilled in archery."

Thus he spoke, nor did the herald, having heard him, disobey, but he hastened to run along the wall of the brazen-mailed Greeks, and proceeding, he stood beside the Ajaces and immediately addressed them:

"Ye Ajaces, leaders of the brazen-mailed Greeks, the beloved son of Jove-nourished Peteus adjures you to come thither, that ye may participate in his toil, though for a short time. Both indeed in preference, for this would be by far the best of all things, since soon will heavy destruction arise there. For so vigorously do the leaders of the Lycians press on, who even before were impetuous in the sharp contest. But if here also war and contest have arisen, at least let brave Telamonian Ajax come alone, and with him let Teucer follow, well skilled in archery."

Thus he spake, nor did mighty Telamonian Ajax disobey. Instantly he addressed to the son of Oïleus winged words:

"Ajax, do thou and gallant Lycomedes, standing here, incite the Greeks to fight bravely, whilst I go thither and oppose the battle; but I will return again instantly, after I shall have assisted them."

Thus then having spoken, Telamonian Ajax departed, and with him went Teucer, his brother, sprung from the same father; and Pandion, along with them, carried the bent bow of Teucer. As soon as they reached the tower of magnanimous Menestheus, going within the wall (for they came to [their friends] being hard pressed: and the brave leaders and chiefs of the Lycians were mounting upon the breast-works like unto a dark whirlwind), but they engaged to fight in opposition, and a clamour arose. Telamonian Ajax first slew a man, the companion of Sarpedon, magnanimous Epicles, striking him with a rugged stone, which, mighty in size, lay highest up against a pinnacle within the wall. Not easily would a man support it with both hands, such as mortals now are, not although being very youthful; but he, raising it aloft, hurled it, and burst the four-coned helmet, and along with it crushed all the bones of the skull: but he, like unto a diver, fell from the lofty tower, and life deserted his bones. Teucer likewise with a shaft wounded Glaucus, the brave son of Hippolochus, as he was rushing on, against the lofty wall, in a part where he perceived his arm naked; and made him cease from combat. But he sprang back from the wall, concealing himself, that none of the Greeks might perceive him wounded, and insult him with words. Then grief came upon Sarpedon on account of Glaucus departing, as soon as he observed it; though he nevertheless was not neglectful of the contest: but he taking aim, wounded Alcmaon, son of Thestor, with his spear, and extracted the spear; but he. following the weapon, fell prone, and his armour, variously decked with brass, resounded upon him. Sarpedon then seizing the buttress with his sturdy hands, pulled, and it all followed entirely; but the wall was stripped away from above, and he formed a way for many. Then Ajax and Teucer aiming at him together, the one smote him with an arrow in the splendid belt of his mortal-girding shield, around his breast; but Jove averted the fate from his son, that he might not be slain at the sterns of the ships. But Ajax, springing upon him, struck his shield, and pierced him quite through with his spear, and forcibly checked him eager. And then he fell back for a little from the buttress, but did not altogether retreat, because his spirit hoped to bear off glory. And turning round, he encouraged the godlike Lycians:

"O Lycians, why are ye thus remiss in your impetuous force? It is difficult for me, although being brave, having alone burst through, to form a way to the ships. But follow along with me; for the labour of the greater number is better."

Thus he spake; and they, reverencing the exhortation of their king, pressed on with more alacrity round their counsel-giving king. And the Greeks, on the other side, strengthened their phalanxes within the wall, because a great work presented itself to them. For neither could the gallant Lycians, bursting through the wall of the Greeks, make their way to the ships, nor could the warlike Greeks repulse the Lycians from the wall, since first they approached it. But as two men, holding measures in their hands, dispute, in a common field, 407 concerning their boundaries, who in a small space contend for their equitable right; thus did the buttresses separate these [warriors], and, for them, each smote the well-rounded ox-hide shields around each other's breasts, and the light bucklers of each other. And many were wounded upon the body with the merciless brass, whether the back of any combatant, averted, was laid bare, and many right through the shield itself. Everywhere the towers and buttresses were sprinkled, on both sides, with the blood of heroes, from the Trojans and the Greeks. Yet not even thus could they cause a flight of the Greeks, but they held themselves, as a just woman, who labours with her hands, does the scales, 408 who, poising both the weight and the wool, draws them on either side to equalize them, that she may procure a scanty pittance for the support of her children. Thus equally was their battle and war extended, before the time when Jove gave superior glory to Hector, the son of Priam, who first leaped within the wall of the Greeks, and shouted with a penetrating voice, calling out to the Trojans:

"Push on, ye horse-breaking Trojans, burst through the wall of the Greeks, and hurl the fiercely-blazing fire against the ships."

Thus he spake, cheering them on; but they all heard him with their ears, and rushed against the wall in great numbers, and then mounted the battlements, carrying their pointed spears. But Hector seizing it, took up a stone, which stood before the gates, widening out at the base, 409 but sharp above; which two men, the strongest of the people, such as mortals now are, could not easily raise from the ground upon a waggon. He, however, brandished it easily and alone, because the son of wise Saturn had rendered it light to him.

Footnote 407: (return) I.e. a field, to part of which each lays claim. Μέτρα seem to be the lines used in measuring ground ("linea mensuralis," Siculus Flaccus, p. 23, ed. Goes.)
Footnote 408: (return) Milton, P.L. vi. 245:---

----"long time in even scale

The battle hung."

Footnote 409: (return) See Eustathius.

As when a shepherd without difficulty carries the fleece of a male sheep, taking it in either hand, and but a small weight oppresses him; so Hector, raising the stone, bore it right against the beams which strengthened the closely-jointed gates, double and lofty; but two cross-bars secured them within, and one key fitted them. But advancing, he stood very near, and exerting his strength, struck them in the middle, standing with his legs wide asunder, that the blow of the weapon might not be weak. And he tore away both hinges, and the stone fell within with a great weight; and the gates crashed around; nor did the bars withstand it, but the beams were rent asunder in different directions by the impulse of the stone. There illustrious Hector rushed in, in aspect like unto the dreadful night; and he glittered in terrible brass, with which he was girt around his body. And he held two spears in his hands, nor could any one, opposing, restrain him, except the gods, after he had leaped within the gates; but his eyes gleamed with fire. And turning to the crowd, he cheered on the Trojans to ascend the wall, and they obeyed him encouraging. Straightway indeed some crossed the wall, and others were poured in through the well-wrought gates, but the Greeks were routed towards the hollow barks, and an unyielding 410 tumult ensued.

Footnote 410: (return) See Buttm. Lexil. p. 405.



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