The Iliad Book I

The Iliad

Book I

Sing the wrath, O goddess, of Peleos’ son Achilles—
the virulent, lethal, uncanny wrath—
that brought such suffering upon the Achaians
and sent so many strong warrior souls down to Hades;
that furnished their corpses as spoils for the dogs
and for the birds rich carrion banquets.
The thought of Zeus performed this.
Take up the song from that time
when first these two were split asunder in enmity:
the son of Atreus, leader of men, and divine Achilles.
But which god was it that bound them together
                                                          to battle in enmity?
The son of Zeus and Lêto.
He was enraged at the King
and struck up a plague through the camp
                                                                and the people perished.  [10]
For the Son of Atreus had dishonored Chryses, his priest.
Chryses came to the swift ships of the Achaians
to set his daughter free
holding the fillets of Apollo, who shoots from afar,
on a golden scepter
and bearing a boundless ransom.
He prayed to all the Achaians, but most of all
to the two sons of Atreus, marshals of the people:

“Sons of Atreus and also
                                  you other well-greaved Achaians,
may the gods who have homes on Olympos
grant that you sack
                         the city belonging to Priam
and return unscathed to your homes.
Give me back my daughter.
Accept the shining ransom.
Honor the son of Zeus,
                              Apollo who shoots from afar.”

All the other Achaians
agreed to honor the priest
and take the shining ransom.
But that did not delight
               Atreus’ son, Agamemnon, in his heart,
but he spoke contemptuously;
                              uttered a mighty command:  [25]

“Let me not come upon you, old man,
                                            beside the hollow ships,
either hanging back there now
                                       or at some time hereafter,
lest the fillet and scepter of the god
be of no use to you.
I’ll not give back your daughter
e’re old age falls upon her
in my home, in Argos, far from her father,   [30]
as she goes to and fro
                          in front of the loom
and again and again goes to bed with me.
Be gone.
Don’t enrage me further.
Safer to return whence you came.”

So he spoke,
and the old man was afraid,
persuaded by his utterance.
He walked in silence away
                          by the strand of the loud-roaring sea.
And when he was far away,
the old man prayed in earnest to Lord Apollo,
                                                       whom fair-haired Lêto bore.   [35]

“Hear me, O god of the silver bow,
who stands over holy Kylla and over Chryse;
god who disperses the mouse-plague,
and mightily reigns above Tenedos:
If I ever put a roof on a temple of yours and it pleased you;
If ever I burned for you sumptuous ox-thighs and goat-thighs;  [40]
accomplish this prayer-wish for me now:
Make the Danaäns pay for my tears with your arrows.” 

So he spoke, praying,
and Phoibos Apollo heard him.
He came down from Olympos, heart raging,
bearing his bow and closed quiver upon his shoulders,   [45]
and the arrows clanged on the shoulders of the raging god
                                                                           as he strode along.
He was like the night.
He took his seat
far from the ships
and let fly an arrow.
An uncanny twang arose from the silver bow.
First he set upon mules and swift dogs,    [50]
but then releasing stinging shafts
he smote the men themselves
                                 and the corpse fires burned.
For nine days the shafts of the god
                                   struck throughout the camp.
On the tenth Achilles called the people to assembly.
The goddess white-armed Hera
                          put the thought in his breast    [55]
because she was concerned about the Danaäns
                                               when she saw them dying.
Once gathered in assembly,
swift-footed Achilles addressed them:

“Son of Atreus, I think that now we shall be beaten back
and rapidly effect our home-coming,
if we do indeed flee death,      [60]
as war and the plague together
do overcome the Achaians.
But let us consult some mantic priest, some dream-reader—
for a dream can come from a god—
who might say for what reason
Phoibos Apollo is angry,
whether it is because of a broken vow
                                           that he condemns us,
or on account of a hecatomb;       [65]
if, perhaps, with the savor of rams and perfect goats,
he might wish to direct the pestilence away from us.”

Having spoken thus, he sat down.
And Kalchas, son of Thestor, arose—
he, the very best of the bird-augurs—
who knew the things that are, the things that were,
                                                       and the things that are to come. [70]
It was he who led the Achaians to Ilion
by his mantic skill,
             which Phoibos Apollo had given him.
With benevolent intent he addressed the assembly and said:

“O Achilles, dear to the gods, you command me
to speak of the wrath of Apollo,
                the Lord who shoots from afar;  [75]
therefore I shall do it.
But you must consider and swear
that you will readily come to my aid
both with your words and your hands,
for I think a certain person will be angry,
who rules with great force over all the Argives
and whom the Achaians obey.
When he rages at a lesser man,
                 a king is always the stronger;   [80]
and even if he swallows down his wrath on the day it arises,
he harbors resentment thereafter
           until he brings to pass what is in his breast.
So do say whether you are willing to protect me.”

Swift-footed Achilles spoke, responding:

“Take courage. Say what you know.     [85]
For by Apollo, dear to Zeus, to whom you, Kalchas, pray,
manifesting sooth for the Danaäns,
as long as I am alive
    and have the power of sight upon the earth,
no Danaän beside the hollow ships
                                       will lay a heavy hand upon you,
not even Agamemnon of whom you speak,    [90]
who now boasts himself to be
                          the very best of the Achaians.”

The blameless mantic took courage then and spoke:

“Not for a broken vow does Apollo blame us
nor because of a hecatomb,
but it is on account of the priest
                           whom Agamemnon dishonored
when he would not free the priest’s daughter
                                                or accept the ransom   [95]
that the far-darter delivers our afflictions
                                 and will deliver them yet
nor will he take away the grievous pestilence
                                                          from the Danaäns
till we give back the sparkling-eyed maiden
to her dear father
without ransom
and lead a holy hecatomb to Chryses.
Then we might, appeasing him, persuade him.”   [100]

Having spoken thus, he sat back down,
and the warrior, son of Atreus,
                 wide-ruling Agamemnon,
arose before them
                      sorely vexed—
his great black heart full of fury,
his eyes like two lamps of firelight.
First he spoke to Kalchas
                glaring menacingly at him:   [105]

“Soothsayer of ill-omens only;
you never yet have said to me
                 a thing that boded well;
always to prophecy ill-fortune is dear to your heart.
You never speak a good thing
          or bring a good saying to pass.
And now you declare your prophecies before the Danaäns
stating on account of what
                    the far-darter has fashioned their afflictions—  [110]
that I did not wish to accept the shining ransom
                                                                  for the girl,
                                                                      the daughter of Chryses,
since I wanted very much
                                             to keep her in my home
because I prefer her indeed to Clytemnestra,
                                                           my wedded bedmate.
She’s in no way inferior to her in form or stature,
in temperament or skill in handi-craftwork.      [115]
Even so I wish to return her,
                               if that is the better way—
that the people be safe
                 rather than perishing.
However: You must award me another trophy
lest of all the Argives I alone
                                   go unrewarded.
For all of you see this—
                 that now my prize goes otherwhere, away from me.”   [120]

Swift-footed divine Achilles responded then:

“Most illustrious son of Atreus,
                    most covetous of men;
how can the Achaians, great-hearted though they be,
                                                               award you some fresh trophy?
We have no abundance of possessions
                                          held in common store.
But such booty as we seized from the cities we pillaged—  [125]
that booty has all been apportioned.
Nor would it be seemly
               to gather it back from the people.
But you must give the girl back
                                             as the god demands
and the Achaians will honor you three times, four times over
if and when Zeus awards us
                            to sack the well-walled city of the Trojans.”

Lord Agamemnon spoke in answer to him:   [130]

“Not thus, though you are noble, O godlike Achilles,
can you cozen me with your intellect—
you neither run ahead of me nor persuade me;
or do you wish—so that you might keep your prize—
to have me sit here bereft
and so demand I return her?
But let the great-hearted Achaians
give me something suited to my spirit—  [135]
and it had better be something of equal value.
And if they don’t award it,
I myself shall seize your prize
or that of Aias or Odysseus—
I'll come and take her.
And he indeed will wax angry to whom I come.
However; let us take up these matters later.    [140]
Now we must draw a black ship
                                   down to the glittering ocean
and gather a crew of oarsmen. sufficient in number,
and set a hecatomb aboard her
and the pretty-cheeked daughter of Chryses herself
and some member of our high counsel also—
Aias, Idomeneus, or divine Odysseus,    [145]
or perhaps you, son of Peleos, most vehement of men,
so that you might offer sacrifice
and appease the one
                    who works from afar.” 

Swift-footed Achilles spoke
                                 looking out from under angry eyebrows:

“Ai me—you who tarry in shamelessness—
man of self-serving heart—
how shall any of the Achaians willingly obey your commands,  [150]
either to go on a journey
              or to fight with vigor among men?
For I did not come to fight here
              on account of the Trojan spearsmen.
I’d nothing at all against them.
They never seized my cows or stole my horses
and never did they, in Phthiê, whose sod is deep
                                         and furnishes sustenance to men,  [155]
ravage the produce,
for many things lie between us—
shadowy mountains and the echoing sea.
But together we followed you, O great one for shamelessness,
that you might be happy,
seeking, O dog-faced one,
                          to win honor for Menelaos and yourself
                                                                        at the hands of the Trojans.
But you never consider this or give it a thought.   [160]
And now you threaten to seize my prize
for whom I labored much
and which the sons of the Achaians have awarded me.

Not ever do I have a prize equal to yours
when the Achaians sack some well-peopled citadel of the Trojans,
though my hands conduct the greater part of fierce fighting;   [165]
but when the distribution of the booty comes
by far the greater portion goes to you
while I return to my ships
with something slight, though dear to me,
when I am weary of fighting.
Now shall I go back to Phthiê,
because it is better by far
                      to return with my beaked ships;   [170]
nor do I think to stay here in dishonor
and provide you with wealth and property.” 

The Lord of Men Agamemnon answered him:

“Run away then, if your heart so agitates you;
nor will I beg you to stay.
For others are here with me, who will honor me,
but especially Zeus of wise counsel.         [175]
Most despicable of god-nurtured kings are you to me.
Enmity ever is dear to you
and battles and wars.
And even if you are a mighty one—
a god gave that to you.
Go home with your ships and companions.
Be Lord of your Myrmidons.
I am not concerned with you,        [180]
nor do I give a thought to your anger,
But I do threaten you thus:
since Phoibos Apollo
     takes the daughter of Chryses away from me --
and I will send her back
                 with my ships and companions --
I myself shall come to your hut
and lead off your pretty-cheeked Briseis
so that you will know well      [185]
how much stronger I am than you are,
and that anyone else might demur
from declaring himself my equal
or comparing his own to my power.” 

So he spoke.
Pain struck Peleos’ son
and the heart in  his hirsute bosom pondered, divided,
whether to draw the sharp sword from its thigh sheath
and, scattering the gathering, slay the son of Atreus,
or whether to rein in his spirit and stifle his wrath.
As he considered these things in heart and mind
and was extracting the great sword from its scabbard,
Athena descended from heaven.
The goddess, white-armed Hera sent her forth
for she loved both warriors.
She took a stance behind him
and grabbed Achilles by his golden hair,
making herself apparent only to him—
not any of the others saw her.
Achilles was amazed and turned about
and instantly recognized Pallas Athena
and her eyes glittered uncannily. 200
He spoke to her with winged words and said:

“Why do you come again, O aegis-holder, Zeus’s daughter?
Because you behold the arrogance
                                         of Atreus’ son Agamemnon?
But I shall declare it, and I think it shall come to pass:
because of his extravagance
                                  he’ll forfeit his life forthwith.”

The goddess gray-green-eyed Athena said back to him:

“I come down from heaven to stay your rage,
                                                           if you’ll be persuaded.
The goddess white-armed Hera sent me forth
because she loves you both and is concerned about you.
But come—set aside your enmity.
Do not take your sword in your hand,
but taunt him rather with verbiage—
tell him how things will be—
for I tell you this, and it will be brought to pass—
that shining prizes shall come to you hereafter, thrice greater in value
because of this arrogance of his.
So show restraint and obey us.”   214

Swift-footed Achilles answered her and said:

“It is imperative for us O goddess,
to comply with the utterance of Hera and Athena.
Even if our heart is full of rage, it is but prudent.
The gods do readily listen to him who obeys them.”

And he stayed his heavy hand,
                   that gripped his sword’s silver handle
and thrust it back in its scabbard
and did not disobey
                           the utterance of Athena.
Athena went back to Olympos
and the dwellings of Zeus aegis-holder and the other spirits. 222
But Peleus’ son once again spoke terrible words
                                                                 to the son of Atreus
and would not let go of his anger:

“Wine-besotted one,
                          with the eyes of a dog but doe-hearted—
not once have you regaled yourself for battle with the rest of the troops
nor dared to enter the ambuscade
with the best of the Achaians,
for such an act seemed like death to you.
Far better through the camp of the Achaians,
to seize the prize of whomever speaks out against you.
O king who devours his own people—
apparently you rule over men
blind to their own interests
or else, son of Atreus,
you’d now have committed your last outrage.
But I shall declare to you
                                 and swear a mighty oath:
by this scepter,
which has sprouted neither leaves nor branches
since first it parted from its stump in the mountains,
nor will it ever flourish again,
for bronze blade has cut it, leaf and bark,
and now the sons of the Achaians who pass judgments
bear it in their palms—
those who guard common law on behalf of Zeus:
this mighty oath shall be in front of you: 239
To the sons of the Achaians one day will come
                                             a longing for Achilles,
and you, though grieving, will have no power to help them,
when many will fall down slain
                                      before man-slaughtering Hektor
and you will gnaw at your heart within you in fury
because you failed to honor
                         the very best of the Achaians.”

So spoke the son of Peleus
and he threw down his scepter, studded with golden nails,
                                                                             upon the earth
and he himself sat down.
The son of Atreus went on raging against him.
Sweet-voiced Nestor, the lucid orator of Pylos,
                                                         stood up among them,
and from his tongue flowed speech sweeter than honey.
Two generations of mortals before this one
had he witnessed pass away—
generations born and reared with him in ancient times
                                                                          in sacred Pylos—
and he himself was now ruler in this, the third.
With generous intent he addressed them and said:

“Ai me, now great affliction comes to the land of Achaia,
and Priam and the sons of Priam would rejoice
and the other Trojans be happy in their heart
to learn the whole matter of the wrangling between you two,
who are the leaders of the Danaäns in counsel
                                                      and the leaders in war.
But be persuaded by me—
             you are both younger than I am. 260
Before now I’ve consorted with warriors better than you,
and they never slighted or ignored me.
I have never seen since
                         or will ever be likely to witness
such men as Perithoös or Dryas, shepherd of the people,
Kainea and Exadios and godlike Polyphemos
and Theseus, son of Aigedos, the semblance of the immortals.
These were the mightiest of men reared on the earth
and, being mighty, with the mightiest they did battle,
even with mountain beasts
and ferociously destroyed them; 270
and I fought on my own behalf
and no mortal now living on earth
could bring contempt against them,
and they took my advice and obeyed my word.
So too must you be persuaded:
                                  ‘tis better to obey.
And it will not be a good thing to seize the girl: let things be
just as when the sons of the Achaians
awarded the prizes originally.
And do not desire, son of Peleus,
                                    to strive with the king face to face,
for no ordinary honor
is the lot of a sceptered king
to whom Zeus has granted glory.
Even if you are mighty
                    since a goddess mother gave birth to you,
that man is stronger still
                           for he rules a multitude.
Son of Atreus, stay your wrath,
and I will beseech Achilles
to terminate his animosity.
He is a mighty bulwark for all the Achaians
in evil war.” 284

Lord Agamemnon spoke in response:

“All that you say, old man, is as it should be.
But this man wishes to ascend above all others;
he wishes to rule over all, to lord it over everyone,
to give orders to everyone;
but I think a certain person will not obey him.
If the gods who are forever made him a warrior,
do they, on account of that, put him forth to mouth abuse?” 291

Divine Achilles interrupted, saying:

“I should be called a coward
                                     and a man of no account
if I were to acquiesce in every matter
                                                 that you happen to speak on.
Give your commands to others
but do not dictate to me
for I do not think that I ever again shall obey you.
And I tell you this,
and do cast it into your breast:
I shall not fight with my hands on account of the girl,
neither with you
                    nor with another,
since you but take back what you’ve given.
But you will not cart away
anything else that is mine
beside the swift black ships,
seizing it in my despite.
And if you come to make trial of me, all here may know,
your black blood at once
                      will spurt about my javelin.” 303

When the two had done contending
                                          in their battle of words,
they arose
and broke up the assembly
                                  by the ships of the Achaians.
The son of Peleus went off to his huts
and to his own comely ships
to be with the son of Menoitios
and his other companions.
But the son of Atreus drew a swift ship seaward.
He chose twenty oarsmen for it
and drove a hecatomb onto it for the god
and led on board the pretty-cheeked daughter of Chryses,
and Odysseus of many devices boarded her as captain.
These went aboard and plied the watery boulevards;
and the son of Atreus commanded the people
to cleans themselves of pollution,
and they cleansed themselves
and threw the pollution in the sea
and accomplished perfect hecatombs
                                                    of bulls and goats for Apollo
by the strand of the desert sea
and the eddying savor of fat-smoke went up to heaven. 317
And the men were at work through the camp.
In no way did Agamemnon
let go of the hostility
with which, from the first, he confronted Achilles,
but he said to Talthubios and Eurybates,
                                            his hearld and ready squire:

“Go to the hut of Peleus’ son Achilles.
Take by the hand the pretty-cheeked daughter of Brises
and bring her.
And if he will not give her up,
I myself shall come with my ships and take her
and that will be all the worse for him.” 325

So saying, he sent them out
and issued his strong command;
and the two went unwillingly along
                                 the strand of the desert sea
and came to the ships and the huts of the Myrmidons;
and they found Achilles sitting by his hut and black ship;
and he took no delight at the sight of them.
And the two men stood
in awe and terror
before the prince
and neither said a thing nor questioned him,
but Achilles in his breast understood very well and said:  333

“Hail, O heralds, messengers of Zeus and men.
Do come hither.
You are in no way culpable to me, but Agamemnon,
who sent you on account of the daughter of Brises.
But come, O Zeus-born Patroklos:
bring out the maiden
and give her to
                        these two to take away. 338
Let them be witnesses
before the blessèd gods and mortal men
and before the intransigent king
if ever hereafter there’s need of me
to keep ignominious ruin from the troops;
for he rushes ahead with destruction in his heart
nor does he know to consider cause or consequence
or how the Achaians might conduct their war
                                                                   by the ships in safety.” 344

So he spoke, and Patroklos obeyed his dear comrade
and led the pretty-cheeked daughter
                                             of Brises out of the hut
delivering her to be taken.
The two men went back beside the Achaian ships
and the woman went unwillingly with them away;
and Achilles slipped away and sat weeping
apart from his companions
by the strand of the gray salt water
and gazed out across
the infinite sea
and stretched his hands
and passionately prayed to his mother:

“Mother, since you bore me to live
                                             but for a moment,
Olympian Zeus, who thunders above,
ought ever to have paid me honor,
but now he does not honor me at all;
for the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon,
has contempt for me: he keeps my trophy
having seized her and made off with her.”

So he spoke, gushing tears,
and his queenly mother heard it,
sitting in the salty depths
beside her agèd father.
Swiftly she rose from the gray salty water
in the form of a mist
and sat before his face as he poured out his tears
and stroked him with her hand
and spoke and addressed him:

“Child, why do you call?
Don’t hide your mind.
Speak, so that we both might know.” 363

Swift-footed Achilles spoke, moaning heavily:

“You already know. Why must I declare it to you
since you are cognizant of everything?
We went to Thêbês, the holy city of Êetiôn
—ravaged it
               and brought all the booty here;
and the sons of the Achaians
       apportioned it out among themselves.
For the son of Atreus they chose from it
the pretty-cheeked daughter of Chryses,
and Chryses, the priest of Apollo, who shoots from afar
came to the ships of the bronze-shirted Achaians
to free his daughter,
holding, on a golden scepter in his fists,
the fillets of Apollo, who shoots from afar,
and bearing a boundless ransom.
He prayed to all the Achaians, but most of all
to the two sons of Atreus, marshals of the people.
Now, all the other Achaians voiced their assent,
to honor the priest and take the shining ransom.
But that did not delight
               Atreus’ son, Agamemnon, in his heart.
[is there more?] 

The old man departed in anger,
and Apollo heard his prayer, for the priest was dear to him,
and shot a deleterious arrow at the Achaians,
and now the people died in rapid succession,
for the shafts of the god were everywhere
              through the broad camp of th’Achaians.
The prophet, who new very well
                    the intent of the long-range god
                                                     declared it to us.
I was the first to command
                         that we propitiate the god,
whereupon rage
                         seized the son of Atreus.
He rose at once and uttered a threat
                                 which is now accomplished, 388
for the sparkling-eyed Achaians
are sending the girl by swift ship to Chryses
and bringing offerings to the Lord;
but other heralds have come to my hut
                                          to take away Briseis
the girl whom the sons of the Achaians had given me.
But you, if you are able, must come to the aid of your child.
Go to Olympos; importune Zeus,
if ever before you pleased him with speech or action.395
For often I heard you declare
                             to your father in the halls
that you alone among the immortals
everted ignominious ruin
from the son of Kronos, the black cloud god,
when all the other Olympians wanted to bind him—
even Poseidon and Hera and Pallas Athena.
But you came to him
                            and released him from his chains
summoning to blessèd Olympos
the hundred-handed one whom the gods call Briareos
but all men name Aegaion,
and he is greater in power than Poseidon, his father.
He sat down beside the Kronion
exuding pleasure in his glory
and the blessèd gods feared him
and refrained from binding Zeus.
Remind him of this now
and sit down beside him
and clasp his knees
that he might wish to come to the aid of the Trojans
and pen-in the Achaians
down by the sterns of their ships
                                            and about the sea as they’re slaughtered
so that all of them might appreciate their king
and the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon, know
                                                                                 his own blind folly
in that he failed to pay honor
to the very best of the Achaians.” 412

Thetis responded, weeping all the while:

“Ai me, my child, Oh why did I rear you
                                            since calamitous was my child-rearing?
Would that it were yours
to sit by your ships
free of affliction and tearless
since short life is your portion
with no prolonged duration.
Now swift fate is yours
and sorrow beyond all men
for I bore you to an odious portion in the halls.
But I myself shall go to snow-clad Olympos
and deliver your utterance
to Zeus who delights in thunder
and perhaps he might be persuaded.
Meanwhile, you remain
by the swift sea-faring vessels
and rage against the Achaians
and altogether hold yourself back from the War.
Zeus went to Okeanos yeaterday
for a feast with the blameless Ethiopians,
and all the other gods went with him.
On the twelfth day he returns to Olympos,
and then I shall go
to the palace of the gods
and its brazen threshold
and clasp his knees
and I think I shall persuade him.” 427

So saying, she departed, leaving him to his raging
on account of the fair-girdled woman
who had been taken away
                                     by force in his despite.
And Odysseus came to Chryses
conducting the holy hecatomb.
When they’d pulled into the deep harbor,
they took down the sail and stowed it
                                               on the black ship
and lowered the mast by the forestays, and quickly,
and drew her with oars to the mooring site
and cast away the stones
and chained her with stern-cables
and they themselves disembarked
onto the shore of the ocean
and led out the hecatomb for Apollo, far-shooter,
and the daughter of Chryses climbed down from the sea-faring vessel.
Then ever-so-cunning Odysseus
conducted her to the altar
and put her in the hands of her dear father
and said to him:

“O Chryses; the lord of men Agamemnon has sent me
to bring your child to you
and to offer a holy hecatomb to Apollo
on behalf of the Danaäns
that we might propitiate the Lord
who presently causes the Argives
such affliction and sorrow.” 445

So saying, he placed the dear child in her father’s arms
and her father joyfully received her;
and they swiftly set the holy
                                        hecatomb in proper order
about the altar, properly constructed.
Then they cleansed their hands
and elevated the sacrificial barley grains.
And Chryses raised his hands
and made a mighty prayer on their behalf:

“Hear me now, you of the silver bow,
who, standing over Chryse and holy Kylla,
lords it mightily o’er Tenedos;
just as you heard my prayer and honored me formerly
and smote the army of the Achaians,
accomplish this wish for me now:
evert the ignominious pestilence  from the Danaäns.” 455

So he spoke, praying,
and Phoibos Apollo heard him
and when they had made their prayers
and scattered the grains of barley,
first they drew back the victims’ heads
and slit their throats and flayed them
and cut out the thigh pieces
and covered them with fat
and set raw flesh on top of them;
and the old man burnt them on skids
and poured out a libation of flaming wine
and the young men beside him
held in their hands
        forks with five tines. 463
But when the thigh parts were burnt up
and they’d sampled the innards,
they cut what parts remained and put them on skewers
and roasted them through and through
and drew it all off the spits;
and when they’d completed their work and readied the feast,
they dined, and their spirit lacked nothing
                                  pertaining to the justly distributed banquet;
and when they’d sated their hunger for food and drink,
young boys filled kraters to the brim
and served everyone beverage.

All day in song they propitiated the deity,
young Achaian boys singing the beautiful paean—
hymns to the far-darter, Apollo;
he delighted to hear them.

When the sun went down and darkness came,
they lay down by the ships’ stern cables.
When early dawn with rose-colored fingers appeared,
they set off for the Achaian’s broad camp;
and Apollo who works at long range
sent them a favorable wind
and they set up the mast
and unfurled the white sail
and the wind swelled the sail
and the purple wave cried loudly
                                        about the stem of the ship
                                                                      as she sailed along
and she flowed above the wave and made her way.
But when they reached the broad camp of the Achaians,
they drew the black ship
                                    up onto the shore
                                          high on the sands,
lined up the long props
and they themselves dispersed among huts and ships.

But the god-born son of Peleus, swift-footed Achilles
remained there raging
beside the rapid sailing vessels.
He neither frequented the assembly places
                                 where men distinguish themselves
nor fought in the war
but remained where he was, devouring his heart
though longing for battle.  492

But when the twelfth dawn
                                      after their arrival, came
all the gods who are forever
came to Olympos together,
Zeus at their head,
and Thetis did not forget the behest of her son,
but she rose from a wave of the sea
and at dawn went up to the big sky and Mount Olympos.
She found wide-watching Zeus
sitting apart from the others
atop the highest peak of stony Olympos.
She sat down beside him and clasped his knees with her left hand;
with her right she took his chin
and beseeching him, she spoke to Lord Kronion Zeus.

“Father Zeus, if ever in former times I came to your aid
                                                                         among the immortals
either in speech or action,
accomplish this for me now.
Honor my son
who is beyond all others
most bound to swiftly on-coming doom,
for the lord of men, Agamemnon presently dishonors him.
He has appropriated and keeps my son’s trophy.
But you must honor him, wise Olympian;
make the Trojans strong
until the Achaians honor my son
and make him great
with honorable compensation.”  510

So she spoke, but cloud-gathering Zeus said nothing.
He sat in silence for a long while.
Thetis clung close and asked him a second time.

“Truly promise me and nod your head or else deny me,
since you fear nothing,
so that I might know well
that I am the most dishonored among all the gods.”

Then a most sorely disquieted cloud-gathering Zeus did utter:

“This is an exceedingly troubling business,
for you ask me to tangle with Hera
because she is sure to vex me with contentious words.
She already rebukes me
                               among the immortal deities
and says that I give succor to the Trojans in battle,
so, for the moment, go away
lest Hera suspect something,
and I’ll mull over these matters,
how to bring things to pass.
Come and I will nod my head to you
and you may rest assured
for from me this is the greatest indication among the immortals
for that to which I nod with my head
shall neither be retracted nor falsified nor go unfulfilled.” 527

And indeed the Kronion
                               nodded with his dark brows;
The ambrosial locks of the lord
                                    fluttering from out his immortal head,
he caused great Olympos to shake.
When the two had thus conferred, they departed.
Thetis plunged from shining Olympos
                                                   to the sea depths;
Zeus was off to his palace.
All the gods together arose from their seats in front of the father.
No one dared to wait for him to arrive,
but all stood up in front of him.
He took his seat on the throne;
but Hera did not fail to see and to take cognizance
that silver-footed Thetis, daughter of the Old Man of the Sea
                                                                          had conferred with him.
She said to the divine son of Kronos, (and contentiously):

“Who of the gods, O wily one, has just now been conferring with you?
Forever it is dear to you to promulgate judgments
cogitated in secret, apart from me.
Never do you risk it to tell me out right
what you are thinking.”

The father of gods and men responded to her:

“Hera, do not aspire to know all my thoughts:
They will be troublesome for you, my wife though you are.
But what it is appropriate that you hear,
no god or man will know it first;
but what I wish to consider apart from the gods:
do not inquire into it.” 550

Cow-eyed Lady Hera said back to him:

“Most terrible son of Kronos,
what is this utterance you deliver?
I have not been in the habit of inquiring or questioning you,
but unimpeded you contrive matters just as you will.
It is just that now I have a terrible foreboding in my heart
that silver-footed Thetis, daughter of The Old Man of the Sea,
                                                                            has distracted you,
for at dawn she sat beside you and clasped your knees,
and I think that you nodded consent to honor Achilles
and slaughter many men by the ships of the Achaians.” 559

Cloud-gathering Zeus said in response:

“Woman possessed: you are always thinking. I cannot evade you.
But you’ll not be able to do a thing about it,
except to estrange yourself even further from me—
and it shall be the worse for you.
If matters stand as you say,
                            it is dear to me that they do so.
Sit down. Be silent. Obey my words—
lest all the gods on Olympos
                                    not be able to assist you,
if ever I come near
                  to laying my in-
                                  evadable hands upon you.”

So he spoke, and cow-eyed Lady Hera was afraid
and she sat down in silence and curbed her heart.
The Ouranian deities in the house of Zeus were disturbed;
and Hephaistos, famed for his craft-art
                                              was first to address them
bringing joy to his dear mother, white-armed Hera.

“This will turn out to be a sorry business
                                             not to be put up with,
if on account of mortals
you two are to be at odds in this manner—
an unseemly fracas
                  struck up among the gods—
with the upshot that there’ll be
                          no pleasure in our excellent banquets
since worse things will prevail.
I’ll talk to my mother
(though she, no doubt about it,
is quite capable of providing
advice to herself)
to the effect that she ought to mollify dear father Zeus
that he not further rebuke her,
that our banquet not experience further disruption.
What if the Olympian, who wields bolts of lightning,
should wish to drive us from our sedulous situations?

Well, he is very much the stronger!
So, dear mother, go
                  and accost him with mollifying speeches,
and the Olympian will thereupon by gracious to us.” 583

Thus he spoke and, lifting a cup with two handles,
he put it in his mother’s hands and said to her:

“Be happy, my mother,
and bear up in spite of your care
lest, as you are dear to me,
I behold you attacked right here before my eyes
and have no power to assist you, in spite of my sorrow,
for the Olympian is a tough one to contend with.
Some time ago, when I wanted
                              to come to your aid against him,
he took me by the foot
               and threw me over the threshold of the gods.
All day I was in motion.
At sundown I landed on Lemnos.
Little life was left in me,
and the Sintian people tended me for my fall.”

So he spoke, and the goddess, white-armed Hera, smiled
and, smiling, accepted the cup from the hand of her child.
And he poured sweet nectar
that he drew from the krater
for all the other immortals, left to right,
and uncontrollable laughter rose
                                     among the blessèd gods
as they saw Hephaistos bustling about the palace. 600

All day long until sundown, they feasted
and their spirit lacked nothing
for the fare was justly distributed,
nor was the beautiful lyre that Apollo wielded lacking,
nor the Muses lacking, who sang
                              with beautiful answering voices.
But when the refulgent light of the sun went down,
they went, each one to his home, to lie down;
for each one famous Hephaistos,
                           god with the two strong arms,
had fashioned a palatial dwelling
                                           by means of knowing skill.
Olympian Zeus, who wields bolts of lightning,
went to his couch
on which from ancient times, he was accustomed
                                                                   to take his rest
when calm sleep came upon him,
and there he went and lay down,
and golden thronèd Hera was beside him. 611

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