hero must take place. As a result, Hector issues a challenge, which is initially accepted by Menelaus before Agamemnon, fearing that this will result in certain death for his brother, dissuades him. Instead, the Achaeans choose to select their fighter by lot, a process which sees Ajax take up the challenge and strike fear into Hector. Ajax is clearly superior during their duel and, when heralds from both sides bring it to an end because of the approaching darkness, Hector is lucky to have survived. At the end of the contest, they exchange gifts.

The next day Paris, having rejected Antenor's suggestion that Helen be given back, offers to return all her possessions, in order that hostilities might cease. When this suggestion is put to the Achaeans they turn it down, but agree to the Trojans' other proposal of a truce for the gathering and cremating of the dead. Thus, a day is spent by both sides, seeing to their slaughtered comrades.

The following day, the Achaeans do what they have not had to do so far in all the nine years of the war, by building a protective wall and ditch around their ships and their camp.

BOOK 8 - Success for the Trojans

The book opens on Olympus, where Zeus orders the gods not to interfere any further in the conflict. He threatens to treat violently anyone who fails to obey this instruction.

On the battlefield, there are scenes of general fighting, in which the fortunes of each side seem fairly even. Then, at noon, Zeus takes out his golden scales and the fate of the Achaeans sinks down. The advantage turns firmly to the Trojans, who led by a Zeus-inspired Hector, drive the Achaeans back behind their newly-built defences. The only real resistance to this comes from Diomedes and Teucer.

Distressed by the recent turn of events, Hera and Athena decide that they must disobey the instructions of Zeus and bring some aid to the Achaeans. He, however, realises their plan and warns them not to carry it out. They decide that it is best to conform to his wishes, since it is not worth fighting him for the sake of mortals.

That night, the Trojans camp on the plain for the first time in the entire war. Confidence is high, particularly with Hector, who is convinced that they can forge onward to victory the next day. The book ends quietly with a description of the Trojan fires burning on the plain.

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