brother or father, if he brings the right payment. Achilles, however, is implacable simply because of the loss of one girl.

Achilles sympathises with Ajax's view, but reiterates the contempt with which he feels he has been treated by Agamemnon. He tells him to return with the message that he will not fight until Hector has fought his way to the huts of the Myrmidons and has set the ships on fire. At that time Hector will be stopped.

After making libations, the embassy makes it way to the huts of Agamemnon, except for Phoenix who stays with Achilles. When they arrive, Odysseus relates the bad news and they are all silent for a moment. Then Diomedes says to Agamemnon that it was not a good idea to offer Achilles gifts since it has offended his pride even more. He advises that they leave Achilles alone and wait until either his own heart or one of the gods persuades him to rejoin the fighting. In the meantime, Agamemnon should take his place on the battlefield among the leading Achaeans. This is generally approved and, having poured libations, they all go back to their huts and sleep.

BOOK 10 - Night Manoeuvres

The high intensity of Book 9 is alleviated by the events of Book 10, which occur entirely at night and are somewhat removed from the action of the rest of the poem. Agamemnon, worried by the embassy's inability to persuade Achilles to rejoin the fighting, organises a meeting of the leading Achaeans. They congregate in a spot beyond their defensive ditch on site free of corpses. Nestor is the first to speak and suggests that one of them attempt to make their way secretly into the Trojan camp on the plain, to ascertain what their plans are. Diomedes volunteers to do this and selects Odysseus as his co-spy.

Meanwhile, the Trojans themselves have had a similar idea and the un-heroic Dolon is chosen to garner information from the Achaean ships. However, before he is able to do this, he is captured by Diomedes and Odysseus, who extract information from him about the Trojan position and those of their allies, in particular the Thracians and King Rhesus, who has only recently arrived and who is notably well-equipped. Having ascertained all they need from him, Dolon is killed by Diomedes. Using his information, the two Achaean heroes attack the Thracians and kill Rhesus, on whose white horses they ride back to the Achaean camp, in triumph.

BOOK 11 - Further Trojan Success

The day that begins at the start of Book 11 lasts until the end of Book 18, and can be seen to be the pivotal one of the poem and, by extension, the whole war, since it sees the highpoint of Trojan success, the firing of the Achaean ships, and the event that finally brings Achilles back to the fighting, the death of Patroclus.

The start of the book sees Zeus send the cruel goddess Strife down to the Achaean ships. This is followed by a description of Agamemnon preparing himself for war, which focuses particularly on the fine corselet that he puts on. Now is his finest hour and we see him proving his worth as a fighter on the battlefield. Zeus prevents Hector from fighting until Agamemnon is injured and, as a result, the Trojans are driven back. However, when Agamemnon is hit, followed in quick succession by Diomedes and Odysseus, Hector is granted glory until the end of the day by Zeus. The Achaeans have been shorn of all their great warriors, save Ajax, who fights on effectively but cannot halt the flow of Trojan success.

Meanwhile, Achilles has been watching events and sees a wounded Achaean being led from the battlefield by Nestor. Curious, he sends Patroclus to discover who it is. Arriving at Nestor's hut, Patroclus is treated to a lengthy reminiscence by the old man and criticism of Achilles for his intransigence. In conclusion, he suggests to Patroclus that he ask Achilles if he can borrow his armour and re-enter the fray. While returning to Achilles, Patroclus comes across Eurypylus, who is wounded. He helps him to his hut and tends his wound.

BOOK 12 - The Achaean Wall Penetrated

Throughout Book 12, we see ceaseless fighting and the full glory of Hector as a warrior. Inspired by him, the Trojans drive back the Achaeans and keep them shut in behind the protective wall that they built. The fighting is fierce and the Trojans mount a concerted assault on the wall. The Lycians under Glaucus and Sarpedon are successful on one stretch, Sarpedon making the first breach by removing

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.