After that, he should give an oath that he never slept with Briseis and finally entertain Achilles in his hut. To all this Agamemnon agrees, but Achilles is again far from interested. Now Odysseus states more firmly that his suggested course of action is the right and proper one. Therefore, the gifts are paraded and the oath made.
After this, the Myrmidons bring the gifts back to Achilles' hut, where they are stored. When Briseis sees the dead body of Patroclus, she offers a heartfelt and touching lament, which, in turn, leads Achilles to start lamenting, recalling both his father and his son.
The Achaeans now start to arm themselves for war and the book ends with a description of Achilles preparing to re-enter the battle. In a brief moment of surrealism, Hera grants Achilles' horse Xanthus the power of speech and he prophesies Achilles' death, stating that he will be brought down in battle by a god and a man. Achilles angrily responds that he knows he is to die at Troy, but that this will not stop him.
BOOK 20 - Achilles' Return to Battle
The scene switches to Olympus, where Zeus states that the gods may take sides in the conflict. Therefore, Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Hermes and Hephaestus join the Achaean side; while Apollo, Aphrodite, Ares, Artemis, Leto and the river-god Xanthus join the Trojan side.
While the gods keep away from the human struggle, the Achaeans have the better of the fighting, since Achilles has rejoined the fray. Soon, however, the immortals start urging on their respective sides and even start clashing among themselves. Achilles is eager for single combat with Hector, but instead Apollo fills Aeneas with courage and sets him before him. The gods debate wholesale fighting with each other and settle for simply watching the conflict and helping their favourites if the other side's gods should decide to help theirs.
Achilles and Aeneas confront one another and exchange long speeches before entering upon their single combat. Achilles has the better of the contest and is about to kill Aeneas, when Poseidon takes pity on Aeneas, since Apollo has forced him into combat and is showing no sign of wishing to save him. He descends upon the fighting and transports Aeneas to the edges of the battle, instructing him not to pit himself against Achilles.
Achilles continues his murderous ways, slaughtering countless Trojans, including Polydorus, Priam's youngest and most favoured son. This death inspires Hector to anger and he attacks Achilles. However, Athena blows Hector's spear back to him when he casts it and Apollo transports him away from Achilles in a cloud of dense mist. Achilles then drives on, brutally killing more Trojans.
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