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The Story of the Greeks by  H. A. Guerber

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THE SACRIFICE OF IPHIGENIA

TRUE to his promise, Achilles soon came to Aulis with his well-trained soldiers, the Myrmidons, and with him came his friend, Patroclus. All were now eager to start, and ready to embark; but unfortunately there was no favorable wind to fill their sails and waft them over to Asia Minor.

Day after day they waited, and offered sacrifices to the gods, but all in vain. At last they again consulted [47] the oracle, who said that the wind would not blow until Iphigenia, Agamemnon's daughter, were offered up in sacrifice to Diana, goddess of the moon and the chase, whom this king had once offended.

Agamemnon at first said that he would not sacrifice his daughter, but finally his companions persuaded him to do so. Just as the priest was about to kill the maiden on the altar, however, the goddess Diana came, and carried her off unharmed, leaving a deer to be sacrificed in her stead.

The deer was killed, the wind rose, the sails filled, and the Greek fleet soon came within sight of the high walls and towers of Troy. There, contrary to their expectations, the Greeks found the people ready to fight them; but, after many days' struggle, they saw that they had made no great advance.

On the wide plain which stretched out between the city and the sea, the Greek and Trojan armies fought many a battle; and sometimes one party, and sometimes the other, had the victory. The men on both sides had been trained to handle their weapons with great skill, and there were many fights in which the Greek heroes met the bravest Trojans.


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Nine years passed thus in continual warfare, but even then the Greeks were as far from taking the town as on the first day; and the Trojans, in spite of all their courage, had not been able to drive their enemies away.


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