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
 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.
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.