HOW MENELAUS WAS WOUNDED; AND THE BRAVE DEEDS OF DIOMEDES
 While Menelaus made search for Paris,
Hera and Athene plotted together,
wrathfully planning how best to bring harm upon
Paris and the men of Troy.
No wish had they that the grievous war
should be ended, and Paris, whom they
hated, allowed to go unpunished.
Like a shooting-star that flashes through
the sky, even so did Athene haste down to
the earth from Olympus.
In the guise of a man she sought Pandarus,
a gallant warrior and a mighty archer.
'Hearken to me, wise Pandarus,' said the
goddess. 'Shoot now a swift arrow at
Menelaus, that thou may'st slay him. So shalt
thou win fame and glory before all the
Trojans, and gain from Paris kingly gifts.'
 And to her words foolish Pandarus lent
He unsheathed his polished bow, made
from the horn of a wild ibex that he himself
had shot in the mountains. Sixteen palms
long were its horns, and these a skilled
workman had polished well and joined
cunningly together, and tipped with gold. Well
did Pandarus string his bow, and from his
quiver he chose an arrow, sharp and new.
Then did he pull back the bowstring to his
breast until the great bow was bent into a
round. The horn twanged and the bowstring
sang, and the keen arrow sped fiercely on its
way. Straight to the heart of Menelaus
would it have sped, but Athene made it
glance aside, so that it smote against the
golden buckles of the belt of his breastplate.
Yet even then did it graze his flesh, and the
black blood gushed forth from the wound.
When Agamemnon saw the blood flowing,
sorely grieved was he.
But Menelaus said:
'Be of good courage. The wound is not
deep, for my glistering belt in front and my
 kirtle of mail beneath stayed the deadly
Then did they send for a skilled physician.
And he, when he was come, drew forth the
arrow, and sucked the blood and spread
healing drugs upon the wound.
While the physician tended Menelaus,
throughout the Greek host went Agamemnon.
'To arms!' he said to his men. 'The men
of Troy have broken the oath of peace that
they took, and for us it is to punish them.
No helper of liars is Zeus, and so shall they
fall before us and their flesh be given to the
vultures for their food!'
All those of his men that he found preparing
eagerly for the battle, he praised. But
to those that he found shrinking from battle
he gave angry words, whether they were
common soldiers or great chiefs.
To Diomedes he came at last.
'Dost thou hold back from battle,
Diomedes?' he cried. 'Such was not thy
father's way. Ever in battle was he the
first. But his son is not a fighter such as
 he, though in speech he may be more
No answer did Diomedes make, for he
reverenced Agamemnon the king.
But a comrade who stood by him cried out
in anger at the injustice of his words.
'Falsely dost thou speak, Agamemnon!'
he said. 'Better men than our fathers are
we! Did we not, with fewer men and
against a stronger wall, take the great city
of Thebes which they strove to take in
But brave Diomedes sternly rebuked him.
'Be silent, brother,' he said, 'for right and
just it is that Agamemnon should urge his
warriors on to the fight. His will be the
glory if we overcome the men of Troy and
take their city, and his will be the great
sorrow if by the Trojans we Greeks are laid
low. Come! let us to arms!'
From his chariot Diomedes leapt to the
ground, and his armour clanged as he
And as the great sea-billows raise their
heads before the driving of the gale, and
 crash themselves in fury against the shore,
casting afar their briny spray and foam, even
as mightily did the Greeks move onward to
battle. Horse after horse, and man after
man, went as the waves of the sea.
But like bleating sheep were the Trojans
as they awaited the coming of their
And amongst the men of Troy fought
Mars, god of war, and for the Greeks fought
Athene, and with her were Terror and Rout,
and Strife that never wearies.
So did the armies meet. Like wolves they
fought. Man lashed at man; with blood the
earth grew red, and the clamour of their
fighting was as the noise of the meeting of
the mountain streams when they rush in
furious spate into the valleys in the winter
Like trees that the woodmen cut and send
crashing to the ground, so fell first one hero,
then another. First fell a man of Troy, then
a Greek. On that day many a Trojan and
many a Greek side by side in the dust lay
 Now was it that to Diomedes Athene
came and gave fresh strength and courage.
From his helmet she made a light to shine,
burning brightly as a star in summer.
Amongst the Trojans were two brothers,
rich and noble, and well-skilled warriors.
One of them from their chariot cast his
spear at Diomedes, who was on foot, but
missed his aim. And Diomedes then cast
his spear and smote his enemy in the breast,
so that from his chariot he fell dead on the
ground, while his brother fled, lest he, too,
should be slain. He left his beautiful chariot
behind, and Diomedes drove away the horses
and gave them to his men to keep for him.
And Athene, watching the fray, took the
god Mars by the hand and led him aside.
'Let us leave the Greeks and Trojans to
fight,' said she, 'and let Zeus give the victory
to whom he will.'
Then did Mars sit him down by the river
Scamander, and again Greeks and Trojans
fought without aid from the gods.
Like heroes they fought. Like heroes
they slew and died. But none fought as did
 Diomedes. Like a winter torrent in full flood
did he charge across the plain, driving all
But when Pandarus the archer saw him
coming against him in triumph, he bent his
bow and drove an arrow in haste to meet
him. And in one moment the corslet of
Diomedes was dabbled with blood.
Then loudly shouted Pandarus:
Bestir you, brave Trojans! The best
man of the Greeks is wounded, and soon
shall he die from the arrow that I sped
So boasted Pandarus, but Diomedes leapt
down from his chariot, and to his charioteer
'Haste thee, and draw from my shoulder
this bitter arrow.'
Speedily the charioteer drew the arrow
forth, and from the wound the blood spurted
Then cried Diomedes:
'Hear me, Athene! If ever thou didst
stand by my father in heat of battle, stand
now by me. Bring me within a spear's thrust
 of this man who hath wounded me, and grant
that I may slay him.'
So he prayed, and Athene heard him.
Be of good courage, Diomedes,' she said.
'Thy prayer is granted. But if thou shouldst
meet any of the gods in battle, smite none of
them save golden Aphrodite.'
Then did Diomedes turn back to the battle,
and threefold courage came upon him, so that
he fought as fights an angry lion.
Ten warriors, brave and gallant, fell
before him, and the horses of these he
took and gave to his men to drive to the
Then said Aeneas, captain of the Trojan
host, son of a mortal warrior and of the goddess Aphrodite:
'Where are thy bows and arrows, Pandarus? Canst thou not slay this man who
makes havoc of the host?'
'Methinks this man is Diomedes,' answered
Pandarus. 'Already have I smitten him, but
without avail. Surely he is no man, but a
wrathful god. Behind me in my own dear
land left I eleven fair chariots, each with its
 yoke of horses, for I feared that my good
horses might not find fodder in the camp.
So now have I no chariot but only my bow,
and now is my bow of no help to me, for
Menelaus and Diomedes have I smitten, yet
they have not died.'
Then said Aeneas:
'Talk not thus, but mount in my chariot
and take the reins and whip, and I myself
will stand upon the car and fight with
'Nay,' said Pandarus, 'take thou thyself
the reins. Should thy horses be driven by
one they know not, and hear a strange voice
from him who drives them, mad might they
go with fear. So drive thine own horses,
Aeneas, and with my spear will I go against
In the chariot then mounted Aeneas and
Pandarus, and swiftly galloped the horses
against Diomedes. His charioteer saw them
coming and to Diomedes he said:
'Pandarus and Aeneas come against us,
Diomedes—mighty warriors both. Let us
haste back to our chariot.'
 'Speak not of flight!' answered Diomedes
'It is not in my blood to skulk or cower
down. As for these, both shall not escape
me. But if Athene grant that I slay them
both, then stay my chariot where it is,
binding the reins to the chariot rim, and leap
upon the horses of Aeneas and drive them
forth into the host of the Greeks. For truly
there are no better horses under the sun
than these horses of Aeneas.'
When Pandarus and Aeneas drew near,
fiercely Pandarus hurled his bronze-shod
spear. Through the shield of Diomedes it
passed, and reached his breastplate.
'Thou art hit in the loin!' cried Pandarus;
'now, methinks, thou soon shalt die.'
But Diomedes, unafraid, replied:
'Nay! thou hast missed and not hit.'
With that he hurled his spear. Through
the nose and teeth and tongue of Pandarus
it passed, and from the chariot he fell, his
gleaming armour clanging on the ground.
And it was from a dead man that the horses
Then Aeneas leapt from his chariot and
 stood astride the lifeless body, like a lion at
bay, fearful lest the Greeks should take from
him the body of his friend.
In his hand Diomedes seized a mighty
stone, and with it smote Aeneas on the thigh,
crushing the bone, and tearing the skin.
On his knees fell the great Aeneas, and soon
must he have perished, but Aphrodite saw
the peril of her son and wound her white
arms about him, and would have borne him
safely away. But Diomedes, leaping in his
chariot, pursued her, and with his spear he
wounded her sorely on the wrist. With a
great cry Aphrodite let fall her son, but
another of the gods was near and bore him
away in the covering of a cloud.
'Away with thee, Aphrodite!' called
Diomedes. 'It is surely enough for thee to
beguile feeble women and to keep away
Then upon Aeneas he leapt, not knowing
that it was a god whose arms held him.
Three times did he seek fiercely to slay
Aeneas, and three times did the god beat
 'Thou warrest with the gods! Have a
care, Diomedes!' shouted the god in a
terrible voice, and Diomedes for a little
Then truly did the gods come to war
against Greeks and Trojans, for Mars and
Athene and Hera in fury fought amongst the
'Shame on ye! men of Greece,' cried
Athene. 'While noble Achilles went forth
to war, the Trojans dared scarcely pass
without their gates, but now they bring their
fighting close to the ships on the beach!'
So she roused the Greeks to further fury.
To Diomedes then she went. Him she found
beside his chariot, wiping away the blood.
from the wound dealt him by Pandarus.
'An unworthy son of thy brave father are
thou, Diomedes,' she said. 'Alone would
thy father fight; but though I stand by thy
side to guard thee, either weariness or fear
hath taken hold on thee.'
'I have no fear, neither am I weary,'
answered Diomedes, 'but thou hast told me
to smite none of the gods save Aphrodite,
 and now see I the god Mars leading the
men of Troy. So have I stayed my hand and
called back my men from the battle.
Then answered bright-eyed Athene:
'Diomedes, joy of mine heart, fear not
Mars nor any other of the gods, for I am thy
helper. Go now, guide thy chariot against
Mars and smite him hand to hand. This
day did he promise me to fight for the Greeks,
and now he fights against them.'
So saying, she made the charioteer of
Diomedes give her his place, and herself,
with whip and reins, did she guide the fiery
And Mars, seeing the chariot of Diomedes
draw near, leaving many dead behind him,
eagerly came to meet it. With furious thrust
did he drive his spear at Diomeaes, but
Athene seized it in her hand and turned it
aside. Then did Diomedes thrust at Mars
with his spear of bronze, and it Athene
guided so that it pierced the thigh of the
god of war. Loud as nine thousand or ten
thousand warriors cry in battle, did Mars
bellow with rage and pain, and like a thunder-
 cloud he swept upwards through the sky to
And still the fight went on, and sorrow
came to many from the slaying of that day.