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himself called his foe to battle. So Ajax came near, holding before him the great shield, like a wall. Seven folds of bull's hide it had, and an eighth of bronze. Threateningly he spake:
“Now shalt thou know, Hector, what manner of men 5 there are yet among our chiefs, though Achilles the lion-hearted is far away, sitting idly in his tent, in great wrath with King Agamemnon. Do thou, then, begin the battle."
"Speak not to me,” said Hector, “as though I were 10 a woman or a child, knowing nothing of war. Well I know all the arts of battle, to ply my shield this way and that, to guide my car through the tumult of steeds, and to stand fighting hand to hand.”
And as he spake he hurled his long-shafted spear, 15 and smote the great shield. Through six folds it passed, but in the seventh it was stayed. Then Ajax hurled his spear, striking Hector's shield. Through shield it passed and corselet, and cut the tunic close against the loin; but Hector shrank away and escaped the doom of 20 death. Then, each with a fresh spear, they rushed together like lions or wild boars of the wood. First Hector smote the middle of the shield of Ajax, but pierced it not, for the spear-point was bent back; then Ajax, with a great bound, drove his spear at Hector's 25 shield and pierced it, forcing him back, and grazing his neck so that the black blood welled out. Yet did not
Hector cease from the combat. A great stone and rough he caught up from the ground, and hurled it at the seven-fold shield. Loud rang the bronze, but the shield brake not. Then Ajax took a stone heavier by far, and threw it with all his might. It brake the shield 5 of Hector, and bore him backwards, so that he fell at length with his shield above him. But Apollo raised him up. Then did both draw their swords; but ere they could join in close battle came the heralds, and held their scepters between them, and Idæus, the herald of 10 Troy, spake :
“Fight no more, my sons; Zeus loves you both, and ye are both mighty warriors. That we all know right well. But now the night bids you cease, and it is well to heed its bidding."
Then said Ajax: “It is for Hector to speak, for he called the bravest of the Greeks to battle. And as he wills it, so will I.”
And Hector said: “O Ajax, the gods have given thee stature and strength and skill, nor is there any better 20 warrior among the Greeks. Let us cease then from the battle; we may yet meet again, and the gods give the victory to me or thee. But now let us give gifts the one to the other, so that Trojans and Greeks may say, 'Hector and Ajax met in fierce fight and parted in 25 friendship.'”
So Hector gave to Ajax a silver-studded sword with
the scabbard and the sword-belt, and Ajax gave to Hector a buckler splendid with purple. So they parted. Right glad were the sons of Troy when they saw Hector returning safe. Glad also were the Greeks, as they led 5 Ajax rejoicing in his victory to King Agamemnon. Thereupon the King called the chiefs to banquet together, and bade slay an ox of five years old, and Ajax he honored most of all, giving him the best portions. And when the feast was ended, Nestor said:
“It were well that we should cease a while from war and burn the dead, for many are fallen. And we will build a great wall and dig a trench about it, and we will make gates that a chariot may pass through, so that
our ships may be safe, if the sons of Troy should press 15 us hard.”
But the next morning came a herald from Troy to the chiefs, as they sat in council by the ship of King Agamemnon, and said:
“This is the word of Priam and the men of Troy : 20 Paris will give back all the treasures of the fair Helen,
and many more besides; but the fair Helen herself he will not give. And if this please you not, grant us a truce, that we may bury our dead.”
Then Diomed spake: “Nay, we will not take the 25 treasures, for a man may know, even though he be a fool, that the doom of Troy is come.” And King Agamemnon said, “Herald, thou hast
heard the word of the Greeks, but as for the truce, be it as you will.”
" So the next day they burnt their dead, and the Greeks made a wall with gates and dug a trench about it. And when it was finished, even at sunset, they made 5 ready a meal, and lo! there came ships from Lemnos bringing wine, and Greeks bought thereof, some with bronze, and some with iron, and some with shields of ox hide. All night they feasted right joyously. The sons of Troy also feasted in their city. But the dreadful 10 thunder rolled through the night, for Zeus was planning evil against them.
ALFRED J. CHURCH: The Story of the Iliad.
HELPS TO STUDY
1. Who was Athene? 2. What was Olympus ? 3. How did Athene and Apollo stay the battle? 4. What were the terms of Hector's challenge to the Greeks? 5. Who was Menelaus? 6. What did he do? 7. How was Ajax selected to fight with Hector ? 8. Describe their weapons and their methods of fighting. 9. How was the fight stopped ? 10. On what did the Greeks feast? 11. How was a truce arranged ? 12. For what purpose? 13. What kind of money did the Greeks have? 14. What qualities do you find in Nestor ?
For Study with the Glossary. Seer, covenant, ply, buckler.
Helenus (hěl'e-nus), Hellespont (hěllěs-pont), Nestor (něs'tor), Ajax (ā'jaks), Idæus (i-dē'us).