Philostratus, Heroica

Philostratus, Heroica, translation by Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean and Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, Flavius Philostratus: On Heroes, WGRW 3 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002), XX. Full text and notes are freely available on-line at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies. Used by permission of the Society of Biblical Literature; all rights reserved. This text has 353 tagged references to 128 ancient places.
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§ 660  The Phoenician's Quest; The Vinedresser and the Phoenician Meet
VINEDRESSER: Stranger, are you an Ionian, or where are you from?
PHOENICIAN: I am a Phoenician, vinedresser, one of those who live near Sidon and Tyre.
VINEDR: But what about the Ionic fashion of your dress?
PHOEN: It is now the local dress also for those of us from Phoenicia.
VINEDR: How then did your people come to change their fashion?
PHOEN: Ionian Sybaris held sway over all Phoenicia at once, and there, I think, one would be prosecuted for not living luxuriously.
VINEDR: Where are you going so proudly and ignoring everything at your feet?
PHOEN: I need a sign and an omen for good sailing, vinedresser. For they say that we shall sail into the Aegean itself, and I believe the sea is dangerous and not easy to sail. What's more, I am going against the wind. With this objective, Phoenicians seek omens for good sailing.
VINEDR: You people are at any rate skilled in nautical affairs, stranger, for you have also, I suppose, designated Cynosura as a sign in the sky, and you sail by reference to it. Yet just as you are praised for your skill in sailing, so you are slandered as money-lovers and greedy rascals for your business dealings.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 661  PHOEN: But are you not money-loving, vinedresser, living among these vines and presumably seeking someone who will gather grapes after paying a drachma for them, and seeking someone to whom you will sell sweet new wine or wine with a fine bouquet — a wine that, I believe, you are going to say you have hidden, just as Maron did?
VINEDR: Phoenician stranger, if somewhere on the earth there are Cyclopes, whom the earth is said to nourish, though they are lazy, neither planting nor sowing anything, then things would grow unattended, even though they belong to Demeter and to Dionysos, and none of the produce of the earth would be sold. Instead, everything would be by nature without price and common to all, just as in the Marketplace of Swine. Wherever it is necessary, however, for one bound to the land and subject to the seasons to sow, plow, plant, and suffer one toil after another, there it is necessary to buy and sell as well. For money is needed for farming, and without it, you will feed neither a plowman nor a vinedresser nor a cowherd nor a goatherd, nor will you have a krater from which to drink or pour a libation. In fact, the most pleasant thing in farming, namely, gathering grapes, one must contract out for hire. Otherwise, the vines will stand idle and yield no wine, as though they had been cursed. These things, stranger, I have said about the whole crowd of farmers, but my own way is far more reasonable, since I do not associate with merchants, and I do not know what the drachma is. But I either buy or myself sell a bull for grain and a goat for wine and so forth, without much talking back and forth.

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§ 662  PHOEN: You mean a golden marketplace, vinedresser, which belongs to heroes rather than to humans. Hey, what does this dog want? He keeps going all around me, whining at my feet and offering his ear gently and tamely.
VINEDR: He explains my character to you, stranger — and that we are so moderate and gracious to those who arrive here that we do not allow the dog to bark at them, but rather to welcome and to fawn before those who arrive.
PHOEN: Is it permissible to approach a vine?
VINEDR: No one is stingy, since there are enough grapes for us.
PHOEN: What about picking figs?
VINEDR: This is also allowed, since there is a surplus of figs too. And I could give you nuts, apples, and countless other good things. I plant them as snacks among the vines.
PHOEN: What might I pay you for them?
VINEDR: Nothing other than to eat them with pleasure, to be satisfied, and to go away rejoicing.
PHOEN: But, vinedresser, do you live a reflective way of life?
VINEDR: Yes, indeed, with the handsome Protesilaos.
PHOEN: What connection is there between you and Protesilaos, if you mean the man from Thessaly?
VINEDR: I do mean that man, the husband of Laodameia, for he delights in hearing this epithet.
PHOEN: But what, indeed, does he do here?
VINEDR: He lives here, and we farm together.
PHOEN: Has he come back to life, or what has happened?
VINEDR: He himself does not speak about his own experiences, stranger, except, of course, that he died at Troy because of Helen, but came to life again in Phthia because he loved Laodameia.
PHOEN: And yet he is said to have died after he came to life again and to have persuaded his wife to follow him.

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§ 663  VINEDR: He himself also says these things. But how he returned afterwards too, he does not tell me even though I've wanted to find out for a long time. He is hiding, he says, some secret of the Fates. His fellow soldiers also, who were there in Troy, still appear on the plain, warlike in posture and shaking the crests of their helmets. [3]
PHOEN: By Athena, vinedresser, I don't believe it, although I wish these things were so. But if you are not attending to the plants, nor irrigating them, tell me now about these matters and what you know about Protesilaos. Indeed, you would please the heroes if I should go away believing.
VINEDR: Stranger, the plants no longer need watering at midday, since it is already late autumn and the season itself waters them. Therefore, I have leisure to relate everything in detail. Since these matters are sacred to the gods and so important, may they not escape the notice of cultivated people! It is also better for us to sit down in the beauty of this place.
PHOEN: Lead the way; I will follow even beyond the interior of Thrace.
VINEDR: Let us enter the vineyard, Phoenician. For you may even discover in it something to cheer you.
PHOEN: Let us enter, for a scent that is, I suppose, pleasant comes from the plants.
VINEDR: What do you mean? Pleasant? It is divine! The blossoms of the uncultivated trees are fragrant, as are the fruits of those cultivated. If you ever come upon a cultivated plant with fragrant blossoms, pluck rather the leaves, since the sweet scent comes from them.
PHOEN: How diverse is the beauty of your property, and how lush the clusters of grapes have grown! How well-arranged are all the trees, and how divine is the fragrance of the place! Indeed, I think that the walkways which you have left untilled are pleasing, but, vinedresser, you seem to me to live luxuriously since you use so much uncultivated land.
VINEDR: The walkways are sacred, stranger, for the hero exercises on them. [4]
PHOEN: You will discuss these things once we sit down where you are leading us. But now tell me this: do you farm your own property, or is someone else the owner, and "do you provide food for the one who feeds you," like Oineus in Euripides' tragedy?

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 664  VINEDR: This one small plot of land out of many has been left to provide for me — as befits a free person. But powerful men have left me completely bereft of the other fields. Protesilaos took for himself this small piece of land, which was actually owned by Xeinis the Chersonesian. He took it for himself by projecting some kind of apparition of himself at Xeinis. The apparition so damaged Xeinis that he went away blind.
PHOEN: I suppose you have acquired an excellent guard over your estate, and because your friend is so alert, you do not even fear attack by any wolf.
VINEDR: You speak the truth. No beast is allowed to enter the premises. No serpent, or poisonous spider, or extortionist attacks us here in the field. This last beast is exceedingly shameless; it even kills in the marketplace.
PHOEN: Vinedresser, how were you trained in speaking? You do not seem to me to be among the uneducated.
VINEDR: At first, we spent our life in a city, and we were provided with teachers and studied. But my affairs were really in a bad way because the farming was left to slaves, and they did not bring anything back to us. Hence it was necessary to take loans with the field as security and to go hungry. And yes, on arriving, I tried to make Protesilaos my advisor, but he remained silent, since he was justifiably angry at me because, having left him, I lived in a city. But when I persisted and said that I would die if neglected, he said, "Change your dress." On that day, I heard this advice but did nothing; afterwards, examining it closely, I understood that he was commanding me to change my way of life. From that point on, after I was suitably dressed in a leather jacket, carrying a hoe, and no longer knew my way to town, Protesilaos made everything in the field grow luxuriously for me. Whenever a sheep, a beehive, or a tree became diseased, I consulted Protesilaos as a physician. Since I spend time with him and devote myself to the land, I am becoming more skilled than I used to be, because he excels in wisdom.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 665  PHOEN: You are fortunate indeed with such company and land, if you not only gather olives and grapes in it, but also harvest divine and pure wisdom. I equally do an injustice to your wisdom by calling you a "vinedresser."
VINEDR: Do call me so, and indeed you would please Protesilaos by addressing me as "farmer" and "gardener" and things like these. [5]
PHOEN: Do you then spend time with each other here, vinedresser?
VINEDR: Yes, right here, stranger. How did you guess?
PHOEN: Because this portion of the land seems to me to be most pleasant and divine. I do not know whether anyone has ever come to life again here, but if someone were to, he would live, I suppose, most pleasantly and painlessly after coming from the throng of battle. These trees are very tall, since time has reared them. This water from the springs is varied in taste, and I suppose you draw it as though drinking first one vintage wine and then another. You also produce canopies by twining and fitting together the trees, as one could not even weave together a crown from an unmown meadow.
VINEDR: Stranger, you have not yet even heard the nightingales that sing here both when evening comes and when day begins, just as they do in Attica.
PHOEN: I suppose that I have heard and that I agree that they do not lament, but only sing. But say something about the heroes, for I would rather hear about them. Do you want to sit down somewhere?
VINEDR: The hero, who is a gracious host, agrees to offer us these seats of honor.
PHOEN: Look, I am at ease, for hospitality is pleasant for one listening to serious discourse. [6]
VINEDR: Ask whatever you wish, my guest, and you will not say that you came in vain. For when Odysseus, far from his ship, was perplexed, Hermes, or one of his clever followers, had an earnest conversation with him (the subject was probably the moly). And Protesilaos by means of me will fill you with information and make you more content and wise. For knowing many things is worth much.
PHOEN: But I am not perplexed, my good friend. By Athena! I have come under the auspices of a god, and I finally understand my dream.
VINEDR: How do you interpret your dream? You hint at something divine.

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§ 666  PHOEN: This is already about the thirty-fifth day, I suppose, that I have been sailing from Egypt and Phoenicia. When the ship put in here at Elaious, I dreamed I read the verses of Homer in which he relates the catalogue of the Achaeans, and I invited the Achaeans to board the ship, since it was large enough for all. When I awoke with a start (for a shuddering came over me), I attributed the dream to the slowness and length of the voyage, since apparitions of the dead make no impression on those who travel in haste. Because I wished to be advised about the meaning of the dream (for the wind has not yet allowed our sailing), I have disembarked here. While walking, as you know, I encountered you first, and we are now talking about Protesilaos. We shall also converse about the catalogue of the heroes, for you say that we shall do so, and "cataloguing them on the ship" would mean that those who have compiled the story about them would then embark.
VINEDR: My guest, you have truly arrived under the auspices of a god, and you have described the vision soundly. Let us then recount the story, lest you say that I have corrupted you by diverting you from it. [7]
PHOEN: You know at least what I long to learn. I need to understand this association which you have with Protesilaos, what he is like, and if he knows a story about Trojan times similar to that of the poets, or one unknown to them. What I mean by "Trojan times" is this sort of thing: the assembling of the army at Aulis and the heroes, one by one, whether they were handsome, brave, and clever, as they are celebrated. After all, how could he narrate the war round about Troy when he did not fight to the end, since they say that he was the first of the entire Hellenic army to die, the instant he disembarked there?
VINEDR: This is a foolish thing for you to say, my guest. To be cleansed of the body is the beginning of life for divine and thus blessed souls. For the gods, whose attendants they are, they then know, not by worshipping statues and conjectures, but by gaining visible association with them. And free from the body and its diseases, souls observe the affairs of mortals, both when souls are filled with prophetic skill and when the oracular power sends Bacchic frenzy upon them.

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§ 667  At any rate, among those who critically examine Homer's poems, who will you say reads and has insight into them as Protesilaos does? Indeed, my guest, before Priam and Troy there was no epic recitation, nor had anyone sung of events that had not yet taken place. There was poetry about prophetic matters and about Herakles, son of Alkmene, recently arranged but not yet developed fully, but Homer had not yet sung. Some say that it was when Troy was captured, others say it was a few or even eight generations later that he applied himself to poetic composition. Nevertheless, Protesilaos knows everything of Homer and sings of many Trojan events that took place after his own lifetime, and also of many Hellenic and Median events. He calls at any rate the campaign of Xerxes the third destruction of mortals, after what happened in the time of both Deucalion and Phaethon, when a great many nations were destroyed.
PHOEN: You will fill the horn of Amaltheia, vinedresser, since your companion knows so much. I suppose you will report them correctly, even as you heard them.
VINEDR: By Zeus, I would wrong the hero, who is both learned and truth-loving, if I did not honor the truth, which he is accustomed to call the "mother of virtue."
PHOEN: I think that I have confessed my own experience to you from the beginning of our conversation: I am inclined to disbelieve legends. This is the reason: Until now I have not met anyone who has seen such fabulous things, but rather one person claims to have heard it from another, that other person believes it, and a third one a poet convinces. What is said about the great size of the heroes — how they were ten cubits tall — I consider pleasing in storytelling, but false and unconvincing for one who observes things according to

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 668  nature, for which contemporary humans provide the measure.
VINEDR: When did you begin to consider these things unconvincing?
PHOEN: Long ago, vinedresser, while yet a young man. When I was still a child I believed such things, and my nurse cleverly amused me with these tales, singing and even weeping over some of them. But when I became a young man, I did not think it necessary to accept such tales without question.
VINEDR: But concerning Protesilaos, have you ever happened to hear that he appears here?
PHOEN: Vinedresser, how could I when I do not believe what I am hearing from you today?
VINEDR: Then let the ancient things which you find unconvincing be the beginning of my story. You say, I suppose, that you disbelieve that human beings were ten cubits tall. When you can sufficiently accept this, you ought to demand the rest of the story about Protesilaos and whatever else you want about Trojan matters. You will disbelieve none of these things.
PHOEN: You speak well. Let us proceed this way. [8]
VINEDR: Listen now, my friend. I had a grandfather who knew many of the things you do not believe. He used to say that the tomb of Ajax was destroyed by the sea near which it lies, and that bones appeared in it of a person eleven cubits tall. He also said that upon his arrival at Troy the emperor Hadrian embraced and kissed some of the bones, wrapped them up, and restored the present tomb of Ajax.
PHOEN: Not without reason, vinedresser, am I likely to doubt such things, since you say that you have heard something from your grandfather and probably from your mother or nurse; but you report nothing on your own authority unless you would speak about Protesilaos.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 669  VINEDR: Indeed, if I were versed in legendary lore, I would describe the seven-cubit-long corpse of Orestes, which the Lacedemonians found in Tegea, as well as that corpse inside the bronze Lydian horse, which had been buried in Lydia before the time of Gyges. When the earth was split by an earthquake, the marvel was observed by Lydian shepherds with whom Gyges then served. The corpse, appearing larger than human, had been laid in a hollow horse that had openings on either side. Even if such things can be doubted because of their antiquity, I do not know anything from our own time that you will deny. Not long ago, a bank of the river Orontes, when it was divided, revealed Aryades — whom some called an Ethiopian, others an Indian — a thirty-cubit-long corpse lying in the land of Assyria. Moreover, not more than fifty years ago, Sigeion — right over here — revealed the body of a giant on an outcropping of its promontory. Apollo himself asserts that he killed him while fighting on behalf of Troy. When sailing into Sigeion, my guest, I saw the very condition of the earth and how big the giant was. Many Hellespontians and Ionians and all the islanders and Aeolians sailed there as well. For two months the giant lay on the great promontory, giving rise to one tale after another since the oracle had not yet revealed the true story.
PHOEN: Would you speak further, vinedresser, about his size, the structure of his bones, and the serpents, which are said to have grown together with the giants, and which the painters sketch below the torso of Enkelados and his companions?
VINEDR: If those monstrous beings existed, my guest, and if they were joined with snakes, I do not know. But the one in Sigeion was twenty-two cubits long, and it was lying in a rocky cleft with its head toward the mainland and its feet even with the promontory. But we did not see any sign of serpents around it, nor is there anything different about its bones from those of a human being.

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§ 670  Furthermore, Hymnaios of Peparethos, who is on friendly terms with me, sent one of his sons here some four years ago to consult Protesilaos through me about a similar marvel. When Hymnaios happened to dig up vines on the island of Ikos (he alone owned the island), the earth sounded somewhat hollow to those who were digging. When they opened it up, they found a twelve-cubit corpse lying there with a serpent inhabiting its skull. The young man then came to ask us what should be done in his honor, and Protesilaos said, "Let us cover the stranger completely," without doubt urging those who were willing to rebury the corpse and not to leave it exposed. He also said that the giant was one of those who were hurled down by the gods. But the corpse that came to light on Lemnos, which Menekrates of Steiria found, was very big, and I saw it a year ago when I sailed from Imbros, only a short distance from Lemnos; the bones, however, no longer appear in their proper order: the vertebrae lie separated from each other, tossed about by earthquakes, I suppose, and the ribs are wrenched out of the vertebrae. But if one imagines the bones together as a whole, the size seems to make one shudder and is not easily described. Certainly when we poured two Cretan amphoras of wine into the skull, it was not filled. Now, there is a headland on Imbros called Naulokhos, facing the south, under which a spring is found that turns male animals into eunuchs, and makes females so drunk that they fall asleep. At this spot, when a piece of land was severed from the mainland, the body of a very large giant was pulled out. If you disbelieve me, let us set sail. The corpse still lies exposed, and the sea journey to Naulokhos is short.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 671  PHOEN: I would gladly go beyond Okeanos, vinedresser, if I could find such a marvel. My business, however, does not allow me to stray so far. Rather, I must be bound to my ship, just like Odysseus. Otherwise, as they say, the things in the bow and the things in the stern will perish.
VINEDR: But do not yet regard as credible what I have said, my guest, until you sail to the island of Cos, where the bones of earthborn men lie, the first descendants of Merops, they say, and until you see the bones of Hyllos, son of Herakles, in Phrygia and, by Zeus, those of the Aloadai in Thessaly, since they are really nine fathoms long and exactly as they are celebrated in song. The Neapolitans living in Italy consider the bones of Alkyoneus a marvel. They say that many giants were thrown down there, and Mount Vesuvius smolders over them. Indeed in Pallene, which the poets call "Phlegra," the earth holds many such bodies of giants encamped there, and rainstorms and earthquakes uncover many others. Not even a shepherd ventures at midday to that place of clattering phantoms which rage there. Disbelief in such things probably existed even at the time of Herakles. Hence, after he killed Geryon in Erytheia and was alleged to have encountered the most enormous creature, Herakles dedicated its bones at Olympia so that his contest would not be disbelieved.
PHOEN: I consider you fortunate for your knowledge, vinedresser. I was ignorant of such great bones, and out of ignorance I disbelieved. But what about the stories of Protesilaos? It is time, I suppose, to come to those, since they are no longer unbelievable.

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§ 672  (The Sanctuary of Protesilaos at Elaious)
VINEDR: Listen to such stories now, my guest. Protesilaos does not lie buried at Troy but here on the Chersonesus. This large mound here on the left no doubt contains him. The nymphs created these elms around the mound, and they made, I suppose, the following decree concerning these trees: "Those branches turned toward Ilion will blossom early and will then immediately shed their leaves and perish before their season (this was indeed the misfortune of Protesilaos), but a tree on the other side will live and prosper." All the trees that were not set round the grave, such as these in the grove, have strength in all their branches and flourish according to their particular nature.
PHOEN: I see, vinedresser, and I am not surprised that I continue to marvel, because what is divine is cleverly devised.

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§ 673  VINEDR: Consider this sanctuary, my guest, where the Mede committed a sacrilege in our forefathers' time. It was because of this they say even the preserved fish came back to life. You see how little of the sanctuary is left. But back then it was lovely and not small, as can be made out from its foundations. This statue here stood upon a ship, since its base has the shape of a prow, and a ship's captain dedicated it. Time has worn it away and, by Zeus, those who anoint it and seal their vows here have changed its shape. But this means nothing to me. For I spend time with him and see him, and no statue could be more pleasant than that man. [10]
PHOEN: Why don't you describe him to me and share what he looks like?
VINEDR: Gladly, my guest, by Athena. He is about twenty years old at most. Because he sailed to Troy at such a young age, he has a full, splendid beard and smells sweeter than autumn myrtles. Cheerful eyebrows frame his eyes, which gives him a pleasant, friendly manner. When he exerts himself, he looks intense and determined. But if we meet him at ease, ah, how lovely and friendly his eyes appear! He has blond hair of moderate length. It hangs a little over his forehead rather than covering it. The shape of his nose is perfect, like the statue's. His voice is more sonorous than trumpets and comes from a small mouth. It is most enjoyable to meet him naked, since he is well built and nimble, just like the herms set up in race courses. His height is easily ten cubits, and it seems to me that he would have exceeded this had he not died in his early twenties.

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§ 674  PHOEN: I can envision the young man, vinedresser, and I admire you because of your companion. Is he armed as a soldier, or how is he attired?
VINEDR: He is clad in a riding cloak, my guest, in Thessalian style, just like this statue. The cloak is sea-purple, of a divine luster, for the luster of purple cannot be expressed. [11]
PHOEN: And his passionate love for Laodameia — how is it now?
VINEDR: He loves her, and he is loved by her, and they are disposed toward one another just like those hot from the bridal chambers.
PHOEN: Do you embrace him when he arrives, or does he escape you like smoke, as he does the poets?
VINEDR: He enjoys my embrace and allows me to kiss him and cling to his neck.
PHOEN: Does he come often or only once in a great while?
VINEDR: I think that I converse with him four or five times a month, whenever he wishes to plant some of these plants, to gather them, or to cut flowers. When someone is garlanded, he makes the flowers even sweeter, whenever he is around them.
PHOEN: You say the hero is cheerful and really married.
VINEDR: And self-controlled, my guest. For loving laughter because of his youth, he does not act with arrogance. If I chance on a rock while digging somewhere, he often takes up a hoe and assists me with difficult jobs, and if I don't know something about farming, he corrects me. Because I heard from Homer about "long trees," I used to plant them by putting into the ground less of the tree than was above, and when Protesilaos stopped me, I quoted the verses of Homer to him. He, understanding, said, "Yet Homer commanded the opposite of what you are doing.

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§ 675  For from his skill he knew that the depths are 'long' so that somewhere he called the cisterns 'long' since they are deep." He said that the trees take better root in the earth if a great part is firmly rooted and only a little bit is able to move. Standing near me as I watered the flowers, he said, "The perfume, my good friend, does not need water," presumably teaching me not to drench the flowers.
PHOEN: Where does he spend the rest of the time, vinedresser?
VINEDR: He says that sometimes he lives in Hades, other times in Phthia, and even sometimes in Troy, where his companions are. And when he hunts wild boar and deer, he arrives here at midday, stretches out, and falls asleep.
PHOEN: Where does he spend time with Laodameia?
VINEDR: In Hades, my guest. He says that she fares most favorably among women, since she is numbered with such women as Alcestis, the wife of Admetos, and Euadne, the wife of Kapaneus, and others equally chaste and worthy.
PHOEN: Do they eat together, or is that not their custom?
VINEDR: I have not yet met him when he is eating, my guest, nor have I observed him drinking. Indeed, I make a drink-offering for him every evening from these Thasian vines, which he himself planted, and I dedicate seasonal sweetmeats every day at noon, whenever summer has come and fall stands at the door. When the moon becomes full in the season of early spring, I pour milk into this chilled vessel and say, "Behold, here is the flowing essence of the season for you. Drink." When I have said this, I go away, and the things are eaten and drunk faster than the blink of an eye. [12]
PHOEN: What does he say about his dying at such a young age?
VINEDR: My guest, Protesilaos regrets his suffering, and the daimon who was against him at that time he considers unjust and malicious since, although his foot was compliant, it was not fixed firmly in Troy. As a fighter, he would not have been inferior in any way to Diomedes, Patroklos, or the lesser Ajax.

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§ 676  He says that, compared with the descendants of Aiakos, he lacked military skills because of his youth, since he was in late adolescence, but Achilles was a young man and Ajax a grown man. He confirms Homer's verses about him, although he does not confirm all of them: how, for example, Homer says that his wife's cheeks were torn on both sides, that his house was half-built, that the ship upon which he sailed was under attack, and that he calls him warlike. He grieves that he accomplished nothing at Troy, and how he fell in a land that he had not even assaulted. He is marked with a scar on his upper thigh, for he said that his wound was washed together with his body. [13]
PHOEN: Vinedresser, how does he train his body, since you claimed that he also practices this activity?
VINEDR: My guest, he practices all warlike exercises except archery, and all kinds of sports except wrestling. He considers archery for cowards and wrestling for the lazy.
PHOEN: How good is he at the pancratium, and how well does he box?
VINEDR: My guest, he practices these with a shadow, and he throws the discus farther than a mortal can. He tosses the discus above the clouds, and he casts it more than one hundred cubits, and that, you see, with it being twice the Olympic weight! When he runs, you would not find a trace, nor does his foot leave any impression on the ground.
PHOEN: But there are huge footprints on the walkways, which suggest that the hero is ten cubits tall.

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§ 677  VINEDR: Those prints, my guest, are from his walking or doing some other exercise; but when he runs, the earth remains unmarked because he is raised off the ground and like someone floating on the waves. He said that in Aulis, when Hellas was training for war against Troy, he outran Achilles in the competitions and that he jumped farther than Achilles. But in warlike exercises he yields to Achilles, as he said, except in the fight against the Mysians, for there he killed more Mysians than Achilles and carried away the rewards of valor. He also outdid Achilles in the contest over the shield. [14] (Suppliants at Protesilaos's Sanctuary 14.1-17.6)
PHOEN: And, vinedresser, what would be the contest over the shield? No poet has mentioned it, nor does it appear in any story of the Trojan War.
VINEDR: That, my guest, you will say about many matters, because the hero tells many things about warriors as well as deeds of battle that are not yet known to most people. This is the reason. He says that, in their passion for the poems of Homer, most people, looking only at Achilles and Odysseus, neglect good and brave men, so that some are not remembered at all, and for others Homer dedicates a trireme of four verses. He says that Achilles is celebrated in song worthily but Odysseus at too great a length. But I shall tell you a little later whatever was left untold of Sthenelos, Palamedes, and other such men, lest you go away knowing nothing about them. In a moment we shall complete the Mysian story, into which the matter of the shield enters. But now, since we mentioned the pancratium, boxing, and throwing the discus, which will bring us back to the shield, hear the wonderful deeds performed by our hero for the athletes who consulted Protesilaos as advisor. For example, you have heard, I think, of the Cilician pancratic athlete, whom our fathers called "Halter," how small he was, indeed much smaller than his opponents.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 678  PHOEN: I certainly am aware of him, in view of his statues, for bronze ones stand in many places.
VINEDR: He possessed excellence in skill and courage, and harmony of body made him very strong. When the young man arrived at this sanctuary (he sailed directly to Delphi for the trial of strength) he asked Protesilaos how he might overcome his rivals. He said, "By being trampled upon." Faintheartedness immediately seized the athlete, as if he had been struck down by the oracle. After he first discovered the heel maneuver during a contest, he later realized that the oracle ordered him not to let go of his opponent's foot. For the one who wrestles with the heel must be trampled upon repeatedly and lie under his opponent. By doing so, the athlete gained an illustrious name for himself and was defeated by no one. Possibly you have also heard of the dexterous Ploutarkhos?
PHOEN: I have, for in all likelihood you mean the boxer.
VINEDR: On his way to compete in his second Olympiad, he petitioned the hero to give him an oracular response about victory. The hero ordered him to pray to Akheloos, presider over the games.
PHOEN: What then was the riddle?
VINEDR: Ploutarkhos contended against Hermeias the Egyptian in Olympia for the crown of victory. When both were exhausted — the one from wounds, the other from thirst (for the noonday sun glared down on the boxing ring) — a cloud burst over the stadium, and the thirsty Ploutarkhos drank some water that the sheepskins around his forearms had soaked up. When he reflected on the oracular response, as he said later, he screwed up his courage and gained the victory.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 679  (You would equally marvel at the endurance of Eudaimon the Egyptian if you had encountered him boxing somewhere.) When asked how he had not been defeated, he said, "By despising death."
PHOEN: He does indeed trust the oracle, vinedresser, for by preparing himself in this way, he seems unconquerable and divine to the crowds.
VINEDR: The athlete Helix himself has not yet sailed toward this sanctuary, having sent one of his companions to ask how often he would win at the Olympic games. And Protesilaos said, "You will win twice, if you do not want three times."
PHOEN: Amazing, vinedresser! I suppose you will relate what happened at Olympia. For he had won one victory already, when as a man among boys he won the wrestling contest. At the Olympiad after that he stripped himself for wrestling as well as for the pancratium. The Eleans were displeased at this and decided to exclude him from both these events by making accusations that he had violated Olympic regulations. Nevertheless, they grudgingly crowned him for the pancratium. And Protesilaos told him beforehand to be on his guard against this kind of envy, because he knew that Helix was a rival of choice athletes.
VINEDR: You have made a most excellent interpretation of the oracle, my guest. [16]
PHOEN: But what diseases does he heal? For you say that many pray to him.
VINEDR: He heals all the illnesses there are, especially consumptions, edemas, diseases of the eyes, and quartan fever. Lovers can also gain his counsel, for he sympathizes deeply with those unlucky in erotic matters, and he suggests charms and tricks with which they enchant their boy lovers. But he neither converses with adulterers nor offers them any erotic advice. He says that he dislikes them because they give love a bad name. An adulterer once arrived here with the very wife whom he was trying to seduce, and both of them wished to conspire against her husband who was present but did not yet realize the situation — for he was sleeping there at midday, but they already made their conspiracy while standing at the altar…
PHOEN: What did Protesilaos do?
VINEDR: He egged on this dog, even though you can see that it is good-natured, to attack them from behind and bite them while they were still conspiring. When he had frustrated the conspiracy in this way, Protesilaos stood near the husband and ordered him not to trouble himself about the adulterers, since their bites were incurable, but now at least to save himself as well as his own household. The gods know everything; but the heroes know less than the gods but more than humans.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 680  A great crowd of such ones streams in — if only I could remember them all; they include at least even those who in Phthia and Phylake have appeared to all the inhabitants of Thessaly. For you see, Protesilaos has an active sanctuary there, and he gives many benevolent and favorable signs to the Thessalians and wrathful ones if he is neglected.
PHOEN: By Protesilaos, I am convinced, vinedresser. It is good, I see, to swear by such a hero. [17]
VINEDR: You would be wrong to disbelieve, my guest. Since you live near the mainland of Cilicia, perhaps you know more than I do about both Amphiaraus, whom the earth is said to hold in a cleverly devised and secret shrine, and his son Amphilokhos. But you might do injustice to Maron, the son of Euanthes, who haunts the vines at Ismaros and, by planting and pruning them, makes them produce sweet wine, especially when farmers see Maron handsome and splendid, exhaling a breath sweet and smelling of wine. You should also know something about the Thracian Rhesos. Rhesos, whom Diomedes killed at Troy, is said to inhabit Rhodope, where they celebrate many of his wonders in song. They say that he breeds horses, serves as a soldier, and hunts wild beasts.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 681  A sign that the hero is hunting is that the wild boars, deer, and all the wild beasts on the mountain come to the altar of Rhesos by twos or threes to be sacrificed unbound and to offer themselves to the sacrificial knife. This same hero is also said to keep the mountains free of pestilence. Rhodope is extremely populous, and many villages surround the sanctuary. For this reason I think even Diomedes will cry out in defense of his fellow soldiers. If we believe this Thracian still exists (whom Diomedes killed as one who had done nothing famous at Troy nor displayed there anything worthy of mention other than his white horses) and we make sacrifices to him while traveling through Rhodope and Thrace, then we would dishonor those who have performed divine and brilliant works, believing the fame surrounding them fabulous tales and idle boasting. [18] (Recent Appearances of Heroes at Troy)
PHOEN: Finally I am on your side, vinedresser, and no one hereafter will disbelieve such stories. What about those heroes on the plain at Ilion whom you said marched in warlike fashion? When have they been seen?
VINEDR: They appear, I said. They still appear great and divine to herdsmen and shepherds on the plain, and they are seen whenever there is evil upon the land. If they appear covered with dust, they portend drought for the land, but if they appear full of sweat, they portend floods and heavy rains. If blood appears on them or their weapons, they send forth diseases upon Ilion. If none of these signs is perceived about their images, they immediately bring prosperous times, and then the herdsmen sacrifice to them a lamb, a bull, a colt, or whatever each one tends. They say that all deaths among the herds come from Ajax. I believe they say this because of the story of his madness, when Ajax is said to have fallen upon the herds and cut them to pieces as if slaying the Achaeans because of their decision. No one grazes a herd near his grave for fear of the grass, since what grows there is diseased and harmful to eat.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 682  There is a story that Trojan shepherds once insulted Ajax because their sheep became sick. As they stood around the tomb, they called the hero an enemy of Hektor, of Troy, and of the flocks. One said that Ajax had been driven mad, another that he was in a warlike rage, but the most outrageous of the shepherds said, "Ajax stood firm no longer"; up until this point he used to recite the verse against him as a coward. But shouting from his grave in a spine-tingling and shrill voice, Ajax said, "But I did stand firm." Then it is said that he even clashed his weapons together, as is usual in battle. There is no need to marvel at the suffering of those poor devils, if, since they were Trojans and shepherds, they were panic-stricken at Ajax's attack, and some fell, others ran, and still others fled from their pastures. But it is worthwhile to admire Ajax, since he killed none of them. Rather, he endured the drunkenness which possessed them, only showing that he was listening to them. I suppose, my guest, that Hektor is not acquainted with this virtue. For last year, when some youth (they say he was quite young and uneducated) offended Hektor, he rushed headlong at him and killed him on the road, blaming the deed on a river. [19]
PHOEN: Vinedresser, you speak to someone who is ignorant and greatly astounded by this report, for I thought that this hero had not appeared anywhere. When you told me things having to do with the Hellenes, I grieved exceedingly for Hektor, because neither plowman nor goatherd says anything on his behalf, but he is invisible to human beings and simply lies buried.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 683  I do not think it worthy to hear anything about Paris, because of whom so very many great men fell. About Hektor, however, who was the bulwark of Troy and of all their allies, who kept four horses under control (which no other hero could do), who attempted to burn the ships of the Achaeans to ashes, who fought them all at once while they were advancing and arrayed against him — would I not ask something about such a hero? Would I not listen gladly, so long as you do not pass over these things lightly, nor speak carelessly?
VINEDR: Keep listening, since you do not consider this careless talk. The statue of Hektor in Ilion resembles a semidivine human being and reveals many delineations of his character to one inspecting it with the right perspective. In fact, he appears high-spirited, fierce, radiant, and with the splendor of full health and strength, and he is beautiful despite his short hair. The statue is something so alive that the viewer is drawn to touch it. The statue was dedicated in admiration of Ilion and accomplishes many useful things both for the general public and for individuals. Therefore they pray to Hektor and hold games in his honor. The statue becomes so heated and involved during the contest that sweat flows from it. Now an Assyrian youth came to Ilion and kept insulting Hektor, throwing in his face the draggings that Achilles once afflicted upon him, Ajax's rock with which he was struck and died soon after, how he had initially fled from Patroklos, and that not he, but others killed Patroklos. He disputed the identity of Hektor's statue and claimed that it was Achilles on the basis of the hair, which Achilles had shorn for Patroklos. After he had made these insults, he drove his chariot from Ilion, and before he had gone ten stades, a stream, so insignificant that it did not even have a name in Troy, rose up to a great size. As his attendants who escaped reported, an immense, heavily armed soldier directed the river, commanding it vehemently in a foreign language to flow into the road on which the youth was driving four small horses.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 684  The river overtook them along with the youth just as he was crying aloud, finally aware of Hektor. The river carried him back to its usual course and destroyed him so that it did not yield his corpse for burial. It disappeared and I do not know where it went.
PHOEN: Vinedresser, it is not necessary to admire Ajax enduring the outrages of the shepherds or to consider Hektor a barbarian because he was not patient with those of the youth. While it is perhaps forgivable that the shepherds, who were Trojans, assaulted the tomb after their sheep had fared badly, what forgiveness is there for the Assyrian youth who mocked the hero of Ilion? After all, there was never any war between the Assyrians and the Trojans, nor did Hektor ravage the Assyrians' herds as Ajax did those of the Trojans. [20]
VINEDR: My guest, you seem to have a passion for Hektor, and I do not regard it worth disputing, but let us rather return to the affairs of Ajax, for there I think our digression occurred.
PHOEN: Yes, let us resume from that point, vinedresser, as seems best.
VINEDR: Now pay attention, my guest. Once when a ship put into harbor near the sanctuary of Ajax, two of the strangers wandered in front of the tomb and began to play with gaming stones. Ajax appeared and said, "By the gods, get rid of this game, for it reminds me of the deeds of Palamedes, my close and clever companion. A single enemy destroyed both him and me by bringing on us an unjust judgment."
PHOEN: By Helios, I have shed tears over this, vinedresser! Both of their experiences were comparable and properly evoke goodwill. Sharing good things sometimes brings forth envy, but those who share misfortunes are fond of each other and return compassion for compassion. Could you say whether anyone has seen Palamedes' phantom in Troy?

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 685  VINEDR: When the phantoms appear, the identity of each is not immediately clear. Many appear sometimes one way, sometimes another, interchanging outward appearance, age, and armor. I hear, nevertheless, stories about Palamedes. There was a farmer in Ilion, who did then what I do now. He had deep sympathy for Palamedes' suffering, and he used to sing a dirge for him when he visited the shore where it is said Palamedes was stoned by the Achaeans. And on the dust of Palamedes' grave he would place whatever people customarily bring to tombs. After selecting sweet grapes for him, he gathered them in a krater and said that he drank with Palamedes when he rested from his labors. He also had a dog that fawned slyly, while lying in wait for people. This dog he called "Odysseus" and, in the name of Palamedes, this Odysseus was beaten, hearing in addition a thousand bad names. So it seemed good then to Palamedes to visit this admirer periodically and to give him something good. The farmer was, of course, at a certain grapevine, mending its joint, and Palamedes, standing by him, said, "Do you recognize me, farmer?" He answered, "How would I recognize you whom I have never seen?" "Then do you love him whom you do not recognize?" said the other. The farmer realized that it was Palamedes, and he reported that the hero's image was tall, beautiful, and brave, although he was not yet thirty years old. The farmer embraced him and said with a smile, "I love you, Palamedes, because you seem to me to be the most sensible of all and the most fair champion in deeds of skill. You have endured most pitiful ordeals at the Achaeans' hands because of Odysseus's crafty designs against you. If Odysseus's tomb had been here, I would have dug it out long ago. He is blood-stained and more evil than the dog that I keep in his honor." "Let us spare Odysseus from now on," the hero said, "because for these deeds I have exacted penalties from him in Hades. But you, since you love the grapevines, I suppose, tell me what you are especially afraid could happen to them." "What else," said the farmer, "than that the hailstones will blind and break them?" "So then," said Palamedes, "let us fasten a leather strap to one of them, and the rest will not be hit."
PHOEN: The hero is ingenious, vinedresser, and always invents something good for people. What could you say about Achilles, since we consider him the most godlike of the whole Hellenic army?

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 686  VINEDR: The events in the Pontus, my guest, if you have not yet sailed to it, and all those things that he is said to do on the island there I shall tell you later in a longer story about Achilles, but his deeds in Ilion are nearly equal to those of other heroes. And he converses with some people, visits regularly, and hunts wild beasts. They conclude that it is Achilles from the beauty of his physique as well as from the size and flash of his weapons. Behind him a windstorm whirls around, an attendant to his phantom. My guest, I shall lose my voice recounting such tales! For truly, they sing something even about Antilokhos, how a girl from Ilion, wandering along the Scamander, came upon the phantom of Antilokhos: falling in love with the phantom, she clung to his tomb. They also sing of how, while young herdsmen were playing dice around the altar of Achilles, one would have struck the other dead with a shepherd's crook, had not Patroklos scared them away, saying, "One shedding of blood on account of dice is enough for me." But it is possible to find out about these things from the cowherds or anyone living in Ilion. Since we inhabit the banks of the Hellespont's outlets, we are in close contact with each other, and, as you see, we have turned the sea into a river. [23] But let us return, my guest, to the story of the shield, which Protesilaos says was unknown to Homer and all poets.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 687  PHOEN: Vinedresser, you tell the story to one who yearns for it. I believe I will seldom hear it.
VINEDR: Very seldom. Listen and pay attention.
PHOEN: Pay attention, you say? Not even the wild beasts listened as intently to Orpheus when he sang as I, listening to you, prick up my ears, rouse my mind, and gather every detail into my memory. I even consider myself to be one of those encamped at Troy, so much have I been possessed by the demigods about whom I speak.
VINEDR: Therefore, since you are so minded, my guest, let us set out from Aulis since it is true that they assembled there. As we embark on our story, let us make offerings to Protesilaos. How the Achaeans before they came to Troy plundered Mysia, which was then ruled by Telephos, and how Telephos, fighting for his own people, was wounded by Achilles, you can also hear from poets since they have not neglected these stories. But the belief that the Achaeans, in ignorance of the land, thought they were carrying off the spoils of Priam slanders Homer's account, which he sings about Kalkhas the prophet. If they sailed under prophetic skill and made his skill their guide, how could they have anchored there unintentionally? And how, once they had anchored, could they have been ignorant that they had not come to Troy, although they met many cowherds there and many shepherds? For this region extends to the sea, and it is customary, I think, for those who put into port to ask the name of a foreign country. Even if they had not met any herdsmen or asked any such questions, Odysseus and Menelaos had already been to Troy, served as ambassadors, and knew the battlements of Ilion. It seems unlikely to me, therefore, that they would have overlooked these matters and permitted the army to go quite so astray from the enemy's country. Indeed, the Achaeans plundered the Mysians deliberately, because a report had come to them that the Mysians fared best of those on the mainland. Moreover, they feared lest those who were dwelling in the vicinity of Ilion might somehow be called over as allies in the battles.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 688  To Telephos the Heraklid, an especially noble man and a leader of armed men, these matters seemed intolerable. Hence, he drew many infantry and cavalry into battle formation. He led troops from the part of Mysia that he controlled (he ruled, I believe, all of coastal Mysia), and fighting alongside him were those from upper Mysia, whom the poets call "Abians" and "horse shepherds" and "drinkers of milk." The intention of the Achaeans became clear, as they made encircling maneuvers, and Tlepolemos sent a messenger to his kinsman aboard a Rhodian merchant vessel. When he ordered him to report by word of mouth (for the alphabet had not yet been invented) how many Achaean ships he had seen at Aulis, the whole interior of the country formed an alliance, and the Mysian and Scythian peoples came in waves over the plain. Protesilaos says that this was the greatest contest for them, greater than both those at Troy and barbarians. The alliance of Telephos was highly esteemed by both the multitude and the warriors. Just as the Achaeans celebrated in song the Aiakidai and heroes as renowned as Diomedes and Patroklos, so the Mysians sang the names of Telephos and Haimos, son of Ares. But the most renowned names were Heloros and Aktaios, sons of the river god Istros in Scythia. The Mysians prevented the Achaeans from landing by shooting arrows and hurling javelins from the shore, and the Achaeans, though unyielding, were hard pressed. The Arcadians even ran some ships aground since they were sailing for the first time and were not prepared for the sea.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 689  As you perhaps know, Homer says that the Arcadians were neither sailors before coming to Ilion, nor were they skilled in navigation, but Agamemnon brought them to the sea in sixty ships and himself gave vessels to those who had never sailed. Hence, they provided military expertise and strength for land forces, but when sailing they were good neither as men at arms nor as rowers. On the contrary, they ran the ships aground because of inexperience and daring, many of them were wounded by those stationed on the rocky shore, and a few died. But Achilles and Protesilaos, fearful for the Arcadians, leapt to the shore simultaneously, as if by mutual agreement, and drove back the Mysians because these two heroes appeared to be the most heavily armed and the noblest of the Hellenic force; they even seemed quite supernatural to their most barbarian opponents. But when Telephos led his army into the plain and the Achaeans sailed to the shore undisturbed, all on board except for the pilot and petty officer immediately jumped out of the ships and assembled for battle while keeping their feelings and thoughts under control. Protesilaos says that Homer reported this about them correctly, since he praised the manner of Hellenic warfare, of which he says Ajax, son of Telamon, was the advisor. For when Menestheus the Athenian, the most learned tactician among the lords, came to Troy and taught the whole army at Aulis the need for cooperation, he did not rebuke those who used the battle cry, but Ajax dissented and criticized it as effeminate and undisciplined, for he said that the battle cry expresses courage poorly. Protesilaos said that he and Achilles together with Patroklos were arrayed against the Mysians, while Diomedes, Palamedes, and Sthenelos faced Haimos, son of Ares; the Atreidai, the Locrian, and the remaining forces were drawn up against those coming from the Istros.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 690  The greater Ajax considered those killing the crowds "harvesters" since they were mowing down nothing remarkable, but those who prevailed over the bravest he called "wood-cutters" and considered himself more worthy of this sort of battle. Accordingly, he moved quickly against the sons of the river, since they did not share his heritage and were fighting from a four-horse chariot, as Hektor also fought. Walking haughtily amid the confusion of battle, Ajax clanged his shield loudly in order to spook the horses, and the horses immediately panicked and rose up on their hind legs, at which point the Scythians, distrusting their chariot, leapt from it, since it was now in disarray, and fell upon Ajax; although both Heloros and Aktaios fought in a manner worthy of fame, they died. Protesilaos also remembers how great the deeds of Palamedes were when he, Diomedes, and Sthenelos killed Haimos and his companions. Palamedes did not consider himself worthy of any rewards of valor; rather he yielded them to Diomedes, since he recognized that Diomedes had done everything for the honor and glory of battle. If the Hellenes, however, had proposed a crown for intellectual skill, Palamedes would not have lost it to any other man, since from the beginning he desired wisdom and trained himself in it. Protesilaos says that he himself fought Telephos and stripped him of his shield while still alive, but that Achilles fell upon the unprotected man, wounding him at once in the thigh. And although later in Troy he healed the wound, at that time Telephos lost heart because of it and would have died if the Mysians had not together run to Telephos and snatched him out of the battle. So many Mysians are said then to have fallen for him that the Kaikos river ran red with their blood. Protesilaos says that Achilles contended with him for the shield since Achilles was the one who wounded Telephos. The Achaeans voted rather that the shield belonged to Protesilaos because Telephos would not have been wounded had he not been stripped of the shield. He says that even the Mysian women fought from horses alongside the men, just as the Amazons do, and the leader of the cavalry was Hiera, wife of Telephos.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 691  Nireus is said to have killed her (for the young men of the army, who had not yet won honor, drew up for battle against the women). When she fell, the Mysian women cried out, scaring their horses, and were driven into the marshes of the Kaikos. This Hiera, Protesilaos says, was the tallest woman he had ever seen and the most beautiful. He does not claim that he saw Menelaos's wife Helen in Troy, but that he now sees Helen herself and does not blame her for his death. When he considers Hiera, however, he says that she surpasses Helen as much as Helen surpasses the Trojan women. Not even Hiera, my guest, won the praise of Homer, who did not introduce this divine woman into his own works because he favored Helen. Even the Achaeans are said to have been afflicted with passion for Hiera when she fell in battle, and the elders commanded the young soldiers neither to despoil Hiera nor to touch her as she lay dead. In this battle, my guest, many Achaeans were wounded, and an oracle prescribed baths for them, namely, the hot springs in Ionia, which even today Smyrna's inhabitants call the Baths of Agamemnon. They are, I believe, forty stades from the city, and the captured Mysian helmets were once hung up there. [24]
PHOEN: What then, vinedresser? Shall we say that Homer deliberately or accidentally omitted these events, which are so pleasing and worthy to be celebrated by poets?
VINEDR: Most likely deliberately, my guest. He wanted to sing of Helen as the best of women with respect to her beauty, and to praise the Trojan battles as the greatest of those fought anywhere. But he deprived the divine Palamedes of any story because of Odysseus and attributed the most warlike deeds to Achilles alone

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 692  so that he left out the other Achaeans whenever Achilles fought. He did not compose a Mysian epic nor did he make a record of this battle, in which may be found a woman more beautiful than Helen, men no less courageous than Achilles, and a most illustrious contest. Had he remembered Palamedes, he would not have found a place where he could have hidden Odysseus's disgraceful deed against Palamedes. [25]
PHOEN: How then is Protesilaos disposed toward Homer, since you claim that he examines his poems closely?
VINEDR: My guest, he says that just as Homer, in terms of musical harmonics, sang every poetic mode, he also surpassed all the poets whom he encountered, each in the area of his expertise. For example, he fashioned verses more solemnly than Orpheus, excelled Hesiod in providing pleasure, and outdid other poets in other ways. He took the story of the Trojan War as his subject, in which fate brought together the excellent deeds both of all the Hellenes and of the barbarians. Homer introduced into the story battles involving men, horses and walls, rivers, as well as gods and goddesses. Protesilaos says that Homer also included all matters pertaining to peace: choral dances, songs, erotic encounters, and feasts; he touched on agricultural tasks and the appropriate seasons for performing them. He also described sea voyages, the making of arms in the "Hephaistos," and especially men's appearances and their various characteristics. Protesilaos says that Homer accomplished all these things with divine power and that those who do not love him are mad. He also calls Homer Troy's founder because the city gained distinction from his laments over it. Protesilaos marvels that even when Homer found fault with those practicing the same art he did not correct them harshly, but unobtrusively. Homer corrected Hesiod both on other points which were not minor and, by Zeus, about the relief figures on the shields. Once when Hesiod was describing the shield of Kyknos, he sang about the Gorgon's form carelessly and not poetically; hence, correcting him, Homer sang about the Gorgon in this way: And upon it, the grim-looking Gorgon was set as a crown Glaring terribly, and about her were Fear and Terror.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 693  In many details concerning divine stories, Homer outdid Orpheus, and in oracular odes he surpassed Mousaios. Moreover, when Pamphos insightfully regarded Zeus as the producer of all living things and the one through whom everything from the earth arises, he used this insight rather foolishly and sang despicable verses about Zeus (for these are the words of Pamphos: "Zeus, most glorious, greatest of gods, enfolded in dung Of sheep, horse, and mule)."
Protesilaos says that Homer, however, sang a hymn worthy of Zeus: "Zeus, most glorious, greatest, enveloped by clouds, dwelling in the sky." While Zeus fashions the living things under the sky, he also inhabits the most pure realm.
He says that, like Orpheus, Homer represented truly the battles between Poseidon and Apollo and between Hermes and Leto, as well as how Athena fought with Ares and Hephaistos with the river. And these battles are divine and not contemptible for their terror, even as the verse goes, "Great heaven trumpeted on all sides," just as when Aidoneus leapt up from his throne, when the earth was shaken by Poseidon. He finds fault with the following verses of Homer. First, because, after intermingling gods and mortals, Homer spoke highly about mortals, but contemptibly and basely about the gods. Next, clearly knowing that Helen was in Egypt, since she along with Paris had been carried away by the winds, Homer kept her on the wall of Ilion so that she would see the sorry events on the plain. It is likely that, if these events had taken place because of any other woman, she would have covered her face and not looked while her people were attacked.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 694  Because Paris was not even renowned in Troy itself for the seizure of Helen, Protesilaos says that neither would the most prudent Hektor have put up with Paris's not giving her back to Menelaos, nor would Priam have allowed Paris to live in luxury when many of his other children had already perished. Nor would Helen have escaped death at the hands of the Trojan women whose husbands, brothers, and sons had already fallen. She probably would have run off to Menelaos because she was hated in Troy. Of course, then, the contest that Homer says Paris fought with Menelaos says that Helen was in Egypt and that the Achaeans, although knowing this for a long time, said that they were eager to fight for her, but in reality they fought for the sake of Troy's wealth. For the following reasons also Protesilaos does not commend Homer, because though he chose the story of Troy as his subject, he then digresses from it after Hektor's death, as if hastening on to another set of stories, in which he gives credit to Odysseus. While he celebrates in Demodokos's and Phemios's songs the destruction of Ilion and the horse of Epeios and Athena, he discusses these apart from the story of Troy and dedicates them rather to Odysseus. For Odysseus's sake Homer invented the race of the Cyclopes — no one knows where they came from. Circe, a daimon who was clever with magic spells, and other goddesses were made to fall in love with Odysseus, even though he had already advanced to untimely old age, when he appeared even to have hyacinth-like curls, which blossomed on him in Nausicaa's presence!

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 695  Hence, Protesilaos calls Odysseus Homer's plaything. The young woman was not even in love with his reputed wisdom, for what clever thing did he either say or do towards Nausicaa? He calls him Homer's plaything in his wandering as well, since he often comes to ruin because he is asleep, and he is carried off the ship of Phaeacians as though he died during a fair voyage. Moreover, Protesilaos says that Poseidon's wrath, because of which Odysseus was left without a single ship (and his men who filled the ships perished), did not come about because of Polyphemos. He says that neither did Odysseus come into such haunts, nor, if the Cyclops had been Poseidon's child, would Poseidon have ever been enraged for such a child, who used to eat human beings like a savage lion. Rather, it was because of Palamedes, who was his grandson, that Poseidon made the sea impossible for Odysseus to navigate, and, since Odysseus escaped the sufferings there, Poseidon later destroyed him in Ithaca itself, by thrusting, I think, a spear from the sea against him. He also says that the wrath of Achilles did not fall upon the Hellenes because of the daughter of Khryses, but that Achilles, too, was angry over Palamedes. But let my account of Achilles' deeds be laid aside, for I shall indeed proceed through the heroes one by one, reporting what I have heard about them from Protesilaos.
PHOEN: You have come to my favorite kind of story. Already my "ears ring with the battle-crash" of horses and men, and I predict that I shall hear something very good.
VINEDR: Listen, my guest. May nothing elude me, Protesilaos, nor may I forget anything that I have heard.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 696  So then, Protesilaos says that Nestor, son of Neleus, was the oldest among the Hellenes when he came to Troy, trained in many wars waged in his youth, as well as by athletic contests in which he won prizes for boxing and wrestling. Of all mortals he knew infantry and cavalry tactics best, and from his youth he rose to leadership not by flattering the rank and file, by Zeus, but by chastening them. He did this at the right time and with pleasant words, so that his criticisms seemed neither coarse nor disagreeable. And whatever has been said about him by Homer says has been spoken truthfully. Moreover, Protesilaos confirms as true and not fabricated what others have said about Geryon's cattle: that Neleus and his sons except for Nestor stole the cattle from Herakles. In truth, Herakles gave Messene to Nestor as a reward for his righteousness, since in the case of the cattle he did none of the wrongs that his brothers did. Herakles is also said to have been captivated by Nestor, since he was exceedingly prudent and handsome, and to have cherished him more than Hyllas and Abderos. For these two were just little boys and quite young, but Nestor was already an ephebe and practiced in every excellence of soul and body when Herakles met him, and they therefore cherished each other. In truth, swearing by Herakles was not yet a custom among mortals; Protesilaos says that Nestor first instituted the custom and passed it on to those at Troy.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 697  He also had a child named Antilokhos, who arrived in the middle of the war. Because Antilokhos was still young and not mature enough for war when they assembled at Aulis, his father did not agree to his wish to serve as a soldier. After the fifth year of the war, however, Antilokhos set forth on a ship; upon arrival he went to Achilles' tent, since he had heard that Achilles was very friendly with his father. He pleaded with him to intercede on his behalf with his father, lest Nestor be annoyed by his disobedience. Achilles, pleased at Antilokhos's maturity and admiring his eagerness, said, "You don't yet know your own father at all, my boy, if you think that you won't be praised by him for having done an ambitious and high-spirited deed." Achilles spoke accurately. With pride and joy in his child, Nestor presented him to Agamemnon, who immediately called together the Achaeans. Nestor is said then to have made his best speech ever. They assembled, pleased to see Nestor's child (for he had had no son at Troy, neither Thrasymedes nor any other), and Antilokhos stood blushing and staring at the ground while he received no less admiration for his beauty than Achilles had. For Achilles' physique appeared startling and divine, but that of Antilokhos seemed to all to be pleasant and gentle.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 698  Protesilaos says that, although it had not otherwise utterly escaped the Achaeans' notice, what came most of all to his own mind was Antilokhos's resemblance to his own age and height. He says that tears came to the eyes of many out of pity for their tender age and that the Achaeans spoke auspicious words to Nestor, to which he responded, "They are disposed like children to a father." It is also possible to portray the statue of Nestor for you. Protesilaos describes him as always appearing cheerful, beginning to smile, and with a beard that is majestic and well-proportioned; his ears display what he went through at wrestling school, and his neck is restored to its strength. In truth, Nestor stands upright, not defeated by old age, with black eyes and without a drooping nose. And this, in old age, only those whom strength has not forsaken maintain. Protesilaos says that in other respects Antilokhos resembled Nestor, but that he was swifter, trim in physique, and paid no attention to his hair. He gave me the following details about Antilokhos: He was most fond of horses and hunting with dogs, even using times of truce in the fighting for hunting. At any rate, Antilokhos frequented Mount Ida with Achilles and the Myrmidons, and when he was on his own, he would hunt with the Pylians and Arcadians, who provided a market-place for the army because of the great number of animals caught. He was noble in battle, swift-footed, quickly moving when armed, easily understood orders, and did not lose his pleasant manner even in battle.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 699  He did not die at the hands of the Memnon who had come from Ethiopia, as the multitude of poets sing. Memnon was an Ethiopian, to be sure, and ruled there during the Trojan War; it is said that a sandy burial mound was raised up for him by the Nile, and Egyptians and Ethiopians also sacrifice to him at Meroe and Memphis; whenever the sun sends out its first ray the statue breaks out with a voice by which it greets the cult attendants. Protesilaos says, however, that there was another Memnon, a Trojan, the youngest of the Trojan army, who while Hektor was still alive seemed no better than the men around Deiphobos and Euphorbus, but after Hektor died this Memnon was deemed both extremely ready for action and very brave, and Troy looked to him since it was already faring badly. This man, my guest, is said to have killed the handsome and valiant Antilokhos when he was covering his father Nestor with a shield. Indeed, Protesilaos says that when Achilles piled up a funeral pyre for Antilokhos and sacrificed much upon it, he burned both the armor and the head of Memnon on it. Protesilaos says that the custom of funeral games, which Achilles established for Patroklos {and Antilokhos}, was observed above all for the best men. Therefore Protesilaos says that games were appointed here for himself, but in Ilion for Achilles, as well as for Patroklos and Antilokhos. It is said for Hektor there was established a contest of running, shooting arrows, and throwing spears, but that none of the Trojans stripped for wrestling and boxing. The former sport they did not know yet, and the latter, I think, they feared. [27] Diomedes and Sthenelos were the same age; the latter was the son of Kapaneus, the former of Tydeus. Their fathers are said to have died while laying siege to the Theban walls. Tydeus died at the hands of the Thebans; Kapaneus, I think, was struck by a thunderbolt.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 700  While their corpses were still lying unburied, the Athenians won a contest for the bodies and buried them when they were victorious. Their children, however, when they had reached their prime, won a life or death battle on behalf of their fathers, and the strength of battle entered Diomedes and Sthenelos as men both excellent and well-matched. But Homer does not value them equally, for he likens the former to a lion and to a river sweeping away its dikes and other human constructions (and so he fought), but the latter stood by like a spectator of Diomedes, advising flight and inciting fear. Yet Protesilaos says that even there Sthenelos performed deeds that were not inferior to Diomedes'. For their bond of friendship was not less than that between Achilles and Patroklos, and their rivalry with each other was such that they returned from the battle despondent, each one thinking himself inferior to the other. And Protesilaos says that together they executed the attack against Aeneas and Pandaros: Diomedes fell upon Aeneas, the greatest of the Trojans, and Sthenelos fought with Pandaros and prevailed over him.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 701  But Homer assigned these deeds to Diomedes alone as if he had quite forgotten what he had said to Agamemnon in the name of Sthenelos, namely, We boast that we are better than our fathers, We have taken even the foundations of Thebes. I suppose these deeds of Sthenelos are nearly equal to those which he performed at Ilion as well. You should also know other matters about Sthenelos: that no wall was erected by the Achaeans at Troy, nor was there any protection for either the ships or the booty, but these were intended by Homer as songs of the siege, because of which the wall was also constructed by him. At any rate, the impetus for building the wall is said to have come to Agamemnon when Achilles was raging. Sthenelos first declared his opposition to this when he said, "I, of course, am more fit for pulling down walls than for erecting them." Diomedes also opposed building the wall and said that Achilles was being deemed worthy of great deeds "if we should then shut ourselves in while he rages!" Ajax is said to have remarked, eyeing the king like a bull, "Coward! What then are shields for?" Sthenelos deprecated the hollow horse as well, alleging that this was not a battle for the city walls but a theft of the battle. In warlike matters, then, both men were similar and worthy of equal fear in the eyes of the Trojans. Sthenelos, however, lacked Diomedes' insight, his power of speech, and his patient endurance which belong to both soul and body. He gave way to anger, was contemptuous of the throng of battle, was savage upon being rebuked, and was prepared for a more delicate lifestyle than was needed for a military camp. Diomedes' conduct was just the opposite. He was modest upon rebuke, checked the eruption of his anger, and refused to insult the troops or to be disheartened. He himself considered it appropriate for an army to appear unwashed, and he commended sleeping in any opportune place; his provisions consisted of what was available, and he did not take pleasure in wine unless troubles came upon him.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 702  He praised Achilles, but neither was in awe of him nor did service to him, as many did. Protesilaos once cried out at those verses in which Diomedes is represented as saying, You ought not to have supplicated the blameless son of Peleus, by offering him innumerable gifts. He is haughty even without this. He said that Homer had spoken these words like a fellow soldier, and not as a composer of fiction, but as though he himself had been present with the Achaeans at Troy: for Diomedes upbraided Achilles was being extravagant before the Hellenes during his wrath. With respect to the appearance of the two men, Protesilaos knows that Sthenelos is of a good size and towering, gray-eyed, with an aquiline nose, fairly long-haired, ruddy, and hot-blooded. He describes Diomedes as steadfast and having eyes that are blue-gray and not black at all and a straight nose; his hair was woolly and dirty. [28] Although Philoktetes, the son of Poias, served as a soldier late in the Trojan War, he shot the arrow best among mortals, since, they say, he learned how from Herakles, the son of Alkmene. He is said to have inherited Herakles' bow and arrows when Herakles on Mount Oite. They say that Philoktetes was abandoned on Lemnos, dishonored in the sight of the Achaeans, after a water snake darted at his foot. He became ill from this bite and lay on the rocky ledge of a high peak. It was foretold to the Achaeans by an oracle that he would later come against Paris and, after he had killed him, he would thereafter capture Troy with the bow and arrows of Herakles, and he himself would be healed by the Asclepiades.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 703  Protesilaos says that these statements were not far from the truth: the bow and arrows of Herakles are just as they are told in song, Philoktetes assisted him with the ordeal on Mount Oite, he went away in possession of the bow and arrows, he alone among mortals knew how to draw the bow, and he obtained splendid rewards for prowess at the conquest of the lion. But he relates the matters of the disease and of the people who healed him differently: Philoktetes was left behind on Lemnos, assuredly not bereft of people to care for him, nor had he been rejected by the Hellenes. Many of the Meliboians stayed behind with him (he was their general), and tears came over the Achaeans because a man left them who was warlike and worth just as much as many men. He was healed immediately by the Lemnian soil, onto which Hephaistos is said to have fallen. It drives away diseases that cause madness and stanches bleeding, but the only snake bite it heals is that of the water snake. While the Achaeans spent time in Ilion, Philoktetes helped Euneos, son of Jason, take the small islands by driving out the Carians by whom they were held, and his recompense for the alliance was a portion of Lemnos, which Philoktetes called "Akesa" since he had been cured at Lemnos. From there Diomedes and Neoptolemos brought him to Troy willingly, beseeching him on behalf of the Hellenes and reading to him the oracular utterance about the bow and the arrows, the utterance which had come, so Protesilaos says, from Lesbos. The Achaeans customarily consulted their own oracles, both the Dodonian and the Pythian, as well as all the renowned Boeotian and Phocian oracles, but since Lesbos is not far from Ilion, the Hellenes sent to the oracle there.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 704  I believe that the oracle gave its answer through Orpheus, for his head, residing in Lesbos after the deed of the women, occupied a chasm on Lesbos and prophesied in the hollow earth. Hence, both the Lesbians and all the rest of Aeolia, as well as their Ionian neighbors, request oracles there, and the pronouncements of this oracle are even sent to Babylon. His head sang many prophecies to the Persian king, and it is said that from there an oracle was given to Cyrus the elder: "What is mine, Cyrus, is yours." Cyrus understood it in this way, namely, that he would occupy both Odrysai and Europe, because Orpheus, once he had become wise and powerful, had ruled over Odrysai and over as many Hellenes as were inspired in his rites of initiation. But I think that he instructed Cyrus to be persuaded by his own fate, for when Cyrus had advanced beyond the river Istros against the Massagetai and the Issedonians (these tribes are Scythian), he died by the hand of a woman who ruled those barbarians, and this woman cut off the head of Cyrus just as the Thracian women had done with that of Orpheus. This much, my guest, I have heard about this oracle from both Protesilaos and the Lesbians. When Philoktetes came to Troy, he was neither ill nor like one who had been ill, and although his hair was gray because of age (he was about sixty years old), he was more vigorous than many of the young men, his gaze was most fearsome among mortals, his words most brief, and he attended few of the councils. [29] (Agamemnon, Menelaos, and Idomeneus 29.1 — 30.3)
Protesilaos says that Agamemnon and Menelaos were alike neither in appearance nor strength. Agamemnon was experienced in the arts of war, was inferior to none of the best in combat, and fulfilled all the duties of a king: he knew what was necessary for a ruler, was persuaded by whatever insight someone else had, and even by his very appearance was fit to lead the Hellenes. He looked majestic and magnificent and like the sort of person who offered sacrifice to the Graces.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 705  But Menelaos, although he fought along with many of the Hellenes, abused his brother in every respect. And while having the goodwill and favor of Agamemnon, he nevertheless maligned him and what Agamemnon was doing for him by his desire to rule, even though he was not deemed worthy. Orestes, at any rate, was held in honor in Athens and among the Hellenes since he had avenged his father. But when Orestes was in danger in Argos, Menelaos would have allowed his defeat by the Argives, had Orestes not fallen upon them with his Phocian allies and put them to flight. Thus he won for himself the realm of his father and of Menelaos, although Menelaos was unwilling. Protesilaos says that Menelaos wore his hair boyishly long, as was the Spartan custom, and the Achaeans made allowance for him when he was visiting, since they did not mock those who came from Euboea even though their hair was ridiculously long. He says he conversed most easily and very concisely, mixing pleasant speech with his discourse. [30] Protesilaos did not see the Cretan Idomeneus in Ilion, but he says that when they were in Aulis an embassy arrived from Idomeneus promising the Cretan forces as allies, if he were to share the command with Agamemnon. Agamemnon cautiously listened to the proposal and introduced the ambassador, who proclaimed with a clear and self-confident voice, "Achaeans, a man who has command of Minos offers you a hundred cities as allies so that even playing like children we might capture Troy, and he requests that he be ranked with Agamemnon and rule you just as this man does." To this Agamemnon responded, "I am prepared to cede the entire command if he should appear better than I." Then, he says, Ajax the son of Telamon stepped forward and gave the following speech, "Agamemnon, we have given you supreme command for the discipline of the army and so that not many would be in command.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 706  And we are fighting not because we are slaves to either you or anyone else, but for the enslavement of Troy. May we capture it, O gods, after we have accomplished illustrious and noble deeds. We are so disposed toward excellent deeds that we are able to take Troy if we give it serious attention, but we could capture Crete for sport." [30]
Protesilaos says that the Locrian Ajax was as capable as Diomedes and Sthenelos in the arts of war, but appeared less intelligent and paid no heed to Agamemnon. His father, the most powerful of the Locrians, commanded a significant army, and he would never willingly serve the Atreidai or anyone else, "So long as this flashes." He said this with his quick mind while showing the point of his spear, looking fierce, and throwing his long hair back. He said that the others, who gave heed to Agamemnon, had come because of Helen, but he himself had come for the sake of Europe, since it was now necessary for the Hellenes to prevail over the barbarians. He also had a tame snake, five cubits long, who drank with Ajax and accompanied him, either leading the way or following him like a dog. He dragged Cassandra away from the statue of Athena, although she was clinging to the goddess and beseeching her; assuredly he neither raped nor abused her as the stories falsely tell about him, but he led her away to his own tent. And when Agamemnon saw Cassandra (for in addition to beauty she was crowned by skill), he was immediately captivated by the maiden and deprived Ajax of her. When a fight between them ensued over the division of spoils, Ajax claimed as his own whatever he had captured, but Agamemnon did not yield and said that Ajax had committed sacrilege against Athena.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 707  Because of Agamemnon's on-going enmity toward Ajax, Agamemnon's storytellers produced tales for the Hellenes that the goddess gave many strange signs concerning the young girl and that the army would be destroyed unless it destroyed Ajax. When this Ajax pondered how an unjust judgment had destroyed the other Ajax and that cleverness did not keep Palamedes from dying after being slandered, he ran away by night in a small ferryboat during a storm, and as it happened, when sailing straight for Tenos and Andros, he died at the Gyrian rock. When news of this disaster reached the Achaeans, few of them touched their food and all lifted up their hands in honor of a good man, and turning toward the sea, they invoked him, lamented, and were angry at Agamemnon because he accomplished the destruction of Ajax all but by his own hand. Ajax received offerings for the dead such as had never been offered previously or have been since for any mortal, not even for all the many men whom naval battles destroyed. When they had piled wood, as for a funeral pyre, on the Locrian ship that carried Ajax, they sacrificed all the black animals, and when they had equipped the ship with black sails and with many other things invented for sailing, they secured it with cables until the wind blew from the land, the wind that Mount Ida sends forth particularly at dawn. When day appeared and the wind swept down, they set fire to the hollow ship. Buoyed up on the high seas, it sailed away, and before the sun had risen, the ship was consumed, along with all that it bore for Ajax. [32] Protesilaos says that Kheiron, who lives on Mount Pelion, resembled a human and that he was skilled in words and deeds (for he participated in various kinds of hunts, taught the skills of war, trained physicians, "tuned" the musicians, and made people just). He lived for a very long time, and Asclepius visited him as did Telamon, Peleus, and Theseus; Herakles also often came to Kheiron when his labors did not divert him.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 708  Protesilaos says that he himself shared the company of Kheiron at the same time with Palamedes, Achilles, and Ajax. [33] Protesilaos reports the affairs of Palamedes as follows: Palamedes arrived self-taught and already practiced in wisdom, knowing even more than Kheiron. Before Palamedes, seasons as such did not yet exist, nor did the cycle of the months, and "year" was not yet a word for time; nor were there coins, nor weights and measures, nor numbering, and the desire for knowledge did not yet exist, because there were no letters of the alphabet yet. When Kheiron wanted to teach him medicine, he said, "Kheiron, I would gladly have discovered medicine had it not existed, but since it has been discovered, I do not deem it worth learning. And besides, the extreme cleverness of your skill is loathsome to both Zeus and the Fates, and I would describe the deeds of Asclepius, if he had not then been struck dead." While the Achaeans were in Aulis, he invented checkers, which is not a frivolous pastime, but a shrewd and serious one. The story, which has been told by many poets, that, when Hellas waged war on Troy and Odysseus feigned madness in Ithaca and yoked an ox together with a horse to the plow, Palamedes tested him by means of Telemachus — well, Protesilaos denies that this story is sound. He says indeed that Odysseus went to Aulis most eagerly, and his reputation for cleverness had already become legendary among the Hellenes.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 709  Odysseus, however, disagreed with Palamedes from that time on: there was an eclipse of the sun at Troy, and the army lost courage, because they took it as a sign from Zeus for the future. So Palamedes stepped forward and interpreted fully the very phenomenon of the sun, that, when the moon ran beneath it, it was obscured and drew down mist. "If it should signify anything bad, perhaps the Trojans will be persuaded. For they began the injustices, and we have come as the injured party. It is fitting also to make a vow to Helios when he rises by sacrificing to him a foal, white and set free from labor." When the Achaeans applauded these remarks (for they were won over by Palamedes' words), Odysseus stepped forward and said, "Kalkhas will say what it is necessary to sacrifice, what to vow, and to whom, for such things require prophetic skill. What is in heaven and whatever is the improper or proper position of the stars, Zeus knows, by whom these have been arranged and invented. But you, Palamedes, will be less foolish by paying attention to the earth rather than by speculating about what is in heaven." Then Palamedes replied, "If you were clever, Odysseus, you would have understood that no one is able to say anything learned about the heavens unless he knows more about the earth. That you are wanting in these matters, I have no doubt, for they say that you Ithacans have neither seasons nor land." Because of these words, Odysseus departed full of anger, and Palamedes went away to prepare himself against one who had already slandered him. Once when the Achaeans were in their assembly, cranes happened to fly by in their usual manner, and Odysseus, looking at Palamedes, said, "The cranes bear witness to the Achaeans that the cranes themselves have discovered the letters of the alphabet, not you."

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 710  Palamedes said, "I did not discover the letters, but I was discovered by them. Long ago, while lying in the house of the Muses, these letters needed such a man, and the gods reveal such letters through learned men. The cranes, then, do not lay claim to the letters, but fly, commending their orderly arrangement. They travel to Libya in order to engage in war on small humans. But you, now, should not be talking about order, for you are disorderly in battles." I think this is the reason for Palamedes's charge, my guest: Odysseus held that if he ever saw Hektor, Sarpedon, or Aeneas, he would abandon his post and change his position to the easy places in the battle. In the opinion of the assembly he was youthful, and although older he was bested by the young Palamedes, and he used Agamemnon as his bulwark against him while he made the Achaeans opposed to Achilles. He says that once more they were brought through troubles by Palamedes. When wolves descended from Mount Ida, they devoured the young pack animals and the yoked animals round about the tents. Odysseus then ordered men fitted with bows and arrows and javelins to go to Mount Ida against the wolves. But Palamedes said, "Odysseus, Apollo makes the wolves a prelude to plague, and though he then shoots them, just as he does both the mules and the dogs, he sends them beforehand among the sick, because of his goodwill toward mortals and so that they might be on guard. Let us pray therefore to both Apollo Lykios and Apollo Phyxios, to kill these beasts with his own arrows,

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 711  and turn the sickness to goats. And let us, men of Hellas, take care of ourselves. To guard against the plague we must have a light diet and vigorous exercise, but all things can be achieved by cleverness." Saying this, he halted the supply of meat and ordered the army to avoid grain; instead he sustained the army on sweetmeats and wild herbs, and they trusted him and believed everything from Palamedes to be both divine and oracular. For indeed the plague that he foretold did strike the cities of the Hellespont, beginning, they say, from the Pontus, and it even fell upon Ilion, but it touched none of the Hellenes although they were encamped in the diseased land. Thus he instructed them in their diet and exercises. After launching one hundred ships, he put the army on board in turns, rowing and competing with one another either to surround the promontory, or to touch the headland, or to run before their neighbors into some harbor or shoreline, and he persuaded Agamemnon to offer them prizes for fast sailing. They exercised gladly then and with an understanding of health, for truly he taught them that, since the land was spoiled and was in such a state, the sea was more pleasant and safer to breathe. In addition to these things, Palamedes was crowned with rewards for his wisdom by the Hellenes but Odysseus planned to act dishonorably, and whatever villainy he had he turned against Palamedes. In addition to these stories, Protesilaos reports the following: Achilles, who was fighting against the islands and the coastal cities, asked the Achaeans to fight along with Palamedes.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 712  They did fight — Palamedes nobly and wisely, but Achilles fought without restraint. His fighting spirit rose up and led him away from his post in battle, where he rejoiced at Palamedes who was fighting alongside him; Palamedes, carrying him out of the rush of battle, enjoined him how one ought to fight. And what is more, he resembled a lion tamer who calms and stirs up a well-bred lion, and he did these things without even giving way, but while hurling darts and being on guard against them, standing firm against shields, and pursuing warriors in close formation. Then, after saying farewell to one another, they sailed away, and both the Myrmidons and the Thessalians from Phylake followed them. Afterwards, Protesilaos stationed his own force under Achilles, and thus all the Thessalians are called Myrmidons. Indeed, the cities were being captured and glorious deeds of Palamedes were reported: digging of canals through narrow passages of land, rivers diverted into the cities, pilings for harbors, forts, and a battle by night around Abydos. In this battle, when they were wounded, Achilles retreated but Palamedes did not give up, and before the middle of the night came, he conquered the place. Odysseus, however, was composing reports to Agamemnon in Troy, reports that were false, but convincing to whoever foolishly listened, to the effect that Achilles lusted after dominion over the Hellenes and that he was using Palamedes as a go-between. Odysseus said to Agamemnon, "They will arrive in a little while, paying you cattle, horses, and captives, but keeping for themselves money with which they will doubtless seduce powerful Hellenes against you. Thus, it is necessary to keep away from Achilles, to be on guard against those who know him, and to kill this schemer Palamedes. I have devised a plan against him by which he will be hated by the Hellenes and killed by them."

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 713  Protesilaos then related how the events surrounding the Phrygian and the gold that had been received by the hand of the Phrygian had been arranged by Odysseus. Since these things seemed to have been cleverly contrived, and since Agamemnon agreed with the plot, Odysseus said, "Come, King, keep Achilles for me around the cities where he is now, but summon Palamedes here on the pretense that he is going to lay siege to Ilion and invent engines of war. Since he will come without Achilles, he will be a captive not only to me but to anyone else who is less clever than I." These matters seemed good, and the heralds sailed off to Lesbos. The entire island, however, had not yet been captured, but Achilles blockaded it in this way. An Aeolian city, Lyrnessos, is naturally enclosed by walls and fortified; they say Orpheus brought his lyre here and gave the rocks a certain echo, and that even now at Lyrnessos the area around the sea resounds with the song of the rocks. While laying siege here until the tenth day (for it was difficult to capture the place), the heralds proclaimed the message from Agamemnon. It seemed that Achilles was persuaded to remain behind while Palamedes went, and so at once they departed from one another with tears.

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§ 714  When Palamedes sailed back to the encampment and reported the events of the expedition, ascribing everything to Achilles, he said he said, "King, are you ordering me to attack the walls of Troy? I believe the Aiakidai, both the son of Kapaneus and the son of Tydeus, the Locrians, and, of course, Patroklos and Ajax are excellent fighting machines. But if you also need lifeless fighting machines, believe Troy already lies within my control." But the wiles of Odysseus, which were already cleverly devised, had anticipated him. He was reputed to give in to gold and was falsely accused of being a traitor, and so with his hands twisted around behind his back, he was stoned to death, with both Peloponnesians and Ithacans throwing stones at him. The rest of Hellas had not seen these events, but were pleased with them too even though they seemed to be unjust. The proclamation against him was savage: neither to bury Palamedes nor to satisfy divine law by throwing earth, but rather to kill the one who took him up for burial and performed funeral rites. After Agamemnon had announced these things, the greater Ajax cast himself on the corpse and shed many tears over it. Placing Palamedes upon himself, he burst through the crowd with his unsheathed and ready sword. Then, after performing funeral rites for him who had been denied them, as was appropriate, he did not approach the assembly of the Hellenes or participate in their council or purpose, and he did not join in the battles. When Achilles arrived, after the capture of the Chersonesus, both were enraged over the affair of Palamedes. Ajax was not enraged for long, for when he perceived that his allies were faring badly, he grieved and then changed his disposition. Achilles, however, prolonged his wrath; he created a song for the lyre called the "Palamedes" and praised him in song just as much as he did the earlier heroes. He begged for a vision to come to him in his sleep, by pouring out a libation for dreams from a krater out of which Hermes drinks. Not only to Achilles, but also to all who possessed love of strength and wisdom, this hero seemed to show himself worthy of emulation and song. Whenever we return to the remembrance of him, Protesilaos sheds floods of tears, praising the uncommon courage of the hero even in death. Indeed, he reports that Palamedes did not make supplication, either saying anything pitiable or lamenting, but after he had said, "I have pity on you, Truth, for you have perished before me," he held out his head to the stones as though knowing that Justice would be in his favor.

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§ 715  PHOEN: Is it also possible to behold Palamedes, vinedresser, just as I beheld Nestor, Diomedes, and Sthenelos; or does Protesilaos describe nothing about his appearance?
VINEDR: It is possible, my guest, just look! So then in height he was the same as the greater Ajax; in beauty, Protesilaos says, he vied with Achilles, Antilokhos, Protesilaos himself, and with the Trojan Euphorbus. His soft beard was springing up and with the promise of curls; his hair was cut close to his skin; his eyebrows were noble, straight, and came together above the nose, which was perfect as a square and stately. The resolve of his eyes appeared unshaken and fierce in battles, but when he was at rest their gaze was full of comradely affection and affable; he also is said to have possessed the most marvelous eyes among mortals. And in truth, Protesilaos also says that when he was naked, Palamedes weighed halfway between an athlete and a lithe person, and that he had a toughness about his face that was much more pleasant than the golden locks of Euphorbus. And he cultivated toughness by sleeping wherever he happened to be and by frequently encamping on top of Mount Ida during lulls in the battles, for the learned make direct observations of meteors from the highest elevations. He brought to Ilion neither ship nor armed men, but he sailed on a ferryboat with his brother Oiax, considering himself, they say, to be worth as much as many strong arms.

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§ 716  He had no attendant nor companion nor a Tekmessa or Iphis to wash him or to make up his bed, but his life was simple and without furnishings. At any rate, Achilles once said to him, "Palamedes, you appear rather boorish to many people because you do not possess a servant." He replied, "What then are these, Achilles?" stretching forth both hands. Once when the Achaeans gave him treasures from the spoil and urged him to enjoy the riches, he said, "I do not accept them, for I myself urge you to remain poor, but you do not obey." Once when Odysseus asked him as he returned from observing the stars, "What more do you see in the sky than we do?" he said, "I perceive evil men." It would have been better, however, had Palamedes thoroughly instructed the Achaeans in what manner the evil men would someday be revealed. They would not then have believed Odysseus, who was in this way pouring a flood of lies and villainous plots against Palamedes. He said that the fire alleged to have been set by Nauplios against the Achaeans in the Hollow of Euboea was real, and it had been done on behalf of Palamedes by the Fates and Poseidon, my guest, probably even though the ghost of Palamedes did not wish these things; indeed, being clever, he joined, I suppose, in the trick with them. Achilles and Ajax honored him with funeral rites on the mainland of the Aeolians that borders Troy. The Aeolians also built a very ancient sanctuary to him and set up a noble and well-armed statue of Palamedes. Those who settled the coastal cities come together and sacrifice to him. His sanctuary must be sought by Methymna and Lepetymnos (this mountain appears high above Lesbos). [34] Protesilaos speaks about Odysseus in this way. He was extremely skilled in public speaking and clever, but he was a dissembler, a lover of envy, and praised malice. His eyes were always downcast, and he was the sort of person who engages in self-examination.

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§ 717  He appeared more noble than he was in military matters; surely he was not well versed in preparing for war, in commanding naval battles and sieges, or in drawing of spear and bows. His deeds were many, but not worth admiration except for one, namely, the hollow horse, whose builder was Epeios, with Athena's help, but whose inventor was Odysseus. It is said that while in the horse he appeared more daring for the ambush than the rest inside. Odysseus came to Ilion already past his prime and returned to Ithaca when he was an old man. He experienced a longer wandering because of the war which was waged against the Kikones when he was ravaging their lands by the sea of Ismaros. Protesilaos does not even allow us to listen to the stories about Polyphemos, Antiphates, Scylla, the events in Hades, and what the Sirens sang, but he permits us to smear over our ears with beeswax and to avoid these stories, not because they are not full of pleasure and able to allure us, but because they are untrustworthy and fabricated. He bids us to sail past the islands of Ogygia and Aiaia and the stories of how the goddesses made love to him, and not to cast our anchor among fables. Odysseus, he says, was too old for amorous affairs, was somewhat flat-nosed, short, and had shifty eyes because of his schemings and insinuations.

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§ 718  He was like one who was always plotting, and this gracelessness extended to his amorous affairs. Therefore, Protesilaos aptly teaches that a man like Odysseus killed a man like Palamedes, who was both more clever and more courageous than he. Thus he also praises the dirge in Euripides, where Euripides says in the verses from the Palamedes: "You have killed," he says, "yes, killed, the all-wise one, O Danaan, the nightingale of the Muses who caused no pain." He praised the succeeding verses even more, in which Euripides also says that they did these things in obedience to a terrible and shameless person. [35] (The Telamonian Ajax 35.1 — 36.1)
The Achaeans called Ajax the son of Telamon great, not because of his size, nor because the other Ajax was smaller, but because of the things he did. They considered him a good advisor for the war because of his father's deed: along with Herakles, Telamon pursued Laomedon, when he had tricked Herakles, and captured Troy itself. The Achaeans delighted in Ajax even when he was unarmed (for he was someone mighty even beyond the entire army and bore a disciplined and prudent spirit); they depended on him when he was armed, setting out proudly against the Trojans, handling his shield well even though it was so large, and looking out from under his helmet with flashing eyes, like lions preparing to attack.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 719  He fought battles against the best men, and although he said that the Lycians, the Mysians, and the Paionians came to Troy for the sake of the sheer number, he considered their leaders well worth combating and capable of giving fame to their slayer and not a disgraceful injury to the wounded. After killing an enemy, Ajax kept his hands off the weapons because killing is for a courageous man, but stripping a slain enemy of his arms is more for a clothes-stealer. No one would have uttered anything undisciplined or offensive within Ajax's hearing, nor how much they were in disagreement with one another. Instead they rose from their seats out of respect for him and withdrew from his path. Not only did the hoi polloi do so, but even those whose lot in life was highly esteemed. He had a friendship with Achilles, and they neither wished to malign each other nor did they stick close together. As for Achilles' sorrows, even if they did not arise on account of trivial matters, he calmed them all, some as if he were a fellow sufferer, others as if he were reproving. Hellas used to pay attention to Achilles and Ajax when they were sitting or walking together, seeing in these men such as had not been since Herakles. They say that Ajax was a foster-child of Herakles, and as an infant he was wrapped in the hero's lion skin. When Herakles dedicated him to Zeus, he asked that the child be invincible like the lion's skin. An eagle came to him as he prayed, bearing a name from Zeus for the child and giving approval to his prayers. It was absolutely clear to anyone who saw him that he did not grow up without divine aid because of the beauty and strength of his physique. Hence, Protesilaos calls him the very picture of war. But when I said, "And certainly this one who was great and godly was always defeated by Odysseus in wrestling," he replied, "If Cyclopes had existed and the story concerning them were true, Odysseus would have wrestled with Polyphemos rather than with Ajax."

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§ 720  My guest, I also heard the following about this hero from Protesilaos: how he groomed himself by the river Ilissos in Athens, how the Athenians in Troy cherished him and considered him a leader, and how they did whatever he said. I think he sided with the Athenians because he dwelt in Salamis, which the Athenians made a deme and also because when a child was born to him, whom the Athenians called Eurysakes, he fed him with a strange food that the Athenians recommended. And when the children of Athens were crowned with flowers in the month of Anthesterion, in the third year of his son's life, he set up kraters from there and sacrificed according to Athenian custom. Protesilaos said that he also observed these sacred festivals of Dionysos as established by Theseus. The account of his death, namely, that he died by killing himself, is true, but perhaps shows pity even for Odysseus. About the things that took place in Hades — "I wish I had not been the victor in such a contest; For the earth has covered such a head for the sake of this armor" — he denies that this was said by Odysseus there (according to Protesilaos, Odysseus did not descend to Hades while still alive), but says that it was certainly said somewhere. For it is plausible, I suppose, that even Odysseus suffered somewhat and that he wished away his own victory through pity for this man who died because of it. Although Protesilaos commends these verses of Homer, how much more does he praise the verse in which he says, The sons of the Trojans rendered judgment. Indeed, he took away from the Achaeans the unjust decision and appointed judges who were likely to condemn Ajax. Hatred is akin to fear,

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§ 721  and after Ajax had gone mad, the Trojans feared him more than they usually did, lest by attacking the wall he break it down. They also prayed to both Poseidon and Apollo, since they labored at the wall, to stand guard before the citadel of the city and to check Ajax in case he seized the battlements. The Hellenes, however, did not cease their fondness for him, but they both publicly mourned Ajax's madness and supplicated the oracles to prophesy how he might turn himself around and come to his senses. When they saw him dead and lying transfixed by his sword, they so wailed aloud all at once that they did not go unheard even in Ilion. The Athenians laid out his body, and Menestheus proclaimed over it the speech by which at Athens they customarily honor those who have died in wars. Protesilaos knows then of a highly esteemed deed of Odysseus: after Odysseus conferred the armor of Achilles upon Ajax as he lay dead and wept, he said, "Be buried with funeral rites in these arms that you loved and have the victory that comes with them, by no means falling into anger." After the Achaeans praised Odysseus, Teukros also commended him, but deprecated this use of the arms, since it is not permitted by divine law for the instruments of death to be interred. They buried him by laying his body in the earth, since Kalkhas prescribed that those who had killed themselves were not permitted by divine law to be honored with a funeral pyre. [36] And consider that Teukros was a young man, but one who had size, a good physique, and might.
(The Trojan Heroes)
PHOEN: Does Protesilaos know stories about the Trojans, vinedresser, or does he not think it fit to mention them, lest they appear worthy of great attention?
VINEDR: Such is not the case with Protesilaos, my guest. His grudge is gone. In fact, he reports even stories of the Trojans with zealous resolve, for he says that even those men gained for themselves a great account of their excellence. I shall relate these things to you before the story of Achilles, since if they are told afterwards, they will not seem marvelous.

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§ 722  So then, by praising Hektor, Protesilaos also praised Homer's report about him. He said that Homer spoke in most excellent terms about his chariotry, battles, councils, and about Troy's dependence upon him and not upon another. However much Hektor boasts in Homer's poem while threatening the Achaeans with fire on the ships, Protesilaos says it certainly befits the bearing of the hero. Protesilaos says that Hektor said many such things in battles, looked most terrifying of all mortals, and shouted loudly. He was smaller than the son of Telamon, but not at all inferior in fighting, in which he displayed something even of the heat of Achilles. He was filled with resentment against Paris as a coward and as one who gave in to self-adornment. In truth, Hektor thought that to have long hair, even though it is treated with respect by princes and the children of princes, was despicable for himself because of that man. His ears were damaged, not by wrestling (for this sport, as I said, neither he nor the barbarians knew), but he fought against bulls and considered engagement with such beasts warlike. These activities also are a part of wrestling, but when he did them, he was ignorant of this sport, and for military exercise he practiced submitting to bellowing bulls, having no fear of the points of their horns, taming a bull by forcing back its neck, and not giving up, even though he was wounded by it. The statue in Ilion indeed presents Hektor as young and boyish, but Protesilaos says that he was more pleasant and larger than that statue. He died probably at the age of thirty, and he surely did not flee or let his hands drop idly (for in these matters Hektor is slandered by Homer). Rather he fought mightily, and he alone of the Trojans remained outside the wall of Troy to perish late in the battle. After he died, he was dragged strapped to a chariot, but his body was returned, as is said by Homer.

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§ 723  But Aeneas, although inferior to Hektor as a fighter, surpassed the Trojans in intelligence and was considered worthy of the same honors as Hektor. He knew well the intentions of the gods, which had been fated for him once Troy had been captured, but he was not struck with panic by any fear, for he had intelligence and good judgment, especially in frightening situations. While the Achaeans called Hektor the hand of the Trojans, they called Aeneas the mind. He presented matters to them more prudently than did the madly raging Hektor. They were both of the same age and height, and although Aeneas's appearance seemed less radiant, he resembled Hektor more when that man had settled down, and he wore his hair long without offense. He did not adorn his hair, nor was he enslaved to it. Instead, he made virtue alone his adornment, and he looked at things so vehemently that even his glance itself was sufficient against the unruly. [39] Lycia brought forth Sarpedon, but Troy exalted him. He was like Aeneas in battle, and he led the whole body of Lycians, along with their two best men, Glaukos and Pandaros. Although Glaukos, of the two, was famed for being a man at arms, Pandaros claimed that when Lycian Apollo stood near him while still in his youth, they joined together in archery, and thus he always prayed to Apollo whenever he grasped his bow for a great cause. Protesilaos says that with the whole army the Trojans met Sarpedon's arrival, since besides his strength and his appearance, which was both divine and noble, he attached himself to the Trojans and to the story of their lineage.

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§ 724  For the descendants of Aiakos, Dardanos, and Tantalos are celebrated as springing from Zeus, but to have been begotten by Zeus himself belonged to that one alone of all those who came to fight both on behalf of and against Troy. (By this same divine parentage Herakles was also made greater and more excellent among mortals.) But Sarpedon died, as has been told by Homer; he was about forty years old, and there is a tomb in Lycia to which the Lycians escorted him, showing his corpse to the peoples through whom he was carried. His body was prepared with aromatic herbs, and he appeared to be sleeping; for this reason the poets say that he used Hypnos as an escort. [40] Listen also to the deeds of Alexandros, unless you are exceedingly vexed with him.
PHOEN: I am vexed, but I may as well listen.
VINEDR: Protesilaos says that Alexandros was hated by all the Trojans, but that he was not worthless in the business of war; his appearance was most pleasing, and his voice and character were charming inasmuch as he had dealings with the Peloponnesus. He could fight in all ways and, as far as knowledge of bows is concerned, he did not fall short of Pandaros. Protesilaos says that at eighteen he also sailed to Hellas, when he was a guest of Menelaos and seized Helen because of her beauty, and that he was not yet thirty years old when he died. He delighted in his own beauty and was not only admired by others, but also admired himself. For this reason the hero makes sport of him most elegantly: Once when he saw this peacock (Protesilaos enjoys the brilliance and beauty of this bird) strutting, spreading out its wings, admiring and preening them — that they might appear arranged like necklaces of precious stones — he said, "Behold, Paris, son of Priam, whom we were mentioning just now!" And when I asked him, "How does the peacock resemble Paris." For surely that man not only inspected himself all around for the sake of his adornment, but also examined his weapons carefully.

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§ 725  He attached panthers' skins to his shoulders, he did not allow dirt to settle on his hair, not even when he was fighting, and he polished his fingernails. He had a rather aquiline nose and white skin, his eyes were painted, and his left eyebrow rose above the eye. [41] Helenos, Deiphobos, and Polydamas went into the battles together with one another. They attained the same measure of strength and were also highly esteemed at giving counsel, but Helenos also engaged in prophecy equal to that of Kalkhas. [42] About Euphorbus, son of Panthous, and how a certain Euphorbus was in Troy and was killed by Menelaos, you have heard, I suppose, the account of Pythagoras of Samos. For indeed Pythagoras said that he had been Euphorbus and that Euphorbus had changed from a Trojan into an Ionian, from a warrior into a sage, and from one who lived luxuriously into one chastened. His hair, which the one become a sage adorned with dirt, he dyed golden-yellow in Troy when he was Euphorbus. Protesilaos thinks that Euphorbus was his own age, pities him, and agrees that after Patroklos was wounded by Euphorbus, he was handed over to Hektor. Had Euphorbus come to manhood, Protesilaos says that he would have been considered no worse than Hektor. He says that his beauty charmed even the Achaeans, for he resembled a statue whenever Apollo appears his own most lovely self with unshorn hair and grace. The godly and noble hero narrates so much concerning the Trojans, my guest. It remains for us, perhaps, to conclude the story of Achilles, unless you have tired of its length. [43]
PHOEN: If they who in Homer ate the lotus, vinedresser, were so readily addicted to the meadow as to forget utterly their own affairs,

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§ 726  do not doubt that I also am addicted to the story just as to the lotus, and I would not even go away from here willingly, but would be carried off to the ship with difficulty and would be bound again to it, weeping and lamenting at not getting my fill of the story. For truly, you have so disposed me even toward Homer's poems that, although I thought they seemed divine and beyond the capability of a mortal, I am now amazed more not only at the epic poetry, even if some pleasure pervades Homer's poems, but to a much greater degree at the names of the heroes and their lineages, and, by Zeus, how each of them obtained the lot of killing a certain person or of dying at the hand of another. For I do not think it amazing that Protesilaos knows these things, since he is now a daimon, but from where does knowledge of Euphorbus come to Homer, and of such men as Helenos and Deiphobos, and, by Zeus, of the many men of the opposing army whom he mentions in the catalogue? Protesilaos testifies that Homer did not invent these things, but that he made a narrative of deeds that had happened and were genuine, except for a few of them, which he rather seems to transform purposefully so that his poetry appears elaborate and more pleasurable. Hence, that which is said by some, that Apollo, after composing these poems signed the name "Homer" to the work, seems to me to be greatly confirmed, since knowing these stories is more fitting for a god than for a mortal.
VINEDR: That the gods are guides to the poets of every song, my guest, the poets themselves, I suppose, confess: some invoke Calliope to be present in their story, others all the Muses, and still others Apollo in addition to the nine Muses. Homer's poems were not uttered without the aid of a god, but surely they were not sung by Apollo or the Muses themselves.

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§ 727  For he existed, my guest, the poet Homer existed and sang twenty-four years after the Trojan War, as some say; but others say one hundred and twenty-seven years afterwards, when they colonized Ionia until the time of Homer and Hesiod, when both of them sang in Chalcis. The former sang the seven epics about the two Ajaxes, how their ranks of battle were joined closely together and strong, and the latter sang songs about the affairs of his own brother, Perses, songs in which he urges Perses to engage in work and to devote himself to farming, so that he will not beg from others or go hungry. The following events of Homer's time, my guest, are quite true since Protesilaos agrees with them. Once, at any rate, after two poets had recited a song in praise of him here and had gone away, the hero came and asked me for which one of them I would cast my vote. When I praised the simpler one (for he happened to have won the contest by far), Protesilaos laughed and said, "Panides too had the same experience as you did, vinedresser. When that man was king of Chalcis on the Euripos, he voted for Hesiod over Homer, and this when his beard was longer than yours." So then, my guest, the poet Homer existed, and these are the poems of a mortal. He used to sing their names and collect their deeds from the cities that each of them led. Homer went about Hellas after the time of the Trojan War, when it was not yet long enough for the events at Troy to have faded away. He also learned these things in another manner as well, a manner both supernatural and requiring the utmost skill. For they say that Homer once sailed to Ithaca because he heard that the ghost of Odysseus still breathed, and they say that Homer summoned him from the dead.

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§ 728  When Odysseus came up, Homer began asking him about the events in Ilion, but Odysseus kept saying that although he knew and remembered them all, he would say nothing of the things he knew unless there would be a reward for him from Homer, songs of praise in his poetry and a song for his wisdom and bravery. After Homer agreed to these things and said that in his poetry he would do whatever he could to favor him, Odysseus narrated everything truthfully and just as it happened. For you see, the ghosts of the dead least of all speak falsely in the presence of blood and offering pits. Moreover, just when Homer was leaving, Odysseus cried out and said, "Palamedes is demanding justice from me for his own murder! I know I did wrong, and I am completely persuaded of it. Those who issue judgments here are terrible, Homer, and the punishments of the Poinai are near at hand! If to mortals above the ground I do not seem to have done these things to Palamedes, the forces here will destroy me less. Do not lead Palamedes to Ilion, neither treat him as a soldier nor say that he was wise! Other poets will say these things, but because they have not been said by you, they will not seem plausible." This, my guest, was the conversation between Odysseus and Homer, and in this way Homer learned the truth, but he modified many things for the expediency of the account that he composed. [44]
PHOEN: Vinedresser, did you ever ask Protesilaos about Homer's homeland and from what people he came?
VINEDR: Very often, my guest.
PHOEN: What was his answer?
VINEDR: Protesilaos says that he knows them. Because Homer omitted them in order that the excellent men of the cities might make him their own citizen, and perhaps also because the decree of the Fates was against Homer, he seems to be without a city. Protesilaos says that he himself would not please either the Fates or the Muses if he disclosed this secret, since it would then come around to praise for Homer.

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§ 729  For all cities ally themselves with him, and all peoples, and they would also plead their case about him against one another, when they enter themselves in the public register with Homer as a citizen. Phoenician, let what I have said be proof to you that I would neither keep this story secret from you nor hide it if I knew it. For I think that I have ungrudgingly divulged to you as much as I know.
PHOEN: I believe you, vinedresser. Let us agree with the reason why these matters are kept silent. It is time for you to bring Achilles to light, unless he will also strike us with panic, just as he did the Trojans, when he shone forth on them from the trench. [45]
VINEDR: Do not be afraid of Achilles, my guest, because you will meet him as a child at the beginning of the story.
PHOEN: You will bestow great gifts if you discuss him in detail from infancy, since after this we shall perhaps meet him armed and fighting.
VINEDR: So shall it be, and you will say that you know everything about Achilles. I have heard the following about him. An apparition of a daimon of the sea used to visit Peleus. Because she loved him, the daimon had intercourse with Peleus, although out of shame for the crowd she did not yet speak about herself, not even from where she came. When the sea was calm, she happened to be frolicking seated upon dolphins and sea horses, while he, looking at these things from the summit of Mount Pelion, became aware of the goddess and feared her approach. But she made Peleus courageous by reminding him how Eos loved Tithonos, how Aphrodite was in love with Anchises,

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§ 730  and how Selene habitually visited the sleeping Endymion. "Peleus," she said, "I shall even give to you a child mightier than a mortal." When Achilles was born, they made Kheiron his foster-father. He fed him honeycombs and the marrow of fawns. When Achilles reached the age at which children need wagons and knucklebones, he did not prohibit such games, but accustomed him to small javelins, darts, and race courses. Achilles also had a small ashen spear hewn by Kheiron, and he seemed to babble about military affairs. When he became an ephebe, a brightness radiated from his face, and his body was beyond natural size, since he grew more easily than do trees near springs. He was celebrated much at symposia and much in serious endeavors. When he appeared to yield to anger, Kheiron taught him music. Music was enough to tame the readiness and rising of his disposition. Without exertion, he thoroughly learned the musical modes, and he sang to the accompaniment of a lyre. He used to sing of the ancient comrades, Hyacinthus and Narcissus, and something about Adonis. And the lamentations for Hyllas and Abderos being fresh — since, when both were ephebes, the one was carried into a spring until he disappeared, and upon the other the horses of Diomedes feasted — not without tears did he sing of these matters. I also heard the following things: that he sacrificed to Calliope asking for musical skill and mastery of poetic composition, and that the goddess appeared to him in his sleep and said, "Child, I give you enough musical and poetic skill that you might make banquets more pleasant and lay sufferings to rest. But since it seems both to me and to Athena that you are skilled in war and powerful even in dangerous situations {in army camps}, the Fates command thus:

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§ 731  practice those skills and desire them as well. There will be a poet in the future whom I shall send forth to sing your deeds." This was prophesied to him about Homer. When he became a young lad, he was not, as many say, reared in hiding on Skyros, of all things among young maidens! It is not likely that Peleus, who had become the best of heroes, would have sent away his son somewhere secretly, running from battles and dangers. Moreover, when Telamon sent Ajax forth to war, Achilles would not have put up with being thrown into women's quarters, yielding to others the opportunity to be admired and highly esteemed in Troy. Clearly, the greatest ambition for honor was also found in him. [46]
PHOEN: What then does Protesilaos know about these events, vinedresser?
VINEDR: Things more plausible and truthful, my guest. He says that after Theseus had fled from Athens because of the curse against his son, he died in Skyros by the hand of Lykomedes. Peleus, who had been Theseus's guest-friend and companion in the Calydonian deed, sent Achilles to Skyros to avenge Theseus. And after he set sail together with Phoenix, who by reason of old age knew only the deliberative arts, he overthrew Skyros, which was on high ground away from attack after it had been rebuilt on a rocky hill. He guarded Lykomedes and indeed did not kill him, but asked him what possessed him to kill a man better than himself. When Lykomedes said, "Because, Achilles, he came for unjust reasons and made an attempt on my dominion," Achilles released him, since he killed Theseus justly, and said that he would speak in his defense to Peleus.

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§ 732  Achilles married Deidameia, daughter of Lykomedes, and there was born to them Neoptolemos, who was named this because of Achilles' youth when he rushed forward into war. Thetis appeared to Achilles while he was living there, and she attended to her son just as mortal mothers do. When the army was assembling at Aulis, she carried him over to Phthia because of the fates spun for him when she made Peleus the child's master. It is said that she also made for him weapons such as no one had yet carried. When he arrived at Aulis with these, he filled the army with hope; he was in this way so esteemed as a child of a goddess that they sacrificed to Thetis on the sea and worshipped Achilles when he darted about in his armor. I also asked Protesilaos about the ashen spear — what its wonder was — and he says that the length of this spear was unlike that of any other, that the wooden shaft was straight and strengthened to such an extent that it could not be broken. The point of the spear was of unbreakable metal and could penetrate anything, and the spike on the other end of the shaft had been dipped in mountain copper, so that the whole spear would strike blazing like lightning. [47]
PHOEN: And his armor, vinedresser, how does he say it was decorated?
VINEDR: Not in the way that Homer when he depicted cities, stars, wars, fields, weddings, and songs, but the following is what Protesilaos says about it. The armor of Achilles has never been anything other than what he brought to Troy, neither was Achilles' armor ever destroyed, nor did Patroklos put it on because of Achilles' wrath. He says that Patroklos died in his own armor while distinguishing himself in battle and just grasping the wall, and the armor of Achilles remained inviolable and unassailable.

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§ 733  Achilles did not even die in his armor, but thinking that he was going to his wedding, he died unarmed and wreathed with a crown just like bridegrooms. Protosilaos says that the armor was fashioned without distinguishing marks and discreetly, and that a variety of material was blended together on it which changed sometimes into one sheen, sometimes into another, like a rainbow. For this reason, the armor is celebrated in song as seeming to be beyond the skill even of Hephaistos. [48]
PHOEN: Will you portray Achilles, vinedresser, and describe him from his appearance?
VINEDR: Why shouldn't I, since I have met you who are so fond of listening? Protesilaos says that Achilles' hair is thick, lovelier than gold, and becoming no matter where and how either the wind or he himself may move it. His nose is not quite aquiline, but almost so; his brow is crescent-shaped. The spirit in his eyes, which are bluish-gray, casts off a certain eagerness even when he is still; when he is rushing on, they spring out along with his purpose, and then he seems more lovely than ever to those who cherish him. The Achaeans were affected by him as by strong lions. For although we greet lions at rest, we are even more pleased with them whenever, after beginning to be filled with anger, they rush headlong at a boar, a bull, or one of the bellicose beasts. Protesilaos says Achilles' courage is evident even from his neck, since it is straight and erect. By nature and through association with Kheiron, he became the most just of the heroes. I tell you, being filled with suspicion about possessions accompanied Achilles from then on. For he was so set against them that, from the twenty-three cities that he himself captured, although he took the most prisoners of war, he was able to resist all of them except for a maiden, whom he did not even give to himself, but asked the Achaeans for her. When Nestor charged the Achaeans with injustice unless Achilles should receive the most possessions, Achilles said, "Let the greater part of the deed be mine, and let whoever wishes be greedy for possessions."

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§ 734  At that assembly, my guest, Achilles' anger toward Agamemnon on behalf of Palamedes also began. When recalling the cities that the two of them had captured, he said, "Such was the treason of Palamedes, and let whoever wishes condemn me as well since I have come from the same cities." Agamemnon took these words to be directed against him, and he railed against Achilles said that speaking on behalf of a traitor was treason, Achilles drove him out of the assembly because he said things that were not welcome even to the Achaeans. After attacking Agamemnon with greater insults, he led a life out of the reach of missiles of war, neither doing any deed for the common good nor visiting war councils when supplications for him arrived from Agamemnon because the Achaeans were already in great distress. Both Ajax and Nestor acted as ambassadors, the former because of their kinship and because he had already been reconciled with the Achaeans even though he had been angry for the same reasons that Achilles was angry; the latter on account of his sound judgment and age, which all the Achaeans honored. When they discovered from him that Patroklos at least was allied with them, Patroklos, who both did and suffered as many things as Homer says, died fighting at Troy neither did anything ignoble toward him nor spoke against him. And after he bewailed him vigorously and buried him both as he himself wished and as he thought would also please Patroklos, he then advanced against Hektor.

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§ 735  Indeed, the hyperboles that Homer used about those who perished with their chariots whenever Achilles appeared, about those who were slain in the river, and about the movement of the river, when its own wave rose up against Achilles — these hyperboles even Protesilaos commends as poetic, but he excludes them as gratuitous. He says that neither against Achilles, although he was so great, would the Scamander have been at a loss and weaker than the mighty rivers in this encounter, nor would Achilles have rushed headlong against the river. For even if it had roared violently against him, he would have avoided it by turning away and not moving close to the water. Protesilaos, I believe, recounts those events more plausibly than Homer. He says that the Trojans were driven together into the river, and more of them perished than had in the entire war; surely these deeds were not done by Achilles alone, but since the Hellenes had already been made confident by his presence, they went down against the Trojans and slaughtered them in the river. He says that Achilles was heedless of these things, but contended for a prize in the following contest. There was a man who had come from Paionia, whom Homer also remembered. He calls him Asteropaios, a grandson of the river Axios, and ambidextrous. Although the Paionian was the mightiest of both the Achaeans and the Trojans and rushed into the spears like a wild beast, Homer disregarded this story. Having just arrived at Troy, he led a fresh force, the Paionian horsemen, whom Achilles repulsed by frightening them; they thought that a daimon had fallen upon them because they had not yet encountered such a man. When Asteropaios alone stood his ground, Achilles feared for himself more than when he fought with Hektor, and he did not go unwounded when he killed the Paionian. For this reason, when the allies forbade him to fight with Hektor on that day, he did not endure these words, but as he said, "Let him see that I am even mightier than my wounds," he rushed headlong against Hektor who was stationed before the wall. After he killed him, who was such as I described in the story about him, Achilles dragged him around the wall in a manner which, while barbarous and unpleasant, was pardonable, since he was avenging Patroklos.

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§ 736  For Achilles, while possessed with a certain supernatural nature, always did something great for his friends; for this reason he was angry together with all the Hellenes on account of Palamedes and avenged Patroklos and Antilokhos. It is especially necessary to know what Achilles is reported to have said to Telamonian Ajax about his friends, for afterwards, when Ajax asked him what sort of deeds were most dangerous to him, Achilles said, "Those on behalf of friends." Again, when asked what sort were both sweeter and less troublesome, he gave the same answer. When Ajax wondered how the same deed might be both difficult and easy, he said, "Because when on behalf of friends I readily take risks that are great, I cease from grieving for them." "But what sort of wound hurt you the most, Achilles?" Ajax asked. "The wound that I received from Hektor." "And yet surely you were not wounded by him," said Ajax. "By Zeus, he wounded my head and my hands," said Achilles, "for I consider you my own head, and Patroklos was my hands." [49] My guest, Protesilaos says that Patroklos, although he was not much older than Achilles, was a divine and sensible man, the most suitable companion for Achilles. He said that Patroklos rejoiced whenever Achilles also rejoiced, was distressed in the same manner, was always giving some advice when he sang. Protesilaos says that even his horses carried Patroklos safe and sound, just as they did Achilles. In size and bravery he was between the two Ajaxes. He fell short of the son of Telamon in all things, but he surpassed both the size and bravery of the son of Locris. Patroklos had an olive complexion, black eyes, and sufficiently fine eyebrows, and he commended moderately long hair. His head stood upon his neck as the wrestling schools cultivate. His nose was straight, and he flared his nostrils as eager horses do.

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§ 737  [50] PHOEN: It is good that you have reminded me of Achilles' horses, vinedresser, because I really need to know why, even if they were better than other horses, they were deemed divine.
VINEDR: I have asked the hero this very question, my guest, and he says that their so-called immortality is a fiction told by Homer. He reports, however, that when Achilles was in the bloom of youth, Thessaly, because it was both famed for its horses and noble, with some divine help nurtured two horses, one white and one chestnut, marvelous in their speed and magnificent in their disposition. And because everyone believed what was spoken by divine providence about Achilles, it immediately seemed that the nature of the horses was divine and appeared to surpass the mortal. [51] Achilles' life came to an end, which Homer also knows. He says that Achilles died at the hands of both Paris and Apollo, knowing, I suppose, what happened in Thymbraion, and how Achilles fell, murdered treacherously while engaged in sacrifices and sacred oaths, of which he made Apollo a witness. The sacrifice of Polyxena on his tomb and Achilles' passion for her, which you hear from the poets, happened like this: Achilles loved Polyxena and was negotiating this marriage for himself with the understanding that he would make the Achaeans withdraw from Ilion. Polyxena also loved Achilles; they had seen one another during the ransom negotiations for Hektor. For when Priam came to Achilles, he made his own child lead him by the hand, since she was the youngest of those Hekabe had borne for him. (Younger children always used to assist their fathers' step.) And thus Achilles so displayed a certain self-control by his sense of justice, even in his amorous desires, that he did not abduct the girl, even though she was under his power, but promised Priam a marriage with her and trusted him when he delayed the wedding. After he died unarmed, uttering oaths about these matters, Polyxena, as the Trojan women were fleeing from the sanctuary and the Trojan men were scattered (they did not even carry away Achilles' corpse without fear), is said to have deserted

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§ 738  and fled to the Hellenic army. Polyxena was taken to live in Agamemnon's excellent and discreet care, just as in the house of her father. But when Achilles' body had already been buried for three days, she ran to the tomb at night and leaned upon a sword while speaking many words of pity and marriage. At this time she also asked Achilles to remain her lover and to take her in marriage lest their marriage be proved false. Protesilaos says that what is said by Homer in the second Weighing of Souls, if indeed those verses are by Homer, that after Achilles died the Muses lamented him with songs and the Nereids by beating their breasts, is not too big a boast. Protesilaos says that the Muses neither arrived nor sang, nor did any Nereids appear to the army, although they were known to have come, but that other wondrous events took place and they were not very different from those reported by Homer. From the Melas gulf the sea, swelling up, first of all bellowed, and after a short time, having risen up to a great crest, it advanced to Rhoiteion, while the Achaeans were amazed and perplexed by what both they themselves and the earth were about to suffer. When the sea came closer and dashed against the camp, a piercing and incessant lament resounded like that which a throng of women utter in mourning. Because this event seemed godlike and supernatural, and because all agreed that the wave carried the Nereids (for it did not flood the land, but came to rest upon the earth gently and smoothly), the subsequent events seemed far more divine. For when darkness followed next, Thetis's lamentation went through the army, as she shrieked and cried aloud for her son. She made a {greatly} piercing and ringing shout exactly like an echo in the mountains, and then the Achaeans especially understood that Thetis bore Achilles, although they did not believe otherwise. This hill, my guest, which you see standing in line with the headland, the Achaeans erected when they came together at the time when Achilles

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§ 739  was united with Patroklos in the tomb and bequeathed to himself and that man the loveliest shroud. For this reason they who praise the marks of friendship sing of him. He was buried most spectacularly of mortals with all that Hellas offered to him. The Hellenes no longer considered it proper after Achilles' death to wear their hair long, and they piled up in mass on a funeral pyre their gold and whatever each of them had, whether he had brought it to Troy or had taken it as booty, both right then and when Neoptolemos came to Troy. For Achilles obtained glorious gifts again from both his child and the Achaeans, who were trying to show in return their gratitude to him, and even those who made the voyage from Troy fell upon the tomb and believed that they were embracing Achilles. [52]
PHOEN: Does he say, vinedresser, what sort of person Neoptolemos was?
VINEDR: He was noble, my guest, and, although inferior to his father, was in no way more ordinary than Telamonian Ajax. Protesilaos says the same thing about his appearance as well: he was good-looking and resembled his father, but was inferior to him in the same way that beautiful people are inferior to their statues. From Thessaly, of course, Achilles also received hymns, which they sang at night when they visited his tomb every year, mixing something of an initiatory rite with their offerings to the dead, as both the Lemnians and the Peloponnesians descended from Sisyphus practice. [53]
PHOEN: Another subject has come up again, vinedresser, which, by Herakles, I would not let go, not even if you should do everything to help it escape.

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§ 740  VINEDR: But some people, my guest, consider these digressions to be idle talk and nonsense for those not at leisure. I see you, a slave of the ship that you captain and a slave of the winds, of which if even a slight breeze hits the stern, you must unfurl your sails and be taken out to sea with your ship, since you think that everything takes second place to sailing.
PHOEN: Farewell then to the ship and all that is on board! The soul's cargo is sweeter to me and more profitable. Let's consider these digressions not as nonsense, but as profit of this trade.
VINEDR: You are of sound mind, my guest, thinking in this way, and since you wish, listen. The rites of the Corinthians for Melikertes (for these people are those whom I called the descendants of Sisyphus) and what the same people do for Medea's children, whom they killed for the sake of Glauke, resemble a lament that is both initiatory and inspired, for they propitiate the children and sing hymns to Melikertes. And the island of Lemnos is purified every year for the deed once done to the men on Lemnos by their wives at Aphrodite's instigation. The fire on Lemnos is extinguished for nine days. A sacred ship from Delos, however, carries the fire, and if it arrives before the offerings for the dead, it puts in nowhere on Lemnos, but rides at anchor off the headlands out at sea until sailing into the harbor is permitted by divine law.

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§ 741  For then, while invoking chthonian and ineffable gods, they keep pure, I think, the fire that is out on the sea. Whenever the sacred ship sails in and they distribute the fire both to its new abode and to the forges of the artisans, from that source is the beginning of new life. The Thessalian offerings which came regularly to Achilles from Thessaly were decreed for the Thessalians by the oracle at Dodona. For indeed the oracle commanded the Thessalians to sail to Troy each year to sacrifice to Achilles and to slaughter some sacrificial victims as to a god, but to slaughter others as for the dead. At first the following happened: a ship sailed from Thessaly to Troy with black sails raised, bringing twice seven sacred ambassadors, one white bull and one black bull, both tame, and wood from Mount Pelion, so that they would need nothing from the city. They also brought fire from Thessaly, after they had drawn both libations and water from the river Sperkheios. For this reason, the Thessalians first customarily used unfading crowns for mourning, in order that, even if the wind delayed the ship, they would not wear crowns that were wilted or past their season. It was indeed necessary to put into the harbor at night, and before touching land, to sing Thetis a hymn from the ship, a hymn composed as follows:
Dark Thetis, Pelian Thetis: Troy gained a share of him to the extent that his mortal nature held sway, but to the extent that the child derives from your immortal lineage, the Pontus possesses him.

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§ 742  Come to this lofty hill in quest of the burnt offerings with Achilles. Come without tears, come with Thessaly, Pelian Thetis.
When they approached the tomb after this hymn, a shield was struck heavily as in battle, and together they cried aloud with rhythmic rapid delivery, calling repeatedly upon Achilles. When they had wreathed the summit of the hill and dug offering pits on it, they slaughtered the black bull as to one who is dead. They also summoned Patroklos to the feast, in the belief that they were doing this to please Achilles. After they slit the victim's throat and made this sacrifice, they immediately went down to the ship, and after sacrificing the other bull on the beach again to Achilles and having begun the offering by taking from the basket and by partaking of the entrails for that sacrifice (for they made this sacrifice as to a god), they sailed away toward dawn, taking the sacrificed animal so as not to feast in the enemy's country. My guest, these rites, so holy and ancient, they say were both abolished by the tyrants, who are said to have ruled the Thessalians after the Aiakidai, and were neglected by Thessaly. Some cities sent their offerings, others did not consider them worthwhile, others said they would send them next year, and still others rejected the matter.

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§ 743  When the land was hard pressed by drought and the oracle gave the order to honor Achilles "as was meet and right," they removed from the rites what they customarily observed for a god, interpreting "as was meet and right" in this way. They used to sacrifice to him as to one who is dead, and they would cut up as a sacrifice the first animals they encountered. Thus it was until Xerxes' expedition into Greece occurred. During this expedition, the Thessalians, who sided with the Medes, once again abandoned the prescribed customs for Achilles, seeing that a ship sailed to Salamis from Aigina carrying the house of the Aiakidai to support the Hellenic alliance. When in later times Alexander, the son of Philip, subjugated the other part of Thessaly and dedicated Phthia to Achilles, he made Achilles his ally in Troy while marching against Darius. The Thessalians returned to Achilles and, in addition, they rode the cavalry, which Alexander brought from Thessaly, around his tomb and fell upon one another as though they were fighting on horseback. And after praying and sacrificing they departed; they invoked Achilles against Darius, and along with him Balios and Xanthos, as they shouted these prayers from their horses. But after Darius was captured and Alexander was in India, the Thessalians reduced the sacrifices and sent black lambs. Because the sacrifices did not even reach Troy, and if each arrived in broad daylight, they were not done in proper order, Achilles became angry. And if I should relate how much harm he hurled upon Thessaly, the tale would be tedious. Protesilaos said that he had come from the Pontus about four years before meeting me here. When he had procured a ship, he sailed like a guest-friend to Achilles, and this he did often. When I said that he was devoted and gracious in his friendship for Achilles, he said,

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§ 744  "But now, because I have quarreled with him, I have come here. When I perceived that he was angry with the Thessalians over the offerings to the dead, I said, 'For my sake, Achilles, disregard this.' But he was not persuaded and said that he would give them some misfortune from the sea. I certainly feared that this dread and cruel hero would find something from Thetis to use against them." As for me, my guest, after I heard these things from Protesilaos, I believed that red blights and fogs had been hurled by Achilles upon the grainfields of Thessaly for destruction of their agricultural produce, since these misfortunes from the sea seemed somehow to settle upon their fruitful lands. I also thought that some of the cities in Thessaly would be flooded, in the way that Boura and Helike, as well as Atalante in Locris, had suffered; they say that the former two sank, and the latter one broke apart. Other actions seemed good instead to Achilles and Thetis, by whom the Thessalians were destroyed. Because the prices for the shellfish from which people skillfully extract the purple dye were quite great, the Thessalians were somewhat guilty of transgressing the law in order to obtain this dye.

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§ 745  If these things are true, I do not know. Stones then hung over them, because of which some people gave up their fields and others their homes. Some of their slaves ran away from them, others were sold. And the common folk did not even offer sacrifice to their ancestors, for they even sold the tombs. And so this we believe, my guest, was the evil that Achilles had threatened to give to the Thessalians from the sea. [54]
PHOEN: You speak of an anger that is "ruinous" and implacable, vinedresser. But tell me what marvel Protesilaos knows about the island in the Pontus, since it was there, I suppose, that he was with Achilles.
VINEDR: It was there, my guest, and he tells the following sorts of stories about it. He says that it is one of the islands in the Pontus more toward its inhospitable side, which those sailing into the mouth of the Pontus put on their left. It is about thirty stades long, but not more than four stades wide; the trees growing on it are poplars and elms, some stand without order, but others already stand in good order around the sanctuary. The sanctuary is situated near the Sea of Maiotis (which, equal in size to the Pontus, flows into it), and the statues in it, fashioned by the Fates, are Achilles and Helen. Indeed, although the act of desire lies in the eyes and poets in song celebrate desire as originating from this, Achilles and Helen, because they had not even been seen by one another, since she was in Egypt and he in Ilion, were the first who started to desire one another by finding their ears to be the origin of their longing for the body.

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§ 746  Because no land under the sun had been fated for them as an abode for the immortal part of their life — although the Ekhinades downstream from Oiniadai and Acarnania were immediately defiled at the very time when Alkmaion killed his mother, he settled at the estuary of the Akheloos on land formed more recently than his deed — Thetis beseeched Poseidon to send up from the sea an island where they could dwell. After Poseidon had pondered the length of the Pontus and that, because no island lay in it, it was sailed uninhabited, he made Leuke appear, of the size I have described, for Achilles and Helen to inhabit, but also for sailors to stay and set their anchor in the sea. As ruler over everything that is by nature wet, after he also conceived of the rivers Thermodon, Borysthenes, and Istros so that they were carried off into the Pontus by irresistible and continually flowing currents, Poseidon heaped together the sediment from the rivers, which they sweep into the sea starting at their sources in Scythia. He then neatly fashioned an island of just the size I mentioned and set its foundation on the bottom of the Pontus. There Achilles and Helen first saw and embraced one another, and Poseidon himself and Amphitrite hosted their wedding feast, along with all the Nereids and as many rivers and water-spirits as flow into the Sea of Maiotis and the Pontus. They say that white birds live on the island and that these marine birds smell of the sea. Achilles made them his servants, since they furnish the grove for him with the breeze and rain drops from their wings. They do this by fluttering on the ground and lifting themselves off a little bit above the earth. For mortals who sail the broad expanse of the sea, it is permitted by divine law to enter the island, for it is situated like a welcoming hearth for ships. But it is forbidden to all those who sail the sea and for the Hellenes and barbarians from around the Pontus to make it a place of habitation.

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§ 747  Those who anchor near the island and sacrifice must go onboard when the sun sets, so that they do not sleep on its land. If the wind should follow them, they must sail, and if it does not, they must wait in the bay after mooring their ship. Then Achilles and Helen are said to drink together and to be engaged in singing. They celebrate in song their desire for one another, Homer's epics on the Trojan War, and Homer himself. Achilles still praises the gift of poetry which came to him from Calliope, and he pursues it more seriously, since he has ceased from military activities. At any rate, my guest, his song about Homer was composed with divine inspiration and the art of poetry. Indeed, Protesilaos knows and sings that song. [55]
PHOEN: May I hear the song, vinedresser, or is it not proper to disclose it?
VINEDR: Why, of course you may, my guest! Many of those who approach the island say that they hear Achilles singing other things as well, but only last year, I believe, did he compose this song, which is most graceful in thought and intentions. It goes like this:
Echo, dwelling round about the vast waters beyond great Pontus, my lyre serenades you by my hand. And you, sing to me divine Homer, glory of men, glory of our labors, through whom I did not die, through whom Patroklos is mine, through whom my Ajax is equal to the immortals, through whom Troy, celebrated by the skilled as won by the spear, gained glory and did not fall.
PHOEN: Vinedresser, Achilles sings at any rate by divine inspiration and in a manner worthy of both himself and Homer. Besides, it is sensible not to lengthen these matters in lyric songs or to perform them in an extended fashion. From of old, poetry was thus both esteemed and cleverly devised.

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§ 748  VINEDR: It has been practiced thus from of old, my guest, for they say that after Herakles impaled the body of Asbolos the centaur, he inscribed the following epigram for him:
I, Asbolos, trembling at the vengeance of neither gods nor mortals, as I hang from a prickly, resin-filled pine tree, I am offered as a great feast for the immensely long-lived ravens.
PHOEN: Herakles, it seems, became a champion even of these skills when he commends elevated speech, vinedresser, with which the poet doubtless must speak. But let us return to the island, since the stream that moves greatly to and fro about the Pontus has seized us and is leading us astray from the story. [56] (The Vengeance of Achilles)
VINEDR: Yes, my guest, let us return. There are such songs on the island, and the voice with which they sing sounds both divine and excellent. At any rate, such a great voice reaches to the high seas that a chill comes over sailors because of their terror. Those who have cast their anchor there say that they hear both the trampling of horses and the clash of weapons, as well as a shout like men call out in battle. If, after they have anchored at the north or south end of the island, a wind is about to blow against their anchorage, Achilles announces this at their stern and orders them to stay out of the wind by shifting their anchor. Many of those who also travel out of the Pontus sail to me and report these matters. By Zeus, they tell me that when they have caught sight of the island, I suppose since they are being carried on the boundless sea, they embrace one another and come to tears because of their delight. After they have put into harbor and welcomed the land, they go to the sanctuary to pray to Achilles and offer sacrifices. The sacred victim of its own will stands near the altar opposite the ship and the sailors. My guest, the story concerning the golden pitcher that once appeared in the island of Chios has been told by skilled men, and what might someone grasp anew of tales told plainly? Achilles himself is said to have appeared to a merchant who once visited the island often, related what took place in Troy, entertained him with drink as well, and ordered him after sailing to Ilion to bring him a Trojan maiden,

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 749  saying that this particular woman was a slave to a certain man in Ilion. When the guest was astonished at the command and because of his new-found boldness asked Achilles why he needed a Trojan slave, Achilles said, "Because, my guest, she was born of the lineage from which Hektor and those living before him came and is what remains of the blood of the descendants of Priam and Dardanos." Of course, the merchant thought that Achilles was in love, and after he bought the maiden, he sailed back to the island. When he came, Achilles praised the merchant and ordered him to guard the maiden for him on the ship, because, I suppose, the island was inaccessible for women. He ordered the merchant to come to the sanctuary at evening and to be entertained sumptuously with him and Helen. When he arrived Achilles gave him many things that merchants are unable to resist; he said that he considered him a guest-friend and granted him lucrative trade and safe passage for his ship. When day came, he said, "Sail away with these things, but leave the girl on the shore for me." They had not yet gone a stade away from the land when the girl's wailing struck them, because Achilles was pulling her apart and tearing her limb from limb. In Troy, however, Achilles did not kill the Amazons, whom some of the poets say came to Troy to fight Achilles. I do not know how it is plausible that, after Priam had fought against them on the side of the Phrygians during the reign of Mygdon, the Amazons later would have come to Ilion as allies. But I think that at the time of the Olympic games in which Leonidas of Rhodes first won the stadion, Achilles destroyed the most warlike group of them, they say, on the island itself.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 750  PHOEN: You have touched upon a great story, vinedresser, and aroused my ears, which otherwise were attentive to your words. It is likely that these matters have come to you as well from Protesilaos.
VINEDR: From this gracious teacher they have come, my guest, but these things are also evident to many of those who sail into the Pontus. Near the inhospitable side of the Pontus, along which the Taurus Mountains extend, there, on the firm land around which the rivers Thermodon and Phasis flow as they come out of the mountains, are said to dwell some Amazons, whom both their father and nurturer, Ares, taught to be engaged in affairs of war and to live a life armed and on horseback. For them a troop of horses enough for the army is tended in marshy meadows. They do not permit men to live in their own country, but, whenever they need children, they go down to the river Halys to do business in the marketplace and to have intercourse with men in any old place. After they return to their haunts and homes, they carry to the borders of the country whatever male children they bear so that those who have begotten them can claim them; those men claim whatever child each happens to find and make them slaves. But the females to whom they give birth they are said to love immediately, to regard as belonging to their own race, and to care for them as is the nature of mothers, except for withholding their milk. They do this because of their battles, so that the children do not become effeminate and their breasts do not hang down. Let us believe that the Amazons' name comes from not being reared at the breast. They nurse the infants with the milk of grazing horses and with honeycombs full of the dew that settles on the reeds of the river like honey.

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 751  Let us leave out of our account the things said by both poets and compilers of myths about these Amazons, since they would not be profitable for the present endeavor. Rather, let their deed concerning the island be told, what sort of thing was done by them, and to what end it was accomplished, since this is part of Protesilaos's accounts. When ships were once more numerous, some sailors and shipbuilders, from among those people who brought merchandise to the Hellespont from the Pontus, were carried off course down toward the left shore of the sea, round about which the women are said to live. After they were captured by the women, for a period of time they were kept locked up, being fed at mangers, so that the women, taking them across the river, could sell them to the Scythian cannibals. But when one of the Amazons took pity on a lad who had been captured along with them because of his youth, and when some erotic attraction resulted, she asked the chief Amazon, who was her sister, not to sell the strangers. After the men were released and had formed close friendships with the women, they now began to speak in their idiom. While they were recounting their tale about the winter storm and their experiences on the sea, they passed on to their recollection of the sanctuary, since they had sailed to the island not long before, and they told about the wealth in it. Since the strangers were both sailors and shipbuilders, and since that area was also suitable to them for shipbuilding, the Amazons who had come upon them had them make a ship for transporting horses in the hope that they would possess Achilles along with his mares (for once the Amazons dismount from their horses, they are female in gender and women in every respect). Indeed, first the Amazons engaged in rowing and practiced sailing, and so they gathered knowledge of sailing. Getting underway from the outlets of the Thermodon at about springtime, they went forth on fifty ships, I think, to the sanctuary, about two thousand stades away. When they anchored at the island, they first ordered their Hellespontian guests to cut down the trees with which the sanctuary was adorned round about. But when their axes, driven back against them, went into the head of some, into the neck of others, and all fell near the trees, the Amazons streamed to the sanctuary, crying aloud and driving on their mares. And Achilles, on seeing the heat and terror in them and leaping as he had at the Scamander and in Ilion,

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 752  inflicted on their mares a terror mightier than a bit, at which they reared up, regarding the women as an unnatural and superfluous burden. The horses took on the habits of wild beasts, and as they fell upon the Amazons, who lay on the ground, the horses thrust their hooves, bristled their manes, and pricked up their ears against them, just like savage lions. They ate the naked forearms of the supine women, and after they had broken open their chests, they devoted themselves to the entrails and gulped them down. Stuffed with human flesh, they stamped around the island and raged, sated with gore. Then, standing on the promontories and seeing the wide surface of the sea, they thought that they had encountered a wide plain and hurled themselves down toward the sea. The Amazons' ships also perished, when a violent wind blew upon them; because they lay at anchor empty and in disarray, they struck against one another and were dashed into pieces, I suppose. Ship sank ship and broke up just as in a naval battle, and just as many rammings of ship against ship, both athwart and prow-to-prow, as helmsmen make while fighting at sea, these all fell upon the ships, which were empty and floating without direction. Because many pieces of wreckage were carried back to the sanctuary and because humans were lying in it still breathing and half-eaten — both scattered human limbs and the pieces of flesh that the mares had spat upon — Achilles easily purified the island, for by drawing in a wave of the sea he both washed these things clean and rinsed them. [58]
PHOEN: Vinedresser, whoever does not consider you exceedingly beloved of the gods is himself hated by the gods. I think that the knowledge of such divine stories has thus come to you from those who have also made you an intimate and a close friend of Protesilaos. But after you have filled us with heroic stories, I would no longer ask how he himself returned to life, since you say that he treats that story as inviolable and secret. On those who dwell by the Kokytos and the Pyriphlegethon, and about the Akherousias, and such names of rivers and seas, and, by Zeus, the Aiakidai and their courts of justice and places of punishments, you yourself will perhaps report and he will agree to set forth the details.
VINEDR: He agrees, but it is already evening and the herds must go to their rest. You see, at any rate,

Event Date: -1000 GR

§ 753  the small teams of oxen because the time for unyoking them has come. I must attend to them, and the story is longer than time allows. Now, go to your ship rejoicing with all that the garden bears, and, my guest, if the wind is yours, set sail once you have poured a libation to Protesilaos from the ship. It is customary for those leaving here to do so. If the wind should be against you, come here at sunrise and you will obtain what you wish.
PHOEN: I am persuaded by you, vinedresser, and so shall it be. May I not sail, by Poseidon, before I listen to this story as well.

Event Date: -1000 GR
END
Event Date: -1000

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