Iliad 3: 324-461
 Great Hektor
now turned his head aside while he shook the helmet, and the lot of Paris
flew out first. The others took their several stations, each by his horses and
the place where his arms were lying, while Alexander, husband of lovely Helen,
put on his goodly armor.
 First he greaved his legs with greaves
of good make and fitted with ankle-clasps of silver; after this he donned the
cuirass of his brother Lykaon,
and fitted it to his own body; he hung his silver-studded sword of bronze about
his shoulders, and then his mighty shield. On his comely head he set his helmet,
well-wrought, with a crest of horse-hair that nodded menacingly above it, and he
grasped a redoubtable spear that suited his hands. In like fashion Menelaos
also put on his armor.
 When they had thus armed, each amid his
own people, they strode fierce of aspect into the open space, and both Trojans
were struck with awe as they beheld them. They stood near one another on the
measured ground, brandishing their spears, and each furious against the other.
Alexander aimed first, and struck the round shield of the son of Atreus,
but the spear did not pierce it, for the shield turned its point. Menelaos
next took aim, praying to Father Zeus
as he did so. "King Zeus,"
he said, "grant me revenge on Alexander who has wronged me; subdue him under my
hand that in ages yet to come a man may shrink from doing ill deeds in the house
of his host."
 He poised his spear as he spoke, and
hurled it at the shield of Alexander. Through shield and cuirass it went, and
tore the shirt by his flank, but Alexander swerved aside, and thus saved his
life. Then the son of Atreus
drew his sword, and drove at the projecting part of his helmet, but the sword
fell shivered in three or four pieces from his hand, and he cried, looking
towards Heaven, "Father Zeus,
of all gods you are the most spiteful; I made sure of my revenge, but the sword
has broken in my hand, my spear has been hurled in vain, and I have not killed
 With this he flew at Alexander, caught
him by the horsehair plume of his helmet, and began dragging him towards the Achaeans.
The strap of the helmet that went under his chin was choking him, and Menelaos
would have dragged him off to his own great glory had not Zeus'
been quick to mark and to break the strap of oxhide, so that the empty helmet
came away in his hand. This he flung to his comrades among the Achaeans,
and was again springing upon Alexander to run him through with a spear, but Aphrodite
snatched him up in a moment (as a god can do), hid him under a cloud of
darkness, and conveyed him to his own bedchamber.
 Then she went to call Helen,
and found her on a high tower with the Trojan
women crowding round her. She took the form of an old
woman who used to dress wool for her when she was still in Lacedaemon,
and of whom she was very fond. Thus disguised she plucked her by perfumed robe
and said, "Come hither; Alexander says you are to go to the house; he is on his
bed in his own room, radiant with beauty and dressed in gorgeous apparel. No one
would think he had just come from fighting, but rather that he was going to a
dance [khoros], or had done dancing
[khoros] and was sitting down."
 With these words she moved the heart of
to anger. When she marked the beautiful neck of the goddess, her lovely bosom,
and sparkling eyes, she marveled at her and said, "Goddess, why do you thus
beguile me? Are you going to send me afield still further to some man whom you
have taken up in Phrygia
or fair Meonia? Menelaos
has just vanquished Alexander, and is to take my hateful self back with him. You
are come here to betray me. Go sit with Alexander yourself; henceforth be
goddess no longer; never let your feet carry you back to Olympus;
worry about him and look after him till he make you his wife, or, for the matter
of that, his slave - but me? I shall not go; I can garnish his bed no longer; I
should be a by-word among all the women of Troy.
Besides, I have trouble [akhos] on
was very angry, and said, "Bold hussy, do not provoke me; if you do, I shall
leave you to your fate and hate you as much as I have loved you. I will stir up
fierce hatred between Trojans
and you shall come to a bad end."
At this Helen
was frightened. She wrapped her mantle about her and went in silence, following
the divinity [daimôn
] and unnoticed
by the Trojan
 When they came to the house of
Alexander the maid-servants set about their work, but Helen
went into her own room, and the laughter-loving goddess took a seat and set it
for her facing Alexander. On this Helen,
daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus,
sat down, and with eyes askance began to upbraid her husband.
 "So you are come from the fight," said
she; "would that you had fallen rather by the hand of that brave man who was my
husband. You used to brag that you were a better man with might [biê] of hands and spear than Menelaos.
Go, then, and challenge him again - but I would advise you not to do so, for if
you are foolish enough to meet him in single combat, you will soon fall by his
 And Paris
answered, "Woman, do not vex me with your reproaches. This time, with the help
has vanquished me; another time I may myself be victor, for I too have gods that
will stand by me. Come, let us lie down together and make friends. Never yet was
I so passionately enamored of you as at this moment - not even when I first
carried you off from Lacedaemon
and sailed away with you - not even when I had converse with you upon the couch
of love in the island of Cranae
was I so enthralled by desire of you as now." On this he led her towards the
bed, and his wife went with him.
 Thus they laid themselves on the bed
together; but the son of Atreus
strode among the throng, looking everywhere for Alexander, and no man, neither
of the Trojans
nor of the allies, could find him. If they had seen him they were in no mind to
hide him, for they all of them hated him as they did death itself. Then Agamemnon,
king of men,
 spoke, saying, "Hear me, Trojans,
and allies. The victory has been with Menelaos;
therefore give back Helen
with all her wealth, and pay such fine [timê] as shall be agreed upon, in testimony
among them that shall be born hereafter."
 Thus spoke the son of Atreus,
and the Achaeans
shouted in approval.
Dr. Gabriel Danzig
Department of Classics
Bar Ilan University