(40) Your heart is unbending. But if in your mind you are shunning some oracle,
and your queenly mother has declared to you anything from Zeus, yet at least
send me forth speedily, and with me let the rest of the host of the Myrmidons
follow, if I may prove a light of deliverance to the Danaans.  And grant me
to buckle upon my shoulders that armour of yours, in hope that the Trojans
may take me for you, and so desist from war.
(69) These things will we let be, as past and done. In no way, I
suppose, was I to be filled with ceaseless wrath at heart; yet I
really deemed that I should not make an end of my anger until the hour
when the war-cry and the battle should come to my own ships. But
come, put on your shoulders my glorious armour,  and lead forth
the war-loving Myrmidons to the fight, if the dark cloud of the Trojans
lies over the ships mightily, and those others abide with nothing to
support them but the shore of the sea.
(96) Listen, so that I may put in your mind the sum of my counsel to
the end that you may win me great recompense and glory  at the
hands of all the Danaans and they send back that beauteous girl, and
give glorious gifts. When you have driven them from the ships, come
back, and if the loud-thundering lord of Hera grant you to win glory, be
not inclined apart from me to war  against the war-loving Trojans:
you will lessen my honour. Nor yet, as you exult in war and conflict,
and slay the Trojans, lead on to Ilium, lest one of the gods that are for
ever shall come down from Olympus and enter the fray
(258) And in the front of all two warriors arrayed themselves for war, even
Patroclus and Automedon, both of one mind,  to war in the forefront of the
Myrmidons. But Achilles prayed. . . :“Zeus, you king, Dodonaean, Pelasgian,
you that dwelt afar, ruling over wintry Dodona, — and about you dwell the Selli,
 your own interpreters, men with unwashen feet that crouch on the ground.
Aforetime verily you did hear my word, when I prayed: me you did honour,
and did mightily smite the host of the Achaeans; even so now also fulfill you for
me this my desire. Myself verily will I abide in the gathering of the ships, 
but my comrade am I sending forth amid the host of the Myrmidons to war: with
him do you send forth glory, O Zeus, whose voice is borne afar, and make bold
the heart in his breast, to the end that Hector, too, may know whether even
alone my squire has skill to fight, or whether his hands  then only rage
invincible, when I enter the turmoil of Ares. But when away from the ships he
has driven war and the din of war, then all-unscathed let him come back to
the swift ships with all his arms, and his comrades that fight in close combat.”
(326) When the Trojans saw the valiant son of Menoetius, himself
and his squire, shining in their armour,  the heart of each man
was stirred, and their battalions were shaken, for they deemed
that by the ships the swift-footed son of Peleus had cast aside his
wrath and had chosen friendliness; and each man gazed about to
see how he might escape utter destruction.
(512) The son of crooked-counseling Cronos took pity when he saw them, and
spoke to Hera, his sister and his wife:“Ah, woe is me, for it is fated that
Sarpedon, dearest of men to me, be slain by Patroclus, son of Menoetius! 
And in two ways is my heart divided in counsel as I ponder in my thought
whether I shall snatch him up while yet he lives and set him afar from the tearful
war in the rich land of Lycia, or whether I shall slay him now beneath the hands
of the son of Menoetius.”
Then ox-eyed queenly Hera answered him:  “Most dread son of Cronos,
what a word have you said! A man that is mortal, doomed long since by fate,
are you minded to deliver again from dolorous death? Do as you will; but be
sure that we other gods do not assent to it. And another thing will I tell you, and
take it to heart:  if you send Sarpedon living to his house, think how
afterwards some other god may also be minded to send his own dear son
away from the fierce conflict.
784 Give him to swift conveyers to bear with them, even to the twin
brothers, Sleep and Death, who shall set him speedily in the rich
land of wide Lycia. There shall his brethren and his kinsfolk give
him burial  with mound and pillar; for this is the due of the
(805) But ever is the intent of Zeus stronger than that of men, for he drives even
a valiant man in rout, and robs him of victory  full easily, and again of
himself he rouses men to fight; and he it was that now put fury in the breast of
(916) Phoebus met you in the fierce conflict, an awful god. And Patroclus
marked him not as he passed through the turmoil,  for enfolded in thick
mist did he meet him; and Apollo took his stand behind him, and struck his back
and broad shoulders with the flat of his hand, and his eyes were made to whirl.
And from his head Phoebus Apollo knocked the helmet.
This time, Hector, you boast mightily; for to you have  Zeus, the son of
Cronos, and Apollo, assured victory, they that subdued me easily, for of
themselves they took the harness from my shoulders. But if twenty such as you
had faced me, here would all have perished, slain by my spear. No, it was
baneful Fate and the son of Leto that slew me,  and of men Euphorbus,
while you are the third in my slaying. And another thing will I tell you, and take it
to heart: you shall not yourself be long in life, but even now does death stand
hard by you, and mighty fate, that you be slain beneath the hands of Achilles.”
Book 18 (26) A black cloud of grief enwrapped Achilles, and with both his hands
he took the dark dust  and strewed it over his head and defiled his fair face,
and on his fragrant tunic the black ashes fell. And himself in the dust lay
outstretched, mighty in his mightiness, and with his own hands he tore and
marred his hair. And the handmaidens Achilles and Patroclus had got them as
booty shrieked aloud in anguish of heart,  and ran forth around wise-hearted
Achilles, and all beat their breasts with their hands, and the knees of each one
were loosed beneath her.
(86) Your wish has been brought to pass for you  by Zeus, as before you
prayed, stretching forth your hands, even that one and all the sons of the
Achaeans should be huddled at the sterns of the ships in sore need of you, and
should suffer cruel things.
(105)  For neither does my heart bid me live on and abide among men,
unless Hector first, smitten by my spear, shall lose his life, and pay back what
he made spoil of Patroclus.
(133) These things will we let be as past and done, for all our pain, curbing the
heart in our breasts, because we must. But now will I go forth that I may attack
the slayer of the man I loved,  even on Hector; for my fate, I will accept it
when Zeus will bring it to pass, and the other immortal gods. For not even the
mighty Heracles escaped death, although he was most dear to Zeus, son of
Cronos, the king, but fate overcame him, and the dread wrath of Hera.  So
also shall I, if a like fate awaits me, lie low when I am dead.
(387) But now, Patroclus, seeing
that I shall pass beneath the
earth after you, I will not give
you burial till I have brought here
the armour and the head of
Hector,  your slayer, my
noble friend; and of twelve
glorious sons of the Trojans will I
cut the throats before your pyre
in my wrath (cholos) at your
(460) Truly then a dread and honoured goddess is within my halls,  she
that saved me when pain came upon me after I had fallen afar through the will
of my shameless mother, who wanted to hide me away by reason of my
lameness. Then I would have suffered woes in heart, had not Eurynome and
Thetis received me into their bosom — Eurynome, daughter of backward-
flowing Oceanus.  With them then for nine years' space I forged much
Shield of Hephaestus
(580) The folk were gathered in the place of assembly; for there a strife had
arisen, and two men were striving about the blood-price of a slain man; the
one avowed to pay all,  declaring his cause to the people, but the
other refused to accept anything; and each wanted to refer the issue to
an arbiter. Moreover, the folk were cheering both, showing favour to this
side and to that. And heralds held back the folk, and the elders were sitting
upon polished stones in the sacred circle,  holding in their hands the
staves of the loud-voiced heralds. Therewith then would they spring up and
give judgment, each in turn. And in the midst lay two talents of gold, to be
given to him whoever among them should utter the most righteous
 Therein furthermore the famed god of the two strong arms cunningly
wrought a dancing-floor like the one in wide Cnossus that Daedalus fashioned
of old for fair-tressed Ariadne. There were youths dancing and maidens of the
price of many cattle, holding their hands upon the wrists one of the other. 
Of these the maidens were clad in fine linen, while the youths wore well-woven
tunics faintly glistening with oil; and the maidens had fair chaplets, and the
youths had daggers of gold hanging from silver baldrics. Now would they run
round with cunning feet  very lightly, as when a potter sits by his wheel that
is fitted between his hands and makes trial of it whether it will run; and now
again would they run in rows toward each other. And a great company stood
around the lovely dance, taking joy therein;  and two tumblers whirled up
and down through the midst of them as leaders in the dance.
20. (26-27) These mortals do concern me, dying as they are.
Still, I stay here on Olympus . .
(30-36) help either side . . . If Achilles fights the Trojans -
unopposed by us- . . . I fear he‟ll raze the walls against the will
Achaean: Hera Athena Poseidon Hermes Hephaestus
Trojan: Ares Apollo Artemis Leto Xanthus Aphrodite
Aeneas (115) no mortal can fight Achilles head to head: at every
foray one of the gods goes with him.
(126) Achilles sprung from a lesser goddess‟ loins
Hera (144-46) Let him know he‟s loved by the greatest gods on
high while the gods who up till now have shielded Troy from war
and death are worthless as the wind. We swept down from
Olympus . . .so Achilles might not fall at Trojan hands this day.
Poseidon (157-162) Hera, so hard, so senseless! . . . Leave the
war to mortals . . .
Achilles (210) in hopes of ruling your stallion-breaking friends and
filling Priam‟s throne?
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Ilus Assaracus Ganymede
(269-70) the handsomest man on earth, so the immortals . .
Snatched him away to bear the cup of Zeus.
Tithonus Priam Anchises
Poseidon (342) Aeneas the innocent
(355-56) And now Aeneas will rule the men of Troy in
power- his sons‟ sons and the sons born in future years.
(381) both a better soldier and more loved by the gods.
Achilles (386) the deathless gods must love Aeneas too.
(492) I know you are brave, and I am far weaker. True-
but all lies in the lap of the gods.
(124) But now, seeing I have brought the host to ruin in my blind folly,  I
have shame of the Trojans, and the Trojans' wives with trailing robes, if
perhaps some baser man may say: „Hector, trusting in his own might,
brought ruin on the host.‟ So will they say; but for me it would be better by far
to meet Achilles man to man and slay him, and so get home,  or myself
perish gloriously before the city.
(188) Thereby they ran, one fleeing, and one pursuing. In front a good man fled,
but one mightier far pursued him swiftly; for it was not for beast of sacrifice or
for bull's hide  that they strove, such as are men's prizes for swiftness of
foot, but it was for the life of horse-taming Hector that they ran. And as when
single-hoofed horses that are winners of prizes course swiftly about the turning-
points, and some great prize is set forth, a tripod perhaps or a woman, in
honour of a warrior that is dead;  even so these two circled three times
with swift feet about the city of Priam; and all the gods gazed upon them.
(248) But when for the fourth time they were come to the springs, then the
Father lifted on high his golden scales,  and set therein two fates of
grievous death, one for Achilles, and one for horse-taming Hector; then he
grasped the balance by the midst and raised it; and down sank the day of doom
of Hector, and departed unto Hades; and Phoebus Apollo left him.
(309)  Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows Achilles, swift of
foot, spoke to him: “Hector, talk not to me, you madman, of covenants. As
between lions and men there are no oaths of faith, nor do wolves and lambs
have hearts of concord but are evil-minded continually one against the other,
 even so is it not possible for you and me to be friends, neither shall there
be oaths between us till one or the other shall have fallen.
(350) And Hector knew all in his heart, and spoke, saying: “This is the end. The
gods have called me to my death. For I deemed that the warrior Deiphobus was
at hand, but he is within the wall, and Athene has beguiled me.  Now is evil
death near, and no more far from me, neither is there way of escape. So of old
was it the pleasure of Zeus, and of the son of Zeus, the god that smites afar,
even of them that formerly used to help me with ready hearts; but now has my
doom come upon me. No, but not without a struggle let me die, neither
ingloriously,  but in the working of some great deed for the hearing of
men that are yet to be.”
(419) I know you well, and anticipate what will be, neither was it to be that I
should persuade you; truly the heart in your breast is of iron. Think now in case
I bring the wrath of the gods upon you on the day when Paris and Phoebus
Apollo shall slay you,  great though you are, at the Scaean gate.
Does Hector‟s reaction to his impending defeat and death detract
from his character?
Simone Fraser Januray 18, 2008.
Despite his attempts to flee, Hector’s actions in response to his
impending death are consistent with his portrayal in the Iliad. Hector’s heroic
character is on display throughout the epic, but especially in book sixteen,
where he kills Patroclus. Homer deepens his character portrayal with an
affecting description of his meeting with his wife Andromache in book six. But
the central focus of the epic is Achilles’ anger, and in book twenty-two
Hector’s defeat is used to explore that anger at its peak. Hector is revealed as
human – he has fear – but he is also noble, dignified, and humane throughout.
Hector is a formidable fighter. Achilles concedes that Hector has brought more Achaean losses
than the rest of the Trojans combined (Il. 22.449). His killing of Patroclus in Achilles’ armor is Hector’s
crowning achievement, and Achilles has to catch himself in order to turn away from reveling in Hector’s
death and back to mourning Patroclus (453-59). The defeat of Hector is such an event in itself.
Hector is also a lover. Loved by his parents (43-90, 93-7) and especially by his wife Andromache, his
character is the most well developed in the epic. In a lengthy description of Andromache’s mourning to close
the book, Homer emphasizes the importance of Hector not only as a warrior and son but also as a husband
and father (525-606).
At the beginning of book twenty-two Hector is cut off from Troy (45) and the stage is set for his
one-on-one confrontation with Achilles. Subtle hints have been dropped throughout the epic that Hector will
die, and now, with Achilles’ wrath provoked to its most furious both by Hector’s killing of Patroclus and now
by his appearance within Achilles’ grasp, the epic’s narrative demands Hector’s death. The pretext is that he
takes responsibility for allowing the Trojan army to be caught outside the walls during Achilles’ rampage
The breadth of Hector’s character is revealed in his final narrative. He considers all his options,
even the possibility of returning Helen (136-150). When Achilles approaches, he is likened to the god of
war; anyone would be frightened, and Hector flees, his nerve temporarily gone (163, 298). Little is said
about his mental state during the chase; Homer focuses largely on its visual spectacle (165-200). Hector
considers a run for the gates (231-8), but Achilles cuts him off.
In his final moments he appears wholly heroic. He is the victim of Athena’s deception (271-92).
It was not his own failure that brings him down. He demands a mutual pledge not to mistreat the other’s
body, but Achilles rejects him (301-07). When he realizes that he has been tricked and that he will die, he
accepts it and takes solace that in death he will have glory (360).
Just before Achilles spears Hector with the fatal blow, Homer draws attention to the fact that
Hector is wearing Achilles’ armor (380). The poet highlights the identification of the two warriors, that
Hector’s death portends Achilles’ own (423). The two warriors are very alike, but Hector’s mind is not
overwhelmed by destructive wrath.
(26) Thus Achilles in his fury did foul despite to goodly Hector; but the blessed
gods had pity on him as they beheld him, and bestirred the keen-sighted
Argeiphontes to steal away the corpse.  And the thing was pleasing to all
the rest, yet not to Hera or Poseidon or the flashing-eyed maiden, but they
continued just as when at first sacred Ilium became hateful in their eyes and
Priam and his folk, because of the folly (atê) of Alexander, for he put
reproach upon those goddesses when they came to his choice,  and gave
precedence to her who furthered his fatal lustfulness.
(592) In Achilles he roused desire to weep for his father; and he took the old
man by the hand, and gently put him beside him. So the two thought of their
dead, and wept; the one for man-slaying Hector wept sore,  while he
huddled at Achilles' feet, but Achilles wept for his own father, and now again for
Patroclus; and the sound of their moaning went up through the house.
(615) For two urns are set upon the floor of Zeus of gifts that he gives, the one
of ills, the other of blessings. To whomsoever Zeus, that hurls the thunderbolt,
gives a mingled lot,  that man meets now with evil, now with good; . . .
Even so to Peleus did the gods give glorious gifts  from his birth; for he
excelled all men in good estate and in wealth, and was king over the
Myrmidons, and to him that was but a mortal the gods gave a goddess to be his
wife.  And also upon him the gods brought evil, in that there hardly sprang
up in his halls offspring of princely sons, but he had one only son, doomed to an
untimely fate. Neither may I tend him as he grows old, seeing that far, far from
my own country I abide in the land of Troy, vexing you and your children.
(707) But for this present let us bethink us of supper. For even the fair-haired
Niobe bethought her of meat, although twelve children perished in her halls, six
daughters and six lusty sons.  The sons Apollo slew with shafts from his
silver bow, being angry at Niobe, and the daughters the archer Artemis, for
Niobe had matched her with fair-cheeked Leto, saying that the goddess had
borne but two, while she herself was mother to many; wherefore they, for all
they were but two, destroyed them all.  For nine days' space they lay in
their blood, nor was there any to bury them, for the son of Cronos turned the
folk to stones; then on the tenth day the gods of heaven buried them; and Niobe
thought of meat, for she was wearied with the shedding of tears. And now
somewhere amid the rocks, on the lonely mountains,  on Sipylus, where,
men say, are the couching-places of goddesses, even of the nymphs that range
swiftly in the dance about Achelous, there, although a stone, she broods over
her woes sent by the gods. But come, let us two likewise, noble old sire, think of
(776)  “If you indeed are willing that I accomplish for goodly
Hector his burial, then in doing this, O Achilles, act according to my
wish. You know how we are pent within the city, and far is it to fetch
wood from the mountain, and the Trojans are sore afraid.  For
nine days' space will we wail for him in our halls, and on the tenth will
we make his funeral, and the folk shall feast, and on the eleventh will
we heap a barrow over him, and on the twelfth will we do battle, if so
be we must.”
“Thus shall this also be aged Priam, even as you would have it; 
for I will hold back the battle for such time as you bid.”
Andromache to Astyanax:
(862) And you, my child, will follow with me to a place where you will
labour at unseemly tasks, toiling before the face of some ungentle
master, or else some Achaean shall seize you by the arm  and hurl
you from the wall, a woeful death, being angry because Hector perhaps
slew his brother, or his father, or his son, since many Achaeans at the
hands of Hector have bitten the vast earth with their teeth; for hardly
gentle was your father in woeful war.