Monday, January 25, 2010

The Illiad - First Book - 9

by Homer

Achilles scowled at him and answered, "You are steeped in
insolence and lust of gain. With what heart can any of the
Achaeans do your bidding, either on foray or in open fighting? I
came not warring here for any ill the Trojans had done me. I have
no quarrel with them. They have not raided my cattle nor my
horses, nor cut down my harvests on the rich plains of Phthia;
for between me and them there is a great space, both mountain and
sounding sea. We have followed you, Sir Insolence! for your
pleasure, not ours--to gain satisfaction from the Trojans for
your shameless self and for Menelaus. You forget this, and
threaten to rob me of the prize for which I have toiled, and
which the sons of the Achaeans have given me. Never when the
Achaeans sack any rich city of the Trojans do I receive so good a
prize as you do, though it is my hands that do the better part of
the fighting. When the sharing comes, your share is far the
largest, and I, forsooth, must go back to my ships, take what I
can get and be thankful, when my labour of fighting is done. Now,
therefore, I shall go back to Phthia; it will be much better for
me to return home with my ships, for I will not stay here
dishonoured to gather gold and substance for you."

Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

More About This Book

From the earliest days of Ancient Greece, the author(s) of this poem were contemporaries of the writers of the Bible's Old Testament.

Summary of First Book: The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Painting: The Wrath of Achilles by Michael Drolling, 1819.

More information here:
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