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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 12

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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The Trojans assail the rampart, and Hector, despite an omen, which Polydamas interprets unfavourably, attacks and forces the gate, and opens a way to the ships.


Thus then at the tents the valiant son of Menoetius was healing the wounded Eurypylus: but the Greeks and Trojans kept fighting in masses; nor was the ditch of the Greeks destined to prove a barrier any longer, and the wide wall from above, which they had erected in defence of the ships; but they had drawn a foss around (nor had they given splendid hecatombs to the gods); that it enclosing within, might defend the swift ships and the great booty. But it was built against the will of the immortal gods, therefore it remained not perfect for any long period.[390] As long as Hector was alive, and Achilles indignant, and the city of king Priam unravaged, so long was the mighty wall of the Greeks firm. But when all the bravest of the Trojans were dead, and many of the Greeks were subdued, but others left surviving, when in the tenth year the city of Priam was sacked, and the Greeks went in their ships to their dear fatherland; then at length Neptune and Apollo took counsel to demolish the wall, introducing the strength of rivers, as many as flow into the sea from the Idaean mountains, both the Rhesus and the Heptaporus, the Caresus and the Rhodius, the Granicus and the AEsepus, the divine Scamander and the Simois, where many shields and helmets fell in the dust, and the race of demigod men. The mouths of all these Phoebus Apollo turned to the same spot, and for nine days he directed their streams against the wall; and Jove in the meantime rained continually, that he might the sooner render the walls overwhelmed by the sea. But the Earth-shaker [Neptune] himself, holding the trident in his hands, led them on; and then dispersed among the billows all the foundations of beams and stones which the Greeks had laid with toil. And he made [all] level along the rapid Hellespont, and again covered the vast shore with sands, having demolished the wall: but then he turned the rivers to go back into their own channels, in which they had formerly poured their sweet-flowing water.[391]

[Footnote 390: Cf. Pseudo-Socrat. Epist. i. [Greek: Pollois de polla kai ton allon eiretai poieton peri theon' kai oti ta men kata ten auton boulesin prattomena epi to loion ekthainei, ta de para theon alusitele yparchei tois praxasi], where Duport, p. 72, thinks there is a reference to the present passage.]

[Footnote 391: On the present state of the Troad, which appears, from physical facts, to justify the mythical description of Homer,--see Heyne and Kennedy. Compare Virg. Aen. ii. 610, sqq.; Tryphiodor. 566, sqq. and 680, sqq.]

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