The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy
Page: 33'So Achilles prayed, and the Myrmidons beside their ships shouted in their eagerness to join in the battle.'
ho was the first of the great Trojan Champions to go down before the onset of Patroklos? The first was Sarpedon who had come with an army to help Hector from a City beyond Troy. He saw the Myrmidons fight round the ships and break the ranks of the Trojans and quench the fire on the half-burnt ship. He saw that the warrior who had the appearance of Achilles affrighted the Trojans so that they turned their horses' heads towards the City. The Myrmidons swept on with Patroklos at their head. Now when he saw him rushing down from the ships Sarpedon threw a dart at Patroklos. The dart did not strike him. Then Patroklos flung a spear and struck Sarpedon even at the heart. He fell dead from his chariot and there began a battle for his body—the Trojans would have carried it into the City, so that they might bury with all honour the man who had helped them, and the Greeks would have carried it away, so that, having his body and his armour, the slaying of Sarpedon might be more of a triumph for them.'
'So a battle for his body went on. Now Sarpedon's comrade, Glaukos, sought out Hector, who was fighting in another part of the battle-field, and he spoke to him reproachfully. "Hector," he said, "art thou utterly forgetful of those who came from their own country to help thee to protect thy father's City? Sarpedon has fallen, and Achilles' Myrmidons would strip him of his armour and bring his body to the ships that their triumph over him may be greater still. Disgraceful will it be to thee, Hector, if they win that triumph."'
'Hector, when this was said to him, did not delay, but came straight to the spot where Sarpedon had been slain. The Greek who had laid hands upon the body he instantly slew. But as he fought on it suddenly seemed to Hector that the gods had resolved to give victory to the Greeks, and his spirit grew weary and hopeless within him. He turned his horses' heads towards the City and galloped from the press of battle. Then the Trojans who were fighting round it fled from the body of Sarpedon, and the Greeks took it and stripped it of its armour and carried the body to their ships.'
'It was then that Patroklos forgot the command of Achilles—the command that he was not to bring the battle beyond the ships and that he was to return when the Trojans were beaten towards their City. Patroklos forgot all that, and he shouted to the immortal horses, Xanthos and Balios, that drew his chariot, and, slaying warrior after warrior he swept across the plain and came to the very gates of Troy.'
'Now Hector was within the gates and had not yet left his chariot. Then there came and stood before him one who was thought to be the god Apollo, but who then had the likeness of a mortal man. "Hector," said he, "why hast thou ceased from the fight? Behold, Patroklos is without the gate of thy father's City. Turn thy horses against him now and strive to slay him, and may the gods give thee glory."'