The Iliad, Book IV

Book I Book II Book III Book IV Book V Book VI Book VII
Book VIII Book IX Book X Book XI Book XII Book XIII Book XIV Book XV 
Book XVI Book XVII Book XVIII Book XIX Book XX Book XXI Book XXII

The Restart of War

When Zeus enquired as to whether Hera and Athena, who were on the side of the Greeks and hated the Trojans, would like the war to continue or agree to peace between the two sides, they refused peace and advocated war. Unwillingly, Zeus acquiesced, saying that, if in the future there was a city he wanted destroyed, his will would prevail even if favourites of the goddesses lived there. Hera agreed and Athena descended to earth in the form of a meteor which the Greeks and Trojans interpreted as a bad omen and the restart of war.

The Greeks attacking the Trojans from the film Troy.

Disguised as the Trojan Laodocus, she ensured that the Trojans broke their oath by encouraging Pandarus to kill Menelaus with an arrow, thereby putting all Trojans and especially Paris in his debt. Then Athena protected Menelaus by deflecting the arrow so that it only grazed him although blood streamed from the wound. Agamemnon said Zeus would ensure the Trojans paid a heavy price for breaking their oath with the destruction of their city. He then sent for Machaon, son of the healer, Asclepius, who tended to Menelaus’ wound.

As the Trojans advanced, Agamemnon on foot inspected his troops: he praised those preparing for war and rebuked those not doing so; in particular praising Idomeneus and his Cretans, Ajax and his brother Teucer with their infantrymen and Nestor from Pylos with his charioteers and infantry who did not allow old age to keep him from fighting; when Mnestheus and Odysseus came in for criticism for seemingly hanging back, Agamemnon apologised to Odysseus when the latter reminded him of his fighting prowess; Diomedes was also criticised for hanging back from war and not living up to his father, Tydeus’, brave exploits against Thebes; Diomedes accepted the criticism and quickly prepared to fight.

Individual combat from the film Troy.

The Greek and Trojan armies advanced towards each other, Ares supporting the Trojans and Athena the Greeks and much blood was spilled. Many individual fights took place, for example between Antilochus and Echepolus, Elephenor and Agenor, Ajax and Simoisius, Antiphus and Leucas, Odysseus and Democoon. When Hector and the Trojan front ranks started to retreat, Apollo urged them to carry on fighting, reminding them that Achilles, the Greek champion, was not fighting; Athena sped through the Greek ranks, spurring them on. The fierce fighting and multitude of deaths on both sides were epitomised by the bodies of the Trojan Diores and the Greek Peiros, lying dead side by side.

Book III Book V