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Book XXIII Book XXIV
Hector tries to rally the Trojans
The fighting continued without interference from the gods and the Greeks had further success with Agamemnon and Nestor urging that they show no mercy to the Trojans as they were being pushed back.
Helenus therefore urged Hector and Aeneas to once again rally the Trojans to stand their ground; Hector should also ask Hecuba, his mother, to sacrifice to Athena to stop Diomedes’ rampage. Hector immediately and successfully rallied and reinvigorated the Trojans, causing the Greeks to give ground.
Then Glaucus and Diomedes faced each other, Diomedes wondering whether Glaucus was a god, in which case he was unwilling to fight him. Glaucus told Diomedes his family history: that he was the grandson of Bellerophon – and he related Bellerophon’s adventures. Diomedes acknowledged a tie between his own grandfather, Oeneus, and Bellerophon and therefore declared that he and Glaucus should not fight each other but should exchange armour.
Hector, meanwhile, instructed Hecuba to offer her finest robe to Athena and sacrifice twelve heifers in order to stop Diomedes. Hecuba did as he had instructed but Athena refused to grant her prayer. Hector went to Paris’ house and rebuked him for not fighting while Trojans died in a war caused by him. Helen acknowledged she was to blame for the war and Hector urged her to ensure Paris returned to the fighting immediately.
Hector then went to his wife, Andromache, and son, Astyanax, on the walls above the Scaean Gate. Andromache rebuked Hector for always being in the thick of the fighting, fearing he would be killed as he was the only family she had left, and she pleaded for him not to return to the fighting. Hector said he could not do that: he knew Troy would fall to the Greeks and his greatest fear was that Andromache would be a Greek slave. As Hector tried to kiss him Astyanax shrank back as he was afraid of his father’s appearance so Hector took off his helmet. Holding his son, Hector prayed that Astyanax might become a great ruler in Troy in the future. Andromache returned home and mourned the fact she did not think Hector would survive the Greek assault. Hector and Paris then returned to the fighting.