The Iliad, Book XIX

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

Achilles Readies Himself for Battle

Thetis delivered the armour made by Hephaestus to Achilles and promised to preserve Patroclus’ body from decay until he was buried. Achilles called an assembly and told the Greeks he regretted his former anger, which he now renounced, and regretted withdrawing from the fighting because of all the Greek lives it had cost; he was now ready to return to the fighting.

Achilles and Agamemnon, painting by Gottlieb Schick, 1801.

Agamemnon said that Ate had caused him to act as he did when he took Briseis from Achilles; even Zeus had been deluded by her and Hera when Heracles was born. Agamemnon promised to give Achilles the compensation offered previously, which he did, and swore he had not slept with Briseis, sacrificing a wild boar to Zeus on oath. Achilles wanted to return to the fighting immediately but Odysseus strongly argued that the troops must be fed before returning to battle as they were exhausted.

Achilles himself refused to eat as he was still grieving for Patroclus – as did Briseis when she returned to Achilles because Patroclus had always shown her kindness and respect – but Athena, at Zeus’ request, fed him nectar and ambrosia. Achilles put on his newly made armour, took his father’s spear which he alone could handle and stepped into his chariot which Automedon drove for him. One of his horses, Xanthus, to whom Athena had given human speech, predicted Achilles’ death in the near future.

Book XVIII Book XX