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BOOK XIII: The Battle among the Ships

Summary

Seeing the Greeks being forced to retreat to their ships, Poseidon decides to try and inspire them. He takes the form of Calchas, appears to the two Aiases, and inspires them to fight heroically. The two warriors then call forth a fighting spirit in their men. As a result, the Greeks repulse the next Trojan attack.

Poseidon grows angry when he sees that the Trojans have killed his grandson, Amphimachos. He takes on the likeness of Thoas and appears to Idomeneus. Inspired by Poseidon, he is able to repulse the next Trojan assault.

Encouraged by the new Greek victories, Menelaos enters the battle again and wounds Helenos and kills Peisandos. With his foot on the chest of the dead Peisandos, Menelaos criticizes the Trojans for abducting Helen and violating the code of Zeus. In response, Hector rallies the Trojans. As the fighting begins again, Polydamas advises Hector to draw his forces into one unit rather than spreading them out thinly. Following the advice, Hector tries to organize his troops into a whole. In the process, he encounters his brother Paris and again ridicules him as being mad for women and afraid of battle.


As Hector returns to the fighting, he encounters Aias, who foretells of Troy's eventual fall. As Aias speaks, an eagle flies by on the right side of the Greeks. Aias says the eagle is a good sign for his side. In response, Hector calls Aias a sputtering ox and threatens his destruction along with that of all the other Greek heroes.

Notes

Pitying the Greek position and ignoring his previous refusal to interfere in the war, Poseidon decides to inspire the minds and hearts of his favorite warriors even though he will not physically enter the battle. He takes the form of Calchas and infuses into the hearts of the two Aiases the will to push back the Trojans. Realizing that have been aided by a god, the two warriors know that they now possess greater strength. As a result, they inspire their men and lead an attack that repulses the Trojans.

Although Zeus will continue to favor the Trojans until Achilles returns to the battle, the help of Poseidon and other gods will inspire the Greeks to fight back and allow them to protect their ships.

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