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Then glaucus son of hippolochus


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Then glaucus son of hippolochus

  1. 1. From Homer’s Iliad, Book 6: Guest-Friendship between Diomed and GlaucusThen Glaucus son of Hippolochus, and the son of Tydeus went intothe open space between the hosts to fight in single combat. Whenthey were close up to one another Diomed of the loud war-cry wasthe first to speak. "Who, my good sir," said he, "who are youamong men? I have never seen you in battle until now, but you aredaring beyond all others if you abide my onset. Woe to thosefathers whose sons face my might. If, however, you are one of theimmortals and have come down from heaven, I will not fight you;for even valiant Lycurgus, son of Dryas, did not live long whenhe took to fighting with the gods. He it was that drove thenursing women who were in charge of frenzied Bacchus through theland of Nysa, and they flung their thyrsi on the ground asmurderous Lycurgus beat them with his oxgoad. Bacchus himselfplunged terror-stricken into the sea, and Thetis took him to herbosom to comfort him, for he was scared by the fury with whichthe man reviled him. Thereon the gods who live at ease were angrywith Lycurgus and the son of Saturn struck him blind, nor did helive much longer after he had become hateful to the immortals.Therefore I will not fight with the blessed gods; but if you areof them that eat the fruit of the ground, draw near and meet yourdoom."
  2. 2. And the son of Hippolochus answered, son of Tydeus, why ask me ofmy lineage? Men come and go as leaves year by year upon thetrees. Those of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but whenspring returns the forest buds forth with fresh vines. Even so isit with the generations of mankind, the new spring up as the oldare passing away. If, then, you would learn my descent, it is onethat is well known to many. There is a city in the heart ofArgos, pasture land of horses, called Ephyra, where Sisyphuslived, who was the craftiest of all mankind. He was the son ofAeolus, and had a son named Glaucus, who was father toBellerophon, whom heaven endowed with the most surpassingcomeliness and beauty. But Proetus devised his ruin, and beingstronger than he, drove him from the land of the Argives, overwhich Jove had made him ruler. For Antea, wife of Proetus, lustedafter him, and would have had him lie with her in secret; butBellerophon was an honourable man and would not, so she told liesabout him to Proteus. Proetus, said she, kill Bellerophon ordie, for he would have had converse with me against my will. Theking was angered, but shrank from killing Bellerophon, so he senthim to Lycia with lying letters of introduction, written on afolded tablet, and containing much ill against the bearer. He
  3. 3. bade Bellerophon show these letters to his father-in-law, to theend that he might thus perish; Bellerophon therefore went toLycia, and the gods convoyed him safely."When he reached the river Xanthus, which is in Lycia, the kingreceived him with all goodwill, feasted him nine days, and killednine heifers in his honour, but when rosy-fingered morningappeared upon the tenth day, he questioned him and desired to seethe letter from his son-in-law Proetus. When he had received thewicked letter he first commanded Bellerophon to kill that savagemonster, the Chimaera, who was not a human being, but a goddess,for she had the head of a lion and the tail of a serpent, whileher body was that of a goat, and she breathed forth flames offire; but Bellerophon slew her, for he was guided by signs fromheaven. He next fought the far-famed Solymi, and this, he said,was the hardest of all his battles. Thirdly, he killed theAmazons, women who were the peers of men, and as he was returningthence the king devised yet another plan for his destruction; hepicked the bravest warriors in all Lycia, and placed them inambuscade, but not a man ever came back, for Bellerophon killedevery one of them. Then the king knew that he must be the valiantoffspring of a god, so he kept him in Lycia, gave him his
  4. 4. daughter in marriage, and made him of equal honour in the kingdomwith himself; and the Lycians gave him a piece of land, the bestin all the country, fair with vineyards and tilled fields, tohave and to hold."The kings daughter bore Bellerophon three children, Isander,Hippolochus, and Laodameia. Jove, the lord of counsel, lay withLaodameia, and she bore him noble Sarpedon; but when Bellerophoncame to be hated by all the gods, he wandered all desolate anddismayed upon the Alean plain, gnawing at his own heart, andshunning the path of man. Mars, insatiate of battle, killed hisson Isander while he was fighting the Solymi; his daughter waskilled by Diana of the golden reins, for she was angered withher; but Hippolochus was father to myself, and when he sent me toTroy he urged me again and again to fight ever among the foremostand outvie my peers, so as not to shame the blood of my fatherswho were the noblest in Ephyra and in all Lycia. This, then, isthe descent I claim."Thus did he speak, and the heart of Diomed was glad. He plantedhis spear in the ground, and spoke to him with friendly words."Then," he said, "you are an old friend of my fathers house.
  5. 5. Great Oeneus once entertained Bellerophon for twenty days, andthe two exchanged presents. Oeneus gave a belt rich with purple,and Bellerophon a double cup, which I left at home when I set outfor Troy. I do not remember Tydeus, for he was taken from uswhile I was yet a child, when the army of the Achaeans was cut topieces before Thebes. Henceforth, however, I must be your host inmiddle Argos, and you mine in Lycia, if I should ever go there;let us avoid one anothers spears even during a generalengagement; there are many noble Trojans and allies whom I cankill, if I overtake them and heaven delivers them into my hand;so again with yourself, there are many Achaeans whose lives youmay take if you can; we two, then, will exchange armour, that allpresent may know of the old ties that subsist between us."With these words they sprang from their chariots, grasped oneanothers hands, and plighted friendship. But the son of Saturnmade Glaucus take leave of his wits, for he exchanged goldenarmour for bronze, the worth of a hundred head of cattle for theworth of nine.