The exploits and death of Patroclus
When the Trojans broke into the camp of the Greeks, Patroclus, who was sitting at that time with the wounded Eurypylus< /a>, jumped up in horror, screamed loudly and hurried to the tent of Achilles. Shedding bitter tears, Patroclus came to Achilles. Achilles asked him:
- Why are you crying, Patroclus, like a baby girl who runs after her mother and asks her to take her in her arms? Have you received bad news from Phthia? Or do you weep that the Greeks are perishing near their ships? Tell me your sadness, don't hide anything.
- Oh son of Peleia! Patroclus answered. - Great grief befell the Greeks! The bravest of them are wounded. Won't you help the Greeks? If you don't want to help, then let me go with your Myrmidons. Give me your armor. Maybe the Trojans will take me for you and stop the battle. With fresh forces, we will repel the Trojans from the ships.
This is how Patroclus prayed to Achilles, not knowing that he himself was begging for death.
Achilles saw how hard it was for the Greeks. He heard only the voice of Hector. It means that not a single great hero of Greece participates in the battle. Achilles did not want the death of the Greeks. He agreed to give Patroclus his weapons and allow him to engage in battle with the Trojans, but only if the alarm was heard in front of his ships; then let Patroclus repulse the Trojans and prevent them from burning their ships. But Achilles forbade Patroclus to lead the Myrmidons to the walls of Troy, he was afraid that his beloved friend might die.
That's how friends talked. Suddenly Achilles saw how one of his ships, lit by Hector, was on fire. He exclaimed in anger:
- Hurry, Patroclus! I see the flames are already raging among the ships. Arm yourself soon! I myself will line the Myrmidons into battle!
Patroclus quickly armed himself with the armor of Achilles, he did not take only his spears; Achilles alone could fight with this spear, it was so hard. Automedont harnessed the horses to Achilles' chariot. Achilles lined up his Myrmidons. They, like predatory wolves, ready to rush at a deer, eagerly rushed into battle. Achilles inspired his warriors to a feat of arms and ordered them to fight bravely so that the king Agamemnon understood how recklessly he acted, insulting the most glorious of the Greek heroes. The Myrmidons rushed into battle with a loud cry, their formidable cry resounded throughout the camp. The Trojans saw Patroclus in the armor of Achilles and thought that it was Achilles himself, forgetting about the enmity with Agamemnon, in a hurry to help the Greeks. Every Trojan began to think about running away. Patroclus rushed into the thick of the battle and smashed with his spear the Trojans who fought near the ship Protesilao. The frightened Trojans retreated.
But the Trojans did not immediately leave the camp, they moved away at first only from the ships. The Greeks pursued the Trojans, and many Trojan heroes fell. But the Trojans did not stay in the camp. Like ferocious wolves, the Greek heroes rushed at them. The Trojans rushed across the ditch into the field, and many died. The hero Telamonides Ajax was eager to slay Hector. Hector, although he saw that victory was slipping out of the hands of the Trojans, did not retreat yet, he tried with all his might to delay the Greeks pursuing the Trojans. Finally, Hector also retreated, the horses quickly carried him across the ditch into the field.
Instigating the Greeks to pursue the fugitives, Patroclus quickly drove the horses to the moat. The immortal horses of Peleus jumped over the ditch along with the chariot and rushed across the field. Patroclus was looking for Hector, but he escaped in his chariot. Dust rose across the field from the fleeing crowds of Trojan warriors. The Trojans hurried to hide behind the walls of Troy. But Patroclus cut off the retreat of many. He drove them back to the ships and cut down many of them with his heavy spear. Sarpedon saw the death of so many heroes at the hands of Patroclus and appealed to his Lycians, urging them to stop. Sarpedon wanted to fight Patroclus. He jumped off the chariot and began to wait for Patroclus. Achilles' friend also got off the chariot. The heroes rushed at each other, like two kites fighting with a cry for prey on a high cliff. Zeus saw this duel. He felt sorry for Sarpedon, he wanted to save his son. Hera heard Zeus lament. She did not advise him to save his son. She reminded Zeus that the sons of many gods are fighting under Troy, that many of them have already died. If Zeus saves Sarpedon, then other gods will wish to save their sons. Zeus must allow the death of Sarpedon at the hands of Patroclus, if fate is destined to do so. Zeus took Hera's advice. He sent bloody dew to the Trojan fields, honoring his son, who was to fall at the hands of Patroclus.
Patroclus was the first to throw his spear and kill Sarpedon's faithful servant. Sarpedon also threw a spear, but did not hit Patroclus; a spear flew past and killed one of the horses harnessed to the chariot of Achilles' friend. The second time the heroes collided. Sarpedon missed again. Patroclus struck Sarpedon right in the chest. The king of Lycian has fallen, as an oak falls, cut down to the very root by a woodcutter. Sarpedon called loudly to his friend Glavk:
- Friend Glaucus, incite the Lycians to fight bravely for their king Sarpedon and fight for me yourself. It will be your eternal disgrace if the Greeks take off my armor.
A dying groan escaped from Sarpedon's chest, and the god of death closed his eyes Tanat. Sorrow took possession of the Commander-in-Chief when he heard the voice of a friend. He was tormented by the fact that he could not help him, since he himself suffered from a wound. He called to God and begged him to heal the wound. Heard Apollo Glaucus' plea and healed his wound. Gathered Glaucus of the Lycians and Heroes of Troy, Aeneas and Agenor, Polydamant and Hektor, the most gleaming helmet, fight for the body of Sarpedon. The heroes gathered and hurried to the aid of Glaucus. He called on the help of Greek heroes and Patroclus; Ajax came first. A battle broke out around Sarpedon's body. Zeus, however, spread darkness over the body of his son, so that the battle would be even more terrible.
There was such a terrible rumble of weapons, as if a crowd of lumberjacks were cutting down trees in the upland forests. The corpse of Sarpedon lay covered with dust and blood, all covered with arrows. Zeus did not take his eyes off the battlefield; he pondered whether to kill Patroclus at the body of his son, or to let him perform even greater feats and drive the Trojans to the very walls. Zeus decided to prolong the life of Patroclus. He sent fear into Hector. He was the first to flee, followed by other warriors. The Greeks tore off the armor from Sarpedon, and Patroclus ordered them to be carried to the ships. The thunderer Zeus then called Apollo and ordered him to take the body of Sarpedon, wash it from dust and blood, anoint it with fragrant oil and dress it in magnificent clothes. Then the gods-brothers - Hypnos and Tanat - had to take the body of Sarpedon to Lycia so that brothers and friends would bury Sarpedon there with great honors. Fulfilled the command of Zeus Apollo.
Patroclus at this time drove the Trojans to the city walls. He raced towards his death. He killed many heroes. Patroclus would have taken Troy if the god Apollo, having fulfilled the command of Zeus, had not stood on the high tower of Troy. Three times Patroclus climbed the wall, and three times Apollo reflected him. When Patroclus threw himself on the wall for the fourth time, Apollo shouted menacingly to him:
- Step back from the wall, brave Patroclus! Not you, but Achilles is destined to destroy the great Troy!
Patroclus retreated, he did not dare to anger the god Apollo, who was smashing far with his golden arrows.
It was only at the Scaean Gate that Hector stopped his horses; he hesitated whether to attack Patroclus or command everyone to take cover behind the walls of Troy. Then Apollo appeared to him under the guise of his brother Hekaba and advised him to attack Patroclus in an open field. Hector obeyed the advice and ordered his charioteer, Cebrion, to turn the horses. Seeing Hector on a chariot, Patroclus jumped to the ground, and, grabbing a huge stone in his right hand, and waving a spear with his left, began to wait for his approach. When Hector was already close, Patroclus threw a stone and hit the head of the charioteer Kebrion. Like a diver throwing himself into the sea, Cebrion fell headlong from the chariot. Patroclus exclaimed with mockery:
- How fast did Cebrion dive! If it was at sea, he would get a lot of oysters diving from the ship. There are, I see, divers among the Trojans!
Thus exclaiming, Patroclus rushed to the body of Cebrion. Hector jumped off the chariot and entered into battle with Patroclus for the corpse of his charioteer. The bloody slaughter began again around the body of Kebrion. The Greeks and the Trojans fought like the east and south winds, Evr and Not , in a wooded valley; then the trees bend with noise, hitting each other with branches, and the crackling of breaking oaks, pines and firs is heard around. Trojans and Greeks fought for a long time. The sun was already setting in the west. Three times Patroclus rushed at the Trojans, three times he fought with a spear of nine heroes, when he rushed at the Trojans for the fourth time, the god Apollo, dressed in great darkness, opposed him. He stood behind Patroclus and struck him on the back and shoulders. Darkened in the eyes of Patroclus. The god Apollo tore off the helmet from the head of Patroclus, which had once beenl on the head of the great Peleus, and the helmet rolled on the ground. The spear broke in the hands of Patroclus, and his heavy shield fell to the ground. Apollo unfastened the armor of Patroclus, and he, deprived of strength and unarmed, stood before the Trojans. But the hero Euphorbus did not dare to attack the unarmed Patroclus from the front, - he hit him from behind with a spear between his shoulders and disappeared into the crowd of Trojans. Avoiding death, Patroclus began to retreat to the ranks of the Greeks. Hector saw the wounded Patroclus and struck him to death with a spear. Like a lion who kills a wild boar in a fight for a watering hole on the banks of a shallow stream, so Hector killed Patroclus. The son of Priam rejoiced; he killed a friend of Achilles who threatened to destroy the great Troy. Patroclus fell to the ground and, dying, said to Hector:
- Now you can be proud, Hector, of victory. With the help of Zeus and Apollo, you won her. The gods defeated me, they stripped me of my armor. It's easy for the gods. But if twenty like you attacked me, I would cut you all down with my spear. The god Apollo and Euphorbus killed me, but you are the third of those who struck me down. Remember, then, what I will tell you: you have not long to live, and death stands near you. Severe fate determined you to fall at the hands of Achilles.
Having said this, Patroclus died. Quietly his soul flew off to the kingdom of gloomy Hades, lamenting that she had left her young, strong body.
Hector called out to the already dead man:
- Why do you foretell death to me, Patroclus? Who knows: maybe Achilles, slain by my spear, will die sooner.
Hector pulled his spear out of the body of Patroclus and rushed at Automedon, wanting to take possession of the horses of Achilles.