Duel of Menelaus with Paris
The messenger of the gods Iris quickly rushed from Olympus and announced to the Trojans, taking the form of her son Priam< /a> Politas that innumerable troops are approaching Troy from the camp of the Greeks. When Irida was brought to Troy, all the Trojans were at the public meeting. Immediately Hector dismissed the meeting.
All the citizens of Troy and their allies hastened to arm themselves and line up in battle order. The gates of Troy were opened, and squads of Trojans and their allies began to emerge from them one after another. With a loud cry, the Trojans walked, like strings of cranes during a flight. The Greeks were approaching in formidable silence. Clouds of dust covered the entire field.
The two armies met, but they did not yet fight. Then the beautiful Paris emerged from the ranks of the Trojans. A leopard skin was thrown over his shoulder, a bow and a quiver of arrows were behind his back, a sharp sword was at his hip, and he held two spears in his hand. Paris challenged one of the heroes of the Greeks to single combat. As soon as he saw Menelaus Paris, he quickly jumped off the chariot and, sparkling with his weapons, stepped forward. Joyfully walked against Paris Menelaus, like a lion, who unexpectedly found rich prey; Menelaus rejoiced that he could take revenge on the kidnapper of the beautiful Elena.
As soon as Paris saw Menelaus, his heart trembled and he hid among his friends, afraid of death. Hector saw this and began to reproach his brother for the cowardice.
- You are brave only in appearance, - Hector said to Paris, - it would be better if you were not born than serve as a shame to all of us. Can't you hear the Greeks laughing at you? You only had the courage to kidnap Menelaus' wife Helen from the mountain of all Troy! Would you know what kind of fighter the husband of Elena you kidnapped is! Oh, if the Trojans had been more resolute, they would have stoned you long ago for all the troubles that you brought on them.
- You have the right to revile me, Hector, - so Paris answered, - but calm down. I will enter into single combat with Menelaus. They only ordered the Trojans to stop. Menelaus and I will fight before the troops for the beautiful Helen. Whoever wins among us will lead Elena to his house. Hearing this answer, Hector went to the middle of the Trojans and stopped him. The Greeks were ready to bombard Hector with arrows. Some had already thrown stones at him, but Agamemnon stopped them, exclaiming:
- Stop, Greeks, stop, Achaean men! Helmet-shiny Hector intends to address us with a word!
When everyone was silent, Hector announced that Paris offered to resolve the dispute for Helen by single combat. Menelaus answered him.
- Listen to me! It is high time for us to stop the bloody strife. Let us fight with Paris, and let that one of us who is destined to die perish. You will make peace afterwards. Make sacrifices to the gods. Call on the elder Priam; his sons are all insidious, let him take an oath before the fight that he will fulfill this contract.
Everyone was delighted to hear this offer. Hector immediately sent messengers to summon Priam.
Meanwhile, the goddess Irida, disguised as the daughter of Priam, the beautiful Laodice, appeared to Helen and called her to the tower at the Skeian Gate, where the Trojan elders had gathered with Priam at the head, watch the single combat of Paris and Menelaus. The beautifully curly Elena dressed in luxurious clothes and hurried after Irida, accompanied by two maids. Elena remembered her first husband, her homeland and dear Sparta, and at the same time tears appeared in her eyes. The Trojan elders saw Helen approaching. She was so beautiful that the elders looked at her with delight and said to each other:
- No, it is impossible to condemn either the Greeks or the Trojans for waging a bloody struggle for such a beautiful woman. Truly, she is equal in beauty to the immortal goddesses. But no matter how beautiful she is, it’s better to let her return to Greece, then neither we nor our children will be in danger of death.
Priam called Helena and began to question her about the heroes he had seen from the wall. Elena showed him the mighty Agamemnon, the cunning Odyssey, Telamonides Ajax, Idomeneo - king of Crete. Surprised, looking at these heroes, Priam their beauty, and their mighty warlike appearance. At this time, messengers arrived, sent by Hector for Priam. Priam hurriedly got up, ordered the chariot to be harnessed, and together with Antenor rode to the troops through the Scaean Gate.
Agamemnon and Odysseus stood up to meet the elder Priam. Sacrifices were made to the Olympian gods. An oath was taken to uphold the treaty. Then King Priam addressed the troops of the Trojans and Greeks with the following words:
- Oh, brave men, Trojans and Greeks! I will retire now to great Troy. I don't have the strength to watch the fightmy son Paris with the mighty king Menelaus. Only Zeus knows which of them will die in this battle.
Priam left the battlefield. Hector and Odysseus measured out the place for the duel, and then put lots in the helmet and shook it so that the lot fell out to the one who should throw the spear first. The lot fell to Paris.
Paris and Menelaus armed themselves and went to the place of the duel, shaking their heavy spears. Their eyes shone menacingly, their hatred for each other burned with a bright flame in them. Paris waved his spear and threw it at Menelaus. His spear hit the huge shield of Menelaus, but did not pierce it. The tip of the spear bent, hitting the copper that covered the shield. Menelaus called loudly to Zeus, begging him to help take revenge on Paris, so that no one would dare to pay evil for hospitality in the future. King Menelaus swung his spear menacingly and struck it at the shield of Paris. A spear pierced through the shield, it also pierced the shell of Paris and cut the chiton. Paris was saved only by the fact that he quickly recoiled to the side. Menelaus pulled out his sword and hit Paris on his helmet, but the sword shattered from a terrible blow into four parts. Having lost his sword, Menelaus rushed to Paris, grabbed his helmet with his hand and dragged him along the ground to the ranks of the Greeks. The helmet strap squeezed Paris's throat. Menelaus would have dragged Paris to the ranks of the Greeks, but then the goddess of love Aphrodite came to the aid of his pet. She broke the belt, and only the helmet remained in the hands of Menelaus. He wanted to hit Paris, who was thrown to the ground, with a spear, but the goddess Aphrodite covered Paris with a dark cloud and quickly carried him to Troy. Menelaus searched in vain for Paris; he, like a wild beast, scoured the Trojan troops, but no one could point out to him the son of Priam, although all the Trojans hated him. King Agamemnon exclaimed loudly:
- Listen, Trojans and Greeks! All of you saw the victory of Menelaus, let Helen and all the treasures stolen by Paris from Menelaus be returned to us, and such people will pay tribute to us.
But Agamemnon remained unanswered: the battle was not destined to end.