Quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon

The Greeks have been besieging Troy for nine years now. The tenth year of the great struggle has come. At the beginning of this year, the priest of the archer Apollo Chris arrived in the camp of the Greeks. He begged all the Greeks, and above all their leaders, to return his daughter Chryseis for a rich ransom. After listening to Chris, everyone agreed to accept a rich ransom for Chryseis and give her to her father. But the mighty king Agamemnon got angry and said to Chris:

- Old man, go away and never dare to appear here, near our ships, otherwise the fact that you are a priest of the god Apollo will not save you. I will not return the Chryseides to you. No, she will languish in captivity all her life. Beware of angering me if you want to return home unscathed.

In fear, Christ left the camp of the Greeks and went saddened to the seashore. There, raising his hands to the sky, he prayed to the great son Latons, the god Apollo:

- Oh, silver-armed god, listen to me, your faithful servant! Take revenge on the Greeks with your arrows for my grief and resentment.

Apollo heard the complaint of his priest Chris. He quickly rushed from the bright Olympus with a bow and a quiver behind his shoulders. Golden arrows thundered menacingly in the quiver. Apollo rushed to the camp of the Greeks, blazing with anger; Darker than the night was his face. Rushing to the camp of the Achaeans, he took an arrow from his quiver and sent it into the camp. The string of Apollo's bow rang menacingly. For the first arrow, Apollo sent a second, a third, - arrows rained down in a hail into the camp of the Greeks, bringing death with them. A terrible plague struck the Greeks. Many Greeks perished. Funeral pyres were burning everywhere. It seemed that the hour of death had come for the Greeks.

For nine days the pestilence raged. On the tenth day, following the advice given by the Hero, the great hero Achilles summoned to the folk a meeting of all the Greeks to decide how to be him, how to propitiate the gods. When all the soldiers gathered, Achilles was the first to address Agamemnon with a speech:

- We will have to sail back to our homeland, son of Atreya, - said Achilles, - you see that warriors die both in battles and from pestilence. But perhaps we will first ask the fortune-tellers: they will tell us how we angered the silver-armed Apollo, for which he sent a disastrous plague on our army.

As soon as Achilles said this, the soothsayer Kalkhas rose up, having already revealed to the Greeks the will of the gods many times. He said that he was ready to reveal what the far-striking god was angry about, but he would reveal this only if Achilles protected him from the wrath of King Agamemnon. Achilles promised his protection to Calchas and swore this to Apollo. Then Calchas just said:

- The great son of Latona is angry because King Agamemnon dishonored his priest Chris, drove him out of the camp, not accepting a rich ransom from him for his daughter. We can propitiate God only by returning the black-eyed Chryseis to her father and sacrificing a hundred calves to God.

Hearing what Calchas said, Agamemnon burned with terrible anger at him and Achilles, but seeing that he still had to return Chryseis to his father, he finally agreed, but demanded only for himself a reward for her return. Achilles reproached Agamemnon for selfishness. This angered Agamemnon even more. He began to threaten that with his power he would take the reward for Chryseis from what Achilles, or Ajax, or Odysseus had inherited.

- Shameless, treacherous greed! Achilles cried out, “you threaten us that you will take away our awards from us, although none of us has ever had an equal share in awards with you. But we did not come to fight for our cause; we came here to help Menelaus and you. You want to take away from me a part of the booty that I got for the great deeds that I accomplished. So it’s better for me to return to my native Phthia, I don’t want to increase your booty and treasures.

Briseis is taken away from Achilles
Briseis being led away from Achilles.
(Wall painting from Pompeii)

- Well, run to Phthia! - Agamemnon shouted back to Achilles, - I hate you more than all the kings! You are the only one who stirs up controversy. I am not afraid of your anger. That's what I'll tell you! I will return Chryseis to my father, since this is the desire of the god Apollo, but for this I will take away your captive Briseida. You will know how much more power I have! Let everyone be afraid to consider themselves equal in power to me!

Terrible anger seized Achilles when he heard this threat from Agamemnon. The son of Thetis grabbed his sword; he had already drawn it halfway from its scabbard and was ready to throw himself at Agamemnon. Suddenly Achilles felt a light touch on his hair. turned around aboutand recoiled in horror. In front of him, invisible to others, stood the great daughter of the Thunderer Athena-Pallas. Hera sent Athena. The wife of Zeus did not want the death of either of the heroes, both of them - Achilles and Agamemnon - were equally dear to her. Achilles asked the goddess Athena with trepidation:

- 0, daughter of the Thunderer Zeus, why did you descend from the high Olympus? Have you really come here to see how Agamemnon rages? Oh, soon he will ruin himself with his pride!

- No, mighty Achilles, - light-eyed Pallas answered, - I didn't come for that. I have come to tame your wrath, if only you obey the will of the Olympian gods. Do not draw your sword, be content with only words, they scourge Agamemnon. Believe me! Soon here, in the same place, they will pay you for your offense with gifts that will be many times richer. Humble yourself and submit to the will of the immortal gods. Achilles submitted to the will of the gods: he sheathed his sword, and Athena again ascended to the bright Olympus in the host of the gods.

Achilles also said many angry words to Agamemnon, calling him a devourer of the people, a drunkard, a coward, a dog. Achilles threw his scepter on the ground and swore to them that the time would come when his help against the Trojans would be needed, but Agamemnon would pray for her in vain, since he offended him so hard. In vain did the wise king of Pylos, the elder Nestor, try to reconcile the warring. Agamemnon did not listen to Nestor, and Achilles did not reconcile. Wrathful, the great son Peleia left with his friend Patroclus and the brave Myrmidons to their tents. Anger at Agamemnon, who had offended him, raged furiously in his chest. Meanwhile, King Agamemnon ordered to lower a high-speed ship to the sea, carry sacrifices to the god Apollo on it, and take the beautiful daughter of the priest Chris. This ship was to sail under the command of the cunning Odysseus to Thebes, the city of Estion, and the Greeks in the camp, at the command of Agamemnon, were to make rich sacrifices to Apollo in order to propitiate him.

The ship sent by Agamemnon quickly rushed along the waves of the boundless sea. Finally, the ship entered the harbor of Thebes. The Greeks lowered their sails and moored to the pier. He descended from the ship at the head of a detachment of warriors Odysseus to the shore, took the beautiful Chryseis to her father and addressed him with the following greeting:

- Oh, servant of Apollo! I came here at the behest of Agamemnon to return your daughter to you. We also brought a hundred bulls to propitiate with these sacrifices the great god Apollo, who sent a grave disaster to the Greeks.

Elder Chris rejoiced at the return of his daughter and gently embraced her. Immediately began the sacrifice to Apollo. Chris prayed to the god-arrower:

- O silver-eyed god! Listen to me! And before you listened to my prayers. Hear me now too! Avert the great calamity from the Greeks, stop the disastrous pestilence!

God Apollo heard the prayer of Chris and stopped the pestilence in the camp of the Greeks. When the sacrifices to Apollo were made by Chris, a sumptuous feast was held. The Greeks feasted merrily in Thebes. The young men carried the wine, filling the feasting bowls with it to the top. The majestic sounds of the hymn in honor of Apollo were loudly heard, which were sung by Greek youths. Until sunset, the feast continued, and in the morning, refreshed by sleep, Odysseus and his squad set off on their way back to the vast camp. Apollo sent them a fair wind. Like a seagull, the ship rushed through the waves of the sea. The ship quickly reached the camp. The swimmers pulled him ashore and dispersed to their tents.

While Odysseus sailed to Thebes, Agamemnon fulfilled what he threatened Achilles with. He summoned the heralds Talthybius and Eurybates and sent them for Briseis. The messengers of Agamemnon went reluctantly to the tent of Achilles. They found him sitting in deep thought at the tent. The ambassadors approached the mighty hero, but in embarrassment they could not utter a word. Then the son of Peleus said to them:

- Hello, heralds. I know that you are not guilty of anything, only Agamemnon is guilty. You have come for Briseis. My friend, Patroclus, give them Briseis. But let them themselves be witnesses that the hour will come when I will be needed to save the Greeks from destruction. Then Agamemnon, who has lost his mind, will not be able to save the Greeks!

Shedding bitter tears, Achilles left his friends, went to the deserted shore, stretched out his hands to the sea and loudly called his mother goddess Thetis:

- My mother, if you have already given birth to me doomed to a short life, why then does the Thunderer Zeus deprive me of glory! No, he did not give me glory! King Agamemnon dishonored me by taking away my reward for my deeds. My mother, hear me!

The goddess Thetis heard the call of Achilles. She left the depths of the sea and the wondrous palace of the god Nerei. Quickly, like a light cloud, she emerged from the foaming sea waves. Thetis came ashore and, sitting down near her dearly beloved son, hugged him.

- Why are you crying so bitterly, my son? she asked. - Tell me your grief.

Told his mother Achilles how hardAgamemnon insulted him. He began to ask his mother to ascend to the bright Olympus and there pray Zeus to punish Agamemnon. Let Zeus help the Trojans, let them drive the Greeks to the very ships. Let Agamemnon understand how foolishly he acted when he offended the bravest of the Greeks. Achilles assured his mother that Zeus would not refuse her request. After all, she only has to remind Zeus how she once helped him when the gods of Olympus planned to overthrow Zeus by fettering him. Then Thetis called the hundred-armed giant Briareus to help Zeus; seeing him, all the gods were embarrassed and did not dare to raise their hands against Zeus. Let Thetis remind the great Zeus the Thunderer about this, and he will not refuse her her request. So Achilles prayed to his mother Thetis.

- Oh, my beloved son, - exclaimed, weeping bitterly, Thetis, - why did I give birth to you for so many disasters! Yes, your life will be short, your end is near. And now you are both short-lived and the most unhappy of all! Oh no, don't grieve like that! I will rise to the bright Olympus, there I will pray to the Thunderer Zeus to help me. But you remain in your tent and take no more part in the battles. Now Zeus has left Olympus, he, with all the immortals, went to a feast to the Ethiopians. But when Zeus returns in twelve days, then I will fall at his feet and, I hope, I will beg him!

Thetis left her sad son, and he went to the tents of his brave Myrmidons. From that day on, Achilles did not participate either in meetings of leaders or in battles. Sad he sat in his tent, although he longed for military glory.

Eleven days have passed. On the twelfth day, in the early morning, along with a gray mist, the goddess Thetis ascended from the abyss of the sea to the bright Olympus. There she fell at the feet of Zeus, hugged his knees and with a prayer stretched out her hands to him, touching his beard.

- Oh, our father! - pleaded Thetis, - I beg you, help me avenge my son! Fulfill my request if I have ever done you a favor. Send victory to the Trojans until the Greeks beg my son to help them until they give him great honors.

For a long time, Zeus the cloudmaker did not answer Thetis. But Thetis implored him relentlessly. Finally, with a deep sigh, the Thunderer said:

- Know, Thetis! With your request, you cause anger Hera, she will be angry with me. Already, she constantly reproaches me for helping the Trojans in battles. But you have now left the high Olympus so that Hera does not see you. I promise to fulfill your request. Here is a sign for you that I will keep my promise.

Saying this, Zeus frowned menacingly, the hair on his head rose, and the whole of Olympus shuddered. Thetis calmed down. She quickly rushed from the high Olympus and plunged into the abyss of the sea.

Zeus went to the feast, where the gods gathered. They all stood up to meet Zeus, not one dared to greet him while sitting. When the king of gods and people sat on his golden throne, Hera turned to him. She saw that Thetis came to Zeus.

- Tell me, insidious, - Hera said to Zeus, - with which of the immortals did you have a secret council? You always hide your thoughts and thoughts from me,

- Hera, - Zeus answered her, - do not expect that you will ever know everything that I think about. What you can know, you will know before all the gods, but do not try to find out all my secrets and do not ask about them.

- Oh, cloud chaser, - Hera answered, - you know that I never tried to find out your secrets. You always decide everything without me. But I am afraid that today Thetis persuaded you to avenge her son Achilles and destroy many Greeks. I know that you promised to fulfill her request.

Zeus looked menacingly at Hera, he was angry with his wife for always following everything he does. Zeus angrily ordered her to sit silently and obey him, if she does not want him to punish her. Hera was afraid of the wrath of Zeus. Silently she sat on her golden throne. The gods were also frightened by this quarrel between Zeus and Hera. Then the crippled god stood up Hephaestus; he reproached the gods for starting quarrels over mortals.

- After all, if we quarrel over mortals, then the feasts of the gods will always be deprived of fun, - the god Hephaestus said and prayed to his mother Hera to submit to the power of Zeus, since he is formidable in anger and can overthrow all the gods from the thrones - Olympians.

Hephaestus reminded Hera how Zeus had cast him down to earth because he hastened to help his mother when Zeus, who threw lightning, was angry with her. He took the goblet Hephaestus and, filling it with nectar, brought it to Hera. Hera smiled. Hephaestus, limping, began to draw nectar from the bowl with a goblet and distribute it to the gods. All the gods laughed, seeing how the lame Hephaestus hobbled around the banquet hall. Again, fun reigned at the feast of the gods, and they feasted serenely until sunset to the sounds of the golden cithara of Apollo and the singing of the muses. When the feast ended, the gods dispersed to their chambers, and the whole of Olympus fell into a peaceful sleep.