Then did Priam ask her the names of the mighty heroes who stood by their spears in the Grecian ranks, and Helen, making answer to him, said:
“Dear father of Paris, my lord, would that I had died ere I left my own land and my little child, and all those that I loved, and followed thy son hither. Agamemnon, a goodly king and a mighty spearsman, is the Greek warrior whose name thou dost ask. Brother of him who was my husband is he. Ah! shameless me, who did leave mine own.”
Of Odysseus also, and of many another warrior of great stature and brave looks, did Priam make inquiry. And Helen told him all she knew, while tears of longing stood in her eyes.
“My two brethren, Castor, tamer of horses, and Polydeuces, the skilful boxer, I do not see,” she said; “mayhap they have not crossed the sea.” For she knew not that her two brothers lay dead in her own beautiful land.
Then was the sacrifice to Zeus offered, and the vows made between Agamemnon and Priam, King of Troy.
When the sacrifice and vows were accomplished, Priam in haste mounted his chariot and drove away.
“Verily will I return to windy Ilios,” said the old man, “for I cannot bear to watch the fight between Menelaus and my own dear son. But only Zeus and the gods know which one of them is to fall.”
Then Hector and Odysseus marked out a space for the fight, and into a bronze helmet Hector placed two pebbles and shook them in the helmet, looking behind him. And the pebble of Paris leapt out the first, so that to him fell the lot to cast first his spear of bronze.
Then did Paris arm himself. Greaves of beauteous fashioning he placed upon his legs, and fastened them with silver ankle-clasps. Over his shoulders he put his silver-studded sword of bronze and his great shield. On his head he placed a helmet with nodding crest of horsehair, and in his hand he grasped his strong spear. In like manner did Menelaus arm himself.
One moment did they stand face to face, wrath and hatred in their hearts, their spears gripped firm in their hands.
Then did Paris hurl his spear and smite the shield of Menelaus. But the shield was strong and the spear could not pierce it.
His hand lifted up for the cast, Menelaus looked upwards and called to Zeus.
“Grant me revenge, great Zeus!” he cried. “On him that hath done me grievous wrong, grant me vengeance, so that all men hereafter may shudder to wrong one who hath treated him as his honored guest.”
Then hurled he his mighty spear. Through the bright shield it went, and through the shining breastplate, tearing the tunic of Paris on his thigh. But Paris swerved aside, and so escaped death.
Then Menelaus drew his silver-studded sword and drove it crashing down upon the helmet of Paris. But in four pieces was the sword shattered, and fell from the hand of Menelaus.
“Surely art thou the most cruel of all the gods, Zeus!” angrily he cried. “My spear is cast in vain, and my sword shattered, and my vengeance is still to come!”