’Where Aias fought the Trojans gave way, and on that side of the battle they were being driven back towards the City. But suddenly upon Aias there fell an unaccountable dread. He cast behind him his great shield, and he stood in a maze, like a wild bull, turning this way and that, and slowly retreating before those who pressed towards him. But now and again his valour would come back and he would stand steadily and, with his great shield, hold at bay the Trojans who were pressing towards the ships. Arrows fell thick upon his shield, confusing his mind. And Aias might have perished beneath the arrows if his comrades had not drawn him to where they stood with shields sloping for a shelter, and so saved him.’
’All this time Hector was fighting on the left wing of the battle against the Greeks, who were led by Nestor and Idomeneus. And on this side Paris let fly an arrow that brought trouble to the enemies of his father’s City. He struck Machaon who was the most skilled healer of wounds in the whole of the host. And those who were around Machaon were fearful that the Trojans would seize the stricken man and bear him away. Then said Idomeneus, “Nestor, arise. Get Machaon into your chariot and drive swiftly from the press of battle. A healer such as he is worth the lives of many men. Save him alive so that we may still have him to draw the arrows from our flesh and put medicaments into our wounds.” Then did Nestor lift the healer into his chariot, and the charioteer turned the horses and they too drove from the press of battle and towards the hollow ships.’
Achilles, standing by the stern of his great ship, saw the battle as it went this way and that way, but his heart was not at all moved with pity for the destruction wrought upon the Greeks. He saw the chariot of Nestor go dashing by, dragged by sweating horses, and he knew that a wounded man was in the chariot. When it had passed he spoke to his dear friend Patroklos.
’"Go now, Patroklos,” he said, “and ask of Nestor who it is that he has borne away from the battle."’
’"I go, Achilles,” Patroklos said, and even as he spoke he started to run along the line of the ships and to the hut of Nestor.’
’He stood before the door, and when old Nestor beheld him he bade him enter. “Achilles sent me to you, revered Nestor,” said Patroklos, “to ask who it was you bore out of the battle wounded. But I need not ask, for I see that it is none other than Machaon, the best of our healers."’
’"Why should Achilles concern himself with those who are wounded in the fight with Hector?” said old Nestor. “He does not care at all what evils befall the Greeks. But thou, Patroklos, wilt be grieved to know that Diomedes and Odysseus have been wounded, and that sore-wounded is Machaon whom thou seest here. Ah, but Achilles will have cause to lament when the host perishes beside our burning ships and when Hector triumphs over all the Greeks."’