Book 8 Notes from The Iliad

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The Iliad Book 8

Dawn comes again and Zeus addresses the assembly of the gods. He announces his intention to change the tide of the battle and threatens any god who would strive against him. He tells them that they will not help either side for the time being. Any god who crosses him is to be disgraced. Athena is the first god who dares to speak to Zeus explaining that they pity the Greeks and merely intend to supply them with tactics. Zeus admits that he said nothing in earnest, concerning the torture of other deities, and retires to Mount Ida to overlook the battle.

The battle begins again and the ground streams with blood. By high noon Zeus decides for the death of a Trojan and a Greek. He hurls lightning into the battlefield forcing the Greeks to shrink back as Hector rushes on. Even Odysseus flees, but Nestor taunts such cowardice as he runs to the Greek ships. Diomedes calls Nestor onto a chariot as his driver. Diomedes begins looking for Hector, intending to begin the ruin of Troy, but Zeus intervenes, throwing another bolt of lightning. This causes Nestor to lose his grip on the reigns. Nestor falls and Diomedes begins to turn back. Nestor talks him out of retreat, manipulating his fear of being seen as a coward.

Topic Tracking: Divine Intervention 12

The Trojans, led by Hector, continue to chase the fleeing Greeks. Hector taunts Diomedes. Diomedes returns his insults three Times New Roman, but Zeus hurls more lightning pushing the Greeks back even further. Hector calls for torches to burn the ships. Hera, however, calls Poseidon out to help the Greeks. Poseidon says that he does not want to battle Zeus. Hera inspires Agamemnon too rally his troops. Agamemnon appeals to Zeus for mercy, invoking his past sacrifices at Zeus' shrines. Zeus feels pity and gives Agamemnon a sign:

"The god bent his head that the armies must be saved
not die in blood. That instant he launched an eagle-
Truest of Zeus's signs that fly the skies - a fawn
Clutched in its talons, sprung of a running doe,
But he dropped it free beside the handsome shrine
Where the Achaean soldiers always sacrificed to Zeus."
Book 8, lines 281-286

With this omen, the Greeks rally. Diomedes is the first to kill a Trojan and the Greek archer Teucer knocks down many of these attackers with arrows. He keeps trying to hit Hector but fails. He shoots many Trojans and kills Hector's chariot driver, but the position is assumed by Cebriones. Hector kills Teucer with a rock and Ajax Telamon rushes to protect the body.

Topic Tracking: Divine Intervention 13
Topic Tracking: Nature Imagery 5

Zeus encourages the Trojans more and Hector is compared to a hound after the defenseless Greeks. The Trojans cause another rout and Hera gets extremely angry. She approaches Athena and the two begin to prepare for battle again. Athena wishes a thousand deaths on Hector. Zeus sees what is going on and sends Iris to intercept the pair:

"...Where are you rushing now?
What is this madness blazing in your hearts?
Zeus forbids you to fight for Achaea's armies!"
Book 8, lines 473-475

Iris repeats Zeus' entire threat, focusing more on Athena because Zeus and Hera fight each other so often. To this Hera answers:

"I cannot let us battle the Father any longer,
Not for mortal men...
Men - let one of them die, another live
However their luck may run, Let Zeus decide."
Book 8, lines 491-494

Zeus returns to Mount Olympus and mocks the two goddesses. Hera lashes out and repeats that she pities the Greeks and wants to save the armies. Zeus tells them that they will have their chance the following day prophesying that Hector will not quit fighting until Achilles grieves for Patroclus.

Hector continues to muster the Trojan forces and expresses that he thought they would have already destroyed the ships. He says that it is night and they should eat. The Trojans retreat slightly and build camp on the battleground lighting many fires so that no Greeks will be able to sneak in. Hector pledges to kill Diomedes the next day.

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