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Tryphiodorus, The Taking of Ilios

TRYPHIODORUS was a Greek poet and grammarian who flourished in Egypt in the C3rd or C4th A.D. His only surviving work is a short poem entitled the Taking of Ilios (or the Destruction / Capture of Troy) which describes the last days of the Trojan War. The poem begins with the building of the wooden horse and ends with the sacrifice of Polyxena.
Tryphiodorus was also the author of two lost poems entitled Marathoniaca and The Story of Hippodamea.

Oppian, Colluthus and Tryphiodorus. Translated by Mair, A. W. Loeb Classical Library Volume 219. London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1928.

The most recent edition of this volume is available new from Amazon.com (click on image right for details). In addition to the work of Tryphiodorus the book contains translations of poems by Oppian (Halieutica and Cynegetica) and Colluthus (The Rape of Helen), the source Greek texts and Mair's introduction and footnotes.


[1] The long delayed end of the laborious war and the ambush, even the horse1 fashioned of Argive Athena, straightway to me in my haste do thou tell, O Calliopeia, remitting copious speech; and the ancient strife of men, in that war now decided, do thou resolve with speedy song.

[6] Already the tenth year was rolling on and old had grown the strain of war, insatiate of blood, for Trojans and Danaans. With slaying of men the spears were weary, the menace of the swords died, quenched was the din of breastplate, rent and perishing the coiled fabric of shield-carrying baldricks; the shield endured no more to abide the hurtling of javelins, unstrung was the bent bow, the swift arrows decayed. And the horse -- some apart at the idle manger, with heads bowed piteously, bewailed their fellow horses, some mourned to miss their perished charioteers.

[17] Low lay the son of Peleus and with him his comrade2 dead: over his young son Antilochus old Nestor mourned: Aias with self-dealt wound had unstrung his mighty form, and bathed his foeman’s sword3 in the rain of frenzied blood. The Trojans, lamenting over the shameful dragging of Hector, had not only their domestic pain, but groaning for the woes of men of alien speech they wept in turn for their many-tongued allies. The Lycians wept for Sarpedon4 whom his mother, glorying in the bed of Zeus, had sent to Troy; howbeit he fell by the spear of Patroclus, son of Menoetius, and there was shed about him by his sire a mist that wept tears of blood. The Thracians wailed for Rhesus5 that in the guileful night was fettered by an evil sleep. And for the fate of Memnon6 Eos, his mother, hung aloft a cloud in heaven and stole away the light of shamefast day. The women from7 Thermodon dear to Ares, beating the unripe, unsucked circle of their breasts, mourned the warlike maiden Penthesileia, who came unto the dance of war, that war of many guests, and with her woman’s hand scattered the cloud of men back to their ships beside the sea; only Achilles withstood her with his ashen spear and slew and despoiled her and gave her funeral.

[40] And still all Ilios stood, by reason of her god-built towers, established upon unshaken foundations, and at the tedious delay the people of the Achaeans chafed. And now Athena, unwearying though she be, would have shrunk from her latest labour and all her sweat had been in vain, had not the seer8 turned from the bride-stealing lust of Deiphobus, and come from Ilios as guest of the Danaans, and, as doing a favour to Menelaus in his travail, prophesied the late-fulfilled ruin of his own fatherland. And at the prophesying of jealous Helenus they straightway prepared an end of their long toil. From Scyros, too, leaving that city of fair maidens, came the son9 of Achilles and august Deidameia; who, albeit he mantled not yet on his goodly temples the down of manhood, showed the prowess of his sire, young warrior though he was. Came, too, Athena to the Danaans with her holy image10; the prey of war but a helper to her friends.

[57] Now, too, by the counsel of the goddess her servant Epeius11 wrought the image that was the foe of Troy, even the giant horse. And wood was cut and came down to the plain from Ida, even Ida whence formerly Phereclus built the ships for Alexander12 that were the beginning of woe. Fitted to broadest sides he made its hollow belly, in size as a curved ship which the carpenter turns true to the line. And the neck he fixed to carven breast and bespangled the purple-fringed mane with yellow gold; and the mane, waving aloft on the arched neck, was sealed on the head with crested band. In two circles he set the gem-like eyes of sea-green beryl and blood-red amethyst: and in the mingling of them a double colour flashed; the eyes were red and ringed with the green gems. In the jaws he set white rows of jagged teeth, eager to champ the ends of the well-twisted bit. And he opened secret paths in the mighty mouth to preserve the tide of breath for the men in hiding, and through the nostrils flowed the life-giving air. Ears were fixed on the top of its temples, pricked up, ever ready to await the sound of the trumpet. And back and flanks he fitted together and supple backbone, and joined hip-joint to smooth hip. Unto the heels of the feet trailed the flowing tail, even as vine weighed down with twisted tassels. And the feet that moved with the dappled knees -- even as if they were about to set them to the winged race, so were they eager, yet constraint bade them bide. Not without bronze were the hooves that stood below the legs, but they were bound with spirals of shining tortoise and hardly touched the ground with the strong-hoofed bronze. Also he set therein a barred door and a fashioned ladder: the one that unseen, fitted to the sides, it might carry the Achaean company of the famous horse this way and that; the other that, unfolded and firmly put together, it might be for them a path whereby to speed upward or downward. And he girt the horse about on white neck and cheeks with purple-flowered straps and coiling spirals of compelling bridle inlaid with ivory and silver-flashing bronze. And when he had wrought all the warlike horse, he set a well-spoked wheel under each of its feet that when dragged over the plain it might be obedient to the rein, and not travel a difficult path under stress of hands.

[103] So the horse flashed with terror and great beauty, wide and high; not even Ares, lord of horses,13 would have refused to drive it, had he found it alive. And a great wall was driven about it, lest any of the Achaeans should behold it beforehand and fire the snare revealed. And beside the ship of Agamemnon from Mycenae the kings of the Achaeans gathered to council, avoiding the din and tumult of the stirring hosts. Then impetuous Athena took the likeness of a clear-voiced herald and stood by Odysseus to counsel him, daubing a man’s voice with honeyed nectar. And, revolving his mind in godlike counsels, at first he stood like a man of empty wits14 fixing on the ground the gaze of his unturning eye; but suddenly he opened his lips and delivered him of everflowing speech and thundered terribly, and poured, as from an airy spring, a great torrent of honey-dropping snow.

[120] "O friends, now is the secret ambush prepared, by human hands but by the counsels of Athena. Do ye which have most trust in the might of your hands, heartily follow me with valiant mind and enduring soul; for it is not seemly that we should abide here a long time labouring and growing old without accomplishment or profit. Rather should we, while yet we live, do some deed worthy to be sung, or by bloody death escape the shameful reproach of cowardice. We have better comfort than they -- if ye have not forgotten the sparrow15 and the ancient serpent and the fair plane-tree and the mother devoured with her swiftly perishing young, and her tender nestlings.

[132] "And if old Calchas in his soothsaying deferred the day of fulfilment, yet even so the prophecies of Helenus,16 the alien seer, call us to a right speedy victory. Therefore hearken ye to me and let us hasten with good courage in to the belly of the horse, that the Trojans may lead up into Ilios the guileful craft of the dauntless goddess, a self-taken woe, embracing their own doom.17

[139] "And do ye others loose the stern cables of the ships and yourselves cast fire upon the plaited tents, and leaving desolate the shore of the land of Ilios, sail ye all together on your pretended homeward way, until the hour that to you, gathered on the neighbouring beach, a beacon at eventide, stretched from a fair-anchoring place of outlook, shall give the signal to sail back again. And then let there be no hesitation of hurrying oarsmen nor other cloud of fear, such as the nights bring to men to terrify the mobile soul. But let each clan respect its former valour, and let no man put to shame his fame, so that each may win a recompense for chivalry worthy of his toils.”

[152] So he spake, leading them in counsel. And first godlike Neoptolemus followed his advising, even as a colt hastening over the dewy plain, which glories in his trappings of new harness and outruns both the lash and the threat of his driver. And after Neoptolemus rose up Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, marvelling for that even such aforetime was Achilles.18 Followed also Cyanippus, whom Comaetho, daughter of a goodly sire, even Tydeus, in brief wedlock bare to shield-bearing Aegialeus19 whose doom was swift. Rose, too, Menelaus; he was driven by a fierce impulse to strife with Deiphobus, and his stern heart boiled with eagerness to find him who a second time stole away his bride. After him rose Locrian Aias, the swift son of Oileus, still prudent of mind and not filled with lawless passion for women.20 And he roused up another, even Idomeneus, the grizzled king of the Cretans. And with these went the son of Nestor, strong Thrasymedes, and Teucer went, the archer son of Telamon. After them rose up the son of Admetus, even Eumelus of many horses. And after him hasted the seer Calchas, well knowing that accomplishing their difficult labour the Achaeans should now at last ride down the city of Troy. Nor remained behind, turning from the fray, Eurypylus, son of Euaemon, and goodly Leonteus, and Demophoon and Acamas, the two sons of Theseus, and Anticlus, son of Ortyx -- who died there and the Achaeans wept for him and buried him in the horse; and Peneleus and Meges and valiant Antiphates, and Iphidamas and Eurydamas, offspring of Pelias, and Amphidamas, armed with a bow. Last Epeius of glorious craft set foot in the thing he had himself contrived.

[184] Then they prayed unto the grey-eyed daughter of Zeus and hasted into their vessel of the horse. And Athena mixed ambrosia and brought them the food of the gods to eat, that in their ambush all day long they might not be afflicted and their knees weighed down by unpleasant hunger. And as when with the frosts of the storm-footed clouds the snow freezes the air and besprinkles the fields and melting sends forth a great stream; and the wild beasts, cowering from the din of the mountain-cradled river, as it leaps swiftly down from a rock in headlong tumult, withdraw beneath the shelter of their hollow lair and abide there silently with shivering flanks, and, bitterly anhungered, by grievous constraint patiently await the ceasing of the rain: even so the unwearied Achaeans leapt through the carven wood and supported travail beyond enduring. And for them Odysseus, the faithful warder of the unguessed snare, closed the door of the pregnant horse, and sat himself in the head as scout; and both his yearning eyes escaped the notice of those without. And the son of Atreus bade the Achaean servants undo with well-bent mattocks the fence of stone wherewith the horse was hidden. He wished to let it be uncovered that, shining afar, it might send the message of its beauty unto all men. And at the bidding of their king they dug it up.

[209] But when the sun, drawing on shadowy night for men, turned far-shooting dawn to the dusky-footed setting, then spread abroad the voice of the heralds, telling the people to flee and launch in the hollow sea their fair-peaked ships and loose the cables. Then raising the rush of pinewood fire and burning the fences of their well-established tents they sailed away in their ships from the Rhoeteian shore to a haven over the sea in fair-crowned Tenedos, ploughing the grey waters of Helle, daughter of Athamas. Only Sinon21 remained behind, the son of Aesimus, his limbs voluntarily scarred with stripes, a deceitful hero, concealing a hidden snare and sorrow for the Trojans. And even as when hunter men cast a net about the stakes and set a meshed ambush for the wild beasts that roam the hills, and one chosen apart from the others secretly creeps beneath the thick branches, a hidden scout of the hunt to watch the nets22: even so, his marred limbs marked about with stripes, he devised grievous destruction for Troy; and the streaming blood flowed over his shoulders from wounds purposely made. All night long the flame raged about the tents, belching forth smoke that curled in wandering eddy, and loud-roaring Hephaestus urged it on. Yea, and Hera herself, that gives light to men,23 the mother of immortal fire, breathed thereon and stirred up all manner of gusts.

[235] And now in the shadowy dawn there came to Trojans and to the women of Ilios a rumour spoken by many tongues, announcing the flight of the foe by signal of smoke. Straightway they flung open the bars of the gates and rushed forth, foot and horse, and poured into the plain, seeking whether this were some fresh guile of the Danaans. And yoking swift mules to wagons there came down from the city with King Priam the other elders of the people; and most light of heart were they, being comforted for their children whom bloody Ares had spared, and boding of an old age of freedom: but not long were they to rejoice, since the counsel of Zeus willed it so. And when they saw the flashing form of the skilfully fashioned horse, they thronged about it marvelling, even as chattering jackdaws scream about when they see the valiant eagle. And confused24 and uncertain counsel fell among them. Some wearied with dolorous war and hating the horse, because it was the work of the Achaeans, wished either to dash it on the long precipices or to break it up with two-edged hatchets. But others, trusting in the new polished work of art, bade dedicate the warlike horse to the immortals, to be in after days a memorial of the Argive war. And as they debated, there appeared unto them, dragging his motley limbs over the plain, a naked man in sorry case.25His weals laden with unseemly blood showed the ruinous track of the swift lash. Straightway he grovelled before the feet of Priam, and touched his ancient knees with suppliant hands; and entreating the old man he uttered his craftily woven tale:

[265] “Sceptred King, son of Dardanus, behold me the fellow voyager of the Argives, if thou pitiest me, and deliverer of the Trojans and their city, if thou wilt save me, and lastly foe of the Achaeans: behold how they evilly entreated me who had done no wrong, heeding not the regard of the gods, evil and unkind always. Even so they snatched away his reward from Achilles, son of Peleus, and even so they left Philoctetes,26 fettered by the bite of the water snake, and slew in wrath Palamedes27 himself. And behold now what they have done to me in their wicked folly, for that I would not flee with them, but bade my comrades stay. Overcome by frenzied foolishness they stripped me of my raiment and wounded all my body with unseemly stripes and left me on an alien shore. But, blessed one, do thou have regard unto the majesty of Zeus, the god of suppliants. For I shall be a joy to the Argives, if thou lettest a suppliant and a stranger perish at the hands of the Trojans. But I shall be surety unto all of you that ye no more dread returning war of the Achaeans.”

[283] So he spake, and the old man comforted him with gentle voice: “Stranger, it befits thee not to be afraid any more since thou hast mingled with the Trojans; for thou hast escaped the unkindly violence of the Achaeans. Evermore thou shalt be our friend nor shall sweet desire seize thee for thy fatherland or for thy halls of many possessions. But come, declare thou to me what marvel is this, the horse, a portent of unappeasable terror. And declare thy name and lineage and whence the ships brought thee.”

[291] Then the hero of many devices took heart and said: “These things also will I declare: thou biddest me who am myself willing. Argos is my city and the name give to me is Sinon, and my grey-haired sire they call Aesimus; and the famous horse was invented for the Argives by Epeius. If you allow it to abide here in its place, it is decreed that the spear of the Achaeans shall capture Troy; but if Athena receive it a holy offering in her shrine, they shall flee away with their task unaccomplished. But come, cast it about with entwining chains and draw to the great acropolis the horse of golden reins, and Athena, guardian of the city, be our guide, eager to win the carven offering, even she!”

[304] So he spake, and the king bade him take and don on a cloak and a tunic.28 And they bound the horse with chains of oxhide and drew it with well-plaited ropes over the plain, mounted on its swift wheels and filled with chieftains; and before it flutes and lyres made shrill minstrelsy together. Wretched generation of heedless mortals! for whom a mist which they cannot pierce enwraps the future. By reason of empty joy many men many times stumble unwittingly on destruction: even as at that time ruinous doom for the Trojans rioted on its own way into the city, and none knew that it was fierce sorrow unforgettable that they drew. And gathering flowers from the dewy river they wreathed the tresses on the neck of their slayer. The earth torn about the brazen wheels moaned terribly, and the axles of iron, grinding in them, groaned with harsh noise. The joining of knit ropes creaked and all the taut coiling chain sent up a fiery smoke.29 And as they haled, loud rose the din and the vaunting. Groaned shady Ida together with her nymph-haunted oaks: the eddying waters of the river Xanthus shrieked, and the mouth of Simois rang aloud: and in the heaven the trumpet of Zeus prophesied of the war they drew.

[328] But they haled forward; and the long way waxed heavy, torn with rivers and not like plain lands. And the flashing horse followed them unto the altars dear to Ares, glorying exceedingly; and Athena set her might thereto, laying her heavy hands on the newly carven thighs of the horse. So it sped beyond overtaking, and ran on swifter than an arrow, following the Trojans with lightly prancing feet, until it reached the Dardan gates. And for its coming the folding doors were straitened. But Hera set it free once more to run its course, withdrawing the doors before it, while from the towers Poseidon with his trident drave back the posts of the opening gates. And the Trojan women throughout the city, some here, some there, brides and maidens unwed30 and mothers experienced of Eileithyia31 circled about the image with song and dance. Others culling the fresh bounty of the rain strewed a rosy carpet for the wooden trail. Others undid the spun girdles of sea-purple about their breasts and with woven garlands wreathed the horse. Some broaching the seal of a great jar poured forth wine mixed with golden saffron and made the piled earth odorous with fragrant mud. With the shouting of men was mingled the cry of women, the huzza of boys was joined with the voice of age. And even as the denizens of rich Ocean, the attendants of winter, the ranks of the cranes32 crying in air, align the circle of their wandering dance, uttering their notes abhorred by the ploughmen who labour the earth: even so with crying and with tumult they led to the acropolis the horse laden within.

[358] And the god-driven daughter33 of Priam would not abide any more to her chamber. Tearing apart the bars she ran, like restless heifer whom the sting of the ox-tormenting gadfly has smitten and stung to frenzy: which looks no more to the herd nor obeys the herdsman nor yearns for the pasture, but whetted by the sharp dart she passes beyond the range of oxen: in such wise, her heart distraught by the pricking of the shafts of prophecy, the maiden shook the holy laurel wreath and cried everywhere throughout the city. She heeded nor parents nor friends, and maiden shame forsook her. Not so doth the pleasant flute of Dionysus raging on the hills strike the Thracian woman34 amid the thickets: who, smitten by the god, strains a wild eye and shakes her naked head dark-garlanded with ivy. So Cassandra, starting from her winged wits, raged god-maddened; and, beating ever and again hair and breast, she cried with frenzied voice:

[376] "O wretched men! why rage ye possessed, dragging this unfriendly horse, hasting to your last night and the end of war and the sleep that knows no waking? This warlike rout comes from the foemen. Surely now the travail of the dreams of poor Hecabe35 bears fruit. The long deferred year comes to an end with the resolving of the war. Such a company of chieftains comes, whom the mighty horse shall bring forth in the darkest night, flashing in their armour for battle; now shall warriors most perfect leap to earth and rush to the fray. For not women shall deliver the labouring steed in its travail and attend the birth of men, but she that wrought it shall herself be its Lady of Deliverance; Athena, sacker of cities, midwife of a dolorous birth, shall herself undo the pregnant belly and utter her cry. Lo! now there is rolled within the towers a purple sea of blood outpoured, a wave of death; about the hands of women, sharing the common doom, the bonds of bridal are twined: beneath the wooden planks lurks hidden fire. Alas! for my woes, alas! for thee, city of my fathers, soon shalt thou be fine dust: gone is the handiwork of the immortals, gone utterly the foundations of Laomedon.

[398] "And for thee, my father,36 and for thee, my mother,37 I weep to think what manner of things ye both shall suffer. Thou, my father, piteously fallen shalt lie beside the altar of mighty Zeus of the Court.38 Mother of the best of children, thee from human shape the gods shall turn into a hound39 maddened over thy children. Fair Polyxena,40 for thee lying low near to thy fatherland I shall weep but little: would that someone of the Argives had slain me too with thy lamented fate! For what profit have I in life any more, if life but keep me for a most pitiful death, and an alien soil shall cover me? Such things for me and such a doom for King Agamemnon himself doth my mistress41 weave, his reward for all his labours. But now take ye heed -- in suffering shall ye learn the truth of my words -- and put away, my friends, the cloud of infatuate folly. Let the body of the capacious horse be rent with hatchets or burnt with fire. And hiding crafty persons as it does, let it perish and be greatly regretted by the Danaans. And then feast ye and array you for the dance, setting up mixing-bowls in honour of dear liberty.” 42

[416] So she spake; but no one hearkened to her; for Apollo made her at once a good prophet and unbelieved.43 And her father spake and rebuked her: "What spirit of ill name hath brought thee again, prophetess of evil, bold dog-fly? Vainly dost thou try to stay us with thy barking. Is thy mind not yet weary of its plague of madness, and hast thou not had thy fill of ill-omened ravings, but thou hast come in vexation at our mirth, when Zeus, the son of Cronus, hath lighted for us all the day of freedom and scattered the ships of the Achaeans? And no longer are the long spears brandished, no longer are the bows drawn, no longer flash the swords, the arrows are silent. But dances and honey-breathing music is ours and no more strife: no more wails the mother over the child, nor doth the wife send her husband to the fray and weep, a widow, over his corpse. Athena, guardian of the city, welcomes the horse which is drawn along. But thou, bold maiden, rushing before the house with false prophecies and wild raving, labourest to no purpose and pollutest the holy city. Go to! but our care is dance and mirth. For no longer is terror left under the walls of Troy, and no longer have we need of thy prophetic voice.”

[439] So he spake, and bade lead away the frenzied maiden, hiding her in her chamber. And hardly and against her will she obeyed her parent, and throwing herself upon her maiden bed she wept, knowing her own doom: already she beheld the fire raging on the walls of her burning fatherland. But the others at the temple of the goddess Athena, guardian of the city set up the horse on well-polished pedestal, and burned fair offerings on savoury altars; but the immortals refused their vain hecatombs. And there was festival in the town and infinite lust, lust uplifting the drunkenness of wine that unmans. And all the city was filled with foolishness and gaped with heedlessness, and few warders watched the gates; for now the light of day was sinking and fateful night wrapped steep Ilios for destruction.

[454] And Aphrodite of many counsels, putting on the likeness of hoary age, came to Argive Helen with crafty intent and called her forth and spake to her with persuasive voice: "Dear lady, thy valiant husband Menelaus calls thee. He is hidden in the wooden horse, and round him lie ambushed the leaders of the Achaeans, wooers of war in thy cause. But come and heed no longer ancient Priam nor the other Trojans nor Deiphobus himself. For now I give thee to much enduring Menelaus.”

[463] So spake the goddess and ran away again, But Helen, her heart beguiled by craft, left her fragrant chamber, and her husband Deiphobus followed her. And as she went, the Trojan women of trailing tunics gazed upon her. And when she came to the high-roofed temple of Athena, she stood and scanned the form of the well-manned horse. Three times she walked round it and provoked the Argives, naming all the fair-tressed wives of the Achaeans with her clear voice. And their hearts were torn within them with grief and they restrained their pent up tears in silence. Groaned Menelaus when he heard the daughter of Tyndareus: wept the son of Tydeus remembering Aegialeia: the name of Penelope stirred the heart of Odysseus: but only Anticlus, stung by the name of Laodameia,44 opened his lips and essayed answering speech. But Odysseus leapt upon him and fell about him with both his hands and restrained him while he strove to open his lips, and, seizing his mouth in escapeless fetters unbreakable, held him masterfully. And he writhed under the pressure of his hands, essaying to escape the giant bonds of murderous silence. And breath that gives men life forsook him; and the other Achaeans wept for him with secret tears and hid him away in the hollow flank of the horse, and cast a coverlet over his chilly limbs.

[487] And now would the crafty woman have beguiled another of the Achaeans, had not fierce-eyed Pallas met her from the sky and threatened her and led her forth from her dear temple, appearing unto her alone,45 and sent her away with stern voice: “Wretch, how far shall thy sinfulness carry thee and thy passion for alien wedlock and the infatuation of Cypris46? And thou hast never any pity for thy former husband nor any yearning for thy daughter Hermione, but helpest still the Trojans? Withdraw and go up into thy upper room in the house and with kindly fire welcome the ships of the Achaeans.”

[497] So she spake and shattered the woman’s empty deceit. And Helen passed to her chamber, while they ceased from the dance, filled with weariness, and fell on sleep. The lyre rested, the weary flute lay beside the mixing-bowl, and many a cup fell from the drooping hand and flowed of itself. Peace, the companion of night, browsed about the city; and no baying of dogs was heard but perfect silence reigned, inviting slaughter-breathing battle. And now Zeus, dispenser of war, weighed the Balance47 of destruction for the Trojans, and hardly and at last rallied the Achaeans. Phoebus Apollo withdrew from Ilios to his rich shrine in Lycia, grieving over his mighty walls. And straightway beside the tomb of Achilles Sinon48 showed his message to the Argives with his shining brand. And all night long fair Helen herself also displayed from her chamber to her friends her golden torch. And even as when the moon, full with grey fire, gilds with her face the gleaming heaven: not when, sharpening her pointed horns, she first shines, rising in the shadowless49 dusk of the month, but when, orbing the rounded radiance of her eye, she draws to herself the reflected rays of the sun: even so did the lady of Therapne on that night in her radiance lift up her wine-hued arm, directing the friendly fire. And when they beheld the gleam of the beacon on high, the Argives speedily set back their ships on the path of return, and every mariner made haste, seeking to find an end of the long war. They were at once sailors and stout warriors and called each on the other to row. So the ships, swifter than the speedy winds, with obedient rush sailed unto Ilios by the help of Poseidon. And there the foot soldiers went in front, while the horsemen fell behind, in order that the horses might not rouse the people of Troy by their loud neighing.

[533] And those others poured from the carven belly of the horse, armed princes, even as bees from an oak: which when they have laboured within the capacious hive, weaving the sweet honeycomb with cunning art, pour from their vaulted nest to the pasture and vex the passing wayfarers with their stings: even so the Danaans undid the bolts of their secret ambush and leapt upon the Trojans and, while they still slept, shrouded them in evil dreams of brazen death. The earth swam with blood, and a cry unceasing arose from the fleeing Trojans, and sacred Ilios was straitened with falling corpses, while those others with murderous tumult raged this way and that, like mad lions, bridging the streets with new-slain bodies. And the Trojan women heard from their roofs and some, still thirsting for beloved liberty, submitted their necks to their wretched husbands for slaughter: mothers over their dear children, like light swallows, made lament: and many a young bride wept for her young husband quivering in his death struggle and was fain to die herself, and willed not to follow in the chains of captivity, but roused to anger her unwilling slayer and won to share the death-bed that was owing to her spouse. And many who bare within them breathless children whose months were not yet fulfilled, shed untimely the travail of the womb and died a chilly death, themselves too, with their children.

[559] And Enyo,50 revelling in the drunkenness of unmixed blood, danced all night throughout the city, like a hurricane, turbulent with the waves of surging war. And therewithal Strife lifted her head high as heaven and stirred up the Argives; since even bloody Ares, late but even so, came and brought to the Danaans the changeful victory in war and his help that is now for these and anon for those. And on the acropolis grey-eyed Athena uttered her voice and shook her aegis, the shield of Zeus; and the sky trembled as Hera bestirred her, and the heavy earth rang as it was shaken by the three-toothed spear51 of Poseidon. And Hades shuddered and looked forth from his seat under earth, afraid lest in the great anger of Zeus Hermes, conductor of souls, should bring down all the race of men.

[573] And all things were confounded together and there was slaughter without discretion.52 For some in flight they slew standing by the Scaean53 gates: one leapt from this bed and, seeking his arms, fell upon a darkling spear; one hidden in his shadowy house invited as his guest one whom he deemed to be a friend: fool! no friendly man was he to meet but got hateful gifts of his hospitality; another over his roof, while yet he looked not, fell by the swift arrow. And some, their hearts weighed down with grievous wine, in terror at the din, hasting to come down, forgot the ladder54 and fell unwitting from the lofty roofs and luxed and brake the bones of their necks, and therewith spewed forth wine. And many gathered together in one place were slain as they fought and many, as they were pursued, fell from the towers into the house of Hades, leaping their latest leap. And a few through a narrow hollow, like thieves, escaped unnoticed from the storm of their perishing fatherland. Others within, in the surge of war and darkness, like to men gone rather than to men fleeing, fell one above the other. And the city could not contain the filth, desolate of men but over-full of dead.

[596] And there was no sparing. Driven by the frenzied lash of sleepless turmoil they had no regard even to the gods, but with most lawless onset they defiled with blood the innocent altars of the immortals. And old men most piteous were slain in most unworthy slaughter: slain not on their feet, but, stretching on the ground their suppliant limbs, they had their grey heads laid low. And many infant children were snatched from the mother’s breast that had suckled them but a little while and, understanding not, paid for the sins of their parents, while she that nursed it, offered the child the breast in vain, and brought offering of milk it might not suck.55 And birds and dogs, here and there throughout the city, the fowls of air and the beasts that walk the earth, feasted in company and drank the black blood and made a savage meal. The crying of the birds breathed slaughter, while the barking dogs bayed wildly over torn corpses of men, pitiless and heeding not that they were rending their own masters.

[613] And Odysseus and Menelaus of the goodly hair set out for the house of woman-mad Deiphobus, like unto wolves of jagged teeth, which in a stormy night, lusting for blood, go to attack unshepherded flocks and waste the labour of the herdsmen. There, though they were but two, they engaged foemen beyond numbering. And a new battle arose, as these attacked and those from a chamber overhead hurled stones and arrows which bring speedy death. Yet even so, fencing their giant heads with helmets unbreakable and encircling themselves with shields, they leapt into the great house. And Odysseus drave and slaughtered the crowd that opposed him, even as wild beasts affrighted. And the son of Atreus on the other hand pursued Deiphobus who skulked away, and overtook and smote him in the midst of the belly and poured forth his liver and slippery guts. So he lay there and forgot his chivalry. And with Menelaus followed, trembling, his spear-won spouse, now rejoicing in the end of dire woes, and now ashamed, and then again, though late, as in a dream, secretly groaning, she remembered her dear fatherland.

[634] But Neoptolemus, scion of Aeacus, slew beside the altar of Zeus of the Court-yard the aged king out-worn with woe. He put from him such pity as his father had shown, and hearkened not to his prayers, nor had compassion when he looked on his hair grey even as the hair of Peleus: the hair at which of old Achilles softened his heart and, despite his grievous anger, spared the old man.56 Hard of heart! verily a like fate was destined afterward to come to him by the altar of truthful Apollo, when, as he sought to harm the divine shrine, a Delphian man smote and slew him with a holy knife.57

[644] And Andromache bewailed short-lived Astyanax58 whom she saw dive headlong from the airy towers, hurled to death by the hand of Odysseus. Swift Aias, son of Oileus, assaulted Cassandra when she took shelter at the knees of the stainless goddess Pallas; and the goddess rejected his violence, and, helper though she had been aforetime, for one man’s sake Athena was angered against all the Argives. Aeneias and Anchises did Aphrodite steal away, taking pity on the old man and his son, and far from their fatherland established them in Ausonia.59 So the counsel of the gods was fulfilled with approval of Zeus, so that imperishable sovereignty should be the lot of the children and the grandchildren60 of Aphrodite dear to Ares. The children and race of godlike Antenor,61 that hospitable old man, the son of Atreus saved, in gratitude for his former kindness and that table wherewith his gentle wife Theano had welcomed him. Poor Laodice!62 thee by thy native land the enfolding earth took to her yawning bosom, and neither Acamas, son of Theseus, nor any other of the Achaeans led thee captive, but thou didst perish witty fatherland.

[634] All the multitude of strife and the sorrows of that night I could not sing, distinguishing each event. This is the Muses’ task; and I shall drive, as it were a horse,63 a song which, wheeling about, grazes the turning-post.

[668] Dawn in her car was just speeding back from Ocean in the East and marking great space of sky with slowly brightening light, dispelling slaughterous night; and they, exulting in their proud victory in war, looked everywhere throughout the city to find if any others were concealed and avoiding the murderous warfare that embraced all the people. But they were overcome by the all-capturing net of death, as fishes poured forth on the shores of the sea. And the Argives carried from the halls their new bravery to deck their ships and many treasured heirlooms did they seize from the desolate chambers. And with them they carried off by force captive wives and children together unto the ships. And having arrayed city-sacking fire against the walls, in one flame they confounded all the works of Poseidon.64 And even there was smoking Ilios made a great monument to her dear citizens. And Xanthus, beholding the fiery doom of the city, wept with seaward flowing fountain of lamentation, and, terrified by the anger of Hera, yielded to Hephaestus.

[686] The Achaeans poured the blood of Polyxena65 over the tomb of dead Achilles to propitiate his wrath, and took each his lot of Trojan women and divided all their other spoil, both gold and silver: wherewith they loaded their deep ships and through the booming sea set sail from Troy, having made an end of war.


1. The wooden horse built by Epeius with help of Athena; Eur. Tr. 534 calls it the “polished ambush of the Argives,” xeston lochon Argeiôn.
2. Patroclus.
3. In Iliad vii. Aias and Hector fight an indecisive duel and on parting exchange gifts, Aias giving his belt and receiving Hector’s sword (l.c. 303), with which afterwards slew himself: Pind. I. iii. (iv.), Soph. Aj. 815 f.
4. Iliad xvi. 490. Patroclus slays Sarpedon, son of Zeus and Laodamia (Il. vi. 198 f.). Zeus caused a miraculous darkness to fall upon the battle (Il. xvi. 567), the body of Sarpedon was taken up by Apollo and attended by Sleep and Death to Lycia (ibid. 676 ff.).
5. Iliad x. 435 ff. Rhesus was killed in his sleep by Odysseus and Diomedes.
6. Memnon, son of Tithonus and Eos (Dawn), is unknown to the Iliad: in Od. iv. 188 he is mentioned as slayer of Antilochus and xi. 522 as the most beautiful of those who fought at Troy. His death at the hands of Achilles was told in the Aethiopis of Arctinus, and is described in Qu. Smyrnaeus ii. 542 f., as also the miraculous darkness which enabled his friends to recover his body, 550 f.
7. The Amazons, a race of warrior women, whose chief home was Themiscyra on the Thermodon in Pontus. They were reputed to mutilate one or both breasts to enable them better to draw the bow and throw the spear; hence they got their name (a + mazos) “without breasts.” (Here Tryph. seems to take the word to mean “not giving suck.” Philostr. Her. xx. 42 makes it “unsuckled.”) They were in art represented usually with right breast bare. Their queen Penthesileia was slain at Troy by Achilles, who was smitten with love for her as she died and gave her honourable burial.
8. Helenus, son of Priam and Hecuba, had the gift of prophecy. After the death of Paris he and Deiphobus, his brother, were rivals for the hand of Helen. Deiphobus being preferred, Helenus retired to Ida, where he was by the advice of Calchas seized and brought to the Greek camp. He advised the Greeks to build the wooden horse and to carry off the Palladium.
9. Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, by Deidamia, daughter of Lycomedes, king of Scyros. His original name was Pyrrhus, and he was called Neoptolemus because he went to war when young, or because his father did so (Paus. x. 26. 4). Helenus prophesied that Troy would not be taken without Neoptolemus and the arrows of Heracles -- then in the possession of Philoctetes. So Neoptolemus was brought from Scyros by Odysseus alone, or with Phoenix (Soph. Ph. 343, cf. Philostr. Imag. ii.), or with Diomedes (Quint. Smyrn. vii. 169 ff).
10. The Palladium, the ancient image of Athena, said to have been given by Zeus to Dardanus, on the possession of which the safety of Troy depended. It was stolen by Odysseus and Diomedes.

11. Epeius, son of Panopeus, built the Wooden Horse by means of which Troy was taken. Od. viii. 493, xi. 523, Verg. A. ii. 264.
12. Paris.
13. ippios, an unusual title for Ares. Cf. brisarmatos Hes. Sc. 441.
14. Iliad iii. 216 Antenor says, “When Odysseus of many wiles arose, he would stand and look downward, fixing his eyes upon the ground, and his staff he moved neither back nor fore, but held it steadfast; thou wouldst have deemed him simply sulky and silly. But when he uttered his great voice from his breast, and words like snowflakes in winter, then could no other mortal vie with Odysseus.”
15. When the Greek expedition against Troy lay at Aulis, as the Greeks were sacrificing, a snake came from under the altar and ascended a plane-tree overhead where was a sparrow with eight young ones. The snake devoured them all. Calchas, son of Thestor, the seer of the Greeks, prophesied that the war would last for nine years and that Troy would be taken in the tenth. (Hom. Il. ii. 308 ff.; Qu. Smyrn. vi. 61, viii. 475; Ov. M. xii. 11 ff.)
16. Helenus, son of Priam and Hecuba, twin-brother of Cassandra. He was taken prisoner by the Greeks on the advice of Calchas, and he advised the building of the Wooden Horse and the stealing of the Palladium.
17. A reminiscence of Hesiod, W. 58 (of the creation of Woman).
18. i.e. marvelling at the likeness of N. to his father Achilles.
19. Aegialeus, son of Adrastus and Demonassa, was the only one of the Epigoni who was killed at Thebes (Pind. P. viii. 60 f.; Paus. ix. 5. 7.).
20. Aias assaulted Cassandra in the temple of Athena (E.G.F., Kinkel, p. 49). See II. 647 ff.

21. Sinon (short form for Sinopos, Maass, Hermes xxiii. (1888) son of Aesimus, who, as son of Autolycus and Amphithea, is brother of Anticleia, mother of Odysseus, was left behind when the Greeks sailed to Tenedos, in order that he might light a beacon as a signal for them to return, and that he might induce the Trojans to drag the wooden horse within the walls. There is some variation in the accounts of Sinon’s performance, cf. Apollodor. Epitom. v. 14 ff.; Verg. A. ii. 57 ff.; Qu. Smyrn. xii. 243 ff.; Lycophr. 340 ff. who connects the business with the treason of Antenor.
22. The linoptês was the person who watched the nets to see what entered them. Pollux v. 17, Hesych. s.v. linoptês; cf. Aristoph. Peace 1178 egô d' estêka linoptômenos and schol. there.
23. Hera as “bringer of light” is attested by the fact that Phosphoros (the Morning Star or Venus) was sometimes regarded as the star of Hera: Aristot. De Mundo 2 ho tou phôsphorou dê Aphroditês, hoi de Hêras prosagoreuousin. Pliny, N. H. ii. 37 speaking of the “sidus appellatum Veneris” says “in magno nominum ambitu est. Alii enim Iunonis, alii Isidis, alii Matris Deum apellavere.”
24. Tryphiodorus here imitates Hom. Il. ii. 95 tetrêchei d' agorê, vii. 345 f. agorê . . . deinê tetrêchuia. “Confused” is perhaps enough as a rendering in Tryphiodorus, but the associations of the expression, which cannot be discussed here, go much further than that.
25. According to Tryphiodorus Sinon wounded himself and appeals to Priam as a suppliant and willingly tells about the wooden horse. So Tzetz. schol. Lycophr. p. 134. 12 aikisamenos eauton plêsion tou doureiou hippou ekathêto. In Verg. A. ii. 57 ff. he has allowed himself to be captured by the Trojans and is brought before Priam as a prisoner in fetters. In Qu. Smyrn. xii. 360 ff. he is found by the Trojans beside the wooden horse and only speaks after torture, when his nose and ears have been cut off.
26. Philoctetes, son of Poeas, king of Malis, having on the voyage to Troy been bitten by a water snake and his wound having become noisome, was left by the Greeks in Lemnos. Afterwards they learned that Troy could not be taken without Philoctetes and the arrows which he had received from Heracles. So he was brought to Troy by Odysseus, and his wound being healed by Machaon he slew Paris.
27. Palamedes, son of Nauplius, king of Euboea, exposed the ruse by which Odysseus tried to avoid the expedition to Troy. In revenge Odysseus contrived to bury a quantity of gold in the tent of Palamedes and forged a letter from Priam offering bribes for the betrayal of the Greek army. Palamedes was found guilty of treason and stoned to death.
28. Cf. Hesiod, W. 536 f.
29. All this is closely imitated from the launching of the Argo in Apoll. Rh. i. 388 ff., “The rollers groaned as they were ground under the heavy keel, and round them the dark smoky flame (lignus) spurted under the weight.”
30. Verg. A. ii. 238 “pueri circum innuptaeque puellae Sacra canunt funemque manu contingere gaudent.”

31. Eileithyia, goddess of birth.
32. The geranos, or crane-dance, is described by Pollux iv. 101, “The crane-dance they danced in a body, one behind the other in line, the extremities being occupied by the leaders, Theseus and his party having first imitated so, round the altar in Delos, their escape from the labyrinth.” Cf. Plutarch, Thes. 21, Lucian, De salt. 34. A similar dance called kandiôtês is still danced in Greece. It seems likely enough that Tryphiodorus has in mind also the orderly flight of the cranes (Aristotle, H. A. ix. 10; Eurip. Hel. 1478 ff.). In Greece the bird was a migrant and its passage from its nesting-places in the north (Macedonia, etc.) to the south (Africa, etc., Hom. Il. iii. 2 ff.) which took place about October was the signal for ploughing, Hesiod, W. 448 ff.
33. Cassandra.
34. Bacchant.
35. Before she gave birth to Paris, Hecabe dreamed that she had borne a firebrand. The seers interpreted this to mean that her child would be fatal to Troy and advised that it should be put to death (Hyginus, Fab. 91 and 249; Apollod. iii. 12. 5; Eur. Troad. 922; Verg. Aen. vii. 320, etc.).
36. Priam.
37. Hecabe.
38. Priam was slain by Neoptolemus at the altar of Zeus Herceios (Verg. Aen. ii. 506 ff. See ll. 634 ff.).
39. Hecabe was turned into a hound (Eur. Hec. 1259ff.).
40. Polyxena, daughter of Priam and Hecabe, was loved by Achilles and after the capture of Troy was sacrificed by the Greeks at the tomb of Achilles (Epic. Gr. Frag. p. 50 Kinkel; Apollod. Epitom. v. 23). The name of Neoptolemus was given as the sacrificer by Stesichorus, Ibycus, and later by Euripides; cf. schol. Eur. Hec. 41.

41. i.e. Clytemnestra who treats Cassandra as a slave. Cf. Aesch. Ag. 1035 ff.
42. Hom. Il. vi. 526, “if Zeus grant us to set up in our halls the mixing-bowl of liberty to the everlasting gods.”
43. Cassandra, daughter of Priam, obtained from Apollo the gift of prophecy. But afterwards she refused to fulfil the promise by which she had obtained it. Apollo avenged himself by causing her prophecies not to be believed (Aesch. Ag. 1208 ff.).
44. Lit. “received the sting (goad) of Laodameia.” The ordinary and natural interpretation is that the wife of Anticlus was called Laodameia. She is otherwise unknown, and as the famous Laodameia, wife of Protesilaus, is the type of the love of husband and wife (“the wife of Protesilaus loved him even after death and made a likeness of him . . . and the gods pitied her and Hermes brought him back from Hades. And when she beheld him and thought he had returned from Troy she rejoiced; but when he was carried back to Hades she killed herself” Apollod. epit. iii. 30), it seems possible that the meaning here is “the goad that pricked Laodameia,” i.e. desire for the absent spouse.
45. Cf. Hom. Il. i. 198.
46. Aphrodite.
47. For the Balance of Zeus cf. Hom. Il. viii. 69, xxii. 209, Milton, Paradise Lost, iv. ad fin. "The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, etc."
48. Here (1) both Sinon and Helen give the beacon, (2) Sinon gives it from the grave of Achilles. In Apollodor. epitom. v. 19 only Sinon gives it and from the grave of Achilles, i.e. from outside the city. Arctinus, in the Iliupersis (Procl. p. 244, Myth. Gr. i. Wagner) says Sinon gave the signal proteron eiselêluthôs prospoiêtos, i.e. apparently inside the city. In Vergil, A. vi. 517 ff. the signal is given by Helen. No signal is given by Sinon, but ib. 256 a signal is sent by the Greeks to Sinon who then opens the door of the horse. In Quint. Smyrn. xiii. 23 ff. Sinon gives the signal and ib. 30 ff. he also opens the door of the horse.
49. Aratus says (736) that the moon first casts a shadow when she “is going to the fourth day.” Fest. Avien. Progn. v. ff. "namqué facem quarti sibimet profitebitur ignis, corpora cum primo perfundens lumine nostra in subiecta soli tenuem porrexerit umbram."
50. Goddess of War.

51. The trident; cf. Pind. O. ix. 30, Isth. viii. 35.
52. phonos akritos is not easy to translate adequately, though the sense is clear enough. We write “without discretion“ as a reminiscence of Cuddie Headrigg’s remark (Scott, Old Mortality, chap. xvii.), “The Whigamore bullets ken unco little discretion, and will just as sune knock out the harns o’ a psalm-singing auld wife as a swearing dragoon”; cf. Bacchylid. v. 129 ou gar karterothumos Arês krinei philon en polemô. tuphla d'cheirôn belê psuchais epi dusmeneôn phoita thanaton te pherei toisin an daimôn thelê, Appian p 76 (Bekker), an elephant ran amuck and anêrei ton en prosin, ou diakrinôn eti philion ê polemion, and Byron’s “friend, foe, in one red burial blent” (Ch. Har. iii. 28. 9).
53. For a discussion of the gates of Troy see W. Leaf, Troy, pp. 151 ff.
54. Like Elpenor in Hom. Od. x. 552 ff.
55. Pliny, N. H. xxxv. 98.
56. Hom. Il. xxiv. 515 ff.
57. There are several versions of the death of Neoptolemus at Delphi. (1) According to one story he came to plunder the temple of Apollo (Paus. x. 7. 1), and was slain at the instance of the Pythian priestess by the Delphians (Paus. i. 13. 9) or by Apollo’s priest himself (Paus. x. 24. 4). (2) According to another version he came to offer to Apollo the first-fruits of the spoil of Troy, “and there in a quarrel over meats a man slew him with a knife” (Pindar, Nem. vii. 40 f.). After his death he was buried in the precincts of Apollo’s temple, and yearly offerings were made to him as a hero by the Delphians (Paus. x. 24. 6).
58. The fate of Astyanax, son of Hector and Andromache, who was hurled headlong from the wall of Troy, is fore-shadowed in Hom. Il. xxiv. 735.
59. Italy.
60. The Romans.

61. Antenor and his wife Theano, sister of Hecabe, had entertained Odysseus and Menelaus when they came to Troy to ask the restoration of Helen before the war (Hom. Il. iii. 205), and subsequently he advised the surrender of Helen (Hom. Il. vii. 347 ff.). His friendly attitude to the Greeks (“Troianae suasorem Antenora pacis,” Ovid, F. iv. 75) led later to charges of treachery; cf. Lycophr. 340.
62. Daughter of Priam and Hecabe, mother of Munitus by Acamas, son of Theseus, was, at the taking of Troy, swallowed up by the earth; cf. Lycophr. 314, 497.
63. For this metaphor cf. Lucret. vi. 90 ff. “Tu mihi supremae praescripta ad candida calcis Currenti spatium praemonstra, callida Musa Callipe.” We take the sense to be: I cannot go into detail (Eur. Ph. 751 onoma d' ekastou diatribên pollên echei). This is poetry. As the charioteer tries to graze the turning-post (“metaque fervidis evitata rotis,” Hor. C. i. l. 4) and not to run wide, so my song will be as brief as may be: baia d'en makroisi poikillein akoa sophois, Pind. P. ix. 77.
64. In reference to the building of the walls by Poseidon and Apollo. So Verg. A. iii. 3 “Ilium et omnis humo fumat Neptunia Troia”; cf. A. ii. 622.
65. Polyxena, daughter of Priam, was loved by Achilles, and it was when he had gone to meet her in the temple of Thymbraean Apollo that he was slain by Paris. On the capture of Troy Neoptolemus sacrificed her at the tomb of Achilles; schol. Lycophr. 323; Eur. Tr. 261 ff.