The Euphronios Kater. Side B: Youths arming themselves. Ca. 515 BC.  National Etruscan Museum, in the Villa Giulia in Rome.

Among the scenes of arming of heroes in the Iliad, the arming of Patroclus in Book 16 is unique in that pattern of  aristeia that we come to expect after the arming scenes is suddenly broken, argues Olga Faccani. Patroclus not taking Achilles’ spear before going to battle stands for an incompleteness in the aristeia and forecasts his destruction. Iliad 16.124-145, discussed, translated, and read in Greek by Olga Faccani.

And so Achilles slapped his thighs and spoke to Patroclus:
“Stand up, divine Patroclus, master of horsemen;
I can see the fighting and the fire raging by the ships,
And may our enemies never take them:
We should not delay any further.
Quick, put on my armor, and I will gather the army.”
Thus spoke Achilles, and Patroclus armed himself in flashing bronze:
First he wore around his legs the stunning greaves,
Joined together with silver ankle-pieces;
Secondly, he fastened the breastplate around his chest,
The superb breastplate belonging to swift-footed Achilles, embroidered with stars.
Then, he threw the bronze sword, silver studded, around his shoulders,
and the sturdy massive shield.
On his strong head he then put the helmet,
Adorned with horse tail hair,
And its crest nodded terribly form above.
He finally seized two deadly spears,
which perfectly fitted his palms.
But he forgot the spear of noble Achilles,
That heavy, long and sturdy spear which none of the other Acheans could lift:
For Achilles alone managed to hold it.
That spear had been carved out of Peliaden ash,
From the peak of Mount Pelion,
And Chirion offered it to his dear father,
So that it could be the doom of many heroes.

αὐτὰρ Ἀχιλλεὺς
μηρὼ πληξάμενος Πατροκλῆα προσέειπεν:  125
‘ὄρσεο διογενὲς Πατρόκλεες ἱπποκέλευθε:
λεύσσω δὴ παρὰ νηυσὶ πυρὸς δηΐοιο ἰωήν:
μὴ δὴ νῆας ἕλωσι καὶ οὐκέτι φυκτὰ πέλωνται:
δύσεο τεύχεα θᾶσσον, ἐγὼ δέ κε λαὸν ἀγείρω.
ὣς φάτο, Πάτροκλος δὲ κορύσσετο νώροπι χαλκῷ.  130
κνημῖδας μὲν πρῶτα περὶ κνήμῃσιν ἔθηκε
καλάς, ἀργυρέοισιν ἐπισφυρίοις ἀραρυίας:
δεύτερον αὖ θώρηκα περὶ στήθεσσιν ἔδυνε
ποικίλον ἀστερόεντα ποδώκεος Αἰακίδαο.
ἀμφὶ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὤμοισιν βάλετο ξίφος ἀργυρόηλον  135
χάλκεον, αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα σάκος μέγα τε στιβαρόν τε:
κρατὶ δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἰφθίμῳ κυνέην εὔτυκτον ἔθηκεν
ἵππουριν: δεινὸν δὲ λόφος καθύπερθεν ἔνευεν.
εἵλετο δ᾽ ἄλκιμα δοῦρε, τά οἱ παλάμηφιν ἀρήρει.
ἔγχος δ᾽ οὐχ ἕλετ᾽ οἶον ἀμύμονος Αἰακίδαο    140
βριθὺ μέγα στιβαρόν: τὸ μὲν οὐ δύνατ᾽ ἄλλος Ἀχαιῶν
πάλλειν, ἀλλά μιν οἶος ἐπίστατο πῆλαι Ἀχιλλεὺς
Πηλιάδα μελίην, τὴν πατρὶ φίλῳ πόρε Χείρων
Πηλίου ἐκ κορυφῆς, φόνον ἔμμεναι ἡρώεσσιν.   145


Image: The Euphronios Kater. Side B: Youths arming themselves. Ca. 515 BC. National Etruscan Museum, in the Villa Giulia in Rome.

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