Sunday, December 13, 2009

the horses of Achilles

sketch of chariot by ophelia keys

Then from beneath the yoke the gleam-footed horse answered him, Xanthos, and as he spoke he bowed his head, so that all the mane fell away from the pad and swept the ground by the cross-yoke; the goddess of the white arms, Hera, had put a voice in him:

'We shall still keep you safe for this time, o hard Akhilleus. And yet the day of your death is near, but it is not we who are to blame, but a great god and powerful Destiny. For it was not because we were slow, because we were careless, but it was that high god, the child of lovely-haired Leto, who killed him among the champions and gave the glory to Hektor. But for us, we two could run with the blast of the West Wind (Zephryos) who they say is the lightest of all things; yet still for you there is destiny to be killed in force by a god and a mortal.’

When he had spoken so the Erinyes stopped the voice in him, but deeply disturbed, Akhilleus of the swift feet answered him : `Xanthos, why do you prophesy my death? This is not for you. I myself know well it is destined for me to die here far from my beloved father and mother.'
Homer, Iliad 19. 392 ff :

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