Friday, July 09, 2004

In the twenty-first chapter of the Iliad, Achilles is killing many Trojans with his Pelian ashen spear and sword. My readings have slowed two about a page at a time, every other night.

But does Achilles have a bronze spear too? After killing Asteropaios, whose people are from the "broad waters of the Axios," Achilles

"...Pulled the bronze spear free from the river bluff
and left him there, when he had torn the heart of life from him,
sprawled in the sands and drenched in the dark water. And about
Asteropaios the eels and the other fish were busy
tearing him and nibbling the fat that lay by his kidneys."

[v200-204, p. 423; transl. by Richard Lattimore,1951, University of Chicago Press]

It may be that the point or head is bronze. After all, Achilles throws the spear, missing Asteropaios, probably because Asteropaios has grazed his arm with one of his two spears, and it "was driven half its length and stuck in the bank of the river" (line 172.)

However, later, in line 329 of Book XXII, when Achilles' finally confronts Hektor to kill him, "the ash spear heavy with bronze did not sever the windpipe (Hektor's). So it is an ash spear with a bronze point.
But another question I have is, who is Aiakides? The one who made the ashen spear that Asteropaios was trying to pull out or break from the bank of the river before Achilles struck him in the abdomen, spilling his guts. Is this Achilles spear? I saw no description of Asteropaios' spears. Maybe he was hoping to use Achilles' superior spear.


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