Book 8 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Zeus warns the gods not to help either side in the battle, but Athena asks permission to give advice, which is granted. Both armies prepare for battle, and the fighting resumes at noon. Zeus weighs their fates on his golden scales and favors the Trojans’s fate over that of the Achaeans. 

The Achaeans are pushed back toward their ships by the Trojans, prompting Hera and Athena to attempt to convince Poseidon to aid the wavering Achaean front line. However, he refuses out of fear of consequences from Zeus. Agamemnon prays instead, inspiring an omen from Zeus that temporarily rallies the Achaeans before they are once more forced to retreat. 

Hera and Athena attempt to intervene with a team of horses but turn back after Zeus orders them to cease their interference. 

Night falls, leaving the Achaeans exhausted and demoralized. Hector orders his troops to remain outside the walls and ensure that the Achaeans do not attempt to escape in the night; they build large fires and transport food from inside the Trojan walls, then prepare to wait until morning, when the fight resumes. 

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