Books 12 and 13 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Book 12 

The battle continues, and the Trojans press their advantage, forcing the Achaeans back toward their ships. Hector tries to encourage his forces to cross the ditch in front of the wall, but the horses are too afraid, and the chariots cannot cross it. Resolved, the Trojans abandon their horses and attempt to advance on foot.

Book 13 

Hector, Polydamas, and their men prepare to cross the ditch when they witness an ominous sign: an eagle carrying a snake flies overhead; the snake bites its captor in the neck, so the eagle drops the snake among the men. Polydamas advises Hector to heed this warning from Zeus, but Hector is determined to attack anyway. 

The two armies fight bitterly at the wall the Achaeans have constructed around their ships. Finally, Hector hurls a rock that shatters the doors of the double gates, allowing the Trojans inside. The Achaeans flee for their ships. 

Poseidon feels pity for them and anger toward Zeus; he mounts his chariot and rides out over the sea to take on Calchus's form and fight among the Achaeans. His presence gives them new strength and courage in battle. Idomeneus fights bravely, killing many Trojans, and helps turn the tide of the battle. 

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Book 11 Summary

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Books 14 and 15 Summary