Last Updated February 28, 2023.
The gods meet to discuss the outcome of the duel in the previous section. Zeus recommends a truce, while Hera and Athena argue for the complete destruction of Troy.
After some deliberation, Athena is sent to provoke further fighting. She does so by persuading Pandarus to gain glory for himself by killing Menelaus.
Pandarus takes her advice and shoots an arrow at Menelaus, drawing blood but not fatally wounding him. The injury, while not grievous, is infuriating and shows poor sportsmanship on the part of the Trojans. Ultimately, it accomplishes Athena’s task: both sides are stirred into battle and fierce fighting ensues.
The battle continues to rage. Diomedes, with help from Athena, performs many courageous acts. She grants him the ability to see other gods on the battlefield but warns him not to engage the gods in combat, with the exception of Aphrodite, whom she despises and considers an easy target.
Diomedes wounds Aeneas, a favorite son of Aphrodite, which goads the goddess into action; when she comes to Aeneas’s rescue, Diomedes stabs her in the hand with his spear. Aphrodite, who has never been wounded in battle before, runs back to Olympus, frightened and in pain. Zeus orders her to stay out of the war as she is not trained in warfare and asks Apollo to spirit Aeneas away from the fighting to allay Aphrodite’s fears.
Ares spurs the Trojans into battle and attempts to turn the tide in their favor, but Diomedes—aided by both Athena and Hera—holds them back. He badly injures Ares, leading the god of war to abandon his troops and return to Olympus in anger. Ares complains to Zeus about Athena and Hera’s interference, but Zeus ignores him.
With the gods having taken their leave, the battle continues, fought amongst mortals and without divine influence.