Iliad - Public domain English translationIliad Book IX happens on the same day as Book VIII.
Agamemnon holds a council at which he complains that Zeus had promised victory, but is now ordering the Greeks (NB: Homer refers to them mostly as Achaeans, and sometimes Argives or Danaans; Greek is our term) home; therefore, they should set sail. Diomedes says that Agamemnon is welcome to set sail since he has honor, but no valor. Meanwhile, the rest of the Greeks will stay. Nestor says that although Diomedes speaks well for such a young man, they should all have their evening meal, and Agamemnon should look into the advice of his councillors over wine.
The Greeks do as Nestor advised. In Agamemnon's quarters Nestor is first to speak. He reminds Agamemnon that he has angered Achilles and should now appease him. Agamemnon says Nestor is right and will send to Achilles many gifts, including Briseis, whom he swears he has not violated. He will make Achilles his son-in-law when they return home and give him 7 cities.
Nestor approves the offer and suggests the messengers - Phoenix, Ajax, Odysseus, and the heralds. The messengers follow the shoreline to the Myrmidons where Achilles is playing a lyre before Patroclus. Achilles greets them graciously. Achilles asks Patroclus to provide wine, fire, and meat for the guests.
Odysseus explains that Zeus is favoring the Trojans with his thunderbolts, the Trojans are pressing down upon the Greeks and Hector is raging fearlessly. He pleads with Achilles to join them, saying Achilles will be sorry if he waits too long. Odysseus adds the long inventory of gifts Agamemnon has offered.
Achilles answers that he won't have any more cajoling. He hates Agamemnon and thinks the Greeks have not been very grateful for all his fighting. Agamemnon has taken his love just the same as Paris took Helen. He adds that Agamemnon is doing fine without him. He has even built a wall and trench. He says the next day they'll go back home and reveals his mother's prophecy that he will stay, fight bravely, and die famously, or will go home and live a long inconsequential life.
Phoenix tells the story of how he came to be like a second father to Achilles and Achilles asks him to stay.
Ajax addresses Odysseus to suggest they leave. He calls Achilles unforgiving.
Achilles says much of what Ajax says is of his liking, but he will not fight the Trojans until Hector brings the battle to his court and attacks his Myrmidons.
The messengers return to base, and Agamemnon asks Odysseus and Ajax what Achilles said. Odysseus says he is angrier than ever. He adds that Achilles believes all the Greek forces should go home.
Diomedes says that Agamemnon shouldn't have offered Achilles anything because he's proud enough. Diomedes says again, they should fight in the morning. The other chiefs approve and go to sleep.
Iliad Book I - Who? What? Where?
Read a public domain translation of Homer's Iliad Book IX.