Olethros

achilleskillshector

Οἷος δ’ ἀστὴρ εἶσι μετ’ ἀστράσι νυκτὸς ἀμολγῷ
ἕσπερος, ὃς κάλλιστος ἐν οὐρανῷ ἵσταται ἀστήρ,
ὣς αἰχμῆς ἀπέλαμπ᾽ εὐήκεος, ἣν ἄρ’ Ἀχιλλεὺς
πάλλεν δεξιτερῇ φρονέων κακὸν Ἕκτορι δίῳ,
εἰσορόων χρόα καλόν, ὅπῃ εἴξειε μάλιστα.
τοῦ δὲ καὶ ἄλλο τόσον μὲν ἔχε χρόα χάλκεα τεύχεα
καλά, τὰ Πατρόκλοιο βίην ἐνάριξε κατακτάς·
φαίνετο δ’ ᾗ κληῗδες ἀπ’ ὤμων αὐχέν’ ἔχουσι
λαυκανίην, ἵνα τε ψυχῆς ὤκιστος ὄλεθρος·
τῇ ῥ’ ἐπὶ οἷ μεμαῶτ’ ἔλασ’ ἔγχεϊ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς,
ἀντικρὺ δ’ ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος ἤλυθ’ ἀκωκή.
(Homer, Il. 22.317-327)

Bright as that star amid the stars in the night sky,
star of the evening, brightest star that rides the heavens,
so fire flared from the sharp point of the spear Achilles
brandished high in his right hand, bent on Hector’s death,
scanning his splendid body – where to pierce it best?
The rest of his flesh seemed all encased in armor,
burnished, brazen – Achilles’ armor that Hector stripped
from strong Patroclus when he killed him – true,
but one spot lay exposed,
where collarbones lift the neckbone off the shoulders,
the open throat, where the end of life comes quickest – there
as Hector charged in fury brilliant Achilles drove his spar
and the point went stabbing clean through the tender neck (…)
(tr. Robert Fagles)

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