Well, it happened. The Trojans attacked. -I’m not sure it is over yet, either.

It’s been two days.

Early yesterday morning, our camp awoke to calls that the Trojans were leaving their gates.

They did so in a very grand manner, sounding horns and waving flags. Almost their entire army seemed to spill out of the city, spreading out to form a line across the plain.

Our camp's response was almost immediate. Under the direction of Agamemnon and the respective generals, our collective army quickly readied itself and formed into another broad line parallel to the Trojan’s.

This time, Odysseus joined us Ithacans. He rode into our camp with Nestor. Odysseus was wearing an especially fancy helmet, with a big red plume on the top. -The men were ecstatic.

As the General rode our line and rallied our troops, Polites and Misenus helped me to see that they were in proper order. Elpenor showed up too, but I ordered him to keep the build site secure. He started to protest, but when I gave him ten soldiers to command, he became very serious and gruffly ordered them to follow him off.

Although our armies gathered in sight of one another, the entire expanse of the plain separated us. They were under the walls of Troy, and we were in front of our encampment. -Nearly three hours of preparations took place before either side began to move.

It was us who advanced first.

I am sure we did so because Agamemnon didn’t want to fight within our camp again. And, on the other hand, I’d guess the Trojans would have little problem fighting near Troy. -If they stayed close enough, or drew back, the archers lining their city walls could lend them support.

Perhaps that’s why we halted our own progress after moving less than halfway across the plain.

Anyway, it’s a bit hilly between us and the city, and as we slowly approached, the Trojan army would intermittently disappear beneath the grass hills, and then come back into view again.

I was on horseback, along with Nestor, Odysseus and Misenus. -Our camp doesn’t have too many horses, and I decided not to bring the several we had left with us.

As we came over the final hill, I could see Agamemnon’s chariot pull out in front of our army. He rode about one hundred meters ahead, turned around, and stopped.

Shortly after, I saw Diomedes' chariot pull out of our line, and roll out to meet Agamemnon’s. Things were quiet for a few minutes. -It seemed the commanders of our two largest contingents were having a chat.

Then, from our far right, I saw two horses ride out to meet the chariots. One was carrying the Salamisian banner. -No doubt, it was Ajax.

Upon seeing Ajax, Odysseus turned to me and said: “I’ll be back.”

The General then left to meet Agamemnon’s party.

Odysseus took off so abruptly, I think he forgot Nestor was with us. I looked at the old guy, and I could tell he wasn’t sure what to do. Nestor looked at me and just nodded. I began to say something, but he interrupted me with: “I’ll be back, too!” and rode off to our western flank.

I think the Minyans were on our western flank. I’m not sure where Nestor's Pylosians were. -Not to our west.

Anyway, neither Odysseus nor Nestor came back. Shortly after Odysseus reached Agamemnon’s party, the Trojans began to advance.

The Trojan line slowly crept forward at first, almost imperceptibly. However, as they began to descend the gradual slope that surrounded Troy, their army began to pick up speed.

As the Trojans spilled into the lower ground ahead, it was possible to see the depth of their line. -The Trojans had about two-thirds as many men as we did.

Shortly after the Trojans began to move, our army seemed to involuntarily lurch forward. In fact, our line had advanced about fifty meters before I actually heard the horns instructing us to do so.

In a situation like that, there is little anyone can do but go for the ride. Misenus and I did our best to keep our petty officers coordinated, but with soldiers behind us and on either side, we mainly just tried to keep the Ithacans in one coherent group.

In fact, Eumelus was behind us, and he had some trouble keeping some of his over-zealous Pheraens from pouring into our line. By the time we had reached the Trojans, Eumelus was riding next to me and I was surrounded by more Pheraens than Ithacans.

Anyway, when we did hit, total chaos ensued. What started out as two clean lines of Trojans and Achaeans quickly dissolved into a lumpy stew of sporadic melees.

As I couldn't see far beyond my own fragment of the battle, it would be hard for me to comment on it as a whole. However, I do think our Ithacans performed as well as can be expected. And for that, Misenus and Macar deserve much of the credit. -Those guys were almost always visible, calling orders to hold our men together, and directing our fighting to where it was needed most.

A good majority of the battle consisted of me calling out trouble spots to Misenus or Macar, and then them persuading our men to fill the gap.

Polites was initially helping too, but he lost some fingers early on and had to withdraw.

The first day of the battle was long and intense.

At one point, Ajax and Diomedes were fighting near us. They were sparring with a small group of Phrygians, led by some Trojan in fancy armor. I don’t know who the guy was, but Ajax put a spear through his face.

After that, the Phrygians hastily fell back, followed by Ajax and Diomedes.

Our Ithacans fought noticeable harder after witnessing Ajax's feat.

Somewhat later, I saw Glaukos fighting not far from us. He was not only fighting viciously, he was cursing and shouting the entire time. I don’t know how he had the breath to do it.

Glaukos' Lycian contingent never came close enough to us, and for that I’m glad. Even at such a distance, his voracity was a bit unnerving. Despite the clamor of battle, I could see our men occasionally looking in Glaukos’ direction, straining to see who was causing such a fuss.

Even more so, Misenus later told me he that saw Priam and an entourage of Trojan champions fighting just behind Glaukos' group. I am very grateful we missed them. -I thought Priam’s presence might have given Glaukos such nerve.

Anyway, the day was long and bloody. However, our Ithacans casualties were surprisingly light, and I managed not to get shot in the ass, or any other place, for that matter.

As sun began to set, the Trojans began to fall further and further back towards the walls of Troy. Although a few brave Achaeans gave pursuit, most of our army remained where the battle began.

Surprisingly, the Trojans didn’t enter the city gates. Instead, they set up a makeshift camp just below the walls of Troy. Soon after, orders were passed along for us to do the same where we stood.

Last night I got very little rest. I spent it seeing to our men, accessing the casualties and preparing for the next day. I also had to send a contingent back to gather more supplies and to better guard our abandoned camp.

Odysseus didn’t appear until this morning. -Yet, when he did arrive, Achilles was with him.

Our men were elated to see our Achaean Champion, and they gave him a cheerful welcome. However, I think their enthusiasm was a little tempered by Odysseus’ late appearance. Unfortunately, I don’t think Odysseus noticed. -The General was too pleased being chummy with Achilles in front of our Ithacans.

Odysseus and Achilles ate breakfast with Misenus, Macar and I. All the while, the General related stories about the fighting yesterday. Apparently, Odysseus spent much of the day battling alongside the Champion. -As Odysseus was reveled in recollection of the combat, Achilles was his usual cool, silent self.

After breakfast, Achilles excused himself. -Odysseus stayed by default.

To make the General feel less dejected, I immediately reported to him about our man’s performance, and about our casualties suffered. -This brightened him up a bit.

Odysseus then asked for a horse, and ordered me to ready or men. -The action began soon after.

This day of battle was strange.

Today, the Trojans never left their camp en masse. Instead, they sent out small groups that would intermittently skirmish with a portion of our army, and then quickly fall back under the safety of their city walls.

As our line was several hundred meters in length, there was anywhere from one to about four of these smaller battles going on along our front at any one point in time.

Additionally, today’s scuffles were almost always lead by some very visible commanders and their respective contingents.

In fact, shortly after noon, our part of the line responded to an advance made by Glaukos and two generals leading a Mysian contingent. -Eumelus and his Pheraens fought along side us.

Once again, Glaukos was bitching like a harpy. -He almost finished Eumelus after killing his horse, but Odysseus intervened and shortly after sent the cursing Glaukos back on his way.

Later in the day we were on the periphery of another such battle brought on by the Dardanians, but I didn’t even get to swing my sword in that one.

After the sun set, things cooled off once again.

Like the day before, we are camped out, halfway into the Trojan plain that separates our beachhead from the city.

About an hour ago I rode back to our encampment to gather some things and to check on the Horse. Everything there is fine. I found Elpenor riding about with his entourage of ten soldiers, all mounted and fully armored. -Apparently, he has been taking his job very seriously.

Anyway, I grabbed my journal, a sleeping roll and some bread.

I am writing this by firelight under the open sky. General Odysseus is across from me, snoring loudly.


Anonymous jmchez said...

You have got to publish this "eyewitness version of the Illiad"as a real book!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Alan Manuel said...

I agree with him!

9:15 PM  

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