The Iliad Hephaestus Quotes

But circling the other city camped a divided army
gleaming in battle-gear, and two plans split their ranks:
to plunder the city or share the riches with its people,
hoards the handsome citadel stored within its depths,
But the people were not surrendering, not at all.
They armed for a raid, hoping to break the siege –
loving wives and innocent children standing guard
on the ramparts, flanked by elders bent with age
as men marched out to war. Ares and Pallas led them.
both burnished gold, gold the attire they donned, and great,
magnificent in their armor – gods for all the world,
looming up in their brilliance, towering over troops.
And once they reached the perfect spot for attack,
…both armies battled it out along the river banks –
they raked each other with hurtling bronze-tipped spears.
And Strife and Havoc plunged in the fight, and violent Death
now seizing a man alive with fresh wounds, now one unhurt,
now hauling a dead man through the slaughter by the heels,
the cloak on her back stained red with human blood.
So they clashed and fought like living, breathing men
grappling each other’s corpses, dragging off the dead.

– Homer

The Iliad, Book 18, lines 593-605, 621-628. The second city featured on the massive shield of Achilles forged by Hephaestus is an extended metaphor for the embattled city of Troy, besieged by invading Achaeans. The scenes described foreshadow the Trojans leaving the city to fight the Achaeans between their shores and the city. Also foreshadowed is Achilles killing Hector and mistreating and dragging his body behind his chariot – "hauling a dead man through the slaughter by the heels." On the shield the god Ares and goddess Pallas Athena play a role in the fighting, he on the Trojan side and she supporting the Greeks.

And the crippled Smith brought all his art to bear
on a dancing circle, broad as the circle Daedalus
once laid out on Cnossos’ spacious fields
for Ariadne the girl with lustrous hair.
Here young boys and girls, beauties courted
with costly gifts of oxen, danced and danced,
linking their arms, gripping each other’s wrists.
And the girls wore robes of linen light and flowing,
the boys wore finespun tunics rubbed with a gloss of oil,
the girls were crowned with a bloom of fresh garlands.
the boys swung golden daggers hung on silver belts.
And now they would run in rings on their skilled feet,
nimbly, quick as a crouching potter spins his wheel,
palming it smoothly, giving it practice twirls
to see it run, and now they would run in rows,
in rows crisscrossing rows – rapturous dancing.
A breathless crowd stood round them struck with joy
and through them a pair of tumblers dashed and sprang,
whirling in leaping handsprings, leading on the dance.
And he forged the Ocean River’s mighty power girdling
round the outmost rim of the welded indestructible shield.

– Homer

The Iliad, Book 18, lines 689-709. The divine smith Hephaestus forges on his shield for Achilles a dancing circle where young boys and girls dance together and court. The images crafted on this portion of the shield are a beautiful, exquisitely detailed, extended metaphor that depicts a scene of youthful joy and festivity. Homer also uses an epic simile comparing the nimbleness of the young dancers to a potter spinning his wheel.