IV. Outer Ring: PEACETIME


IV.   The Outer Ring of Achilles’ Shield:   PEACETIME

IV.1:   PLOWING THE FIELD

Outer Ring: Plowing the Field. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: PLOWING THE FIELD. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“Hephaistos put next a freshly plowed field with many plowmen upon it.
One guided his ox-team with care through the turn as he reached the wide field’s limit,
And there, awaiting the hard-working man, was his friend with a sweet cup of wine.
Back along the deep furrows they drove their beasts, eager to have the work finished,
And the turned-up sod seemed black behind them, although in truth it was gold.
For this was the fame of the Master Smith’s craft: his handiwork looked real.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 541-549, Vail’s translation]

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IV.2:   HARVESTING THE GRAIN

Outer Ring: HARVESTING THE GRAIN. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: HARVESTING THE GRAIN. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“He also placed there a wealthy king’s field where men swung razor-sharp scythes,
For here was pictured the mowing of grain, and harvesters bent to their tasks.
Golden stalks were falling along the way and binders tied them in sheaves.
Three binders he pictured, and children gleaning, offering handfuls of wheat.
Upon a newly-mown swath stood the king, staff in hand and full of contentment,
While under an oak tree, off to one side, his men prepared a great feast.
Sacrificing an ox, they slaughtered the beast while women winnowed barley for a meal.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 550-560, Vail’s translation]

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IV.3:   GATHERING THE GRAPES

Outer Ring: GATHERING THE GRAPES. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: GATHERING THE GRAPES. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“A vineyard in gold he next created, with vines hung heavy with grapes;
Yet the hanging clusters appeared deep purple and draped on silver supports.
The encircling channel appeared clear blue, and the fence around this was tin;
And there was only one way out for the vintagers with their harvest.
Here were children with well-woven baskets loaded with honey-sweet fruit;
On a rustic lyre a youth sang sweetly a delicate song of Linos,
While others sang out in unrestrained joy, keeping time as they skipped together.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 561-572, Vail’s translation]

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IV.4:   HERDING THE CATTLE TO PASTURE

Outer Ring: HERDING THE CATTLE TO PASTURE. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: HERDING THE CATTLE TO PASTURE. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“A herd of oxen he next placed there, with gold bodies and straight horns of tin.
From stable to pasture they lowed and shambled, alongside a rippling river
With swaying reeds and a sweet murmuring rising up from the bubbling water.
Four golden cowherds followed slowly behind, with nine nimble dogs beside them.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 573-578, Vail’s translation]

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IV.5:   LION ATTACK

Outer Ring: LION ATTACK. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: LION ATTACK. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“Then a pair of lions charged a bull: In two huge bounds assaulted,
Then dragged him off as he bellowed in fear, as the dogs and men pursued.
The herdsmen commanded their hunting dogs as the lions tore into the bull,
But they were no match for lion’s teeth, and they raced back and forth, merely barking.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 579-587, Vail’s translation]

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IV.6:   VALLEY OF SHEEP

Outer Ring: VALLEY OF SHEEP. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: VALLEY OF SHEEP. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“The Bandy-legged god put next on the shield a wide valley with silvery sheep,
A beautiful pasture with huts and sheds, and tidy sheepfolds fashioned.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 588-589, Vail’s translation]

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IV.7:   CIRCLE-DANCING

Outer Ring: CIRCLE-DANCING. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: CIRCLE-DANCING. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“He fashioned there, also, a wide dancing floor, like the one in Knossos’ palace
That Daidalos made for King Minos’ daughter, the beautiful Ariadne.
Young men he pictured with noble young girls, all dancing there, hand in hand.
The girls were dressed in the softest of linen, with wreaths woven for their hair;
The men wore tunics gleaming with oil, and gold daggers on silver chains.
They danced in a circle, always in step, as a potter gives a spin
To a pot he is making, to see how it runs as it turns upon his wheel.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 590-602, Vail’s translation]

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IV.8:   LINE-DANCING

Outer Ring: LINE-DANCING. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: LINE-DANCING. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“And also in lines, they appeared as in ranks, and advanced upon each other.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Line 603, Vail’s translation]

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IV.9:   ACROBATS JOIN THE ACTION

Outer Ring: ACROBATS JOIN THE ACTION. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail  © All Rights Reserved

Outer Ring: ACROBATS JOIN THE ACTION. From the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail
© All Rights Reserved

“Then with effortless spins and dexterous handsprings, two tumblers joined the action,
And the wide-eyed company cheered and laughed at their comical acrobatics.”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18, Lines 604-606, Vail’s translation]

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Continue to V. Outer Rim: THE MIGHTY OCEAN CURRENT

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