Book IX: Fodder


Man’s appointed doom is the same for the man who stays at home, the same if he wages war.
But we share the same honor, the brave men and the base men.
But we die away the same, the idle man and the one who has done much.
There is nothing laid out for me, since I have felt pain in my heart,
forever fighting, my life, fodder.

ἴση μοῖρα μένοντι καὶ εἰ μάλα τις πολεμίζοι:
ἐν δὲ ἰῇ τιμῇ ἠμὲν κακὸς ἠδὲ καὶ ἐσθλός:
κάτθαν᾽ ὁμῶς ὅ τ᾽ ἀεργὸς ἀνὴρ ὅ τε πολλὰ ἐοργώς.
οὐδέ τί μοι περίκειται, ἐπεὶ πάθον ἄλγεα θυμῷ
αἰεὶ ἐμὴν ψυχὴν παραβαλλόμενος πολεμίζειν.

(Iliad, lines 9.318-22)

The request for Achilles to go back to fighting really reminded me of propaganda posters recruiting people to join the army.  Even now, there are many benefits to joining the army, namely a free education.  Would you join the army and go to war for one billion dollars?  What about one million?  What about one hundred thousand?
Agememnon thinks it is inevitable that Achilles will want to come back when offered with such astounding gifts.  However, Achilles refuses to accept his offer and chooses not to participate.  He asserts power by not giving Agamemnon want he wants.