Book XI: The Lion


So as a lion seizes the infant young of the swift deer,
and easily crushes them with mighty teeth,
when he has come into their lair, and takes out their supple hearts.
And even if the deer happens to be near, she is not able 
to ward him off… 

ὡς δὲ λέων ἐλάφοιο ταχείης νήπια τέκνα
ῥηϊδίως συνέαξε λαβὼν κρατεροῖσιν ὀδοῦσιν
ἐλθὼν εἰς εὐνήν, ἁπαλόν τέ σφ᾽ ἦτορ ἀπηύρα:
ἣ δ᾽ εἴ πέρ τε τύχῃσι μάλα σχεδόν, οὐ δύναταί σφι

(Iliad, lines 113-121)


The picture says it all.  Sometimes the descriptions of killing are so animal, especially in this case with the lion metaphor.
I wanted to make this soldier ravenous.  I was actually inspired by a documentary about sharks.  Sharks apparently get so excited when in a panic that they sometimes vomit their own stomachs.  I’ll never forget the image of the shark’s mouth completely stuffed with guts, bursting out at it’s teeth.
I wanted this soldier’s mouth to be so full of guts that it could not even contain it all, full of gore, with an unquenchable thirst for killing.


Book VIII: The Scales of Zeus

ZeusAnd then the father stretched out golden scales,

and he set in them two fates of woeful deaths

for the Trojans, breakers of horses, and for the

bronze-clad Achaeans, and balanced it by the

middle handle.  But the destined day of the Achaeans sank.

There, the fates of the Achaeans sank to the bountiful earth,

and the fates of the Trojans were raised to the wide sky.

καὶ τότε δὴ χρύσεια πατὴρ ἐτίταινε τάλαντα:
ἐν δ᾽ ἐτίθει δύο κῆρε τανηλεγέος θανάτοιο
Τρώων θ᾽ ἱπποδάμων καὶ Ἀχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων,
ἕλκε δὲ μέσσα λαβών: ῥέπε δ᾽ αἴσιμον ἦμαρ Ἀχαιῶν.
αἳ μὲν Ἀχαιῶν κῆρες ἐπὶ χθονὶ πουλυβοτείρῃ
ἑζέσθην, Τρώων δὲ πρὸς οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἄερθεν:

Zeus is eating out of his scales!  But isn’t justice supposed to be completely unbiased?  In this book, it is evident that Zeus is in command of the fates of the Achaeans and the Trojans.  He oversees the entire affair from Mount Ida, far away and above the rest of them.

Book IV: Athena and the Swift Arrow


Menelaos, the blessed immortal gods did not forget you,
but first and foremost is Zeus’ daughter, the driver of spoil,
who, standing before you, deflected the sharp arrow.
Indeed, she kept it away from his skin, like when a mother,
brushes a fly from her child, lying in pleasant sleep,
herself straightening it to where the the gold belt clasps
and the two parts of the corslet met.  

οὐδὲ σέθεν Μενέλαε θεοὶ μάκαρες λελάθοντο
ἀθάνατοι, πρώτη δὲ Διὸς θυγάτηρ ἀγελείη,
ἥ τοι πρόσθε στᾶσα βέλος ἐχεπευκὲς ἄμυνεν.
ἣ δὲ τόσον μὲν ἔεργεν ἀπὸ χροὸς ὡς ὅτε μήτηρ
παιδὸς ἐέργῃ μυῖαν ὅθ᾽ ἡδέϊ λέξεται ὕπνῳ,
αὐτὴ δ᾽ αὖτ᾽ ἴθυνεν ὅθι ζωστῆρος ὀχῆες
χρύσειοι σύνεχον καὶ διπλόος ἤντετο θώρηξ.

(Iliad, 4.127-133)

Menelaos has been shot, but he’s still alive!  Zeus wants to rekindle the fighting. so what does he do?  He calls upon Athena to cause some disturbance.  She goes to Pandarus and tells him to shoot an arrow at Menelaos.  She only wants to injure him to get the Achaeans fighting, so she makes sure the arrow only wounds him and does not kill him.
I made Athena’s portrait very owl-like, as she is associated with this animal.  I even went to the point of attaching feathers to her eyebrows and planting a little bird and next on her head.

Book II: Dream comes to Agamemnon in the Guise of Nestor

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So he spoke, and Dream heard his word and descended afterward.
Swiftly he came down by the Achaean’s nimble ships,
and went to Agamemnon, son of Atreus.  He lighted upon him
sleeping in his shelter, immortal sleep poured ’round him.
Dream stood by his head, in the guise of Nestor, Neleus’ son,…

ὣς φάτο, βῆ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὄνειρος ἐπεὶ τὸν μῦθον ἄκουσε:
καρπαλίμως δ᾽ ἵκανε θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν,
βῆ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐπ᾽ Ἀτρεΐδην Ἀγαμέμνονα: τὸν δὲ κίχανεν
εὕδοντ᾽ ἐν κλισίῃ, περὶ δ᾽ ἀμβρόσιος κέχυθ᾽ ὕπνος.
στῆ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς Νηληΐῳ υἷι ἐοικώς

(Iliad, 2.16-21)


This is one of my favorite pictures: Dream personified.   I thought it was so vivid, how Dream actually flies down from the sky to transmit Agamemnon a message.
I also learned that Dream is related to Death, and so I wanted to create this creepy fairy character, and give him less of an angelic look.