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Outline of Homer's IliadBook 4The gods sit in council, and Zeus wonders if there is still a way to get Helen back to Menelaos without utterly destroying the city of Troy. Hera expresses her displeasure at this idea and Zeus backs off, although not without some blustering about his position of supremacy. In response Hera asserts her own ancestry and suggests a compromise: the war will go on, but the Trojans will be the first to break the truce. Athene flies to earth and convinces a Trojan, Pandaros, to shatter the truce by firing an arrow at Menelaos. The arrow only grazes him, but it is enough to break the truce. Machaon, the doctor, treats the wound. The battle is joined again, and Agamemnon goes through the ranks, urging on the good fighters with praise and the slackers with reproaches. He encounters the Kretan Idomeneus, and the two exchange words of encouragement, then Agamemnon moves on, pausing to deliver pep talks to the two Aiantes and to Nestor and his men. Coming upon Odysseus and his men, who seem to be hanging back, Agamemnon speaks harshly to them. But Odysseus responds that he intends to fight hard, and Agamemnon almost apologizes. Next Agamemnon meets Diomedes standing among the chariots, and again he speaks harshly, this time comparing Diomedes unfavorably to his father Tydeus. Diomedes does not respond, being unwilling to challenge Agamemnon's authority, and he even rebukes his friend Sthenelos for trying to defend him. The Trojans attack, shouting fearfully, and the battle is joined. Several warriors on each side are killed. Book 7The battle resumes. Athene and Apollo confer, and they decide to slow the killing by setting up another contest of individuals. Inspired by them, Helenos tells Hektor to issue his challenge for a single Greek opponent. At first no one of the Achaians will answer the challenge. Menelaos volunteers, but Agamemnon will not allow it. Nestor chides the Argives, sounding the theme that they cannot compare to the sort of warriors whom Nestor knew in his youth. The speech works, and nine Greeks volunteer; they cast lots, and Telamonian Aias wins. Hektor and Aias exchange menacing words, then both throw their spears, but neither cast is effective. They continue to fight, and Aias appears to be winning, but night falls and the contest is stopped. Hektor and Aias exchange gifts, and part with mutual admiration. The Greeks feast, and then Nestor proposes building a ditch and a rampart to protect the ships. Meanwhile in the Trojan assembly Antenor's proposal to give Helen back and end the war is quashed by Paris. Next day, on Priam's orders, the Trojans propose a truce for collecting the dead, and the Greeks agree. Meanwhile the gods meet in council, and Poseidon expresses frustration at the prospect that the wall built by the Greeks will be more famous than the one he himself built around Troy. Zeus replies that the Greeks' wall will be destroyed soon after the city is taken.