You once excelled all men

At the Iliad’s end, Achilles reminds a defeated Priam the extent of his former prosperity …

you too, old man, we hear you prospered once:
as far as lesbos, Macar’s kingdom, bounds to seaward,
Phrygia east and upland, the Hellespont vast and north -
that entire realm, they say, you lorded over once,
you excelled all men, old king, in sons and wealth.

And the first Geographer gets even more precise. In what later Greeks called the catalog, Homer gives an inventory of the Trojans and their allies as they gathered for battle. From the far northeast were men who lived in Zelea under the foot of Ida, a wealthy clan who drank the Aesepus’ dark waters - Trojans all. From west of there, were men from all along the Hellespont, from Percote and Practios, … Sestos, Abydos and gleaming Arisbe. From toward Mount Ida, came the Dardanians - (led by) Aeneas.

But as far as Lesbos? Twelve cities of men I’ve stormed and sacked from shipboard, eleven I claim by land, on the fertile earth of Troy, Achilles claims before the final battle for Troy. These are southern cities, at Lyrnessus, storming the heights and breached the walls of Thebes, the citadel of gallant-hearted Eetion, Hector’s father-in-law and Pedasus fort as well. And yes, he even captured the Lesbos citadel himself.

So Priam’s Troad went from Zelea in the north west, west along the Propontis, round Sigeum, down past Tendos, round Lectos headland on to Thebes and beyond, perhaps even including Lesbos. A line from Ida meandered back to Zelea again.

But by counsel, by wisdom, and by artifice, The city of Priam was destroyed. And all those hero sons? not a single one … left … Ares killed them all.

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