Kitto writes that during the siege of Troy, Andromache, the wife of the Trojan leader Hector, saw the Trojans driven back by the enemy toward the walls of Troy:

She ran out, like a mad woman, distracted with anxiety, to the city-walls…There Hector found her.

Andromache grasped his hand and said:

“Your strength will be your destruction; and you have no pity either for your infant son or for your unhappy wife who will soon be your widow. For soon the Acheans will set upon you and kill you; and if I lose you it would be better for me to die. I shall have no other comfort but my sorrow.”

To her in reply said Hector of the flashing helmet:

“Well do I know this, and I am sure of it: that day is coming when the holy city of Troy will perish, and Priam and the people of wealthy Priam. But my grief is not so much for the Trojans, nor for Hecuba herself, nor for Priam the King, nor for my many noble brothers, who will be slain by the foe and will lie in the dust, as for you, when one of the bronze-clad Acheans will carry you away in tears and end your days of freedom.

Then you may live in Argos, and work at the loom in another woman’s house, or perhaps carry water for a woman of Messene or Hyperia, sore against your will: but hard compulsion will lie upon you.

And then a man will say as he sees you weeping, ‘This was the wife of Hector, who was the noblest in battle of the horse-taming Trojans, when they were fighting around Ilion.’

This is what they will say: and it will be fresh grief for you, to fight against slavery bereft of a husband like that. But may I be dead, may the earth be heaped over my grave before I hear your cries, and of the violence done to you.”

Thus spake shining Hector and held out his arms to his son. But the child screamed and shrank back into the bosom of the well-girdled nurse, for he took fright at the sight of his dear father – at the bronze and the crest of the horsehair which he saw swaying terribly from the top of the helmet.

At once shining Hector took the helmet off his head and laid it on the ground, and when he had kissed his dear son and dandled him in his arms, he prayed to Zeus and to the other Gods: Zeus and ye other Gods, grant that this my son may be, as I am, most glorious among the Trojans and a man of might, and greatly rule in Ilion. And may they say, as he returns from war, ‘He is far better than his father.’

Kitto writes:

“What moves the Greek warrior to deeds of heroism is not a sense of duty as we understand it…He strives after that which we translate ‘virtue’ but is in Greek areté….excellence.”

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