`The ranks stood firm about the two Aiantes, such that not even Ares would have scorned them had he met them, nor yet Athena who saves armies. For there the chosen best awaited the charge of the Trojans and noble Hector, making a fence of spears and serried shields. Shield closed with shield, and helm with helm, and each man with his fellow, and the peaks of their head-pieces with crests of horse-hair touched as they bent their heads: so close they stood together. The murderous battle bristled with the long, flesh-rending spears they held, and the flash of bronze from polished helms and new-burnished breast-plates and gleaming shields blinded the eyes. Very hard of heart would he have been, who could then have seen that strife with joy and felt no pang.' (4)
Here, again, the Hellenes applauded Homer admiringly, so far did the verses exceed the ordinary level; and demanded that he should be adjudged the winner. But the king gave the crown to Hesiod, declaring that it was right that he who called upon men to follow peace and husbandry should have the prize rather than one who dwelt on war and slaughter. In this way, then, we are told, Hesiod gained the victory and received a brazen tripod which he dedicated to the Muses with this inscription:
`Hesiod dedicated this tripod to the Muses of Helicon after he had conquered divine Homer at Chalcis in a contest of song.'
After the gathering was dispersed, Hesiod crossed to the mainland and went to Delphi to consult the oracle and to dedicate the first fruits of his victory to the god. They say that as he was approaching the temple, the prophetess became inspired and said:
`Blessed is this man who serves my house, -- Hesiod, who is honoured by the deathless Muses: surely his renown shall be as wide as the light of dawn is spread. But beware of the pleasant grove of Nemean Zeus; for there death's end is destined to befall you.'
When Hesiod heard this oracle, he kept away from the Peloponnesus, supposing that the god meant the Nemea there; and coming to Oenoe in Locris, he stayed with Amphiphanes and Ganyetor the sons of Phegeus, thus unconsciously fulfilling the oracle; for all that region was called the sacred place of Nemean Zeus. He continued to stay a somewhat long time at Oenoe, until the young men, suspecting Hesiod of seducing their sister, killed him and cast his body into the sea which separates Achaea and Locris. On the third day, however, his body was brought to land by dolphins while some local feast of Ariadne was being held. Thereupon, all the people hurried to the shore, and recognized the body, lamented over it and buried it, and then began to look for the assassins. But these, fearing the anger of their countrymen, launched a fishing boat, and put out to sea for Crete: they had finished half their voyage when Zeus sank them with a thunderbolt, as Alcidamas states in his "Museum". Eratosthenes, however, says in his "Hesiod" that Ctimenus and Antiphus, sons of Ganyetor, killed him for the reason already stated, and were sacrificed by Eurycles the seer to the gods of hospitality. He adds that the girl, sister of the above-named, hanged herself after she had been seduced, and that she was seduced by some stranger, Demodes by name, who was travelling with Hesiod, and who was also killed by the brothers. At a later time the men of Orchomenus removed his body as they were directed by an oracle, and buried him in their own country where they placed this inscription on his tomb:
`Ascra with its many cornfields was his native land; but in death the land of the horse-driving Minyans holds the bones of Hesiod, whose renown is greatest among men of all who are judged by the test of wit.'
So much for Hesiod. But Homer, after losing the victory, went from place to place reciting his poems, and first of all the "Thebais" in seven thousand verses which begins: `Goddess, sing of parched Argos whence kings...', and then the "Epigoni" in seven thousand verses beginning: `And now, Muses, let us begin to sing of men of later days'; for some say that these poems also are by Homer. Now Xanthus and Gorgus, son of Midas the king, heard his epics and invited him to compose a epitaph for the tomb of their father on which was a bronze figure of a maiden bewailing the death of Midas. He wrote the following lines: --