Battle with the Suitors

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The Slaughter of the Suitors; fragment of a Greek relief from the fourth century

To the left one of the pillars of the hall is seen, and near it a couch on which a suitor has fallen, doubled up in agony.

A companion, seated on the couch, holds up a table as a shield with his left hand, while with his right he strives to draw an aroow from his side, and a third lies stretched in death underneath.

At the head of the couch a nude figure is seated holding a shield, and gazing round in terror.

Behind him is a man fully armed with helmet and shield, holding up a spear as though about to hurl it.

Neither of these can be an ally of Odysseus and one must assume that the artist has chosen this way of depicting the treachery of Melanthius, who, however, was caught before he succeeded in getting into the hall (Book 22 line 135ff).

The two wounded suitors are probably Amphinomus who had been wounded in the back by Telemachus (line 90) and Eurymachus, who was struck in the breast by an arrow of Odysseus.