A marvelous description of the helots’ tightly held, flexible and impregnable shield wall, like the scales of a fish, or here, as the strakes of a ship’s hull, hermetically sealed with caulking.

See also the bestellar reviews, complete with rich quote-mosaics, of Adam Nicolson’s magnificent Why Homer Matters and Logue’s War Musica muscular rendition of several books of the Iliad. 

 

‘The columns tightened.

The rim of each man’s shield

Overlapped the face of his neighbour’s shield

Like clinkered hulls – as shipwrights call them when they lay

Strake over strake, caulked against the seas.’ 

 

Source: Christopher Logue, War Music: An account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homer’s Iliad, London: Faber and Faber, 2001, p. 146

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