I remember there is a point in the Iliad where they try to put an end to the war. They have two men, one from each side, fight each other to see who gets to keep Helen and her riches. The Achaean champion was big Ajax, and the Trojan champion was Hector.

But the battle was interrupted. A messenger, known as a spondophoros (σπονδοφόρος) ran upon the battle-field and declared a sacred truce, known as an ekecheiria (ἐκεχειρία).

To my knowledge, the sacred truce was only called when one of the four Pan-Hellenic games were to take place. They include the Olympic Games, the Pythian Games, the Nemean Games and the Isthmian Games. Two were held every four years, but not on the same year. The other two were held on the same year, different months, every two years. Again, not falling on the same year of either of the other two.

  • Is it feasible to say that one of these four games were taking place? Can we find out which game was taking place?

You can find an account of the single combat between Hector and Ajax at Perseus: Iliad, Book VII

  • The interruption was on duel Menelaus and Paris.Who interrupted duel?It was the goddess Apfrodita.Also the interruption was on duel Patroclus vs Hector-when Apollo interrupted duel and helps Hector to kill Patroclus.Goddess Athena made intervention like a meteor on battle field,also Zeus.Only gods could interrupt the duel.
    – historicus
    Mar 9, 2018 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


I am not sure where you got the idea that the truce in Book VII was a "sacred truce", but I'm afraid that is not the case. The concept of the sacred truce is very specific, it's a device designed to protect people from visiting the games. The truce in the Iliad is sacred only in the manner that the gods are directly involved. In all other respects, it's a good old regular truce between warring factions.

Furthermore, the concept of the sacred truce was introduced in 765 BC, the year of the first Olympiad. That's four centuries after the events described in the Iliad, according to the traditional dating. Even if a sacred truce did appear in the Iliad, it would have been an anachronism, a much later addition to the story.

  • What sacred truce in the Iliad @DukeZhou? Sacred truce is a very specific concept, one that originated in the Olympics and was designed to protect non-combatants from visiting the games. The truce in the Iliad is... well... a good old regular truce. The question may claim it was a sacred truce, but... [citation-needed].
    – yannis
    Mar 7, 2018 at 22:39
  • My bad. The question implied the linked terms were used, but when I finally had time to look at the Greek, I'm not seeing them in the source text. Nevertheless, this truce in the Iliad does seem to be sacred, initiated by the gods and confirmed by Helenus, who intuits their will.
    – DukeZhou
    Mar 9, 2018 at 19:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.