In an opening similar to that of Book 2, the wise Polydamas advises the Trojans to fight defensively from their walls, but Aeneas is for continuing the battle. Intense fighting ensues. Philoctetes, whose baldric is described at length, shoots many victims with the bow of Heracles and eventually wounds Paris. It has been prophesied that he can be cured only by Oenone, the wife whom he deserted in favor of Helen. She rejects his plea with scorn. Hera and the Seasons discuss what will happen after his death. Hecuba and Helen lament him, and the remorseful Oenone leaps on his funeral pyre.
The opening debate recalls that between Polydamas and Hector in Book 18 of the Iliad. In the Little Iliad Paris was killed by Philoctetes in the battle itself. Oenone’s story had been familiar at least since the Hellenistic period.