Menelaus and Odysseus, accompanied by the herald Talthybius, lead a diplomatic mission to Troy to demand that Helen be restored to Menelaus and to thus avert war. The failure of negotiations would lead to the Battle of Troy. The episode, previously mentioned by Homer (Il. 3, 205-208), is narrated in a dithyramb by Bacchylides (around 516-451 BC). The Achaean heroes are seated on the white steps of the shrine of Athena Polias, whose priestess is Theano, wife of Antenor, who receives the delegation under the protection of the goddess. Theano is presented in the act of spinning wool, a domestic task that was the prerogative of woman of rank, and is accompanied by two maids (Dia and Maloi), and the elderly nurse Trophos; they are followed by an impressive array of armed figures (fifteen noble knights, two warriors, a squire and a formidable Scythian archer) facing the Achaeans who, although on a diplomatic mission, flaunt their weapons. Two pairs of birds of prey fly above, possibly an omen of deadly future events.