Iliad - Public domain English translationAll the Greek (NB: Homer refers to them mostly as Achaeans, and sometimes Argives or Danaans; Greek is our term) princes sleep that night, except Agamemnon (who is too worried to sleep, so he arms himself before going to Nestor to see if between the two of them they can figure out a way to save the Greeks) and Menelaus (who puts on his armor and goes to see his brother before his brother has finished). Menelaus wonders if Agamemnon plans to spy upon the Trojans. Agamemnon says they need good advice because Zeus now favors Hector -- as seen by the devastation he wrought the previous day. Agamemnon tells Menelaus to rouse Ajax and Idomeneus to get their advice while he wakes Nestor. As Agamemnon tells Nestor, when he wakes him, he is afraid the Trojans may attack at night. Nestor says Hector won't have it all his own way if Achilles is ever persuaded to rejoin the Greek cause. He adds that Diomedes, Ajax, and Odysseus should be summoned for their counsel and he criticizes Menelaus for not being involved. Agamemnon tells Nestor that although his brother is sometimes slow to act, and that because he expects Agamemnon to lead, in this instance, Menelaus was awake before Agamemnon and has set out to summon the very men Nestor named (except Odysseus whom Nestor arouses and tells that the Greeks must decide whether it is best to fight or flee and Diomedes whom Odysseus and Nestor awaken).
When the Greek leaders are convened, Nestor addresses them to say that someone needs to find a stray Trojan from whom to prise information. Diomedes immediately volunteers, but asks for a companion, Odysseus. They are armed and sent on their way with Athena helping them by means of a heron making noises to guide them in the dark.
In the Trojan camp, Hector will not let the Trojan princes and allies sleep, either, after seeing all the goings on in the Greek camp. Hector promises to reward richly whoever will spy on the Greeks to determine whether they intend to flee. Dolon, an ugly, rich man and good runner, volunteers in exchange for Hector's promise to give him the horses of Achilles, but Diomedes and Odysseus see him. The Greeks pretend to be just two more corpses lying on the ground when Dolon passed. They then run after him. When he determines that they are the enemy, he runs faster, but the Greeks cut him off. Diomedes calls to Dolon to stand still or die. He obeys and then pleads with them not to kill him, offering a large ransom. Odysseus tells him not to be afraid, but to reveal what Hector is doing. Dolon tells him that the Trojans are holding conference, but their allies are sleeping. He reveals the layout of the allies.
After he has told them everything, Diomedes cuts off his head. The Greeks then go to the Thracians who lie at the far end of the Trojan camp. They release the horses, set them off towards the Greek ships, and slaughter 12 of the soldiers and then the Thracian king, Rhesus. Athena hurries Diomedes back to the Greeks before he can kill any more. Apollo rouses Hippocoon, a Thracian, who alerts the Trojans.
Diomedes and Odysseus return to the Greeks, who congratulate them. They offer the spoils stripped from Dolon to Athena, and pen the horses in with Diomedes' horses.Iliad Book I - Who? What? Where?
Read a public domain translation of Homer's Iliad Book X.