Study Guide

The Iliad Book 10

By Homer

Book 10

  • Agamemnon can't sleep. Over in his own tent, Menelaos can't either. The two warriors get ready and run outside, where they run into each other. They agree that they need a plan to save the Achaians.
  • Agamemnon tells Menelaos to go call together the leading chieftains. As for himself, he will go find Nestor.
  • When Agamemnon finds Nestor, he suggests they go check on the sentries.
  • Nestor says he agrees, but asks if they shouldn't call together some other guys first.
  • Agamemnon says, "Menelaos is already on it."
  • Soon enough, all the VIPs meet up where the sentries are. (The sentries are all doing fine.)
  • Nestor proposes that someone should infiltrate the Trojan lines to see what they're up to.
  • Diomedes volunteers, but says he's got to take someone good with him as backup.
  • Agamemnon agrees, and instructs him to make his choice purely on the basis of merit—he shouldn't be influenced by who's the most powerful king.
  • Diomedes picks Odysseus. They both start getting ready.
  • Just when they're about to head out, Athene sends a heron down as a signal that she is watching over them. Although it is too dark to see it, the men hear its cry. They pray to Athene, and then head out.
  • Meanwhile, among the Trojans, Hektor asks for someone to go spy on the Achaians. Some guy called Dolon volunteers. He says that, in return for this service, he should receive Achilleus's chariot when the war's over.
  • Hektor says, "It's yours," and Dolon runs off into the night.
  • Too bad for Dolon that Odysseus and Diomedes see him coming. They play dead amid the corpses on the battlefield and wait for him to run past him.
  • Then they chase him down. Dolon surrenders quickly, and Odysseus promises they won't kill him.
  • The two Achaians press their captive for details about the layout of the Trojan camp.
  • Dolon tells them about the marvelous horses and chariot of the Thracian King Rhesos, an ally of the Trojans.
  • Now that he's told them what they want to know, Dolon tries to negotiate the terms of his ransom. Unfortunately, the negotiations are cut short—or rather, the negotiator is—when Diomedes beheads Dolon.
  • Odysseus and Diomedes now make their way into the Trojan camp, where they find the sleeping King Rhesos and his men, just as Dolon described.
  • While Odysseus unhitches the horses, Diomedes murders the lot of them in their sleep.
  • Then the two Achaians make a quick getaway, with the horses, back to their camp. They stop en route to pick up the fancy armor Diomedes stripped from Dolon.
  • When they get back to base, they offer prayers of thanks to Athene.

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