Describe briefly Dolon's Night Mission in Homer's Iliad.

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noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The tenth book of Homer's Iliad describes a scene that seems quite unusual, given the fact that most military activity in the Greek world occurred during the daytime. In Iliad 7, the combat between Hector and Ajax is halted due to darkness. Three books later, however, during the night, Hector asks for a volunteer to spy on the Greek encampment. Dolon, whose name means "tricky," accepts the challenge.

True to his "tricky" name, Dolon puts on a "grey wolf skin" and "On his head he set a cap of marten skin". Thus, disguises as an animal, Dolon makes his way through the darkness toward the Greek camp.

The Greeks, also thinking about doing some spying of their own, had sent out Odysseus and Diomedes, who capture Dolon, interrogate him (learning numerous details about the Trojan forces and also about the fabulous horses of Rhesus, who had just arrived as a Trojan ally).

After learning all that they want from Dolon, Diomedes kills Dolon. Diomedes and Odysseus then go on to the Trojan camp, where they kill Rhesus, men of his men, and then steal his horses.