Iliad Book 10 Summary and Analysis
by Homer

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Book 10 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Dolon: Trojan warrior who agrees to spy on the Achaians in return for treasure

Rhesos: King of the Thracians, killed on a spy mission by Diomedes

The seriousness of the Achaian situation keeps Agamemnon from sleeping. He rises and gathers the leaders of the Achaian forces together to discuss strategy. They decide to send spies into the Trojan camps to see what they can learn of the Trojan battle plans. Diomedes offers to go if he can bring a companion for security. Odysseus is chosen and they go, fully armed.

On the way, they encounter Dolon, a Trojan soldier sent out to spy on the Achaians. After initially letting him pass, they chase him down and capture him. Dolon is terrified and quickly confesses his mission. He also reveals the location of Hektor, the type of guards set up by the Trojans, the positions of various fighting units, and the sleeping area of a newly arrived and unprotected force from Thrace. As Dolan attempts to plead for mercy, Diomedes kills him with his sword and takes his clothes and weapon. These spoils are offered as gifts to Athene.

Diomedes and Odysseus then head for the Thracian camp and kill 12 sleeping Thracians. The thirteenth man killed is the Thracian king, Rhesos, owner of a splendid team of horses. The Achaians then release the horses and escape with them, heading back to their ships. When they return with their spoils, they are joyfully received by the Achaians. The two men wash themselves in the sea, sit down to a meal, and make offerings to Athene.

Discussion and Analysis
Diomedes again shows his loyalty to the Achaian cause by being the first to volunteer to infiltrate the Trojan camps. Knowledge of troop configuration and security plans would be a real advantage to the Achaians, who are in a very vulnerable position. Realizing the danger of the mission, Diomedes goes only on the condition that he can choose a companion for security. Diomedes has consistently been among the first to volunteer for any challenge presented. This, again, is in sharp contrast to Achilleus, who lets his differences with Agamemnon keep him completely removed from battle, where he is sorely...

(The entire section is 563 words.)