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[13] And Ulysses went with Diomedes by night to the city, and there he let Diomedes wait, and after disfiguring himself and putting on mean attire he entered unknown into the city as a beggar. And being recognized by Helen, he with her help stole away the Palladium, and after killing many of the guards, brought it to the ships with the aid of Diomedes.1

1 These events were narrated in the Little Iliad of Lesches, as we learn from the summary of Proclus (Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. G. Kinkel, p. 37), which runs thus: “And Ulysses, having disfigured himself, comes as a spy to Troy, and being recognized by Helen he makes a compact with her concerning the capture of the city; and having slain some of the Trojans he arrives at the ships. And after these things he with Diomedes conveys the Palladium out of Ilium.” From this it appears that Ulysses made two different expeditions to Troy: in one of them he went by himself as a spy in mean attire, and being recognized by Helen concerted with her measures for betraying Troy to the Greeks; in the other he went with Diomedes, and together the two stole the Palladium. The former of these expeditions is described by Homer in the OdysseyHom. Od. 4.242ff.), where Helen tells how Ulysses disfigured himself with wounds, and disguising himself in mean attire came as a beggar to Troy; how she alone detected him, wormed the secrets of the Greeks out of him, and having sworn not to betray him till he had returned in safety to the ships, let him go free, whereupon on his way back he killed many Trojans. Euripides also relates this visit of Ulysses to Troy, adding that Helen revealed his presence to Hecuba, who spared his life and sent him out of the country (Eur. Hec. 239-250). These two quite distinct expeditions of Ulysses have been confused and blended into one by Apollodorus. As to the joint expedition of Ulysses and Diomedes to Troy, and the stealing of the Palladium, see further Conon 34; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica x.350-360; Scholiast on Hom. Il. vi.311; Malalas, Chr. v. pp. 109, 111ff., ed. L. Dindorf; Zenobius, Cent. iii.8; Apostolius, Cent. vi.15; Suidas, s. vv. Διομήδειος ἀνάγκη and Παλλάδιον; Hesychius, s.v. Διομήδειος ἀνάγκη; Eustathius on Hom. Il. x.531, p. 822; Scholiast on Plat. Rep. 6, 493b; Verg. A. 2.162-170; Serv. Verg. A. 2.166; Dictys Cretensis v.5, 8ff. The narrative of Apollodorus suggests that Ulysses had the principal share in the exploit. But according to another and seemingly more prevalent tradition it was Diomedes who really bore off the image. This emerges particularly from Conon's account. Diomedes, he tells us, mounted on the shoulders of Ulysses, and having thus scaled the wall, he refused to draw his comrade up after him, and went in search of the Palladium. Having secured it, he returned with it to Ulysses, and together they retraced their steps to the Greek camp. But by the way the crafty Ulysses conceived the idea of murdering his companion and making himself master of the fateful image. So he dropped behind Diomedes and drew his sword. But the moon shone full; and as he raised his arm to strike, the flash of the blade in the moonlight caught the eye of the wary Diomedes. He faced round, drew his sword, and, upbraiding the other with his cowardice, drove him before him, while he beat the back of the recreant with the flat of his sword. This incident gave rise to the proverb, “Diomedes's compulsion,” applied to such as did what they were forced to do by dire necessity. The proverb is similarly explained by the other Greek proverb-writers and lexicographers cited above, except that, instead of the flash of the sword in the moonlight, they say it was the shadow of the sword raised to strike him which attracted the attention of Diomedes. The picturesque story appears to have been told in the Little IliadHesychius, s.v. Διομήδειος ἀνάγκη). According to one account, Diomedes and Ulysses made their way into the Trojan citadel through a sewer (Serv. Verg. A. 2.166), indeed a narrow and muddy sewer, as Sophocles called it in the play which he composed on the subject. See Julius Pollux, ix.49; The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, ii.36, frag. 367. Some affirmed that the Palladium was treacherously surrendered to the Greek heroes by Theano, the priestess of the goddess (Scholiast on Hom. Il. vi.311; Suidas, s.v. Παλλάδιον); to this step she was said to have been instigated by her husband Antenor (Malalas, Chr. v. p. 109, ed. L. Dindorf; Dictys Cretensis v.5, 8). As to Theano in her capacity of priestess, see Hom. Il. 6.297ff. The theft of the Palladium furnished a not infrequent subject to Greek artists; but the artistic, like the literary, tradition was not agreed on the question whether the actual thief was Diomedes or Ulysses. See Frazer on Paus. 1.22.6 (vol. ii. pp. 264 sq.).

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