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with the Phrygians and Meonians, have their place on the side towards Thymbra; but why ask about an this? If you want to find your way into the host of the Trojans, there are the Thracians, who have lately come here and lie apart from the others at the far end of the camp; and they have Rhesus son of Eioneus for their king. His horses are the finest and strongest that I have ever seen, they are whiter than snow and fleeter than any wind that blows. His chariot is equipped with silver and gold, and he has brought his marvelous golden armor, of the rarest workmanship - too splendid for any mortal man to carry, and meet only for the gods. Now, therefore, take me to the ships or bind me securely here, until you come back and have proved my words whether they be false or true."

Diomedes looked sternly at him and answered, "Think not, Dolon, for all the good information you have given us, that you shall escape now you are in our hands, for if we ransom you or let you go, you will come some second time to the ships of the Achaeans either as a spy or as an open enemy, but if I kill you and an end of you, you will give no more trouble."

On this Dolon would have caught him by the beard to beseech him further, but Diomedes struck him in the middle of his neck with his sword and cut through both sinews so that his head fell rolling in the dust while he was yet speaking. They took the ferret-skin cap from his head, and also the wolf-skin, the bow, and his long spear. Odysseus hung them up aloft in honor of Athena the goddess of plunder, and prayed saying, "Accept these, goddess, for we give them to you in preference to all the gods in Olympus: therefore speed us still further towards the horses and sleeping-ground of the Thracians."

With these words he took the spoils and set them upon a tamarisk tree, and they made a mark [sêma] at the place by pulling up reeds and gathering boughs of tamarisk that they might not miss it as they came back through the fleeing hours of darkness. The two then went onwards amid the fallen armor and the blood, and came presently to the company of Thracian warriors, who were sleeping, tired out with their day's toil; their goodly armor was lying on the ground beside them all in order [kosmos], in three rows, and each man had his yoke of horses beside him. Rhesus was sleeping in the middle, and hard by him his horses were made fast to the topmost rim of his chariot. Odysseus from some way off saw him and said, "This, Diomedes, is the man, and these are the horses about which Dolon whom we killed told us. Do your very utmost; dally not about your armor, but loose the horses at once - or else kill the men yourself, while I see to the horses."

Thereon Athena put courage into the heart of Diomedes, and he smote them right and left. They made a hideous groaning as they were being hacked about, and the earth was red with their blood. As a lion springs furiously upon a flock of sheep or goats when he finds without their shepherd, so did the son of Tydeus set upon the Thracian warriors till he had killed twelve. As he killed them Odysseus came and drew them aside by their feet one by one, that the horses might go forward freely without being frightened as they passed over the dead bodies, for they were not yet used to them. When the son of Tydeus came to the king, he killed him too (which made thirteen), as he was breathing hard, for by the counsel of Athena an evil dream, the seed of Oeneus, hovered that night over his head. Meanwhile Odysseus untied the horses, made them fast one to another and drove them off, striking them with his bow, for he had forgotten to take the whip from the chariot. Then he whistled as a sign to Diomedes.

But Diomedes stayed where he was, thinking what other daring deed he might accomplish. He was doubting whether to take the chariot in which the king's armor was lying, and draw it out by the pole, or to lift the armor out and carry it off; or whether again, he should not kill some more Thracians. While he was thus hesitating Athena came up to him and said, "Make your homecoming [nostos], Diomedes, to the ships or you may be driven thither, should some other god rouse the Trojans."

Diomedes knew that it was the goddess, and at once sprang upon the horses. Odysseus beat them with his bow and they flew onward to the ships of the Achaeans.

But Apollo kept no blind look-out when he saw Athena with the son of Tydeus. He was angry with her, and coming to the host of the Trojans he roused Hippokoön, a counselor of the Thracians and a noble kinsman of Rhesus. He started up out of his sleep and saw that the horses were no longer in their place, and that the men were gasping in their death-agony; on this he groaned aloud, and called upon his friend by name. Then the whole Trojan camp was in an uproar as the people kept hurrying together, and they marveled at the deeds of the heroes who had now got away towards the ships.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 3.142
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