Diomedes or Diomed is a hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

 in Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, known for his participation in the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...


He was born to Tydeus
In Greek mythology, Tydeus was an Aeolian hero of the generation before the Trojan War. He was one of the Seven Against Thebes and was mortally wounded by Melanippus before the walls of the city. The goddess Athena had planned to make him immortal but refused after Tydeus in a rage devoured the...

 and Deipyle
In Greek mythology, Deipyle was the daughter of Adrastus and Amphithea, wife of Tydeus and mother of Diomedes. Her sister Argea married Polynices.-External links:*...

 and later became King of Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, succeeding his maternal grandfather, Adrastus
Adrastus or Adrestus , traditionally translated as "nonparticipant" or "uncooperative", was a legendary king of Argos during the war of the Seven Against Thebes.-Mythological tradition:...

. In Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

 Diomedes is regarded alongside Ajax as one of the best warriors of all the Achaeans (behind only Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

 in prowess). In Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

's Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

 he is one of the warriors who entered the Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the stratagem that allowed the Greeks finally to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside...

 shortly before the sack of Troy.

Early myths

Diomedes was, on his father’s side, an Aetolian, and on his mother's an Argive. This is so because his father Tydeus left Calydon
Calydon was an ancient Greek city in Aetolia, situated on the west bank of the river Evenus. According to Greek mythology, the city took its name from its founder Calydon, son of Aetolus. Close to the city stood Mount Zygos, the slopes of which provided the setting for the hunt of the Calydonian...

 and fled to Argos in order to avoid being persecuted by his uncle Agrius. He married King Adrastus's daughter Deipyle.

Tydeus participated in the expedition, known as the Seven Against Thebes
Seven Against Thebes
The Seven against Thebes is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won...

. This expedition failed and all leaders, including Tydeus were killed. Tydeus was Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

’s favourite warrior at the time, and when he was dying she wanted to offer him a magic elixir (which she had obtained from her father) that would make him immortal. However, she withdrew the intended privilege in apparent disgust when Tydeus gobbled down the brains of the hated enemy who had wounded him.

According to some, Diomedes was 4 years old when his father was killed. At the funeral of their fathers, the sons of Seven Against Thebes (Aegialeus, Alcmaeon, Amphilocus, Diomedes, Euryalus, Promachus, Sthenelus, Thersander) met and vowed to vanquish Thebes one day. They called themselves ‘Epigoni
In Greek mythology, Epigoni are the sons of the Argive heroes who had fought and been killed in the first Theban war, the subject of the Greek Thebaid, in which Polynices and six allies attacked Thebes because Polynices' brother, Eteocles, refused to give up the throne as promised...

’ because they were born ‘after everything has happened’.

Ten years later, the Epigoni appointed Alcmaeon as their commander in chief and gathered an army. They added to their forces from Argos contingents from Messenia, Arcadia, Corinth, and Megara. This army however was a small one compared to the forces of Thebes.

The Epigoni war is remembered as the most important expedition in Greek Mythology before the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

. It was a favorite topic for epics, but, unfortunately, all of these epics are now lost. The main battle took place at Glisas where the warrior Aegialeus (son of King Adrastus
Adrastus or Adrestus , traditionally translated as "nonparticipant" or "uncooperative", was a legendary king of Argos during the war of the Seven Against Thebes.-Mythological tradition:...

 of Argos) was slain by King Laodamas. Diomedes was 15 years old by then and was considered the mightiest of all. Vanquished by the Epigoni, the Thebans followed the counsel of Tiresias
In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet of Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. He was the son of the shepherd Everes and the nymph Chariclo; Tiresias participated fully in seven generations at Thebes, beginning as advisor to Cadmus...

 and fled away. Epigoni took the city and most Argive commanders returned rich to their countries after having sacked Thebes, but the city they handed over to Thersander.

Adrastus died of grief when he learned that his son Aegialeus had perished in the battle at Glisas. Aegialeus was married to Comaetho, daughter of Tydeus (sister of Diomedes). Diomedes, in turn, married Aegialeus's daughter Aegialia when he returned from battle. He was then appointed as the King of Argos and thus became one of the most powerful rulers of Hellas at such a young age.

According to some, Diomedes ruled Argos for more than five years and brought much wealth and stability to the city during his time. He was a skilled politician and was greatly respected by other rulers. He still kept an eye on Calydonian politics (his father’s homeland), and when the sons of Agrius (led by Thersites) put Oeneus (Diomedes’ grandfather) in jail and their own father on the throne, Diomedes decided to restore the throne to Oeneus.

Diomedes attacked and ceded the Kingdom, slaying all the traitors except Thersites, Onchestus (who escaped to Peloponnesus) and Agrius (who killed himself) restoring his grandfather to the throne. Later, Oeneus passed the Kingdom to his son-in-law Andraemon and headed for Argos to meet Diomedes. He was assassinated on the way (in Arcadia) by Thersites and Onchestus. Unable to find the murderers, Diomedes founded a mythical city called 'Oenoe' at the place where his grandfather was buried to honour his death. Later, Thersites fought against the Trojans in the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

 and noble Diomedes did not mistreat him (however, Thersites was hated by all Achaeans). In fact, when Thersites was brutally slain by Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

 (after having mocked him when the latter cried over Penthesilia's dead body) Diomedes was the only person who wanted to punish Achilles.

After some years, Diomedes became one of the Suitors of Helen and, as such, he was bound by The Oath of Tyndareus, which established that all the suitors would defend and protect the man who was chosen as Helen's husband against any wrong done against him in regard to his marriage. Accordingly, when the seducer Paris
Paris (mythology)
Paris , the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War...

 stole Menelaus
Menelaus may refer to;*Menelaus, one of the two most known Atrides, a king of Sparta and son of Atreus and Aerope*Menelaus on the Moon, named after Menelaus of Alexandria.*Menelaus , brother of Ptolemy I Soter...

’ wife, all those who had sworn the oath were summoned by Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

 (Menelaus’ brother), so that they would join the coalition that was to sail from Aulis to Troy in order to demand the restoration of Helen and the Spartan property that was stolen.

Trojan War

Diomedes is known primarily for his participation in the Trojan War. According to Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, Diomedes enters the war with a fleet of 80 ships, third only to the contributions of Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

 (100 ships) and Nestor
Nestor (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nestor of Gerenia was the son of Neleus and Chloris and the King of Pylos. He became king after Heracles killed Neleus and all of Nestor's siblings...

 (90). Both Sthenelus and Euryalus (former EPIGONI) fought under his command with their armies. Sthenelus was the driver of Diomedes’ chariot and probably his closest friend. All the troops from Argos, Tiryns, Troezen and some other cities were headed by Diomedes. According to some interpretations, Diomedes is represented in the epic as the most valiant soldier of the war
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, who never commits hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

. He is often referred to by Homer as the youngest amongst the Achaean warrior-kings, and yet the most powerful fighter, second only to Achilles. On other occasions Ajax is also characterized as the second-best warrior of the Achaean force. However, during Patroclus
In Greek mythology, as recorded in the Iliad by Homer, Patroclus, or Patroklos , was the son of Menoetius, grandson of Actor, King of Opus, and was Achilles' beloved comrade and brother-in-arms....

' funeral games, Diomedes was overwhelming Ajax when his comrades advised the fighting to stop, lest one of them get injured. In this way, he won first place in the armed sparring tournament.

Apart from his outstanding fighting abilities and courage, Diomedes is on several crucial occasions shown to possess great wisdom, which is acknowledged and respected by his much older comrades, including Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

 and Nestor
Nestor (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nestor of Gerenia was the son of Neleus and Chloris and the King of Pylos. He became king after Heracles killed Neleus and all of Nestor's siblings...

. Diomedes, Nestor and Odysseus were some of the greatest Achaean strategists. Throughout 'The Iliad', Diomedes and Nestor are frequently seen speaking first in war-counsel.

Instances of Diomedes' maturity and intelligence as described in parts of the epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

  • In Book IV Agamemnon taunts Diomedes by calling him a much inferior fighter than his father. His enraged comrade Sthenelus enforces Diomedes to stand up to Agamemnon by responding that he has bested his father and avenged his death by conquering "Seven-gated" Thebes. Diomedes responded that it was part of Agamemnon's tasks as a leader to urge forward the Achaean soldiers, and that men of valour should have no problem withstanding such insults. However, when Agamemnon uses the same kind of taunting to Odysseus, the latter responds with anger.
  • Although Diomedes dismissed Agamemnon’s taunting with respect, he did not hesitate to point out Agamemnon’s inadequacy as a leader in certain crucial occasions. In Book IX, Agamemnon proposes going back to Hellas because Zeus has turned against them. Diomedes then reminds him of the previous insult and tells him that his behavior is not proper for a leader. but they all held their peace, till at last Diomed of the loud battle-cry made answer saying, "Son of Atreus, I will chide your folly, as is my right in council. Be not then aggrieved that I should do so. In the first place you attacked me before all the Danaans and said that I was a coward and no soldier.. Achaean council - Book IX
  • Diomedes also points out that because Troy is destined to fall, they should continue fighting regardless of Zeus’ interventions. If your own mind is set upon going home—go—the way is open to you; the many ships that followed you from Mycene stand ranged upon the seashore; but the rest of us stay here till we have sacked Troy. Nay though these too should turn homeward with their ships, Sthenelus and myself will still fight on till we reach the goal of Ilius, for heaven was with us when we came."
  • "The sons of the Achaeans shouted applause at the words of Diomed, and presently Nestor rose to speak. "Son of Tydeus," said he, "in war your prowess is beyond question, and in council you excel all who are of your own years; no one of the Achaeans can make light of what you say nor gainsay it, but you have not yet come to the end of the whole matter. You are still young- you might be the youngest of my own children- still you have spoken wisely and have counselled the chief of the Achaeans not without discretion;" Achaean council - Book IX
  • When Agamemnon tried to appease Achilles's wrath so that he would fight again, by offering him many gifts, Nestor appointed three envoys to meet Achilles (Book IX). They had to return empty handed; Achilles had told them that he will leave Troy and never return. The Achaeans were devastated at this. Diomedes points out the folly of offering these gifts, “Most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon, you ought not to have sued the son of Peleus nor offered him gifts. He is proud enough as it is, and you have encouraged him in his pride still further”. Here, Diomedes makes a prediction based on his reasoning that eventually becomes true. He says that even if Achilles somehow manages to leave Troy, he will never be able to stay away from battle because he cannot change the fate; “let him go or stay - the gods will make sure that he will fight.” In Book XV, Zeus says to Hera that he had already made a plan to make sure that Achilles will eventually enter the battle.
  • Diomedes also encourages Agamemnon to take the lead of tomorrow’s battle. “But when fair rosy-fingered morn appears, forthwith bring out your host and your horsemen in front of the ships, urging them on, and yourself fighting among the foremost." (Book IX) Agamemnon accepts this counsel and the next day’s battle starts with his ‘aristeia’ where he becomes the hero of the day.

Instances of Diomedes's valour and expertise in battle according to quotations:
  • "As he (Diomedes) spoke he sprang from his chariot, and his armour rang so fiercely about his body that even a brave man might well have been scared to hear it." - Book IV
  • "Diomed looked angrily at him and answered: "Talk not of flight, for I shall not listen to you: I am of a race that knows neither flight nor fear, and my limbs are as yet unwearied. I am in no mind to mount, but will go against them even as I am;" Battle with Aeneas and Pandarus - Book V
  • "But the son of Tydeus caught up a mighty stone, so huge and great that as men now are it would take two to lift it; nevertheless he bore it aloft with ease unaided," Battle with Aeneas - Book V
  • ""Father Jove, grant that the lot fall on Ajax, or on the son of Tydeus, or upon the king of rich Mycene himself." Duel of Hector - Book VII
  • "The old man instantly began cutting the traces with his sword, but Hector's fleet horses bore down upon him through the rout with their bold charioteer, even Hector himself, and the old man would have perished there and then had not Diomed been quick to mark" Saving Nestor - Book VII
  • "They all held their peace, but Diomed of the loud war-cry spoke saying, "Nestor, gladly will I visit the host of the Trojans over against us, but if another will go with me I shall do so in greater confidence and comfort. When two men are together, one of them may see some opportunity which the other has not caught sight of; if a man is alone he is less full of resource, and his wit is weaker." Achaean plans - Book X

Diomedes’ place among Achaeans

Although he was the youngest of all Achaean kings, he is considered the most experienced leader by some scholars (he had fought more battles than others, including the most important war expedition before the Trojan War – even old Nestor had not participated in such military work).

Second only to Achilles, Diomedes is considered to be the mightiest and the most skilled warrior among the Achaeans. He even got the better of Ajax, son of Telamon, in an armed sparring tournament, but the bout was called off prematurely. He vanquished (and could have killed) Hector
In Greek mythology, Hectōr , or Hektōr, is a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, a descendant of Dardanus, who lived under Mount Ida, and of Tros, the founder of Troy, he was a prince of the royal house and the...

 (the greatest Trojan Warrior) on two occasions and Aeneas
Aeneas , in Greco-Roman mythology, was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. The journey of Aeneas from Troy , which led to the founding a hamlet south of...

 (the second best Trojan warrior) once.

He and Odysseus were the only heroes who participated in tasks such as night missions which demanded discipline, bravery, courage, cunning and resourcefulness.

Diomedes received the most direct divine help and protection. He was the favorite warrior of Athena (who even drove his chariot once). He was also the only person who attacked (and even wounded) Olympian Immortals. He was also given divine vision to identify immortals on one occasion.

Only Diomedes and Menelaus were offered immortality and became gods in post Homeric Mythology.


The god Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

 made Diomedes' cuirass
A cuirass is a piece of armour, formed of a single or multiple pieces of metal or other rigid material, which covers the front of the torso...

 for him. He was the only Greek warrior apart from Achilles who carried such an arsenal of gear made by Hera's most skilled son. He also had a round shield
A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer....

 with the mark of a boar. In combat, he also carried a spear as well as his father's sword and possessed a golden cuirass. This golden armor bore a crest of a boar on the breast. It was created by a mortal smith but was blessed by Athena, who gave it to Tydeus. When he died, it passed to Diomedes. A skilled smith created the sword for Tydeus, which bore designs of a lion and a big boar.

Diomedes in Aulis

In Aulis, where Achaean leaders gathered, Diomedes met his brother in arms Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

, with whom he shared several adventures. Both of them were favorite heroes of Athena and were very similar in character. They began to combine their efforts and actions already when being in Aulis.

Diomedes and Odysseus were Agamemnon’s most trusted officers. When the sacrifice of Iphigenia (Agamemnon’s daughter) became a necessity for Achaeans to sail away from Aulis, king Agamemnon had to choose between sacrificing his daughter and resigning from his post of high commander among Achaeans (in which case Diomedes would probably become the leader). When he decided to sacrifice his daughter to Artemis, Diomedes and Odysseus were among the few Achaean officers acquainted with his plans. The two unscrupulous friends carried out this order of Agamemnon by luring Iphigenia from Mycenae to Aulis, where murder, disguised as wedding, awaited her.


Once in Troy, Odysseus murdered Palamedes (the commander who outwitted Odysseus in Ithaca, forcing him to stand by his oath and join the alliance), drowning him while he was fishing. According to other stories, when Palamedes advised the Greeks to return home, Odysseus accused him of being a traitor and forged false evidence and found a fake witness to testify against him. Palamedes was stoned to death.

Some say that Diomedes conspired with Odysseus against Palamedes, and under the pretence of having discovered a hidden treasure, they let him down into a well and there stoned him to death. Others say that, though Diomedes guessed or knew about the plot, he did not try to defend Palamedes, because Odysseus was essential for the fall of Troy.

Diomedes in 'The Iliad'

Diomedes is one of the main characters in Homer’s great epic ‘The Iliad’. This epic narrates a series of events that took place during the final year of the great war. Diomedes is the key fighter in the first third of the epic. According to some interpretations, Diomedes is represented in the epic as the most valiant soldier of the war, who never committed hubris. He is regarded as the perfect embodiment of traditional heroic values because he displays virtues such as courage while fighting in the front ranks for honor and glory, respect for his commander Agamemnon and the gods, and finally self-restraint/humility to remain within mortal limits.

Diomedes’ aristeia
An aristeia or aristia is a scene in the dramatic conventions of such works as the Iliad in which a hero in battle has his finest moments . It is usually associated with men but can be expanded also to encompass women . In the latter case the aristeia is of a different sort, grief...

 ('excellence' --the great deeds of a hero) begins in Book V and continues in Book VI. Some scholars claim that this part of the epic was originally a separate, independent poem (describing the feats of Diomedes) that Homer adapted and included in The Iliad. Diomedes’ aristeia represents many of his heroic virtues such as outstanding fighting skills, bravery, divine protection/advice, carefully planned tactics of war, leadership, humility and self-restraint.

Book V begins with Athena, the war-like goddess of wisdom putting valour into the heart of her champion warrior. She also makes a stream of fire flare from his shield and helmet. Diomedes then slays a number of Trojan warriors including Phegeus (whose brother was spirited away by Hera’s son before being slain by Diomedes) until Pandarus wounds him with an arrow. Diomedes then prays to Athena for the slaughter of Pandarus. She responds by offering him a special vision to distinguish gods from men and asks him to wound Aphrodite if she ever comes to battle. She also warns him not to engage any other god.

He continues to make havoc among the Trojans by killing Astynous, Hypeiron, Abas, Polyidus, Xanthus, Thoon, Echemmon and Chromius (two sons of Priam). Finally, Aeneas (son of Aphrodite) asks Pandarus to mount his chariot and fight Diomedes together. Sthenelus warns his friend of their approach.

Diomedes faces this situation by displaying both his might and wisdom. Although he can face both of these warriors together, he knows that Aphrodite may try to save her son. He also knows the history of Aeneas’ two horses (they descend from Zeus’ immortal horses). Since he has to carry out Athena’s order, he orders Sthenelus to steal the horses while he faces Aphrodite’s son.
Pandarus throws his spear first and brags that he has killed the son of Tydeus. The latter responds by saying "at least, one of you will be slain" and throws his spear. Pandarus is killed and Aeneas is left to fight Diomedes (now unarmed). Not bothering with weapons, Diomedes picks up a huge stone and crushes his enemy’s hip with it. Aeneas faints and is rescued by his mother before Diomedes can kill him. Mindful of Athena’s orders, Diomedes runs after Aphrodite and wounds her arm. Dropping her son, the goddess flees towards Olympus. Apollo now comes to the rescue of the Trojan hero. Disregarding Athena’s advice, Diomedes attacks Apollo twice before Apollo warns him not to match himself against immortals. Respecting Apollo, Diomedes then withdraws himself from that combat. Although he has failed in killing Aeneas, following his orders, Sthenelus has already stolen the two valuable horses of Aeneas. Diomedes then became the owner of the second best pair of horses (after Achilles’ immortal ones) among Achaeans.
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 complained to her mother about Diomedes’ handiwork. The latter reminded her of mighty Heracles (now, an Olympian himself) who held the record of wounding not one but two Olympians as a human.

The transgression of Diomedes by attacking Apollo had its consequences. Urged by Apollo, Ares came to the battlefield to help Trojans. Identifying the god of war, Diomedes protected the Achaeans by ordering them to withdraw towards their ships. Hera saw the havoc created by her son and together with Athena, she came to the Achaeans’ aid. When Athena saw Diomedes resting near his horses, she mocked him, reminding him of Tydeus who frequently disobeyed her advice. Diomedes replied "Goddess, I know you truly and will not hide anything from you. I am following your instructions and retreating for I know that Ares is fighting among the Trojans". Athena answered "Diomedes most dear to my heart, do not fear this immortal or any other god for I will protect you." Throwing Sthenelus out of the chariot and mounting it herself, the goddess (who invented the chariot and taught humans to drive it) drove straight at Ares. She also put on the helmet of Hades, making her invisible to even gods. Ares saw only Diomedes in the chariot and threw his spear which was caught by Athena. Diomedes then threw his spear (which was guided by Athena) at Ares, wounding his stomach. The god screamed in a voice of 10,000 men and fled away. This was how Diomedes became the only human to wound two Olympians in a single day.

In Book VI, Diomedes continued his feats by killing Axylus and Calesius. Hector’s brother Helenus described Diomedes’ fighting skills in this manner: "He fights with fury and fills men's souls with panic. I hold him mightiest of them all; we did not fear even their great champion Achilles, son of an immortal though he be, as we do this man: his rage is beyond all bounds, and there is none can vie with him in prowess."

Helenus then sent Hector to the city of Troy to tell their mother about what was happening. According to the instructions of Helenus, Priam’s wife gathered matrons at the temple of Athena in the acropolis and offered the goddess the largest, fairest robe of Troy. She also promised the sacrifice of twelve heifers if Athena could take pity on them and break the spear of Diomedes. Athena, of course, did not grant it.

Meanwhile, one brave Trojan named Glaucus challenged the son of Tydeus to a single combat. Impressed by his bravery and noble appearance, Diomedes inquired if he were an immortal in disguise. Although Athena has previously told him not to fear any immortal, Diomedes displayed his humility by saying, "I will not fight any more immortals."
Glaucus told the story of how he was descended from Bellerophon who killed the Chimaera and the Amazons. Diomedes realized that his grandfather Oeneus hosted Bellerophon, and so Diomedes and Glaucus must also be friends. They resolved to not fight each other and Diomedes proposed exchanging their armours. Cunning Diomedes only gave away a bronze armour for the golden one he received. The phrase ‘Diomedian swap’ originated from this incident.

In Book VII, Diomedes was among the nine Achaean warriors who came forward to fight Hector in a single combat. When they cast lots to choose one among those warriors, the Achaeans prayed Father Zeus, grant that the lot fall on Ajax, or on the son of Tydeus, or upon Agamemnon." Ajax was chosen to fight Hector.

Idaeus of the Trojans came for a peace negotiation, and he offered to give back all the treasures Paris stole plus more - everything except Helen. In the Achaean council, Diomedes was the first one to speak: “Let there be no taking, neither treasure, nor yet Helen, for even a child may see that the doom of the Trojans is at hand.” These words were applauded by all and Agamemnon said, "This is the answer of the Achaeans."

In Book VIII, Zeus ordered all other deities to not interfere with the battle. He made the Trojans stronger so they could drive away the Achaeans from battle. Then he thundered aloud from Ida and sent the glare of his lightning upon the Achaeans. Seeing this, all the great Achaean warriors - including the two Ajaxes, Agamemnon, Idomeneus and Odysseus - took flight. Nestor could not escape because one of his horses was wounded by Paris’ arrow. He might have perished if not for Diomedes.

This incident is the best example for Diomedes’ remarkable bravery. Seeing that Nestor’s life was in danger, the son of Tydeus shouted for Odysseus’ help. The latter ignored his cry and ran away. Left alone in the battleground, Diomedes took his stand before Nestor and ordered him to take Sthenelus’ place. Having Nestor as the driver, Diomedes bravely rushed towards Hector. Struck by his spear, Hector’s driver Eniopeus was slain. Taking a new driver, Archeptolemus, Hector advanced forward again. Zeus saw that both Hector and Archeptolemus were about to be slain by Diomedes and decided to intervene. He took his mighty Thunderbolt and shot its lightning in front of Diomedes’ chariot. Nestor advised Diomedes to turn back since no person should try to transgress Zeus’ will. Diomedes answered, "Hector will talk among the Trojans and say, 'The son of Tydeus fled before me to the ships.' This is the vaunt he will make, and may the earth then swallow me.” Nestor responded, "Son of Tydeus, though Hector say that you are a coward the Trojans and Dardanians will not believe him, nor yet the wives of the mighty warriors whom you have laid low." Saying these words, Nestor turned the horses back. Hector, seeing that they had turned back from battle, called Diomedes a "woman and a coward" and promised to slay him personally. Diomedes thought three times of turning back and fighting Hector, but Zeus thundered from heaven each time.

When all the Achaean seemed discouraged, Zeus sent an eagle as a good omen. Diomedes was the first warrior to read this omen, and he immediately attacked the Trojans and killed Agelaus.

At the end of the day’s battle, Hector made one more boast, "Let the women each of them light a great fire in her house, and let watch be safely kept lest the town be entered by surprise while the host is outside... I shall then know whether brave Diomed will drive me back from the ships to the wall, or whether I shall myself slay him and carry off his bloodstained spoils. Tomorrow let him show his mettle, abide my spear if he dare. I ween that at break of day, he shall be among the first to fall and many another of his comrades round him. Would that I were as sure of being immortal and never growing old, and of being worshipped like Minerva and Apollo, as I am that this day will bring evil to the Argives."

These words subsequently turned out to be wrong. In spite of careful watch, Diomedes managed to launch an attack upon the sleeping Trojans. Hector was vanquished by Diomedes yet again and it was Diomedes that ended up being worshipped as an immortal.

In Book IX, Agamemnon started shedding tears and proposed to abandon the war for good because Zeus was supporting the Trojans. Diomedes pointed out that this behavior was inappropriate for a leader like Agamemnon. He also declared that he will never leave the city unvanquished for the gods were originally with them. This speech signifies the nature of Homeric tradition where fate and divine interventions have superiority over human choices. Diomedes believed that Troy was fated to fall and had absolute and unconditional faith in victory.

However, this was one of the two instances where Diomedes’ opinion was criticized by Nestor. He praised Diomedes’ intelligence and declared that no person of such young age could equal Diomedes in counsel. He then criticized Diomedes for not making any positive proposal to replace Agamemnon’s opinion – a failure which Nestor ascribed to his youth. Nestor believed in the importance of human choices and proposed to change Achilles’ mind by offering many gifts. This proposal was approved by both Agamemnon and Odysseus.

The embassy failed because Achilles himself had more faith in his own choices than fate or divine interventions. He threatened to leave Troy, never to return believing that this choice will enable him to live a long life. When the envoys returned, Diomedes criticized Nestor’s decision and Achilles’ pride saying that Achilles’ personal choice of leaving Troy is of no importance (therefore, trying to change it with gifts is useless). Diomedes said, “Let Achilles stay or leave if he wishes to, but he will fight when the time comes. Let’s leave it to the gods to set his mind on that.” (In Book 15, Zeus tells Hera that he has already planned the method of bringing Achilles back to battle, confirming that Diomedes was right all along)

Book X – Agamemnon and Menelaus rounded up their principal commanders to get ready for battle the next day. They woke up Odysseus, Nestor, Ajax, Diomedes and Idomeneus. While the others were sleeping inside their tents, king Diomedes was seen outside his tent clad in his armour sleeping upon an ox skin, already well-prepared for any problem he may encounter at night. During the Achaean council held, Agamemnon asked for a volunteer to spy on the Trojans. Again, it was Diomedes who stepped forward.

The son of Tydeus explained “If another will go with me, I could do this in greater confidence and comfort. When two men are together, one of them may see some opportunity which the other has not caught sight of; if a man is alone he is less full of resource, and his wit is weaker.” These words inspired many other heroes to step forward. Agamemnon put Diomedes in charge of the mission and asked him to choose a companion himself. The hero instantly selected Odysseus for he was loved by Athena and was quick witted. Although Odysseus had deserted Diomedes in the battlefield that very day, instead of bashing him, the latter praised his bravery in front of others. Odysseus’ words hinted that he actually did not wish to be selected.

Meanwhile, in a similar council held by Hector, not a single prince or king would volunteer to spy on Achaeans. Finally Hector managed to send Dolon, a good runner, after making a false oath (promising him Achilles’ horses after the victory).

On their way to the Trojan camp, Diomedes and Odysseus discovered Dolon approaching the Achaean camp. The two kings lay among the corpses till Dolon passed them and ran after him. Dolon proved to be the better runner but Athena infused fresh strength into the son of Tydeus for she feared some other Achaean might earn the glory of being first to hit Dolon. Diomedes threw his spear over Dolon’s shoulders and ordered him to stop.

Dolon gave them several valuable pieces of information. According to Dolon, Hector and the other councilors were holding conference by the monument of great Ilus, away from the general tumult. In addition, he told about a major weakness in Trojan army. Only the Trojans had watchfires; they, therefore, were awake and kept each other to their duty as sentinels; but the allies who have come from other places were asleep and left it to the Trojans to keep guard. It is never explained in the epic why Dolon, specially mentioned as a man of lesser intelligence, came to notice this flaw while Hector (in spite of all his boasting) completely missed/ignored it.

On further questioning, Diomedes and Odysseus learnt that among the various allies, Thracians were the most vulnerable for they had come last and were sleeping apart from the others at the far end of the camp. Rhesus was their king and Dolon described Rhesus’ horses in this manner; ‘His horses are the finest and strongest that I have ever seen, they are whiter than snow and fleeter than any wind that blows’.

Having truthfully revealed valuable things, Dolon expected to be taken as a prisoner to the ships, or to be tied up, while the other two found out whether he had told them the truth or not. But Diomedes told him: "You have given us excellent news, but do not imagine you are going to get away, now that you have fallen into our hands. If we set you free tonight, there is nothing to prevent your coming down once more to the Achaean ships, either to play the spy or to meet us in open fight. But if I lay my hands on you and take your life, you will never be a nuisance to the Argives again." Having said this, Diomedes cut off the prisoner's head with his sword, without giving him time to plead for his life.

Although the original purpose of this night mission was spying on the Trojans, the information given by Dolon persuaded the two friends to plan an attack upon the Thracians.They took the spoils and set them upon a tamarisk tree in honour of Athena. Then they went where Dolon had indicated, and having found the Thracian king, Diomedes let him and twelve of his soldiers pass from one kind of sleep to another; for they were all killed in their beds, while asleep. Meanwhile, Odysseus gathered the team of Rhesus’ horses. Diomedes was wondering when to stop. He was planning to kill some more Thracians and stealing the chariot of the king with his armour when Athena advised him to back off for some other god may warn the Trojans.
This first night mission demonstrates another side of these two kings where they employed stealth and treachery along with might and bravery but more importantly fulfills one of the prophecies required for the fall of Troy: that Troy will not fall while the horses of Rhesus feed upon its plains (According to another version of the story, it had been foretold by an oracle that if the stallions of Rhesus were ever to drink from the river Scamander, which cuts across the Trojan plain, then the city of Troy would never fall. The Greeks never allowed the horses to drink from that river for all of them were stolen by Diomedes and Odysseus shortly after their arrival). These horses were given to king Diomedes.

According to some scholars, the rest of Thracians, deprived of their king, left Troy to return to their kingdom. This was another bonus of the night mission.

Book XI- In the forenoon, the fight was equal, but Agamemnon turned the fortune of the day towards the Achaeans until he got wounded and left the field. Hector then seized the battlefield and slew many Achaeans. Beholding this, Diomedes and Odysseus continued to fight with a lot of valor, giving hope to the Achaeans. The king of Argos slew Thymbraeus, two sons of Merops, and Agastrophus.

Hector soon marked the havoc Diomed and Ulysses were making, and approached them. Diomedes immediately threw his spear at Hector, aiming for his head. This throw was dead accurate but the helmet given by Apollo saved Hector’s life. Yet, the spear was sent with such great force that Hector swooned away. Meanwhile, Diomedes ran towards Hector to get his spear. Hector recovered and mingled with the crowd, by which means he saved his life from Diomedes for the second time. Frustrated, Diomedes shouted after Hector calling him a dog. The son of Tydeus, frequently referred to as the lord of war cry, was not seen speaking disrespectful words to his enemies before.

Shortly after that Paris jumped up in joy for he managed to achieve a great feat by fixing Diomedes’ foot to the ground with an arrow. Dismayed at this, Diomedes said “Seducer, a worthless coward like you can inflict but a light wound; when I wound a man though I but graze his skin it is another matter, for my weapon will lay him low. His wife will tear her cheeks for grief and his children will be fatherless: there will he rot, reddening the earth with his blood, and vultures, not women, will gather round him”. Under Odysseus’ cover, Diomedes withdrew the arrow but unable to fight with a limp, he retired from battle.

Book XIV- The wounded kings (Diomedes, Agamemnon and Odysseus) held council with Nestor regarding the possibility of Trojan army reaching their ships. Agamemnon proposed drawing the ships on the beach into the water but Odysseus rebuked him and pointed out the folly of such council. Agamemnon said, “Someone, it may be, old or young, can offer us better counsel which I shall rejoice to hear.” Wise Diomedes said, "Such a one is at hand; he is not far to seek, if you will listen to me and not resent my speaking though I am younger than any of you……. I say, then, let us go to the fight as we needs must, wounded though we be. When there, we may keep out of the battle and beyond the range of the spears lest we get fresh wounds in addition to what we have already, but we can spur on others, who have been indulging their spleen and holding aloof from battle hitherto." This council was approved by all.

Book XXIII- In the funeral games of Patroclus, Diomedes (though wounded) won all the games he played. First, he participated in the chariot race where he had to take the last place in the starting-line (chosen by casting lots
Casting lots
Casting lots may refer to:*Sortition, the casting or drawing of lots to make a fair form of selection*Cleromancy, the casting or drawing of lots as a form of divination...

). Diomedes owned the fastest horses after Achilles (who did not participate). A warrior named Eumelus took the lead and Diomedes could have overtaken him easily but Apollo (who had a grudge against him) made him drop the whip. Beholding this trick played by the sun-god, Athena reacted with great anger. She not only gave the whip back to the son of Tydeus but also put fresh strength to his horses and went after Eumelus to break his yoke. Poor Eumelus was thrown down and his elbows, mouth, and nostrils were all torn. Antilochus told his horses that there is no point trying to overtake Diomedes for Athena wishes his victory. Diomedes won the first prize – ‘a woman skilled in all useful arts, and a three-legged cauldron’.

Next, he fought with great Ajax in an armed sparring contest where the winner was to draw blood first. Ajax attacked Diomedes where his armour covered his body and achieved no success. Ajax owned the biggest armour and the tallest shield which covered most of his body leaving only two places vulnerable; his neck and armpits. So, Diomedes maneuvered his spear above Ajax’s shield and attacked his neck, drawing blood. The Achaean leaders were scared that another such blow would kill Ajax and they stopped the fight. Diomedes received the prize for the victor. This is the final appearance of Diomedes in the epic.

It is seen that although Diomedes received Athena’s help without asking for it, Odysseus prayed for help even before the start of the footrace he participated.

It is generally accepted that Athena is closest to Diomedes in the epic. In the early traditions, Athena (a virgin goddess) is described as being shy in the company of males. But she spoke to the hero without any disguise in Book V where he could see her in the true divine form (a special vision was granted to him). Such an incident doesn’t happen even in the other Homeric Epic, The Odyssey where Athena disguises herself while speaking to Odysseus.


Penthesileia led a small army of Amazons to Troy on the last year of the Trojan War. Two of her warriors named Alcibie and Derimacheia were slain by Diomedes.

A dispute with Achilles

Penthesileia killed many Greeks in battle. She was, however, no match for Achilles, who killed her. When Achilles stripped Penthesileia of her armour, he saw that the woman was young and very beautiful, and seemingly falls madly in love with her. Achilles then regrets killing her. Thersites mocked Achilles for his behaviour, because the hero was mourning his enemy. Enraged, Achilles killed Thersites with a single blow to his face.

Thersites was so quarrelsome and abusive in character, that only his cousin, Diomedes, mourned for him. Diomedes wanted to avenge Thersites, but the other leaders persuaded the two mightiest Achaean warriors against fighting among themselves. Hearkening to prayers of comrades, the two heroes reconciled at last. According to Quintus Smyrnaeus, the Greek leaders agreed to the boon of returning her body to the Trojans for her funeral pyre. According to some other sources, Diomedes angrily tossed Penthesileia's body into the river, so neither side could give her decent burial.

Achilles’ funeral games

After Achilles’ death, the Achaeans piled him a mound and held magnificent games in his honor. According to Apollodorus, Diomedes won the footrace. Smyrnaeus says that the wrestling match between him and Ajax the Great came to a draw.


As Troy could not be taken regardless of the efforts that were made, ever new conditions were added by the seers as to what was necessary to do in order to take the city. So, in the same way as before it had been declared that Troy could not be taken without Achilles, now it was prophesied that Troy could not be taken if Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus was the son of the warrior Achilles and the princess Deidamia in Greek mythology. Achilles' mother foretold many years before Achilles' birth that there would be a great war. She saw that her only son was to die if he fought in the war...

 (Achilles's son) would not come and fight. According to Quintus Smyrnaeus, Odysseus and Diomedes came to Scyros to bring him to the war at Troy. According to 'Epic-Cycle' stories, Odysseus and Phoenix did this.

Another Prophecy

The Greek seer named Calchas prophesied that Philoctetes (whom the Greeks had abandoned on the island of Lemnos due to the vile odour from snakebite) and the bow of Heracles are needed to take Troy. Philoctetes hated Odysseus, Agamemnon and Menelaus, because they were responsible for leaving him behind.

Diomedes and Odysseus were charged with achieving this prophecy also. Knowing that Philoctetes would never agree to come with them, they sailed to the island and stole the bow of Heracles by a trick. Heracles (now a god) or Athena later persuaded Philoctetes to join the Achaeans again. This bow and arrows were used by Philoctetes (who came with Diomedes and Odysseus to Troy) to slay Paris; this was a requirement to the fall of Troy.

According to some, Diomedes and Odysseus were sent into the city of Troy to negotiate for peace after the death of Paris

The Palladium

After Paris’ death, Helenus left the city but was captured by Odysseus. The Greeks somehow managed to persuade the seer/warrior to reveal the weakness of Troy. The Greeks learnt from Helenus, that Troy would not fall, while the Palladium
Palladium (mythology)
In Greek and Roman mythology, a palladium or palladion was an image of great antiquity on which the safety of a city was said to depend. "Palladium" especially signified the wooden statue of Pallas Athena that Odysseus and Diomedes stole from the citadel of Troy and which was later taken to the...

, image or statue of Athena, remained within Troy's walls. The difficult task of stealing this sacred statue again fell upon the shoulders of Odysseus and Diomedes.
Odysseus, some say, went by night to Troy, and leaving Diomedes waiting, disguised himself and entered the city as a beggar. There he was recognized by Helen, who told him where the Palladium was. Diomedes then climbed the wall of Troy and entered the city. Together, the two friends killed several guards and one or more priests of Athena’s temple and stole the Palladium ‘with their bloodstained hands’. Diomedes is generally regarded as the person who physically removed the Palladium and carried it away to the ships. There are several statues and many ancient drawings of him with the Palladium.
According to the ‘Epic-Cycle’ stories (Little Iliad), on the way to the ships, Odysseus plotted to kill Diomedes and claim the Palladium (or perhaps the credit for gaining it) for himself. He raised his sword to stab Diomedes in the back. Diomedes was alerted to the danger by glimpsing the gleam of the sword in the moonlight. He turned round, seized the sword of Odysseus, tied his hands, and drove him along in front, beating his back with the flat of his sword. From this action was said to have arisen the Greek proverbial expression “Diomedes’ necessity”, applied to those who act under compulsion. (The incident was commemorated in 1842 by the French sculptor Pierre-Jules Cavelier in a muscle-bound plaster statue). Because Odysseus was essential for the destruction of Troy, Diomedes refrained from punishing him.

Diomedes took the Palladium with him when he left Troy. According to some, he brought it to Argos where it remained until Ergiaeus, one of his descendants, took it away with the assistance of the Laconian Leagrus, who conveyed it to Sparta. Others say that he brought it to Italy. Some say that Diomedes was robbed of the palladium by Demophon in Attica, where he landed one night on his return from Troy, without knowing where he was. According to another tradition, the Palladium failed to bring Diomedes any luck due to the unrighteous way he obtained it. He was informed by an oracle, that he should be exposed to unceasing sufferings unless he restored the sacred image to the Trojans. Therefore he gave it back to his enemy, Aeneas.

Stealing the Palladium after killing the priests was viewed as the greatest transgression committed by Diomedes and Odysseus by Trojans. Odysseus used this sentiment to his advantage when he invented the Trojan Horse stratagem.

The Wooden Horse

This stratagem invented by Odysseus made it possible to take the city. Diomedes was one of the warriors inside. He slew many Trojan warriors inside the city.

According to Quintus Smyrnaeus, while slaughtering countless Trojans, Diomedes met an elderly man named Ilioneus who begged for mercy. Despite his fury of war, Diomedes held back his sword so that the old man may speak. Ilioneus begged ‘Oh compassionate my suppliant hands! To slay the young and valiant is a glorious thing; but if you smite an old man, small renown waits on your prowess. Therefore turn from me your hands against young men, if you hope ever to come to grey hairs such as mine.' Firmly resolved in his purpose, Diomedes answered. ‘Old man, I look to attain to honored age; but while my Strength yet exists, not a single foe will escape me with life. The brave man makes an end of every foe.’ Having said this, Diomedes slew Ilioneus.

Some of the other Trojan warriors slain by Diomedes during that night were Coroebus (who came to Troy to win the hand of Cassandra), Eurydamas and Eurycoon.

After the fall of Troy

During the sacking and looting of the great city, the seeress Cassandra, daughter of Priam and Hecuba, clung to the statue of Athena, but the Lesser Ajax raped her. Odysseus, unsuccessfully, tried to persuade the Greek leaders to put Ajax to death, by stoning the Locrian leader (to divert the goddess's anger). Diomedes and other Greek leaders disagreed because Ajax himself clung to the same statue of Athena in order to save himself. The failure of Greek leaders to punish Ajax the lesser for the sacrilege of Athena's altar resulted in earning her wrath. However, she did not punish Diomedes.

Athena caused a quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaus about the voyage from Troy. Agamemnon then stayed on to appease the anger of Athena. Diomedes and Nestor held a discussion about the situation and decided to leave immediately. They took their vast armies and left Troy. They managed to reach home safely but Athena called upon Poseidon to bring a violent storm upon most of other Greek ships.

The Palamedes affair haunted several Greek Leaders including Diomedes. Palamedes's brother Oeax went to Argos and reported to Aegialia, falsely or not, that her husband was bringing a woman he preferred to his wife. Others say that Aegialia herself had taken a lover, Cometes (son of Sthenelus), being persuaded to do so by Palamedes's father Nauplius. Still others say that despite Diomedes's noble treatment of her son Aeneas, Aphrodite never managed to forget about the Argive spear that had once pierced her flesh in the fields of Troy. She helped Aegialia to obtain, not one but many lovers. (According to different traditions, Aegialeia was living in adultery with Hippolytus, Cometes or Cyllabarus. )

In any case Aegialia, being helped by the Argives, prevented Diomedes from entering the city. Or else, if he ever entered Argos, he had to take sanctuary at the altar of Hera, and thence flee with his companions by night. Cometes was shortly the king of Argos, in Diomedes' absence, but was quickly replaced by the rightful heir, Cyanippus, who was the son of Aegialeus
In Greek mythology, Aegialeus is a name attributed several individuals.* Aegialeus was the elder son of Adrastus, a king of Argos, and either Amphithea or Demonassa. Aegialeus was identified as one of the Epigoni, who avenged their fathers' disastrous attack on the city of Thebes by retaking the...


Life in Italy

Diomedes then migrated to Aetolia, and thence to Daunia (Apulia) in Italy. He went to the court of King Daunus, King of the Daunians. The king was honored to accept the great warrior. He begged Diomedes for help in warring against the Messapians, for a share of the land and marriage to his daughter. Diomedes agreed the proposal, drew up his men and routed the Messapians. He took his land which he assigned to the Dorians, his followers.

Diomedes later married Daunus's daughter Euippe and had two sons named Diomedes and Amphinomus. Some say that, after the sack of Troy, Diomedes came to Libya (due to a storm), where he was put in prison by King Lycus (who planned on sacrificing him to Ares). It is said that it was the king's daughter Callirrhoe, who loosing Diomedes from his bonds, saved him. Diomedes is said to have thanklessly sailed away, and the girl killed herself with a halter.

Cities founded by Diomedes

He founded about ten Italian cities (in the eastern part of Italy) including Argyrippa (Arpi/Arpus Hippium/Argos Hippion), Aequum Tuticum, Beneventum and Brundusium. Also Canusium, Venafrum, Salapia, Spina, Garganum, Sipus (near Santa Maria di Siponto) were said to have been founded by him.

Some say that he named a city as 'Venusia' (or Aphrodisia) after Venus (Aphrodite) as a peace-offering. When war broke out between Aeneas and Turnus, Turnus tried to persuade Diomedes to aid them in the war against the Trojans. Diomedes told them he had fought enough Trojans in his lifetime, and urged Turnus that it was best to make peace with Aeneas than to fight the Trojans. He also said that his purpose in Italy is to live in peace. Virgil's Aeneid describes the beauty and prosperity of Diomedes’ kingdom.

The worship and service of gods and heroes was spread by Diomedes far and wide : in and near Argos he caused temples of Athena to be built. His armour was preserved in a temple of Athena at Luceria in Apulia, and a gold chain of his was shewn in a temple of Artemis in Peucetia. At Troezene he had founded a temple of Apollo Epibaterius, and instituted the Pythian games there.

Other sources claim that Diomedes had one more meeting with his old enemy Aeneas where he gave the Palladium back to the Trojans.


Neither Homer nor Virgil gives the reader any foreshadowing of Diomedes's death except for a passage in the Iliad in which Dione, Aphrodite's mother, comforts the goddess of love (after she has been injured by Diomedes), telling her daughter that "the man who fights the gods does not live long."

End of Diomedes in Italy

He lived a long life but there is no clear record as to how he died. Some claims that he was buried or mysteriously disappeared on one of the islands in the Adriatic called after him (Diomedeae). Others say that he did not have to face a mortal death.

Legend has it that, on his death, the albatrosses got together and sang a song (their normal call). This is where the family name for albatrosses comes from (Diomedae).


According to the post Homeric stories, Diomedes was given immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

 by Athena, which she had not given to his father. Pindar says that Diomedes became a minor god in southern Italy or the Adriatic. He was worshipped as a divine being under various names in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 where Statues of him existed at Argyripa, Metapontum, Thurii, and other places.

There are traces in Greece also of the worship of Diomedes. Greek sources say that he was placed among the gods together with the Dioscuri.

Diomedes was worshipped as a hero not only in Greece, but on the coast of the Adriatic, as at Thurii and Metapontum. At Argos, his native place, during the festival of Athena, his shield was carried through the streets as a relic, together with the Palladium, and his statue was washed in the river Inachus.

In the Divine Comedy poem Inferno
Inferno (Dante)
Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

, Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 sees Diomedes in the Eighth Circle of Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

, where deceivers are imprisoned for eternity in a sheet of flame. His deceits include those used to steal the Palladium and king Rhesus' horses. The same damnation is imposed on Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

, who is also punished for having persuaded Achilles to fight in the Trojan war, without telling him that this would lead to his inevitable death. Diomedes and Odysseus are also here for their part in the Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the stratagem that allowed the Greeks finally to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside...


The Troilus and Cressida legend

Diomedes plays an important role in the medieval legend of Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. It was also described by Frederick S. Boas as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. The play ends on a very bleak note with the death of the noble Trojan Hector and destruction of the love between Troilus...

, in which he becomes the girl's new lover when she is sent to the Greek camp to join her traitorous father. In Shakespeare's play of that title, Diomedes is often seen fighting Troilus over her.

See also

  • 1437 Diomedes
    1437 Diomedes
    1437 Diomedes is a Jupiter trojan asteroid that orbits in the Lagrangian point of the Sun-Jupiter system, in the "Greek Camp" of Trojan asteroids. It was named after the Greek hero Diomedes. It was discovered by Karl Wilhelm Reinmuth on August 3, 1937, in Heidelberg, Germany.-External links:* * ...

    , a minor asteroid
    Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

  • Diomedes (Thracian king)
  • USS Diomedes (ARB-11)
    USS Diomedes (ARB-11)
    USS Diomedes was an built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named for Diomedes , she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name....

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