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Diomedes 2

0233: Diomedes. Copy of a statue by Kresilas from ca. 430 BC. Glyptothek, München.

"Aphrodite, be off from this battle and leave war alone. Is it not enough for you to set your traps for feeble women?" (Diomedes 2 to Aphrodite after having wounded her. Homer, Iliad 5.348).

Diomedes 2 fought in the war of the EPIGONI, and later led the Argives against Troy. He was a brave man, whose temerity defied even the gods; but on his return home he was, as other ACHAEAN LEADERS, defeated by his own wife, and had to settle in Italy.

Resident in Argos

Diomedes 2 was, on his father side, an Aetolian, and on his mother's, an Argive. This is so because his father Tydeus 2, in order to avoid being prosecuted by his uncle Agrius 3, left Calydon and came to Argos, where he married King Adrastus 1's daughter Deipyle. The king, besides marrying his daughter to him, promised to help him to return to his country by means of war. But before that, he wished to restore his other son-in-law Polynices to the throne of Thebes. With this purpose in mind, Adrastus 1 formed a military alliance, in order to attempt the conquest of Oedipus' throne and give it to Polynices. This expedition, remembered as that of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES, failed; and since all leaders perished (with the exception of Adrastus 1), there was never occasion for Tydeus 2 to return, either to Argos or Calydon, and therefore Diomedes 2 became a permanent resident in Argos.

Among the EPIGONI

Ten years after these events, the sons of the SEVEN, known as the EPIGONI (one of which was Diomedes 2), attacked Thebes, and being successful where their fathers had failed, they put Polynices' son Thersander 1 on the throne.

Restores his grandfather

Although Diomedes 2 married an Argive woman, daughter or granddaughter of Adrastus 1, he still kept an eye on Calydonian politics, punishing the usurpers that deposed his grandfather Oeneus 2, king of Calydon. Behind this conspiracy were the sons of Agrius 3 (brother of Oeneus 2 and the man who had banished Tydeus 2), who put their own father on the throne and Oeneus 2 in jail. Diomedes 2 then, being helped by Alcmaeon 1 (one of the EPIGONI), attacked Calydon and punished the plotters by slaying most of them, except perhaps Onchestus 1 and Thersites, who escaped to Peloponnesus, and Agrius 3, who killed himself. Now Diomedes 2 did not restore Oeneus 2 to power to, since he was too old, but gave the government to the latter's son-in-law, Andraemon 1 (married to Gorge 2). Diomedes 2 then took Oeneus 2 to Argos; but when they were in Arcadia, Onchestus 1 and Thersites lay in wait for the old man and killed him. Apparently all what Diomedes 2 could do was to bring the corpse to Argos, where Oeneus 2 was buried in a place called Oenoe after him. Some have said that these events took place after the fall of Troy. But others believe that this happened before the war of the EPIGONI, which preceded the Trojan War; and they could argue that Alcmaeon 1 was too busy after the war of the EPIGONI (murdering his mother, marrying several woman, and being himself murdered by the brothers of one of them), or that Thersites died at Troy.


In any case, after these episodes Diomedes 2 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 him who was chosen as Helen's husband against any wrong done against him in regard to his marriage. Accordingly, when Menelaus was robbed of his wife, all those who had sworn the oath were summoned by the latter's brother Agamemnon, so that they would join the coalition that was to sail from Aulis to Troy in order to demand, by persuasion or by force, the restoration of Helen and the Spartan property that the seducer Paris had stolen.

Some killed by Diomedes 2

Chromius 1.

Son of Priam 1.

Echemmon 1.

Son of Priam 1.

Pandarus 1.

Pandarus 1 is remembered for having broken a truce by shooting an arrow at Menelaus. He later wounded Diomedes 2, but the latter hurled a spear at him that hit upon his nose beside the eye, killing him.

Amphius 1.

Amphius 1 is one of the sons of the seer Merops 1.

Rhesus 2.

King of Thrace killed while he slept.

Dolon 1.

The spy that Odysseus and Diomedes 2 captured the same night they killed Rhesus 2.

Thymbraeus 1.

This son of the Trojan seer Laocoon 2 was either killed by Diomedes 2, or by certain serpents sent by the gods.

Phegeus 2.

Son of the Trojan priest Dares 1.


A Trojan chieftain.

Abas 5.

Sons of Eurydamas 3, a reader of dreams.

Polyidus 3.

Xanthus 3.

Sons of Phaenops 1.

Thoon 1.


Son of Teuthranus.


Axylus' squire and charioteer.


Son of Thebaeus, and charioteer of Hector 1.

Agelaus 6.

Son of Phradmon.


Trojan spearman, son of Paeon 1 and Cleomede.

Coroebus 2.

Coroebus 2 came to Troy to marry Cassandra. He fought by Aeneas' side, and was killed either by Neoptolemus, or by Diomedes 2, or by Peneleus. Coroebus 2 was son of Mygdon, the King of the Bebrycians who once fought with Priam 1 against the AMAZONS.


These are AMAZONS.


Eumaeus 2.

Trojan warriors.

Amphinous 2.

Menon 2.

Eurydamas 5.

The son-in-law of Antenor 1.

Ilioneus 4.

A Trojan elder who asked for mercy.


Son of Perimnestor.

Astynous 3.

A Trojan warrior.

Instrument of treachery

In Aulis, where all ACHAEAN LEADERS gathered, Diomedes 2 met his brother in arms Odysseus, with whom he shared several adventures. They began to combine their efforts and actions already when being in Aulis. For it is said that Odysseus and Diomedes 2 were among the few Achaean officers who were acquainted with Agamemnon's manipulations concerning the betrayal of Iphigenia. And some have said that the two unscrupulous friends were those charged by Agamemnon of luring Iphigenia from Mycenae to Aulis, where murder, disguised as wedding, awaited her.


According to some, Diomedes 2 contributed with as many as 80 ships to the Achaean fleet. He shared the command of the Argives from Argos, Tiryns, Troezen, and other cities, with Sthenelus 2 and Euryalus 1 (both of them former EPIGONI), but he kept the highest authority among them.


Once in Troy, Odysseus and Diomedes 2, say some, 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. Yet others keep Diomedes 2 blameless, and do not mention him when describing the plot through which Odysseus ended Palamedes' days at Troy.

Those killed by Diomedes 2

Diomedes 2 is counted among the bravest, and being an excellent fighter, he slew many Trojans, among which:

Wounded a goddess

Diomedes 2 would probably have killed Aeneas as well, had not Aphrodite intervened to protect her son. However, the goddess herself was wounded by Diomedes 2 in the wrist, which caused her to hand over the exhausted Aeneas to Apollo. And since Diomedes 2 persisted in his furious attack, Apollo shouted at him in a terrible way:

"Think, Diomedes, and give way! Do not aspire to be the equal of the gods. The immortals are not made of the same stuff as men that walk on the ground!" (Apollo to Diomedes 2. Homer, Iliad 5.440).

A goddess in his chariot

These things happened before Zeus forbade the gods to intervene in the battles. And during those good times before prohibition, Athena herself took place beside Diomedes 2 in his chariot, and drove it against Ares; and with her help, Diomedes 2 succeeded in wounding the god in the lower part of his divine belly, although it could be also said that this was Athena's work altogether.

Spy and saboteur

Such was Diomedes 2 in the battlefield: a man who dared to defy the gods themselves, as they say. But in the company of Odysseus, he employed stealth and treachery too, as when he murdered King Rhesus 2 of Thrace, a Trojan ally, while he slept. That was the night when the Trojans, having obtained victory the previous day, camped in the plain outside the city. Diomedes 2 and Odysseus were then sent by the Achaean chiefs to find out something about that temerity and the intentions of the enemy. On their way to the Trojan camp, they discovered and captured Dolon 1—also a spy—who approached the Achaean camp. It was after questioning him that they learned everything about Rhesus 2 and the positions of the Thracians. Having truthfully revealed valuable things, Dolon 1 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 2 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." (Diomedes 2 to Dolon 1. Homer, Iliad 10.447).

Having said this, Diomedes 2 cut off the prisoner's head with his sword, without giving him time to plead for his life. Then they went where Dolon 1 had indicated, and having found the Thracian king, Diomedes 2 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.

Helps to steal the Palladium

Also the theft of the Palladium, a wooden statue, was accomplished during a similar operation by Odysseus and Diomedes 2. Odysseus, some say, went by night to Troy disguised as a beggar and, having entered into the city, stole away the Palladium, and killed several guards. Then he brought it to the ships with the aid of Diomedes 2, who was waiting outside. Others affirm that Odysseus and Diomedes 2 learned from Antenor 1 the oracle that declared that Troy would be destroyed if the Palladium were carried outside the city walls; and that it was the same Antenor 1, who after having obtained the Palladium from the priestess, wrapped it and sent it to Odysseus.


RI.1-1025: Diomedes and Odysseus stealing the Palladium. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Göttingen, 1845- Dresden, 1923), Ausfürliches Lexikon der griechisches und römisches Mythologie, 1884.

Although Diomedes 2 was a man given to both treachery and violence, he found occasion to refrain himself, as when he met Glaucus 3 (a Lycian leader and Trojan ally) in the battlefield. They first exchanged boasts and insults, but when Diomedes 2 learned that Glaucus 3's grandfather Bellerophon had once been the guest of his own grandfather Oeneus 2, he addressed his foe in cordial terms and invited him to exchange armours, to honour the ties of hospitality that united them, and as a token of friendship:

"Let us exchange our armour, so that everyone may know that our grandfathers' friendship has made friends of us" (Diomedes 2 to Glaucus 3. Homer, Iliad 6.231).

This they did, but it has been remarked that Glaucus 3 exchanged gold for bronze: "a hundred oxen's worth for the value of nine" (Hom.Il.6.236).


In the final phase of the war, Odysseus conceived the stratagem of the WOODEN HORSE, hiding inside this huge piece of art a group of Achaean warriors, among which Diomedes 2. Not knowing that there was an enemy armed force inside it, the Trojans brought the evil device into the city. A fatal mistake; for when night fell and the Trojans were asleep, the hidden force came forth, and opened the gates for the rest of the army, which set the city on fire and destroyed it.

Haunted by old mischief

When the war was over, the Palamedes affair haunted Diomedes 2. For Palamedes' brother Oeax went to Argos and reportedto 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 2 (son of Sthenelus 2, the Argive leader and brother in arms of Diomedes 2), being persuaded to do so by Palamedes' father Nauplius 1. Still others say that Aphrodite, remembering that Diomedes 2 had wounded her, helped Aegialia to obtain, not one but many lovers. In any case Aegialia, being helped by the Argives, prevented Diomedes 2 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.

End of Diomedes 2 in Italy

Diomedes 2 then migrated to Apulia in Italy, and went to the court of King Daunus, who, some say, killed him by a trick. But others say that he married the king's daughter, having sons by her, and dying of Old Age. It is told that when Diomedes 2 was already well established in Italy, Aeneas landed in Latium with his Trojans, and that they who felt themselves threatened by Aeneas went to see Diomedes 2 in order to get from him military aid. But Diomedes 2, perhaps tired of so much warfare, refused. Still others say that Diomedes 2 disappeared while his companions were changed into birds, and yet others that Athena made him a god.

Others with identical name: Diomedes 1 is the owner of the Thracian man-eating mares (see HERACLES 1'S LABOURS). Diomedes 3 is son of Diomedes 2.






Tydeus 2 & Deipyle



Like other wives of the Achaeans fighting at Troy, Aegialia was induced by Palamedes' father Nauplius 1 to play her husband false. She was also helped by Aphrodite, whom Diomedes 2 wounded during the Trojan War, to obtain many lovers, among which were Cometes 2 and Hippolytus 6.

Aegialia was daughter either of Adrastus 1 and Amphithea 1, or of Aegialeus 1.

(Apd.1.8.6; Apd.Ep.6.10; Mimn.22).

Daunus' Daughter

Diomedes 3
Amphinomus 3

Callirrhoe 7


Some say that, after the sack of Troy, Diomedes 2 came to Libya, where he was put in prison by King Lycus 17, father of Callirrhoe 7 and son of Ares. It is said that it was the king's daughter, who loosing Diomedes 2 from his bonds, saved him. Diomedes 2 is said to have thanklessly, sailed away, and the girl killed herself with a halter.

Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Adrastus 1, Aegialeus 1, Aegialia, Aeolia, Aeolus 1, Aetolus 2, Agenor 6, Alcidice, Aleus, Amphinomus 3, Amphithea 1, Amythaon, Aphidas 1, Arcas 1, Bias 1, Callisto, Calyce 1, Calydon, Cretheus 1, Daunus, Daunus' Daughter, Deipyle, Deucalion 1, Diomedes 2, Diomedes 3, Dorus 2, Endymion, Epicasta 1, Hellen 1, Oeneus 2, Phorbus, Phthia 2, Pleuron, Porthaon, Pronax, Pronoe 2, Salmoneus, Talaus, Tydeus 2, Tyro, Xanthippe 1.

Related sections

Apd.1.8.6, 3.7.2, 3.10.8; Eur.Rhe. passim; Hom.Il.5.1; Hom.Od.4.265ff.; Hyg.Fab.69, 97; Lib.Met.37; Mimn.22; Ov.Met.14.458, 14.510; Pin.Nem.10.9; Plu.PS.23; QS.1.773, 12.314ff.; Strab.6.3.9; Try.157.