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. 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. 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. 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.
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He might have perished if not for Diomedes. Seeing that Nestor's life was in danger, the son of Tydeus shouted for Odysseus' help. The latter ignored his cry and ran away. Having Nestor as the driver, Diomedes bravely rushed towards Hector.
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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. Diomedes answered, "Hector will talk among the Trojans and say, 'The son of Tydeus fled before me to the ships.
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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 Athena 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.
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 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. Diomedes said, "Let Achilles stay or leave if he wishes to, but he will fight when the time comes. Agamemnon and Menelaus rounded up their principal commanders to get ready for battle the next day.
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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. 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 criticizing 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. In Book XIII, Idomeneus praises Meriones and claims the best warriors do in fact excel in both types of warfare, 'lokhos' ambush and 'polemos' open battle. The first night mission also 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.