Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Interrogation of Enemy Combatants

On the Greek side, Nestor calls for volunteers to spy on the Trojans (Iliad 10.204-217). Diomedes and Odysseus volunteer, arm themselves, and set forth (10.218-298).

On the Trojan side, Hector calls for volunteers to spy on the Greeks (10.299-312). Dolon volunteers, arms himself, and sets forth (10.313-337).

Diomedes and Odysseus catch sight of Dolon and capture him (10.338-377). Dolon begs to be spared and promises ransom (10.378-381). Odysseus reassures Dolon, tells him not to be afraid, and interrogates him (10.382-445).

But after Dolon tells all he knows, he is put to death (10.446-459, tr. Samuel Butler):
Diomed 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 make 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 Diomed 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.

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