Anybody else feel kind of bad when people get described this way?
"Escape? Take my advice and wipe it from your mind,
good as your message is—you’re in my hands now.”
-Diomedes, Lines 516-17, Book 10, The Iliad
Let me just say that Diomedes continues to be a badass, and that Dolon continues to be the saddest character.
I also have to say, that for a book that was supposed to be about Diomedes and Odysseus being spies and infiltrating the enemy camp, this was a lot shorter, and a lot less graphic of a book than it should have been. Yes, I understand that the book was just a small spy mission, but damn it, I expected more from a chapter that was purely about Diomedes and Odysseus on their own little outing. In an epic full of books which drag on and on and on and on and on… I was shocked with how quickly the guys captured a spy, killed him, and then went on the kill twelve other men, capture their horses, and make it back to the Argive camp. But, oh well.
I suppose if I had to, I could make the argument that the length of this book really just speaks to the efficiency with which these two fine gentlemen can get such a mission done. But. You know, I don’t really want to, because what in the world in the point of that?
You know there is actually a theory that Book 10 of the Iliad was added later. One of the reasons scholars think that is probably because of the difference in pacing like you just mentioned. But I don’t know if I buy it because the pacing in the Odyssey fluctuates a lot.
I actually hate that theory because Book 10 is my favorite book in the Iliad.
I’m a huge Diomedes fan, and any Odysseus/Diomedes action is awesome in my opinion.
Diomedes is pretty much officially my favorite, and I don’t know if I was expecting more from that book or if I just wanted more, either way, I felt a little gypped. However, I still enjoyed the crap out of every moment I was given.
As for the theory, it was my impression that there were a lot of segments that were added in later as the epic was told over several generations and grew with each telling. Given the brevity of the book, it would not surprise me if they one day discovered that it was in fact a later addition, as what happens in that book seems to have no real impact on the books that come after. They find a little bit of information and kill a few people, but so far as I recall, none of it seems to matter. I will say, and this is just a feeling I have, that this book has a very different feel from the rest of the epic.