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19/05/2008

DIOMEDES

Municipality of Argos

He was an Acheaian hero, son of Tydeos and Diepyli. Tydeos was the king of Aetolia, while Diepyli was the daughter of Adrastos, who was the king of Argos. Diomedes was raised in Argos, where his father followed Adrastos and mastered the throne later on. He took place on the war of Epigonoi against Thebes, avenged the killing of Tydeos from Melanippos from Thebes, in the expedition of Seven against the city. After that, he campaigned in Aetolia in order to punish Agrioss sons, who had rout out from the throne his grandfather Oineas, who they brought back to the throne. According to another tradition, his grandfathers son-in-law was situated in the throne, while he took his grandfather to Argos. When the old Oineas died, either of physical death or in an ambuscade of the Agrioss son who had left, Oghestos and Thersitos, Diomedes buried him in an area to which he gave the name Oinoe.
As a suitor of Helene he took place in the Trojan War together with warriors and eighty ships from Argos, Tyrins, Ermioni, Assini, Troizina, Heiones, Aegina and Masseta. He had Sthenelos, Kapaneass son and Mekisteas, Talaoss son with him. Homer dedicated a part of his work to the achievements of Diomedes. The fifth rhapsody of the Iliad, which is entitled Diomedess distinction, refers to Diomedes, the beloved of the gods. Protected by Athena, gifted by the goddess with passion and courage, so that he could acquire kleos esthlon (good achievement) among the Achaeans, he was distincted in many battles.
Diomedes was not only a courageous fighter and partner of Ulysses, but at the same time he showed intelligence, versality and diplomacy, and he had taken over many missions together with Ulysses. They went to Skyros together, to find Achilles, who was hiding, they entered Ilion secretly and stole the Palladium, they killed the Trojan spy Dolon and Rissos, the king of Thrace with his twelve men, the famous horses of which they shared among them, they co-operated for the construction of the Trojan Horse and took Philoktetes from Limos together.
The Achaeans considered him one of their greatest warriors, together with Achilles and Aeas. He was one of the nine heroes who accepted the challenge to a duel by Hector, while he did not hesitate to blame Agamemnon as the reason of the conflict with Achilles.
After the Trojan War he went back to his home country without a hitch, and he built a temple of Athena Oxyderkis (Athena the Clear Sighted) and Epivaterios Apollo. However, according to subsequent myths, Aphrodite wanting to take revenge for the injury of herself and her son Aeneias in Troy blew into his wife Aegiali or Aegialeia love for another man during his absence. So, when Diomedes came back to Argos, Aegialeia asked for his death, obliging him to take shelter in the temple of Hera to be saved. Later on he left Argos with his comrades and he wandered in Libya to arrive to Apulia of Italy in the end. Here he helped the King of the Dounias Daunts against the Messalinas; for this help, Daunts gave him his daughter Equipped as his wife and he ceded part of his land to him. This land took the name Diomedess fields, and there he founded a kingdom. The cities Arpoi (older names are Argyrippa, and Argos Ippion) Sipous or Sepious, Canousion, Vrindision etc.
Traditions about his death differ from each other. One mentions that he came back to Argos, where he died. According to another he got married to Hermione and became immortal by the Dioskouri. A third one says that he disappeared on one of the Diomedian islands and his comrades were transformed to birds. According to another tradition, he was murdered by Danaos himself.
On the east coast of South Italy up to the Adriatic Worship to Diomedes was extremely widespread. A sanctuary of his is said to have existed in Timauo, while there is evidence of his worship in Metapontio and Thoureioi. There is much evidence as well as traditions about Diomedes in the Greek territory, too. Heras sacred groves in Argos and these of Artemis in Aetolia referred to Diomedes. The temple of Epivaterios Apollo, which he built after his return from Troy, as well as the place of worship of Ippolytros, with a temple and a statue, are ascribed to him. His shield, which was a present from the goddess, and is described in the Iliad was protected in the temple of the goddess and was a sacred object. Together with the statue of the goddess it was washed in the river, where it was taken in pomp. He is considered to be the founder of Pithy in Troizina in honor of Apollo. The statue of Athena Anemotis in Messinia is also considered to be a donation of Diomedes. He gave the goddess the name himself, because according to tradition, Athena, after Diomedess prayers, ceased the strong and ill-timed winds, which destroyed the country. A court of Athens, where unintentional murders were judged was named the Epi Palladio due to the Palladium which Diomedes had brought from Troy. In the Prassion demos of Attica there was a temple of Pronoia Athena, which was founded by the hero. In Salamis of Cyprus Diomedes was honored together with Athena and Aglauros. Human sacrifices, which were abolished in the end by king Diphilos, also took place there.
It is not surprising that art found the proper ground in Diomedess myth-making. Scenes of the Trojan War and the theft of the Palladium are often represented on pottery. Pausanias mentions representations of it in the art gallery of Acropolis of Athens and in the club of Knidioi in Delphi, while he saw statues of Diomedes in Delphi and Olympia. A serious iconography of Diomedes also comes from Italy.
The theft of the Palladium is represented on coins of Argos of the classical years. Diomedes is depicted dressed only in a chlamys, while he grabs the palladium with a rapid movement of his spread out hand. The same scene is also depicted on ring stones, on wall paintings of Pompey, on etrouscic mirrors and sarcophaguses. In the sculpture gallery of Munich there is a statue, which is considered to represent Diomedes and it is connected with the theft of the Palladium.




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