Gates of Fire

by

Steven Pressfield

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Diomache is Xeo’s cousin, age 13 at the beginning of the story. After her hometown is attacked, she is raped by Argive soldiers. She eventually moves to Athens but lives a hellish life there, until the goddess Persephone leads her to a temple, where she finally lives at peace. When she and Xeo are briefly reunited, Xeo longs to run away with her, having always harbored feelings for her and feeling guilty for failing to protect her. However, she tells him that their respective gods have protected each of them thus far and will continue to determine the course of their lives.

Diomache Quotes in Gates of Fire

The Gates of Fire quotes below are all either spoken by Diomache or refer to Diomache . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of Gates of Fire published in 1998.
Chapter 2 Quotes

This I learned then: there is always fire.

An acrid haze hangs in the air night and day, and sulphurous smoke chokes the nostrils […] The pitilessness of flame reinforces the sensation of the gods’ anger, of fate, retribution, deeds done and hell to pay.

All is the obverse of what it had been.

Things are fallen which had stood upright. Things are free which should be bound, and bound which should be free. Things which had been hoarded in secret now blow and tumble in the open, and those who had hoarded them watch with dull eyes and let them go.

Related Characters: Xeones (speaker), Diomache
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Bruxieus began to fear for us. We were growing wild. Cityless. In evenings past, Bruxieus had recited Homer and made it a game how many verses we could repeat without a slip. Now this exercise took on a deadly earnestness for him. He was failing, we all knew it. He would not be with us much longer. Everything he knew, he must pass on.

Homer was our school, the Iliad and Odyssey the texts of our curriculum […] Bruxieus tutored us relentlessly in compassion, that virtue which he saw diminishing each day within our mountain-hardened hearts […]

We must have a city, Bruxieus declared.

Without a city we were no better than the wild brutes we hunted and killed.

Related Characters: Xeones (speaker), Diomache , Bruxieus
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27 Quotes

“The goddess unbound her veil and let it fall. Will you understand, Xeo, if I say that what was revealed, the face beyond the veil, was nothing less than that reality which exists beneath the world of flesh? […] I understood that our roles as humans was to embody here, upon this shadowed and sorrow-bound side of the Veil, those qualities which arise from beyond and are the same on both sides, ever-sustaining, eternal and divine. Do you understand, Xeo? Courage, selflessness, compassion and love.”

She drew up and smiled.

“You think I’m loony, don’t you? I’ve gone cracked with religion. Like a woman.”

Related Characters: Diomache (speaker), Xeones
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Gates of Fire LitChart as a printable PDF.
Gates of Fire PDF

Diomache Character Timeline in Gates of Fire

The timeline below shows where the character Diomache appears in Gates of Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
...his clan were slaughtered, and the females were sold into slavery. He and his cousin, Diomache, were left homeless orphans. (full context)
Chapter 3
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Very early the next morning, Xeo and his cousin 13-year-old Diomache head to town early. Xeo hopes to sell some precious ptarmigan eggs in the market... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
...allies, the Argives, have betrayed their city, along with a coalition of allies. He and Diomache hurtle homeward. They suddenly come upon Xeo’s uncle Tenagros, weeping, in his nightshirt. He tells... (full context)
Chapter 4
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Xeo reflects on the horror of finding himself an orphaned refugee. He and Diomache do not, after all, go into the city. They reunite with Bruxieus the next day.... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...sing a hymn to Zeus. Right after that, the soldiers restrain Xeo and Bruxieus, take Diomache outside, and brutally rape her. Bruxieus has to carry her away. As they leave, one... (full context)
Chapter 5
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Xeo, Diomache, and Bruxieus spend months drifting through the wilderness. Diomache is never quite the same. They... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...the Spartans and someday slay the Argives. He also vows that he will someday marry Diomache, who’s convinced that she is ruined, so that he can protect her. While begging at... (full context)
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...screams disgracefully, but the farmers take no pity, leaving him nailed there. Finally, after dark, Diomache sneaks in and releases him; his hands are mangled, and Bruxieus carries him off. (full context)
Chapter 6
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
That winter, Xeo, Diomache, and Bruxieus suffer through the cold in the mountains. Xeo refuses to go into the... (full context)
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...with his mangled hand, he can still shoot a bow and arrow. Then Xeo hears Diomache calling for him and assures his weeping cousin that he is all right. (full context)
Chapter 10
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Alexandros asks Xeo to tell him about his survival in the mountains with Diomache and Bruxieus. Xeo tells him that by the second summer in the hills, he and... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
But finally, Bruxieus decides that Xeo and Diomache must have a city. He wants them to go to Athens, the most civilized and... (full context)
Chapter 13
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...it takes all his self-composure not to drift back in his mind to memories of Diomache and his mother. (full context)
Chapter 15
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Over the years, Xeo wonders often about his cousin Diomache, but even when his service for Dienekes brings him to Athens, he is unable to... (full context)
Chapter 20
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...Xeo what happened when he accompanied Dienekes on embassy to Athens last month—did he locate Diomache? When Xeo is hesitant to speak, Arete sadly remarks that Xeo wouldn’t be the first... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...the gods. She’s given him a pouch of money; he could run away, or have Diomache, whom he loves, brought to Sparta for him. Xeo says this would be dishonorable, and... (full context)
Chapter 27
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
...“prodigy” and singing hymns to the goddesses Demeter and Persephone. Dienekes comments that they need Diomache to intercede with the goddess. Xeo has never heard him speak of Diomache before. (full context)
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...and the boy locate the address, an apartment building in a seedy section of town. Diomache’s husband is reported to be at sea, and Diomache is not there. Neighbors direct them... (full context)
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...between himself and his beautiful young cousin. Now, he is shocked by the sight of Diomache’s short hair and her overall appearance, which looks more like “a hard-used forty” than that... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Diomache sits beside Xeo. She reminds him of that morning long ago, when he’d set out... (full context)
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Xeo begs Diomache to tell him how she truly is. She laughs at her youthful foolishness and remarks... (full context)
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Diomache then tells Xeo a story that she’s only told her temple sisters and Bruxieus. After... (full context)
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Xeo tells Diomache about his own boyhood vision. Diomache tells him that she forgot her own vision, living... (full context)
Chapter 34
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
...suffers a reverse. Seeing the fate of Athens has distressed him badly. He inquires after Diomache and her temple, but no one can tell him anything. Meanwhile, Xerxes is anticipating a... (full context)
Chapter 35
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Like Leonidas, Xeo dozes before the final battle, dreaming of his loved ones, especially Diomache, whom he can never overtake no matter how avidly he pursues her up a mountain... (full context)