Why was 'aetheopius' left out of the original iliad?

Apr 2018
Quintus of Smyrna compiled The Fall of Troy in the 4th century AD, long after Homer or the high time of the classical age of Greek literature. This story tells of two personalities- Penthesilea queen of the Amazons and memnon, king of Ethiopia. Both come to the aid of Troy with their legions, and this event supposedly takes place as a "last resort" just before Troy finally falls as in the Iliad proper. While there is no mention of these characters in the Iliad their story has been told and Quintus wrote his version as a sequel to the Iliad.

We have to wonder if the ancient Greek opinion of women and foreigners, in this case an army from Africa, was a bit much for the mindset of that civilization. Aristotle held that the darker skinned races were the natural servants of the light ones, yet this army from Africa is described as splendid and a virtuous as any Greek force. In art the ancient Greeks honored their feminine foes and even in the literature they are depicted as fierce, brave and independent...though at the end of it all they must lose to the triumph of the male patriarchal system. In this two part sequel of Quintus, the hero Achilles and his confused male tendencies are put to the test, as it were, defeating Penthesilea but falling in love with her.

Quintus' work is a testimony to the confusion of a civilization regarding the feminine and the foreign, and can be studied to understand our times and western civilization...how it has wounded but also provided the salve for the wound it itself inflicted. This is an example of the genius of ancient Greek civilization, that a society will question even that which it holds as dogma.



Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
The answer is simple - they are not mentioned in the Iliad because they enter the story after the plot of the Iliad is finished. This is also why the Trojan Horse and death of Achilles are not mentioned in the Iliad.

Quintus of Smyrna was reworking the Aethiopis epic, thought to be by Arctinus of Miletus (8th Century BC). There are depictions of the deaths of Penthesilea and of Memnon dated to the 8th and 7th Centuries BC.

The Greeks had no problem with Africans and Amazons helping out at the Fall of Troy.
Likes: bedb
Jul 2017
There is no affinity between Ancient Greece and Ethiopia (Africa) , the word 'Ethiopia meant 'Scythiopia
from σκύθος/כוש "rough-person" , Greeks commonly refer too non-Greeks as σκύθος or βάρβαρ.


Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
Despite what the usual afrocentric people might think Memnon wasn't a black character, neither Aethiopians described are the ones from Africa .
Thats a just a later geographical positioning done by Romans when made contact with tribes south of Aegypt.

Memnon himself was, as Tithonus , related to the East, and he is said to have built a palace of many colored and shining white stones bound with gold in the city of Ecbatana. For Memnon, starting from Ethiopia, overrun Egypt and conquered the East as far as the city of Susa, which he surrounded by walls. So Memnon, although being king of the Ethiopians, came to Troy, not from what today is called Africa, but from Susa, not far away from the river Tigris, in the land that later became Persia. And when he made his march to the west, he subdued all the peoples that lived between Susa and Troy.
Tithonus is son of King Laomedon of Troy, son of Ilus , the founder of Troy, son of Tros , after whom the Trojans were called, son of Erichthonius , son of Dardanus , son of Zeus and the Pleiad Electra .

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
Quintus' work is a testimony to the confusion of a civilization regarding the feminine and the foreign, and can be studied to understand our times and western civilization.
Quintus' work is a story he pulled out of his arse to keep his patron happy so Quintus could keep drinking free wine.
Mar 2012
Confusion over women and foreigners has nothing to do with it. Quintus also brings in the son of Achilles and the grandson of Hercules as characters. The events simply pick up where the Illiad left off.

Once again, we see an example here of where it pays to actually read something before you comment on it.
Likes: bedb