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


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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.