The Mythoversal Penthesileiad
retelling Posthomerica I
About this Story
Directly following the Iliad, as the Trojans bury Hector and Achilles mourns the loss of Patroclus, a tragically misthrown javelin brings Queen Penthesileia and her crew of Amazon warriors to the besieged city of Ilion and into the next stage of the Trojan War. Amazons! by Greg R. Fishbone brings a modern flair to this ancient tale of love and war that developed alongside the Iliad and Odyssey in the Greek Epic tradition. An online preview is available exclusively on the Mythoversal website.Amazons! adapts the Penthesileiad, which was included in the 7th Century BCE Aethiopis of the Greek Epic Cycle. This version closely follows the oldest existing version in Posthomerica I by Quintus of Smyrna.
History of the Penthesileiad
Generic article | Nov 11, 2020
How has the story of Penthesileia been told over time?
The LatestTwo chapters dropped in the week of November 1st. A new Chapter 1 replaces the original introduction with one that's longer, more fun, and actually rhymes.
A new Chapter 5 is a backfill chapter between the previous Chapters 4 and 5, which introduces the character Iphis.
This completes (for now) the public preview version of this book at 21 chapters. This section will be updated again when the book's publication can be announced. Thank you for your continued support of this project!
An Epic Recap
Previously in the Epic Cycle...
Trojan Prince Paris gains the assistance of Aphrodite by awarding her the prize in an all-goddess beauty pageant. Asked to pick the bride of his choice, Paris chooses Helen, universally acknowledged to be the most beautiful woman in the world. This, despite the fact that Paris was already married to Oenone, while Helen was already married to King Menelaus of Sparta. Paris and Helen take shelter in Troy, and so, a thousand ships carry an Achaean army to undertake a brutal campaign against the Anatolian city, led by Overlord Agamemnon, who just happens to be Menelaus's brother.
Nine years into the Achaean siege of Troy, the greatest Achaean warrior, Achilles, sidelines himself in protest after a conflict with Overlord Agamemnon. This short phase of the war ends with devastating losses on both sides. Achilles's closest friend, Patroclus, is dead, as is Hector, King Priam's heir and Troy's strongest protector. Following a direct appeal from Priam, the rage of Achilles abates, having sealed him into the destiny of a short life and glorious legacy. The two sides pause to mourn for their dead with no immediate prospects for ending their years-long stalemate.
And then, an Amazon comes...
CharactersAt the center of this story is a conflict between Queen Penthesileia of the Amazons, fighting on behalf of King Priam of Troy, and the Achaean warrior Achilles, fighting under Agamemnon. In the background, as always are the gods, most notably Athena and Aphrodite, who oppose each other in this conflict, and the Erinyes, who have hounded Penthesileia from her homeland. Also keep an eye on the other characters who have an important role in this chapter of the Trojan War, and who foreshadow important events to come.
Chapters in Verse
There's a genie in this chapter, although I realize there are no genies in Greek mythology. If it helps, imagine a leprechaun instead.
Quintus, in his version of the story, names Penthesileia's Amazon companions. Some are provided with epithets, but most are just names. Is that any way to treat an Amazon?
Quintus didn't need to introduce his readers to Achilles. His readers had all just finished their fifth reading the Iliad and were rolling from the end credits of that book into this one. My assumption is that my readers may have read some study notes back in high school, and that was twenty years ago. That's why we're meeting Achilles here, as if for the first time. A starring role in the Iliad was said to be a source of unfading glory for Achilles. That led me to think about the characters in a work that's become less well known. What would Achilles himself think of this part of his military career?
This scene echoes one in the Iliad in which an embassy was sent from an increasingly desperate Agamemnon to entice Achilles back into the fight. It seems plausible that Achilles would still need some downtime to process his friend's death, and that Agamemnon would still be trying to keep him in the fold.
Coming Sunday, Nov. 1st
When Priam was a young prince, Heracles and his associates broke down the walls and killed nearly everyone. Priam's lifetime project has been rebuilding the city as it once was, and now this. In The Iliad, when Priam sneaks out of Troy to confront a raging Achilles, it is arguably the bravest act of any character in that entire story.
Cassandra was a daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. She was blessed with accurate visions of the future and cursed to have no one ever believe her. Quintus doesn't have Cassandra show up in his Posthomerica until close to the end, when the Achaeans leave a wooden horse on Ilion's doorstep. This is a shame because she's such a fun, useful, interesting, and versatile character.
Coming Sunday, Sept. 13th
Coming Sunday, Sept. 20th
Coming Sunday, Sept. 27th
Coming Sunday, Oct. 4th
Coming Sunday, Oct. 11th
Coming Sunday, Oct. 18th
Coming Sunday, Oct. 25th