Living Legends, Tales Alive
They Who Breathe Life Anew Into The Myths Of The Past
Beautiful photography for and about a future storybook based on Quintus of Smyrna's 'The Fall of Troy', compiled in the 4th century AD. A sequel to the Iliad or perhaps an older story omitted from the corpus of the Iliad proper, Quintus' account is based on an older version entitled Aethiopis, composed by one we know of as Arctinus about a century after Homer's work appeared. It is an amazing account of the hard fought, final battle between the Achaean hero Achilles and his comrades with two allies who come to the aid of the Trojans; an army of Amazon warriors led by their queen Penthesilea and a large force from Africa which the ancient Greeks referred to as Aethiopia, hence the title of Arctinus' work. No greater champions had Achilles and his myrmidons such as Ajax and Diomedes ever faced before in combat than this Amazon warrior queen or the mighty ruler of Africa, Memnon and their respective armies. Foreigners and women ranked low on the social scale of the ancient Greeks yet in this literary work, as in works of art, the Greeks brilliantly and freely expressed themselves and examined their own prejudices and attitudes. Quintus' work is important even unto our own time as we are witness to the timeless struggle of women seeking equality, attempting to breaking away from those definitions and stereotypes imposed upon them by centuries of male patriarchy. The ancient authors who shed light upon aspects of this tale examine our feelings of prejudice towards those considered as the other.
Gratitude to my talented friends who contributed their efforts to recreate ancient art with me in this project- Dorit Elena, Lizza Hasan, Natalia Perlaza, Cece Carriker, Eliza Bashirah, Olga El. Big thanks to Sean Dodds, true to his role as Achilles, the leader and director of Warriors Of Elysium for all his generous support in contributing much of the costuming and armaments as well as sharing his extensive knowledge of ancient martial arts, and to the talented members of his wonderful troupe who brought the past to life: Tanya Stelts in the role of Penthesilea, Lily Caitland Bozeman, Paige Shearer, Carina Graham, Liza Poling, April Raver, Codie Rice, Kwanzaa Barnes, Frank Gurchik, Sam Day and Trent Lawrence.
The heart beating within the breast defines the character of champions, who wear
An aura of honor upon the crown like a helmet of immortality, indeed bestowed by the gods
'Tis a tale of Achilles, and Penthesilea the queen
Who graceth the legend of Troy
With their names and acts, so noble!
These verses composed, true tales have I heard from the tongues of bards, the pens of poets
Arctinus, Quintus Of Smyrna, Pindar, Ovid… Words powerful, so full of force
Doth they inform us of an age long ago
Of heroes and champions who, upon that Trojan field would seek victory or defeat, immortality or death
A moment, frozen, so as to last forever, to write their own epitaph upon their eternal abode
That field, that blood soaked plain where heroes and champions fought and died nobly and with honor, sans any manifestation of shame Bravely did they go to their deaths in the thousands
Bravely, willingly, desiring to please not the gods, no… But to inspire a legend for the hearer of this tale, you my friend
Long after those intrepid ones have departed from the consciousness of being, and the reality, or illusion, of this world
To hear the Latin prose of Virgil, or Homer, in his native Greek
To transfer, prepare and arrange these morsels upon my plate
That I might delight in a feast of words, so deliciously spoken ...
Arma virumque cano de mullierbus et arma, mea cantabo…
Of men, and of women armed, do I sing
Est libido atque avaratia!
A tale of lust and greed
Mysterium nostras interiorem , our deep, inner mysteries
For which, even we ourselves cannot explain and continually we fail, then as now, to fully comprehend
For any moment may be our last ...
We are beautiful because we are doomed, old Homer wrote
'Den tha eímaste poté xaná edó'…
Never again shall we pass this way, the day after the morrow
To achieve victory or to die in battle, 'twas all the same...for the deeds performed 'pon this day would become the songs of bards, the subject of sculpture and art, lasting unto eternity!
Fearless were those Aethiopians and Amazons who attacked with vigor Ajax, the giant son of Telamon
Committed to the harsh reality of ancient warfare were the champions of this age dedicated
As none knew fear, nor did they question their fate
Sing oh bard, that your song resounds in another time, far from our own
That our deeds may live on in eternity, forever!