Book Club | June 2020: Quintus Smyrnaeus Fall of Troy 1–4

Wordcloud from Quintus Book 1

… peerless amid all the Amazons unto Troy-town Penthesileia came. To right, to left, from all sides hurrying thronged the Trojans, greatly marvelling, when they saw the tireless War-god’s child, the mailed maid, like to the blessed gods; for in her face glowed beauty glorious and terrible. Her smile was ravishing: beneath her brows, her love-enkindling eyes shone like to stars, and with the crimson rose of shamefastness bright were her cheeks, and mantled over them unearthly grace with battle-prowess clad.

Our “long summer read” is The Fall of Troy, or Posthomerica, by Quintus Smyrnaeus.

Quintus Smyrnaeus was a Greek epic poet who flourished in Smyrna in the late C4th A.D. His only surviving work is a fourteen book epic entitled The Fall of Troy (or Posthomerica). The poem covers the period of the Trojan War from the end of Homer’s Iliad to the final sack of Troy. Quintus is believed to have drawn heavily from works of the poets of the Epic Cycle, including such now lost works as the Aethiopis, Iliupersis, and Little Iliad. [1]

For June, we will read Books 1–4, which feature the Amazon Penthesilea, Memnon, the death of Achilles, and the funeral games for Achilles.

As always, you can read any translation you like. Free online:
Translation by Arthur S. Way is available at
or (downloadable parallel text) at

Available to ‘borrow’ at (registration required):
Translation by Frederick M. Combellack

The Greek text is available at Perseus

Discussion will start and continue in the forum, and we will meet via Zoom on Tuesday, June 30, at 11 a.m. EDT.

Happy readings!

[1] Introduction to Quintus Smyrnaeus at