The Trojans debate their situation. Thymoetes is despondent, Priam encouraging. The wise Polydamas’ suggestion that Helen should be given back meets with an angry response from Paris. The rest of the book is similar in plan to Book 1. Trojan hopes are raised by the arrival of Priam’s nephew Memnon and his Ethiopian troops. Like Penthesileia, he is royally entertained, enjoys initial success in the battle, and is defeated by Achilles. His divine mother, the Dawn, has his body carried away by the winds and metamorphoses his troops into birds. The book closes with mourning, both divine and human.
Memnon featured in the Aethiopis, in the Memnon and the Weighing of Souls of Aeschylus, and in the Ethiopians and the Memnon of Sophocles. The bird metamorphosis is not mentioned in Proclus’ summary of the Aethiopis. Quintus’ account of it is close to that given by Dionysius in his didactic poem on fowling, Ixeutica, a summary of which survives; cf. Ovid, Met. 13.576–622.