Controversy Looms as Mythical Achilles is Played by Black Actor in New BBC Epic

Social media users have expressed their anger at a new series produced by the BBC and Netflix in which Greek mythological figures such as Achilles, Patroclus and Zeus are being played by black actors.

In the Troy: Fall of a City, an eight-part series that chronicles the Greek siege of the city of Troy, Achilles is played by Interstellar, Cloud Atlas and Man in an Orange Shirt star David Gyasi.

The same character was played in the 2004 film Troy by Brad Pitt.

Here are some of the responses by social media users:

  • Homer in the Iliad repeatedly describes Achilles as “blonde” and “golden”-haired
  • Africans had nothing to do with Greek mythology or ancient European history. Who in their right mind could see and enjoy this new TV series?
  • This is blatant racism towards Greek people, and I am shocked by the audacity of the BBC to try and rewrite Greek history.
  • Question, would anyone be mad if I made movie about US history, and actor playing Obama would be white?

Some other have also threatened to cancel their membership on Netflix.

The Troy drama will be screened first on BBC One, early 2018.

The series has an impressive cast with Shameless’ David Threlfall, Chloe Pirrie, from War And Peace, and Frances O’Connor, from Mr Selfridge, heading the bill, along with two newcomers, Australian Louis Hunter and Bella Dayne, from the science fiction TV series Humans.

The show is written by David Farr.


  • Jacqueline Hicks

    Where was the out rage when Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra? Or Orson Wells played Othello? Neither was any more historically correct than this actor playing Alexander. Until more recently, most historical persons were portrayed by white actors/actresses, regardless of their ethicity. People, really, we must stop the baiting. Hopefully, we are more intelligent than that.

  • Azzie Brown

    Greek is a Nationality not a Race. Greece is also next to Africa… Black Greeks were uncommon. Sad part is that Achilles is also a Homosexual (a lot of greeks were) … I bet now that they have chosen to portray him as a Blackman they will also highlight his sexual preference…

  • Azzie Brown

    That’s stupid…Europe isn’t even a continent… History needs to be rewritten to include Facts…

  • Rose Laury-Guerrero

    Not A joke, about damn time!

  • PzoFreeman

    Its funny how im reading people comments om here and ya whites dnt like whn people change history, but ya been changing history as ya go. Blacks were greeks they were egyptians, they were hebrews. Do ur research. Do not get on here and talk about things u dnt know cuz u make urself look like an ass.

  • Rose Laury-Guerrero

    BBC has been doing that same things to blacks for years. That’s why black are so damn confuse!

  • Rose Laury-Guerrero

    Jesus! Jesus been played by a white man through white Hollywood! And we know Damn well Jesus isn’t White! But he’s been played by One!

  • Azzie Brown

    Lmao Google it (Black Greek & Art )…Greek a rationality not a race… Open your mind and use that keyboard and mouse constructively..

  • Mercurius Bristophiles

    People only know history by the story tellers verse and that does not always convey the precise facts as we can see in the politics of America today. A lot of it can be considered as fake news, history or just plain old lies , whites should know this as a fact of their history in telling the story for their benefit above all others and as a vantage point to feel superior or in a better light.

  • Joshua

    Ha Ha! How does it feel to have a race different then yours thrown in your face whether you like it or not?
    How do you know Achilles wasn’t black??!
    You need to grow up and stop judging people by their outside appearance. Who they are as a person is a lot more important.

  • Aleksandros Anagnwstelos

    Thats simply the art style of the amphoras. Black-figure pottery painting, also known as the black-figure style or black-figure ceramic (Greek, μελανόμορφα, melanomorpha) is one of the styles of painting on antique Greek vases.t was especially common between the 7th and 5th centuries BC, although
    there are specimens dating as late as the 2nd century BC. Stylistically
    it can be distinguished from the preceding orientalizing period and the subsequent red-figure pottery style.

    You can also check the subsequent Red-figure vase painting. Which portraited black amphora with white or orange figure style people.

  • Joshua

    Ha Ha! How does it feel to have someone with a different race thrown in your face! You don’t Luke it. You’re mad it’s a black man! Ha Ha! You weren’t around then, you don’t know if Achilles was black.
    That’s not the point, you should respect the actor and director.
    You’re so obsessed with what’s on the outside, instead of judging someone for who they are as a person.

  • “In spite of the Hollywood propaganda, the ancient Greeks and Romans hardly knew the African, except perhaps as a passing spectacle in the desert or by the surviving population of mixed races in certain places in Egypt. One literary example which demonstrates the truth of this assertion is found in the Library of History, Book 3, by the ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, whose work was published around 36 BC.

    After describing the cultured people of Ethiopia, who were originally not black and who had many things in common with the rest of the civilized world, Diodorus says in Book 3 chapter 8:

    “1 But there are also a great many other tribes of the Ethiopians, some of them dwelling in the land lying on both banks of the Nile and on the islands in the river, others inhabiting the neighbouring country of Arabia, and still others residing in the interior of Libya. 2 The majority of them, and especially those who dwell along the river, are black in colour and have flat noses and woolly hair. As for their spirit they are entirely savage and display the nature of a wild beast, not so much, however, in their temper as in their ways of living; for they are squalid all over their bodies, they keep their nails very long like the wild beasts, and are as far removed as possible from human kindness to one another; 3 and speaking as they do with a shrill voice and cultivating none of the practices of civilized life as these are found among the rest of mankind, they present a striking contrast when considered in the light of our own customs.” (Library of History, 3.8.1)”

  • I guess not understanding the style of art goes a long way.

    Maybe you can point us to all the other fine example that I’m sure flood the whole of Africa?

  • Cleopatra’s family came from Macedonia and Greece. She could have white skin and red hairs (very common among Macedonian elites in times of Alexander the Great and later). Cleopatra came from Ptolemaic dynasty, established by Ptolemaios – one of Alexander the Great generals. Ptolemaios was born in Macedonia, married to Greek woman. Their children were married among each other or with other members of Hellenic elites (mostly Greeks and Macedonian).

  • Stan

    Firstly its greek, not african. So whatever point you’re making doesnt stand. Second, Achilles was a real historical greek figure. NOT mythology.

  • Stan

    Whatever argument you’re trying to make is void. I’m focusing specifically on greek history and greek mythology. Thats ours. Just because you hate white people doesnt mean you can go and change everything we have and call us racist if we dont like what you’re doing.

  • Stan

    They dont look black. Not even remotely. I dont know what sites you’ve gone to convince yourself of this but I’m happy for you to enjoy whatever warped reality you live in. Sadly its not the reality the rest of us live in. If greeks were black then they’d still be black today. Your stupid argument states black people were in every country and then white people came and pushed them out. Came from where exactly? And why is it they did such a ‘stellar’ job in your warped mind at pushing them all out of europe that they decided hey, lets stop and leave them with africa, job done. No. In your warped narrative white people, who sprung up from some remote secret cave from the ocean one day, would have steam rolled through europe and africa and taken everything, and there would be no black people left. This clearly didnt happen. Because it never happened. You should probably change your way of thinking because this story of yours says the black people were so inferior that they lost almost every country they had been in, as opposed to they just stayed in Africa because that was their home land, like all the other races of the world. But this is probably far too complicated and boring for you.

  • Stan

    Not correct. Only in some western countries, particularly Catholic, is he white with blond hair. In Orthodox countries, like greece and russia etc, he has dark olive skin and dark hair.

  • Stan

    DNA tests have proven egyptians werent black. Also Greeks were not black. Go back to school.

  • Stan

    You’re saying every countries history is wrong because Africans were everywhere from the beginning, yet somehow left zero trace or that anywhere whether it be archeological or DNA styled. You WANT Africans to have been in all countries and all people in history to have been black and not one white person anywhere. This is not correct and never will be no matter how much you try and push your racist ideology.

  • Stan

    This is a stupid argument. He was greek and white because thats how greeks are. Your argument can be the same for Africans. There is no history to prove africans were black. How do you like this stupid reversal? This is your argument.

  • Stan

    ITs not white washing when its come from white countries histories. Noone is woke. Politically correct people are trying to change everything so people of african heritage feel pride at being inserted into every other countries history and pretty much shitting on any legacy the real people in history had. Ask yourself this.. Why is everything white washed in your view? If all the people in history were white, why is there no white people in the history of africa? Or is this just a one way road for your argument since it works to back up your fantasy.

  • L. McDonald

    Agree, about dam time! Look how many time white actors have played minority characters. Give us a break and stop whining.

  • Michael Kouvatsos

    Its called “sarcasm” Stan. Try and keep up.

  • JennAlise

    Hahahahhahahahahaha YES!!!!!

  • john

    Not mythology but myths (LEGENDS) are not nesecary a lie maybe exaggeration i should say!

  • Charles Kerry

    Okay, maybe we should have a white guy play as Mohammad Ali in a movie and see how you like it? How about a white actor playing Martin Luther king in a movie ?

  • Charles Kerry

    In Ancient Greece, kouros sculptures from the archaic period depict men wearing dreadlocks[14][15] while Spartan hoplites[16] wore formal locks as part of their battle dress.[17] Spartan magistrates known as Ephors also wore their hair braided in long locks, an Archaic Greek tradition that was steadily abandoned in other Greek kingdoms.[18]

    The style was worn by Ancient Christian Ascetics in the Middle East and Mediterranean, and the Dervishes of Islam, among others.[19] Some of the very earliest adherents of Christianity in the Middle East may have worn this hairstyle; there are descriptions of James the Just, first Bishop of Jerusalem, who is said to have worn them to his ankles.[20]

    Pre-Columbian Aztec priests were described in Aztec codices (including the Durán Codex, the Codex Tudela and the Codex Mendoza) as wearing their hair untouched, allowing it to grow long and matted.[21] Bernal Diaz del Castillo records: Goes to show you Africans were not the only ones who were dreadlocks moron

  • Charles Kerry

    The Majority of Greeks are Burnett ,but there is Blond ( my mother has natural dirty blond hair ) and Greeks with red hair and brown hair . It does not matter the color of hair Greeks ,are white period . The hair color does not matter . Go look at the Crete the Minoan frescoes art work you will see tan men with black hair (they were hunters and worked the fields ) while women stayed home took care of children . The men were tan from the sun and the women were white because they were not in the sun as the men ,but they had jet black hair . The majority of hair color in ancient Greek art work is black hair ,but they also had and have brown, and blond ,red. They found a scull in Greece and they made a reconstruction of her face and also determine she had reddish brown hair if am not mistaken .

  • AntiSlovák

    Ilias described Achiles: Blond Haired white man !!!

  • AntiSlovák

    Its time to make Martin Luther King white

  • AntiSlovák

    This painting are incorect … after long time color become more dark then before …. its physics … Greeks was and they are white… deal with it

  • AntiSlovák

    Yes of course and Ilias described him : White man with blond hair …. you know who is ilias dont you ?

  • geejai

    Please learn your history , before there was Greeks or Romans there was Africacans, that’s where we get language, art and government. Greece and Rome appropriated (stole) from Africa. And if Achilles is a mythological figure , he can be depicted as any color.

  • Stoneriverpub

    The White mind seems to be a very fragile thing, if comments in this section can be a measure. Look at all the reasons you manufactured to keep from seeing what is right before your eyes…GREEKS PAINTING THEMSELVES WITH BLACK SKIN. Intelligent minds around the world marvel at how this nation could elect a Trump for president. What a fragile minded people. Next thing you know, their inferiority complex will have them telling themselves that White is superior and Black is inferior. You know….that “I’m not afraid of snakes” reverse psychology. Such a mentally fragile folk.

  • Stoneriverpub

    Is there a “White figure” period for those ANCIENT GREEK vases? What happened in your mind when you reached the question, “But WHY did the Ancient Greeks choose that ‘style’ of painting themselves as Black skinned people?” Ancient Black Egypt also painted the same two colors for their skin– reddish brown and black. You guys are slitting your pretended educated throats with Occam’s Razor.

  • john

    We caint teach to Americans about the importance of our history as a nation.They will not understand.They god money but no brains!

  • john

    Not mythology but myths (LEGENDS) are not nesecary a lie maybe exaggeration i should say!

  • Hypertensive

    Not necessarily true. There’s a growing body of evidence that whites are descended from Asians, and that Asians evolved independently from Africans.

    https://www.livescience.com/20738-primate-fossil-origins-asia.html

  • Charles Kerry

    You know I love this fresco ,I find it so elegant and beautiful. The thing is Greek artwork and African art work is completely different in style ,which is also proof that African and Greek are not the same people

  • Gaaltero

    100% Awesomeness!

  • qwertY

    I’m waiting for white actors playing roles of slaves in USA

  • qwertY

    Stoneriverpub and ALL horses in ancient Greek were black!!

  • Pedro Coimbra

    Yes, but they pretended they were from that minority , either with painted skin or brunette actors, many examples from a time that there weren’t that many (if any) minority actors. Or can we now make an Martin Luther King biopic with a white actor? You know, “in the name of art”, “it’s just a movie”, and all that, “and if you don’t like it stop whining”?

  • Pedro Coimbra

    So I guess we can represent any, e.g. chinese deities with white actors in movies, right?

  • Pedro Coimbra

    Just because we came from Africa doesn’t mean that our ancestors were black (granted, they have to had darker skin before migrating to the north). Otherwise you’re saying that black people didn’t change at all in hundreds of thoudsands of years, contrary to the rest of the world, and that can be a little condescending, or even racist
    And people got paler skin not jsut because of inbreeding wht neanderthals, but because the organism adapted to the cold and less sun.

    I agree with the rest of what you said, coincidentally enough, I used the same metaphor about Shaka Zulu today.
    This is obvious for minority quota roles and to appease the minorities so they stop bitching like the spoiled brats many of them are

  • Pedro Coimbra

    Anvient egyptians had a lot in common to middle easterners, turks, and…. europeans acording to DNA discovered, so no, no wrong in having white actors representing them. Grantes the blue eyes are a bit too much, but the rest wasn’t that far off, and they certainly weren’t blacks like many like to pretend now.
    Hell, some say that even greeks were blacks.
    next vickings were blacks after all… 😛
    I really hate history being rewritten for the sake of appeasing minorities. To those I say, create your own legacy, or piss off, just don’t steal ours

  • Pedro Coimbra

    I seriously hope you are just trolling pretending you’re stupid
    How in the hell this http://www.dailyartdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/dfdfdf-1-620×350.png
    this https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/Front_views_of_the_Venus_de_Milo.jpg/300px-Front_views_of_the_Venus_de_Milo.jpg
    ..and this https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5f/Greek_statue_discus_thrower_2_century_aC.jpg/220px-Greek_statue_discus_thrower_2_century_aC.jpg

    …are from african origin?

    “Greece has close proximity to Africa”? *That’s* your reasoning?? So have Spain and Portugal, are you saying because of that they are now black? Because I know I’m not.
    Go educate yourself, you ignorant
    All hail historic revisionism… What a joke!

  • Pedro Coimbra

    If that vase with that artform is your argument, then everything around including the sky was orange, right?

    By the way, you forgot this vase:
    http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk/images/pottery/painters/keypieces/tiverios/27-p168-medium.jpg

    In the age of information, there sure is more ignorance than ever!