The show makes a number of alterations from the original Greek texts, as well as departures from earlier modern adaptations of the legend. For instance, it vilifies Menelaus, proposes a resolution to Briseis' captivity, and omits Aeneas' identity as the son of Aphrodite. The show also omits the final reconciliation between Achilles and Agamemnon from the Iliad, instead replacing this with Agamemnon resorting to "ignoble trickery".It also reimagines the circumstances of the Trojan Horse stratagem by making it filled with grain for the starving city, thus making the Trojans more likely to bring it in. More significantly, it also incorporates myths about the lead-up to the war and about the backgrounds of the major characters that are not found in the Iliad and are not normally included in most modern adaptations. One of the show's most radical changes from earlier adaptations was its decision to include the Greek gods as human-like characters played by live actors who speak normal dialogue. While the gods are major figures in the original Homeric epics, ever since the mid-twentieth century, adaptations of the Trojan War have nearly always either removed the gods from the story or heavily reduced their role in it. Most twenty-first-century adaptations of the Trojan War, including the film Troy (2004), Alessandro Baricco's Iliad (2004), Margaret George's Helen of Troy (2006), and Alice Oswald's Memorial (2011) omit them entirely. The gods play an active role in the show for the first half of the series, but they recede into the background halfway through after Zeus orders them to stop intervening in the war. Zeus does give this command in the original Iliad, but it is almost immediately violated and eventually repealed entirely. The most controversial change was the showrunners' decision to cast David Gyasi, a black actor of Ghanaian descent, as Achilles and Nigerian-born Hakeem Kae-Kazim, another black actor, as Zeus. These decisions resulted in almost immediate backlash as both roles are traditionally portrayed by white actors and historically depicted as white. Several classical scholars defended the production, arguing that historical Greeks were "unlikely to be uniformly pale-skinned", that "dark-skinned North Africans existed" in ancient Greece, citing Memnon of Ethiopia as an example. Scholars also stated the question of whether ‘black people’ lived in Ancient Greece is itself flawed as the ancient Greeks did not have a concept of "race" Tim Whitmarsh, a professor of Greek culture at the University of Cambridge, stated, "Our best estimate is that the Greeks would be a spectrum of hair colours and skin types in antiquity. I don't think there's any reason to doubt they were Mediterranean in skin type (lighter than some and darker than other Europeans), with a fair amount of inter-mixing." He also added that there is no single, absolutely definitive version of the Trojan War story: "Homer's poems are merely one version and the Greeks themselves understood the story could change... There's never been an authentic retelling of the Iliad and the Odyssey – they've always been fluid texts. They're not designed to be set in stone and it's not blasphemous to change them."