According to the myth, Memnon travelled the western Ocean along with his Ethiopian soldiers on the day after Polydamas, Helen and Priam had a major argument on whether Memnon would appear at all. When he arrived, Priam said that he considered him the saviour of the city; Memnon preferred to keep a low profile and toned things down. A favourite of Zeus, the god of gods demanded all the other deities not to interfere in the battle that Memnon would participate in. Memnon killed Antilochos, the son of Nestor, who, full of grief, demanded to fight him too. Memnon, looking at the old man, said that it would be unfair to have a fight, showing noble qualities similar to those of Achilles, his counterpart in the Greek army.
When Memnon reached the Greek ships, Nestor asked Achilles to fight the Ethiopian king, and Achilles agreed. The two men, wearing divine armour made by the god Hephaestus, were the favourites of Zeus, who instilled them with tirelessness and strength. In the end, Achilles managed to pierce Memnon's heart, thus dispersing the Ethiopian army. The gods collected all drops of blood from Memnon and created a river that would smell of human flesh on the anniversary of Memnon's death. The Ethiopians who buried their leader's body were transformed into the birds of the same name, and from then on had the duty of clearing his tomb of dust.