The Eye of the Aethiopica

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"   The Eye of the Aethiopica   Circular amulet.png
Base item amulet of ESP
When carried
When worn telepathy
When invoked
  • branchport
Base price 4000 zm
Weight 20

The Eye of the Aethiopica is the wizard quest artifact. It is the prize for completing the wizard quest. It is neutral for wishing purposes; if you are a wizard, it will adjust its alignment to your starting alignment. A wizard cannot wish for the Eye.

Its base item type is amulet of ESP, so wearing it provides extrinsic telepathy. You can also abuse the naming artifacts exploit to determine whether an unidentified amulet is ESP or not. (NB: this naming exploit has been fixed by a patch, and no longer works on the NAO server from about June 2012.)

Special effects[edit]

Apart from being worn for extrinsic ESP (from the base item type), all other effects are available simply by carrying The Eye. This is handy, as you can wear another amulet—say, an amulet of life saving—if ESP is not essential to you.

You can invoke the Eye to branchport. In other words, you can immediately teleport to another branch of the dungeon that you have visited. You arrive on the entry level or the lowest previously-visited level of that branch, depending on whether your current location is above or below the target dungeon branch's entry level. This means you will always go to the lowest level of the Dungeons of Doom, Sokoban, and Vlad's Tower; and porting to Gehennom always brings you to the Valley of the Dead unless coming from Vlad's. Attempting to branchport to the branch you are currently in (or from the Endgame or carrying the Amulet of Yendor) gives the message "You feel very disoriented for a moment." and has no effect. Adjacent hostile monsters that normally follow you up stairs will follow you through the gate into the new branch; this is a common method to transport many wraiths from the Valley of the Dead so they are more likely to leave a corpse. The branchport ability of the Eye makes Sokoban an ideal stash location. Since this is at quite a shallow depth, you can usually return quickly by digging down with a pick-axe. Or you could branchport back to the lowest main dungeon level you saw, which might often be the place you interrupted exploring.

A typical branchport menu might look like:

                                  Open a portal to which dungeon?
|........-####      ------------- a - The Dungeons of Doom
|........|   #######-...........| b - Gehennom
|........|          |...........| c - The Gnomish Mines
----------          |..@........| d - The Quest
                    --------+---- e - Sokoban
                            #     f - Fort Ludios
                            #     (end)

While carried, The Eye provides half spell damage, magic resistance, and fast power regeneration. With fast power regeneration, you restore at least one power per turn -- this is far quicker than you would otherwise.

In the opinion of many experts, the Eye of the Aethiopica is not only the best artifact in NetHack, but also the best item.


Like any quest artifact, if you don't match all of its affiliations, it will blast you for up to 40 damage (20 if you have magic resistance). For example a neutral ranger would be blasted for not being a wizard by the artifact when you pick it up, put it on or try to invoke it.

If you plan to wish for it, take note of the second "the" in the name.


Aethiopica simply mean "Ethiopian" in ancient Greek (Αἰθιοπικά). They are a lot of "Aethiopica" floating around, but the most plausible explanation, is that it's a reference to the influential ancient Greek novel "Aethiopica". The novel takes place in ancient Egypt/Ethiopia/Greece. Charicleia, one of the main characters, has a dream about an eye being cut out.

Encyclopedia entry[edit]

This is a powerful amulet of ESP. In addition to its standard
powers, it regenerates the energy of anyone who carries
it, allowing them to cast spells more often. It also reduces
any spell damage to the person who carries it by half, and
protects from magic missiles. Finally, when invoked it has
the power to instantly open a portal to any other area of the
dungeon, allowing its invoker to travel quickly between