In Greek and Roman Mythology, the Amazons were a collective group of female warriors. Isolated from men completely, they were believed to be the most powerful women in the history of Greek Mythology. The Amazons were skilled for horseback combat and thrived on the idea of battle. These women were depicted to be bloodthirsty, tall and beautiful in Greek and Roman ceramic vessels and other various pieces of artwork. In stories, the Amazons were described as strong, one breasted, and passionate warriors. During battles they usualy wore pants or knee length dresses for practicality. Amazons defied the known stereotype of women.
Origin and FamilyEditThe Amazons first originated from the god of war Ares, and the sea nymph Harmonia. They thought highly of Artemis and worshipped her and the moon. Their most eminent queen was Hippolyta and she had several sblings, one of them being Antiope. The Amazons were known to live in Pontus, which is in modern day Turkey today. Their civilization broke up into many towns, Smyrna, Ephesus, Sinope, and Paphos. Their lives did not involve men as more than a mate. To continue their race, they mated with outlying civilizations, such as the Gargareans. If they conceived females, they kept and mothered the child. If they gave birth to a boy, they would either leave it in the wilderness to die or give it back to the father. Sometimes, they might mate with their male slaves. They then educated the child with agricultural techniques, hunting skills, and the art of war.
Hercules was sent to retrieve Hippolyta’s golden girdle that she acquired from her father Ares. At first, Hippolyta willingly gave Hercules the girdle. Hera knowing his plan turned into an Amazon to warn the tribe what Hercules true intentions were, to steal the golden girdle. Upset and angry, they declared war before he got the chance to leave and return to Athens. All of the women at that time were killed, including Hippolyta their queen. The only person left standing was Hercules. After the battle he took the girdle and completed his mission.
After taking control of the Amazon capital Hercules and Theseus, his companion and King of Athens abducted Antiope and brought her to Athens. She eventually fell in love and married Theseus, the first Amazon ever to marry. She later had a child by the name of Hippolytus, after her sister. In an effort to both “rescue” and obtain the golden girdle they once lost, the Amazons attacked Athens. This conflict was later known as the Attic War. During the war Antiope was fatally shot by Amazon Molpadia accidentally. Avenging her death, Theseus killed Molpadia.
From Homer’s The Iliad
Penthesilea, a Queen of the Amazons helped the Trojans in the Trojan War. Seeking redemption for unintentionally killing her sister, she killed Makhaon, a Greek hero during the war. She was eventually killed by Achilles. When he noticed her beauty, he immediately fell in love with her. He honored her by returning her body to the Trojans unharmed. Thersites discovered what he did and he began to taunt him and removed one of Penthesilea’s eyes out with a spear. Angered, Achilles killed him.
The Amazons are technically demigods, since their “father” was Ares. Naturally skilled at the art of war, their training for battle began at a very early age. They were excellent at the bow and arrow, librys, and using spears. They also knew how to horseback ride. Another advantage was their enormous size. Their passion for fighting has also aided them in hand to hand combat.
· In childhood the right breast is removed for best efficiency to draw arrows or using a spear.
· Historians today are debating the possibility that the Amazon women were actually real. There is some physical evidence.
· The Amazon River was named after sightings of fighting women by Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana in the 1500s.
The Amazons honored and worshipped Artemis the goddess of the hunt and the moon.
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