amazone queen

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MYTHOLOGY MEME: Amazon Queens

Penthesileia was an Amazonian queen in Greek mythology, the daughter of Ares and Otrera and the sister of Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father Ares, God of War, was the object of one of the labours of Hercules. Penthesilea had killed Hippolyta with a spear when they were hunting deer; this accident caused Penthesilea so much grief that she wished only to die, but, as a warrior and an Amazon, she had to do so honorably and in battle.

Penthesilea’s reign as queen was during the years of the Trojan War. The Amazons did not take a particular side in the war, and Penthesiliea made an effort to stay away from the conflict for the most part. However, when Achilles killed the Trojan prince, Hector, and upon the accidental killing of her sister, Penthesilea decided that it was time for the Amazons to intervene, so the Amazons moved in on Troy.

She was a warrior in the truest sense. It is said that she blazed through the Greeks like lightning, killing many. She wanted to prove that the Amazons were great warriors and kill Achilles to avenge the death of Hector.

Artist’s depiction of a Sarmatian warrior

Amage was a Sarmatian warrior queen who lived toward the end of the 2nd Century BCE.

Amage was queen of the Sarmatians, an Iranian people who lived in the western region ofScythia on the coast of the Black Sea. According to the Greek strategist Polyaenus, while Amage’s husband, Medosaccus, was officially the Samartian king, Amage deemed him to be an unworthy ruler who abused his power for personal luxury. She took control of the Sarmatian government and military, using her power to build defensive garrisons which she used to defend her lands on multiple occasions.

Her success as a leader made her famous throughout Scythia and led to the neighbouring Chersonesians to ask for her help when they were being threatened by the Crimean Scythians. Amage agreed to the alliance, sending a message to the Scythian king demanding that he leave the Chersonesians in peace. When the king refused she gathered a force of 120 seasoned warriors, equipping them with 3 horses each so they could cover ground quicky. Marching toward the Scythian palace they covered a distance of more than a 100 stades (180 kilometres) in a single night and a day. The swiftness of the attack caught the Scythian forces off guard and they were easily defeated. Personally leading the assault on the palace, Amage broke into the Scythian king’s quarters and killed him along with his entire family save for one of his sons. She installed the boy as the new Scythian ruler, on the condition that Chersonesus would remain free and that the Scythians would never again attack their neighbours.

While little else is recorded of Amage’s rule, Sarmatian women became known for having a prominent role in war and are recorded by Herodotus as fighting in the same clothing as men. Some believe that the exploits of Amage and similar Sarmatian women served as the inspiration for the Greek myth of the Amazons.