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Mythology (20)

Ancient myths

Heracles' 9th Labor-Hippolyte's Belt

  For the ninth labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the belt of Hippolyte [Hip-POLLY-tee]. This was no ordinary belt and no ordinary warrior. Hippolyte was queen of the Amazons, a tribe of women warriors.
  These Amazons had nothing to do with the Amazon river in South America. Their name comes from a Greek word meaning "missing one breast." This is because an Amazon's right breast got in the way when she threw a spear.The Amazons lived apart from men, and if they ever gave birth to children, they kept only the females and reared them to be warriors like themselves.
  Queen Hippolyte had a special piece of armor. It was a leather belt that had been given to her by Ares, the war god, because she was the best warrior of all the Amazons. She wore this belt across her chest and used it to carry her sword and spear. Eurystheus wanted Hippolyte's belt as a present to give to his daughter, and he sent Hercules to bring it back.
   Hercules' friends realized that the hero could not fight against the whole Amazon army by himself, so they joined with him and set sail in a single ship.
  After a long journey, they reached the land of the Amazons and put in at the harbor. When Hercules and the Greeks got off the boat, Hippolyte came down to visit them. She asked Hercules why he had come, and when he told her, she promised to give him the belt.
  But the goddess Hera knew that the arrival of Hercules meant nothing but trouble for the Amazons. Disguised as an Amazon warrior, Hera went up and down the army saying to each woman that the strangers who had arrived were going to carry off the queen. So the Amazons put on their armor. The women warriors charged on horseback down to the ship.
   But when Hercules saw that they were wearing their armor and were carrying their weapons, he knew that he was under attack. Thinking fast, he drew his sword and killed Hippolyte. Then he undid her belt and took it away from her. Hercules and the Greeks fought the rest of the Amazons in a great battle.
  When the enemy had been driven off, Hercules sailed away. After a stopover at the city of Troy, Hercules returned to Mycenae, and he gave the belt to Eurystheus.

This text is cited July 2004 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  The ninth labour he (Eurystheus) enjoined on Hercules was to bring the belt of Hippolyte. She was queen of the Amazons, who dwelt about the river Thermodon, a people great in war; for they cultivated the manly virtues, and if ever they gave birth to children through intercourse with the other sex, they reared the females; and they pinched off the right breasts that they might not be trammelled by them in throwing the javelin, but they kept the left breasts, that they might suckle. Now Hippolyte had the belt of Ares in token of her superiority to all the rest. Hercules was sent to fetch this belt because Admete, daughter of Eurystheus, desired to get it. So taking with him a band of volunteer comrades in a single ship he set sail and put in to the island of Paros, which was inhabited by the sons of Minos, to wit, Eurymedon, Chryses, Nephalion, and Philolaus. But it chanced that two of those in the ship landed and were killed by the sons of Minos. Indignant at this, Hercules killed the sons of Minos on the spot and besieged the rest closely, till they sent envoys to request that in the room of the murdered men he would take two, whom he pleased. So he raised the siege, and taking on board the sons of Androgeus, son of Minos, to wit, Alcaeus and Sthenelus, he came to Mysia, to the court of Lycus, son of Dascylus, and was entertained by him; and in a battle between him and the king of the Bebryces Hercules sided with Lycus and slew many, amongst others King Mygdon, brother of Amycus. And he took much land from the Bebryces and gave it to Lycus, who called it all Heraclea.
   Having put in at the harbor of Themiscyra, he received a visit from Hippolyte, who inquired why he was come, and promised to give him the belt. But Hera in the likeness of an Amazon went up and down the multitude saying that the strangers who had arrived were carrying off the queen. So the Amazons in arms charged on horseback down on the ship. But when Hercules saw them in arms, he suspected treachery, and killing Hippolyte stripped her of her belt. And after fighting the rest he sailed away ... and having brought the belt to Mycenae he gave it to Eurystheus.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Heracles. 9. The girdle of the queen of the Amazons. Hippolyte, the queen of the Anmilzons, (Diodorus calls the queen Melanippe, and her sister Hippolyte), possessed a girdle, which she had received from Ares, and Admete, the daughter of Eurystheus, wished to have it. Heracles was therefore sent to fetch it, and, accompanied by a number of volunteers, he sailed out in one vessel. He first landed in Paros, where he became involved in a quarrel with the sons of Minos. Having killed two of them, he sailed to Mysia, where his aid was solicited by Lycus, king of the Mariandynians, against the Bebryces. Heracles assisted Lycus, took a district of land from the enemy, which was given to Lycus, who called it Heracleia. When Heracles at length arrived in the port of Themiscyra (Thermodon), after having given to the sea he had crossed the name of Euxeinus, he was at first kindly received by Hippolyte, who promised him her girdle. But Hera, in the disguise of an Amazon, spread the report that the queen of the Amazons was robbed by a stranger. They immediately rose to her assistance, and Heracles, believing that the queen had plotted against him, killed her, took her girdle, and carried it with him. This expedition, which led the hero into distant countries, afforded a favourable opportunity to poets and mythographers for introducing various embellishments and minor adventures, such as the murder of the Boreades, Calais and Zetes, and his amour with Echidna, in the country of the Hyperboreans, by whom he became the father of three sons. On his return he landed in Troas, where he rescued Hesione from the monster sent against her by Poseidon, in return for which her father Laomedon promised him the horses he had received from Zeus as a compensation for Ganymedes. But, as Laomedon did not keep his word, Heracles on leaving threatened to make war against Troy. He therefore landed in Thrace, where he slew Sarpedon, and at length he returned through Macedonia to Peloponnesus. (Apollod. ii. 5.9; Diod. iv. 16; Herod. iv. 9, 10, 82; Eurip. Herc. Fur. 413, Ion. 1143; Plut. Thes. 26; Hom. Il. v. 649, &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Heroines

Otrere

Mother of Penthesilea by Ares.


Molpadia

An Amazon, slain by Theseus, her tomb at Athens.


Melanippe

An Amazon, carried off by Theseus.


Penthesilea

   (Penthesileia). A celebrated queen of the Amazons, daughter of Ares, who came to the aid of Priam in the last year of the Trojan War, and was slain by Achilles after having displayed great acts of valour. Achilles, after he had slain Penthesilea, admiring the prowess which she had exhibited, and struck by the beauty of the corpse, wished the Greeks to erect a tomb to her. Thersites thereupon both ridiculed the grief which the hero testified at her fall and indulged in other remarks so grossly offensive that Achilles slew him on the spot. Diomedes, the relative of Thersites, in revenge for his death, dragged the dead body of the Amazon out of the camp, and threw it into the Scamander. Other accounts say that Achilles buried it on the banks of the Xanthus.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Penthesilea : Perseus Encyclopedia


Penthesileia : Various WebPages


Hippolyte


Hippolyte (Hippolute). Queen of the Amazons, daughter of Ares and of Otrera; slain in battle by Heracles, when he went at the bidding of Eurystheus to fetch the girdle given her by Ares. In some accounts she is said to have been married to Theseus, and to have been the mother of Hippolytus.


Hippolyte. A daughter of Ares and Otrera, was queen of the Amazons, and a sister of Antiope and Melanippe. She wore, as an emblem of her dignity, a girdle given to her by her father; and when Heracles, by the command of Eurystheus, came to fetch this girdle, Hippolyte was slain by Heracles (Hygin. Fab. 30). According to another tradition, Hippolyte, with an army of Amazons, marched into Attica, to take vengeance on Theseus for having carried off Antiope; but being conquered by Theseus, she fled to Megara, where she died of grief, and was buried. Her tomb, which was shown there in later times, had the form of an Amazon's shield (Paus. i. 41.7; Plut. Thes. 27; Apollod. ii. 5.9; Apollon. Rhod. ii. 968). In some accounts Hippolyte is said to have been married to Theseus instead of Antiope. Euripides, in his Hippolytus, makes her the mother of Hippolytus.



Antiope

An Amazon, sister of Hippolyte the wife of Theseus and mother of Hippolytus.


Antiope : Perseus Encyclopedia


Antiope : Various WebPages


Expeditions

Amazonomachy

The Amazons came from the valley of Themiscyra, where the Thermidon river flew, and undertook an expedition against the Athenians and Theseus, which is called Amazonomachy. They worshipped Artemis Ephesian.


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