Amazon Picture

Horse Riding Club of Eretria, Greece.
In Greece, the female horse riders are called Amazons, from the ancient myth.

In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of all-female warriors. Historiographers place them in Pontus (modern Turkey and Georgia) near the shore of the Euxine Sea (Black Sea) or in Scythia (modern Ukraine). The name Amazon is believed to descend from the Greek word "amazoi" which means "breast less", deriving from the legend that says they removed their right breast, as to facilitate the drawing of the bow, as the bow and arrows were their main weapon. They also used sword, double sided axe and carried a distinctive crescent shaped shield. Most of their fighting was done from horseback. As with most mythology there are many variations from different ancient writers as to where they were from and also to the places they traveled. It has been written that they journeyed as far as Egypt and Libya. In another version, with Myrine leading them they defeated the Atlantians and occupied Atlantis.
Homer wrote in his great work the Iliad that the Amazons with Penthesilea went to Troy in aid of King Priam during the Trojan War, and while doing battle Penthesilea was wounded in her breast. It was the hero Achilles who inflicted the wound, but then fell in love with her great beauty. The great hero Heracles (Hercules) had to travel to the lands of the Amazons to complete his ninth labor. His task was to bring back a symbolic girdle which had been given to the Amazons by the god of war Ares. Theseus the Athenian hero abducted the Amazon queen Antiope (or Hippolyta) and took her back to Athens. The legend tells of the Amazons invading Attica to take back their queen. On reaching Athens a great battle took place, but the Athenians were glorious. This scene has been depicted in art by the Greeks in many forms, but probably the most famous is the architectural marble carving from the Parthenon, known as the Amazonomachy.

© 2009 Jordan Kevrekidis
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