Sunday, November 29, 2015

9th Labour of Hercules: Obtain the belt of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons

Wounded Amazon.the Amazons were a race of woman warriors.
Wounded Amazon.
The 9th Labour of Greek hero Hercules was to retrieve the belt (girdle ) of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Hippolyta was the daughter of the Greek god of war, Ares,  and the belt was a present from him. King Eurystheus ordered Hercules to retrieve it and bring it to her daughter, Admete.

In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a race of woman warriors located in  Sarmatia, in the Ukraine. According to the Greek historian Herodotus,
Amazons are related to an Iranian race of people called Scythians. Their name is independent from the place they are living and they are now way related with the Amazon river in South America. Amazon means "missing one breast" ( α - μαζος) in ancient Greek. According to Greek Mythology they cut their right breast, because it was easier for them to aim, threw spears, and in general to master the art of arching. The Amazons lived separate from men, and they kept only the female children growing them to become warriors.

Hercules during his trip to find the Amazons, he stopped at the island of Paros, where sons of King Minos were living. The sons killed two of Hercules' companions. For revenge, Hercules killed two of the sons of King Minos, spreading the fear in the island of Paron. Thus, the other inhabitants of the island offered two men (Minos' grandsons, Alcaeus and Sthenelus) to replace his lost men and continue his travel.  Hercules agreed and sailed to the north.

A helmeted Amazon holding her sword and a shield.
A helmeted Amazon holding her sword and a shield. 
They continued their voyage and arrived at the court of Lycus. During this period Lycus was defending agains King Mygdon of Bebryces. Hercules decided to help him and eventually killed King Mygdon.  Hercules gave much of Mygdon's Land to his friend Lycus. Lycus called the land Heraclea. After that, they continued their journey and set off for Themiscyra where Hippolyta lived.

Hippolyta  was impressed with Hercules and his exploits, agreed to give him the belt. She would have done it but Hera disguised herself, she walked among the Amazons spreading words of distrust. She claimed the strangers were plotting to carry off the queen of the Amazons. Alarmed, the women set off on horseback to confront Hercules. When Hercules saw them, he thought Hippolyta had been plotting all these, so he killed her, took the Belt and returned to Eurystheus.