The House of Orpheus. Late 2nd — early 3rd century CE.Paphos, Archaeological Park
The House of Orpheus. Late 2nd — early 3rd century CE.
Paphos, Archaeological Park
The Amazons were daughters of Mars and Harmonia (or Mars and Venus) and lived in a country of their own in Asia Minor, entirely populated by women. In order to preserve their race they mated once a year with their neighbours and of the children born they only kept the girls. The boys they either killed, castrated or returned to their fathers. They were a beautiful but war-loving race that usually fought on horseback and carried the characteristic double-axe.
Our Amazon stands holding the reins of her horse in an unusual attitude, very reminiscent of that of the Dioscuroi in the House of Dionysos. Nothing remains of the barbaric clothes Amazons usually wear in earlier representations except for the Phrygian cap and the boots. In her left hand she holds a double-axe.
Hercules’ ninth labour was to procure the golden girdle of Ares worn by Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons. It is impossible to say whether the panel here depicts Hippolyte herself, and is to be associated with Hercules in the nearby panel, or whether it is an independent representation of an Amazon.