Penthesilea, Penthesilea the Amazon Queen, Penthesilia, Penthésilée


By Andres Manniste


Chapter 1 : a bit mean

The Amazon Princess Penthesilea, chasing a red fox up an embankment, allows herself to be caught unguarded by her companions Ainia and Bremusa. Avoiding a barrage of pebbles, the Princess makes her way to the water's edge and successfully defends herself.


Chapter 2 : lessons and history

Queen Otrere speaks to a group of Amazon maidens about the war spear, their ancestry and the founding of Themiskyra.

black sea

Chapter 3 : about becoming of age

Otrere, teaching a group of maidens in Themiskyra, speaks of Amazon culture and the affirmation of a female future. She explains that temperance and moderation are characteristic of the Amazon even in the use of pleasures. She talks of lovemaking as pleasure and as a means to procreate. She describes childbirth and the fate of male children. She explains that Amazons collectively raise and educate their children and finally she relates the Amazons’ relationship to men and tells of their seduction.

Chapter 4 : the stag hunt 1

This tells of how Zeus determined to send misfortune on the daughters of Ares and how Artemis granted them the protection of chastity. The affliction of the gods follows the princess Penthesilea on the day that Ares appears to her in the form of a magnificent stag.

Chapter 5 : the stag hunt 2

This is the telling of the grievous accident that took the life of Princess Hippolyte, daughter of Ares and Otrere and beloved sister to great-hearted Penthesilea who with her loyal sisters went to battle for the great Priamos of Troy, for purification and to appease the Erinýes. Chaste Artemis, the great hunter and protector of the wilderness and the animals, can also portend sudden death and disease. Although the daughter of Leto honoured Hippolyte from birth, affinal relationships tied in blood condemned the princess to an ancient vengeance. The bloodlust of daughter-slaying Ares deflected the bronze-tipped spear to darken the eyes of Hippolyte, a crime that the awful ones, the Erinýes now seek to avenge.

Chapter 6 : Truwisa

Penthesilea gains experience as a great warrior and leader. On her return to Themiskyra, a messenger sent by King Priamos petitions Amazon assistance at the siege of Truwisa. Despite warnings from Otrere and the council, Penthesilea decides to go alone as atonement for her crime and to seek purification from the torments of the Erinýes at the Oracle of Apollo. Her sisters insist on joining the queen on her journey and on their arrival they are greeted as saviours by the Trojans.

Chapter 7 : the death of the Queen

In the battle, Achilles will strike Penthesilea, drawing profuse blood from her chest. She collapses from her mount and considers surrender, as her eyes grow dim. Powerful Achilles strikes a second time and the queen falls into the dirt, her eyes making contact one last time as the son of Peleus is moved by her beauty.

Chapter 8: the beauty of the Queen

The Argives see Penthesilea, in her death, as a goddess. As the gods debate whether Achilles deserves punishment for his act of violence against women, the beauty of the fallen queen brings silence to the battlefield.

Chapter 9: Thersites' rant

Ainia and Antianara, under the advice of Artemis, begin their return to Themiskyra. Thersites comes upon Achilles, who seems to be expressing a dark desire for the dead Penthesilea. Thersites mocks Achilles, enraging him. The son of Peleus strikes and kills Thersites.

Chapter 10: Nestor's speech

Tydeus, the son of Oeneus, reminds Achilles of his kinship to Thersites. He protests the murder on the battlefield. Achilles returns with death threats but Artemis intervenes as the Argive princes move to stop the confrontation. Nestor speaks out against Achilles, alluding to the same suspicions that Thersites had vocalized. Plagued by the Erinýes, Achilles wishes to be delivered from his immortality.

Chapter 11: the funeral of a daughter of Troy

Priamos, through a messenger, asks for the body of Penthesilea. Achilles realises that he has little choice but to grant the request. Penthesilea’s body is taken to Troy and she is honoured by a funeral befitting a daughter of Troy. Achilles remains with his ship as the battlefield dead are buried. Agamemnon gathers the princes and feasts Danaan victories.

Chapter 12: the seduction of Lyssa

As Achilles contemplates recent events, he incessantly hears Alecto, Tisiphone and Megaera who afflict his thoughts with their voices. Odysseus and Antilochus arrive to find the son of Peleus in a state of exhaustion. Odysseus offers to accompany Achilles to Lesbos where the oracles have suggested that he may find atonement. Antilochus offers to take command of the Myrmidons in his absence. At this very time King Memnon of Susa, acting on a request from Priamos, was approaching the walls of Troy with his multitudes.

Chapter 13: a fool's death

King Memnon arrives with Aethiopians, Susans and many allies from the countries of Eos who have marched to meet the Achaeans at Troy. Among them are many Lycians seeking vengeance as well as Amazons accompanied by men from the country of the Thermodon. Priamos welcomes Memnon with a feast while the hordes prepare for battle. The Greeks arrive led by Antilochus and the Myrmidons but soon Memnon turns their multitudes back toward the ships. Antilochus fights valiantly but falls to the might of Memnon. Nestor pleads with Achilles to once again save the Greeks from a rout. The Son of Peleus meets Memnon as an equal and following a violent confrontation where he is wounded, Achilles slays the King of Susa. Weakened and delirious from the Erinyes, Achilles wanders away from the main battle in search of Amazons. He falls on women in mourning and having being instructed by Lyssa that they are Amazons, he murders them. Hera, having lost patience with the Son of Thetis, arranges that Apollo and Artemis receive satisfaction for the injuries that Achilles has inflicted, these being the desecration of the Temple of Apollo and the killing of Penthesilea while she was on a mission of atonement. Apollo and Artemis find Achilles alone by the Scaean gates. While Zeus sleeps on Ida and Poseidon tends to his palace, an arrow launched from distant walls at a stranger by Paris is guided by Apollo through Achilles ankle. Surprised and wounded by dogs sent by Artemis, Achilles receives two more darts and curses the heavens. Awake now and angered by the insolence of Achilles, Zeus strikes him dead. Eris, once again enters the household of Zeus. In the confusion on the plains, a battle begins for the body of Achilles. The Greeks prevail and while Ajax carries the body of Achilles back to the ships, Odysseus pushes the Trojans back to the City.

Chapter 14: divine Themis

Teucer arrives to find his half brother despondent. Ajax, who regrets having vented his anger on the Greek herds, asks to be left alone. He commits suicide in the morning.
Ainia and Antianara return to Themiskyra without having met Cleite on the Hellespontos. At their welcome feast attended by Artemis and Apollo, they speak in sadness of the Amazons they left behind in Troy. Queen Otrere rises to justify the expedition to Troy and address rumours and demands for retribution. She then says a few words of eulogy before retiring to mourn her daughters in private.

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