Legendary queen of the Amazons between 1200-1100 CE, around the time of the Trojan War in which she fought.
Priestess of Athena and credited with inventing the battle-axe.
This, according to the myth surrounding her, child of the god of war Ares and Otrere, ancestral deity of all Amazons, is one of the more famous
Amazon warriors in Greek legend. Her participation in the Trojan War on the side of the Trojan king Priamus and death at the hand of no less a
hero than Achilles made her inspirational enough to become a fixture in literature beginning with the Iliad and its 8th-century BCE sequels. She
would continue to appear many centuries later in the works of classical, Roman and romantic playwrights and into the present. Her figure appears
on visual artwork everywhere from ancient Carthage to Victorian England, by one account even sculpted together with her victor on Zeus' throne
in Olympia. Although not as prominent compared to other warriors of her time like Achilles, Ajax or Hector, her fame has lasted just as
Who she really was or where she came from is uncertain but the more credible part of the story is that she was a guest of king Priamus in Troy
while exiled as penance for the killing of her sister Hippolyte, also an Amazon queen. When the Trojan War broke out she was called upon by the
Ethiopian king Memnon, an ally of Troy, and distinguished herself in battle against the Greek forces, even defeating some big names in the Greek
camp. She finally fell in single combat against the mighty Achilles.
Her death is where the most confusion surrounding her person lies. Everything from Achilles committing necrophilia on her (beautiful by most
accounts) corpse and killing those who called him out on it to honourable burial by her own enemies has been brought up at one time or another,
depending on the storyteller's whim.
Penthesilea may have been as real or unreal as any other of the warriors in the Iliad but is the most significant woman other than the unfaithful
Helen in the epic. The story is often brought up in the context of gender relations as an example of male strength coming out on top regardless
of woman's beauty or skill. I don't think that's more the case than with any other Amazon story, less if anything since it took the Greeks' finest
warrior to match her in combat. Still, authors over time have taken a lot more liberties with her than with other heroes of the war
depending on whether they could stomach the idea of a woman warrior of that calibre or not so there ends up being little consistency among the many
tellings of the legend of Penthesilea, Amazon Queen.