P. 284 (with art)

Chapter 9, Theseus’ Later Exploits

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Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.17.2

In the gymnasium not far from the market-place, called Ptolemy’s from the founder, are stone Hermae well worth seeing and a likeness in bronze of Ptolemy. Here also is Juba the Libyan and Chrysippus of Soli.Hard by the gymnasium is a sanctuary of Theseus, where are pictures of Athenians fighting Amazons. This war they have also represented on the shield of their Athena and upon the pedestal of the Olympian Zeus. In the sanctuary of Theseus is also a painting of the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapithae. Theseus has already killed a Centaur, but elsewhere the fighting is still undecided.  Greek Text

Scholia at Aristophanes, Lysistrata 679 — Scholia Graeca in Aristophanem, p. 257, ed. F. Dübner. Berlin 1877.

Greek Text

Delphi, Archaeological Museum: metope from south side of Athenian treasury showing Theseus and an Amazon (Antiope?)



Photos pp. 242-3 from R. Colonia, The Archaeological Museum of Delphi (2006)

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser (all metopes from Athenian Treasury)

Classical Art Research Center, University of Oxford (all metopes from Athenian Treasury)


East and north sides of Athenian Treasury, Delphi (photo by Frances Van Keuren)


South side of Athenian Treasury, Delphi (photo by Frances Van Keuren)

Athens, Acropolis, Parthenon: west metopes with Amazons and Athenians


Drawing of 11 west metopes from Parthenon, Univ. of Oxford

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser (all metopes from Parthenon)


View of west facade of Parthenon showing all of west metopes, Wikimedia Commons


Photo by Ken Russell Salvador of west metopes in situ, Wikimedia Commons


Another photo of west metopes in situ, Wikimedia Commons

Plutarch, Pericles 31.4

But the reputation of his works nevertheless brought a burden of jealous hatred upon Pheidias, and especially the fact that when he wrought the battle of the Amazons on the shield of the goddess, he carved out a figure that suggested himself as a bald old man lifting on high a stone with both hands, and also inserted a very fine likeness of Pericles fighting with an Amazon. And the attitude of the hand, which holds out a spear in front of the face of Pericles, is cunningly contrived as it were with a desire to conceal the resemblance, which is, however, plain to be seen from either side.  Greek Text

London, British Museum: Strangford Shield, Roman copy of Amazonomachy from exterior of shield of Pheidias’ Athena Parthenos


British Museum (note figures of Pheidias and Perikles directly beneath the Gorgon’s head at the center of the shield)

Aischylos, Eumenides 685-90

This here hill of Ares, the seat and camp of the Amazons when they came with malice to lead an army against Theseus. At that time they built this high-towered city against his city, and they sacrificed to Ares, from whom the rock gets its name: Ares’ rock.  (Transl. Aaron J. Ivey)  Greek Text

Plutarch, Theseus 28.1-2

[1] So much, then, is worthy of mention regarding the Amazons. For the ‘Insurrection of the Amazons,’ written by the author of the Theseid, telling how, when Theseus married Phaedra, Antiope and the Amazons who fought to avenge her attacked him, and were slain by Heracles, has every appearance of fable and invention. [2] Theseus did, indeed, marry Phaedra, but this was after the death of Antiope, and he had a son by Antiope, Hippolytus, or, as Pindar says, Demophoon. As for the calamities which befell Phaedra and the son of Theseus by Antiope, since there is no conflict here between historians and tragic poets, we must suppose that they happened as represented by the poets uniformly.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Epitome 1.17

Theseus afterwards received from Deucalion in marriage Phaedra, daughter of Minos; and when her marriage was being celebrated, the Amazon that had before been married to him appeared in arms with her Amazons, and threatened to kill the assembled guests. But they hastily closed the doors and killed her. However, some say that she was slain in battle by Theseus.  Greek Text

Isokrates, 12 Panathenaikos 193

For our country was invaded by the Thracians, led by Eumolpus, son of Poseidon, who disputed the possession of Athens with Erechtheus, alleging, that Poseidon had appropriated the city before Athena; also by the Scythians, led by the Amazons, the offspring of Ares, who made the expedition to recover Hippolyte, since she had not only broken the laws which were established among them, but had become enamored of Theseus and followed him from her home to Athens and there lived with him as his consort.  Greek Text

Diodoros Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica 4.28.1-4

[1] While Heracles was busied with the matters just described, the Amazons, they say, of whom there were some still left in the region of the Thermodon river, gathered in a body and set out to get revenge upon the Greeks for what Heracles had done in his campaign against them. They were especially eager to punish the Athenians because Theseus had made a slave of Antiopê, the leader of the Amazons, or, as others write, of Hippolytê. [2] The Scythians had joined forced with the Amazons, and so it came about that a notable army had been assembled, with which the leaders of the Amazons crossed the Cimmerian Bosporus and advanced through Thrace. Finally they traversed a large part of Europe and came to Attica, where they pitched their camp in what is at present called after them “the Amazoneum.” [3] When Theseus learned of the oncoming of the Amazons he came to thee aid of the forces of his citizens, bringing with him the Amazon Antiopê, by whom he already had a son Hippolytus. Theseus joined battle with the Amazons, and since the Athenians surpassed them in bravery, he gained the victory, and of the Amazons who opposed him, some he slew at the time and the rest he drove out of Attica. [4] And it came to pass that Antiopê, who was fighting at the side of her husband Theseus, distinguished herself in the battle and died fighting heroically. The Amazons who survived renounced their ancestral soil, and returned with the Scythians into Scythia and made their homes among that people.But we have spoken enough about the Amazons, and shall return to the deeds of Heracles. Greek Text

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Literary sources edited by Aaron J. Ivey, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Classics, University of Georgia, June 2016.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, April 2023.

Artistic sources edited by Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, July 2016.

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