previous next

Penthesilia, daughter of Otrere and Ares, accidentally killed Hippolyte and was purified by Priam. In battle she slew many, and amongst them Machaon, and was afterwards herself killed by Achilles, who fell in love with the Amazon after her death and slew Thersites for jeering at him.1

1 These events were narrated in the Aethiopis of Arctinus, as we learn from the summary of that poem drawn up by Proclus. See Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. G. Kinkel, p. 33. Compare Diod. 2.46.5; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica i.18ff., 227ff., 538ff.; Tzetzes, Posthomerica 6ff., 100ff., 136ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 999; Dictys Cretensis iv.2ff. Quintus Smyrnaeus explains more fully than Apollodorus the reason why Penthesilia came to TroyPosthomerica i.18ff.). Aiming at a deer in the chase, she had accidentally killed her sister Hippolyte with her spear, and, haunted by the Furies of the slain woman, she came to Troy to be purified from her guilt. The same story is told more briefly by Diodorus Siculus. According to Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 999, Thersites excited the wrath of Achilles, not only by his foul accusations, but by gouging out the eyes of the beautiful Amazon. In the Aethiopis it was related how, after killing the base churl, Achilles sailed to Lesbos and was there purified from the guilt of murder by Ulysses, but not until he had offered sacrifice to Apollo, Artemis, and Latona. See Proclus, in Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. G. Kinkel, p. 33. The mother of Penthesilia is named Otrere (Otrera) by Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 997 and Hyginus, Fab. 112, in agreement with Apollodorus. Machaon is usually said to have been killed by Eurypylus, and not, as Apollodorus says, by Penthesilia. See Paus. 3.26.9; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica vi.390ff.; Tzetzes, Posthomerica 520ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 113. From Paus. 3.26.9 we learn that Eurypylus, not Penthesilia, was represented as the slayer in the Little Iliad of Lesches.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Sir James George Frazer)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Troy (Turkey) (2)
Lesbos (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: