Queen of the Amazons in Trojan War: Penthesilea

Redemption seeking warrior queen in the fields of Troy

Beauty may be the great desire of a madman. One may be blinded by the beauty and fall in love. Hera, goddess of marriage and marital harmony, offered Europe and Asia to Paris (prince of Troy); Athena, goddess of wisdom and war, offered Paris to be the great military leader of all over Greece. On the other side, Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and erotic love, offered the love of the most beautiful woman (Helen), already married to King Menelaus, in the world. Fascinated by the idea of conquering beauty, Paris chose this great desire. Unsurprisingly, this mad decision had consequences. Menelaus was insulted by the unforbidden love of Helen and Paris for this reason he declared war against the Trojans to achieve his honor back and exploit the advantages of Trojan lands. Even gods and goddesses took place in the great war and the bravery of Greek and Trojan soldiers was told by folks for ages yet there was someone who was not mentioned like other brave soldiers. She was the warrior queen of Amazons, Penthesilea. Even Hector was shivering in the presence of Achilles but she was the Amazon who stood and challenged against him.

The story behind her decision to fight against the Greeks was tragic. Penthesilea was well-respected for her bravery and wisdom though was suffering a pang of conscience; a suffering that made her wish death. Hippolyta, sister of Penthesilea, died because of her sister's mistake. One day, while hunting she shot Hippolyta with a spear by mistake. Unfortunately, she lost her life because of her sister's mistake. Penthesilea felt a burden, qualms, and shame because of her wrongdoing. There was only one way she could find inner peace consequently she sought redemption in the Trojan War. She decided to side with the Trojans after the death of Hector, Penthesilea and her army put fear in the hearts of Greek soldiers. Homer in the Illiad describes the arrival of the Amazons like this:

''[King Priamos (Priam) of Troy describes a battle with the Amazones from his youth :] ‘I looked on the Phrygian men with their swarming horses, so many of them, the people of Otreus and godlike Mygdon, whose camp was spread at that time along the banks of the Sangarios: and I, a helper in war, was marshaled among them on that day when the Amazon women came, men's equals.’" (Homer, Iliad 3. 185 ff)

Penthesilea challenged Achilles because he killed Hector. Apart from that presenting a bold front on the battlefield was the only solution for her redemption. She killed and wounded many Greek soldiers also she fought against Ajax before the arrival of Achilles. He was way stronger than her and he took her life. Achilles was mocking the dead body of Penthesilea and he removed her helmet. At that moment he realized he was fighting against an Amazon queen. Penthesilea was not just a brave warrior but also a gorgeous woman whom Achilles thought he could marry her. It was said that Achilles fell in love with Penthesilea after he removed her helmet. He was devasted because he killed a woman who could be his wife and because of that his soldier friend Thersites mocked him and disrespected the dead body of Penthesilea. Thersites' action caused his death at the hands of Achilles. In the end, he prepared a proper burial for Penthesilea.