Antiope (Amazon)

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In Greek mythology, Antiope (/ænˈt.əp/; Greek: Ἀντιόπη) was an Amazon, daughter of Ares and sister to Melanippe and Hippolyte and possibly Orithyia, queens of the Amazons,.[1] She was the wife of Theseus, and the only Amazon known to have married. There are various accounts of the manner in which Theseus became possessed of her, and of her subsequent fortunes.

In one version, during Heracles' ninth labor, which was to obtain the Girdle of Hippolyte, when he captured the Amazons' capital of Themiscyra, his companion Theseus, king of Athens, abducted Antiope and brought her to his home[2][3] (or she was captured by Heracles and then given by him to Theseus[4]). According to Pausanias,[5] Antiope fell in love with Theseus and betrayed the Amazons of her own free will. They were eventually married and she gave birth to a son, Hippolytus, who was named after Antiope's sister. Soon after, the Amazons attacked Athens in an attempt to rescue Antiope and to take back Hippolyte's girdle; however, in a battle near the hill of Ares they were defeated. During this conflict, known as the Attic War, Antiope was accidentally shot dead by an Amazon named Molpadia, who, in her turn, was then killed by Theseus.[6] Tombs of both Antiope and Molpadia were shown in Athens.[5]

According to some sources, the cause for the Amazons' attack on Athens was the fact that Theseus had abandoned Antiope and planned to marry Phaedra. Antiope was furious about this and decided to attack them on their wedding day. She promised to kill every person in attendance; however, she was slain instead by Theseus himself, fulfilling an oracle's prophecy to that effect.[7] Ovid mentions that Theseus killed Antiope despite the fact that she was pregnant.[8]

An alternate version of the myth relates all of the facts concerning Antiope (abduction by Theseus, their marriage, birth of Hippolytus, her being left behind in favour of Phaedra) not of her, but of Hippolyte.[9][10][11] In various accounts of this version, the subsequent attack on Athens either does not occur at all or is led by Orithyia.[12]

In Giovanni Boccaccio's Famous Women,[13] a chapter is dedicated to Antiope and Orithyia.

See also


  1. ^ Orosius, Historiae adversus paganos, I. 15
  2. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, Epitome of Book IV, 1. 16; this source also cites a rare version which makes Melanippe, not Antiope, the one captured by Theseus
  3. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 4. 16
  4. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae, 30
  5. ^ a b Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1. 2. 1
  6. ^ Plutarch, Theseus, 26–27
  7. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 241
  8. ^ Ovid, Heroides, 4. 117–120
  9. ^ Simonides in Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, Epitome 1. 16
  10. ^ Euripides, Hippolytus
  11. ^ Athenaeus, Banquet of the Learned, 13. 557 (where she is called "Hippe")
  12. ^ Justin's Epitome of Trogus Pompeius' History of the World, Book 2, part IV
  13. ^ Giovanni Boccaccio’s Famous Women translated by Virginia Brown (2001), p. 41-42; Cambridge and London, Harvard University Press; ISBN 0-674-01130-9;


  • Watson, John Selby. Justin, Cornelius Nepos, and Eutropius: Literally Translated, pp. 21–22, 547; Published 1853 H. G. Bohn, (Original in the New York Public Library).
  • Williams, Henry Smith. The Historians' History of the World: A Comprehensive Narrative of the Rise, v.2, pp. 440–441; Published 1904 The Outlook Company, New York Public Library.
  • Justinus. Epitoma Historiarum philippicarum Pompei Trogi, II.4.17-30.
  • Orosius. Historiae adversus paganos, I.15.7-9.

Preceded by
Queen of the Amazons Succeeded by