Antiope (DC Comics)
Art by Phil Jimenez.
Wonder Woman #312, Vol. 1 (February, 1984)
Wonder Woman #1, Vol. 2 (February 1987)
|Created by||George Pérez|
|Alter ego||Antiope of Themyscira|
|Abilities||enhanced strength, enhanced speed, enhanced durability, and highly developed fighting skills.|
Antiope, is a fictional character owned by DC Comics and is based on the mythological character Antiope. In the comics she was the Amazon sister of Queen Hippolyta, and aunt to Wonder Woman. She is the founding member of the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall, whom they worship as a sacred ancestor.
Antiope was originally portrayed as a high-ranking Amazon, with no apparent familial relation to Hippolyta. She bore resentment against Queen Hippolyta and plotted to overthrow her. She was eventually killed by Shadow Demons during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Antiope and the rest of the Themyscirian Amazons were first created by a select few of the Greek Gods, which included Artemis, Athena, Hestia, Demeter and Aphrodite. They took the souls of women slain throughout time by the hands of men and sent them to the bottom of the Aegean Sea. The souls then began to form bodies with the clay on the sea bed. Once they reached the surface the clay bodies became living flesh and blood Amazons.
The first one to break surface was Hippolyta and thus she was elected Queen of the new race. The second Amazon to break surface was her sister Antiope, and she ruled as a second to Hippolyta in all affairs.
Each of the goddesses that created the Amazons blessed them with personalized gifts: hunting skills (Artemis'), wisdom (Athena's), warm homes/skills of domesticity (Hestia's), plentiful harvests (Demeter's), and beauty inside and out (Aphrodite's). As a symbol of their leadership titles, the gods gave Hippolyta and Antiope each a Golden Girdle of Gaea which enhanced their strength and abilities significantly. The Amazons eventually founded the city of Themyscira in Anatolia and became known as fierce warriors of peace in Turkey, Greece and Rome.
During the height of their reign, Antiope and Hippolyta came across a mother and daughter on horseback. The older diseased woman introduced herself as Queen Hypsipyle, and her daughter as Princess Phthia. They ruled the island of Lemnos in a matriarchal society similar to the Amazons of Themyscira.
They explain that the Argonaut Jason landed his ship Argo on their island and eventually fathered twins to the queen, a son and daughter. Phthia was their daughter. After Jason continued with his adventures and abandoned the Queen her subjects rebelled against her rule. They killed her infant son Euneus and cursed her with leprosy. They then banished the former Queen and Princess from Lemnos and they wandered the land, eventually settling in Nemea.
Eventually the soothsayer Calchas met up with the queen telling her that she must return to Lemnos, escorted by a Warrior Queen, so that a lesson could be learned. Antiope and a group of Amazons agreed to escort the former Queen in order to discover what truth would be revealed for Antiope as well. Her sister Hippolyta returned to Themyscira. When they arrived they discovered that the women of Lemnos had long since died, perishing by their own hands as internal wars consumed the Lemnos women. At discovering this Hypsipyle died of grief. Antiope adopted Phthia as her daughter, and the two of them formed a bond as strong as blood-relations.
Fall from grace
Soon after, the jealous and vengeful god Ares tried to discredit Antiope's and Phthia's names by having his half-brother, demi-god Hercules, invade the Amazons and demean them, stealing their Golden Girdles of Gaea in the process.
When Hercules first approached the Amazons seeking battle, Hippolyta and Antiope met him outside the city gates and tried to reason with him for peaceful negotiations. When this did not work and Hercules attacked Queen Hippolyta using his strength to his advantage, Hippolyta easily turned the tables on him by using her wisdom and battle skills to subdue him. Still wishing peace, Hippolyta invited Hercules and his men into their city to celebrate a potential friendship with a feast. Hiding his anger and humiliation at being forced to surrender to a woman, Hercules accepted the invitation.
Once in their stronghold, Hercules and his men drugged the Amazons' wine and took them prisoner. After Hercules stole Hippolyta's Golden Girdle, and his party of men abused and raped the Amazons, Hippolyta cried out to Athena to help them escape their bonds. Athena said that she would only aid them on the condition that the Amazons not seek retribution against Hercules and his men, as that would be beneath the ideals they were created to stand for. Hippolyta hastily agreed, and the Amazons' bonds were broken and they were restored to sobriety. Once out of their drugged state, the Amazons were filled with hate and vengeance. Breaking Hippolyta's oath to Athena, the Amazons began slaughtering their captors, but were dismayed to find that Hercules and his general, Theseus, had already left for their homelands.
After the slaughter, Athena reprimanded the Amazons for disobeying her orders. She demanded the Amazons serve penance for their actions. Though Hippolyta agreed to the goddess' wishes, Antiope scoffed at Athena for being angry at them for killing their captors. Antiope then denounced all ties to the Olympian gods and said goodbye to her sister Hippolyta, giving Hippolyta her Golden Girdle of Gaea to replace the one stolen by Hercules. She left for Greece, along with half of the Amazon Nation who supported Antiope in her new quest to continue the battle against Hercules and Theseus to regain their honor, and to recapture Antiope's girdle.
Life in Greece
Upon her arrival in Greece, Antiope encountered Theseus who, surprisingly, had fallen in love with the Amazon Queen. Though it angered her faithful Amazons, Antiope had a change of heart for Theseus, as well, and fell in love with him in return. The two married, combining both Theseus' forces with Antiope's Amazons. Though together they formed a mighty army, the alliance did not sit well with the Amazons as they were the same men who had imprisoned and raped them in their home city of Themyscira, Theseus' men, for their part had no remorse for their actions attains the Amazons and didn't respect them. Phthia especially was against the marriage, as it resembled the beginning of the cursed life her own birth-mother experienced with Jason. Still, she respected her adopted mother's wishes, and grudgingly accepted their marriage.
During their marriage, Antiope gave birth to a son Hippolytus. Theseus' former wife, Ariadne, who he had previously abandoned became very jealous and bitter. She sought out the help of the witch, Circe, for revenge. Circe transported Ariadne into the Queen's bedchamber, where she stabbed Queen Antiope in her sleep. Seeking to further tarnish Antiope's name, Ariadne made it look as if Antiope was killed by her adopted daughter, Phthia, who happened upon the scene. Phthia was then captured, and thrown into the grieving Theseus' dungeons until she could be executed for her "crimes."
Word of Antiope's death, and the false accusation of Phthia reached the Amazons, and they freed their princess from Theseus' dungeon, leaving Greece forever along with Hippolyta's previously stolen Golden Girdle of Gaea taken by Heracles. Phthia carried on as ruler of the Amazons in Antiope's place, and the tribe of warriors went on to become the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall.
Because of Ariadne's betrayal of Antiope, the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall used the name ariadna to describe any person who could not be trusted. In addition, because of all of the previous transgressions made by mankind against the Amazons, the Bana-Mighdall Amazons despised men from the point of their separation and centuries after. The only exception to this was Antiope's son Hippolytus, whom the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall held in high regard within their culture.
Over the centuries the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall have kept both Hippolyta's Golden Girdle of Gaea retrieved by Antiope as well as a bust made of Antiope during her lifetime as sacred relics. When Hippolyta created her own daughter, Diana, she molded the infant in the likeness of her fallen sister. Thus, when Diana finally met her aunt in spirit form many centuries after Antiope's death, the two proved to look identical outside of hair color.
Upon the death of her sister Hippolyta, Antiope appeared in ghost form to her niece Diana. Antiope told her, "There are other Amazons out there. Descendants of my tribe. Other offshoots — Diana, you must seek them out, and guide them—and represent them in the world of man." Antiope and Hippolyta revealed that they would remain as ghostly watchers over Diana, guiding and protecting her spirit despite being servants to the god of the dead Hades.
In the Wonder Woman television series Diana was shown to have had a cousin named Evadne played by actress Dorrie Thomson who also competed in the Contest to become Wonder Woman. This was the only reference to Diana having an aunt in that series.
All Themyscirian Amazons possess various degrees of superhuman strength, speed, stamina and extraordinarily acute senses which were gifts they were blessed with by their gods. As shown by various tribe members, they have the capability to break apart steel and concrete with their bare hands, jump over 12 feet from a standing position, have a high durability factor, enhanced healing, and the ability to absorb and process a vast amount of knowledge in a short period of time.
Themyscirian Amazons also possess the ability to relieve their bodies of physical injury and toxins by becoming one with the Earth's soil and then reforming their bodies whole again. The first time Diana does this she prays to her god Gaea saying: "Gaea, I pray to you. Grant me your strength. You are the Earth who suckled me, who nurtured and bred me. Through you all life is renewed. The circle which never ends. I pray you, mother Gaea, take me into your bosom. Please, let me be worthy." During writer John Byrne's time on the comic it was stated that this is a very sacred ritual, to be used only in the most dire of circumstances.
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