The Greeks were obsessed with Amazons and, in particular, Atalanta. Her story survives today.  Inspired by Adrienne Mayor’s The Amazons: Lives & Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World. Featuring images of Greek Black & Red-figure pottery, an image or two of Xena for good measure and a musing on where a modern-day Amazon might take refuge.

Everyone is watching Atalanta run – no one can catch her, not even one but they try. Atalanta’s running with wings on her feet; when Atalanta’s running, no one can beat her – she flies. King Iasos left her to die – his infant daughter on the mountainside, but she thrived. And now everyone is watching Atalanta run – everyone is dreaming they are the one who can fly. Atalanta speared the Caledonian boar and saved ancient Greece; deadly but too beautiful to join the quest for the golden fleece- Jason said no, he said, hell no. She who lives freely is misunderstood; she likes it best alone in the woods – under the sky. The forest is singing, can you hear the trees? The creatures are talking, they don’t care what you think – and the gift is this life and a star. Everyone is watching Atalanta run. She really would like someone to meet her like an equal, just an equal. So with some help from Aphrodite – 3 golden apples left her crying true love.

 

Learn more about Atalanta in The Amazons:  Lives & Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor.

ORIGINAL: Hunt of Meleager and Peleus Calydonian boar, hunters and Scythian archer, detail from the Francois vase, Attic volute crater, 570 BC-560 BC, by the potter Ergotimos (active ca 575 BC-ca 569 BC), decoration by Kleitias (active ca 575 BC-ca 560 BC), black-figure pottery, height 66 cm, diameter 57 cm. Greek civilisation, 6th century BC.|Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Archaeological Museum) (While acknowledging Meleager, the museum omits the obvious detail of the Scythian archer’s identity: Atalanta)

Amazon on horseback fighting Greek warrior / Red-figure amphora.

“Amazons / Scythian archers on Greek vases use nomad/Mongolian style thumbdraw instead of Mediterranean draw archery.” – Adrienne Mayor

 

ORIGINAL: Alabastron – Warriors, Circa 470 BCE, Ancient Greece; The Hermitage Museum. (The Museum fails to point out the obvious image of a Scythian (Amazon) executing the Parthian shot.)

 

Red-figure Greek amphora / fighting Amazon.