REPLICA OF HORSEWOMAN HALF-FRIEZE FROM ANCIENT GREECE (IT MAY BELONG TO THE FRIEZE OF A TEMPLE DEDICATED TO ZEUS IN RODAS, CENTURY IV B.C.)
Why are we still fascinated by the amazons? Maybe, because of the endless search of the harmony and the equilibrium between women and men. It is a universal and timeless conflict. These tales still suggest possible equal gender relations. However, the fact that the military and daring women with sexual freedom lashed a patriarchal society did not always allowed for a victorious representation and they were created sometimes for Greek heroes to beat them, so as to achieve their own triumph.
85 CM (W), 117 CM (H), 10 CM (D)
By simply outlining the word “Greece”, a new world comes to our minds. It appears linked to the art in such an efficient way that the old Homeric history of the great village and its unstoppable artistic civilizationundeniably seduce us. It makes a great impression that awakens a classic art in our souls.
Why are we still fascinated by the amazons? Maybe, because of the endless search of the harmony and the equilibrium between women and men. It is a universal and timeless conflict. Even now, these tales suggest possible equal gender relations. However, the fact that the military and daring women with sexual freedom lashed a patriarchal society did not always allow a victorious representation and they were created sometimes for Greek heroes to beat them, so as to achieve their own triumph.
This turned out to be a frequent topic in the classic art. The amazonomachy, or battles between Greeks and horse women, was frequently represented in the Greek art since the archaic period. In mythology, they were a nation of strong women, descendants of Ares – God of war – coming from Asia minor. They are portrayed with the Phrygian hat and half-naked. The tunic was just hold on the left shoulder, leaving the right breast uncovered: a sign of beauty and ferocity contrast.
Greek triumph against the Persian made the conditions favorable to elaborate the myth and change it into an allegory of the victory over the oriental enemy. Thus, public buildings in Athens took advantage of mythic topics and images to commemorate the victory in the Persian wars and use them later in the greatest monument of the city: the Parthenon. On the west side under the facade, there are fourteen metopes with the amazonomachy as key feature.
Ancient Greek people were astonished by amazons, formidable horsewomen and archers that fought duels against men. They were so brave and skilled at war as men. Also, they were conveyed as dangerous creatures in art and literature. The idea was not only exciting but also worrying: bittersweet feelings in Greece that inspired several stories with frenetic plots. Storylines represented in the decoration of the domestic pottery and the public statuary, with intense scenes of battles used to decorate buildings and temples.
Homer alluded to them twice : in “the Iliad” as “those equal to men”.
“When women get together without allowing petty-minded resentments to intrude, a kind of power arises in which men cannot participate”. Lyn Webster Wilde, (2016) A Brief History of the Amazons.