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Warfare in Ancient Greece

Death of an Amazon queen

Height: 40.600 cm

GR 1843.11-3.40 (Vases B 163)

Death of an Amazon queen

From: made in Athens, Greece
Date: about 540-530 BC

The Amazons were a group of fierce female warriors in Greek legend. One of their queens was called Penthesilia. She fought on the side of Troy in the Trojan War and was killed by Achilles.

This vase is painted to show the moment when Achilles killed Penthesilia. He is pushing his spear through her throat while red blood spurts out. Achilles is protected by his bronze breastplate and helmet, but Penthesilea's helmet has slipped, showing her face. White paint has been used for her skin, making it clear that she is a woman.

One version of this story says that it was at this moment that the eyes of the two warriors met and, tragically, they fell in love.