RF Krater. Battle of Greeks & Amazons: Achilles & Hippolyta
5th c BCE Greek Attic red-figure Ceramics
GREEK RED-FIGURE Anonymous
(active c. 530 BCE - c. 250 BCE)
c. 400 BCE
5th c BCE
Gela. Sicily. Europe.
Agrigento. Museo Civico.
The image of Penthesilea being killed by the Greek hero, Achilles, seems to be an appropriate close to our study of the art of the Archaic and Early Classical periods in Greece, which gave birth to so many representations of Greek heroes conquering the representatives of the Great Goddess who had previously ruled the area.
One can consider Achilles' slaying of Penthesilea as the end of the old order. Yet there is an interesting twist to the legend, for as his sword dealt her the mortal blow, Achilles fell in love with her. The incident may be a symbolic representation of the fact that as the patriarchal heroes killed the old beliefs, which symbolized man's ties to the earth and to the mysterious depths of emotions, they realized that these values should not be destroyed. As we will see later, after a period of eclipse under the brilliant intellectual world of 5th century BCE Athens, the old values symbolized by the Mother Goddess did return.