Day Seventeen of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.
This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.
Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!
Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂
As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “Q” post is all about the Queen Bees of Greek Mythology. Where are all my fierce ladies at?
For this one, I’m going to bench the goddess-queens (i.e. Persephone, Hera), but one thing I’m learning through this quick research journey is that it’s hard to separate the Greek gods from mortal play.
But let’s go with it:
First up, there’s Queen Rhodope.
Not much on her out there. She was a nymph (or sometimes a mountain goddess) who might have been a playmate of Persephone’s. Anyways, Rhodope and her husband, Haemus (not much on him either, though he might have been a mountain deity as well) were very boastful. They compared themselves to the King and Queen of Mt. Olympus, Zeus and Hera.
And that’s always a no-no with the gods.
Zeus and Hera punished them for the grave transgression – nothing worse than hubris in Greek mythology, folks. Well, murder was pretty bad too, especially murdering one’s family members.
Anyways, Zeus and Hera transformed Queen Rhodope and her husband, King Haemus into a Balkan mountain with the same name.
MORAL: Be boastful…quietly. Preferably in your mind, or maybe your journal (just make sure to burn or eat those pages after).
Moving onto Queen Hippolyta, queen of many names (i.e. Orithyia & Antiope, who may have been her sisters – depending on who your source is).
More well-known in Greek mythology, this Queen was one of many leading the powerful Amazons.
First, a bit about the Amazons: as a warrior tribe of women, they were said to descend from the Greek god of war, Ares. They shun men, and they went as far as slicing off their right breasts – their left breasts were used to raise their infant females (baby males were killed, or so sources say).
Hippolyta was part of Hercules’s ninth Labor. But before Hercules, there was Theseus. He had spare time, so he parked his ship near the Amazons and he lured Hippolyta off land with treasure-gifts abroad. Then he claimed her as his wife and sailed off to Athens. In some versions, Theseus is with Hercules when this bride kidnapping goes down.
However it happens, Theseus’s action causes a war between Athenians and the Amazonians. Hippolyta supposedly fights on Theseus’s side, eventually bearing him a son. And either Theseus leaves Hippolyta for another woman, Phaedra, or Hippolyta passes before Theseus moves on. If she’s living, Hippolyta supposedly heads back to her sister-Amazonians, and her old home, leaving behind her son to be reared by his father and stepmother, Phaedra.
For Hercules’s ninth Labor, he had to retrieve a magical girdle from Hippolyta – gifted to her by Ares. Hercules lands with his ship, and he’s bearing gifts for the Queen. If this is the version where Theseus acted without Hercules’s company, then Hippolyta has just returned from the heartache of leaving her son behind with Theseus and the Amazonians are more easily roused to suspicion.
Nevertheless, they’re friendly to Hercules until Hera – angry that Hippolyta is willing to pass off the girdle very easily – climbs down from her throne in Mt. Olympus to disguise herself as an Amazonian warrior. She runs around crying that Hercules means to kidnap Hippolyta like Theseus. That sets the Amazonians into a frenzy, and they surround Hercules’s ship meaning to save their queen from the demigod hero.
Believing that Hippolyta staged the ambush, Hercules kills her and flees with the girdle; thus he accomplishes his ninth Labor.
MORAL: Try not to jump to conclusions.
Now it’s Queen Cassiopeia and her daughter, Andromeda‘s turn.
Queen Cassiopeia was the wife of King Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. She was both beautiful and very vain.
She angered Poseidon by commenting that the Nereids, sea nymphs, did not compare to her beauty (and that of her daughter’s). So Poseidon either sent a serpent, sea monster, Cetus, or he sent a flood to show his ire to the prideful queen.
Afraid for his kingdom, King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia consult an oracle that tells them how to appease Poseidon. They are told that their daughter, Andromeda, can be a fair form of payment. So she’s sacrificed…
Chained to a rock, Andromeda is left by her parents until Cetus finds and devours her. Not sure why Cassiopeia isn’t chained to that rock, but it is what it is: a Greek myth full of randomness.
Anyways, before Cetus arrives, in all his monstrous glory, Perseus is flying by with Hermes’s magical sandals, and having just avoided being killed by Medusa’s angry, Gorgon sisters, you’d think he wouldn’t stop.
But he does, and he rescues Andromeda from Cetus, taking her as his bride. He either slays Cetus with a knife, or he turns the monster to stone with Medusa’s head. After her death, it is said Andromeda was made a constellation near her husband, Perseus, and her mother, Cassiopeia.
A happy ending as they go on to have many children.
MORAL: If you know a loved one’s sinking your happiness, sit them down for a heart-to-heart chat, and if they’re not willing to listen, cut them loose. They’re not worth it.
Sources that helped me with this post:
Check them out whenever you can!