AM'AZONS, ABIAZ'ONES (from Gk. 'Afia.7.4,e, Am a vrni ) . In early Greek legends, a race of war like women, who either suffered no man to live among them, or held men in servitude for the con tinuance of the race. The earliest accounts place them in northeast Asia Minor, on the River Thor modon ; later writers, farther to the north and west, in Scythia and the Caucasus; and finally we bear of Amason, in Libya, at the south of the known world. Their expeditions, undertaken for war and plunder.led them intoSeythia and Syria, but especially to the coast of Asia Minor, where we find them in conflict with Priam, Bellerophon, and other heroes. In this region they were said to have founded many cities, notably Ephesus, where they established the temple of Artemis. which furnished them a refuge when defeated by Hercules. They were daughters of Ares, and worshiped him and Artemis as their chief gods. They appear chiefly in three stories: ( 1 ) The killing by Achilles of their queen Penthesilea, who led her army to the relief of Troy; (2) the conflict with Hercules, which arose from his en deavor to secure the girdle of their queen, and led, according to some writers, to their annihila tion; (3) the war with Athens, which began with the expedition of Theseus to carry off the Amazon queen, and ended with their invasion of Attica, attack on the Acropolis from the Areo pagus, and total destruction by Theseus and the Athenians. The origin of these legends is not clear; but if we consider the localities in which the Amazons lived, and that in historic times the Greeks found tribes about the Black Sea in which the women held sway and took part in war, while in Caria, Lydia, and Lydia there is much evidence for descent traced through the mother, it seems not improbable that the Amazons embody a remi niscence of the people and civilization which pre ceded the Greeks on the east of the ...Egean.
Representations of the Amazons are very com mon in all periods of Creek art. At first they appear in the costume of Greek hoplites, but later assume the Scythian garb. They are armed with lance, battle axe, or bow, and usually carry a crescent shield. Among the chief ancient repre sentations are the reliefs from Gy5lbaschi, in Vienna, which seem to reflect the painting of Micon at Athens; and the friezes from Phigalia and the mausoleum at Haliearnassus, in the British Museum. Of the statues, three types go bark to the best period of Creek art: the "Wounded Amazon."in Berlin.probably by Poly eletus; the "Wounded Amazon" of the Capitoline Museum in Rome. and the "Unwounded Amazon" in the Vatican. It was said that in order to be unimpeded in war, they burned off their right breasts: but no work of art shows them thus mutilated, and undoubtedly the story is merely an invention to explain a false etymology, as though the composition of the word Amazon were h psis. and pack, mazos, breast. Con sult: Klfigmann, Die Amazonen in der attischen Littcratur aced Kunst (Stuttgart, 1875), and Corey, Dc A mazonum Figuris (Berlin. 1891),