The wounded Amazon of Kresilas

A  veil of mystery in  the  form of  mystic stories, 
anecdotes, legends  and poetry  surround  one  of
the most intriguing  people of the ancient world, 
the Amazons.
Though they have not left any written testimonies,
they  were present  in the lores of historians over 
and over again.

Some scientists think that the legends of the Ama-
zons are based on early lores about  a small  Asian 
region (Pontus), in which Greeks have met matri-
archal ruled people and were involved  in  battles.
The  myths tell us that  these  women were able to
live without men. In battle they offered resistance
successfully and were even able to defeat the men. 

                Heracles in battle with Amazons

They   were   known  as  fearless  and   digni-
fied  women  warriors,  who  guarded  their 
wounded comrades  under the risk  of  their
own  lives. The  most  famous Greek  heroes 
such   as   Heracles,  Achilleus   and   Thesus  
struggeled  with,   sometimes   defeated  the

In the Greek classical period, the myths of
the Amazons were a beloved motive  for all
famous artists. There were a lot of pictures 
with Amazons, particularly in  battles  with 
wellknown Greek warriors on clay pottery
and  as  sculptures. In some  former regions
of Greece there was even  a  religious influ-
enced Amazon cult.

An Amazon guards a wounded comrade

According to the legend,  Amazons have founded the cult of Artemis in
The  Roman  author Pliny ( 23 - 79 A. D. ) has reported in  his
book 34 (natural history) about  a  competition between five high este-
emed sculptors of the classical period: Polykleitos,  Phidias,  Kresilas, 
Kydon  and Phradmon, which were asked  to  make  a  statue of a woun-
ded  Amazon  for the sanctuary of Artemis  in Ephesus.  After  they  had 
finished  their work,  each  of them  had to decide which one of the five
was the best.

      Amazon "Sciarra" 

Each of the 5 sculptors made a wounded Amazon for the competition; 
the works of  Polykleitos, Phidias  and  Kresilas have been preserved
as  antique  fragmentary  copies, most  made in stone (marble) .
today  three types  of Amazons are known.  For  more  than 100  years
all  possible classifications  have  been  discussed lively, with  always
the   same  unsatisfying   result.  The  most   important  question,   the
"Meisterfrage" is:

Who has made what type of Amazon?

That will probably stay an endless discussion without a common result.

                                                                                                                                       Amazon "Sosikles"


In classical times all five of the original created bronze statues stood
in the sanctuary of Artemis in Ephesus on the coast of Asia Minor.
All  of  the  three known types  show a wounded standing female: type
Sciarra dressed in military "exom", type  Sosikles in a military short
chiton  and  himation and  type Mattei  in a chiton, all with one naked

           Amazon "Mattei"