cover of Hola #1

This article appeared in the first issue of my zine, Hola!, dated January, 1978. It has been ever so slightly adapted from the original, but all the passive voice has been retained, darn it. Gotta get rid of the habit of not using active voice.

Below is the illustration that went with that article. NOTE TO BEGINNING ARTISTS! Think twice before doing an illustration in lithographic crayon. Well, at least it looks a little better now that I've put some tints behind it...

The four daughters of Ares and Harmony Mortal enemies of the patriarchal Greeks, Amazons had been known to exist in many places, even before the gods arrived on Earth. But greatest of these, greater than even Queen Medusa's Gorgons or Myrine's Libyans, were the mighty Amazons who lived between the Black and Caspian Seas, in the flood plain of the river

Thermodon!

The History of Hippolyte's Amazons


by Carol A. Strickland

The gods arrived from space. A few decided to settle around the Mediterranean: the Titans, Cyclopes, Hecatoncheires, and others. Soon they dominated the northern coasts of that sea. The aliens were worshipped as gods.

From the Titans, Cronus rose as king, taking his sister Rhea to wive. From them came the Olympians, of whom Zeus overthrew his father and took his sister Hera as his queen. And of their offspring the most powerful and feared was Ares, the bringer of war.

Yet angry Ares' nature softened when he beheld the naiad Harmony.* He had four daughters by her, the first a goddess, the rest nymphs: Otrere the Warrior, Antiope the Clever, Oreithyia the Archer, and Melanippe the Wanderer. Otrere would have outshone her siblings even if she were not far above them in power, for she had the regal bearing of a queen and the cunning of Hermes, as well as the far-sighted wisdom of Metis. While still a child, she abandoned her Greek name and took the barbaric form, "Bellona," for she reasoned that a more fierce-sounding name would please her father.

She was correct. Although disappointed that Bellona was not a boy, Ares took the name-change as a sign that perhaps his offspring had some promise, even if she were a girl. He proceeded to train her in the arts of war. She took to it instantly and soon became one of the most powerful beings on Olympus. Even Hera trembled when she saw the two striding battlefields, and Zeus the All-mighty began to watch the wild young goddess with interest.

But other gods had noticed Bellona. Antiope introduced her sister to the gentle young Anteros, god of reciprocal love, avenger of unrequited love, and son of Aphrodite and Hephaestos. Bellona gazed upon Anteros and for the first time in her life found herself unable to speak. The war goddess had fallen in love!

The two lovers had many long talks. Bellona discovered that there were other ways to live besides waging war. Her peace-loving mother was overjoyed at these events, but her father was furious! He fumed along with his mother, who grew increasingly jealous of the attention Zeus was giving Bellona, even if the young goddess did not reciprocate his affections.

Neither was Aphrodite pleased that Bellona even existed. Ares had been her lover, and the thought of him leaving her bed to go to that of Harmony angered her to no end. To think that her own son was engaged to her faithless lover's daughter was almost unbearable -- but as long as Aphrodite was more powerful than Bellona, the goddess of love decided, she would not hate the war goddess.

However, one day Aphrodite heard the prayer form the Sarmatian nation of Amazonia. "Great Aphrodite!" the men of the country prayed. "While we were away at war, a great plague came and destroyed our women and children. Send us women to cook and sew for us and have our children!" Aphrodite sent the men of Amazonia a sign of assent and set about to create a large group of women using a mystic process only she could fully control.

Bellona had watched the Amazonians, hidden from Aphrodite's view. Being in a light-hearted mood that day, she made her own plans to teach the misogynist men of Amazonia a lesson -- and to pull a joke on Aphrodite.

So when Aphrodite found a moutnain of fine, multi-colored clay much too easily even for her, shaped the substance into the forms of beautiful women of all races (there were so many formed that the entire mountain was consumed, with the exception of one small lump of marbled clay left over, much too small to make a grown woman), and endowed those forms with life, she was astonished when the women's first words were not for cooking pots, but rather for swords and shields!

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