Hippolyta was the famous Amazonian queen in Greek mythology and the daughter of Ares, known as the god of war. Hippolyta is identified by a magical girdle or waist belt given to her by her father. In fact the girdle signifies her royal power over the Amazons. The Amazons were a unique race of warrior women who looked after only daughters. There are many myths in Greek culture involving the powerful Amazon tribes and Hippolyta who was one of their queens.
Hippolyta is warrior queen of the Amazons, possessing great stamina, strength and power to resist injuries. She has an astounding height of six feet and two inches, weighing about 200lbs. She is trained in combat by Ares and exhibits superhuman strength and great skill in all kinds of combat. Further, Hippolyta has the power to improve her strength and stamina by using the Gauntlets of Ares. However they are useful only in combat where the battle is against another. Hippolyta’s girdle also known as the Golden Belt has great significance in the context of Hercules’ Ninth Labor.
According to some legends, Hippolyta is kidnapped by Theseus when he sets sail for Amazon. Initially, there was no hint of any animosity from Theseus, so Hippolyta sets out to greet Theseus on his ship with gifts. Soon Theseus sets sail for his kingdom Athens with Hippolyta on board, proclaiming her to be his bride. What ensued was a great battle between the Amazons and Athenians. Later Hippolyta gave birth to a son who was named Hippolytus but an enraged Hippolyta returned to Amazons when Theseus fell in love with Phaedra.
Hippolyta is a character in Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is in fact engaged to the duke of Athens who is none other than Theseus. In the first scene of Act I, Theseus claims that he would wed Hippolyta with pomp and grandeur though he won her in battle. In the first scene of Act V Hippolyta’s role is quite striking as she disagrees with Theseus in an important discussion regarding the tales of the Athenian youths. She is unlike the submissive wives existing during Shakespeare’s times. She is thus portrayed as a strong woman having a mind of her own which stands as a contrast to the women in the Elizabethan age who are often silent partners dependent on the men.
Hippolyta’s role in the Myth of Heracles is in the context of the magical girdle that she possesses. Heracles had to fetch the girdle as part of his ninth labor, for King Eurystheus’ daughter, Admeta. Heracles received a warm reception by the Amazons with Hippolyta herself greeting him near the ship on his arrival. Hippolyta readily gives the girdle to Heracles which however displeases Hera. She lands in Amazon in disguise as a resident of the place and spreads word that Hippolyta was being kidnapped by Heracles. As a result, the Amazons collect in huge numbers near the ship, to save their queen. Heracles suspects foul play and kills Hippolyta for her girdle and escapes narrowly from the Amazon shores.