Susanne Borowski, ASH PhD candidate, will defend the dissertation entitled 'Phentesilea und ihre Schwestern – Amazonen als Bauform des Heldenepos' supervised by Prof. Irene de Jong and Dr Mark Heerink.
This study is the first to systematically examine all representations of amazons in extant heroic epic, namely Homerʼs Iliad, the Epic Cycle, Apollonius of Rhodesʼ Argonautica, Vergilʼs Aeneid, Valerius Flaccusʼ Argonautica, Statiusʼ Thebaid, Silius Italicusʼ Punica und Quintus of Smyrnaʼs Posthomerica.
Amazons, mounted warriors from the Black Sea Region, have appeared for centuries in Greco-Roman art and literature. As a subject of historical and mythological research they are, on the basis of both their gender and their ethnicity, regularly interpreted in terms of alterity and therefore seen as representatives or symbols of the Other. In literary studies, however, Amazons have so far only been examined as individual figures. In contrast to historical and mythological research, this study distinguishes two groups of amazons, who are already in the epics compared to each other regarding their actions and demeanour. One group, the ethnic amazons, is formed by the mounted female warriors from the Black Sea region. The other group consists of martial women of local descent and is called „regional amazons“. The starting point of this study is that amazons form a structural element of epic. It thus opens up for the first time the interpretative potential offered by the intra- and intertextual references of the poems. The amazon-episodes are first surveyed diachronically and in a second step analyzed thematically.