139. Hercules and the Belt of Hippolyte

Once upon a time, King Eurystheus of Mycenae and Tiryns, commanded a labor to Hercules, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, to fetch the belt of Queen Hippolyte of the Amazons, who resided near the river Thermodon.

Admete, the daughter of Eurystheus, desired the belt, and thus, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring it. The belt formerly belonged to Ares, who had gifted it to Hippolyte, in recognition of her superiority among the Amazons. A brave tribe of female warriors, the Amazons, if ever, had children, then they reared only the female children. They suckled their female children on their left breasts, but their right breasts, they cut off, so that their right hands, without any hindrance, might easily throw the javelin.

Hercules, with a band of volunteer friends, set sail to accomplish his labor. After stopping at the isles of Paros and Mysia, Hercules reached the harbor of Themiscyra in the land of the Amazons. In a friendly manner, Hippolyte approached him and Hercules stated that the purpose of his visit was to fetch her belt. Without any fight, Hippolyte willingly agreed to give her belt to Hercules.

While Hippolyte and Hercules were talking cordially, Hera desiring to harm Hercules, assumed the form of an Amazon, and ran about among the other Amazons, telling that strangers had arrived from the sea to carry off their queen Hippolyte. The furious Amazons quickly armed themselves and attacked in the mistaken belief that they were rescuing Hippolyte. When Hercules saw that the rushing Amazons were fully armed for battle, he thought Hippolyte was treacherous and had approached him in a welcoming manner, only to trap him. In anger, Hercules killed Hippolyte and stripped the belt away from her.

After defeating the Amazons, Hercules sailed away. He stopped at Troy, Aenus, Thasos, and Torone, where he had various adventures. Finally, he reached Mycenae and delivered the belt to Eurystheus.

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Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani

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