OTRERA was the first Amazon queen and a bride of the war-god Ares. She was also the founder of the celebrated shrine of Artemis at Ephesos.
Otrera was probably the unnamed Amazon queen who battled the hero Bellerophontes in Lykia and the Trojan King Priamos in Phrygia.
FAMILY OF OTRERA
[2.1] ARES (Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius 1.1022)
N.B. Otrera was either the wife or daughter of Ares, not both.
OTRERA (Otrêra), a daughter or wife of Ares who is said to have built the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. (Hygin. Fab. 225; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 1033.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
OTRERA MOTHER OF THE AMAZON NATION
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 370 ff (trans. Seaton) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"[On the Black Sea coast of Anatolia.] Onward from thence the bend of a huge and towering cape reaches out from the land, next Thermodon at its mouth flows into a quiet bay at the Themiskyreian (Themiscyrean) headland, after wandering through a broad continent. And here is the plain of Doias, and near are the three cities of the Amazones (Amazons), and after them the Khalybes (Chalybes) . . . After passing them [the Amazones] ye must beach your ship upon a smooth island, when ye have driven away with all manner of skill the ravening birds, which in countless numbers haunt the desert island. In it the Queens of the Amazones, Otrere (Otrera) and Antiope, built a stone temple of Ares what time they went forth to war."
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E. 5. 1 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Penthesileia, daughter of Otrere (Otrera) and Ares, accidentally killed Hippolyte and was purified by Priamos (Priam)."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 163 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Amazones. Ocyale, Dioxippe, Iphinome, Xanthe, Hippothoe, Otrere, Antioche, Laomache, Glauce, Agave, Theseis, Hippolyte, Clymene, Polydora, Penthesilea."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 30 :
"[Heracles slew] Hippolyte, daughter of Mars [Ares] and Queen Otrera, and took from her the belt of the Amazon Queen; then he presented Antiopa as captive to Theseus."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 112 :
"Penthesilea, daughter of Mars [Ares] and Otrera."
KING PRIAM & THE PHRYGIAN CAMPAIGN OF THE AMAZONS
Homer, Iliad 3. 185 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[King Priamos (Priam) of Troy tells the tale of a battle with the Amazones in his youth :] ‘I looked on the Phrygian men with their swarming horses, so many of them, the people of Otreus and godlike Mygdon, whose camp was spread at that time along the banks of the Sangarios : and I myself, a helper in war, was marshalled among them on that day when the Amazon women came, men's equals.’"
[N.B. Penthesileia's mother Otrera was probably regarded as the leader of this Amazon campaign. Whether her name was known to Homer is debatable--it might have been derived by later authors from the name of the Phrygian king, Otreus, mentioned above.]
BELLEROPHON & THE LYCIAN CAMPAIGN OF THE AMAZONS
Homer, Iliad 6. 171 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Bellerophontes (Bellerophon) went to Lykia (Lycia) . . . [and in the service of King Iobates of Lykia] he killed the Khimaira (Chimera), obeying the portents of the immortals. Next after this he fought against the glorious Solymoi (Solymi), and this he thought was the strongest battle with men that he entered; but third he slaughtered the Amazones (Amazons), who fight men in battle." [N.B. The leader of these Amazones was presumably Queen Otrera who later authors say founded the temple of Artemis in nearby Ephesos.]
Pindar, Olympian Ode 13. 85 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"With all zeal mighty Bellerophontes seized the winged steed [Pegasos], setting between his jaws the soothing charm, and mounting him, in his bronze panoply played him in sport, to try his pace. And once [in Lykia], with him, he smote the Amazones, from the chill bosom of the lonely air, that archered host of women-kind."
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 33 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Bellerophontes [in the service of King Iobates of Lykia] mounted Pegasos (Pegasus), his winged horse born of Medousa (Medusa) and Poseidon, and flying high into the air brought down the Khimaira (Chimera) with his bow and arrows. After this challenge, Iobates ordered him to battle the Solymoi, and when that was done, to take on the Amazones."
FOUNDING OF THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS AT EPHESUS
Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 240 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"For thee [Artemis], too, the Amazones, whose mind is set on war, in Ephesos (Ephesus) beside the sea established an image beneath an oak trunk, and Hippo performed a holy rite for thee, and they themselves, O Oupis (Opis) Queen, around the image danced a war-dance--first in shields and armour, and again in a circle arraying a spacious choir. And the loud pipes thereto piped shrill accompaniment, that they might foot the dance together--for not yet did they pierce the bones of the fawn [i.e. to make flutes] . . . And the echo reached unto Sardis and to the Berekynthian range. And they with their feet beat loudly and therewith their quivers rattled. And afterwards around that image was raised a shrine of broad foundations [i.e. the Ephesian shrine]. That it shall dawn behold nothing more divine, naught richer. Easily would it outdo Pytho [Delphoi]." [N.B. The Amazon Queen Hippo was identified with Otrera.]
Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 270 ff :
"Nor let any shun the yearly dance [of Artemis]; for not tearless to Hippo was her refusal to dance around the altar."
[N.B. Hippo was punished by Artemis for refusing to join the dance at Ephesos.]
Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 2. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The cult of Artemis Ephesia (of Ephesos) is far more ancient still than their coming [i.e. the settlement of Greek Ionians in Ephesos]. Pindaros (Pindar), however, it seems to me, did not learn everything about the goddess, for he says that this sanctuary was founded by the Amazones during their campaign against Athens and Theseus. It is a fact that the women from the Thermodon, as they knew the sanctuary from of old, sacrificed to the Ephesian goddess both on this occasion and when they had fled from Herakles; some of them earlier still, when they had fled from Dionysos, having come to the sanctuary as suppliants. However, it was not by the Amazones that the sanctuary was founded, but by Koresos (Coresus), an aboriginal, and Ephesos."
Aelian, On Animals 12. 9 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"[The dance of Artemis at Ephesos :] Autokrates (Autocrates) in his Tympanistai : ‘As sweet maidens, daughters of Lydia, sport and lightly leap and clap their hands in the temple of Artemis the Fair at Ephesos, now sinking down upon their haunches and again springing up, like the hopping wagtail.’"
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 223 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Seven Wonders of the World . . . The temple of Diana [Artemis] at Ephesus which the Amazon Otrera, wife of Mars [Ares], made."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 225 :
"Those who first built temples to the gods . . . Otrera, an Amazon, wife of Mars [Ares], first founded the temple of Diana [Artemis] at Ephesus."
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
- Callimachus, Hymns - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Aelian, On Animals - Greek Natural History C2nd - 3rd A.D.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.