The stories of an all-female warrior race had long been told and depicted in artistic forms prior to sixth century Greece. These tales, that may have had some basis in real life events, were eventually woven into the cloak of influence that the classical Greeks wore in their rally to control the world around them. Many of these accounts focused on the overpowering strength of Greece’s military and their soldier heroes, such as Achilles. In Achilles’ case, in battle against the Amazon Queen Penthesilea at Troy, artistic depictions of the accounts of the struggle became less about the struggle between two great fighters and more about the domination of any outside force that challenged the Greek empire. The depiction of Penthesilea on the frieze at the Temple of Apollo Epikourious at Bassai 429 BCE, pleading for Achilles’ sympathy as he is about to kill her differs greatly from the display of her wielding a spear and fighting to the death on a black figure amphora 530-525 BCE. The difference in these representations of Penthesilea may have been due to the growing advancements and challenges in the Greek empire as a military and political power, determined on dominating all forces, real or mythical, that presented a threat to their power.
Lamb, Judith M., "Art as Propaganda in Ancient Greece: The Feeding of the Greek Soldier’s Ego" (2016). Undergraduate Research Awards. Paper 30.