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In Greek mythology, Penthesilea (Greek: Πενθεσίλεια) (also spelled "Penthesilia") was an Amazonian queen, daughter of Ares and Otrera, sister of Hippolyte, Antiope and Melanippe. Penthesilea killed Hippolyte with a spear when they were hunting deer. According to many accounts, this accident caused Penthesilea so much grief that she wished only to die, but, as a warrior and an Amazon, she must do so honorably and in battle. She therefore was easily convinced to join in the Trojan War, fighting on the side of the city's defenders.

In the Aethiopis of Arctinos of Miletus,<ref>The epic is lost but an epitome of it, by Quintus Smyrnaeus survives.</ref> she is said to have been killed by Achilles (or vice-versa, in rarer accounts[citation needed]) in battle. After her death, Achilles found himself awe-struck by her beauty, and when one of the Greek soldiers, Thersites, laughed at him for this, Achilles killed him. One source[citation needed] said Achilles raped her beautiful corpse. After that, more Greeks wanted Achilles to throw Penthesilea's remains into a river, and he eventually had to give way.

Now they say that Penthesileia was the last of the Amazons to win distinction for bravery and that for the future the race diminished more and more and then lost all its strength; consequently in later times, whenever any writers recount their prowess, men consider the ancient stories about the Amazons to be fictitious tales. (Diodorus Siculus, ii. 46).

Alongside Penthesilea were twelve other Amazons, including Antibrote, Ainia, and Cleite. However Cleite's ship was blown off course and she never reached Troy.

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