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Themyscira (pronounced Them-mes-skera) ( ) is a fictional island nation in the DC Comics universe, and place of origin to its princess, Diana (better known as Wonder Woman). It was primarily known as Paradise Island, the name given to it by its original creator William Moulton Marston in Wonder Woman and the island's first appearance in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941) until the character's February 1987 relaunch in Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #1.

Location

Originally a city state founded by Amazons three thousand years ago, Themyscira's inhabitants were first shown in Wonder Woman (volume two) number 1. Here it is said that "the skies above fair Greece yawn wide pouring thousands of souls from Gaea's womb", thus placing the nation's original location somewhere in Greece. Later Diana first visits Greece (after living her entire life on Paradise Island) with her mentor, Julia Kapatelis, and at the end of a tour of her ancestry in that country, she reaches the island of Lesbosmarker where she contemplates in solitude the fates of her Amazon sisters who once flourished at that site in their own Amazon city.

This ancient former city state of Themyscira was destroyed and later abandoned after the arrival of the demi-god Heracles. When the Amazons lose favor with their gods they are given immortality and sent to a far away island. Beginning in a parted Aegean Seamarker, it takes three months before the Amazons arrive at the hidden Paradise Island, later retitling it "Themyscira" after their fallen home. While on the island they are assigned to guard a doorway to Tartarus which lies beneath the island for the rest of their lives.

Heritage

The Amazons are the reincarnated souls of women slain throughout pre-history by men and given life by five Olympian goddesses -- Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Hestia, and Aphrodite. Created over 3,000 years ago to teach the merits of virtue, love, and equality to the men of “Patriarch’s World”, the immortal Amazons are the primary residents on the island of Themyscira.

The Amazons were given gifts of great physical strength, beauty, wisdom, love, and highly acute senses. Being formed from clay, they share a unique oneness with nature. They were ruled by two sisters, Hippolyta and Antiope. The Amazons founded the city- state of Themyscira, in ancient Turkeymarker. Ares, the God of War, a chief opponent of the Amazons, manipulated his half brother Heracles to gather forces and attack Themyscira. Heracles subdued and ravaged Hippolyta, and his forces succeeded in ransacking Themyscira and making the Amazons their sex slaves. Hippolyta pleaded with the goddesses for help. The goddess Athena agreed to aid the Amazon but only if they did not go against their purpose of creation by seeking revenge. Agreeing to her terms Athena then released the Amazons from their chains and drugged state. However, once freed the Amazons then scoffed at their goddesses, slaughtering most of their captors. Soon after, Antiope lead a force of Amazons off into Greece, seeking vengeance on Heracles. As decreed by the goddesses, Hippolyta lead the remaining Amazons to a remote island, where, as penance for their failures as teachers, they became guardians of Doom’s Doorway, preventing the escape of the monsters beneath. Renaming the paradise island Themyscira after their fallen capitol, the Amazons began their new lives, erecting buildings and monuments, perfecting their skills as artisans and warriors.

For centuries the Amazons lived in a perfect state of harmony with their surroundings. They knew no racism, although many treat the Lost Tribe of Amazons as little more than savages. They did not think in terms of male gender—the word “policeman” was alien to them until Diana’s departure into the outside world. They live in a world where homosexuality is completely accepted—while some Amazons are chaste, others have loving consorts. They live in a city composed entirely of Greco-Roman architecture from 1200 BC. They wear Greek garb, togas and sandals, and the appropriate warrior clothing—shields, breastplates, helmets. They all wear the Bracelets of Submission as constant reminders of their past, though these bracelets cannot deflect bullets like Diana’s. (It had been a silver age staple that all Amazons could deflect bullets and had practiced the violent game of "bullets and bracelets" since infancy. That attribute has been phased out). They are fervently religious, worshipping their gods as living deities. Artemis is their primary goddess, and they worship her with a sacrifice of a deer. The Amazons celebrate their creation each year in a Feast of Five, remembering the goddesses who brought them to life.

Occasionally, the Nereides would bring to the shores of Themyscira young infants who would have drowned otherwise in accidents. Called "sending forth", these infants would wash up on the shores of Paradise Island, be tutored spiritually in Amazonian ideals, and then sent back mystically to the place of their disappearance. Julia Kapatelis, Diana’s first friend in Patriarch’s World, was one such infant.

Enter Wonder Woman

In recent times, Hippolyta’s daughter Diana, also known as Wonder Woman, has become an ambassador to the outside world. With Diana’s help, the Amazons have opened the shores of Themyscira to dignitaries of “Patriarch’s World”. The creatures beneath Doom’s Doorway were defeated, and for a time the Amazons destroyed their battle armor as testament to a new period of peace. The Amazons opened up their shores to dignitaries from Patriarch’s world, female and male, but that exchange was almost destroyed by Eris, Goddess of Discord. The Amazons even conducted their own tour of the United States, where they were framed for the murders of several people by Antiope’s descendants, the mercenary assassins of Bana-Mighdall, and Circe. It was during the War of the Gods that the Amazons recrafted their armory, vowing to once again become warriors. Circe would transplant many of these mercenary women of Bana-Migdhall, called the Lost Tribe, to Themyscira, where, after warring with the Amazons already there, joined forces to stop Circe herself. The two sects of Amazons forged an uneasy truce, living at opposite ends of the island.

Later still, Darkseid’s forces ravaged Themyscira during a search to locate the Greek gods, killing nearly half of the Amazons there in the process. As they began rebuilding, the Amazons found themselves reverting to stone. This was as a result of the gods’ departure from the mortal plane, and the Amazons’ connection to their creator beings so diminished as to revert their bodies to their primordial state. With the gods returned to Olympus, the Amazons were once again transformed into their flesh and blood state. Yet more Amazons were killed in a confrontation with the demonic entity known as Neron.

With Diana and Hippolyta adventuring in Patriarch’s World as Wonder Woman for longer and longer periods of time, the Banas and the Themyscirans were manipulated into a bloody civil war at the hands of Magala, who had been possessed by the spirit of Antiope’s murderer, Ariadne. Using the pre-existing disdain of the tribes against each other, Magala used allies among both Amazon cities to spark the vengeful conflict. The island was left in ruins, and the war was only stopped when Hippolyta abolished the royal family, renounced her throne.

Left at odds but on even political ground, the Bana Amazons and the Themyscirans joined forces against the alien forces of Imperiex. Themyscira, mystically moved into outer space, was destroyed, and hundreds of Amazons from both tribes died. When Wonder Woman led each tribe of Amazons into an ecumenical prayer, funneling power into the new god Darkseid, the warrior women helped destroy Imperiex and its ally Brainiac 13.

New Themyscira

After the island had been destroyed by Imperiex during the Our Worlds at War storyline, Themyscira was rebuilt and relocated once again, this time to the Bermuda Trianglemarker. Designed by the likes of Julia Kapatelis, the Martian Manhunter, Steve Trevor, Canadian architect Jean Claude Tibet, and Amazon master designer Kaleeza Fashed, the new Themyscira was built with the help of alien technology. Adding to the re-creation of the islands, Themyscira was restored by the combined might of the Greek and Egyptian goddesses the Amazons worship. Transformed into a mighty series of floating islands dedicated to the free exchange of information and ideas, the new Themyscira was governed by members of both tribes of Amazons. After some time Themyscira was nearly destroyed in a jealous fit of rage by the goddess Hera. Because of her actions the islands ceased to float in mid-air under their own power and instead resumed being a cluster of traditional islands once more.

Recently, Themyscira was under attack by OMAC forces, as described in DC Comics's Infinite Crisis. Due to this attack, as well as the many various other attacks the island has suffered through since Diana became Wonder Woman, it was decided that the Olympian and Bana-Mighdallian goddesses would transport the island and its inhabitants (sans Diana) to an undisclosed location to live in peace.

One Year Later

Under the direction of writer Will Pfeifer the Amazons attack Washington D.C.marker as retaliation for the attack on the island in a six-part mini-series titled Amazons Attack. (see article for details) At the end of the series the Amazons have their memories erased by Granny Goodness who is posing as the goddess Athena and are scattered throughout the world with false personas. Only Hippolyta and four of her original Royal Guard remain on Themyscira.

Zeus then revives the Amazons' memories and provides transport for them to return to Themyscira.

Ritual

As shown in the comic, the Amazons hold several customs and observances. Some include:

Feast of the Five

One of the most revered observances the Themyscirian Amazons hold dear is called The Feast of the Five. On this day the Amazons pay homage to the five original goddesses who took part in their creation. Aside from constant prayer and worship the occasion begins with a hunt in honor to the goddess Artemis. A harvest is also celebrated in honor of the goddess Demeter. A feast is then held in honor of the remaining goddesses. This is said to be the Themyscirians' most holy holiday.

Send Forth

When a female child is lost at sea, the child is rescued from drowning by the goddess Thetis. Thetis would rescue mortal female children she deemed "special" and safely transport them to the shores of Themyscira's Island of Healing. (Male children were taken someplace else.) Once on the island the Amazon's chief physician Epione would discover them and tend to their care. After this the child would be taken to the royal palace where one Amazon is selected as the child's "Guardian of Inspiraton". The baby is then granted great wisdom and strength of spirit via a magical kiss. According to the Amazon Pythia, Julia Kapatelis was the last of hundreds of babies to experience this in 1937. This "blessing" in actuality is a subliminal suggestion for the child to teach peace and equality throughout their lives. This blessing can extend to descendants as well. This custom is called "Send Forth". Once this is done the child is considered an Amazon and spiritual daughter to the Amazon who blessed them. After a few days of recouperation and blessings the child is taken to the island shores again where she is taken back into the ocean and returned, again by Thetis who magically travels back in time to return the child to the exact point in time when the child first left her homeland.

Death

Originally a cavern was built under the Amazons' Temple of the Dead, which is where those dead are remembered. After an Amazon's funeral is completed the body is lowered into the cavern where it is laid to rest in a city of the dead. Queen Hippolyta assigns the chief temple priestess to remain alone in the city to watch over the dead for a thousand years before a replacement is made.

This tradition was later changed as the Amazons discovered that the priestess often went mad in their solitude. One such priestess brought the dead to life through the use of magic during a mad outburst. The Amazons soon after burned their dead during which the souls of the slain Amazons took form among the flames before traveling onto the plane of afterlife called the Elysian Fields.

Notable Amazons

(All cited Wonder Woman title appearances are from the second series which began in November, 1987.)

  • Acantha—a senator (first appearance: Wonder Woman #10)
  • Aella—a warrior with a particular affinity for hawks; died during the Amazon civil war (first appearance: Wonder Woman #1)
  • Antiope -- Hippolyta’s sister and an Amazon queen; she lead a tribe into Greece to seek vengeance on Heracles and Theseus after the Amazons’ capture; she eventually married Theseus but was killed by his former lover Ariadne. Antiope’s descendants became the Lost Tribe of Amazons. (first appearance: Wonder Woman #1)
  • Callineira -- (first appearance: Wonder Woman #121)
  • Calyce—carpenter (first appearance: Wonder Woman Annual #1)
  • Clio—royal scribe (first appearance: Wonder Woman #38)
  • Consivia—chief architect, slain defending Doom’s Doorway (first appearance: Wonder Woman Annual #1)
  • Cydippe—aid to Princess Diana (first appearance: Wonder Woman #53)
  • Egeria—a lieutenant in the Amazon army and Captain of the Guard; died defending Doom’s Doorway (first appearance: Wonder Woman Annual #1)
  • Epione—chief healer (first appearance: Wonder Woman #2)
  • Euboea—a warrior and companion to Diana (first appearance: Wonder Woman #10)
  • Eudia—helped Diana unlock the secrets of the Amazons’ reversion to stone (first appearance: Wonder Woman #12)
  • Hellene—a senator and historian, a close friend to Diana who opposed the opening of Themyscira’s shores to Patriarch’s World; she was murdered by the Cheetah during the War of the Gods (first appearance: Wonder Woman #14)
  • Hypsiple—former queen of Lemnos, mother of Phthia, the martyr of the Lost Tribe of Amazons (first appearance: Wonder Woman Annual #1)
  • Io—blacksmith in love with Diana (first appearance: Wonder Woman #196)
  • Iphthime—sculptor and lover to Anaya of the Lost Tribe of Amazons (first appearance Wonder Woman #27)
  • Magala—the court sorceress; she appears as a cavewoman in Greek garb; she is responsible for casting the spell which transferred a portion of Wonder Woman’s powers to Artemis, and for the creation of Donna Troy. Magala was possessed by Ariadne, the woman who murdered Queen Antiope, and used Magala to start the Amazon civil war. Magala was killed by Fury. (first appearance: Wonder Woman #124)
  • Mala—close friend to Diana, and a competitor in the second Contest (first appearance: Wonder Woman #90)
  • Menalippe—high priestess, a favored of Hermes, slain by Circe (first appearance: Wonder Woman #1)
  • Mnemosyne—chief historian (first appearance: Wonder Woman #10)
  • Myrrha—chambermaid of the Royal Palace; died during the Imperiex War (first appearance: Wonder Woman #53)
  • Nione—a priestess. (first appearance: Wonder Woman #38)
  • Nu’bia—guardian of Doom’s Doorway who can turn human beings into stone. (first appearance: Wonder Woman Annual #8)
  • Oeone—a botanist (first appearance: Wonder Woman #27)
  • Pallas—forger of arms and armor, created Diana’s Eagle armor: (first appearance: Wonder Woman Secret Files #1)
  • Penelope—high priestess and oracle of Themyscira, former lover of Menalippe (first appearance: Wonder Woman #21)
  • Penthiselea -- a mighty Amazon captain and the daughter of Phthia and Melanippus, the Amazons martyr; died in battle with Achilles (first appearance: Wonder Woman #33)
  • Philippus—the Captain of the Guard. Strong, decisive, and a powerful Amazon who was the young Diana’s principal trainer and has served as Queen during Hippolyta’s journey to Patriarch’s World. (first appearance: Wonder Woman #1)
  • Phthia—Biological daughter of the Amazon queen of Lemnosmarker: Hypsipyle and the Argonaut Jason. Jason abandoned Hypsipyle, Phthia and her twin brother when they were infants. Phthia was adopted by Queen Antiope when Hypsipyle died, becoming the first non-Themyscirian born Amazon to join the tribe. After Antiope's death, Phthia became queen of Antiope's tribe of Amazons which later became the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall.
  • Pythia—silver haired spiritual mother of Julia Kapatelis (first appearance: Wonder Woman Annual #1)
  • Timandra—chief architect (first appearance: Wonder Woman #38)
  • Trigona—Amazon athlete (first appearance: Wonder Woman #0)
  • Venelia—a warrior and competitor in the second Contest (first appearance: Wonder Woman #91)


Powers and abilities

All Themyscirian Amazons possess various degrees of superhuman strength, speed, stamina and extraordinarily acute senses which were gifts blessed to them by their gods. They have developed high levels of hand-to-hand combat training and are masters at various hand held weapons. It has been shown Post-Crisis that they still have bullet deflecting bracelets though the only Amazons with enough inherent speed are able to do so. It was a mainstay within Pre-Crisis canon that in Amazon society every Amazon could deflect bullets.

Major events

  • Every headline writer who has written volume two of Wonder Woman has depicted Themyscirian slaughter:
  • The island(s) can shift its location over both land and time.


In other media

  • The island of the Amazons was shown on the television movie Wonder Woman starring actress Cathy Lee Crosby. The scene was very brief and the island was not named.
  • Titled "Paradise Island" (the name used in the then-current comics continuity), it was shown in the Lynda Carter television series Wonder Woman throughout several episodes.
  • It has also been shown on the Super Friends. Most notably the Challenge of the Super Friends episode "Secret Origins of the Superfriends," in which the Legion of Doom discover the origins of Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, and travel back in time to stop them from becoming superheroes. The name "Paradise Island" was used in this show as well.
  • Themyscira appears in several episodes of the Warner Brothers animated television series Justice League and in Justice League Unlimited as the homeland of Wonder Woman. In the first episode, Diana rides a horse with her mother along the shores of the island and watches aliens raining down upon Earth from afar. Later, after joining the League as Wonder Woman, The Flash offers her an Ice Mocha, which later in the series is implied to become her favourite drink. After tasting it, she replies, "Mmmm. They don't have these in Themyscira!" Themyscira was shown three more times on the series, once when the Justice League battled the sorcerer Felix Faust on its shores, again when a rogue Amazon named Aresia left the island to become a villain in Man's World, and also when the Annihilator was stolen and Wonder Woman and Shayera had to travel to the underworld through the gate on Themyscira.
  • Official renders of Wonder Woman for the upcoming video game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe indicate that Themyscira will one of the game's playable stages.
  • Smallville Season 3, Episode 9 'Asylum'. A headline on a newspaper showed in Lex's Cell read 'Themysciran Queen Addresses the Vatican."


See also



References

  1. Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #17
  2. Wonder Woman Annual #1 (1988)



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