MARPESIA AND LAMPEDO

18v And here we are, our first double Women's Wednesday! Following Boccaccio's footsteps, our weekly column couples two of our Mulieres Clarae together: Marpesia and Lampedo, queens of the Amazon. The two sisters are, in fact, perhaps some of the most famous Amazons in mythology: together they ruled over their people and extended the Amazon influence to Europe and Asia Minor. Marpesia (sometimes spelled Marthesia) and Lampedo were such great warriors that they were also knowns as "daughters of Mars", God of War. The two were outstanding queens, feared by many and rightly so: according to Boccaccio, they split their influence by taking turns at ruling over their people and going into battle, so that neither internal nor external affairs were ever left unsupervised.

Like many other Amazons, both women have butterflies named after them: the species Charaxes solon lampedo, found in the Philippines, and the entire genus Marpesia (in the family Nymphalidae) from North America.

  “Marpesia and Lampedo”, illumination from the manuscript “Cas des nobles hommes et femmes”, ms. Français 12420, f. 18v, 15h century, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Paris.
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