King Eurystheus then sent Heracles on his ninth labor: to steal the magic girdle (a type of belt) from Hippolyta, one of the queens of the Amazons, a group of fierce female warriors. The girdle, given by Ares (the god of war) to show that Hippolyte was the strongest Amazon warrior, had been requested by Admete, Eurystheus’s daughter.
Heracles expected to have to engage in a huge battle, and so brought companions with him, but was surprised to find the Amazons welcomed them. When Hippolyte asked why they had come, Heracles did not lie – they wanted the belt – and Hippolyte promised to give it to him.
However, Hera was not pleased with how this labor was working, and so disguised herself as an Amazonian warrior and began to say that the real reason Heracles was here was to steal the queen. The Amazon warriors, angered, rushed at Heracles and his men. Believing he had been tricked by the queen, and seeing no choice, Heracles killed Hippolyte. A great battle then took place. Heracles and his men returned to their ship, but one version of the story says that Theseus (who had previously killed the Minotaur and was king of Athens) uses the fight as a way to abduct Hippolyte’s sister Antiope. This theft enrages the Amazons, who sail their ships to attack Athens.