Themyscira, also known as Paradise Island, is the second home of the Amazons, named after their old city in modern day Turkey. The island has undergone several changes in location and appearance over the years.
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 physical strength, beauty, wisdom, and love, and were ruled by two sisters, Hippolyta and Antiope. The Amazons founded the city-state of Themyscira, in ancient Greece. Ares, the God of War, a chief opponent of the Amazons, manipulated his half brother Heracles to gather forces and attack Themyscira. Heracles seduced and ravaged Hippolyta, and his forces succeeded in ransacking Themyscira and enslaving the Amazons. Through strength and savage cunning, the Amazons freed themselves, slaughtering most of their captors. Soon after, Antiope led a force of Amazons off into Greece, seeking vengeance on Heracles. As decreed by the goddesses, Hippolyta led 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 this island paradise "Themyscira" after their fallen capital, 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 do 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 celibate, others have loving partners. The 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. 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 form Patriarch’s world, but that exchanged 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, killing nearly half of the Amazons there. 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.
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 by the marauder, 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.
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 Triangle. 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. This 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.
During the events of the Infinite Crisis miniseries, Themyscira was under attack by an army of O.M.A.C. units. Though the Amazons rallied to fight, going so far as to deploy an energy weapon, the Purple Ray of Death, Wonder Woman was convinced that the odds were overwhelming, leaving only one option. To ensure the survival of the Amazons, Themyscira was removed from the Earthly realm, taken by the Gods of Olympus. The island sank beneath the waves, leaving Princess Diana, Donna Troy, and Cassandra Sandsmark the only remaining Amazons known to be in the world.
Points of Interest
- Paradise Island refers to the island itself, whereas Themyscira refers to the city and the city-state itself located on the island.
- The island was created under the original name of Paradise Island by William Moulton Marston.