When it comes to Amazonian warriors in DC comic books, Diana, Princess of Themyscira, is undoubtedly the most well known of the group. Even those who aren’t familiar with her comic book stories have heard of Wonder Woman. While Diana grew up wanting to change the world, learning about peace and justice from her life on Paradise Island, it’s Hippolyta who should be credited for fostering that in the heroine. After all, she is Diana’s mother.
Hippolyta is much more than just the mother of the Amazon who would go on to become Wonder Woman, though. Inspired by a figure in Greek myth, Hippolyta is often portrayed as the Queen of the Amazons, including in the first big screen adaptation of Wonder Woman’s story, out in theaters now. Hippolyta is well-versed in diplomacy, a fierce warrior, and a heroine in her own right. She deserves to share at least a little bit of Diana’s spotlight.
In the spirit of giving some well earned glory to the woman who created Wonder Woman (in more ways than one, strangely), we’ve got 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Hippolyta.
15 Hippolyta Debuted In All-Star Comics #8
If that comic book issue sounds familiar, it should. It’s the same book that provided fans with the debut of Wonder Woman. While many are now familiar with Diana emerging on the scene and saving Steve Trevor from certain death, Hippolyta also appeared in the short story within the anthology volume.
Hippolyta wasn’t too keen on Diana assisting a man since their home was a safe haven for women. Diana had to argue for Steve’s life, and for him to be allowed to stay (however temporary the situation) on their island, then known as Paradise Island. Trying to convince Diana that Steve Trevor couldn’t be trusted, Hippolyta used some high tech pieces of equipment to look into the past and show Diana just what Steve had been up to right before he crash-landed on their island, which largely amounted to him being a soldier in a war. Despite what Hippolyta saw as a life of violence, Diana wanted to help.
This difference in opinion - Hippolyta wanting Diana to stay and Diana wanting to go out and help the world - would come up again and again in the 75 years that followed.
14 Diana Is Not Her Only Child
Though Diana is the most famous of her children in the comics, Diana isn’t Hippolyta’s only child. Over the years, writers have introduced numerous other children for Hippolyta to mother, whether they’re adopted, sculpted from clay, or her own genetic offspring.
Diana has had a sister named Nubia, who was letter retconned into the Amazon Nu’bia, who was originally sculpted from clay and brought to life just like Diana was. Nubia was sculpted out of darker clay by Hippolyta while Diana was created out of a lighter material, which was meant to account for their differences in complexion. Nubia, in one story, was kidnapped by Mars (who later became Ares), and brainwashed to do his bidding. In other stories, she was instructed to guard the gate to Doom’s Doorway so long ago that others forgot she was Wonder Woman before Diana.
Hippolyta, who longed to be a mother, also became a surrogate mother to Donna Troy, who would go on to become a superhero in her own right, and Fury, who actually became convinced that Hippolyta was her biological mother and not simply a woman who cared for her after her own had died. In other comics, Diana also had a brother who was sent to live with Hephaestus, just like all male children of Amazons. They worked in his forge and didn’t want anything to do with their Amazon sisters.
13 Hippolyta of Myth Never Had Children
Though Wonder Woman draws much of its inspiration from Greek and Roman mythology in creation of the Amazons, the gods, and even Hippolyta herself, there is one very big difference between the Hippolyta of the myths and the Hippolyta on the page: her children.
The comic book stories have provided an interesting take on Hippolyta being Diana’s mother. After meeting a very different Diana - Diana Trevor, who crashed on the island and helped the Amazons fight off an enemy before dying in the struggle - Hippolyta kept feeling a yearning she couldn’t quell. As the story went, before she was reincarnated as the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta had been a woman pregnant with her first child, and so, her longing was to be a mother.
12 Hippolyta Tested Diana With An Attack From Steve Trevor
In nearly any incarnation of the Wonder Woman story, Steve Trevor has been Diana’s love interest for at least part of the tale. In most cases, Hippolyta does not like him at first. For the Earth-One continuity though, Hippolyta used the memory of Steve Trevor to test her own daughter.
Diana and Hippolyta frequently disagreed on the way things should be done on Paradise Island, and following the death of Steve Trevor, Hippolyta resurrected him, magically making him attack Paradise Island and the Amazons on it. She wanted to make sure that Diana was still loyal to her own people.
Eventually, even the Earth-One version of Hippolyta came to trust Steve Trevor. He was killed and resurrected a few times before Diana finally got her happy ending - Hippolyta presiding over their marriage ceremony.
11 She Is The First Amazon
The most recent retcon of Wonder Woman and the Amazons depicts the Amazons as reincarnations of women who were killed unjustly by men. The goddesses pulled the spirits of the women from the Well of Souls and gave them new bodies made from the earth. When the two came together, the women emerged from the sea at their new island home.
Hippolyta wasn’t just the first woman to emerge from the sea, but she was also the first woman to be killed by a man. Before she was the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta was a young woman living in a cave. A man, who had been attacked by a tiger and driven away from his own people, was so angry at his situation that he took it out on her, the first person to try to help him, and killed her.
In some versions of the story, the Amazon sorceress Magala claims to be the first woman killed, but she’s never the first Amazon to come to Themyscira.
10 Hippolyta Was In Love With Hercules
Those familiar with the history of the Amazons in DC comics know that Hercules wasn’t exactly the best guy. As part of his Labors, he led an attack on the city-state of Themyscira and placed all of the Amazons in chains, making them his slaves. The men in his party assaulted them, and the entire experience led to the women splitting into two groups - those who would live under Hippolyta’s rule and those who would leave and become members of a revenge-seeking tribe under her sister’s leadership.
The part of the story that comes to light in some of the versions told in the comics is that Hippolyta was actually in love with Hercules before he was influenced by Ares and hurt her people. It was Hippolyta who allowed Hercules and his men into Themyscira during a negotiation between the two. She had defeated him in battle and he offered a truce, though in reality, he was still after the Girdle of Gaea. The Amazons celebrated with the men, who then drugged them and chained them.
When Hippolyta appealed to the goddesses for help, they were freed, but many of the Amazons weren’t content with their isolated life after the experience, and they split into the Amazons of Themyscira and the Bana-Mighdall, who eventually settled in Egypt. In some versions of the comic book story, Diana is actually the daughter of Hippolyta and Hercules, and Hippolyta trained Diana as a warrior in her own quiet form of revenge.
9 She Sacrifices Artemis So Diana Can Live
Hippolyta is always portrayed as a wise queen who puts the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the few, except when it comes to her daughter. She often thinks of Diana before she thinks of the good of the people.
Wonder Woman isn’t just a superhero, but Themyscira’s champion and liaison to the rest of the world. Diana nearly always wins the competition held to determine who gets the title, but in one iteration, another Amazon named Artemis walks away with the honor after Hippolyta manipulates the competition.
At the time, the Amazons of the Bana-Mighdall were also living on Themyscira, having previously been manipulated by the villain Circe. Hippolyta, who had a vision of Wonder Woman dying, decides to make sure someone more expendable holds the title. She has the sorceress Magala transfer some of Diana’s powers to Artemis, one of the strongest warriors of the Bana-Mighdall, and a frequent rival of Diana’s. She also creates more obstacles for Diana to run into during the contest, making sure that Artemis has every advantage.
Artemis only lasted as Wonder Woman for a handful of issues before she was killed, and Hippolyta and Diana’s relationship became strained when the latter discovered the truth.
8 Hippolyta Is Over 3000 Years Old
While her exact age is difficult to pin down, Hippolyta is much older than the average human being. As long as the Amazons remain on their island home of Themyscira, they are immortal. In fact, in the comics, they don’t even need food or water to live if they’re on the island. Once they leave their home, however, their mortality kicks in. The most recent live-action movie adaptation doesn’t seem to follow the same idea, but it’s likely that Hippolyta is still just as old as she is in the comics.
We do know that Hippolyta is over 3,000 years old simply because, according to the numerous retcons of the Amazon origin, the goddesses decided to create the women around 1300 B.C. The Amazons also lived on Themyscira without any influence from the outside world until Diana Trevor, mother of Steve Trevor, crashes right around World War I.
Of course, the woman Hippolyta was before she became an Amazon was killed 32,000 years before the present comic book storyline, so if you include her original death, she’s even older.
7 Hippolyta Shared The Title of Wonder Woman With Diana
While readers know that Diana isn’t the only person to ever call themselves Wonder Woman (the Amazon Orana briefly held the title, and later, Artemis has her turn), some might not know that Hippolyta actually served in the role for a while as well.
When DC's retconning event Crisis on Infinite Earths caused realities to begin to fold in and combine, Donna Troy, one of Hippolyta’s adopted daughters, became affected in a big way. Her many lives were all experienced by the same Donna, in part because of an entity known as the Dark Angel, who kidnapped her and attempted to wipe her out of existence, though the Dark Angel was even another version of Donna!
Hippolyta ended up time traveling to help stabilize the timeline and defeat Dark Angel once and for all. She did so by going back in time with Jay Garrick, one of the many versions of the Flash. When they traveled, they emerged in the Golden Age of comics when the Justice Society of America was just forming. Hippolyta became their Wonder Woman and remained in the role for years, saving lives and fighting for justice the same way her daughter would in the future.
6 She Sacrificed Herself To Save Diana
During her time as Wonder Woman, Hippolyta became quite the hero, but she did abandon her royal duties on Themyscira, leading to her Amazons wanting someone else to rule them. Hippolyta wanted Diana and Donna Troy to take over for her, but they refused, leading to Themyscira abolishing the monarchy and all three women continuing to fight for justice out in the world.
Hippolyta and Diana shared the mantle of Wonder Woman, and they were both involved in the fight during the Worlds At War storyline. Hippolyta held up a fight against an Imperiex probe all on her own, though the Amazons were also helping to defend the planet elsewhere. When Diana joined her in the fight, though she was the stronger of the team, Hippolyta refused to leave her side, and eventually, sacrificed herself so that Diana would survive the encounter.
It would hardly be the first time Hippolyta would die for Diana, and she would be resurrected again and again to do the same in other storylines.
5 She Starts A War Between The Amazons and Atlanteans
In a Flashpoint timeline, Diana of Themyscira had never left the island before, and in her first time out on the water, she ended up in a fight with a Kraken and being saved by Aquaman. Hippolyta actually encouraged the Atlantean king and her daughter to marry during this particular story, but things didn’t go according to plan.
Instead, as the heroic duo is just about to say their vows, Hippolyta spots an intruder and takes a trident to the back that was meant for Diana. The Queen doesn’t survive the attack, and the Amazons blame the Atlanteans, leading to an all out war between the two nations.
In reality, the Amazon Artemis aligned herself with Aquaman’s nemesis Ocean Master, disguising herself as an Atlantean, and launching the trident herself. She intended on killing Diana, but hit the queen instead. The event kicks off a Flashpoint miniseries called Wonder Woman and the Furies.
4 Hippolyta once teamed up with Harley Quinn
Prior to the release of DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us video game, Hippolyta makes an appearance in the comic that opens the story, but she’s not alone. She and fan favorite Harley Quinn have an adventure in Tartarus.
In the comic, Hippolyta refuses an order from Hera, even though she’d made a deal with the goddess to save Diana’s life. As a result, Hera imprisons her, eventually placing her in Tartarus, a part of the underworld reserved for the souls of the damned. Lucky for Hippolyta, she’s sent there with Harley Quinn, who ends up saving the day. Harley likes to call Hippolyta “Queenie” and attempt to get under her skin by offending (what Harley thinks is) her delicate nature, but that’s all part of the anti-heroine’s playful characterization. Ultimately, it’s Harley who picks a fight with others in Tartarus and uses a Kryptonian super pill for a power boost, helping the pair to escape.
Outside of this prequel comic, Hippolyta and Harley have never really interacted. Harley doesn’t get involved with the more myth-based aspects of DC Comics very often, despite having become one of the most popular characters for the publisher.
3 Ares and Hades Romanced Her
In addition to the comic book relationships Hippolyta has had with Hercules and Zeus, the animated DC projects have given her other relationships with the gods as well.
In the 2001 Justice League series, Hades is even hinted at being Diana’s father. The animated series keeps the origin story that Diana was sculpted from clay by Hippolyta, though for the show, Hades reveals that they both sculpted her. Other versions of Hippolyta haven’t had a relationship with Hades, maybe because Themyscira is kept separate from the underworld thanks to Doom’s Doorway, and the underworld is Hades’ domain. Justice League Unlimited also further explored the idea.
The animated Wonder Woman movie, which was released straight to DVD, revealed that Hippolyta also had a relationship with the god of war, Ares, which is very different from the comics, where Ares has long been an antagonist of the Amazons. The two even had a son, though Hippolyta ended up placing Ares in prison after he turned on her. (She also beheaded their murderous son.)
Hippolyta’s longest lasting relationship, though mostly revealed through subtext in the comics, is with Philippus, the leader of her royal guard, her advisor, and the woman who rules in her stead when she has to leave Themyscira.
2 18 Actresses Have Played Her
Connie Nielsen just became the 18th actress to take on the role of Hippolyta, though the majority of the women who have taken on the part did so for voiceover work. Only six actresses have taken on the role in live-action, and of those six, four were in the 1970s movie and television series.
In the early appearances of Hippolyta on screen, she wasn’t actually referred to by name, but simply as “Mother” or “Queen.” Actresses Cloris Leachman, Charlene Holt, Carolyn Jones, and Beatrice Straight all shared the role in the 1970s when Paradise Island made brief appearances in the Lynda Carter series.
After the Wonder Woman series went off the air, the character primarily appeared in animated series and features, with actors like Tippi Hedren and Virginia Madsen taking on the role. Beth Broderick voiced her for a video game in 2011, and Susan Sullivan and Julianne Grossman are the only voice actors to perform the role more than once.
With so many appearances by Hippolyta over the decades that Wonder Woman has been on television, it’s surprising that she hasn’t taken on a larger role in the stories.
1 Hippolyta Will Appear In Justice League
Hippolyta just made her big screen debut in Wonder Woman, now in theaters. Audiences didn’t get to see too much of her on screen just yet, since very little of the film took place in Themyscira and Hippolyta didn’t leave the island. She has been confirmed to appear in Justice League, out in November, though.
Just how will Hippolyta play into Justice League? That remains to be seen. While the trailer has hinted at flashbacks to the past of the Amazons and Atlanteans, Hippolyta may have more to do than just pop up for a bit of history. Could we see a big enough threat lure Hippolyta away from her beloved Themyscira?
Last time movie audiences saw her, without giving too much away, she was standing on the island shores while Diana went out into the world to aid mankind during WWI. Audiences don’t know if they’ve crossed paths in the years since. Justice League would be a good time to find out.
The Queen of the Amazons has had nearly as adventurous of a time in the comics and other media as Diana has. Did you learn something new about Hippolyta? Let us know in the comments!
Be sure to catch Hippolyta on the big screen in Wonder Woman, which is in theaters now.