RealmgART: Red-Figure Kyniska

The tenth of the Ten Most Worthy Women: The Lady of Cavaliers.

Red-figure art of the Amazon Kyniska.

Of the Ten, Kyniska is probably the most obvious reference to a real person, specifically the Spartan princess of the same name.

Like the Amazon, the historical Kyniska was known for her champion horses. In fact, the historical Kyniska was an Olympic champion, this despite the notable handicap of women not being allowed to compete at, or even attend, the Ancient Olympics. The rule was that if your horses won the race, you were considered the champion. Hence, Kyniska was able to be considered the winner of a race she would not have even been allowed to watch.

Greek transliteration being what it is, there are different ways to write “Kyniska” in Latin letters — particularly whether to use K’s or C’s. Mostly, I think “Kyniska” looks best.

Thanks to influence of Latin and C’s making a K sound, transliterations of Greek names have used C’s for the letter kappa for basically as long as English scholarship has existed — see, for example, Pericles, Alcibiades, Socrates.

Which does strike me as a letter weird, given that English has a perfectly good K. But at this point “Sokrates” looks weird. Of course, Kyniska is not nearly as prominent a figure as Socrates to really have that issue…

Red-figure art of the Amazon Kyniska.

Again, I had to rework Kyniska to fit the red-figure concept better. The first version of Kyniska has modelled on a Macedonian cavalryman (as depicted in the Total War games, which are not always particularly accurate). In real life, Greek vase painting as a medium starting dying out in the Hellenistic period.

And, yeah, Fantasy world and all, but I decided to base this version on an earlier image of Greek cavalry, specifically a Thessalian.

Now, in the Ancient World, Thessaly as known for its export of two things: horses (thanks in part to being one of the largest areas of open, level ground in otherwise mountainous Greece) and witches — quoth Wikipedia: “Thessaly was known for witchcraft, especially the usage of herbs”; see also, Roman writer Apuleius‘ picaresque adventure novel The Golden Ass; that’s, uh, that’s as in “donkey”; dude gets transformed into a donkey.

Again, this is the sort of thing where contemporary images aren’t exactly abundant, but the bucket hat-looking thing and the poncho do seem to be the recurring elements of the depictions I could find — in fact, sometimes they’re only wearing the hat and the poncho.

I, uh, I decided to let Kyniska maintain her decency and her armour class by giving her some fairly generic Greek armour.

She’s holding a spear (historically the weapon of choice of cavalry; and all things considered, probably just the weapon of choice in general) and what is supposed to be a bridle.

That’s a horse on the bottom left corner. Horses are, now as ever, hard to draw. And that’s a champion’s wreath on the top right.

I’m not really sure what the proper word for them is, but I gave her the same kind hair… things I inevitably give Kat Darkstone when I draw her (or commission somebody else to). I just thought there was too much empty space on her face and not enough of her hair was visible.

And with that, that’s all Ten of the Ten Most Worthy Women done in red-figure style.

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