Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Athens. Boccaccio’s mythologized version of the ancient Greek city, in which conflicts are resolved by heroic wisdom. It is to Athens that the Theban widows of Creon’s victims come for justice, and it is there that the ruler Theseus brings the Amazon leaders Hippolyta and Emilia. Athens is also home to the temples of Mars, Venus, and Diana, shrines that figures in Boccaccio’s epic frequently visit. Theseus’s presence in Athens, where he is a model of wisdom and heroism, indicates that the city has a civilizing influence on this many-adventured hero.


Grove. Pleasant cluster of trees just outside of Athens where Palaemon, escaping from prison, meets Arcites, a regular visitor to the grove, to fight for the right to court Emilia until Theseus intervenes.


Scythia (SEHTH-ee-ah). Mythical home of the Amazon nation of warrior women, apparently located somewhere north of the Black Sea. Theseus leads an army against Scythia and, after a spirited resistance, the Amazons surrender.


Theater. Athenian arena in which Arcites and Palaemon meet in battle to determine which shall have the hand of Emilia. Each man leads one hundred warriors before a noble audience of Athenians and distinguished visitors.