Skip to comments.Amazon Warrior Women
Posted on 08/04/2004 8:51:53 PM PDT by blam
Amazon Warrior Women
This painting on a Greek vase depicts an Amazon woman warrior on horseback engaged in battle.
Amazons in myth:
History's first mention of a race of warrior women comes in Homer's ILIAD, an account of the Trojan War, probably written in the 8th to the 7th century B.C. Homer's Amazons, a race of fierce women who mated with vanquished male foes and kept only the female children they bore, were believed to occupy the area around the Black Sea. Amazon women also crop up in other Greek myths. One of the labors of Hercules, for example, required him to acquire the girdle of the Amazon queen, Hippolyte. The Amazons of Greek mythology most likely had no connection to the women of the steppes, says archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball. "I think the idea of the 'Amazon' was created by the Greeks for their own purposes," she says.
A history of sorts:
The histories of the Greek Herodotus, written around the 5th century B.C., describe a group of female warriors who lost to the Greeks at the battle of Thermodon. Herodotus's Amazons were taken prisoner and put on ships, but overwhelmed and killed the Greek crew. Unable to sail themselves, the women drifted to the shores of the Black Sea, to the territory of the Scythians, a nomadic culture of Iranian descent. The women, Herodotus says, intermarried with the Scythian men, and convinced their new husbands to move northeast across the flat grassy plains, high mountains, and searing deserts of the Russian steppes, where the group eventually evolved into the Sauromatian culture.
Golden ornaments such as this bead were found in abundance at a recent excavation of an Amazon warrior woman's grave.
Amazons in Eurasia:
The first direct evidence for warrior women of high status on the steppes of southern Russia comes from excavations of burials from the Sauromatian culture dating from the 6th to the 4th century B.C. Judging from their grave goods, Sauromatians were nomadic, experts in animal husbandry, and skilled in warfare.
Starting around the 4th century B.C., Sauromatian culture evolves into the Sarmatian culture, also a nomadic people that make their livelihood raising animals and versed in the art of war. The culture, which had been expanding its territory, soon shifts its focus. "They become raiders and traders, with forays to the west to interface with the Romans, and they relocate to cities and to areas along large trade routes," Davis-Kimball says. "Their wealth increases. We see that in their burial items. We see strong, powerful women, but their role changes. We find burials of women that still retain cultic artifacts, indicating that they were a priestess of some sort, but there is much more gold and more secular ornamentation -- more golden cups, more golden jewelry, elaborate things -- and less weaponry. This type of evolution is a normal manifestation of culture."
From the 2nd century B.C. to the 2nd to 3rd century A.D., the Sarmatians migrate to the west and north of the Black Sea, and eventually invade Dacia (now Romania). In the 3rd century A.D. the Sarmatians are invaded by the Goths, and in 370 A.D. they are overtaken by Huns and either killed or assimilated. Jeannine Davis-Kimball believes that remnants of the integrated Sarmatian population can still be found in the descendants of that conquering horde of Mongols. The Mongols relocated from southern Russia to western China and western Mongolia 150 to 200 years ago, where they reside today.
Did Amazon archers really cut off one of their breasts to facilitate the use of their weapons? In the spirit of "everything you know is wrong", I'd really like to know if this was ever documented.
This should have been an auto-ping.
Don't know. The only thing I know about Amazons it that the river in South America was named such because the Spanish claimed to have seen women warriors lining the banks when they toured the area.
Don't know either but clearly that long ago strong women took charge when the men were dead from wars and disease.Doesn't sound like pampered wenches we see now but the great walk amongst us.
The women who stay at home and raise the kids/clean up the dog's mess/work to bring money into the family while Dad's away serving his country have always held my awe and respect.
The show was fascinating. In a kurgan in the Russian steppes, the archaeologists found a 2500 yr old burial of a woman likely mortally injured in combat. Her apparel matched exactly Herodotus' description of the Amazons, and she was buried with spiritual items and weapons.
Then they drove deep into the backwaters of the Russian steppes and found a modern nomad child with blond hair and very European features whose DNA matched closely the DNA extracted from the Amazon burial. And the villagers still used recurve bows and the tall coned hats of the Amazons.
This is just further support that proto-Europeans penetrated the Steppes and shaped the cultures there. In the larger context of the rise of civilization, it certainly seems to support that as the agricultural societies arose, entire clans of nomadic European people fled to the peripheries of the civilized world. We can only speculate as to their motives in doing so.
It was indeed, very interesting. The patterns on the clothes and other cloth items matched closely as well. The nomads of remote Mongolia appear to have mingled with and descended from these legendary Amazons.
Plus, that little blond girl was adorable.
She really seemed to be sopping it all up. She must have always known she was special, and then all the scientists descend on her village in the middle of nowhere and tell her she is descended from legendary warrior princesses!
I hope that village tells the tale for many years.
I imagine it was a very exciting thing for them. What satisfaction that Doctor must have felt after her 20 years of research.
The girl was wonderful, and very skilled on her horse. The western clothes (hair scrunchies) cracked me up!
The Synchronized Chronology:
Rethinking Middle East Antiquity
by Roger Henry
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest -- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)
Well she was an oddity and don't think she didn't feel it for you could see it in her eyes.It was a very interesting program.She was closely featured yet and retained the DNA required for this to go through.I'm not really in the position so say history repeats or remove emphasis from the original post.........but something will be said about a cagillion horny chinese chinese soldiers and women in America who don't know what to do with themselves.All they have to do is get rid of the Men.
The History (Book IV) Melpomenethe discussion of the Amazons is found in "Melpomene".
Translated by George Rawlinson
It's been a long time since I've been as excited as I was last night watching that show. Naturally, I thought of you and the red headed mummies. :0)
I really liked that female archaeologist, too. She was great. A real people person. I think that's one secret of her success.
I hate that I missed it. I might add that some of the 4,000 year old mummies in and around the Tarim Basin had the tall cone shaped (felt) hats. One of the mummies was named Woman With Ten Hats. Some of the hats were strange in that they had a double peak in the cone.
You would have LOVED it, I guarantee it. I wish I could see it again. That is one of the very few that I could watch over and over again. There's too much info to absorb in just one viewing.
What made it the most interesting to me is the fact that I believe there is definitely a link to "your" mummies. I wish they'd do comparison DNA with them, too. That explanation would make the most sense of what Caucasion people were doing up in that part of the world.
That little blond headed girl was so cute. Her impish grin was precious. And at the end when they showed her flying through the wind on that horse, you could see the regal pride in her. I wish somebody would see to her education.
BTW, I thought of YOU, too, as I was watching that program. Maybe we should do a DNA on you, along with the rest of them. :0)