Amazons were long considered a myth. These discoveries show warrior women were real.


Category:  History & Sociology

Via:  1stwarrior  •  9 months ago  •  16 comments

Amazons were long considered a myth. These discoveries show warrior women were real.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

These were the fierce warrior women of Ancient Greek lore who supposedly sparred with Hercules, lived in lesbian matriarchies and hacked off their breasts so they could fire their arrows better. Homer immortalized them in the Iliad. Eons later, they played a central role in the Wonder Woman comics.

Some historians argued they were probably a propaganda tool created to keep Athenian women in line. Another theory suggested that they may have been beardless men mistaken for women by the Greeks.

But a growing body of archaeological evidence shows that legends about the horseback-riding, bow-wielding female fighters were almost certainly rooted in reality. Myths about the Amazons' homosexuality and self-mutilation are still dubious at best, but new research appears to confirm that there really were groups of nomadic women who trained, hunted and battled alongside their male counterparts in the Eurasian steppe.

In a landmark discovery revealed earlier this month, archaeologists unearthed the remains of four female warriors buried with a cache of arrowheads, spears and horseback riding equipment in a tomb in Western Russia - right where Ancient Greek stories placed the Amazons.

The team from the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences identified the women as Scythian nomads who were interred at a burial site some 2,500 years ago near the present-day community of Devitsa. The women ranged in age from early teens to late 40s, according to the archaeologists. And the eldest of the women was found wearing a golden ceremonial headdress, a calathus, engraved with floral ornaments - an indication of stature.

The discovery represents some of the most detailed evidence to date that female warriors weren't just the stuff of ancient fiction, according to Adrienne Mayor, author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World.

"For a while, people have assumed that myths about the Amazons that the Greeks told were just fantasy," said Mayor, who was not involved in the excavation. "Now we have proof that those women did exist and that the lives of those women warriors really did influence the Ancient Greek ideas and visions of what they said about the Amazons."

Earlier excavations have turned up similar evidence, though not always so well preserved. In 2017, Armenian researchers discovered the remains of a woman in her 20s they said resembled Amazon myths. They found she died from battle injuries. Their report in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology noted that she had an arrowhead buried in her leg and that her bone and muscle structure indicated she was a horse rider.

The new discovery in Russia marked the first time multiple generations of Scythian women were found buried together, according to the researchers. The youngest of the bodies may have belonged to a girl roughly 12 or 13 years old. Two others were women in their 20s, according to the researchers, and the fourth was between 45 and 50.

Mayor said the findings suggested that young girls were trained early on, just like boys, to ride horses and use bows and arrows.

"This was an egalitarian society," Mayor told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "The fact that you have a range of ages is important because people previously thought that mothers wouldn't be out fighting because they had children."

"In these small tribes on the harsh steppes, it makes sense that every single person has to have the same skills and competence to defend the tribe as necessary," she added. "It confirms that these women really were warriors throughout their lives."

The discovery also represents first time that such a remarkably well-preserved headdress was found on a warrior woman's head. According to the researchers, the headdress was 65 to 70 percent gold - a far higher portion than is often found in Scythian jewelry, which is typically about 30 percent.

Valerii Guliaev, who led the expedition, called it a "unique find," and said it underscored how women and men received equal treatment in Scythian society.

"The Amazons are common Scythian phenomenon," Guliaev said in a statement. "All burial rites which were usually made for men were done for them."

Mayor said she expects future research to bolster the case about the existence of female warriors. Before the development of DNA testing and bioarcheology, researchers often assumed that any excavated tomb or grave that contained weapons and human remains belonged to a male. But new analysis has already showed that about one-third of armed Scythian skeletons unearthed in such digs were female, she said.

"Just because there are weapons doesn't mean it was a male burial," she said. "That assumption has gone out the window."


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1  seeder  1stwarrior    9 months ago

Luv this stuff - fantasy is really history.

1.1  Dulay  replied to  1stwarrior @1    9 months ago
1.1.1  seeder  1stwarrior  replied to  Dulay @1.1    9 months ago

Wow Dulay - amazing.  Wonder if/when we'll ever be able to learn of the growth of the Vikings, such as, were they a nomadic band that evolved into a tribe and then into a nation that was formed, similar to Sweden, Finland, etc.  Did the Danes/Welch/Irish/Scots go through the same growth structures.

I minored in Euro history and we didn't even touch on the growth/development of the Scandinavian countries - which is really sad.

Thanks for the link.

1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  1stwarrior @1    9 months ago

Real Xena stuff!

Perrie Halpern R.A.
2  Perrie Halpern R.A.    9 months ago

Great stuff 1st and Dulay. I have a feeling that most of our legends are based in truth. 

3  Kavika     9 months ago

Here is another much closer to home. 

Although not all women or warriors there is proof positive of a huge Natives that lived in the US...Their skeleton have been found in Indian burial mounds in various parts of the country.

Great article 1st and great link Dulay.

Buzz of the Orient
4  Buzz of the Orient    9 months ago

China as well had its women warriors.

Did anyone watch Ang Lee's magnificent movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"?


4.1  Dulay  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    9 months ago

As did the Japanese, Onna-bugeisha. 

4.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    9 months ago

Which one, the first or second one? Second one was okay, first one was better.

Buzz of the Orient
4.2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @4.2    9 months ago

I never saw the second one, but I certainly think the first one was a masterpiece.  I don't normally bother watching martial arts movies, but this one was virtually lyrical.

4.3  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    9 months ago

Does Mulan count?

Buzz of the Orient
4.3.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @4.3    9 months ago

I never saw the original or the remake, but I assume it was fiction.

4.3.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.3.1    9 months ago

I believe so. I was being facetious though.

5  Kavika     9 months ago

Aazhawigiizhigokwe or ''Goes Across the Sky Women'' was a full ogichidaakwe (full warrior) and participated in all warrior ceremonies and could wear all the plume and regalia of the warrior society.

She is a historical figure in Ojibwe history.

Lozen of the Chihenne Chiricahua Apache  was Victorio's right hand in battle and as a master strategist.

There are others that are known to history. What seems to be not well known is that in many tribes women fought side by side with male warriors.

Raven Wing
6  Raven Wing    9 months ago

There were many Warrior Women among the Cherokee Tribes. They fought and hunted along with the men of the Tribes. They were honored along with the male Warriors for their merits in battle. With the Cherokee, men and women were considered equal. Some Cherokee women also served on the Council with the men, were Shamans and Medicine Women.

There were many various Native American Tribes that also had Women Warriors as well, especially, Tribes where there were few men in order to help protect and defend their Tribes.

Vic Eldred
6.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Raven Wing @6    9 months ago

They had to earn it. They were called "war women" (we may still have some around/Sar) and were allowed to sit in on councils as equals.


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