Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Culture: Women warriors of the Amazon

For this post "Culture", I would like to talk about a fascinating subject : the Amazons. It is a theme I would like to develop because I think we can learn so much from them, as women who fights for what they wants.As well, I find those women fascinating: Myths, Legends or true History, who were those warriors who cut off their right breast to make sure to win any fights?  
In Charmed, an episode where the sisters impersonated
Valkyries that are a mythological representation of Amazons

"According to myth, the Amazons were an all-female society of fierce warriors who supposedly lived in the area north of the Black Sea about 700 years before the fifth century BC. Supposedly they cut off one breast to make shooting a bow and arrow easier. But this has never been proved even in the myths. The word Amazon itself has some connotation with breasts."(1)
The head of archaeologist of a site in Kazakhstan Jeannine Davis-Kimball, found unearthed burial sites which could support the existence of this myth. In fact, females buried with weapons and curved leg bones on one that attest a life spent on horseback, would demonstrate women's participation in activities traditionally dominated by men in Greece. As a direct evidence, one of the women apparently died from an arrow in her head that show a participation in battle.
Theories located them in Southern Russia, Ukraine, Thrace (Bulgaria) or along the lower Caucasus mountains in northern Albania.The coasts of Turkey (known before as Thermodon River in Asia Minor) seemed to be the most frequently mentioned territory of Amazons. "Stories of beautiful and bloodthirsty female warrior women thundering across arid battlefields have been told, re-told and speculated over for thousands of years by many cultures. Greek myths are filled with tales of the Amazons and their exploits, love affairs and battles."(1) A growing body of evidence show that Amazons were real, even if historian still refer to them as legend or myth.

In the Greek mythology they are the descendants of the god of war, Ares, and the sea nymph Harmonia. Described as stringently matriarchal, males were used for mating purposes or as slaves performing duties traditionally done by women. Their limbs were usually amputated to prevent from escaping or rebelling. As far as for male babies were either given away at birth to neighbouring tribes or killed. From an early age Amazons were trained in the arts of war. Apparently the right breast of the young Amazon girl was cauterized by her mother so that she would be deft with the various weapons of war.

Stories about Amazons Queens:
Nyabinghi, better known as "the hidden queen" defeated the English and rescued her people from a life of abject slavery.  Ya Asantewa, an Ashanti queen of Ghana typified the spirit of the woman of the Amazon when she said "If you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon you my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight until the last of us falls in the battlefield."  Queen Hippolyte had a special piece of armor. It was a leather belt that had been given to her by Ares, the war god, because she was the best warrior of all the Amazons. She wore this belt across her chest and used it to carry her sword and spear. Eurystheus wanted Hippolyte's belt as a present to give to his daughter, and he sent Hercules to bring it back. 
1 - Anish Chandy ("The women Worriors of the Amazon" on http://www.buzzle.com/)
2 - Wikipedia


Reina said...

oh i do love kick ass women warriors. probably part of the reason why i love fantasy/otherworld
/action&adventrure books! they always have kick ass heroines.
loved reading this post! i do recall reading somthing about the Amazons and them cutting off their right breast, or actaully, i think it was an article in Marie Claire about a group of women who all were trained in fighting, and the article mentioned the Amazons or compared them to it or something. they group didnt cut off their right breast though ;D

thanks for this! it was really interesting and i greatly enjoyed reading it!

pearl. said...

just wanted to say thanks for following my blog,
truly appreciate it!
Pearl xo