2006/03/06

Women's History Month

Amazons.
Women warriors whom we might call Amazons did exist, but were they the legendary equestrian band of man-hating archers with partial mastectomies? Were they the same as the Amazons Herodotus describes? Kathy Sawyer, in Were Amazons More than Myths?, an article from the July 31, 1997 Salt Lake Tribune, suggests "the notion of such women ... [who] replenished their numbers by mating with men from other tribes, keeping the daughters and killing male infants ... sprang from ... an imaginative impulse in the male-dominated Greek society ...." But Germanic tribes had women warriors and Mongol families accompanied the armies of Genghis Khan, so the presence of women warriors was well attested even before Dr. Jeannine Davis-Kimball "spent five years excavating more than 150 burial mounds of 5th century B.C. nomads near Pokrovka, Russia."
Amazons.
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.
Amazons wiki.
Only the title is right.
A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars. --Carly Simon

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