Amazons

The Women Warriors of the Amazon

 

The women warrior of the Amazon is an account of the fascinating people who cut their right breasts off. They would go to any extent to achieve victory. Are the Amazonian women real or are they the figment of someone's imagination.

 

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.

The debate whether Amazons existed intensified when Jeannine Davis-Kimball, the head archaeologist of a site in Kazakhstan, unearthed burial sites which support the existence of women warriors. Females were found buried with weapons.

 

The curved leg bones of one woman attest to a life spent on horseback, which according to Davis-Kimball is evidence of women's participation in activities that were traditionally male dominated in Greece. An arrowhead within the body of another woman apparently was the cause of death, direct evidence of women's participation in battle.

Greek mythology describes the Amazons as descendants of the god of war, Ares, and the sea nymph, Harmonia. They worshipped Artemis, goddess of the hunt and exactly where the Amazons territory was has always been disputed. Herodotus believed they may have occupied the sweeping steppes of
Southern Russia. Other stories claim they lived in Thrace or along the lower Caucasus Mountains in northern Albania.

 

The Thermodon River, in Asia Minor, known today as the coast of Turkey, seems to be the most frequently mentioned territory of the 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.

The Greeks, Romans and other early civilizations wrote about or depicted the Amazons in their art. The name Amazon has survived through the ages as a generic term for women warriors. But until recently most of the historians who accepted these same ancient authors and artists as credible sources for information on other aspects of their society dismissed their descriptions of the Amazons as myth.

There is a growing body of evidence that the Amazons were as real as the civilizations who wrote of them. They governed large areas of
Europe, Asia Minor and Africa. Cities named Amazonium were established on Pontus and the Island of Patmos and numerous ancient cities in Europe, Asia Minor and the islands of the Aegean Sea, including Smyrma and Ephesus, claimed to have been founded by Amazons.

 

A number of these cities stamped coins commemorating their Amazon founders and built statues and temples in their honor. This fact that the Amazon women were indeed real has been corroborated by historian Jessica Salmonson. According to her the Amazons belonged to different matriarchal societies, one of which was a clan of Libyan women warriors who originated on Tritonia, an island off the African coast. 

Even Herodotus wrote of the Libyan Amazons military power that was in prominence in the late sixth century BC.

The Amazon society was described as stringently matriarchal. Males were of no use other than for mating purposes and as slaves, doing work that was traditionally performed by women. The limbs of the men were amputated so that they could not rebel and escape. 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 abound about different Amazon queens who displayed great valor in battle. 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."

 

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)

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