Monday, April 14, 2014

Amazons, Ancient Female Warriors without Breast!

Amazons, a Nation of all Female Warriors

The Amazons also known as Oiorpata in the Scythian language was a nation of all female warrior in Greek mythology as well as Classical antiquity. They were placed in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia, the modern territory of Ukraine, by Herodotus while other historiographers placed them in Asia Minor or at times in Libya. Notable queens of the Amazons who participated in the Trojan War were Penthesilea and her sister Hippolyta and her magical girdle given to her by her father Ares was the cause of one of the labors of Hercules.

 The Amazons got connected with various historical people throughout the Roman Empire period and the Late Antiquity. There are various accounts of Amazon raids in Asia Minor in Roman historiography and from the Early Modern period, their name came to be termed for female warriors in general. The first mention of the Amazons comes from two epics regarding the Trojan War, the famous Iliad of Homer and lesser acquainted poem known as the Aethiopis which is attributed to Arctinus of Miletus and it is presumed to be written in the 8th or 7th century BC.

Amazons Women Equal to Men in Fighting ability

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The Iliad mentions that the Amazons had two or three in passing and the Trojan king Priam and the Greek hero Bellerophon had fought separate wars against the Amazons of two generation before the event of Iliad, at Asia Minor. Homer also mentions about a tomb of Troy belonging to Myrine and later tradition made her an Amazon.

Homer, describe the Amazons as fighting women, equal to men in fighting ability with no further mention made about them. It is believed that the legendary Amazons lived in Pontus which is a part of modern day Turkey towards the southern shore of the Euxine Sea or the Black Sea who had formed an independent kingdom under the reign of queen Hippolyta.

Many Versions of the Legend

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It was presumed that the Amazons had formed many towns some of which were Smyrna, Sinope, Ephesus and Paphos. According to some they had lived in Scythia (modern Crimea) in the distant past at the Palus Maeotos while according to Plutarch, the Amazons lived in and around the Don River which the Greeks called the Tanais but the Scythians called it Amazon.

They later moved on to Themiscyra – modern Terme on the River Thermodon and Herodotus called them killers of men or Androktones. Amazons was given a popular etymology, among Classical Greeks, as from a-mozos meaning without breast connected with an etiological tradition that the Amazons had the right one cut off or burnt out to improve their archery.

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It was a possibility that these practices occurred in order to steady their bows better and draw their arrows straight across the chest while the other could support or hold the quiver in place and also for the purpose of child rearing. This proposed breast less etymology was widely known in the ancient times somewhere in the 5th century BC but the supporters did not agree about its exact significance and many are speculating on its legend.

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