This paper will answer the question: Did the Amazons exist as a cohesive society, and if not, from whence did the myth originate? An appreciation of the tribe’s alleged fundamentals is essential to understanding the fables erroneous nature. Warfare was crucial to the Amazon legend. The women’s supposed lust for battle and manly skill in warfare has been an imperishable element of the myth. Homer describes them as “a match for men in war”, their attacks being known as “no slight or womanish enterprise”l .
According to Herodotus this manly warfare was the substance by which they defined themselves, “We are eiders, our business is with the bow and the spear, and know nothing of women work”. The Greek art form Nymphomaniac, devoted purely to Greek battles with Amazons, reveals that the Greeks also defined the Amazons by their military and cavalry expertise. Women had to serve a set time in the army and could not marry until having killed in battles. Similarly, both Virgil and Odorous Sculls say only virgins were permitted in the army.
Curran graves in the Eurasian Steppes, initially believed to belong to Amazons, support this military nature, being filled with weapons and having a young girl killed by arrows with bowed leg bones from excessive horse-riding. Through these sources of evidence we see the Amazons as a military society typified by soldierly expertise. The tribes debated manicurist nature went hand in hand with their warfare. Many sources expressed the Amazon’s as proud virgins with a fierce hatred of men reluctantly procreating solely for tribe continuation, and abandoning male babies.
Strata recounts they bred with their themselves and returning males to the Agrarians. Similarly Alexander historian Accelerates claims an Amazon Queen tried to procreate with Alexander exclusively for genetic advancement. However this is commonly disregarded because “those who care most for the truth do not make the assertion”5 and it was ridiculed by Alexander military general who laughingly asked “where was I at this time? ” Modern Amazon Historian Rather suggests that a Queen did approach Alexander with such a request, but her Amazon title was “later embroidery of the Greek historians. However this widely accepted view of Amazon procreation is often disputed. Some recount their easily seduced nature, such as the Amazon and Scythian interaction described by Herodotus, and Hippopotamus’s eagerness to give Hercules her girdle, as described by Homer. Others describe them as “naturally lovers of men”6, even suggesting that they were a co-gender society in which gender stereotypes were simply reversed; the men living at home “doing orders from wives. 7 However, this distinct contradiction has been universally disregarded, the tribe remaining infamous for being manicurist, only procreating for tribe continuation or genetic advancement. There is however, little disagreement on the location and time period of the Amazon society. Ancient and archaeological sources consistently centralize the Amazon region around the Black Sea, with direct references to rivers and mountain ranges. Sources suggest the Amazon capital was Themselves on the Thermion Riverview, and that the plains around it were “by all writers mentioned as having belonged to the Amazons”11.
It is believed they originated in Libya, and first emerged into the Greek world somewhere around the Tania Rivers 3, eventually spreading as far as Attica, Troll 5, and Zimmerman Phosphorus, with a few unreliable accounts placing them as far as Hysterical and Hesperus. It should be noted that the Amazons consistent placing around the Black Sea, according to the Historian P. Walcott, made them “always beyond the confines of the [Greek] civilized oral” thus providing leeway for minor distortions. The Amazons flourished in Greek legend and art between the 8th-3rd century BC, with a dramatic change in their representation around 600 BC.
Homer first mentioned the tribe in his Iliad around 800 BC, at which point Nymphomaniac also arose. During the 6th century BC the Amazons changed from appearing as foot soldiers in dresses to Persian-clothed cavalrymen. This representation of the tribe continues through Nymphomaniac until roughly 350 BC, after which the legend begins to fade. The overall consistency of written sources, combined with regenerate archaeological support such as graves and Nymphomaniac, makes the Amazon tribe seem infallibly authentic.
However, as Rather clarifies it is “a tale full of contradictions and pitfalls for the unwary. ” Loran Hardwire agrees that although “written sources give a considerable amount of information about the supposed geographical location of the Amazons, their customs, and life-style. Such detail does not imply that they actually did exist, nor even that the Greeks thought they did. ” These are both startling accusations about a legend that, when taken at face value, appears seamlessly factual. However the legends legitimacy is betrayed by two of its source base.
The Amazon association with myth is subtle, but inescapable. Most leading ancient sources record the Amazons amongst a concoction of facts and mythical elements. As Strata said, the Amazon accounts were “a peculiar thing” because “our accounts of other peoples keep a distinction between mythical and historical events. ” Written sources frequently assimilate the Amazons with mythological features, such as Thesauruses , Achilles , Hercules, Chimaeras, Horrors, sea-Nymphs and the Atlantics. Sources also often claim the Amazons to be descendants of the God of warfare, Rarest.
Similarly, Nymphomaniac, although a crucial source of evidence concerning Greek attitudes towards the Amazons, and their appearance, is an art form almost exclusively dealing with Amazon encounters with mythical heroes, and is categorized with the purely fictional art forms of counterattack and gigantically. Because of this intrinsic association with Mythological elements, Rather explains “we may unhesitatingly sweep away the story of the unnatural state [Amazons] about which so many Greek poets and strains entertain us”.
Furthermore, this assimilation supports Hardback’s assertion that the Greeks themselves did not fully suppose the legend to be true. Coupled with the mythical nature of the Amazons, many written sources recalling their existence are considered unreliable. This does not necessarily mean that the legend is entirely fictitious, rather that it was susceptible to many distortions over time and thus may have mutated into “symbolic exaggerations of certain facts”28. There are 6 ancient historians whose works provide particular insight into the Amazon fundamentals; Homer, Herodotus, Virgil, Quintus Synonymous, Plutarch and Odorous Sculls.
However these authors are all susceptible to inaccuracy for a number of reasons. Homer and Herodotus both wrote during the Amazon era; however the Iliad was considered purely fictional until Clansman’s discovery of Troy, and Cicero criticized Herodotus histories as being full of fables. Likewise Voltaire labeled Herodotus “the father of lies”. Furthermore each author relied on oral sources which Chadwick describes as having “a habit of distorting the truth and introducing serious error”. Odorous Sculls and Virgil both wrote closely after the Amazon period.
However Sculls does not differentiate between fact and fiction, and Virgil wrote for entertainment purposes only, thus both composers are historically unreliable. Plutarch and Quintus Synonymous both composed centuries after the Amazon era, with Synonymous writing purely for entertainment purposes. Despite Plutarch referencing many sources, the time separation still renders him unreliable. Perhaps the most reliable source is Strata, whose 20 BC geography text used many sources and commented upon their reliability. Strata also distinguished between Fact and Fiction, noting the Amazons as fictitious.
Considering these factors, it becomes clear many ancient references to the Amazons where often either for entertainment purposes or were written long after their supposed era. Therefore the Amazon legend would have been very susceptible to exaggerations and distortions. This recognized vulnerability to distortions has led many modern historians to contemplate whether this fictitious legend was partially based in truth. It is now theorized that the myth originated from Greek males’ fear of their women uprising, myth originated in Homer’s Iliad as a simplistic reflection of patriarchal Greek society’s fear of female superiority.
Throughout his 8th Century BC text Homer made no mention of a ministrants nature or appearance, instead merely describing them as women who were “a match for men in war”. In this text the Amazons symbolizes gender equality on a fundamental level, and their subsequent defeat reflected the male dominated society’s fear of such equality. Nymphomaniac continues this basic portrayal of the Amazons until 600 BC, representing them as classic women in dresses who fought on foot. However during the 6th century BC the Amazon myth experienced several alternations and intensification, such as the dramatist
Aeschylus describing them as husbandly or “manliest” for the first time, the addition of cavalry, and wearing trousers. This intensification of the legend turned the Amazons into “an emblem of otherness”30 in which the Greeks sought to emphasis “everything a woman ought not to be”31. Cutting off their left breast, and never winning a battle, were negative consequences of “a denial of motherhood and an unwillingness to pander to male concepts of feminine beauty’32. These negative representations warned Greek women against rejecting motherhood and challenging male superiority, whilst enforcing a fear of feminine uprising throughout the males.
Walcott explains that after 6th century BC the legend defined the “norm and the acceptable by setting that norm on its head”. This dramatic change in characterization marks a new influence of a matriarchal society which the Greeks now shaped the Amazon legend around. Through research into several matriarchal tribes within travel distance of Greece throughout the 8th-5th century BC, three bear noteworthy likenesses to the Amazon legend. These are the Grammarians, the Bakery and the Hitters. It is now generally thought that one or all of these may have contributed to the myth over the ages.
Of these tribes the Grammarians, who first came known to the Greeks in the 7th Century BC, stand out from the rest. The Grammarians were mentioned directly by Herodotus as being a co-gendered society of Amazon and Scythian offspring in which the women “kept to their old ways, hunting on horseback, dressing as men and taking part in war”. From archeological evidence and separate studies, the existence of the Grammarians between the 5th-4th century BC is proved beyond doubt. Studies also reveal overwhelming similarities between the women of the fundamental Amazon legend and Sardinian women.
DNA tests from Curran graves have revealed the Grammarians as Indo-Euripides, who spoke Indo-Iranian; this corresponds with the Amazons originating in Libya, and Herodotus account of the initial Amazons breeding with the Scythian to form a society who spoke a “corrupt form of Scythian”. Furthermore, the Grammarians are known to have emerged in the 7th century BC from around the Don River which parallels Herodotus account of the newly married society crossing the Attain (now Don) River.
Pausing accounts the ancient Grammarians as nomads with many mares that used horses for war. However the clearest connection comes from Hippocrates, a 350 BC historian who claims “Their name is Surrogate [Grammarians]. Their women, so long as they are virgins, ride, shoot, throw the Javelin while mounted, and fight with their enemies. They do not lay aside their virginity until they have killed three of their enemies, and they do not marry before they have performed the traditional compelled to do so by a general expedition.
They have no right breast; for while they are yet babies their mothers make red-hot a bronze instrument constructed for this very purpose and apply it to the right breast”. This undeniable likeness is supported by the Archaeologist David Antonym who recently excavated Sardinian Koreans: “about 20%… N the lower Don and low Volta contained females dressed for battle, a phenomenon that probably inspired the Greek tales about the Amazons”. The Grammarians appear to correspond perfectly with the Amazon legend except for the co-existence of both males and females.
Because the Greeks first encountered the Grammarians sometime after the 7th century BC, when the new race appeared from the Don River, it is highly plausible that this race inspired the intensification of Homer’s original Amazon legend. The nomadic Bakery Tribe of Russia is another candidate for Amazon inspiration. This tribe originated around 600 BC as ascendants of the Grammarians. Permafrost in the Atlas Mountains in central Russia has mummified several Bakery women and men, and a number of their Curran graves have also been excavated.
These remains show the Pastry’s to be a trading, nomadic, horse-riding culture in which men and women both prided themselves on military expertise. The infamous “Ice Maiden” permafrost mummy has distinct annalistic tattoos, which Herodotus describes as an Amazonian attribute. Similarly to the Grammarians, the men of this tribe were part Mongolia and women europium. However the tribe’s location in central Russia makes interaction with the Greeks unlikely and therefore the original Sardinian culture is a more plausible candidate for the Amazon origins.
A relatively untouched concept is that 1 lath century BC Hitter Hurriedly (slaves to God) may have initially inspired the Amazon legend. Often the Amazons were portrayed carrying a ceremonial Hitter double-axe, and wore up- turned shoes which Plain associated with the Hitters. Sauce claims that “Amazons are nothing more than the priestesses of the Asiatic goddess, whose cult spread… With the advance of the Hitter Army’. However this theory assumes that the Hitter/ Cappuccino Goddess Ma, who vaguely resembled the Amazon deity, had armed female Hurriedly.
Rather argues that there is no indication this and that Greeks never associated Ma with the Amazons, therefore this connection is highly improbable. It is more likely that trade links with the Hitters, whose dwindling tribes survived until the 7th century BC, introduced an Hitter influence to Sardinian culture, which transposed into Amazon legend. In conclusion, throughout the 8th – 1st century BC a legendary tribe of manicurist, fierce female warriors known as the Amazons pervaded Greek culture. The Amazon legend began in Homer’s 8th entry BC Iliad as a purely fictitious group of skilled women warriors.
However during the 6th century BC the legend drastically intensified into a symbolic cautionary tale against gender equality. This intensification correlates with the Greeks first interaction with the foreign matriarchal Sardinian tribe. The patriarchal Greeks were threatened by the Sardinian gender equality, and thus negatively extrapolated upon that society in order to keep their women submissive. Despite being a chaotic amalgamation of fact and fiction the legend can now be viewed as nothing more than symbolic embellishments of certain facts.