Pygmalion Project


The Nature Of The Amazons

In view of available data there is no reason to deny reality of the ancient women warriors.

Battle between Greeks and Amazons
Greek vase

Four kinds of Amazons should be distinguished in accordance with Greek sources:

Cappadocian Amazons
They lived in Cappadocia, an area of the northern Anatolia (modern Turkey). Their capital was Themiscyra on the river Thermodon, and they are known mainly from Greek mythology. They are also called The Amazons of Anatolia.
Scythian Amazons
They lived in Scythia (modern Ukraine and southern Russia) and in the whole space of Eurasian steppes. They are known mainly from reports by Herodotus and Hippocrates . Some shade them leaves in folklore of Eurasian peoples. For instance, I can name polyanitsas ('steppe females') and Virgin Sineglazka ('blue-eyed female') of Russian folk tales, Ochi-Bala of Türkish epos. Their remains are also find by archeologists, see Ancient Graves of Warrior Women Offer Hints of Amazons.
Libyan Amazons
They lived in Libya (northern Africa). Diodorus Siculus has written the most important report of Libyan Amazons. There are also some remarkable indication of Libyan Amazons' heritage in culture of Berbers — later local inhabitants of northern Africa.
Aegean Amazons
Significant but unclear traces of the Amazons exhibit in Aegean basin (proper Greece). So the main shrines of warrior goddess — Athena and Artemis — stood in this area (Athens, Delos island, Ephesus). Also actions of many myths on these goddesses and proper Amazons took place in this area. These myths explained this with invasion of Amazons. However, there are reasons to think that, conversely, the Amazons were exiled from this region by the peoples who took part in forming later Greek nation.

It's significant that he other Amazonian regions, namely Cappadocia, Libya, and Aegean islands are arid too. Therefore we can assume the female health and the physical strength of those Amazons was based on action licorice, pomegranate, and, probably, other plants having prominent thirst-quenching properties.

Those plant ought to secure the phonomenon of the women-warrioirs because the are rich in substances identical to female sex hormones (estrogens), and retain water. Lack of estrogens and of water retention are two main symptoms of the common female hormonal disturbance.

Besides, the aridity of Amazon's countries makes think that the historically know Amazons presented only remains of earlier cultures, which disappeared on account formation of the deserts or steppes.

According to common notion dating back from the Antiquity, and nourished by modern feminists, Amazons were physically strong misandrist women able to stand up for themselves, and to train the coarse men to the respect for women.

Peleus wrestleing Thetis However, according to some Greek sources the Amazons did love men and married them. The couples of Heracles and Deianira, Meleager and Atlanta, Theseus and Antiope (Hippolita) exemplify this pattern.Also had to wrestle Thetis to marry her.

It's significant that these examples are related to Aegean regions concern apparently Aegean Amazons. And although in case of Theseus Cappadocian Amazons are meant, we can allude that originally Aegean Amazons were implied as he arrived to them by sea.

Athena Giustiniani
Vatican museum Statue of Artemis
Louvre The Amazonian nation was apparently one of very high culture due to the healthiness of Amazonian women. In particular, I'm convinced that the grandeur of the Ancient Greece was due to Amazons' heritage, of which marks are imprinted in Greek mythology. This heritage is most obviously embodied in the notion of goddess Athena, the armed divine patron of war, wisdom and crafts.

Thus, all things considered, the Amazons were mere healthy, robust women of that barbaric epoch.

It's significant that Artemis was regarded as a goddess of the Moon that affects female physiology, and as the divine patron of midwives

There are also some indications of their natural convertible infertile. And the Amazons just ought to be infertile as far as they were healthy and the real female health implies infertility.

The Amazons' health apparently was based on vegetarianism and proper use of licorice.

So, according to the legends, Amazons had domesticated horse, which suggests friendly attitude to the animals. Also Amazon goddess Artemis was worshiped as patron of animals (later changed into patron of hunters). Besides, she together with her brother Apollo was offered to with bloodless sacrifices at their main temple in Delos island.

Artemis - patron of animals
Greek bas-relief

In addition, its significant that vegetarianism was enough rife in Ancient Greece and Roma successors of the Amazon culture.

However, despite all their health and power, Amazons were overwhelmed by unhealthy but aggressive and intensively multiplying peoples greedy for Amazons' prosperity, and exiled from their homeland.

The following extract from Iliad (III, 184 - 190) seems to confirm this:

I went to Phrygia once, the land of vines and galloping horses, and learnt how numerous the Phrygians are when I saw the armies of Otreus and King Mygdon encamped by the River Sangarios. I was their ally and I bivouacked with them that time the Amazons, who fight like men, came up to attack. But even they were not as many as these Achaeans with their flashing eyes
Only some posterity was left assimilated in various peoples, the same Ancient Greeks who were formed from the rest of the Amazonian people and their conquerors - Achaeans. The theme of the former fight against Amazons, named Amazonomachy, was very popular in later Ancient Greek art and epos, which evidently stemmed from the eulogies of the conquerors.

Amazonomachy in Greek art
Heracles slaying Amazon
Greek vase Greeks slaying Amazon
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus Greek warrior seizing an Amazon by the hair
Greek bas-relief

Achilles killing Penthesilea A particular episode of the Amazonomachy deserves our special attention. According to a legend, after Achaean hero Achilles killed Amazons' queen Penthesilea in combat, and pulled off her helmet (the image right portrays Achilles but not Penthesilea in such a helmet) he saw her beautiful face and fell in love with her at once, and raped her corpse after that. We can add an important detail to the episode. According to the Iliad, barbaric Achaeans unable to work up metals properly undressed killed Trojans for their armor and left the corpses naked. Most probably, that passage shamefacedly disguises some earlier version, which you can imagine now.

The latter characterizes brute nature of Amazon's enemies rather than beauty of Amazon women. This episode just embodies the ambivalent attitude to the Amazonian women. On one hand, they were appreciated due to their beauty, and on the other, their bearing not affected by the hormonal disturbance excited hatred in the barbaric neighbors. Besides, the wealth created by the healthy Amazonian society compelled such neighbors' jealousy and craving.

Fortunately, great part of Amazonian nation escaped from their homeland and settled in new places, mainly in Eurasian steppes (the Scythian Amazons) and neighbor areas. This settling is well-known as grandiose spreading of peoples of Indo-European family of languages. It shows that women of the people had become suddenly permanent fertile after the exile from the homeland.

Map of Indo-European peoples