Holy Hippolyta!

Were the Amazons of Greek myth based on a real tribe of female fighters?

Xena Warrior Princess, played by Lucy Lawless. (Reuters)

In ancient Greek mythology, the Amazons were a fearsome nation of female fighters who murdered any male children born to them and duked it out with the likes of Hercules and Achilles. According to a book by Stanford University historian Adrienne Mayor, these women warriors of ancient Greek lore may have been mythologized from a real tribe of nomadic fighters who roamed the Eurasian steppes. The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World delves into recent archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons which were buried with arrows, axes, spears, and other military gear. Ancient works of art depicting women in the heat of battle also seem to testify to the existence of female bands of soldiers. The Amazons explores the emergence of these fighters in Greek myth as figures both admirable and terrifying. As Mayor told CNN, “The radical idea of powerful, independent women living in exotic lands evoked ambivalent emotions in the Greeks: awe, fear, respect, and desire.”

Read more at CNN.

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