20 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Twenty: The Amazons, Part Two

The legend is that, around 1250 BCE, an army of Amazon women attacked Athens.

Plutarch, who lived in the first century CE, tells us that in his time at Athens there were still graves of warrior women, temples dedicated to them, and a neighborhood called Amazoneum.

I’m a believer. Are you?

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9 Comments

  1. Joe Jansen on October 22, 2020 at 6:37 am

    I went to my copy of Last of the Amazons, recalling that among my underlining and highlighting, there was some passage that I’d marked “Wow.” Found it…

    “When one of tal Kyrte [the Amazons’ name for themselves] misses steppe and sky, she longs not just for their beauty but also their cruelty. For among the free people [again, what they call themselves] the foreawareness of one’s death, and heaven’s indifference to it, is the keenest and most brilliant pleasure, rendering all precious. This the supreme mystery, the fact of existence itself, before which mortals may only stand in silence.”

  2. Andrew+Lubin on October 22, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Didn’t National Geographic Magazine have a section a few years ago on the groups of armor/women/horse skeletons found in Ukraine and the surrounding regions? So slowly, the legends will become accepted history.

    There are certainly women thru history and today who would have fought well against the Athenians. I’m thinking of my mother, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 and was a Sgt in the group who wrote the Death Letter after every island campaign. Her unit’s mission was to ensure as good a letter as possible was sent out ASAP, and she transferred that dedication to teaching writing and literature -and ensuring that reading and writing was high on my ‘must do well’ list. In her final years, she knew a few family member and the death count for every battle from Saipan thru Okinawa. And Maj Megan McCLung, USMC, killed in Ramadi, Dec 2006 in an IED blast. Certainly these two ladies would have served admirably under Hippolyta.

    • Joe on October 22, 2020 at 10:26 am

      Andrew…

      Oo-rah.

      Joe
      (Sgt, 80-84)

  3. Scott on October 22, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Two thoughts: An aspect of the Amazons and Athenians brought out in Last of the Amazons was that each society represented opposing cultural forces: The Amazons saw themselves as free and unbound, living off the land like the Native peoples of North America. The Athenians represented the new social structure of the city-state, with division of labor, commerce and organization, a walled city instead of an open plain, and a male-dominated aristocracy instead of a community of women bound by tradition and tribal equality. Steven insightfully conveyed the fatalism of the surviving Amazons of their awareness that their way of life would be overcome by the trappings and power of the coming civilization. You could imagine the same dread of Native Americans watching from a distance as a railroad is being built through their traditional hunting grounds. I’ve often thought that Last of the Amazons is one of Steven’s best works, both lyrical and down-to-earth, and utterly believable.

    Second thought: I seem to recall Homer saying that the Amazons fought on the side of Troy during the Trojan War. Troy was known as a horse-breeding city, so that connection with the Amazons seems plausible. 1200 – 1300 BC is considered the approximate date of the Trojan War, and was soon thereafter that the Mycenaean (early Greek) civilization collapsed into the Dark Ages. Cities like the Athens of Theseus were overrun, with roving bands of outlanders sweeping through the Bronze Age territories. Why not Amazons being part of this invading force?

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    Every good wish, ~md

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