The Amazons - Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World (Anglais) Relié – 23 septembre 2014
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
"An encyclopedic study of the barbarian warrior women of Western Asia, revealing how new archaeological discoveries uphold the long-held myths and legends. The famed female archers on horseback from the lands the ancient Greeks called Scythia appeared throughout Greek and Roman legend. Mayor tailors her scholarly work to lay readers, providing a fascinating exploration into the factual identity underpinning the fanciful legends surrounding these wondrous Amazons. . . . Mayor clears away much of the man-hating myths around these redoubtable warriors. Thanks to Mayor's scholarship, these fearsome fighters are attaining their historical respectability."--Kirkus Reviews
"A must-read for anyone interested in either Amazonian myth or history." --Fred Poling, Library Journal
Adrienne Mayor, in this fascinating and compendious study of the Amazons, is commendably forthright...The Amazons are redemmed from myth. The horsewomen of Scythia ride again. --Tom Holland, Literary Review
Présentation de l'éditeur
Amazons--fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world--were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Roman general Pompey tangled with Amazons.
But just who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback who gloried in fighting, hunting, and sexual freedom? Were Amazons real? In this deeply researched, wide-ranging, and lavishly illustrated book, National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor presents the Amazons as they have never been seen before. This is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China.
Mayor tells how amazing new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons prove that women warriors were not merely figments of the Greek imagination. Combining classical myth and art, nomad traditions, and scientific archaeology, she reveals intimate, surprising details and original insights about the lives and legends of the women known as Amazons. Provocatively arguing that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons, Mayor reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories. The Greeks were not the only people enchanted by Amazons--Mayor shows that warlike women of nomadic cultures inspired exciting tales in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Central Asia, and China.
Driven by a detective's curiosity, Mayor unearths long-buried evidence and sifts fact from fiction to show how flesh-and-blood women of the Eurasian steppes were mythologized as Amazons, the equals of men. The result is likely to become a classic.
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Physically, women are not as robust as are men. However, the horse, the bow and the sword are equalizers, permitting women to compete as equals with men. This then was how Barbarian women (meaning they did not speak Greek) were raised from childhood, as equals who could ride and shoot as well as any man. In the wilderness of the Scythian steppes this was necessary for defence from wild beasts and marauding tribes.
Amazons were masters of the horse. They each owned many. They especially coveted the Akhal Teke horses of the Ferghana Valley. Each horse was decorated with gold and leather ornamentations. The Amazons drank fermented mare's milk (Koumiss) as a staple. They made their own weapons; bows, arrows, swords, knives and battle axes. They fashioned crescent shields for defence.
Amazons did not worship the Greek pantheon of gods and godesses. Many worshipped Ares and cybele. They also worshipped a sacred black rock on Amazon (Giresun) Island in the Black Sea.
The Greeks encountered them as they explored eastward into Asia, notably along the Black Sea routes. The Amazons formed liasons with king Priam of Troy against the Greeks. Mithradates took an Amazon for a confidant and wife. Alexander the Great encountered them and even took one to bed as well. Greek historians like Herodotus and hippocrates documented these tales. Though with Herodotus, he often mixed myth with history. Stories about the Amazon Hippolyte and her battle with Heracles, and the Amazon Antiope's battle with Theseus or Penthesilea with Achillles at Troy have amazed and delighted us for ages. More than 1000 Greek vases depict various scenes of Amazons in battle or in their daily living.
The Romans too encountered Amazons. Pompey fought battles with Amazons. He captured some of them and brought them back to Rome as evidence of his conquests. They were paraded through the streets before being returned safey to their home lands.
The Amazons had no written language. It seems body art and tatoos were their identities. They chose deer, elk, sheep, tiger, birds and all manner of creatures to be imprinted on their skin. The Greeks, in comparison, viewed tatooing as some form of punishment.
The Egyptians, Persians and other nations too encountered Amazons, giving added credence to their existance.
Much archaeological evidence has been discovered affirming Amazon existance. Many kurgans (grave mounds) have been excavated revealing lavish grave goods including bronze, gold and silver along with their various articles of cloting and weapons. Their horses were buried with them. It is thought that the Amazons invented pants.
Amazons were pot smokers. They had kits consisting of tents, bowls and hemp (pot) which were used to get a high. These also were found in Kurgans.
Amazons were associated with the Scythians, Sarmatians and various other tribes, however, not all of them chose to live without the company of men. Some groups contained all women, others were mixed. They all dressed alike so it probably impossible for the Greeks and Romans to tell them apart. Even those Amazons who chose to live apart, often would "visit" the men in order to procreate. It was rumored they would keep and raise the girls while sending back the boys for their fathers to raise.
Adrienne Mayor has written a masterful, well researched volume of the Amazons depicting every facet of their existance and of those they associated with or fought against. I really enjoyed reading it.
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