Female Warriors and the Myth of the Amazons

Female warriors certainly are media friendly, with numerous films, television series, video games, books, and comic books dedicated to Amazons, Jeanne d’Arc, medieval warrior queens, and fantasy warrior princesses.

Historians are struggling to compete with this avalanche of imagery of female warriors at a time when women are increasingly serving as soldiers in modern armies around the world. Women and war has now become a major field of research in history and the humanities.


National Geographic recently published an interview with Adrienne Mayor, author of a new book on Amazon warriors entitled, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World (Princeton University Press, 2014).

Adrienne Mayor’s website at Stanford University states that: “Adrienne Mayor is an independent folklorist/historian of science who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions. Her research looks at ancient ‘folk science’ precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Mayor’s latest book, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World, analyzes the historical and archaeological evidence underlying myths and tales of warlike women.”

A Stanford Report article features Mayor’s work on Amazon warriors.

As a historian working on gender and violence in the French Wars of Religion, I look forward to reading Adrienne Mayor’s new book and considering the latest research on female warriors in the ancient world.

This entry was posted in European History, Gender and Warfare, History of Violence, Museums and Historical Memory, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World, Women and Gender History. Bookmark the permalink.

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