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Amazons





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Amazon warrior.

A country with only female inhabitants, as told by Greek legends. They are supposed to have lived in what today is Turkey, possibly from the 14th to the 10th centuries BCE.
The Amazons were strong warriors, and forming societies without men. They procreated by having sex with men of neighbouring countries, and when giving birth only girls were welcomed. Boys were either killed or sent to the country of the father. A few legends tell that the Amazons had their right breasts cut off to give space for bending the bow when waging war. There are several theories to the origin of the name, the longest lasting is that it comes from the Greek a-mazos, "breastless". Still, more moderate is ancient Greek art, which depicts the Amazons with two breasts, and quite ideally modelled on the goddess Athena: in one hand holding the bow, a spear or a small double axe, in the other arm a half shield. Some early examples depict them wearing helmets.
One story tells that they were allied with Troy, and that during the siege of Troy the Amazon queen was killed by Achilles.
While it is most unlikely that there ever was exactly such a country as the legends tell, the stories may well have a core of historical truth. The original society or group must have been one with a strong female presence in the elite, perhaps even a female-only elite or royalty. Legends suggest that they originated in the lands of Schythia, which corresponds to modern Crimea, Ukraine, and at some point in history migrated to the Black Sea coast of Anatolia, in the lands in ancient times known as Pontus (modern Turkey). Geography can be determined by stories about Giresun Island being sacred to them, and that the town of Sinop was founded by the Amazon queen, Sinova.
Another possible origin of the legends is the organization of priestesses to the mother goddess Cybele as she was venerated in Lydia. This theory not only relocates the geographical origins to the Aegean regions of Anatolia, but places them several centuries ahead in time, sometimes around and after the 8th century BCE.




By Tore Kjeilen