End of Legend: In Search of the Warrior Queen

Boudicca: The Warrior Queen
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Despite the prevalence of the a-mazdos etymology myth, in truth the Greeks must have known this to be nonsense — their artists always depicted the Amazons as intact. According to the legend, Hercules met Hippolyte, seized her girdle with or without a fight — versions vary , perhaps or perhaps not killing her, and escaped back to Greece. Was there any truth behind such legends? Not much. The Amazon nation was the ultimate imagined threat to Greek machismo.

By conquering the Amazons in myth, at least , Greek heroes were made to seem more heroic. There was, though, a kernel of fact. The Greeks of the early first millennium BC had explored the shores of the Black Sea, and knew of the horse-riding Scythians; indeed, Herodotus described them in the fifth century BC. Their women shared the skills of the men: they were supreme horsewomen, mistresses of the bow, fighters and victims of conflict, as recent archaeological finds testify.

Boudicca: The Warrior Queen

Writers gave the mythical Amazons suitable names. One story about Alexander the Great suggests that they did. In BC, the ambitious Macedonian warrior had conquered Persia and was advancing eastward along the shores of the Caspian Sea in present-day Iran. But Thalestris persisted — and prevailed.

So could there be any truth in it? In addition, the main source, Onesicritus, was a notorious self-promoter who had good reason to tell a tale that flattered his boss. If there is any truth to the story, it could be this: Alexander was approached by a group of Scythians who included women, one of whom was their leader.

The city's origin

There was no common language. The Greeks were hospitable. Belief in Amazons lingered into the Middle Ages, and they remained a favourite topic in medieval Europe — with consequences that extend across hemispheres to the present day.

The latter became involved with a race of Amazonian warrior women and their queen Califia or Calafia or Califre — spellings vary. Her name was possibly derived from caliph , Spain having recently been conquered by Christians after lengthy Islamic rule.


In the stories, Califia was a formidable warrior, with a menagerie of griffins that were fed on human flesh. She lived in a realm called California or Califerne, an island-state near the lands newly discovered by Christopher Columbus. The burial, known as Issyk kurgan and possibly dating from the fifth century BC, was Saka — the Kazakh name for the wide-ranging Scythian culture.

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It included a jacket decorated with 2, golden plaques, a belt bearing 13 golden deer heads, a golden neck decoration, an embossed sword, earrings, beads and a towering headdress. Many women had been found buried with weapons elsewhere. And the height of the skeleton indicated that it was female. Who is right? On a mound of dirt, her arm raised, she delivered the last public speech. We shall fight and be victorious- or die trying.

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They were going to win The warrior queen died soon after, a dramatic ending of drinking poison. Youngzine is a one-of-a-kind Web site where children can learn about current news and events shaping their world -- in a simple, engaging and interactive manner. Youngzine is a tax-exempt c 3 nonprofit organization. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law. Skip to main content. Contact Login Join Youngzine. View active tab Devel. The Greeks called the reoccupied city "Ilion. The "new settlers had no doubt that the place they were preparing to occupy was the fabled setting of the Trojan War," Bryce writes, and in later times its inhabitants took advantage of this to draw in political support and ancient tourists.

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For its first few centuries, Ilion was a modest settlement. While many scholars believe that the people who resettled Troy after B. In , research published by a team of scholars in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology revealed that the amphora at Troy that was thought to have been imported from Greece was actually locally made and that much of the other pottery found at Troy after 1, B. This led the team to suggest that many of the people who reoccupied Troy may not have been Greek colonists but rather people who already lived in the area.

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Xerxes, the Persian king on his way to conquer Greece, stopped to pay homage to Troy and, most notably, Alexander the Great would do the same in the fourth century B. When "Alexander went up there after his victory at the Granicus River he adorned the temple with votive offerings, gave the village the title of city, and ordered those in charge to improve it with buildings, and that he adjudged it free and exempt from tribute; and that later, after the overthrow of the Persians, he sent down a kindly letter to the place, promising to make a great city of it Jones, through Perseus Digital Library.

Troy's special status would continue into the period of Roman rule. The Romans believed that Aeneas, one of Troy's heroes, was an ancestor of Romulus and Remus, Rome's legendary founders. The city's inhabitants took advantage of this mythology, with it becoming a "popular destination for pilgrims and tourists," Bryce writes.

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He notes that in this phase of Troy's existence, when it became a popular tourism location, the city became larger than at any time before, including when the Trojan War was said to have taken place. However, as the Middle Ages took hold, Troy fell into decline. By the 13th century, the city had been reduced to that of a modest farming community. Recent DNA research revealed the story of a woman who died years ago of an infection that occurred while she was pregnant.

A new museum is being constructed at Troy and the Turkish government has put forward repatriation requests for artifacts that were illegally removed from Troy in the 20th century to be returned to Turkey. A collection of gold jewelry in the Penn Museum that research reveals was taken from Troy in the 20th century has been returned to Turkey after lengthy negotiations, said C.

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Brian Rose, a professor of archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania, in an article published in in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies. The big question researchers face is, was there ever a Trojan War? If there was, then is this really Troy?

Unfortunately, the only written remains found at Troy, that date before the eighth-century B. Greek occupation, is a seal written in a language called Luwian, the seal being perhaps brought to Troy from elsewhere in Turkey. Scholars have noted that the topography of Troy as told in the legend does seem to generally match that of the real-life city and, as noted earlier, people as far back as Homer's time also believed this to be Troy.

Yet the archaeological remains still pose problems. Troy at the time of the Trojan War was apparently destroyed by earthquakes and later on may have received people from southeastern Europe rather than Greece. These issues leave researchers with a mystery.