10 Fascinating Facts About Amazon Warriors

We all know that the Amazons are supposed to be an ancient race of warrior women. Most of us are.


We all know that the Amazons are supposed
to be an ancient race of warrior women. Most of us are aware of their connection to
Greek mythology, but we don’t have a much more detailed mental image. We have no idea where they were supposed to
be, for example. We don’t know their battles, exploits, or
anything of the kind. There’s certainly no equivalent to Hercules
or King Leonidas among the Amazons in the cultural consciousness. (And most of how we view them is based on
Wonder Woman, right?) It turns out that while historians and archeologists
have lots of evidence at their disposal, they don’t have a very conclusive portrait either. Still, significant aspects of this famous
group of warrior women are there to be found. Let’s have a look at them, and their portrayals
through history. 10. Their Real Life Inspiration By the late 20th Century, Amazon warriors
were thought to be no more real than the Hydra or Poseidon. Even serious Ancient Greek historians are
considered unreliable, such as Herodotus, who is also known as the “father of lies.” Archaeologists had to look fairly far from
Greece for reliable evidence of anything resembling the Amazons. In 2014, the New Yorker reported on the findings
of a series of excavations that were performed in Eastern Europe between the Balkans and
the Caucasus Mountains near the Black Sea. In this territory, roughly 37 percent of graves
were those of women who bore strong forensic evidence they lived a military lifestyle. This evidence included bow legs from a lifetime
of strenuous horse riding and being buried with their weapons. The communities in the area included the Scythians,
who matched the unearthed warrior women in spending much of their lives on horseback. 9. Appearance There are Amazon warriors portrayed on urns
and mosaics all over Greece. They were consistently portrayed with decidedly
Greek features and in their traditional garb. Naturally this was not very accurate for a
bunch of nomads on the other side of the Black Sea from Greece, though accurate descriptors
are sparse. Rather than wearing Greek tunics and dresses,
Amazon warriors are speculated to have been some of the first people on Earth to wear
trousers, which were much less likely to get in the way while riding a horse. Analysis of their remains shows that they
were on average about five feet, six inches tall. That was very tall for women during the time
period, even if it doesn’t sound like the towering heights the descriptor “Amazonian”
conjures these days. 8. The Hun Connection Since there is no known society today that
claims to be descended from the Amazons, there’s the inevitable question of what wiped out
the Amazon warriors, or what culture absorbed them? The answer seems to be twofold. First, Scythian culture in general evolved
into Sauromatian society, and from there into the Sarmatians. This process has been roughly estimated as
taking place between 600 BC and 400 BC. The main difference appears to be that Sarmatians
were more inclined to trade than raid. They’d even done a considerable amount of
trade with the Roman Empire itself. This relatively peaceful evolution by the
Sarmatians was canceled out around 370 AD when they were conquered by a much more familiar
civilization: The Huns. Fans of the Amazon warriors can at least take
solace in the fact that it took one of the mightiest empires of the ancient world to
defeat them. 7. Less than Flattering Portrayals in Greek Myth While Greek mythology and history is full
of portrayals of the Amazons as honorable elite fighters, there was something very consistent
in the myths about them: They always lost. No matter how noble or how capable, an ancient
Greek writer just couldn’t seem to imagine a war ending with the Amazons on top. First off, Hercules himself had to go take
a belt, a gift from the God of War Ares, from the Amazon queen Hippolyta. He won it either because she let him have
it or through force of arms. That was followed by Athenian king Theseus
kidnapping the Amazon Antiope, and when the Amazons sent an army to get her back, Theseus
defeated them in battle at the loss of Antiope’s life. Next came the Greek hero Bellorophon, went
to successfully fight the Amazons just after he had defeated a monster called the Chimera. Finally, there was Queen Penthesila, a warrior
so formidable that Herodutus credited her with inventing the battle axe. Unfortunately for her she chose to go to war
against the Greeks during their legendary war with Troy and got killed by the famously
invincible Achilles, her eyes being removed from her head for her trouble. As great as the Greek storytellers insisted
Amazon warriors were, you have to wonder if those writers really believed it. 6. Chinese Equivalent The Ancient Greeks had no monopoly on accounts
of the Amazons. The Chinese equivalent were the Xiongnu, and
they lasted from roughly 300 BC to 100 AD. The ancient accounts agree that they were
primarily mounted warriors, and as such lived nomadic lifestyles. They also explain that the female warriors
favored archery over hand to hand combat. Considering how that method later allowed
the Mongols to carve out the largest empire in the world, it was a pretty sound approach. Excavations of Xiongnu burial sites revealed
quite a bit about their accessories. Female warriors wore jewelry that included
turquoise, jade, and even polished coal. They had a curious form of fashion coordination
where the male warriors wore iron belt buckles while the women wore either bronze or coal
buckles. The buckles which could be as much as about
a foot wide were decorated with an array of animal etchings that included yaks and dragons. 5. The Iranian Discovery The Persian Empire fought the Scythians just
as the Greeks did, but they had another enemy whose ranks included warrior women. They were called the Saka, and they were on
the opposite side of their empire from Greece. Some of the Greek myths of Amazons are thought
to have been influenced by those of the Persians. Stories, such as “Median Romance,” tell
of warrior Queen Zarina and date back to as early as 625 BC. Cyrus the Great, the emperor who turned Persia
from a collection of tribes into the (then) mightiest empire in the world, was said to
have fought a battle against a Queen Tomyris. Evidence of ancient warrior women emerged
within modern day Iran in 2004. During excavations of 109 skeletons, Alizera
Nobari found one that had been buried with her sword, and had DNA tests performed to
confirm that the corpse had actually been that of a woman. Tests were planned for the other bodies, but
since there was one confirmed warrior woman in their possession already, it was decided
there wasn’t really a need to conduct any others. 4. Name Origin So, considering the Amazon warriors were inspired
by tribes called the Scythians and the Saka while no ancient place in the vicinity called
Amazon existed, where did the name Amazon come from? For awhile, the prevailing theory was put
forth by Hellanikos, the Fourth Century BC historian from the Isle of Lesbos. Supposedly it was derived from “Maston,”
the Greek word for “breast.” The “A” was put on the beginning because
Amazon warriors were known for cutting of one of their breasts to improve their archery. This has been dismissed because it would be
ridiculous for real Scythian warriors to amputate portions of their anatomy, as the risk of
an infection would have been extremely high for an ancient nomad. Professor John Caloruso of McMaster University
has a completely different theory. He points out that the Scythians had a neighboring
tribe in the Caucasus mountains called the Circassians. The Circassians had a figure of legend named
Lady Nart Sana and her title was “Forest Mother,” which in their tongue was pronounced
“A-maz-ahn.” It seems unlikely to just be a coincidence. 3. The Facial Reconstruction Blunder In 2015, it seemed as if contemporary people
might get our first authentic look at an ancient Amazon warrior’s face. Among the Altai Mountains, a range which spans
Siberia, China, and Mongolia, the remains from a tribe called the Pazyryk were being
studied for being another potential inspiration for the Amazon warrior legend. A Swiss taxidermist named Marcel Nyfenegger
took the remains of a body that had been buried with shields, arrowheads, axe heads, and cowrie
shell jewelry (the indicator that the body had been female), and gave her skull a facial
reconstruction. Nyfenegger had apparently selected the wrong
skull to work with, or his technique needed serious reconsideration. A DNA test revealed that the supposed woman
warrior was actually male. To date, there haven’t been any reports
of anyone trying to do facial reconstructions with any ancient warrior remains that have
been confirmed to be female. 2. Cannabis When most people imagine a fearsome ancient
warrior, probably one of the last things they’d imagine the person from long ago enjoying
is some wacky tabacky. Still, it was one of the pastimes Herodutus
insisted that the Amazon warriors indulged in, with special tents used for this purpose. This was actually the first recorded use of
cannabis for intoxication in history. It would likely have struck his peers as a
peculiar method to become intoxicated, for Greeks at the time primarily used cannabis
plants to treat upset stomachs. In this case, Herodotus has firm support for
his claims from archaeology. Not only was hemp smoked by the Scythians,
many graves for both genders were found that contained hemp-smoking kits in them. No doubt many firmly insisted to the end that
it improved their combat prowess. 1. Amazon River Basin If you’ve ever wondered what warrior women
in Eurasia have to do with South America’s vast river basin, that’s on Spanish explorer
Francisco de Orellana. In 1542 he became the first European to lead
an exploration of the river, looking for the City of Gold. He insisted that he saw women warriors with
the trademark amputated breasts, and thus named the river in their honor even though
the Spaniards mostly fought them, with his chaplain Gaspar de Carjaval insisting they
sometimes fought like 10 men. Even before the 1500s were over, doubt was
being cast on Orellana’s tales. In 1595, Walter Raleigh explored the Amazon
River and said that while he heard talk of warrior women he never saw one. Even back then, he was dismissive of the idea
that they cut portions of their breasts off, if they were real. To date there has been no conclusive evidence
of an all-female tribe in the Amazon, so one of the most significant geological features
in the world is named in honor of a likely myth. For comparison, imagine if the Rocky Mountains
in the USA were called the “Sasquatch Mountains.”

100 thoughts on “10 Fascinating Facts About Amazon Warriors”

  1. I wouldn't doubt any group of people in South America. Millions of people died from European diseases and quite rapidly.

  2. I did hear that the Mongolians have absorb some of the amazons. I believe the figured this out through DNA testing of a young blue eyed blond hair girl that was the daughter of a very Asian looking mother. However I can't remember the show it was on think history channel.

  3. Imagine a state in the USA named after a novel involving a continent on the west coast. Oh that would be California!

  4. I wonder if these Amazons were a group of ancient Illyrians (a group connected to the Scythians, well known to the Greek and Roman world, and renown for their prowess in combat) that ended up becoming absorbed into Goths — genetic evidence shows signs of Illyrian signatures amongst the ancient Goths, Gauls and Iberians.

  5. Hey Simon, we need another version of this video because I couldn't understand anything. There were so many ads that I forgot the video topic. It's too bad your team makes videos this bad with so many irrelevant interruptions.

  6. Please don't say they cut their boobs off… Please don't say they cut their boobs off… Ok, thank you. That's always been one of those 'so stupid no one with half a brain that applied it to the situation could believe' kinda things.

  7. Sasquatch mountains, Big Foot lakes and Tin Foil peak.
    Wonder what were the place and river names given by the Natives?

  8. Do you think you could do a video on the top ten historical figures who were most likely gay? I think that would be really interesting.

  9. What are you trying to say, Simon? That there isn't a Sasquatch? Go back to your round earth and nonreptilian overlords!

  10. Sarmatians are the closest and even most fitting to the descriptions, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was another northern European culture seeing as even Vikings had female warriors.

  11. I would /love/ to go to the Sasquatch Mountains! I mean Rocky Mountains? Duh, of course they're rocky, they're mountains!

  12. The slender, beardless South Americans would have seemed like breastless women to the Spaniards, especially if none were taken alive and stripped. Just a thought.

  13. The fact that multiple civilizations that didn’t interact have supposedly fictional armies that are very similar makes you wonder if they were real

  14. Please look up how to pronounce names before saying them! It is my biggest gripe with this channel-you used to apologize for bad pronunciations, but lately they're just said unapologetically with glee.

  15. Re: Recorded as strong, but always lost – that sounds like the Worf Effect to me. Character is described as strong, and is visibly defeated to illustrate the strength of an opponent, but this keeps happening over and over to the point that the character has an actual reputation for just losing constantly. Or something. I'm too lazy to look it up again. It's on TVTropes I think.

  16. Amazons; Smokes weed
    Vikings; Partakes in magic mushrooms
    So, where does this assumption that being high=being chill come from again?

  17. Hang on there! Do you mean some people have been calling the Sasquatch Mountains the "Rockies"? What are our schools coming too? 😁

  18. Herodotus was the "father of lies"?! Ah, yes, the modern and not-so-modern lesser historians perpetually sniff that his wasn't "real" history of actual events; yet, few of them would ever imagine living a life of such ambition to collect the tales of such a vast swath of the entire known world of the time. (Full disclosure: "The Histories of Herodotus" was one of the most influential books I ever read, especially considering the writer's general unwillingness, unlike his contemporaries throughout the regions of Greece, Anatolia, the Middle East, etc., to attribute anything and everything to interventions by deities.)

  19. Why did I think they lived in the Amazon Rain Forrest? I am an idiot! They did however sound cool and I liked how it said they fought and died like men :). No I am not one of those modern feminists who think men and women are the same I just like that they didn't chicken out is all.

  20. Great videos mate, keep them up. I would love more ancient history and civilization fact videos, maybe the Picts or Germanic tribes. Anyway keep up the great work.

  21. There's no Sasquatch mountain range but there is a Wasatch mountain range. It's an offshoot of the Rockies in northern Utah

  22. Marijuana was used in Ancient Israel to ease the pains of childbirth. It was likely not smoked, but instead used as a permeating incense in a birthing chamber

  23. The amazons were from the northwestern tip of Africa, they fought their way all the way around the southern Mediterranean to cilicia then lost and merged with Thrace. The ones that fled went back to Africa, cilicia and Egypt

  24. OMG here we go.. White people Again trying to depict themselves as Another people. They try to pretend they are the Egyptians, Jews, Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Persians Babylonians, and Now they are trying to make the Amazonians White. smh.. The People of Amazon are or were NOT White. racist devils. there's lots of History that shows when the White race 1st came into Greece before conquering the People who were already there, which 1st began the establishment of the Greco Roman Empire at that time., But what we now call today Europeans or the Western World, but called Asia Minor before White invasion

  25. Recent evidence shows that a lot of the tales of massive cities and strange tribes may have been true and that the Amazon held millions of people that were wiped out by diseases they had no immunity to

  26. I have the theory that any bunch of women warriors who are skilled archers would develop stronger pectoral muscles on their (I know nothing about archery) "pulling" arm and also like any athlete have very low body fat end up looking like she has one breast missing or even no breasts at all. Most professional dancers have very small breasts and many are pretty much flat chested and some even end up not menstruating. Look at female body builders.

  27. Why would we ever even consider naming the Rocky Mountains the Sasquacth Mountains, we all know the Sasquaches are real…that's just silly. The mountains are named after Rocky Balboa.

  28. Coming from an American…calling the Rocky Mountains the Sasquatch Mountains would actually not be that bad…At least it's the right continent and a shared culture. the Amazon River in South America is named after a myth from ancient Greece in Europe. Different continents. Different cultures. Swing and a miss X 2 !!

  29. Ugh. The Amazon's were a myth. A society that sent out the PHYSICALLY (on average) weaker sex en mass to fight wars would quickly go extinct. You wipe out all but one man in a village, the village, may still survive. It doesn't work in reverse. Also, since war in ancient times relied more heavily on physical prowess, why would you send out an all female army with little hope for victory? Not that some women even in ancient times couldn't kill a man, bow and the like…. but as a group this would be non sense. Men have always been fascinated with the myth of the woman warrior (just look at today's anime fans), but that doesn't mean that 120lb women are going to be taking on 200lb men as a group and win. You don't see any top female contenders in sports or combat now beating their male counter parts.

  30. ANT-ee-ope? Ouch. It's an-TEE-oh-pay. At least you got Herodotus right this time.
    Edit: Bellerophon should be beh-LAIR-oh-phon.

  31. According to legend, they did once exist. That was before recorded history, which began about six thousand years ago, when society was matriarchal.
    The change from matriarchal to patriarchal being around eight thousand years ago, and now changing again from patriarchal to matriarchal.
    Oh well, one can say that the mainstream men hating feminists now are the modern ones.

  32. Whoever came up with the notion that Cannabis would improve warriors' military prowess has obviously never witnessed Cannabis use….unless laughing at the enemy non-stop was once a military strategy.

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