Friday, March 28, 2014

We Are the Descendants of WONDER WOMAN

Good morning, all!

I loved Jennifer Snow's quote this week about how she handles the situation when self-doubt rears its ugly head.  "I punch it in the face," she said, "and continue writing."  She's obviously a distant relative of Diana, Princess of Themyscira and daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazon women. (Known in the DC Comics created by psychologist and comic book writer, William Moulton Marston, as Diana Prince and Wonder Woman.)  I am reading from the current Smithsonian magazine and an article written by Amanda Foreman who believes there is proof that Amazons existed.  Wow.

According to 5th Century BC historian, Herodotus, the Amazonian capital of Themyscira is a fortified city on the banks of the Thermodon River near the coast of the Black Sea in what is now northern Turkey. The women pillaged as far away as Persia, but must have had a nesting side because they founded several famous towns - Smyrna, Ephesus, Sinope and Paphos.  Procreation happened only once a year with a neighboring tribe.  Boy babies were sent back to their fathers, and girls were raised to be warriors.  It is said that Amazons cut or cauterized their right breasts in order to have better control of their bows.

A battle with the Greeks at Thermodon ended their idyllic existence.  Three shiploads of captured Amazons ran aground near Scythia, on the southern coast of the Black Sea.  The women were braced to fight, but ROMANCE conquered  and love happened between the Amazons and the Scythians.  They married and their descendants became nomads, crossing northeast into the steppes where they became known as the Sauromatians.  The women hunted on horseback with their husbands, and took the field in battle.

In the 1990s, a joint team of U.S. and Russian archaeologists discovered 2000-year-old burial mounds outside of a remote Russian outpost near the Kazakhstan border.  They found over 150 Sauromatian graves and among them were those of warrior women who had been buried with their weapons.  One young female lay with an iron dagger on her left side and a quiver containing 40 bronze-tipped arrows on her right.   Another female skeleton still had a bent arrowhead beneath her ribs.  On average, the females measured 5 feet, six inches - exceptionally tall for their time.

I like to think there was a race of warrior women in our past who could handle abusive parents, child predators, or abusers of any kind without having to adhere to rules or political correctness.  I like to think that if a woman must have a mastectomy, it will not only save her life, but make her better able to use her bow in battle.  When I feel cowardly, I like the thought that way, way back in our history, there were women who feared nothing - not even romance.


22 comments:

  1. This was some awesome and intense historical info, Muriel! I think our motto for the week should be: Write like an Amazon. :D Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Exactly! I take up the cry - Write like an Amazon!

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  2. Muriel--I LOVE this post. Wonder Woman was my first "idol" growing up (in fact I recently found a channel running reruns on Saturday night, LOL). The power we possess is so important...and so often forgotten or pushed aside, but this is a wonderful reminder of just how much we can accomplish. Girls raised to be warriors--awesome. Thank you for this--it's the perfect start to the weekend.

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    1. Thank you, Anna. I also learned that Gloria Steinem used Wonder Woman on the first cover of Ms. Magazine. I was never a serious feminist, but I did admire her investigative work as a journalist.

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  3. Muriel, great bit of history. I think women have been more powerful through the ages than often portrayed. Look how many queens ruled their people, and the African continent has long been led by the matrilineal line. So yay women.

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  4. I am so inspired, Muriel! I want to write a book about an Amazon woman running aground and falling for her captor... if only I was any good at Historical Romance writing... *sigh. This was such a fun post to read. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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    1. Funny you should say that! There was so much material, I had to leave out a lot of detail, but there's a legend that Achilles killed the then Amazonian queen, Penthesilea, in hand-to-hand combat, but fell instantly in love with her as her helmet slipped and revealed her beautiful face. Just like some guys - just don't get it until it's too late.

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    2. Oh, I think this is my favorite tidbit of all. Achilles was such a heel.

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  5. This is so incredibly interesting...and incredible, Muriel! Love this so much I bookmarked it. I'm going to remember Cerella's motto...write like an Amazon ;).

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  6. Oh my....this is fantastic! I'd love to stick around and chat, but I have arrows to shoot (minus the painful body...um...'adjustment') and worlds to conquer... Girl power!

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  7. I would not be cauterizing anything! But it is empowering to know that they did exist.

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  8. I'm with you there. But you have to admire the dedication.

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  9. I love this story, Muriel. It reminds me of how much I enjoyed reading Wonder Woman comics when I was a kid. And I love the idea of romance bringing the men and women together. Yay, romance! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, Linda. Men, women with bows and arrows, and romance - how could I not share?

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  10. No wonder I loved Wonder Woman as a girl. I even had the Underroos to prove my love :)
    Loved reading this. I think you've really inspired us!

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    1. Underoos! Haven't thought about those in ages. Bet you were adorable. Write like an Amazon!

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  11. Interesting post. I often have daydreams of being a conquering, all-powerful female. Doesn’t go far beyond the daydreams, though.

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    1. You know, I do, too. I picture myself as Xena - but I look more like Marjorie Main in leather. Do you get a comic strip called Rose is Rose? She's an everyday mom with a husband and a little boy and her warrior persona is a biker chick. I love her.

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