1. A female hoplite?

    (a misleading Title, I admit, but it got you reading, didn’t it?)

    Many Indian kings kept female bodyguard units; the Seleucid envoy Megasthenes records Chandragupta Maurya attended by armed women, some Tamil kings had similar female guards, and the 2nd century AD sculptures from Amaravati show several armed women, on one of whom this figure is based. Her headgear is probably cloth, wound around her piled-up hair. The sword is the only weapon shown. Guardswomen are assigned by later dramatists to many early, legendary kings, but Chandragupta may have been the first to use them in reality. They are conventionally called Greek, but I doubt if Chandragupta’s were; Megasthenes, a Greek himself, would surely have remarked upon such an unusual sight as armed Greek women at a foreign court. Greek women, like male Greek mercenaries, may have been first hired as the Greek military class sought employment as their kingdoms broke up in the 1st century BC. Megasthenes describes Chandragupta’s guardswomen escorting him on the hunt, riding horses, elephants and chariots. If they actually fought in battle, which is perhaps doubtful, they may thus have been mounted.

    Think not the less of me if this is the first time I’ve run across something in a history book which admits the possibility of Greek female warriors. I’m sure there were some in reality, and now that I’m typing this someone will pipe up with, “Oh, Jess, you poor misguided buffoon, didn’t you know about The Greek Female Warrior in the Peloponnesian Wars: They Were Responsible For 90% of the Deaths, You Know,” but this one was new to me.

Notes

  1. brandx reblogged this from jessnevins
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  3. jhameia reblogged this from jessnevins and added:
    This is fascinating, Jess. Where is this from?
  4. jessnevins posted this