Who are the Amazons? - Scythian women
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Who are the Amazons?

Amazon
A Greek depiction of an Amazon
(Athens, ca. 420 BC; Wikimedia)

The Amazons, in Greek mythology, were a group of warriors who were all women and girls. There were no men among them. One famous Greek story about the Amazons is the story of Penthesileia.

According to the Greeks, the Amazons lived to the north of Greece, around the Black Sea.

amazon with her name written along her leg
Amazon with her Scythian name written
alongside her leg

These Greek stories probably come from the fact that among the people who lived north of the Black Sea - the Scythians and other people related to the Scythians like the Sogdians - women had a lot more power than they did in Greece. In real life, men still had more power than women, even among the Scythians, but Greek travellers like Herodotus thought it was weird for women to be so free, and that was what they remembered about these people. Some Scythian women really did wear pants and ride horses and shoot bows and arrows in war.

On Greek vases, paintings of Amazons often come with written name-tags, where the letters are Greek but spell out Scythian names. Chinese, Persian, Indian, and Egyptian stories also told about the fighting, free women of Central Asia.

Learn by doing: archery contests
More about the Scythians

Bibliography and further reading about the Amazons:

D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D'Aulaire.

Pandora's Box: A Three-Dimensional Celebration of the Mythology of Ancient Greece, by Sara Maitland and Christos Kondeatis (1995). Not really about Pandora specifically, but a complex of stories, games, and puzzles about Greek mythology. People love it!

More about the Scythians
Ancient Greece
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 19 October, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT