Amazon warrior women

Scholars decipher names of Amazon warrior women from ancient pottery

(Read the article on one page)

A new study published in the journal Hesperia claims to have deciphered the names of ancient warrior women from Greek pottery dating back 2,500 years. According to the National Geographic , linguists undertook a complex process to piece together ancient languages unspoken for millennia, revealing names such as ‘Don’t Fail’ and ‘Worthy of Armour’ ascribed to the warrior women of the Amazons.

Study lead author Adrienne Mayor and J. Paul Getty Museum assistant curator David Saunders managed to translate Greek inscriptions found on 12 ancient vases from Athens dating from 550 BC to 450 BC. The inscriptions appear next to scenes of Amazons fighting, hunting, or shooting arrows.

The inscriptions had long been a puzzle to researchers, as they were written with Greek characters but didn’t form any known words in ancient Greek. The researchers had a hunch that the Greeks may have been writing out foreign words phonetically, and sought to test out this theory.

To do so, they translated the inscriptions into their phonetic sounds, and then submitted the phonetic transcriptions to linguist John Colarusso of Canada's McMaster University in Hamilton, who is an expert on rare languages of the Caucasus.  Colarusso, who was not provided with any information regarding the source of the transcriptions, matched the phonetics to Scythian words and names, which mean ‘Princess’, ‘Don't Fail’, and ‘Hot Flanks’. There was also an archer named ‘Battle-Cry’ and a horsewoman named ‘Worthy of Armour’. On one vase, a scene of two Amazons hunting with a dog appears with a Greek transliteration for the Abkhazian word meaning "set the dog loose."

“Essentially, the ancient Greeks seem to have been trying to re-create the sounds of Scythian names and words on the Amazon vases by writing them out phonetically,” writes the National Geographic. “In doing so, the Greeks may have preserved the roots of ancient languages, showing scholars how these people sounded on the steppes long ago.”

Ancient Greek cup depicting an Amazon warrior

Ancient Greek cup depicting an Amazon warrior on a horse (510 BC).  Scholars suggest wording on the vase names the woman ‘Worthy of Armor’ in ancient Circassian. Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum.

The 12 vases that formed part of the study are among more than 1,500 ancient Greek vessels that depict the Amazons, which reflects a long-running Greek fascination with the female warriors.

"Amazons were clearly exotic and exciting to the Greeks. Clearly there is respect and admiration mixed with ambivalence," said Mayor. "Women lived much more separate and unequal lives in the Greek world, so the notion of women who dressed like men and fought like them was pretty exciting to them."

The Amazons were a nation with female warriors that inhabited a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern-day Crimea). Legend has it that they were so dedicated to being warriors, that they cut off one of their breasts so that they would be better able to wield a bow. Amazons were thought to be solely mythological until archaeologists unearthed Scythian burials of real female fighters. Since then, scientists and historians have been working to piece together the dramatic lives of these mighty warriors.

Featured image: Amazon women were known as fierce warriors.

By April Holloway

Comments

Very interesting information

rbflooringinstall's picture

Awesome article. You don't ever really hear much about the Amazon's.

Peace and Love,

Ricky.

angieblackmon's picture

Love hearing about strong women!!

love, light and blessings

AB

‘Hot Flanks’ must have been a beauty!

girl ancient iran or persian

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Celtic Creation Myth – Eiocha and the one tree.
Creation myths are like bubbles of time, and when you pop one, stories of how prehistoric cultures interacted with each other, and nature, are found. Celtic mythology, more so than most folkloric systems, offers a perspective on how people interacted with the land and sea during different seasons of the year.

Myths & Legends

Right: Detail of a statue of a reclining Attis. The Shrine of Attis is situated to the east of the Campus of the Magna Mater in Ostia. Statue of Jesus Christ as a shepherd with a lamb.
Recently, it has been popular to suggest in some circles that Christianity was influenced, or even derived from, the ancient Roman mystery religions – religions often known to have orgiastic rituals and connection to a personal god.

Human Origins

Celtic Creation Myth – Eiocha and the one tree.
Creation myths are like bubbles of time, and when you pop one, stories of how prehistoric cultures interacted with each other, and nature, are found. Celtic mythology, more so than most folkloric systems, offers a perspective on how people interacted with the land and sea during different seasons of the year.

Ancient Technology

Mammoth in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). The display is from 1979, and the fur is musk ox hair.
In Sivershchina, close to the village of Mizyn in Ukraine is one of the oldest and most unique settlements of humans – and it was discovered in a parking lot. The now well-known archaeological site, known plainly as the Mizyn parking lot, dates back 18-20 thousand years.

Ancient Places

The highly-decorated tomb is built in a distinctive ‘L’ shape
A mysterious ancient tomb with “unusual and rare” wall paintings has been discovered in Egypt. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told BBC reporters the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb found during excavation work in Giza’s western cemetery “likely belonged to Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, who assisted women in childbirth.”

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article