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|Tuesday, November 28th, 2006|
Various Other Women Warriors
The Koekchuch: Lesbian Shamans of Kamchatka
In the far northeastern corner of Asia, on the Kamchatka peninsula of Siberia, women enjoyed a degree of freedom and respect unknown to most 20th century women. Lesbians were free to pursue lovers and professions of their choice. They could marry other women if they wanted to. Some wore men's clothing and became hunters. The Kamchadals called these women koekchuch.
Far from being stigmatized, as lesbians are in patriarchal societies, the koekchuch were honored and even looked to as spiritual leaders: "Among the Kamchadal there are no special shamans as among other nations but every old woman and koekchuch is a witch, and explains dreams," wrote Krassheninikov in his "Description of the Country of Kamchatka" (1775).
The Koryaks of Kamchatka were matrilineal and matrilocal, meaning that descent was traced through the mother and men lived with their wives' families. Children remained with their mothers' clan. Russian travellers wrote that Kamchatka women were able to control their pregnancies by drinking a tea of konlakhin grass. Before the Russian conquest, these Siberian women proudly gave birth before the entire community, assisted by their mothers and old women.
Cécile Fatiman was a Vodunsi priestess who played a key role in sparking the 1791 revolution against slavery in Haiti.
Abla Pokou led a group of refugees out of the Ashanti empire into Ivory Coast, where she founded the Baulé nation.
Asian Women Warriors
Qiu Jin (1879-1907)
"Thought should be given to the black darkness of our China; what it is like! To the hazard, danger of the road before our China, what it is like! To the black darkness of women's realm in our China: still more what it is like! Sad, downcast, I grieve, moved by affection I rise, I run forward calling loudly to elder sisters, younger sisters, companions of the womb, begging them to establish a women's publication in China. Ah! slowly, slowly a thread of light is piercing the black darkness of our women's realm, which shut in on all sides, for four times one thousand years has existed until the present day.
..I would now bind twice then thousand times ten thousand women in single indivisibility under our guidance; would at dawn and dusk penetrate women's realm throughout the country discussing general control in women's affairs; would provide women with dashing waves of independence in life's course. I would now rouse women's essence, spirit, to rise as birds in flight over fields, leaving swiftly earths dust, that they may speedily cross the frontier into the great world of light and brilliance. I desire that they be leaders, awakened lions, advance messengers of learning and intelligence; that they may serve as rafts crossing cloudy ferries; as lamps in dark chambers. That they may let shine, from the center of women's realm in our country, bright light resplendant, glittering rare in the beauty of its color; that on the whole earth globe, they startle the hearts, snatch the eyes of men, causing all to applaud, rejoice.
I desire my companions of the womb, uniting to encourage themselves enthusiastically, to expend their strength, to pray that this magazine be established."
--from Qiu Jin's appeal for a Chinese women's newspaper Zhongguo Nu Bao which she and Xu Zi-hua founded.
Qiu's activism included organizing for women's rights and education and against the customs of binding girls' feet and selling women and girls into slavery. She herself lost custody of her children because her husband disapproved of her political action. Jin was involved in Sun Yat-sen's organization of the Guomintang and in efforts to overthrow the Manchu dynasty, for which she was beheaded in 1907.
In pre-Islamic times, Arab women served as warriors, administrators, and ambassadors. Zenobia, wife of Odenath the King of Palmyra (in modern Syria), rode with her husband on campaigns against the Persians and the Goths. After Odenath's death, Queen Zenobia seized Roman territories and rebelled against Roman rule. Chronicles say she was as daring as her husband in combat.
Poetess El-Khaansa, a comtempory of the prophet Mohammed, was also a renowned warrior. In 15th Yemen, Zaydi chieftain Sharifa Fatima, daughter of an imam, conquered San'a. And in the 18th century, Amira Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya led a military resistance movement in Saudi Arabia to defend Mecca against foreign takeover. The kings of Persia reportedly had female bodyguards.
During the second Anglo-Afghan war, the Afghan woman Malalai carried the Afghani flag into battle after the soldiers bearing the flag were killed by the British. Afghan women played an active role in the fight against European imperialists.
Khutulun, daughter of a brother of Kublai Khan, was a legendary soldier. Her father held the Central Asian khanate while Kublai ruled from China. She was without dispute her father's best warrior. It was said that Khutulun would ride into enemy ranks and pluck out a captive as easily as a hawk picks out a chicken. No man had ever bested Khutulun in a fight. A Mongol prince who came to ask for her hand was beaten by Khutulun in a public wrestling match. Like Urduja of the Philippines, she never married.
In Kerala, India, women, as well as men, train intensely in the indigenous martial art of Kalari Payattu. Young girls and mothers can kill or paralyze with one blow. The nizams of Hyderabad in the Deccan had female guards. The kings of Kandy in Sri Lanka were protected by archeresses.
The Indian queen Jhansi Ki Rani Lakshmibai (Lakshmibai, Queen of Jhansi) practiced the arts of war since childhood. Born a noblewoman, she married the Rajah of the state of Jhansi and became an accomplished military leader. She led her armies into battle and resisted the British to the bitter end. Jhansi Ki Rani was reported to have manipulated her horse's reins with her teeth while shooting a pistol with each hand. She killed many European men in battle with her own hand. Yet such images are largely ignored by the Western media, which prefers to dish up images of submissive Indian widows committing sati in popular fiction such as The Far Pavilions and Around the World in 80 Days. In contrast to its prominence in Western fiction, sati only occupies a small place in the wide scope of Indian culture - its practice was limited to a few small castes in a particular part of India.
Warrior queens and princesses were not uncommon in Filipino life prior to the Spanish conquest. It was said a blind princess resided on a island some way from Luzon. No man came into her presence except by passing through her formidable force of bodyguards. She was such a skilled fighter that even the one man who ever overcame the tests of her bodyguards could not touch her.
Another warrior, Princess Urduja, ruled over a vast area of the Philippine Archipelago in the 14th century. Urduja said she would only marry a warrior who was her equal or better. So she never married. Following in the tradition of Filipina women, 18th century warrior Gabriela Silang led the longest revolt against the Spanish. Teresa Magbanua (1871-1947) and other Filipinas fought in the Philippine revolution. M., a modern Filipino man of Spanish descent says, "The present day cultural machismo was introduced by the Spanish; old Filipino culture gave great respect to women".
In the early centuries of the 1st millennium, Vietnamese women warriors commanded armed forces. Sisters Trung Trac and Trung Nhi in the 1st century CE and Trieu Au in the 3rd century CE led uprisings against Chinese imperialists. Records of armed Vietnamese women astride war elephants still exist today.
In the 19th century the king of Siam was guarded by a battalion of 400 women armed with spears. They were said to perform drills better than male soldiers and were crack spear-throwers. A similar phenomenon was reported in a Javan princedom.
The earliest records of Japanese history are filled with accounts of warrior queens leading their armies against enemy strongholds in the land of Yamato or in Korea. The Heike Monogatari records a general Tomoe who served the warlord Yoshinaka. A famed rider of untamed horses, she was called "the equal of a thousand", capable of dealing even with "demons and gods".
The medieval Chinese produced many formidable women warriors. The Chinese martial art of Wing Chun was developed by Yan Yongchun and the Venerable Wumei - founders of the Yongchun (Wing Chun) martial arts system.
Daughters of military families trained in the martial arts and often served as military officers themselves. These women led armies and fought battles, even rising to the rank of General. Hardly the kind of material for The World of Suzy Wong. There were numerous such Chinese women. A few examples - soldiers, pirates, scholars, sages and rulers.
Medieval Mongolian noblewomen were outspoken and had many opportunities for martial training. Their influence extended way beyond Northeast Asia, as in the case of Khutulun, described above. Mongol women fought as regulars in campaigns against Turks and Europeans.
African Women Warriors
According to Greek accounts, the earliest Amazons came from Libya (then a name for most of North Africa). They wore red leather and carried crescent-shaped shields. It was these Libyan Amazons, they said, who later founded cities and temples in the Aegean and Anatolia.
At a much later period, the Amazons of Dahomey were crack all-female troops, all female, who also served as royal bodyguards. They were also priestesses and wore crescent moon crowns.
The Hausa had a number of warrior queens, notably Amina of Zau Zau. A woman named Bazao-Turunku led warriors and founded a town south of Zaria.
Nupe women warriors called Isadshi-Koseshi fought as fiercely as the men, opposing invasions of the Fulbe conquerers who raided the Nupe for cattles and slaves, especially women.
JAMAICA - Nyabinghi, the "hidden queen" fought to free Africans from English slavery and rule. Also called Queen Muhmusa or Tahtahme, she inspired the Nyabinghi underpinnings of Rastafarianism.
Nanny of the Maroons was born in Ghana, and folk history says that she came to Jamaica with the express purpose of becoming a high priestess and leader of her people, never having been a slave. She led the eastern Maroons based in Moreton, and forged an alliance with another group led by Cudjoe. (The name Maroons comes from the Spanish cimarron, meaning "gone back to the wild.")
The Jamaican Maroons were the first people to force the English to sign a treaty with their subjects, on March 1, 1738. The lands conceded in this treaty formed a base for the Maroon's independent survival. One of these communities was named Nannytown after the female Ghanaian leader. Maroon country was so feared by the English that it became known as the "Land of Look-Behind."
AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN BEAT BACK SLAVECATCHERS
In the summer of 1848, eight or ten people made it across the Ohio river in their northward flight from slavery. The slave catchers tracked them into town, but the bounty they were after turned out to be elusive:
"The women began to gather from adjoining houses until the Amazons were about equal to the [slave-hunters]-- the former with shovels, tongs, washboards and rolling pins; the latter with revolvers, sword-canes and bowie-knives. Finally the beseigers decamped, leaving the Amazons in possession of the field, amid the jeers and loud huzzahs of the crowd." --Report from The North Star, an African-American paper out of Cincinnati, August 11, 1848.
"If you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon you my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight until the last of us falls in the battlefield." --Ya Asantewa, an Ashanti queen who led the resistence to British colonial rule in Ghana. She succeeded in the short run, but the Ashanti were heavily outgunned.
THE "WAR OF THE WOMEN"
The Aba rebellion in southeastern Nigeria grew out of a traditional female rite of the Ibo. People were outraged at the colonial government's plan to tax women, "the trees that bear fruit." In protest, Ibo women bound their heads with ferns, painted their faces with ash, put on loincloths and carried sacred sticks with palm frond wreaths. Thousands marched on the District Office, dancing, singing protests, and demanding the cap of office of the colonial chief Okugo. When he approached one woman to count her goats and sheep, she had retorted, "Was mother counted?"
This protest spread into a vast regional insurrection. The Ibo women's councils mobilized demonstrations in three provinces, turning out over 2,000,000 protesters. The British District Officer at Bende wrote, "The trouble spread in the 2nd week of December to Aba, an important trading center on the railway. Here there converged some 10,000 women, scantily clothed, girdled with green leaves, carrying sticks. Singing angry songs against the chiefs and the court messengers, the women proceeded to attack and loot the European trading shops, stores, and Barclay's Bank, and to break into the prison and release the prisoners."
Elsewhere women protestors burned down the hated British "Native Courts" and cut telegraph wires, throwing officials into panic. The colonials fired on the female protesters, killing more than fifty and wounding more. Marches continued sporadically into 1930. These mass actions became known as the Aba Rebellion of 1929, or The War of the Women. It was one of the most significant anti-colonial revolts in Africa of that day.
Diola women led similar protests against French attempts to exact a tribute from their rice harvest in Senegal, an event dramatized by filmmaker Ousmane Sembene.
If you want to know who I am
I am daughter of Angola, of Kêto and Nagô
I don't fear blows because I am a warrior
Inside of samba I was born
I raised myself, I transformed myself, and
no one will lower my banner, O, O, O.
I am a warrior woman daughter of Ogun and Yansâ
---Song from an album by Brazilian singer Clara Nuñes
16th Century - Women Warriors
1518 in Guienne, France, the Protestant Garrison, a group of 350 girls, were pressed into service to construct and defend fortifications.
Ameliane du Puget, the governor's daughter, led a troop of women who broke a siege at Marseilles in 1524 during a war between the King of France and the Constable de Bourbon. They dug a mined trench known as the Tranchee des Dames which became the modern day Boulevard des Dames.
Hernan Cortés' army in Mexico in 1521 included Spanish and Mayan women some of whom fought with the army.
Beatriz de Pardes was a nurse, but on occasion fought in the place of her husband, Pedro de Escoto.
María de Estrada was noted for her valor at the battle of the bridges on the noche triste.
Francisco de Orellana encountered women leading South American native warbands and taking part in attacks during an expedition down the Amazon River in 1541-2.
Lilliard led the Scots at the Battle of Ancrum in 1545 She killed the English commander but was killed herself later in the battle.
Graine Ni Maille (1550-1600)was an Irish princess and pirate (also known as Grace O'Malley) . She commanded a large fleet of ships. She petitioned Queen Elizabeth I of England regarding her various territorial claims, and the two met in 1593. Despite her own officers' reports that Grace was attacking English navy, shipping and coastal towns, the Queen accepted Grace's claims.
In 1568, two sisters, Amaron and Kenau Hasselaar, led a battalion of 300 women who fought on the walls and outside the gates to defend the Dutch city of Haarlem against a Spanish invasion.
Marguerite Delaye lost an arm fighting in the battle which lifted the siege of Montelimar in 1569.
In 1584 a group of Dutch and English volunteers recaptured the city of Ghent from the Spanish. One of the volunteers was Captain Mary Ambree.
Tomoe Gozen captured the city of Kyoto in Japan in 1584 after winning the Battle of Kurikawa. She was described as being a strong archer and excellent swordswoman.
Dona Catalina de Erauso of San Sebastian left a nunnery in 1596 and travelled to Peru where she became a soldier of fortune. She used sword, knife, and pistol, and fought in battles and in duels. She died around 1650.
The naginata is a Japanese curved spear. Since the 15th Century it has been the traditional weapon of ladies of the bushi class.
15th Century - Women Warriors
Defenders of a bulwark in Prague in July 1420 included two women and one girl who threw stones and lances at the attacking army.
During the siege of Orléans, France, in 1428, townswomen hauled buckets of boiling water, fat, lime and ashes to be poured them down on the English attackers.
Maire o Ciaragain led Irish clans in revolt
Margret Paston took charge of the defence of her home in her husband's absence during the Wars of the Roses, she asked him to send crossbows, poleaxes and iron spikes in a letter in 1448.
Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504) was married to Ferdinand of Aragon. She was heir to her half brother Henry IV of Castille and inherited his throne in her own right in 1474. This led to a war with supporters of his wife's allegedly illegitimate daughter, Juana. Later in her reign she and Ferdinand attacked the Moors and drove them out of Southern Spain. Isabella wore armour and led her army in the field, she also planned strategy and organised the supplies and field hospitals.
Her importance to the army was illustrated by the fact that her illness after a miscarriage while she was in command of an army at Toledo in 1475 gave her enemies a respite.
From "Treasure of the City of Ladies" by Christine de Pizan : "We have also said that she [the baroness] ought to have the heart of a man, that is, she ought to know how to use weapons and be familiar with everything that pertains to them, so that she may be ready to command her men if the need arises. She should know how to launch an attack or to defend against one."
The Burgundians (and most other European states) sometimes had women serving on gun crews. The gun captain was hired and given a fixed amount of money to provide a crew, so there was a tendency to use his own family so as to keep more of the money.
The Royal Armouries Yearbook 1997 (ISBN 1366-3925) has an article by Thom Richardson on The Bridport Muster Roll of 1457. These are the names of ordinary people who were called up to the army. 174 names on the list are legible, and 5 of these (2.9%) are women. Alis Hammel has her own jack, sword, buckler, salet, bow and arrows. Alis Gare has a bow and a coat of plates."Condefer Wife" has bow, arrows, sword and buckler. Margaret Athyn and Sally Pens do not have any equipment listed, but overall 39% of the names on the list do not have any equipment listed.
A German fighting manual published in 1467 by Hans Talhoffer includes a section on techniques which could be used in a judicial duel between a man and a woman.
Maroula of Limnos (or Lemnos), Greece, fought against the Turks in 1475/8. (
Caterina Sforza (also known as Catherine or Katherina) was the daughter of the Duke of Milan. She married Girolamo Riaro, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. She is said to have excelled in boisterous athletic sports. In 1483 she defended her husband's territory from the Venetians. While seven months pregnant she held a fortress at St Angelo after the death of Pope Sixtus until his successor could claim it. After her husband's death she was sole ruler of Forli and Imola in Italy in the name of her son. She fought in many campaigns. She refused to surrender in return for safe passage during one seige. She was captured in 1500 and eventually released in 1501. She died in 1509.
In the War of the Roses (1459-1487) Queen Margaret became the Lancastrian leader.
During the War of the Roses Lady Knyvet refused to surrender her castle to Sir Gilbert Debenham because her husband had left her in charge of its defence.
14th Century - Women Warriors
"Isobel, Countess of Buchan: (A.D. 1296-1358) Isobel MacDuff left her husband, the Earl of Buchan (Taking the finest warhorses with her), to fight for the Bruce, a cause of which her husband did not approve. The earl went as far as to issue a warrant for her death. Captured by Edward and taken to England, the countess of Buchan was imprisoned in a small cage for four years. She afterwards retired to convent life."
"Jeanne de Danpierre, Countess de Montfort: (Abt. 1300 - 74). (also known as Jane, Countess of Montfort) During the defence of Hennebont (in which she'd had the misfortune to be besieged by her & her husband's enemies), she wore armour, rode a warhorse, and sorted out the defence of the city by observing the enemy from the walls. Jeanne also mobilised the townswomen to defend the ramparts with makeshift missiles. She broke out from Hennebont at the head of 300 horseman, during a French assault on the walls, and successfully fought her way to Brest. She later returned with 600 additional men to reinforce the town. Later that same year, she is reported to have taken part in a sea-skirmish off Guernsey; wearing a suit of armour at the helm of her ship, and wielding a sword.
Isabelle of England: (A.D. 1285?-1313?) Daughter of Phillippe le Bel of France, wife of Edward II of England. She took up arms against her husband and his supporters. When Edward III came to the throne, he forced Isabelle to flee to Scotland, where, during the ensuing war, she travelled with a defending troop of like-spirited women including two sisters of Nigel and Robert Bruce (Christian, Lady Bruce and Isobel, Countess of Buchan). Against this troop of noblewomen, Edward issued a formal proscription. He did capture several and imprison them. Isabelle he forced to retire to a convent life lest she try further conquests.
Christian, Lady Bruce: Sister of Robert I. During the Wars of Independence and the reign of Edward I, Lady Bruce defended Kildrummy Castle when it was besieged by David of Strathbogie, who served English interests. Strathbogie fell in battle, and it was left to his widow to defend (for seven months) the island fortress of Lochindorb against three thousand vengeful Scots." (information given by Geoff Cook - firstname.lastname@example.org) Queen Isabelle of England
"Christian's sisters Marjory Bruce and Mary Bruce were also warlike, as was that grotesquely punished Bruce supporter Isobel, Countess of Buchan.
Phillipa of Hainault: (A.D. 1314?-1369) Queen of Edward III. In 1346, she led twelve thousand soldiers against invading Scots, capturing their king, David Bruce. She was patroness of Chaucer and founded Queen's College."
Black Agnes: Lady Agnes Randolph (A.D. 1300?-1369?), wife of Patrick the fourth earl of Dunbar and the second earl of March. In her youth, she fought for the Bruce, but is better remembered for the later defense of her castle. In 1334, Black Agnes daughter of the great Randolf, earl of Moray, successfully held her castle at Dunbar against the besieging forces of England's earl of Salisbury for over five months, despite the unusual number of engineers and elaborate equipment brought against her. After each assault on her fortress, her maids dusted the merlins and crenels, treating her foes and the dreadfuls seige as a tiresome jest. She is celebrated in a folk song attributed to Salisbury:
She kept a stir in tower and trench,
That brawling, boisterous Scottish wench;
Came I early, came I late
I found Agnes at the gate.
Sir Walter Scott said, 'From the record of Scottish heroes, none can presume to erase her.' "
In 1342, King Edward III of England's troops commanded by Robert of Artois captured part of the town of Vannes in Brittany. The following day they were removed from the town by the garrison troops and citizens of the town, including a mob of furious women.
Agnes Hotot, (A.D. 1378? - ?). The coat of arms of the House of Dudley shows a woman in war helmet, dishelved hair hanging out, and her breasts exposed, commemorating a female champion. In the fourteenth century A.D., Agnes Hotot's father, of the House of Dudley, quarreled with another man and agreed to a lance fight to settle the affair. Upon the appointed hour, Agnes's father fell seriously ill. Agnes put on a helmet and disguised her sex, mounted her father's horse and set out for the tourney grounds. 'After a stubborn encounter,' Agnes dismounted her father's foe. When he lay on the ground, 'she loosened the stay of her helmet, let down her hair and disclosed her bussom,' so that he would know he had been conquered by a woman."
It can never be known how commonly women fought in the tournaments we are all so familiar with from tales of knights and damsels. One thing is certain, the damsels were sometimes the knights, and Agnes was not the lonesome example. Tourney exercise would seem to have been essential or women such as Adelaide Ponthiey could never have gained the required expertise for her succes in the Crusades. Hunting with hound or hawk and equestrian arts were encouraged in the aristocratic lady of the Middle Ages; it is not a far leap from there to the tourneys.
A 1348 British chronicle tells of women 'free from matrimonial restraints' whose behavior startled the public: When the tournaments were held, in every place a company of ladies appeared in the the diverse and marvelous dress of a man, to the number sometimes of about forty, sometimes fifty, ladies from the more handsome and more beautiful, but not the better ones of the entire kingdom; in divided tunics, with small hoods, even having across their stomachs, below the middle, knives which they vulgarly called daggers placed in pouches from above. Thus they came on excellent chargers or other horses splendidly adorned, to the place of tournament. And in such manner they spent and wasted their riches and injured their bodies with abuses with ludicrous wantoness.'
Pope Boniface VIII wrote several letters in 1383 in which he mentioned Genoese ladies who were Crusaders.
13th Century - Women Warriors
Nicola de la Haye was in charge of Lincoln Castle when rebel barons and Louis, son of the French King Philip beseiged it in 1217. She was the daughter of Baron de la Haye, hereditary castellan of Lincoln. She successfully defended the town against several rebel raids and was made sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1216.
The Order of the Glorious Saint Mary was founded in Italy in 1233, and approved by Pope Alexander IV in 1261. It was the first religious order of knighthood to grant the rank of "militissa" to women. The Order was suppressed by Sixtus V in 1558.
The Countess of Pembroke was put her in charge of her husband's knights in 1267 while he was away from home.
Jeanne of Navarre (1271-1304) was the ruler of Navarre, Brie and Champagne. She was married to King Philip the Fair of France. She led her army against that of the Count de Bar when he attempted to rebel against her.
In 1297 the Countess of Ross led her own troops during William Wallace and Andrew de Moray's battles with the English.
12th Century - Women Warriors
The Order of the Hatchet (orden de la Hacha) was founded in 1149 by the Count of Barcelona, to honor the women who fought for the defense of the town of Tortosa against a Moorish attack. (
Alrude, Countess of Bertinoro in Italy led her army and broke a siege at Aucona in 1172, she also took part in several battles when she returned to her own castle.
Petronilla, Countess of Leicester took part in her husband's rebellion against Henry II in 1173. According to Jordan Fantosome "she was armed in a hauberk and carried a sword and shield".
A Papal Bull of 1189 prohibited women from joining the Third Crusade, but was widely ignored.
Queens Eleanor of Aquitaine, Eleanor of Castile, Marguerite de Provence, Florine of Denmark and Berengaria of Navarre are known to have gone on Crusade. Guilbert de Nogent wrote a history of the Crusades and mentioned "a troop of Amazons" who accompanied Emperor Conrad to Syria as well as women Crusaders in the army of William, Count of Poitiers.
Queen Tamara of Georgia was crowned in 1178 and became co-ruler with her father. When he died in 1184 she was sole ruler, although also under the guardianship of her aunt Rusudani. Tamara married George Bodolyubskin of Kiev in 1187, but later sent him into exile as punishment for his infidelities. He led revolts against her rule. Her second marriage was to David Sosland, an Ossetian prince. They had a son in 1194 and a daughter in 1195. She planned battle strategy and addressed her troops before battle, but did not actually lead them in combat, so her role was more like that of a modern general. She died in 1212.
The Empress Maud, also known as Matilda, Empress of Germany, Countess of Anjou, Domina Anglorum, Lady of the English, Matilda Augusta and Matilda the Good, was the daughter of King Henry I of England and Normandy. Her father made her his heir, but the Barons refused to accept her and her cousin Stephen was crowned King in 1135. Maud then invaded England and a long civil war continued for many years until Stephen agreed to make Maud's son Henry his heir. She died in Normandy in 1167.
In the late 1100's, during the Gempei War in Japan, Tomoe Gozen fought alongside her husband, a Minamoto general. Yae, a mistress of Takeda Shingen, fought alongside him and commanded a squad of female cavalry.
11th Century - Women Warriors
Urraca, Queen of Aragon became ruler of Leon-Castile in 1094 when her husband died. She remarried in 1098 and then spent 13 years at war with her second husband, Alfonso the Battler, to protect the inheritance rights of her son by her first marriage. She led her own armies into battle.
Teresa of Portugal, half sister of Urraca, also led her own armies into battle.
Matilda of Ramsbury, mistress of Bishop Roger of Salisbury commanded the Bishop's Castle in Devizes, England. She and her son were beseiged there by King Stephen's forces for three days in 1139. Matilda surrendered when the King threatenned to torture and kill Roger and his sons.
Duchess Gaita of Lombardy (also known as Sichelgaita Princess of Lombardy or Sykelgaita), who died in 1090, was married to a Norman mercenary. She was a soldier and rode into battle with her husband wearing full armour. Princess Anna Comnena of Constantinople called Gaita a "formidable sight."
Matilda, Countess of Tuscany (also known as Matilda of Canossa) was born in Northern Italy in 1046. She learned weapons skills as a child. She first went into battle at her mother's side in 1061 defending the interests of Pope Alexander II. When her stepfather, Duke Godfrey, died in 1069 Matilda began to command armies. She is described as having led her troops personally and wielded her late father's sword. She spent some thirty years at war in the service of Pope Gregory VIII and then Pope Urban against the German Emperor Henry IV. She married twice, but had no children.
She retired to a Benedictine monastery, but in 1114 when there was an uprising in the nearby city of Mantua she threatened to lead an army against the townsfolk. She died in 1115.
In the late 11th Century there was a conflict over land in Northern France in which Isabel of Conches "rode armed as a knight".
Pre and Ancient History - Women Warriors
The Rig-Veda, an ancient sacred poem of India, written between 3500 and 1800 BC recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with an iron prosthesis, and returned to battle. (source Prosthetic History Page)
1760 BC: Eurypyle, leader of an all-female expedition against Babylonia, captures the capital of the Amorites.
Between 1570 and 1546 BC Queen Aahhotep I (or Ahhotep or Ahotep) of Egypt led armies against Thebes and helped to unite Egypt under one rule.
1479 BC-1458 BC: Approximate reign of Hatshepsut, female pharaoh and war leader.
On the walls of Hittite fortresses dating to 1300 BC paintings of woman warriors carrying axes and swords.
12th century BC: Fu Hao, consort of Wu Ding, king of China, leads 13,000 men into battle.
1105 BC: According the legendary history of Britain, Queen Gwendolen fights her husband Locrinus in battle for the throne of Britain. She defeats him and becomes queen.
811 BC-808 BC: Reign of Shammuramat of Assyria. She may have been the inspiration for the legendary warrior queen Semiramis.
Zabibi and her successor Samsi reigned as Arabian warrior queens from approximately 740 to 720 BC. Both commanded armies containing large numbers of women.
733 BC-710 BC: Reign of Samsi, queen of the Midianites. She fights Tiglath-Pileser III. Her army contains several women as well.
6th century BC-4th century BC: Women are buried with both jewelry and weapons on the Kazakhstan-Russia border at roughly this time.
In 529 BC Queen Tomyris of the Massagetai defeated the Persians.
5th century BC: The Lady of Yue trains the soldiers of the army of King Goujian.
480 BC: Artemisia I of Caria, Queen of Halicarnassus, participates in the Battle of Salamis.
480 BC: Greek diver Hydna and her father sabotage enemy ships before a critical battle, thus causing the Greeks to win.
4th century BC: Cynane, a half-sister to Alexander the Great, accompanies her father on a military campaign and personally kills an Illyrian leader named Caeria in hand-to-hand combat.
The Greeks had legends of the a group of women warriors called the Amazons. It has been suggested that these legends may have been based on Scythian women of the 4th and 5th Centuries BC. Archeological finds of Scythians have included female skeletons with bows, swords, and horses. Other possible origins suggested include the River Thermodon in Northern Turkey and Libya.
330 BC: Alexander the Great burns down Persepolis, reportedly at the urging of Thaïs, a hetaera (in ancient Greek society, hetaerae were independent and sometimes influential women who were required to wear distinctive dresses and had to pay taxes. Composed mostly of ex-slaves and foreigners, these courtesans were renowned for their achievements in dance and music, as well as for their physical talents. There is evidence that, unlike most other women in Greek society at the time, hetaerae were educated.) who accompanied him on campaigns.
326 BC: Indian Queen Cleophis fights Alexander the Great.
3rd Century BC: Berenice I of Egypt fights in battle alongside Ptolemy I.
319 BC: Eurydice III of Macedon fights Polyperchon.
317 BC: Olympias battles Eurydice III of Macedon.
3rd Century BC: Sarmatian queen Amage battles a Scythian prince who would not stop his incursions into her protectorates. She personally kills him, but allows his son to live on the condition that he obey her edicts.
3rd Century BC: Spartan princess Arachidamia acts as captian of a group of female soldiers who fought Pyrrhus during his siege of Lacedaemon.
3rd Century BC: Earliest graves of women warriors found near the Sea of Azov are buried at this time.
3rd Century BC: Queen Berenice II participates in battle and kills several of her enemies.
3rd Century BC: Huang Guigu acts as a military official under Qin Shi Huang. She leads military campaigns against the people of northern China.
300 BC: The Wetwang Chariot Burial, the grave of a woman containing a chariot suitable for warfare, was buried in Yorkshire at 300 BC and discovered in March 2001.
280 BC: Spartan princess Chelidonis acts as captian of a group of female warriors during a siege of Sparta.
271 BC: A group of Gothic women who were captured by Romans while fighting dressed as men are paraded through Rome wearing signs that say "Amazons".
217 BC: Arsinoe III of Egypt rides at the head of infantry and cavalry to fight Antiochus the Great at the Battle of Raphia.
186 BC: Gaul princess Chiomaca fights the Romans and Galatians. She refuses to leave the battlefield even when the call for retreat is sounded.
170 BC-150 BC: Reign of Kushite queen Shanakdakheto. Bas-reliefs of her show her wearing armor and wielding a spear.
2nd century BC: Hypsicratea, concubine of Mithridates VI of Pontus, fights in battles beside him.
131 BC: Cleopatra II of Egypt leads a rebellion against Physcon, successfully driving both him and Cleopatra III out of Egypt.
102 BC: A battle between Romans and Celts takes place. Plutarch describes it: "the fight had been no less fierce with the women than with the men themselves... the women charged with swords and axes and fell upon their opponents uttering a hideous outcry."
31 BC: Cleopatra VII of Egypt combines her naval forces with that of Mark Antony to fight Octavian. She is defeated.
24 BC-21 BC: Nubian queen Amanishabheto battles the Roman Army.
1st century: A woman is entombed with a sword in Tabiz, Iran. The tomb is rediscovered in 2004.
1st century: Agrippina the elder accompanies Germanicus to war, earning her a reputation as a model of heroic womanhood.
1st century Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes, allies with the Roman Empire and battles other Britons.
1st century: Agrippina the Younger, wife of Emperor Claudius, commands Roman legions in Britain. The defeated Celtic king Caractacus bowed before her throne as well as that of Claudius.
1st century: Chinese woman Lu Mu leads a rebellion against Wang Mang.
1st century: Triaria, wife of Lucius Vitellius the younger, is involved in military campaigns.
18-27: The Red Eyebrow Rebellion leads to the collapse of the Chin dynasty and the beginning of the Han dynasty. The rebellion is led by a woman.
In 39 AD Trung Trac and Trung Nhi led a Vietnamese uprising against the Chinese. They gained control of 65 citadels and reigned as queens until 43 AD. Their mother Tran Thi Doan (also known as Lady Man Thien) trained them in military skills and led troops to support them.
Phung Thi Chinh also took part in the battles of 43AD and delivered her child at the battlefront. Other women involved in the fighting included Hoang Thieu Hoa, General Le Chan, Thanh Thien Princess and Cao Thi Lien.
43: The Trung Sisters and Phung Thi Chinh fight against the Chinese in Vietnam.
61: Boudica, a Celtic chieftain in Britain, leads an uprising against the occupying Roman forces.
69-70: Seeress Veleda of the Bructeri tribe wields a great deal of influence in the Batavian rebellion.
2nd century: The British Museum has a relief carving of two women fighting dating from the second century. Each has a short sword and a shield.
Trieu Thi Trinh fought against the Chinese in Viet Nam in 248AD.
269: Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra, leads a revolt in the East against the Roman Empire.
In 200AD, Japan was ruled by a warrior-priestess-queen Himoko (or Pimiko).
In 366AD Empress Jingo Kogo led a Japanese invasion of Korea. Empress Jingo was pregnant when she invaded Korea and therefore had to have adjustable armour made.
Between 373 and 380 AD Queen Mavia she led the Saracen into battles against Rome in Palestine, Phoenicia and Egypt.
4th century: Li Xiu takes her father's place as military commander for the Emperor of China and defeats a rebellion.
350: Queen Majaji of the Lovedu tribe is killed defending the city of Meroe from Rome.
378: Roman Empress Albia Domnica organizes her people in defense against the invading Goths after her husband had died in battle.
6th or 7th century AD: A six-foot tall Anglo-Saxon woman is buried with a knife and a shield in Lincolnshire, England.
450: A Moche woman is buried with two ceremonial war clubs and 28 spear throwers. The grave is rediscovered in 2006, and is the first known grave of a Moche woman to contain weapons.
226 - 651: Period of the Sassanid Empire in Persia. The legendary warrior woman Gordafarid may have lived at this time.
In the 5th Century Hua Mu Lan also known as Fa Mulan joined the Chinese army and fought for ten years.
"The daughter of Gregory (the Roman praefect), a maid of incomparable beauty and spirit, is said to have fought by his side: from her earliest youth she was trained to mount on horseback, to draw the bow, and to wield the cimeter; and the richness of her arms and apparel were conspicuous in the foremost ranks of the battle" in Tripoli in 647 A.D
A'ishah Bint Abi Bakr fought at the 'Battle of the Camel' near Basra in 656AD.
In 661AD Empress Saimei led a naval expedition to Paekche.
Dihya al-Kahina (or Dahia, Damia, Diah, Kahena, Cahena, A-Cahina, Cohen, Cohena) was a warrior queen who led Berber troops against invading Arabs around 694AD.
|Saturday, October 23rd, 2004|
Neat article here: http://www.atarn.org/chinese/seligman/seligman.htm
Bow and Arrow Symbolism
C. G. Seligman
In an interesting and stimulating paper, entitled "Some Fecundity Symbols in Ancient China",  Professor Karlgren suggests that the bow and arrow, if not overt phallic emblems, are at least so closely connected with the idea of male offspring that they signify a "prayer" for this gift "most near to a Chinese heart since time immemorial." In this, my small contribution to the tribute paid by us all to an honoured colleague, who has indicated so many contacts between East and West, I propose to bring forward some comparative evidence which confirms Professor Karlgren's view and indicates that the bow and arrow having this particular significance is found elsewhere than in China. I shall then suggest that from this idea of maleness, and the vigour and authority it connotes, those ceremonies are derived in which supreme authority - that of kingship is assumed by shooting arrows to the four cardinal points.
The most striking example of the identification of the bow and arrow with offspring, I think we may assume originally male offspring, is furnished by the Todas of the Nilgheri hills. These people have a ceremony called pursütpimi (literally, "bow and arrow we touch"), in which a man gives a bow and arrow to a pregnant woman; it is this man who for all social purposes is the father of the child, being regarded as the father even if he has had nothing to do with the woman before. It will be remembered that the Todas are not only polyandrous but are extremely free in sexual matters.( More of the article here...Collapse )
|Thursday, June 3rd, 2004|
100 word post...(More than likely to be expanded upon).
Ever since I became fascinated with tribal dance, I have been doing research. I like the idea of tribal dancing or troupe dancing, over cabaret. To me, dancing should be done in a group; it's more cohesive, more instinctive.
We are women. We are the progenitors of our kind. From our wombs, life, from our hands we take it, from our heads...knowing when. We protect. We fight. We heal.
Dancing is one form of healing. Dancing puts us back in touch with our primal side...it puts us in touch with the Goddess within.
Warriors, caretakers of life. Shamanka.
|Wednesday, May 26th, 2004|
Tin Hinan Website status
Right, I'm still working on this as I'm having my husband do the coding for the calendar where I can list events so it's taking a bit of time. However he has the next week off so we should be able to get it up and off the ground.
Remember if there's something you want to see, let me know!
|Monday, May 24th, 2004|
Uhm yes, the group I fight in.
It's in Delft, Holland, and called Die Landen van Heerwaerts Over (aka LHO)
, (there should be an English part, too) which is the old name for The Netherlands, in the Bourgondian times, if I'm right.
Every wednesday night we come together, get lessons and have some fights on our one. There are people of different times and there are apart from sword fighting, also archers.
We go to events, drink hot chocolate, learn everything about the middle ages and have lots of fun. Oh, and every now and then we fight, too. Current Mood: calm
Ehm let's introduce myself:
I'm Amber, live in the Netherlands and have always had an obsession for the Middle Ages, especially Vikings. (well it started with brave knights on pretty horses, saving beautyful ladies and killing dragons, when I was 5 >__> yay for Lego)
I never thought that it would be possible to get lessons in medieval Sword Fighting and such, but now I've found a great re-enactment "society" nearby where I live. I haven't been doing it for a very long time, but am pretty sure I'm going to fight Viking Style, love the whole Viking everything and I really can't fight with a bastard sword.
It was really good to see that there's looooots of people with the same passion as mine, I've alsways thought I was about the only one who wanted to sword fight. Silly me.
Apart from vikings I also love horses, well love ponies more. Shame I can't combinate the two hobbies.
I still love the brave knights on pretty horses who joust and save pretty ladies, though XD Current Mood: bouncy
|Tuesday, May 18th, 2004|
Tin Hinan's Daughters website
Well I finally managed to get this registered as a domain name. Now I just need time to work on it. I want to add some things about this place, some links, and maybe even a calendar of events happening in your area that you may know of or that you may like to attend.
If folks could list their interests, I can work on putting something together.
|Sunday, May 2nd, 2004|
|Tuesday, April 27th, 2004|
Further to archery
I did write to the woman who belongs to the HorseArchery Kaganate. She didn't understand that I'm in the UK but for those of you in the States who may be interested, feel free to contact the person listed below.
Here's my letter to Pettra:
>> Greetings from Oxford! I am Rose, a former re-enactor in the SCA. For
>> years I'd wanted to try my hand at equestrian archery - my grandfather was
>> a very good archer in his own right and taught me well, but I hadn't found
>> a horse that was the right "fit". Recently I got in contact with the
>> "primitive archery" group in the UK, and they appear to be starting a
>> mounted archery group which I shall be joining.
>> I wrote to Kassai about his site and whether there were any women involved
>> in his Kaganate, and he replied favourably and sent me your email address.
>> He invited me to contact you and ask about the kaganates in general.
>> I would appreciate hearing from you when you have the time, and wish you
>> good riding!
And here's the reply!
Thank you very much for your e-mail. My name is Pettra Engeländer,
and I am Germany`s Kaghan concerning the Kassai International School
Don´t worry! there are a lot of women here and we all are warriors
We work very hard and try to recreate the place in this world that
rightfully belongs to us. you wrote to me you have a list of amazones
longer than your arm. This is true, amazones were fully accepted in
the past. however a long time has passed since then and a lot has
happened. I think the time is ripe for the rebirth of the amazones.
It will not be easy, though. But I am sure if we stick together we
can create something beautiful.
In our school the only differences made between men and women is the
physical limitation.For example: we work a lot together and if there
is work wich needs real physical strenght, it is normal that a man
does this and not a woman. If you look closely to our system there is
no difference in competition, or degree.
We are not only doing horsebackarchery, but also jousting and fencing
( from horseback).
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
We also have an american Kaghan, his name is Todd Delle. If your
interested in doing horsearchery, he´s the one to turn to in the
States. He will be here in Hungary for two weeks, because of an
international trainingcamp and after this we will have a
competition.(wich I will be tending aswell)
If you want to contact him, you will be able to do so in the second
half of May. His e-mail address is: email@example.com
|Friday, April 23rd, 2004|
When is it time to quite waving the feminist flag?
I had a look at some more of Kassai’s stuff. I’m amazed at how down the SPTA folks are on him. I’ve been told he’s sexist and arrogant because in the yurt when they assemble for meetings and meals, men sit on his right, women on his left and he sits in the centre place of honour. I’ve been told he makes his students run ten kilometres a day before breakfast. I’ve been told he charges too much for his bows and his saddles, and that he takes things entirely too seriously.
In the SCA we’ve often studied that sort of lifestyle as far as nomads goes. For most of us this sort of thing probably rings a bell. Training was vigorous, as it would have to be, and women were often required to sit in a different tent. Now this grates against the nerves of many a feminist to hark back to such traditional mores, but I considered a few things.
I was told all this stuff by a woman who is half Cherokee. Apparently her people don’t have sweat lodges or moon lodges like the Lakota, or maybe they do and she just hasn’t made the connection yet. But even in the Native traditions, women were not allowed to participate in certain rites, mostly because it was understood that women’s blood-energy was so powerful that it would disrupt whatever the men were working on! Besides, after a hard day of slaving and toiling and working the leather, being isolated in a moon lodge for three days would be a break!
I understand where they’re coming from and why they think that what Kassai is doing is over-the-top. But my husband’s best mate has been training in Kung Fu since he was ten. He is training with a Shaolin monk who lives a monk lifestyle here in the UK. He is extremely dedicated to his art and it is in every aspect of what he does. I don’t see what Kassai is doing is any different. Actually, it’s more encompassing because, up until the sixties and Bruce Lee, women weren’t allowed to do Kung Fu AT ALL.
When I was taught by my grandfather, I was taught to pretend to pull a bow fifty times with each hand. It was a very strong, visual exercise. I then learned the Zen Buddhist way of archery, which focussed upon the act itself – actually hitting the target was secondary. To many folks that see this as a hobby, this is probably quite OTT. Especially the aspect of having to sit divided from the men. But to me, this is more than “just archery”. There is something very spiritual and very Zen to me about pulling a bow. It’s why my Work takes the form of archery. It’s always been that way to me. So, for me, what Kassai is doing really doesn’t seem that out of place – he’s turning it into a true martial art.
As for price – well shit, he’s making a living. And he’s the best archer in the world. If you’re going to get lessons from David Beckam for football, I would imagine you’d PAY for that. I wouldn’t ask Michael Jordan to let me in on all of his secrets for free, or ask Jet Li for a week of lessons just as a goodwill gesture. These people get paid, like it or not. Am I dismissing his arrogance? No. But I understand why he charges what he does, and I wouldn’t be dissing it, really.
Which brings us to the feminist angle. Now, I ask you – when you go out camping or out with “the lads”, how does conversation go? I have been a “tomboy” most of my life, and the blokes always treated me like one of their own, which in a way was an acceptance, and yet at the same time having them forget I was female left me listening to things that were honestly quite offensive. Once I would say something about it, they would get very stilted and uncomfortable – suddenly they remembered my gender and felt they needed to be on their best behaviour. And things just weren’t the same.
Women and men in conversation with each other vary widely from side to side – at one hand, we want to be equal, but at the other, conversation is so different that there’s times I really just want to talk “with the girls” (which is why this group is here in the first place!) Now I could rant and rave in a very pro-feminist style against the way Kassai does things, but I think I would really be missing the point, which is to learn.
I’m aware that H, who runs the SPTA group, is a very headstrong woman. It may be one of the reasons why the group can’t seem to get off the ground or attract new members. And she has met and grated with Kassai, and therefore is trying to support a bloke named Christian, who is a German up-and-coming equestrian archer. It is sounding like a political battle and, because I honestly don’t see anything wrong with Kassai’s methods, it’s not a battle I care to be caught up in.
Feminism has its own time and place, but I honestly don’t think quibbling about where you sit is one of those areas.
I’ll learn from both, as H is also a damn good archer and fletcher in her own right, and that’s something you have to respect. She has a lot to teach and she may be just as bad as Kassai in many ways! But I really think you have to pick and choose what you’re going to get pissy about, and ignore the rest. If you’re learning, even if it’s uncomfortable, you just gotta run with it. My grandfather was an absolute nightmare of a teacher, and my mother bears a lot of internal scarring from being dragged from here to Hades on camping/survival trips. But she can still spot a deer at 500 yards and I wouldn’t want to be on the business end of a bow and arrow if she was holding it.
Any thoughts on this?
|Monday, April 19th, 2004|