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Old January 1st, 2018, 01:07 PM   #1

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Woman warrior in indoeuropean society


I am wondering wich was the woman position in IE societies in warfare? In germanic tribes women did fight too ... so in other scythian and steppe tribes .. but in Roman and Greek ones women did not ... why ? Did it change or originally women did not fight?
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Old January 1st, 2018, 01:54 PM   #2

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Which Germanic tribes had women warriors? I can't think of any. You are more likely to see women fighters in nomadic/pastoral societies rather than agricultural ones.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 01:58 PM   #3

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Cimbri for example? Vikings?
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Old January 1st, 2018, 02:42 PM   #4

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Cimbri women fought to protect their families just like many women would. Picking up your husband's old sword and trying to fend off a home invader doesn't make you a warrior.

Vikings had female warriors? Name one Scandinavian woman who accompanied the men on a viking raid and participated in the fighting. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tells us that any women and children who were on the ships were put in a place of safety before the fighting began. Any woman who wanted to become a warrior in many of these cultures had to conceal the fact that they were women.

Last edited by Dan Howard; January 1st, 2018 at 02:52 PM.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 03:14 PM   #5

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But according to the Nordisk familjebok, skjaldmær fought also in other germanic tribes like Goths, Cimbri , Teutons, Marcomanni.
Also according to the Saxo Grammaticus, 300 skjaldmær fought from Danish side in the battle of Bråvalla.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 05:05 PM   #6

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Every female of any species is born with the instinct to fight, when her young is threatened. You try approaching a female free range hen with newly hatched chicks some time, see what happens.

So, translate this instinct to a bigger theme, replace threatened baby with threatened clan or tribe. Then, yes, a woman will fight, if she has to, when no more men is around to do it.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 05:23 PM   #7

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There are tales of individual female warriors, Boudicca for example, or Queen Maeve of Ireland. However these women may be well known because of their uniqueness, not because there were large numbers of female warriors.

Was there not a recent find in the UK of a female believed to have been a gladiator?
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Old January 1st, 2018, 06:07 PM   #8

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It is an interesting question- more evidence seems to have come to have been accepted in the last decade that at least Scandinavians and some nomadic cultures featured female warriors.

More fringe claims are that ancient Semetic Egyptians or Hellenes invaded the native Pelasgians and killed most of the men taking their wives for their own and thus started the practice of the wife as hostage, slave, and servant in Greek culture.

The entire idea of a unique and shared Indo-European culture is starting to go away given the lengths of time, distances, and climate disparities involved in the Indo-European migrations brings many earlier assumptions under question.

My favorite mythological warrior woman is Gulnara of Altai who outlasts her sisters in trials of bravery and fortitude, is accepted as a warrior into the Golden Horde, rises to commander and defeats the Khans enemies but is pushed aside by male collegues who try to claim the victory as their own. She exposes their lies and defeats their greed only to inspire the fear of her own Khan who decides to collaborate with her remaining enemies and kill her. Tricking the Khan and her other enemies to fall into the very trap they set for her she leaves the Golden Horde and returns to Altai with the ability to protect her clan from the wrath of the Horde as they fear her reputation and skills.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 01:25 AM   #9

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Hi, I know that in history had been special cases of female queens, but I wouldn't define them warriors even if are described as such in some literature.
I am instead referring to women that fought in battles and directly on field not ones leading or giving orders.

I am wondering that since horsetribes and germanic tribes, and if not wrong even slavic tribes featured women fighting on field , if that is a feature of primitive indoeuropean sorieties or something evolved only for those tribes later in time.
But since Primitive societes tended to retain the original featueres I wonerd if also celtic, Latin , greek and other IE societies in their origins had similar costumes.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 01:36 AM   #10

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In 21 AD there was some debate as to whether Roman governors' wives should accompany their husbands to the provinces.
Caecina Serverus argued against it on the grounds that women "paraded among the soldiers" and that "a woman [Plancina] had presided at the exercises of the cohorts and the manoevers of the legions"
"At that time a gymnastic contest took place.... Also women competed in this contest" Dio Cassius, early 3rd Century (source "Women's Life in Greece and Rome"

"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


The direct info about roman female warriors is scarce, I remember though in a latin text , I don't remember wich one, that was described a patrician woman that was described as warrior fighting and hunting .


apparently seems to be most an exception than a rule, perhaps is a lost habit once the Romans become more civilized and urbanized?
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