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The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World [Audiobook, CD] [Englisch] [Audio CD]

Adrienne Mayor , Fran Tunno

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16. September 2014
Amazons--fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world--were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Roman general Pompey tangled with Amazons. But just who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback who gloried in fighting, hunting, and sexual freedom? Were Amazons real? In this deeply researched, wide-ranging, and lavishly illustrated book, National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor presents the Amazons as they have never been seen before. This is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China. Mayor tells how amazing new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons prove that women warriors were not merely figments of the Greek imagination. Combining classical myth and art, nomad traditions, and scientific archaeology, she reveals intimate, surprising details and original insights about the lives and legends of the women known as Amazons. Provocatively arguing that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons, Mayor reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories. The Greeks were not the only people enchanted by Amazons--Mayor shows that warlike women of nomadic cultures inspired exciting tales in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Central Asia, and China. Driven by a detective's curiosity, Mayor unearths long-buried evidence and sifts fact from fiction to show how flesh-and-blood women of the Eurasian steppes were mythologized as Amazons, the equals of men. The result is likely to become a classic.
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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"Mayor (The Poison King) looks at ancient writings and archeological evidence to argue that yes, 'Amazons' were based on real nomadic women, though much different from the way ancient Greeks or contemporary audiences imagine them... Mayor speculates on the origin of such misconceptions in ancient writings and art, smartly suggesting that, though Amazons are usually depicted heroically in Greek art and mythology, the male-centric Greeks perhaps struggled to understand a society based on equality between the sexes... Her expertise shines throughout."--Publishers Weekly "An encyclopedic study of the barbarian warrior women of Western Asia, revealing how new archaeological discoveries uphold the long-held myths and legends. The famed female archers on horseback from the lands the ancient Greeks called Scythia appeared throughout Greek and Roman legend. Mayor tailors her scholarly work to lay readers, providing a fascinating exploration into the factual identity underpinning the fanciful legends surrounding these wondrous Amazons... Mayor clears away much of the man-hating myths around these redoubtable warriors. Thanks to Mayor's scholarship, these fearsome fighters are attaining their historical respectability."--Kirkus Reviews "A must-read for anyone interested in either Amazonian myth or history."--Fred Poling, Library Journal "No one before has ever marshalled the full sweep of evidence as Mayor does here... The result is a book as erudite as it riveting, one that is surely destined to serve as the definitive work on the subject."--Tom Holland, Literary Review -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Adrienne Mayor is the author of "The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy" (Princeton), a finalist for the National Book Award and named one of the best books of 2009 by the "Washington Post". Her other books include "Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World" (Overlook) and "The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times" (Princeton). She is a research scholar in classics and history of science at Stanford University. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  7 Rezensionen
13 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Stunning Achievement; Great Read 18. September 2014
Von L. Borgia - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
As someone who has been watching the archeological findings in what was ancient Scythia, I grabbed this book off the shelf! It's an astonishing and important piece of scholarship, and will serve as the bottom line number one reference for the history of female warriors for years to come. Not only that, but it is exceptionally well-written, and in many parts, reads like a novel. The voluminous and highly well organized research that Mayor has put together is impressive to say the least, and lays waste to millennia-old myths about female warriors known as Amazons. Finally, someone has proven that they were not only REAL, but that there were female warrior societies from Greece to China. A stupendous achievement! Brava, Ms. Mayor (who, by the way, is a National Book Award finalist. May she win the prize for this one).
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Sarmatians, Scythians and Amazons: An exhaustive and scholarly analysis for academics and lay people alike. 24. September 2014
Von Dr. W. H. Konarzewski - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Adrienne Mayor writes about the Amazon myths from ancient Greece and connects them to the real female horse archers who originated in the territories around the Black Sea, possibly as early as 1500 BC. She tells us that there is plenty of evidence from early Scythian and Sarmatian graves that these women fought as warriors on the steppes between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Their activities may conceivably have extended as far west as the Danube and as far east as the Great Wall of China – a stretch of about 4000 miles.

Dr Mayor tackles many of the human interest questions that ordinary readers might ask themselves, including romance. There is an engrossing chapter on love and sexuality among the female warriors; elsewhere there are plenty of illustrations showing that they appreciated body art in the form of tattoos (just like the men of the period). Incidentally, the book contains a generous number of illustrations, many taken from Greek vases and sculptures.

The quality of writing is good. Mayor writes in a scholarly way with plenty of references but she is also highly readable and appears anxious to make her work accessible to non-academics. She carefully balances history against myth to give her readers a state of the art account of the genuine female horse archers and the way that ancient writers such as Herodotus and Hippocrates (who called them Sarmatians) perceived them and integrated them into Greek literature. The ancient Greeks liked their women to be submissive and domesticated, so they must have been both fascinated and scandalised by the independent minded and sexually liberated women who formed the basis of their myths and legends. As far as we know, these women demanded and received total equality with men. They were the first feminists, nearly 3500 years before bra-burning became a topic of conversation.

Mayor tells us all sorts of fascinating things about the Sarmatian / Scythian women: they lassoed their enemies with lariats; they were hygienic and had elaborate saunas in felt teepees and perfumed their bodies with expensive fragrances; they tattooed not only themselves but their children; they punctured themselves right down to muscle whilst having tattoos done; they wore tight leather structures rather like bras to stop their breasts bouncing when they were out riding; they hung a quiver outside their wagons to let people know if they were having sex; they were tall, robust women with an average height of around 5 foot six inches; they made their koumiss stronger by freezing out some of the water; they practised an open form of marriage; they enjoyed cannabis heated over hot stones in braziers; they slept in cosy fur beds; they suffered from early onset osteoarthritis; they gave their horses pet names; they sacrificed horses before battle; they invented trousers (possibly) and if not, they definitely wore them; the list goes on.

One of the most fascinating parts of the book, I thought, was Mayor’s description of the love affairs between Alexander the Great and Queen Thalestris (probably true) and the affair / marriage between Mithradates and Hypsicratea (definitely true). Both women were proven warriors and would certainly qualify as “Amazons”.

The final section of the book deals with female warriors who had some of the characteristics of Amazons but were not necessarily of Scythian extraction; for example those who came from China and the Far East. These warriors provide interesting comparisons with the original Amazons.
What about criticisms? There really isn’t much wrong with this book. Perhaps Mayor dwells too long on the mythical Amazons and spends too much time describing and discussing the images on old Greek vases, but that’s just a personal view. For other readers that might be fine; and after all, this book is both about the mythical Amazons and the real ones. Some might argue that a full understanding of the mythical Amazons leads to a better understanding of the Sarmatian and Scythian female warriors. All the same, I felt some of the lengthier discourses might have been put in an appendix at the end rather than slowing down the book’s momentum. Another minor criticism is that the maps might have been a little larger and clearer.

Overall, I cannot recommend this book highly enough with its massive amount of research, free-flowing text and the generous quantity of illustrations. My only regret is that it wasn’t available two years ago.
6 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Home run for Adrienne Mayor 25. September 2014
Von vmhutch - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
While reading on about some recent translations of inscriptions on Greek vases - they quoted Adrienne Mayor and had a link to her new book: The Amazons. I didn't have to read any reviews - I jumped right in and purchased the hardcover. Being a big fan of her book The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates. This new book had to be awesome. And it is. This book isn't just about Amazons, it's really about gender roles and how one culture can pervert that which is normal in another culture and use that ethnocentric interpretation to reinforce their previously held values and assumptions. Assumptions that were fostered by the ancient Greeks and Romans - all the way to, and including, the archeologists who unearthed the graves, the classicists who gave meaning to Greek art, and offered interpretations of Amazon myth. As an aside, having read The Mummies of Urumchi, by E. Barber, I was left wanting to know more. Mayor provides some satisfying additional knowledge about these remarkable people and much more with her revealing passages containing rethought and reworked archeological findings from the graves of the steppes ranging from the Pontus to China. If you like this kind of stuff: you will love this book. I'm only half way through it; but I'll devour the rest this weekend. Can't wait for her next book!
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating 21. September 2014
Von Stephen Haber - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I could not put The Amazons down. This is one of the most fascinating books I have read in a very long time--and I read books for a living.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen The information in this book is fascinating, but there ... 27. Oktober 2014
Von Jack Bookman - Veröffentlicht auf
The information in this book is fascinating, but there are two big problems with the audio book. (1) The book is abundantly illustrated, and the pictures we can't see are constantly referred to, which is irksome. (2) The narrator is unfamiliar with the subject and mispronounces many of the names of peoples and places. This is one book that should probably be read in book form.
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