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2015 Silver Medal Winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, World History category Selected for American Scientist's Science Book Gift Guide 2014 "In her quest to separate reality from mythology, Mayor left few stones unturned, even examining the graves of women with war wounds and mummified tattoos. She skillfully presents her findings with wit and conviction in this superbly illustrated book"--Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affiars "The Amazons is elegantly written, nicely illustrated and will no doubt excite a lot of attention."--Simon Goldhill, Times Literary Supplement "[A] fascinatingly detailed account."--Emily Wilson, Wall Street Journal "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 "There are myriad myths surrounding the Amazons, but which are based on truth? ... This is the question which Adrienne Mayor seeks to answer in her hugely informative and entertaining Encyclopaedia Amazonica."--Natalie Haynes, Independent "[A] lively and engaging exploration ... vivid, compelling and detailed ... a rich compendium."--Lloyd Llewellyn Jones, Times Higher Education "A beautiful book... The Amazons by Adrienne Mayor is required reading."--Anna Meldolesi, Corriere della Sera "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."--Peter Konieczny, History of the Ancient World blog "Mayor writes elegant, jargon free, frequently witty prose."--Barry Baldwin, Fortean Times "If Adrienne Mayor had merely applied her rigorous scholarship and poetic charm to documenting the shifting image of Amazons in classical, medieval and post-Renaissance European culture, she would have written an important contribution to ancient history. But she has achieved much more. By painstaking research ... she has broken down the often impenetrable walls dividing western cultural history from its eastern equivalents... Mayor opens up new horizons in world storytelling and feminist iconography... There may not be Amazon dolls in today's toyshops, but a good substitute would be to read this wonderful book with your children and show them its pictures."--Edith Hall, New Statesman "Clearly, with this clever, systematic and engaging work by Mayor, Amazons got their classic book. And it is a riveting read, too."--Ephraim Nissan, Fabula "For anyone who thinks Amazons were as mythical as centaurs or sphinxes, this pleasurable book proves that misconception is wondrously wrong... Mayor's beautifully illustrated book, truly encyclopedic on all things Amazonian, reclaims the historic image of these dauntless figures in the heroic frame they deserve."--Fran Willing, "Mayor's book is popular history at its best. Much of her archaeological evidence is new -- such as her descriptions of 'Scythian' female graves with horses and weapons. She chooses wonderful illustrations which makes the book enjoyable and easy to read."--Zenobia blog "Clearly, with this clever, systematic and engaging work by Mayor, Amazons got their classic book. And it is a riveting read, too."--Ephraim Nissan, Fabula "Mayor's fascinatingly readable book convincingly argues that many of their characteristics may have derived from real nomadic womenwarriors of antiquity... It represents a remarkable scholarly breakthrough: no one will ever be able to discuss the Amazon myths again without taking into account the historical evidence she provides."--Tassos A. Kaplanis, Journal of Historical Geography -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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: Taschenbuch.

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20 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
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.
24 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
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).
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Robert Williams - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Twenty five hundred years ago the Greeks depicted in their legends and mythology, tribes of fierce warrior women they called the Amazons. These women lived free from men, as nomads on the Steppes of Euro-Asia and Scythia. The Greek hero warriors Achilles and Heracles fought them in desperate epic battles. Up until now, these Amazon women warriors were thought to be just Greek myths. But in her book, The Amazons, author Adrienne Mayor examines fact and myth and reveals the truth about the Amazons. The word "Amazon" was originally a name the Archaic Greeks used to designate little-known steppe peoples.

Physically, women are not as robust as are men. However, the horse, the bow and the sword are equalizers, permitting women to compete as equals with men. This then was how Barbarian women (meaning they did not speak Greek) were raised from childhood, as equals who could ride and shoot as well as any man. In the wilderness of the Scythian steppes this was necessary for defence from wild beasts and marauding tribes.

Amazons were masters of the horse. They each owned many. They especially coveted the Akhal Teke horses of the Ferghana Valley. Each horse was decorated with gold and leather ornamentations. The Amazons drank fermented mare's milk (Koumiss) as a staple. They made their own weapons; bows, arrows, swords, knives and battle axes. They fashioned crescent shields for defence.

Amazons did not worship the Greek pantheon of gods and godesses. Many worshipped Ares and cybele. They also worshipped a sacred black rock on Amazon (Giresun) Island in the Black Sea.

The Greeks encountered them as they explored eastward into Asia, notably along the Black Sea routes. The Amazons formed liasons with king Priam of Troy against the Greeks. Mithradates took an Amazon for a confidant and wife. Alexander the Great encountered them and even took one to bed as well. Greek historians like Herodotus and hippocrates documented these tales. Though with Herodotus, he often mixed myth with history. Stories about the Amazon Hippolyte and her battle with Heracles, and the Amazon Antiope's battle with Theseus or Penthesilea with Achillles at Troy have amazed and delighted us for ages. More than 1000 Greek vases depict various scenes of Amazons in battle or in their daily living.

The Romans too encountered Amazons. Pompey fought battles with Amazons. He captured some of them and brought them back to Rome as evidence of his conquests. They were paraded through the streets before being returned safey to their home lands.

The Amazons had no written language. It seems body art and tatoos were their identities. They chose deer, elk, sheep, tiger, birds and all manner of creatures to be imprinted on their skin. The Greeks, in comparison, viewed tatooing as some form of punishment.

The Egyptians, Persians and other nations too encountered Amazons, giving added credence to their existance.

Much archaeological evidence has been discovered affirming Amazon existance. Many kurgans (grave mounds) have been excavated revealing lavish grave goods including bronze, gold and silver along with their various articles of cloting and weapons. Their horses were buried with them. It is thought that the Amazons invented pants.

Amazons were pot smokers. They had kits consisting of tents, bowls and hemp (pot) which were used to get a high. These also were found in Kurgans.

Amazons were associated with the Scythians, Sarmatians and various other tribes, however, not all of them chose to live without the company of men. Some groups contained all women, others were mixed. They all dressed alike so it probably impossible for the Greeks and Romans to tell them apart. Even those Amazons who chose to live apart, often would "visit" the men in order to procreate. It was rumored they would keep and raise the girls while sending back the boys for their fathers to raise.

Adrienne Mayor has written a masterful, well researched volume of the Amazons depicting every facet of their existance and of those they associated with or fought against. I really enjoyed reading it.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I Love The Amazons! 28. Februar 2015
Von Erik Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
When I first heard about the ancient Greek myths and legends of brave, heroic, horse-riding warrior women known as Amazons, I remember wishing `if only these stories were true.'

When I stumbled across the writings of Herodotus, I realized that, to a certain degree at least, some of the Amazon legends probably were based on historical fact.

When, over the past twenty years, the findings of post-Soviet forensic archaeology in Eastern Europe and Central Asia gradually became known to those of us in the west…

... I realized that now was the time for an intrepid and resourceful writer to accept the calling - that is, to accept the challenge of writing a sophisticated but readily accessible book which would expertly tie together all the myths, histories, and physical evidence now combining to make the case for the historical reality of of a genuine, widespread, and durable Amazonian civilization - to reintroduce the world to the real ‘Daughters of Ares' - our very own ancient ancestresses.

Adrienne Mayor is such a writer and 'The Amazons' is that book.

As you read through it, you will discover all manner of interesting insights and cultural detail, such as:

-How the military tactics of Scythians and other mounted steppe nomads were ideally suited to the development of equalized gender relationships. Political power grows, it seems, out of having a remuda of fast horses, and a composite recurved Parthian bow.

(And pants.)

-The lustrous splendor of the Amazon's favored breed of horse - ancestral to today’s magnificent Golden Akhal Teke.

-A modern day remnant of ancient Greek settlement on the old Amazonian frontier - the Romeyka people, a tribe of blue-eyed rustics from northeastern Turkey who are the last people on earth to speak archaic Greek the way Homer sang it.

-How the Amazons kept their fighting edge between campaigns by hunting - with horse, dog, falcon, and weapon-wielding rider symbiotically combining as one, bounding across the steppe - in pursuit of big game that was by turns elusive or dangerous or both - deer, antelope, wild horse; lions, tigers, and leopards.

-A wonderful Glossary containing over two hundred names of individual Amazons which survive in ancient texts, including their translations into modern English - for example: 'Fearless', 'Whirlwind', 'Illustrious', 'Crazy-Brave', 'Twisting Arrow', 'Loves Horses', 'Snatcher', 'She-Wolf', 'Many Gifts', 'Hot Flanks', 'Snake', 'Blonde', 'Palomino', and 'Lets Loose The Horses'.

Ms. Mayor obviously cares about her subjects, and she is able to put together the evidence we have about the Amazons in such a way as to bring them vividly back to life - or, to put it another way...

... what's not to like about a gang of tough, tattooed warrior chicks, skilled with horses, lance, and bow, who like to mix their sauna steam baths with cannabis smoke, and party hard with the help of a flask or two of fermented mare's milk?

An excellent, informative read.

I recommend you go out and get this book today!
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The first liberated women - not that they needed liberation! 23. Oktober 2014
Von Ralph Blumenau - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
For many centuries all we knew of the Amazons came from Greek myths and from Greek historians. The latter also relate some material that is legendary rather than historical; but Herodotus, for example, who travelled extensively around the Black Sea, distinguishes what he has himself observed from what he has been told. Part of the book describes and comments on the myths and the historical material.

The best known characteristics of the Amazons are of course that they were doughty female warriors and brilliant on horseback, and, while these exploits do dominate the book, the author also brings out other aspects of the legends and of the history: notably that these women enjoyed equality with men in other respects also, in family relationships and that, like the men, they had great sexual freedom, would mate with men of other tribes when their husbands were fighting elsewhere. Men and women would also dress in a similar fashion, for instance wearing trousers. All of these features fascinated the Greeks, who kept women in a subordinate position.

The legends are mostly located around the shores of the Black Sea, while the history of Alexander the Great and of the Romans fighting Mithridates tell of contact with Amazons from areas south of the Caspian Sea to India. From about the 7th century BC to the 6th century AD, the Scythians dominated a vast area of steppes and grasslands from what is today Ukraine all the way across to the frontiers of today's Mongolia. From the 19th century onwards archaeologists have found a lot of evidence which supports parts of the legends and histories.

The book is deeply researched and (except for the rather indigestible last chapter about women warriors in China) very readable and handsomely illustrated. The author makes it clear, by phrasing her sentences as questions, when her links between legends, history and archaeology are suggestions rather than certainties. Her net is very wide: she includes all women fighters as Amazons, whether they were known as such or not; and sometimes the story is about a single female warrior leader, who may or may not be leading whole groups of women. And there is a certain amount of repetition. But this hardly, if at all, detracts from the five star status of this fascinating book.
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