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Women Warriors Ancient & Modern

Women Warriors Ancient & Modern


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 17 January 2020

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & HUMAN HISTORY: WOMEN IN FIELD-INFANTRY WARFARE

9 BC Female Uratu Warrior Grave with Jewelry
One of The Original Amazons? Greek View of a Scythian Archer.
Female Uratu Warrior Grave with Jewelry, Anahit Khudaverdyan, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.
The chopped-up Chick. Anahit Khudaverdyan, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia

 

Below, We Explore
Uratus & Scythians Warrior Women, with a Macedonian Warrior Woman Mystery, all brought up to Modern Times through the experiences of two Combat-Experienced Female US Marine Infantry Officers.

 

Ancient Mounted Archer Warrior Women

Wounded Remains of Real-Life “Amazon” Woman Found in Armenia,
Vintage News, December 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

6th to 9th Century BC
"...discovery of a 2,500 year old “Amazon” warrior woman in an Armenia..."

A contemporary of Hesiod and Homer of early Greece.

Size, Sex, and Circumstance
"5 ft 5 ins tall and believed to be in her 20s, she was “buried in a flexed manner with ceramic vessels and jewelry, which date it to the Early Armenian period (8th-6th century B.C.)..."

Uratu People
"...Bover I necropolis in Lori Province, northern Armenia. She was part of the Uratu peoples, who were established there between the 9th and 6th centuries B.C."

"...an Iron Age kingdom – as a distinct cultural environment focused on hunting, the military, and a trade economy.”

Heavily Wounded Over Time
“...identified a rich array of traumatic lesions, which shed light on her daily activities, occupation and warfare practice.”

Early, Late, & Last Wounds
“...a trapped metal arrowhead in her femur”. This wound appears to have happened long before her demise, with later wounds leading to her violent exit."

The End
“Her left hip and right thigh bore chop marks, while her left lower leg had been stabbed.”

From RT
Russia Today
Quoting the Lead Researcher
"Anahit Khudaverdyan, a leading researcher at the National Academy of Science of the Republic of Armenia says the ancient Amazon-like woman was probably cruelly killed in a battlefield. Two arrowheads were found in her leg bones, she was struck by a sword and finished off by a hatchet."

Killed in Battle
Cut in Half
"She did not manage to survive these injuries. The most awful part is that her body was separated into parts by the sword or the poniard. Here you can see the straight cutting, that shows she was hit by a blade," Khudaverdyan explained."

Mounted Archer?
"This evidence ties the woman to a life of battle and bloodshed. Her strong muscle attachments and highly developed pectorals and deltoids indicate a drawing motion, so she may have been an archer. Big gluteal muscles could be connected to horse riding."

Amazons
Root of Greek Amazon Legend?
"Did the Greeks take inspiration from these hardy warriors in Armenia? “Sources in Ancient Greece indicated the existence of so-called Amazon Women in the mountainous Caucasus region (between the Black and Caspian Sea)...”

"Uratu’s enemies the Scythians definitely fit the bill of being Amazonian. The two parties would clash in the struggle for territory, and in both cases women played a major role on the battlefield."

 

 

Later Female Armor and Arms?

Tomb Secrets
Facade of Philip II tomb Vergina Greece
Facade of Philip II tomb Vergina Greece, Wiki, Sarah Murray.
Facade of Philip II of Macedon tomb in Vergina, Greece. The door is made of marble and the order is doric. Wiki, Sarah Murray.

 

A Female Scythian Warrior in Alexander's Tomb?

Was This Really the Tomb of Alexander the Great's Father?
National Geographic, July 21, 2015.

MAIN POINT

Macedonia
"...the three Great Tombs of the Royal Tumulus at Vergina..."

Vergina
Wiki

Who's Inside?
Tomb I
"...a skeletal analysis of the leg bones from the remains of an adult male in Tomb I shows a severe lance wound that matches accounts in ancient written sources of an injury Philip II sustained during battle in 339."

Tomb I
"...bones belong to a middle-aged man, a young woman who was approximately 18 years old when she died, and a newborn infant of unknown sex."

Tomb II Armor Philip the Second's?
"...a pair of greaves—armor plates that protect the shin—found in Tomb II must belong to Philip II because one is shorter than the other, suggesting they were customized for someone with legs of different lengths."

Or A Woman Warrior's?
Alternate Warrior Woman Theory
"...believes that the greaves in fact belonged to Eurydice, the wife of Arrhidaeus, Alexander the Great’s half brother. “She was a warrior woman who fought many battles,” he said. She too might have suffered a wound that required such greaves."

Whose Skeletons in the Tomb?
"...argue that the skeletons buried in Tomb II must belong to Arrhidaeus and Eurydice."

Alexander's Helmet?
"...an elaborate hand-hammered iron helmet found in Tomb II matches Plutarch’s description of Alexander the Great’s helmet, a suggestive link that may indicate some of the world-conquering hero’s armor was buried in the tomb of his elder half-brother."

 

 

Tomb's Historical Background
Fighting over the Kingdom after Alexander the Great's Death

Macedonian "Game of Thrones"

Greek Skythian archer plate
520, circa 500 BC
Skythian archer plate, 520, circa 500 BC by Epiktetos, Wiki, photo by Jastrow.
Archer drawing an arrow from his quiver as he turns to shoot at the enemy. Inscriptions in small and neat letters: to the left of the figure: Επικτετος; on his right: εγρασφεν (sic). Interior from an Attic red-figured plate in the British Museum, photo by Jastrow. Look carefully. Could that be a woman?

 

If Not Eurydice in the tomb, was it then A Scythian Warrior Queen who was entombed?

Burned Bones in Alexander the Great Family Tomb Give Up Few Secrets,
Live Science, June 11, 2015.

MAIN POINT

The Question
"Who was laid to rest in a lavish, gold-filled Macedonian tomb near Vergina, Greece? The tomb, discovered in 1977, might be the final resting place of Philip II of Macedon, conqueror of Greece and father of Alexander the Great..."

One Contention
A Warrior Queen?
"...the team turned to the female bones. Here, they argue, was a 30- to 34-year-old woman, also a horseback rider, who had a fractured leg bone that would have caused her left leg to be shorter than her right."

"Tellingly, a set of leg armor, or greaves, found in the tomb appears to be made to fit someone with a shortened left leg, Antikas wrote. This suggests the tomb artifacts, including a quiver holding 74 arrowheads, belonged to the woman buried in the tomb, pointing to her identity as a Scythian princess married to Philip II in 339 B.C. Scythia was a kingdom comprising what is now Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe."

The Claim
A Scythian Warrior Woman
"The gorytus, arrowheads, spears and everything in the antechamber belong to a Scythian warrior woman and NOT to Philip or any other woman but the seventh wife/concubine, namely the daughter of King Ateas..."

 

Bottom Line

Or did it? Despite arguments about who is in what tomb, it is apparent that women had a direct role in some aspects of some a few ancient culture's combat practices, certainly as mounted archers for Uratus & Scythian cultures, with an example of a Macedonian warrior woman, Eurydice, the wife of Arrhidaeus, Alexander the Great’s half brother. “She was a warrior woman who fought many battles,” thrown in, too.

 

Related

Female Viking Warrior Officer

 

 

Just a Few Centuries Earlier...

Gobekli tepe
Gobekli Tepe: The Highest Evolution of Human, “Field Arts.”

 

 

Many Centuries Later...

MODERN APPLICATIONS OF FEMALE FIELD COMBAT ARTS

Female Marine Afghanistan Combat Duty
Female Marine Afghanistan Combat Duty, Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Katherine Keleher.
Sergeant Autumn Sekely, of Female Engagement Team 6, takes a knee and watches passing children while supporting a recent patrol with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, in Sangin district, Helmand province. Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Katherine Keleher. Original.

 

The Modern Question: Women in US Marine Ground Infantry?

Oct 2017
Field Conditions: First female Marine officer to lead assault amphibian vehicle platoon,
With Article and Analysis of Female Marine Performance by Capt Lauren F. Serrano.

US Marine Corps Capt Lauren F. Serrano
"I am a female Marine officer and I do not believe women should serve in the infantry."

Why Women Do Not Belong in the U.S. Infantry,
Marine Corps Gazette, September 2014. (Removed)

Web Archive Address

 

Next

 

Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal,
Capt Katie Petronio, Marine Corps Gazette, March 2013.

MAIN POINTS

Capt Katie Petronio, a company grade 1302 combat engineer officer with 5 years of active service and two combat deployments, one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan.

Qualifications
Marine Sappers
"...led a combat engineer platoon in direct support of Regimental Combat Team 8, specifically operating out of the Upper Sangin Valley. My platoon operated for months at a time, constructing patrol bases (PBs) in support of 3d Battalion, 5th Marines; 1st Battalion, 5th Marines; 2d Reconnaissance Battalion; and 3d Battalion, 4th Marines. This combat experience, in particular, compelled me to raise concern over the direction and overall reasoning behind opening the 03XX field."

The Question
"In the end, my main concern is not whether women are capable of conducting combat operations, as we have already proven that we can hold our own in some very difficult combat situations; instead, my main concern is a question of longevity. Can women endure the physical and physiological rigors of sustained combat operations, and are we willing to accept the attrition and medical issues that go along with integration?"

"I was a star ice hockey player"

"...squatting 200 pounds and benching 145 pounds..."

"...repeatedly scored far above average in all female-based physical fitness tests (for example, earning a 292 out of 300 on the Marine physical fitness test)."

"Five years later, I am physically not the woman I once was and my views have greatly changed on the possibility of women having successful long careers while serving in the infantry."

"...we haven’t even begun to analyze and comprehend the gender-specific medical issues and overall physical toll continuous combat operations will have on females."

Combat Strain Field Injuries
"...due to the excessive amount of time I spent in full combat load, I was diagnosed with a severe case of restless leg syndrome. My spine had compressed on nerves in my lower back causing neuropathy which compounded the symptoms of restless leg syndrome..."

"The physical strain of enduring combat operations and the stress of being responsible for the lives and well-being of such a young group in an extremely kinetic environment were compounded by lack of sleep, which ultimately took a physical toll on my body that I couldn’t have foreseen."

Physical & Combat Degradation
"By the fifth month into the deployment, I had muscle atrophy in my thighs that was causing me to constantly trip and my legs to buckle with the slightest grade change. My agility during firefights and mobility on and off vehicles and perimeter walls was seriously hindering my response time and overall capability."

Physical Breakdown
"It was evident that stress and muscular deterioration was affecting everyone regardless of gender; however, the rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines and further compounded by gender-specific medical conditions. At the end of the 7-month deployment, and the construction of 18 PBs later, I had lost 17 pounds and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which personally resulted in infertility, but is not a genetic trend in my family), which was brought on by the chemical and physical changes endured during deployment."

Heavy Personal Costs of Female Infantry
"...there is no way I could endure the physical demands of the infantrymen whom I worked beside as their combat load and constant deployment cycle would leave me facing medical separation long before the option of retirement. I understand that everyone is affected differently; however, I am confident that should the Marine Corps attempt to fully integrate women into the infantry, we as an institution are going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females."

Only Excluding Marine Infantry
"I have full faith that female Marines can successfully serve in just about every MOS aside from the infantry. Even if a female can meet the short-term physical, mental, and moral leadership requirements of an infantry officer, by the time that she is eligible to serve in a strategic leadership position, at the 20-year mark or beyond, there is a miniscule probability that she’ll be physically capable of serving at all."

The Bottom Line
"Which once again leads me, as a ground combat-experienced female Marine Corps officer, to ask, what are we trying to accomplish by attempting to fully integrate women into the infantry? For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force."

 

More Reports from the Field

Female Marines train for battle alongside men for first time in history of Camp Pendleton,
OC Register, August 20, 2018.

Marines reignite debate on women in combat,
The Hill, June 25, 2016.

 

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Women, warfare, history, ancient, warrior, grave, skeleton, Uratu, archer, Amazonian, Greek legend, modern, infantry, Capt Lauren F. Serrano, Serrano, Capt Katie Petronio, Petronio

 

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