Philip Womack

Lady Killers

Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World

By

Bantam Press 301pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Amazons of popular imagination, as descended from Greek mythology, are a beguiling, terrifying nation of warrior women. They cut off their right breasts to enable ease of movement. They mate once a year with local tribes, keeping the resulting girls and abandoning the boys. Their queens encounter the great Greek heroes, in some versions coming off better and in others dying beautiful, poignant deaths (often represented in art, it must be said, wearing very few clothes). They are also, eternally, located ‘over there’ – beyond the next mountain range, across the next sea or at the end of a very long river.

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