The Amazons were known either as brave, courageous, intelligent, and powerful or as disorderly, barbaric, and savage.
Their origins are founded in Greek mythology. The Amazons were said to live in Pontus. It was a matriarchal society in that it was a society governed by women, protected by women, and all about women. Men were not allowed in their society. Because they were so powerful and they won many wars, they were a force to be reckoned with. The society was governed by a queen or a pair of queens.
Since there are no men, they couldn’t reproduce with each other. As a result, Amazons went through a spring mating ritual to keep the population going. The women who were allowed to breed were the women who killed someone in combat. The women would go to neighboring tribes and stay with the men for one month until they were pregnant.
An amazing process would occur when the child was born. If the child was female, they would take the child back to the Amazons, but if the child was a boy, they either mutilated them and made them slaves, killed them, or sent them to their fathers.
I found that the Amazons were the “swingers” of the ancient world. It is said that they did not sleep with the same man every spring! The idea of marriage did not exist in their society(2).
The Greeks created the story of the Amazon warriors to show how society would be if men stopped running society. It was supposed to scare women and encourage men to take their respective gender roles. The Amazons embodied characteristics that Greek men were taught to idolize as they were violent, aggressive, strong, and fearless. In many cases, the Amazon women were a reflection of Greek men; they were not monogamous and a huge part of their lives was about engaging in war. In the same way, the men in the stories were reflections of the women, used for keeping a society alive and reproducing. I feel as if the Greek men wanted to do an exposé of their behavior. It also seems as if the Greek men took the step in creating ‘radical’ art.
As expected, a type of feminism came from the story of the Amazons. The women were independent and mighty. Amazon feminism “emphasizes female physical prowess to meet the goal of gender equality. Adherents are dedicated to the image of the female hero in fiction and in fact, as expressed in the physiques and feats of female athletes, martial artists and other powerfully built women in society, art and literature.”
The idea of the Amazon woman has appeared in our pop culture as Wonder Woman or Xena the Warrior Princess. The Amazons have become a symbol for lesbians. It represents strength and womanhood. The Amazons also became a symbol for lesbians because they lived without men.