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Amazonian 'Wonder Woman' found on Greek vase

An accidental archeological discovery on a small cylindrical vase dated between 480-450 BC in the University of Mississippi’s David M. Robinson Memorial Collection revealed a warrior woman on horseback who had previously gone unnoticed. The image, drawn on a cyindrical box with a lid used by women of antiquity to keep jewelry or cosmetics showed an image of a woman embroiled in battle against a Greek warrior. More intriguingly, the woman, much like the DC Comics Heroine Wonder Woman, has a lariet, a lasso, that she is preparing to throw over the warrior as he crouches behind his shield.

Amazonian 'Wonder Woman' found on Greek vase
The 2500-year-old "Wonder Woman" [Credit: The University of Mississippi Museum
 and Historic Houses/David M. Robinson Memorial Collection]
Amazons depicted in battle are not unusual per se, however Stanford University’s Departments of Classics and History of Science Professor Adrienne Mayor says that it is the only ancient artistic image of an Amazon using a lariat in battle though historians have given us descriptions of the warrior women using these. She discovered the vase while researching her book, titled “Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World.”

Mayor says that ancient Greek women would have enjoyed scenes of Amazons getting the better of their male counterparts. She says that the illustration on the vase is both erotic and subversive. Greek historian Herodotus referred to these women as Androktones (men killers) who only used men to breed, killing male babies born from their sexual encounters. Their fierceness in battle gave birth to a number of myths. Legend has it that they had their left breast removed or burnt so that they could better handle their bows.

Source: Protothema [June 09, 2015]

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  1. What are the features of the rider that indicate that this person is female?

  2. Good point:
    The legendary weapon
    Ratio of facial features / jaw
    Very flexible on the twist
    No beard. :)
    The male opponent is not shown - that would clarify. The professor made an excellent catch.


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