Women Warriors in Prehistory and the Ancient World
>> Women Warriors in the Roman and Celtic World

The Rig-Veda, an ancient sacred poem of India, written between 3500 and 1800 BC recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with an iron prosthesis, and returned to battle.

Between 1570 and 1546 BC Queen Aahhotep I (or Ahhotep or Ahotep) of Egypt led armies against Thebes and helped to unite Egypt under one rule. (sources Ancient Egyptian History Dynasties XII to XVII and History of the Copts)

On the walls of Hittite fortresses dating to 1300 BC paintings of woman warriors carrying axes and swords.

The Biblical Judge, Deborah, was a war leader during the occupation of Canaan 1250 -1050 BC.
(info given by Deborah Lethann@mail.com )

Zabibi and her successor Samsi reigned as Arabian warrior queens from approximately 740 to 720 BC. Both commanded armies containing large numbers of women.
(info given by Linda falconfyre@earthlink.net)

A bronze age cuirass for a woman dated between the 11th and 8th century BC was found at Haute Marne in the Netherlands.
(info given by grainne@peak.org)

In 529 BC Queen Tomyris of the Massagetai defeated the Persians (source Ancient History Sourcebook)

The Greeks had legends of the a group of women warriors called the Amazons.
(see also Historial Interpretations of the Amazons and The Amazons of Greek Mythology)
It has been suggested that these legends may have been based on Scythian women of the 4th and 5th Centuries BC. Archeological finds of Scythians have included female skeletons with bows, swords, and horses. (see also Statues of Sauromatian and Sarmatian Women and Chieftain or Warrior Priestess)
Other possible origins suggested include the River Thermodon in Northern Turkey and Libya.

In 39 AD Trung Trac and Trung Nhi led a Vietnamese uprising against the Chinese. They gained control of 65 citadels and reigned as queens until 43 AD. Their mother Tran Thi Doan (also known as Lady Man Thien) trained them in military skills and led troops to support them.
Phung Thi Chinh also took part in the battles of 43AD and delivered her child at the battlefront. Other women involved in the fighting included Hoang Thieu Hoa, General Le Chan, Thanh Thien Princess and Cao Thi Lien
(info given by Moogie - moogie@nondescript.net)

Trieu Thi Trinh fought against the Chinese in Viet Nam in 248AD.
(info given by Moogie - moogie@nondescript.net)

In 200AD, Japan was ruled by a warrior-priestess-queen Himoko (or Pimiko).

In 366AD Empress Jingo Kogo led a Japanese invasion of Korea. Empress Jingo was pregnant when she invaded Korea and therefore had to have adjustable armour made
(info given by Elizabeth etweb@senet.com.au)

Between 373 and 380 AD Queen Mavia she led the Saracen into battles against Rome in Palestine, Phoenicia and Egypt.

In the 5th Century Hua Mu Lan also known as Fa Mulan joined the Chinese army and fought for ten years.

"The daughter of Gregory (the Roman praefect), a maid of incomparable beauty and spirit, is said to have fought by his side: from her earliest youth she was trained to mount on horseback, to draw the bow, and to wield the cimeter; and the richness of her arms and apparel were conspicuous in the foremost ranks of the battle" in Tripoli in 647 A.D
(info given by Moogie moogie@nondescript.net. Source "The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon)

A'ishah Bint Abi Bakr fought at the 'Battle of the Camel' near Basra in 656AD.

In 661AD Empress Saimei led a naval expedition to Paekche.

Dihya al-Kahina (or Dahia, Damia, Diah, Kahena, Cahena, A-Cahina, Cohen, Cohena) was a warrior queen who led Berber troops against invading Arabs around 694AD.

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These pages are provided by Nicky Saunders of Lothene Experimental Archaeology