Indo-European Warrior Women

8 posts

Bob Dylan Roof

According to David Anthony, author of The horse, the wheel, and language: how Bronze-Age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world , roughly 20% of Scythian graves contain the skeletons of women dressed in traditionally male warrior garb.

I also found this link on Dienekes' blog, reporting the discovery of a "broad-framed" female skeleton armed with a sword in an Iranian bronze age tomb.

Perhaps the feminists at the Valorian Society were correct in ascribing a certain amount of gender egalitarianism to IE populations.

Dithcuth Bronze Age Pervert ; Porkchop Holocaust ; The Truth Society

Bronze Age Pervert

I've heard somewhere that Vedic women also participated in subjugation of darkies.

Porkchop Holocaust

Evidence of warrior females, or warrior female lifestyles can be found readily in the myth of the Amazons, Sparta's common gender exercises, Germanic tales concerning Brunhild and the Valkyries, Boudicca, etc. The modern West's worship of "strong women" is certainly a degeneration, but it'd be hard to believe that at its root doesn't lie an older precedent. Determining the nature of that precedent, if it is a kind of egalitarianism, or simply the fruit of a positive quality of IE women that occasionally is able to break through societal barriers is hard to determine. I think both realities have existed throughout IE societies and produced complex interactions within the larger ensemble of the IE view of the world.

The defining feature of IE societies has been a kind of highly scrupulous morality dependent on personal honor, in which social relations functioned to acknowledge individuals' martial valour, wisdom, liberality with earthly possessions and lawfulness. In this system morality is transcendent, and could even be seen as a supramorality, as it allows individual virtue to occupy its own space, unrestrained by social boundaries. It's not hard to imagine that in places where this kind of individual virtue ethics is cultivated, and through the worth of the people is able to become generalized, some women were able to become representatives of it or were able, through some strength of personality, to become recognized for it all the same. Just like a land tilling Viking was able to become a Lord across the sea and perhaps spawn an illustrious lineage, so could a woman who evidenced exceptional warrior traits (and IE women were quite robust) attain renown for feats which are not common of her kind.

I'm not forgetting that it could have merely a symbolic meaning, or maybe it is the symbolic meaning which is essential, despite the putative reality where women fought alongside men. We know that in our society, women fighting alongside men and men fighting for women (not as an object of Love, but for women's political predominance - feminism) go hand in hand. This, according to Evola, at least, was the meaning of the myth of the Amazons, which was the reminder of a society where men, after losing spiritual sovereignty and transferring it to women(or a feminized male equivalent), became mere warriors. It's possible that this transformation was never more than marginal in ancient IE societies, but it could've provoked an instinct of reaction which became enshrined in myth. In any case, allowing women to assume traditional male roles carries with it a great risk of spiritual and cultural subversion. That it was allowed is perhaps evidence of an unique sort of tension in the same domains.

Bob Dylan Roof
Good post.

The Valorian Society attempted a sort of reconstruction of one view of PIE social stratification and culture and arrived at something similar to the aristocratic libertarianism you described in your second paragraph. James Bowery over at MR has posted about it:
Porkchop Holocaust
Libertarianism and feminism make radical assumptions about human nature that IE societies would find quite alien, I think. If some of those societies allowed a greater degree of freedom to women, it may have been because there was less of a need to compel them by force or to fear the sexual rapine of fellow men.

A more genuine portrait of gender relations can be seen in the subdual of Brunhilde in the Niebelungenlied. After marrying with King Gunther, he tries make love to her on his wedding night, but she's not pleased with him, as she will only obey a man that is stronger than herself and so humilliates him with her superhuman power. He then asks Sigfried, who is the strongest man alive, to subdue her in the dark and then slip out of the room without she noticing.

Tacitus was certainly of that opinion; he writes in 45 of Germania:

"Bordering on the Suiones are the nations of the Sitones. They resemble them in all respects but one - woman is the ruling sex. That is the measure of their decline, I will not say below freedom, but even below decent slavery."

Roland, is there any suggestion or hypothesis regarding the context of these female warriors? Do they appear only in times of degeneration and collapse or is their existence taken to be the normal state of affairs?
Bob Dylan Roof
This is actually the type of libertarianism I was referring to. I didn't intend to use the term in the narrow, dogmatic sense, but rather to signify an absence of formal restrictions on behavior. I also modified the term with 'aristocratic' to suggest the primacy of force.

The subdual of Brunhilde is a near mirror-image of the Valorian society model to the extent that they regard brute physiology as the most important element in society. However, the other Valorian rules concerning the protection of female sexuality, promulgated to promote eugenic breeding, seem closer to modern ideas about feminism.

I don't know of any relevant textual evidence concerning bronze age Indo-European societies - bap or porkchop might know. We know very little about bronze age warfare (scholars can't even agree on how chariot warfare really worked), so I doubt there are any interesting hypotheses related to woman warriors.

It's worth noting that Aristotle also ascribed the decline of Sparta and Crete to the rule of women and their control of property. Here we must remember Evola's analysis (mentioned by Porkchop) because the Lacedaemonian women were not warriors but rather sedentary rulers who enjoyed their station by virtue of formal laws and not brute physicality.

From (the ever reliable) Herodotus on the subject - the meeting of Scythians and Amazons: