Adrienne Mayor

The strong bond of sisterhood was a famous trait in classical art and literature about Amazons. But it was modern people who interpreted that as a sexual preference for women. That started in the 20th century. The Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva declared that Amazons were symbolic of lesbianism in antiquity.Adrienne Mayor

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That whole heroic notion of the women warriors known as Amazons is extremely appealing. It was appealing in antiquity, and, throughout the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, they're always portrayed as heroic, courageous, and the equals of men, and that's just extremely attractive and has been since antiquity.Adrienne Mayor

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An ancient Scythian nomad skeleton buried with an eagle was reportedly excavated near Aktobe Gorge, Kazakhstan. Ancient petroglyphs in the Altai region depict eagle hunters, and inscribed Chinese stone reliefs show eagles perched on the arms of hunters in tunics, trousers, and boots, identified as northern nomads (1st to 2nd century A.D.).Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Stone, Eagle, Boots

Archaeologists have been digging up thousands of graves of people called Scythians by the Greeks. They turn out to be people whose women fought, hunted, rode horses, used bows and arrows, just like the men.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Women, Men, People

Pictures of Amazons on vase paintings always show them as beautiful, active, spirited, courageous, and brave.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Beautiful, Brave, Show

In April 2001, I visited Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky. The heaps of mastodon and other large skeletons that used to loom out of the brackish backwaters along the Ohio River here are long gone, though the occasional big bone sometimes comes to light.Adrienne Mayor

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I think that the Greeks were extremely ambivalent about the stories of Amazons: they found them both thrilling and rather daunting at the same time.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Time, Think, Same

The Amazons were notorious for their freedom: their sexual freedom, their freedom to hunt, to be outdoors, to go to war; and the Greeks, both men and women alike, were fascinated by these stories. Maybe it was a safe way to explore the idea of women who could be equals of men.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Women, War, Freedom

I just had a hunch that there might be kernels of truth or reality - scientific or historical reality - in stories about nature that are perpetuated in oral myths. That's how I got interested in it.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Nature, Truth, Reality

I've always been interested in oral traditions and mythological stories and legends from antiquity that have to do with nature, attempts to explain mysterious or puzzling, or very striking phenomena from nature. Things that people observed or heard about in nature.Adrienne Mayor

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We are used to thinking of Amazon myths in terms of violence against uppity women, but the ancient evidence also reveals a vision of gender equality.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Women, Vision, Equality

I write in two very different places: my desk in Palo Alto, California, is piled high with myriad jumbled books and papers whose stratigraphy is a challenge. Summers in Bozeman, Montana, I write in a spare space, surrounded by interesting rocks and fossils instead of books, on an old oak table with nothing but my laptop.Adrienne Mayor

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I find writing a book a slow, intricate process, a kind of obstacle course punctuated with great rewards. But research is always thrilling, and I tend to incorporate newfound material up to the very last minute.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Great, Book, Writing

Before I began concentrating on writing, in my free time I was an artist, making and selling etchings illustrating stories based on my readings in classical literature.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Time, Writing, Artist

The nomads' egalitarian lifestyle astonished the Greeks, who kept their own women indoors weaving and minding children. The exotic Scythian lifestyle fueled the Greek imagination and led to an outpouring of myths about fierce Amazons, 'the equals of men.'Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Women, Children, Imagination

The name 'Amazon' was not originally Greek; linguists believe it derived from the ancient Iranian word for 'warrior.'Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Believe, Name, Warrior

It is said the boundless steppes of Asia gave flight to tales of heroes and heroines because the conditions there are so harsh.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Heroes, Said, Flight

From about 700 B.C. to A.D. 500, the vast territory of Scythia, stretching from the Black Sea to China, was home to diverse but culturally related nomads. Known as Scythians to Greeks, Saka to the Persians, and Xiongnu to the Chinese, the steppe tribes were masters of horses and archery.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Home, Sea, Black

I think the key to the whole appeal of Amazons is the egalitarian society. There was once a time and place where equality was taken for granted - it was logical and necessary - and I think most people can get the message that if it happened once, it could happen again.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Time, Society, Equality

In the non-Greek stories, Persia, Egypt, even China, Central Asia, in oral traditions and written literature, anyone who fights Amazons admires their courage and beauty, and they want to be allies of the Amazon; they don't wanna kill them.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Beauty, Courage, Want

Many scholars are not used to perceiving natural knowledge expressed in mythological language. If the study of fossils was not mentioned by Aristotle or Thucydides, and it wasn't, then it just didn't exist for many classicists and ancient historians.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Knowledge, Language, Study

The tasks of paleontologists and classical historians and archaeologists are remarkably similar - to excavate, decipher and bring to life the tantalizing remnants of a time we will never see.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Life, Time, See

Just as a fossil is 'petrified time,' so is an ancient artifact or text.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Time, Text, Ancient

I have discovered that if you take all the places of Greek myths, those specific locales turn out to be abundant fossil sites, but there is also a lot of natural knowledge embedded in those myths, showing that Greek perceptions about fossils were pretty amazing for prescientific people.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Knowledge, Amazing, People

We know their names: Hippolyta, Antiope, Thessalia. But they were long thought to be just travelers' tales or products of the Greek storytelling imagination. A lot of scholars still argue that. But archaeology has now proven without a doubt that there really were women fitting the description that the Greeks gave us of Amazons and warrior women.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Women, Imagination, Thought

The real Amazons were long believed to be purely imaginary. They were the mythical warrior women who were the archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Every Greek hero or champion, from Hercules to Theseus and Achilles, had to prove his mettle by fighting a powerful warrior queen.Adrienne Mayor

0 likes view quote Women, Hero, Champion
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