List of women warriors in folklore

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The Hindu goddess Kali slays the demon Raktabija in an etching by Richard B. Godfrey (1770).
The Swedish heroine Blenda advises the women of Värend to fight off the Danish army in a painting by August Malström (1860).
The female warrior samurai Hangaku Gozen in a woodblock print by Yoshitoshi (circa 1885).
The peasant Joan of Arc (Jeanne D'Arc) led the French army to important victories in the Hundred Years' War. The only direct portrait of Joan of Arc has not survived; this artist's interpretation was painted between 1450 and 1500 CE.

This list of woman who engaged in war, found throughout mythology and folklore, studied in fields such as literature, sociology, psychology, anthropology, film studies, mass communication, cultural studies, and women's studies. A mythological figure does not always mean a fictional one, but rather, someone of whom stories have been told that have entered the cultural heritage of a people. Some women warriors are documented in the written record and as such form part of history (e.g. the Ancient Briton queen Boudica, who led the Iceni into battle against the Romans). However, to be considered a warrior, the woman in question must have belonged to some sort of military, be it recognized, like an organized army, or unrecognized, like revolutionaries.

Contents

Pirates and Seafarers[edit]

  • Anne Bonny and Mary Read sailed alongside Calico Jack, Mary dressing as a man. Anne eventually became Jack's lover, and they had a child. In October 1720, their ship was attacked by a royal fleet. All but one of the male crew members, drunk and afraid, hid below deck as the two women fought on with the help of the unknown man. While imprisoned, Bonny is reported to have said of her doomed lover: "Sorry to see him there, but if he had fought like a man, he need not have been hanged like a dog."[1]
  • Gráinne O'Malley Legendary "Pirate Queen" of Ireland. She lived during the 16th century.

Africa[edit]

Angola[edit]

Berber history[edit]

  • Kahina or al-Kāhina (Classical Arabic for "female seer"; modern Maghreb Arabic l-Kahna, commonly romanised as Kah(i)na, also known as Dihya or Kahya) was a 7th-century female Berber religious and military leader, who led indigenous resistance to Arab expansion in Northwest Africa, the region then known as Numidia, known as the Maghreb today. She was born in the early 7th century and died around the end of the 7th century probably in modern day Algeria.

Burkina Faso[edit]

  • Yennenga was a legendary warrior woman skilled in spear and bow, considered by the Mossi people as the mother of their empire.

Ethiopia[edit]

  • Gudit (Ge'ez: Yodit, Judith) is a semi-legendary, non-Christian, Beta Israel, queen (flourished c.960) who laid waste to Aksum and its countryside, destroyed churches and monuments, and attempted to exterminate the members of the ruling Axumite dynasty. Her deeds are recorded in the oral tradition and mentioned incidentally in various historical accounts.

Ghana (then Gold Coast)[edit]

Hausa history[edit]

  • Amina Sukhera (also called Aminatu) was a Muslim princess of the royal family of the kingdom of Zazzau, in what is now northeast Nigeria, who lived c. 1533 - 1610. Her military achievements brought her great wealth and power; she was responsible for conquering many of the cities in the area surrounding her seat.

Yoruba mythology and history[edit]

  • Oya is the Undergoddess of the Niger River. She is the warrior-spirit of the wind, lightning, fertility, fire and magic. It is believed that she creates hurricanes and tornadoes, and serves as guardian of the underworld. Prior to her post-mortem deification, the historical Oya was a princess of the Oyo clan as the consort of Shango, its reigning king.

Sudanese History[edit]

  • The legendary Candace of Meroe (a title, her real name never given) was a warrior queen in the Alexander Romance who caused Alexander The Great himself to retreat upon witnessing the army she'd gathered. This however may be classified a non-historical account because Alexander never reached Sudan.
  • Amanirenas, however, was a historical holder of the title of Candace who fought against the Romans after their conquest of Egypt.

Americas[edit]

Depiction of the Aztec goddess Itzpapalotl from the Codex Borgia.

Native Americans[edit]

Fallen Leaf (often called Woman Chief by the Americans): While Fallen Leaf was a Crow warrior, she was actually born to the Gros Ventre nation and was captured by the Crow when she was 12. After she had counted coup four times in the prescribed Crow tradition, she was considered a chief and sat in the council of chiefs.

Running Eagle: she became a Blackfoot (Piegan) warrior after her husband was killed by the Crow.

Colestah: In the 1858 battle of Spokane Plains in Washington, Yakama leader Kamiakin's wife Colestah was known as a medicine woman, psychic, and warrior. Armed with a stone war club, Colestah fought at her husband's side. When Kamiakin was wounded, she rescued him, and then used her healing skills to cure him.

Buffalo Calf Road Woman: In the 1876 battle of the Rosebud in Montana, Buffalo Calf Road (aka Calf Trail Woman), the sister of Comes in Sight, rode into the middle of the warriors and saved the life of her brother. Buffalo Calf Road had ridden into battle that day next to her husband Black Coyote. This was considered to be one of the greatest acts of valor in the battle.

Moving Robe Woman: One of the best-known battles in the annals of Indian-American warfare is the 1876 Battle of the Greasy Grass in Montana where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was defeated. One of those who led the counterattack against the cavalry was the woman Tashenamani (Moving Robe).

Aztec mythology[edit]

American Civil War[edit]

  • Frances Clalin, also known as Jack Williams, a mother of three from Illinois.[2]
  • Sarah Pritchard, who fought with the 26th Infantry of the Confederate Army alongside her husband, until wounded. She was sent home, whereupon she switched sides and fought guerrilla style for the Union.[2]
  • Jennie Hodgers, an Irish immigrant who fought for the Union under the name of Albert Cashier in the 95th Illinois Infantry.[2]

American Old West[edit]

American Revolution[edit]

  • "Molly Pitchers", patriot women who manned cannons to fend off the British during the war for independence

Argentina - Bolivia[edit]

Brazil[edit]

  • Maria Quitéria, dressed as a man, enlisted in the forces fighting for the Brazilian Independence. Once discovered, she was promoted to cadet and after alferez. Her courage was recognized by the Emperor Pedro I.
  • Anita Garibaldi, fought on the Ragamuffin War
  • Maria Rosa, a 15-year-old girl who fought in the Contestado War. She wore white clothes, rode a white horse and claimed that she had divine inspiration

East Asia[edit]

Oil painting on silk, "Hua Mulan Goes to War" in ancient China.

Central Asia[edit]

  • Khutulun was a 13th-century Mongol princess, the daughter of the Mongol leader Qaidu Khan and a great-great granddaughter of Genghis Khan. According to legend she was a skilled warrior and wrestler who vowed that she would only marry a man who could defeat her in wrestling. Although no man was ever able to out-wrestle her, Khutuln ended up marrying a warrior named Abtakul (possibly to squelch rumors about an incestuous relationship between her and her father). Her story was made famous by foreign chroniclers Marco Polo, and Ibn Battuta, both of whom had heard of Khutuln's legend on their travels through Asia.

Historical China[edit]

  • Hua Mulan was a (possibly legendary) woman who went to war disguised as a man, and was able to return home after years of war without being found out.
  • Ng Mui was a Shaolin monastery abbess who created a kung fu system especially suitable for women.
  • Yim Wing-chun, often cited in Wing Chun legends as the first Wing Chun master outside the monastic tradition, was a pupil of Ng Mui.
  • Fu Hao was one of the many wives of King Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty and, unusually for that time, also served as a military general and high priestess.
  • Mother Lü began a peasant rebellion.
  • Li Xiu defeated rebels as a military commander.
  • Lady of Yue was a famous swordswoman
  • Qin Liangyu fought battles with her husband.
  • Sun Shangxiang, who is often depicted as a tomboy, was the sister of the warlord Sun Quan. She received extensive martial arts training, and her maidservants were armed with weapons, which was odd for her time.
  • Lady Zhurong It's unknown whether she existed, but she was the only woman portrayed in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms who took part in fighting in the war during the three kingdoms period alongside her husband.
  • Mu Guiying was a woman who commanded the armies against barbarian invaders
  • Princess Pingyang formed a rebel army to assist her father in overthrowing the Emperor, and was declared 'no ordinary woman' upon her death.
  • Ching Shih (1775–1844) prominent pirate in middle Qing China, early 19th century. A brilliant Cantonese pirate, she commanded over 300 junks manned by 20,000 to 40,000 pirates — men, women, and even children. She challenged the empires of the time, such as the British, Portuguese and the Qing dynasty. Undefeated, she would become one of China and Asia's strongest pirates, and one of world history's most powerful pirates. She was also one of the few pirate captains to retire from piracy.

Historical Japan[edit]

  • Empress Jingu was a legendary Japanese empress and famous among the onna bugeisha (woman warrior).
  • Hangaku Gozen was an onna bugeisha (woman warrior).
  • Tomoe Gozen (1157?–1247?) was an onna bugeisha (woman warrior).
  • Marishi-Ten the goddess of heaven, who was adopted by warriors in the 8th century as a protector and patron goddess. While devotions to Marishi-ten predate Zen, they appear to be geared towards a similar meditative mode in order to enable the warrior to achieve a more heightened spiritual level. He lost interest in the issues of victory or defeat (or life and death), thus transcending to a level where he became so empowered that he was freed from his own grasp on mortality. The end result was that he became a better warrior.
  • Kaihime (presumably born 1572) was said to have fought during the Siege of Odawara and to have personally crushed a rebellion, earning her father the respect of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. However, historians aren't entirely sure if she truly did accomplish those events.
Memorial of Queen Suriyothai in the Ayutthaya Province, Thailand.
Monument to Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon in the Phuket Province, Thailand.

Historical Vietnam[edit]

  • The Trung Sisters, (c. 12 - 43 CE), known in Vietnamese as Hai Bà Trưng ("the two Trưng ladies"'), and individually as Trưng Trắc (Traditional Chinese: 徵側; pinyin: Zhēng Cè) and Trưng Nhị (Traditional Chinese: 徵貳; pinyin: Zhēng Èr), were two 1st century CE women leaders who repelled Chinese invasions for three years, winning several battles against considerable odds, and are regarded as national heroines of Vietnam.
  • Phùng Thị Chính was a Vietnamese noblewoman who fought alongside the Trưng sisters. Legend says she gave birth on the front lines and carried her newborn in one arm and a sword in the other as she fought to open the ranks of the enemy.
  • Triệu Ẩu described as the Vietnamese Joan of Arc.
  • Lê Chân, general of Triệu Ẩu.
  • Bùi Thị Xuân, (? - 1802), general of Tay Son dynasty.

Historical Thailand[edit]

Somdet Phra Sri Suriyothai (Thai: สมเด็จพระศรีสุริโยทัย) was a royal consort during the 16th century Ayutthaya period of Siam (now Thailand). She is famous for having given up her life in the defense of her husband, King Maha Chakkraphat, in a battle during the Burmese-Siamese War of 1548. For the movie, see The Legend of Suriyothai.

Thao Thep Kasattri (ท้าวเทพกระษัตรี) and Thao Sri Sunthon (ท้าวศรีสุนทร) were styles awarded to Than Phuying Chan (ท่านผู้หญิงจัน), wife of the then recently deceased governor, and her sister, Khun Muk (คุณมุก), who defended Phuket Province in the late eighteenth century. According to popular belief, they repelled a five-week invasion by Burmaese in 1785, by dressing up as male soldiers and rallying Siamese troops. Chan and Muk were later honored by King Rama I with the Thai honorific Thao, as Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon, respectively.[3][4][5][6][7] The "Heroine's Monument" honouring them is situated on the main highway (402) between the Phuket International Airport and Phuket town.[8]

The Philippines[edit]

  • Gabriela Silang, (1731-1761), led insurgents from Ilocos during the Philippine Revolution against Spain, after the death of her husband, Diego Silang. She was captured by Spanish colonial forces in September 1761 and executed in the town square of Vigan, reportedly after watching the executions of all her men.[9]

Europe[edit]

Boudica and Her Daughters near Westminster Pier, London, commissioned by Prince Albert and executed by Thomas Thornycroft

Britons, Roman Britain, and History of Anglo-Saxon England[edit]

Three historical women:

Two legendary women:

Celtic mythology and Irish mythology[edit]

This Amazon is famous in their traditions: her house or dairy of stone is yet extant; some of the inhabitants dwell in it all summer, though it be some hundred years old; the whole is built of stone, without any wood, lime, earth, or mortar to cement it, and is built in form of a circle pyramid-wise towards the top, having a vent in it, the fire being always in the centre of the floor; the stones are long and thin, which supplies the defect of wood; the body of this house contains not above nine persons sitting; there are three beds or low vaults that go off the side of the wall, a pillar betwixt each bed, which contains five men apiece; at the entry to one of these low vaults is a stone standing upon one end fix’d; upon this they say she ordinarily laid her helmet; there are two stones on the other side, upon which she is reported to have laid her sword: she is said to have been much addicted to hunting, and that in her time all the space betwixt this isle and that of Harries, was one continued tract of dry land.[17]

Similar stories of a female warrior who hunted the now submerged land between the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda are reported from Harris.[18]

Historical Czech Lands[edit]

  • The story of Šárka and Vlasta is a legend dealing with events in the "Maidens' War" in 7th-century Bohemia.

England[edit]

Bronze statue of Jeanne Hachette in Beauvais, by Gabriel-Vital Dubray
  • Catherine of Aragon was Queen Regent, Governor of the Realm and Captain General of the King's Forces from 30 June 1513 – 22 October 1513 when Henry VIII was fighting a war in France. When Scotland invaded, they were defeated at the Battle of Flodden Field, with Catherine addressing the army, and riding north in full armour with a number of the troops, despite being heavily pregnant at the time. She sent a letter to Henry along with the bloodied coat of the King of Scots, James IV, who died in the battle.

Duchy of Brittany[edit]

Illyria[edit]

  • Teuta was an Illyrian queen and is frequently evoked as a fearsome "pirate queen" in art and stories dealing with Albanian past.

Albania[edit]

  • Nora of Kelmendi (17th century), is also referred to as the "Helen of Albania" as her beauty also sparked a great war. She is also called the Albanian Brünhilde too, for she herself was the greatest woman warrior in the history of Albania.
  • Tringe Smajl Martini a young girl in war against the Ottoman Empire army after her father Smajl Martini, the clan leader was kidnapped. She never married, never had children, and did not have any siblings. In 1911 the New York Times described Tringe Smajli as the "Albanian Joan of Arc".
  • Shote Galica (1895 - 1927), remarkable warrior of the Albanian insurgent national liberation with the goal of unification of all Albanian territories.

Historical France[edit]

  • Jeanne Hachette (1456 - ?) was a French heroine known as Jeanne Fourquet and nicknamed Jeanne Hachette ('Jean the Hatchet').
  • Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc in French) asserted that she had visions from God which told her to recover her homeland from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege at Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. She was tried and executed for heresy when she was only 19 years old. The judgment was broken by the Pope and she was declared innocent and a martyr 24 years later.

Greek Mythology[edit]

Amazon preparing for the battle (Queen Antiope or Armed Venus) -Pierre-Eugène-Emile Hébert 1860 National Gallery of Art
  • The Amazons (in Greek, Ἀμαζόνες) were a mythical and ancient nation of female warriors. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia. The histories and legends in Greek mythology may be inspired by warrior women among the Sarmatians.
  • Artemis (Latin Diana) is the Greek goddess of the hunt, daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister to Apollo. She is usually depicted bearing a bow and arrows.
  • Atalanta is one of the few mortal heroines in Greek mythology. She possessed great athletic prowess: she was a skilled huntress, archer, and wrestler, and was capable of running at astounding speeds. She is said to have participated in the Argonaut expedition, and is one of the central figures in the Calydonian Boar hunt. Atalanta was renowned for her beauty and was sought by many suitors, including Melanion or Hippomenes, whom she married after he defeated her in a foot race. According to some stories, the pair were eventually turned into lions, either by Zeus or Aphrodite.
  • Athena (Latin: Minerva) is the goddess of wisdom, war strategy, and arts and crafts. Often shown bearing a shield depicting the gorgon Medusa (Aegis) given to her by her father Zeus. Athena is an armed warrior goddess, and appears in Greek mythology as a helper of many heroes, including Heracles, Jason, and Odysseus.
  • Enyo, a minor war goddess, delights in bloodshed and the destruction of towns, and accompanies Ares—said to be her father, in other accounts her brother—in battles.
  • Hippolyta is a queen of the Amazons, and a daughter of Ares. It was her girdle that Hercules was required by Eurystheus to obtain. He captured her and brought her to Athens, where he gave her to the ruler, Theseus, to become his bride.
  • Penthesilea, in a story by the Greek traveler Pausanias, is the Amazonian queen who led the Amazons against the Greeks during the Trojan War. In other stories she is said to be the younger sister of Hippolyta, Theseus's queen, whom Penthesilea had accidentally slain while on a hunt. It was then that she joined the Trojan War to assuage her guilt. She was killed and mourned by Achilles, who greatly admired her courage, youth and beauty.

Historical Republic of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania[edit]

  • Emilia Plater (Emilija Pliaterytė) - Polish-Lithuanian commander in the November Uprising against Russia in the 19th century, who became a symbol of resistance and was immortalised in a poem by Adam Mickiewicz. She was a Polish-Lithuanian noblewoman and a revolutionary from the lands of the partitioned Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. She fought in the November Uprising and is considered a national hero in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, which were former parts of the Commonwealth. She is often referred to as the Lithuanian Joan of Arc, while actually her most widely known portrait is often mistaken for a picture of Joan of Arc herself in worldwide popular culture (as in the series Charmed), despite the fact that "Joan of Arc" is anachronistically portrayed in Emilia's 19th-century clothing.
  • Grażyna (Gražina) - a mythical Lithuanian chieftainess Grażyna who fought against the forces of the medieval Order of the Teutonic Knights, described in an 1823 narrative poem, Grażyna, by Adam Mickiewicz. The woman character is believed to have been based on Mickiewicz's own sweetheart from Kaunas, Karolina Kowalska. The name was originally conceived by Mickiewicz himself, having used the root of the Lithuanian adjective gražus, meaning "beautiful".

Portuguese Legend[edit]

  • Brites de Almeida, aka Padeira de Aljubarrota was a Portuguese legendary figure associated with Portuguese victory at Aljubarrota Battle over Spanish forces in 1385 near Aljubarrota, Portugal. She supposedly killed seven Spanish invaders who were hidden in an oven.
  • Deu-la-deu Martins, the heroine of the North. The Castilian had besieged the town of Monção for many weeks and inside the town walls, provisions were almost depleted. Knowing that the invaders also were demoralized that the town resisted for so long and without provisions themselves, Deu-la-deu ("God gave her") made loaves of bread with the little flour that remained in Monção and threw the loaves at the invaders from the walls, shouting at them defiantly "God gave these, God will give more". As a result, the Castilians gave up the siege believing that still there was a lot resistance and infinite provisions within the town walls.

Italian folklore and Roman Mythology[edit]

  • Bellona is the Roman goddess of war: the Roman counterpart to the Greek war goddess Enyo. She prepared the chariot of her brother Mars when he was going to war, and appeared in battles armed with a whip and holding a torch.
  • Camilla was the Amazon queen of the Volsci. She was famous for her footspeed; Virgil claims that she could run across water and chase down horses. She was slain by Arruns while fighting Aeneas and the Trojans in Italy.
  • Fantaghirò is the main character of an ancient Tuscany fairy tale named: Fanta-Ghirò persona bella, an Italian fable about a rebellious youngest daughter of a warrior king, a warrior princess. Italo Calvino talks about it in his collection of Italian fairy tales.

History of Russia|Historical Russia[edit]

  • Saint Olga ruled in Kievskiy, Russia, from 945 to 960 CE. In 945, a tribe of Drevlyane, killed her husband, King Igor. Princess Olga avenged this death four times. The first time, she buried twenty ambassadors from Drevlyane alive. The second time, she set fire to a bathhouse that was being used by another group of Drevlyane ambassadors. The third time, Princess Olga managed to get about 5,000 Drevlyane drunk, and then ordered her soldiers to assault and (presumably) kill them. Lastly, Princess Olga burned the entire city of Drevlyane, using sparrows and doves to which were attached strings of fire.
  • White Tights are an urban legend about Baltic female snipers supposed to have fought against Russian forces in various recent conflicts.
  • The Polinitzi are Amazon-like warrior females of the old Russian hero epics (byline).

Scandinavian folklore and Germanic paganism[edit]

"From sunrise to the sundown no paragon had she.
All boundless as her beauty was her strength was peerless too,
And evil plight hung o'er the knight who dared her love to woo.
For he must try three bouts with her; the whirling spear to fling;
To pitch the massive stone; and then to follow with a spring;
And should he beat in every feat his wooing well has sped,
But he who fails must lose his love, and likewise lose his head."

  • In The saga of Hrolf Kraki, Skuld (not to be confused with the Norn of the same name) was a half-elven princess who raised an army of criminals and monsters to take over the throne of her half-brother Hrolfr Kraki, using necromancy to resurrect any fallen soldiers before she personally saw to Kraki's end.

Spain[edit]

Agustina, maid of Aragon, fires a gun on the French invaders at Saragossa.
  • Agustina de Aragón ('Agustina, maid of Aragon', also known as "the Spanish Joan of Arc") was a famous Spanish heroine who defended Spain during the Spanish War of Independence, first as a civilian and later as a professional officer in the Spanish Army. She has been the subject of much folklore, mythology, and artwork, including sketches by Goya. Her most famous feat was at the bloody sieges of Saragossa where, at the moment the Spanish troops abandoned their posts not to fall to nearby French bayonets, she ran forward, loaded a cannon, and lit the fuse, shredding a wave of attackers at point blank range. The sight of a lone woman bravely manning the cannons inspired the fleeing Spanish troops and other volunteers to return and assist her.
  • La Galana ('Juana Galán') was another woman who fought in the Spanish War of Independence. She defended Valdepeñas, armed with a baton and aided by the rest of the women in the village because there was not enough men in Valdepeñas due the war circumstances. They threw boiling water and oil through the windows. French soldiers were delayed in arriving at the Battle of Bailen because of this, so Spanish forces won. Also see Valdepeñas Uprising for more information about this guerrilla action.
  • La Fraila lived in Valdepeñas as Juana Galán did. During the Spanish War of Independence offered food and rest in Valdepeñas' hermitage to the French soldiers. When they were sleeping, La Fraila (which is an alias and her actual name is unknown) closed the doors and set the hermitage on fire using gunpowder as vengeance of her son's death by French army. She died in the fire as well.
  • María Pita. She defended La Coruña against Sir Francis Drake's army.

Near East[edit]

Pre-Islamic Arabia|History of Arabia[edit]

Rashidun Caliphate|Early Islam[edit]

Aisha, wife of Muhammad, led an army against Ali, fourth caliph of Islam, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law. It should be noted that both are highly honored by Muslims.

Khawlah bint Hakim was the daughter of one of the chiefs of Bani Assad tribe, and her family embraced Islam in its first days. The recorded history of that era mentions repeatedly the feats of Khawla in battles that took place in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. In one instance, she fought in disguise as a man to rescue her brother Derar after the Romans captured him. The Romans eventually lost the battle and fled. When her identity was discovered the commander of the Muslim army was very impressed with her courage he allowed her to lead the attack against the fleeing Romans, they were defeated and the prisoners were all released. In another battle in Ajnadin, Khawla's spear broke, and her mare was killed, and she found herself a prisoner. But she was astonished to find that the Romans attacked the women camp and captured several of them. Their leader gave the prisoners to his commanders, and ordered Khawla to be moved into his tent. She was furious, and decided that to die is more honorable than living in disgrace. She stood among the other women, and called them to fight for their freedom and honor or die. They took the tents' poles and pegs and attacked the Roman guards, keeping a formation of a tight circle, as she told them. Khawla led the attack, killed the first guard with her pole, with the other women following her. According to Al Waqidi, they managed to kill 30 Roman soldiers. After Ali's first wife Fatimah bint Muhammad died, Ali married Khawla. She was a brunette, tall, slim and of great beauty and she was also a distinguished poet.

Umm Ammarah, also known as Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, a Hebrew woman by origin from the Banu Najjar tribe, was an early convert to Islam. Nusaybah was attending the Battle of Uhud like other women, and her intention was to bring water to the soldiers, and attend the wounded while her husband and son fought on the side of the Muslims. But after the Muslim archers disobeyed their orders and began deserting their high ground believing victory was at hand, the tide of the battle changed, and it appeared that defeat was imminent. When this occurred, Nusaybah entered the battle, carrying a sword and shield. She shielded Muhammad from the arrows of the enemy, and received several wounds while fighting. She was highly praised by Muhammad on her courage and heroism. During the battle her son was wounded and she cut off the leg of the aggressor.

Persian mythology and History of Iran|Historical Persia[edit]

  • Gordafarid is one of the heroines in the Shāhnāmeh. She was a champion who fought against Sohrab (another Iranian hero who was the commander of the Turanian army) and delayed the Turanian troops who were marching on Persia.
  • Banu Goshasp is an important heroine in Persian mythology.[19] She is the daughter of Rustam and the wife of the hero Giv.
  • Queen Esther of Persia, who in the Old Testament is said to have told her Husband Xerxes about a plot by his advisor Haman to kill her people, which were the Jews. She is celebrated every year at the Feast of Purim.

Ancient Egypt[edit]

The warrior goddess Sekhmet, shown with her sun disk and cobra crown
  • Ankt may have originated in Asia Minor. Within Egypt she was later syncretized as Neith (who by that time had developed aspects of a war goddess).
  • Cleopatra VII was a Hellenistic co-ruler of Egypt with her father (Ptolemy XII Auletes) and later with her brothers/husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Her patron goddess was Isis, and thus during her reign, it was believed that she was the re-incarnation and embodiment of the goddess of wisdom.
  • Sekhmet is a warrior goddess depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians.
  • Though her reign was primarily peaceful, the pharaoh Hatshepsut fought in several battles during her younger years.
  • Nefertiti, wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten, has been at times depicted as smiting enemies in a manner similar to how a male ruler typically would.

Mesopotamian mythology[edit]

Old Testament[edit]

  • Deborah, a prophetess mentioned in the Book of Judges, was a poet who rendered her judgments beneath a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the land of Benjamin. After her victory over Sisera and the Canaanite army, there was peace in the land for forty years.

Phoenician mythology[edit]

  • Ashtart Phoenician "ʻštrt" (ʻAshtart); and Hebrew עשתרת (Ashtoreth, singular, or Ashtarot, plural); Greek (Astarte) is the Phoenician counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate Babylonian goddess Ishtar as well as the Greek Aphrodite. She is a goddess of fertility, sexual love, and war. Ashtoreth is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as a foreign, non-Judahite goddess, the principal goddess of the homeland of the Phoenicians which is in modern day Lebanon, representing the productive power of nature. Herodotus wrote that the religious community of Aphrodite originated in Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon) and came to Greeks from there. He also wrote about the world's largest temple of Aphrodite, in one of the Phoenician cities.
  • Tanit is a Phoenician lunar goddess, worshiped as the patron goddess at Carthage. Her shrine excavated at Sarepta in southern Phoenicia (Carthage) revealed an inscription that identified her for the first time in her homeland (Phoenicia of the Levant) and related her securely to the Phoenician goddess Astarte/Ashtart. In Egyptian, her name means Land of Neith, Neith being a war goddess. Long after the fall of Carthage, Tanit is still venerated in North Africa under the Latin name of Juno Caelestis, for her identification with the Roman goddess Juno. Hvidberg-Hansen (Danish professor of Semitic philology), notes that Tanit is sometimes depicted with a lion's head, showing her warrior quality. In modern times the name, with the spelling "Tanith", has been used as a female given name, both for real people and, more frequently, in occult fiction. From the 5th century BCE onwards Tanit is associated with that of Ba`al Hammon. She is given the epithet pene baal ("face of Baal") and the title rabat, the female form of rab (chief).

Indian Subcontinent–South Asia[edit]

Image of Durga, shown riding her tiger and attacking the demon Mahishasura

Razia Sultana[edit]

  • Razia Sultana usually referred to in history as Razia Sultan or Razia Sultana, was the Sultana of Delhi in India from 1236 to 1240. She was of Turkish Seljuks ancestry and like some other Muslim princesses of the time, she was trained to lead armies and administer kingdoms if necessary. Razia Sultana, the fifth Mamluk Sultan, was the very first woman ruler in the Muslim and Turkish history.

Rudrama Devi[edit]

  • Rani Rudrama Devi (1259−1289) was one of the most prominent rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty on the Deccan Plateau, being one of the few ruling queens in Indian history. She was born, as Rudramba, to King Ganapathideva (or Ganapatideva, or Ganapathi Devudu). As Ganapathideva had no sons, Rudramma was formally designated as a son through the ancient Putrika ceremony and given the male name of Rudradeva. When she was only fourteen years old, Rani Rudramma Devi succeeded her father. Rudramadevi was married to Veerabhadra, Eastern Chalukyan prince of Nidadavolu.[22]

Rani Velu Nachiyar[edit]

Rani Velu Nachiyar (Tamil: இராணி வேலு நாச்சியார்) was an 18th-century Indian Queen from Sivaganga. Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first Queen to fight against the British in India, even preceding the famous Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi.She was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the daughter of Chellamuthu Sethupathy. She married the king of Siva Gangai and they had a daughter - Vellachi Nachiar. When her husband Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar was killed, she was drawn into battle. Her husband and his second wife were killed by a few British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot. She escaped with her daughter, lived under the protection of Hyder Ali at Virupachi near Dindigul for eight years. During this period she formed an army and sought an alliance with Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali with the aim of attacking the British. In 1780 Rani Velu Nachiyar fought the British with military assistance from Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali and won the battle. When Velu Nachiyar finds the place where the British stock their ammunition, she builds the first human bomb. A faithful follower, Kuyili douses herself in oil, lights herself and walks into the storehouse.[3] Rani Velu Nachiyar formed a woman's army named “udaiyaal” in honour of her adopted daughter — Udaiyaal, who died detonating a British arsenal. Nachiar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom and ruled it for 10 more years.

Chand Bibi[edit]

  • Chand Bibi (1550–1599), also known as Chand Khatun or Chand Sultana, was an Indian Muslim woman warrior. She acted as the Regent of Bijapur (1580–90) and Regent of Ahmednagar (1596–99)[1]. Chand Bibi is best known for defending Ahmednagar against the Mughal forces of Emperor Akbar.

Abbakka Rani[edit]

  • Abbakka Rani or Abbakka Mahadevi was the queen of Tulunadu who fought the Portuguese in the latter half of the 16th century. She belonged to the Chowta dynasty who ruled over the area from the temple town of Moodabidri.

Tarabai[edit]

  • Tarabai (1675–1761) was a queen of the Maratha Empire in India.

Bibi Dalair Kaur[edit]

  • Bibi Dalair Kaur was a 17th-century Sikh woman who fought against the Moghuls.

Mai Bhago[edit]

  • Mai Bhago was a Sikh woman who led Sikh soldiers against the Mughals in 1704.

Malalai of Maiwand[edit]

Onake Obavva[edit]

  • Onake Obavva (18th Century) was a woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with a masse (Onake) in the small kingdom of Chitradurga in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka, India. She is considered to be the epitome of Kannada women pride, with the same standing as Kittur Chennamma and Keladi Chennamma.

Begum Samru[edit]

  • Begum Samru (ca 1753- 1836), also known as Zebunissa, Farzana and Joanna after baptism started her career as a Nautch girl in 18th Century India, and eventually became the ruler of Sardhana, a principality near Meerut. Later on, she played a key role in the politics and power struggle in 18th and 19th century India. She is also regarded as the only Catholic Ruler in India.

Kittur Chennamma[edit]

  • Kittur Chennamma (1778–1829) was the queen of the princely state of Kittur in Karnataka. Her legacy and first victory are still commemorated in Kittur, during the Kittur Utsava of every 22–24 October. The festival is similar to the Mysore Dasara.

Rani Lakshmibai[edit]

  • Rani Lakshmibai known as Jhansi Ki Rani, was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi, was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and a symbol of resistance to British rule in India.

Rani Durgavati[edit]

  • Rani Durgavati was born in the family of famous [Rajput] Chandel Emperor Keerat Rai.

Keladi Chennamma[edit]

  • Keladi Chennamma was daughter of Siddappa Setty of Kundapur. She became the queen of Keladi Nayaka dynasty who fought the Mughal Army of Aurangzeb from her base in the kingdom of Keladi in the Shimoga district of Karnataka State, India. Her rule lasted for 25 years and Keladi kingdom was probably the last to lose autonomy to Mysore rulers and subsequently to British.

Belawadi Mallamma[edit]

Unniyarcha[edit]

Hindu Religion[edit]

  • Durga (Sanskrit: "the inaccessible"[23] or "the invincible",[24] Bengali: দুর্গা) is a form of Devi, the supreme goddess of Hinduism. According to the narrative from the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana, the form of Durga was created as a warrior goddess to fight a demon. The nine-day holiday dedicated to Durga, The Durga Puja, is the biggest annual festival in Bengal and other parts of Eastern India and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
  • Kālī (Sanskrit: काली, IPA: [kɑːliː]; Bengali: কালী; Punjabi: ਕਾਲੀ; Sinhala: කාලි; Telugu: కాళికాదేవి; Kannada: ಕಾಳಿ ಮಾತಾ; Tamil: காளி), also known as Kālikā (Sanskrit: कालिका, Bengali: কালিকা), is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, shakti. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, and thus another name for Shiva. Kali means "the black one". Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. In Kāli's most famous myth, Durga and her assistants, the Matrikas, wound the demon Raktabija, in various ways and with a variety of weapons in an attempt to destroy him. They soon find that they have worsened the situation for with every drop of blood that is spilt from Raktabija he reproduces a clone of himself. The battlefield becomes increasingly filled with his duplicates.[25] Durga, in need of help, summons Kāli to combat the demons. It is said, in some versions, that Goddess Durga actually assumes the form of Goddess Kāli at this time. Kali destroys Raktabija by sucking the blood from his body and putting the many Raktabija duplicates in her gaping mouth. Pleased with her victory, Kali then dances on the field of battle, stepping on the corpses of the slain. Her consort Shiva lies among the dead beneath her feet, a representation of Kali commonly seen in her iconography as Daksinakali.
  • Other warrior goddesses include Chamunda ("the killer of demon Chanda and Munda") and the goddess group Matrikas ("Mothers").
  • Vishpala (in The Rigveda) is a warrior queen who, after having lost a leg in battle had an iron prosthesis made. Afterwards, she returned to fight.[26]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ ^ Druett, Joan (2000). She Captains : Heroines and Hellions of the Sea. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  2. ^ a b c http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2285841/The-women-fought-men-Rare-Civil-War-pictures-female-soldiers-dressed-males-fight.html
  3. ^ Changing Identities Among the Baba Chinese and Thai Muslims in a Tourist Paradise Khoo Su Nin (Salma) Nasution
  4. ^ Phuket history by Richard Russell MD
  5. ^ phuket history Gotophuket.com
  6. ^ Thao Thep Krasatri and Thao Sri Soonthorn
  7. ^ Thalang's defiant last stand Tipwarintron Tanaakarachod
  8. ^ The Two Heroines Monument
  9. ^ Witeck, John. (2000.) "Women as Warriors: The Philippine Revolutionary Context." Navigating islands and continents: conversations and contestations in and around the Pacific: selected essays, pp. 4-23. Ed. Cynthia G. Franklin, Ruth Hsu, Suzanne Kosanke. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  10. ^ a b Lloyd, J.E. A History of Wales; From the Norman Invasion to the Edwardian Conquest, Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc. 2004. pp. 80, 82-85.
  11. ^ Kidwelly Castle by C.A. Ralegh Radford
  12. ^ Warner, Philip. Famous Welsh Battles, pg 79. 1997. Barnes and Noble, Inc.
  13. ^ Geoffrey of Monmouth, p.286
  14. ^ Geoffrey of Monmouth, translated by Lewis Thorpe (1966). The History of the Kings of Britain. London, Penguin Group. p. 286. 
  15. ^ a b Warrior queens and blind critics
  16. ^ Cassius Dio. Published online by Bill Thayer. Cf. also the Gaulish goddess Andarta.
  17. ^ "A Voyage to St. Kilda" in A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland(1703)
  18. ^ Maclean, Charles (1977) Island on the Edge of the World: the Story of St. Kilda, Canongate ISBN 0-903937-41-7 pages 27–8.
  19. ^ Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh), "Goshasb Banu" in Encyclopedia Iranica
  20. ^ Wilkinson, p. 24
  21. ^ Guirand, p. 58
  22. ^ History of the Minor Chāḷukya Families in Medieval Āndhradēśa By Kolluru Suryanarayana [1]
  23. ^ "Durga." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 25 February 2007 <http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9363243/Durga">.
  24. ^ "Durga" Sanatan Society <http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/durga.htm>.
  25. ^ D. Kinsley p. 118.
  26. ^ "A Brief Review of the History of Amputations and Prostheses Earl E. Vanderwerker, Jr., M.D. JACPOC 1976 Vol 15, Num 5".