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Life Arts    H4'ed 9/17/14

Inked Amazons: Passionate Warrior Women Who Loved Cannabis, Battle-axes, Booty & Bling

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Message Vicki Leon

Uppity Women Wednesdays with Vicki Leon
Uppity Women Wednesdays with Vicki Leon
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Number Six in the monthly Uppity Women Wednesday Series, started in April, 2014.

What if the ferocious Amazons of ancient times actually existed? What if they not only tamed wild horses and rode hard, but also fought hard with battle-axes, played hard with lovers and cannabis, and competed hard to display ink that could rival the Illustrated Man?

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Stay tuned for some amazing theories and convincing archaeological proof.

Being a time-traveling uppity woman, I've always been drawn to like minds, feminine and masculine. In 1972, while doing my first serious research on real-life women and girls of long-ago Greece, I encountered Oxford's genial go-to man on Greek archaeology and art history, Charles Seltman. In his 1955 book, Women in Antiquity, he discussed mythology in a way I hadn't considered before.

Here's his take on popular Greek myths about a fearless woman: "Atalanta is the feminine counterpart of Heracles [Hercules]. . . you only recite legends about an imaginary athlete heroine because your civilization affords some scope for young females to be athletic. . . Where there is legend, there is, somewhere, scope."

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Later, I stumbled upon Jessica Salmonson's 1991 book, The Encyclopedia of Amazons, which gave me a sampling of hundreds of women throughout history (some historical, some not) who were Amazons, battle-hungry queens, and warriors for equality. These two books gave me the impetus to continue my already-frustrating research into the lives of long-ago women, whether they were flesh-and-blood, or mythical, as I then believed the Amazons were.

My research eventually led to writing six Uppity Women books. I've spent serious time, plundering the primary sources that exist on such women, wrestling with contradictions in secondary sources, and puzzling over scraps of archaeological evidence. Although my daring damsels include gals rich and poor, enslaved and free, bookish and mystical, I've also written about numerous bold women warriors, from Artemisia to Zenobia.

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Vicki Leon, author of over 35 nonfiction books on women's history, ancient history, and travel, along with pictorial books for younger readers on wildlife and earth's fragile habitats, lives on the California coast but often returns to her favorite (more...)
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