These women were warriors, who were mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives brandished swords and guns, fought battles, and faced off with royalty all across time, and all around the globe.
Though outnumbered by their bands of brothers in battle, these fearsome female fighters have each made a permanent mark on history.
1. ARTEMISIA I OF CARIA
Named after the Goddess of the Hunt (Artemis), Artemisia was the 5th century BCE Queen of Halicarnassus, a kingdom that exists in modern-day Turkey. However, she was best known as a naval commander and ally of Xerxes, the King of Persia, in his invasion of the Greek city-states. (Yes, like in the action movie 300: Rise of an Empire.)
She made her mark on history in the Battle of Salamis, where the fleet she commanded was deemed the best against the Greeks. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote of her heroics on this battlefield of the sea, painting her as a warrior who was decisive and incredibly intelligent in her strategies. This included a ruthless sense of self-preservation.
With a Greek vessel bearing down on her ship, Artemisia intentionally steered into another Persian vessel to trick the Greeks into believing she was one of them. It worked. The Greeks left her be. The Persian ship sank. Watching from the shore, Xerxes saw the collision and believed Artemisia had sunk a Greek enemy, not one of his own.
For all of this, her death was not one recorded in a great battle, but in a sexist legend. It's said that Artemisia fell hard for a man, who ignored her to his detriment.
Blinded by love, she blinded him in his sleep. Yet even with him disfigured, her passion for him burned. To cure herself, she set to leap from a tall rock in Leucas, Greece, which was believed to break the bonds of love. Instead, it broke Artemisia's neck. She's said to be buried nearby.
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