Myrina of the Libyan Amazons

Myrina of the Libyan Amazons

Although the Amazons most people know from Greek mythology were said to live near the Black Sea northeast of Greece, the Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily did describe a second race of warrior women living “in the western parts of Libya” (i.e. Africa west of the Nile). They had a fearsome matriarch named Myrina who led them against enemies as diverse as the Atlanteans, Gorgons, Arabs, and Anatolian Cicilians. Obviously Diodorus’s account of Myrina’s military career sounds more fanciful than plausible, but I’m tempted to speculate that his reports of warrior women in classical West Africa might have more than a grain of truth to them. They could have been the precedents to the famous female warriors of Dahomey (in modern Benin).

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