The Amazons

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Amazons, a tribe of formidable female warriors first described in Greek literature. They appear in the Homeric epics and were described by Herodotus, and featured prominently in the decoration of Greek vases and public buildings. In later centuries, particularly in the Renaissance, the Amazons became a popular theme of literature and art. After the discovery of the New World, the largest river in South America was named the Amazon, since the warlike tribes inhabiting the river’s margins reminded Spanish pioneers of the warriors of classical myth.

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  • Paul Cartledge 21 episodes
    A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University
  • Chiara Franceschini No other episodes
    Teaching Fellow at University College London and an Academic Assistant at the Warburg Institute
  • Caroline Vout No other episodes
    University Senior Lecturer in Classics and Fellow and Director of Studies at Christ's College, Cambridge

Reading list

  • Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey
    Stanley Alpern (C. Hurst & Co, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Early Amazons: Modern and Ancient Perspectives on a Persistent Myth
    Josine Blok (Brill, 1995) Google Books →
  • Women Who Ruled: Queens, Goddesses, Amazons in Renaissance and Baroque Art
    Annette Dixon (ed.) (University of Michigan Museum of Art, 2002) Google Books →
  • Centaurs and Amazons: Women and the Pre-History of the Great Chain of Being
    Page duBois (University of Michigan Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • Women at the Beginning: Origin Myths from the Amazons to the Virgin Mary
    Patrick J. Geary (Princeton University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Nature in the New World: From Christopher Columbus to Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo
    Antonello Gerbi (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985) Google Books →
  • Amazons, Savages and Machiavels: Travel and Colonial Writing in English, 1550-1630
    Andrew Hadfield (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2001) Google Books →
  • Amazons: A Study in Athenian Mythmaking
    William B. Tyrrell (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984) Google Books →
  • Amazons in Greek Art
    Dietrich von Bothmer (Clarendon Press, 1957) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 938 (Ancient Greece and Rome)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1542, a Spanish explorer, Francisco de Oleana, travelled 800 miles down a massive and uncharted river, the largest in South America.