Female Warriors Volumes I & II


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The people of the Caucasus, and the Calmucs were always at war with these Amazons, and never sought to make peace or form any treaties, for they knew the warlike women had neither religion, laws, nor honour.

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Sir John, however, adds that he never met with anybody who had been in their country. Juan de los Sanctos, an early Portuguese traveller, in speaking of a kingdom named Damut, in Ethiopia, mentions a numerous tribe entirely composed of women, who had adopted or perhaps retained the habits of the ancient Amazons. The exercise of arms and the pastime of the chase were their principal occupations in times of peace, but their chief business and pleasure was war. They burnt off the right breast as soon as the girls were old enough to bear it; and, as a rule, they passed their lives in a state of celibacy, the queen setting a rigid example.

Those who married did not rear their male children, but sent them back to the fathers.

FEMALE WARRIORS.

The neighbouring sovereigns esteemed themselves only too fortunate [23] when they could secure the alliance of this people; and so far from seeking to destroy them, more than once aided them when they were attacked by others. This tribe was finally subjugated, says the Portuguese friar, by the successors of Prester John, the kings of Abyssinia. But even her history is intermingled with much of fable and idle tradition. The exact period at which she reigned has never been positively determined.

Female Warriors - Volume II

The following dates, assigned to her reign by various historians, ancient and modern, as compared by the antiquarian Bryant, show the diversity of opinion amongst chronologists upon the subject. The early life of this famous woman is enveloped in one of those mythological legends in which the ancients loved to shroud the origin of their heroes and heroines. According to tradition she was the natural daughter of Derceto, a Philistine goddess, and while yet a babe, was left to perish by her cruel mother in a wood near Ascalon, in Syria.

But, as Romulus and Remus were suckled by a wolf, so doves came and fed the future queen. The birds were observed and followed by the neighbouring peasants; and Simma, or Sisona, chief shepherd of the Assyrian king, having no children of his own, adopted the babe, and gave her the name of [26] Semiramis, a Syrian word signifying doves, or pigeons. At the early age of thirteen or fourteen, Semiramis was married to Menon, one of the principal officers of the king, who saw her at the hut of Sisona while inspecting the royal flocks.

Captivated by her surpassing beauty and charming conversation, Menon induced her to return with him to Nineveh, the capital. For some months she was kept a close prisoner in her husband's palace; but her influence soon ruled paramount, and all restraints were removed.

The Project Gutenberg eBook of Female Warriors, Vol. II, by Ellen C. Clayton.

Two or three years passed thus, during which time Semiramis bore her husband two sons, Hypates and Hydaspes. When Ninus invaded Media, Semiramis, who only waited for some opportunity to distinguish herself, insisted upon accompanying her husband, who, as one of the principal courtiers, held an important command in the invading army. The campaign was at first an uninterrupted series of successes. One city fell after another before the Assyrian hosts. But the army was suddenly checked in its onward career of victory before the impregnable walls of Bactria.

The city was defended with such obstinate bravery that Ninus at last resolved to retreat. But Semiramis presented herself before the assembled council of war, proposed an assault on the citadel, and offered to lead, in person, the storming party. When the decisive moment arrived, Semiramis proved herself fully equal to the emergency.

Amidst vollies of arrows and showers of stones, before which the bravest men turned pale, she led the forlorn hope to the foot of the citadel. Animating all by her courage, shaming cowards by the thought that a young and lovely woman was sharing, nay, braving, the same dangers as themselves, the intrepid heroine rushed up the scaling ladder, and was the first to reach the battlements. A struggle ensued, short, but fierce, and in a few moments the golden standard of Assyria floated from the walls.

The capital of Media had fallen.

The king, violently smitten with love for the brave girl, earnestly besought her husband to give her up. He even offered his own royal sister, Sosana, in exchange. But promises and threats were alike vain; and Ninus, in a fury, cast Menon into prison. Here, after being deprived of sight, the wretched husband terminated his existence with his own hands. Ninus married the young widow; and after their return to Nineveh, she bore him a son called Ninyas. Semiramis, by her profuse liberality, soon attached the leading courtiers to her interest.

She then solicited the king, with great importunity, to place the supreme power in her hands for five days. Ninus at last yielded to her entreaties; and, as his reward, [28] was cast into prison, and put to death,—either immediately, or after languishing some years. To cover the meanness of her origin, and to immortalise her name, Semiramis now applied her mind to great enterprises. If she did not, as some suppose, found Babylon the Great, she adorned it with beautiful and imposing edifices, and made it worthy to be called "the Golden City.

Not satisfied with the vast empire left by Ninus, she enlarged it by successive conquests. Great part of Ethiopia succumbed to her power; and during her stay in this country she consulted the Oracle of Jupiter-Ammon as to how long she had to live. The answer was, that she should not die until conspired against by her son; and that, after her death, part of Asia would pay her divine honours.

Her last and most famous expedition was the war with India. For this campaign she raised an army of more than ordinary dimensions. Ctesias puts down the number at three million foot, fifty thousand horse, and war-chariots in proportion; but this is, no doubt, a slight exaggeration. The chief strength of the Indians lay in their countless myriads of elephants. Semiramis, unable to procure these animals in sufficient numbers, caused several thousand camels to be accoutred like elephants.

Shahbrohates, King of India, on receiving intelligence of her hostile approach, sent ambassadors to [29] inquire her motive for invading his dominions. She returned a haughty answer; and, on reaching the Indus, she erected a bridge of boats and attempted to cross.

The passage was disputed, and although the Indians at last retreated, the victory was more disastrous to the Assyrians than many a defeat. But Semiramis, carried away by the blind infatuation which guided all her movements in this war, marched into the heart of the country. The king, who fled deceitfully to bring about a second engagement further from the river, faced about, and the two armies again closed in deadly combat. The counterfeit elephants could not long sustain the attack of the genuine animals, who, crushing every obstacle under foot, soon scattered the Assyrian army.

Semiramis performed prodigies of bravery to rally her broken forces, and fought with as little regard for her own safety as though she had been the meanest soldier in the army. Shahbrohates, perceiving the queen engaged in the thick of the fight, rode forward and twice wounded her. The rout soon became general, and the royal heroine, convinced at last that nothing further could be done, gave the rein to her horse, whose swiftness soon placed her beyond the reach of the enemy.

On reaching the Indus a scene of the most terrible disorder ensued. In the wild terror which possessed the minds of all, officers and soldiers crowded together [30] on to the bridge, without the slightest regard for rank or discipline. Thousands were trampled under foot, crushed to death, or flung into the river. When Semiramis and all who could save themselves had crossed over, the bridge was destroyed. The Indian king, in obedience to an oracle, ordered his troops not to cross the river in pursuit.

Semiramis was the only sovereign amongst the ancients, except Alexander the Great, who ever carried a war beyond the Indus. Some time after her return to Babylon, the queen discovered that her son, Ninyas, was conspiring against her. Remembering now the oracle of Jupiter-Ammon, and believing that her last days were approaching, Semiramis voluntarily abdicated the throne.


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Some chroniclers give a different version of the story, relating that the queen was slain by her son, and this latter account, though disbelieved by most historians, is the popular story. Semiramis lived sixty-two years, out of which she reigned forty-two. It is said the Athenians afterwards worshipped her under the form of a dove.

The early lives of Harpalyce and Atalanta, the first known female warriors who were natives of Greece, resemble in some respects that of Semiramis. It appears to have been a favourite custom, during the primitive ages, to have children nursed by birds or [31] beasts. Her father trained her in every manly and warlike exercise, riding, racing, hurling the dart, using the bow and arrow. By-and-by she became a mighty huntress; and soon the opportunity came for her to prove herself a brave soldier and a skilful commander. The Getes, or Myrmidones of Thessaly invaded the dominions of King Lycurgus, defeated his best troops and made him prisoner.

Directly Harpalyce learned this news she hastily called together an army, placed herself at its head, and falling on the foe, put them to flight and rescued her father. Lycurgus endeavoured to cure the Thracians of their drunken habits, and caused all the vines in his dominions to be rooted up, whereby he brought about a general insurrection, and was compelled to fly for safety to the isle of Naxos, where he went mad and committed suicide.

Harpalyce turned brigand and haunted the forests of Thrace. She was so swift of foot that the fleetest horses could not overtake her once she began running. At last, however, she fell into a snare set by some shepherds, who put the royal bandit to death. Atalanta, too, was likewise bereft of a mother's care. Her father, Jasus or Jasion, unwilling to rear the [32] babe, yet not sufficiently inhuman to see her slaughtered before his eyes, left her to her fate on Mount Parthenius, the highest mountain in Peloponnesus.

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Close by was the cave of an old she-bear who had been robbed of her cubs. In place of devouring the babe, the savage brute adopted it, and brought up the girl as her own daughter.


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Orson-like, the girl learned many of the habits of her shaggy nurse. Atalanta was one of those brave warriors who sailed in the Argonautic expedition, B. She was the first to wound this beast; hence Meleager awarded her the first prize. His uncles, jealous of the honour thus conferred upon a woman, endeavoured to wrest the trophies from her, and in the scuffle which ensued, Meleager unfortunately slew both his uncles. It would seem that no Grecian or Trojan heroines distinguished themselves during the siege of Troy; though it is not unlikely that many of the Greek soldiers were secretly accompanied by their wives.

Virgil says that she outstripped the winds in speed, and could have skimmed over the topmost stalks of standing corn, or along the surface of the ocean, without leaving a trace of her footsteps. From childhood she was dedicated by her father, King Metabus, to the service of Diana, and trained in martial exercises. She grew so fond of the chase, that even after the death of her father, she preferred leading the semi-barbarous life of a wild huntress to the prospect of domestic happiness as the wife of a Tuscan noble.

Female Warriors Volumes I & II Female Warriors Volumes I & II
Female Warriors Volumes I & II Female Warriors Volumes I & II
Female Warriors Volumes I & II Female Warriors Volumes I & II
Female Warriors Volumes I & II Female Warriors Volumes I & II
Female Warriors Volumes I & II Female Warriors Volumes I & II

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