The More You Know!

Did you know pants were invented by a woman?

According to Adrienne Mayor’s Amazons in the Iranian world:

Another legendary warrior queen was said to be the first to invent trousers. According to a lost history by Hellanikos (5th century BCE), Atossa, whose ethnic origin is not clear, was raised as a boy by her father King Ariaspes (the names are Persian but their origins and dates are shrouded in mystery).After she inherited her father’s kingdom, this Atossa “ruled over many tribes and was most warlike and brave in all deeds” (Jacoby, frag. in Gera, p. 8). She created a new style of dress to be worn by men and women alike, long sleeves and trousers that blurred gender differences (Gera, pp. 8, 141-58). Amazons in ancient Greek art are depicted wearing trousers.

Amazons weren’t just figures of myth and legend. From the Wiley Encyclopedia of Ancient History:

In the 1950s, Soviet archaeologists excavated burial mounds of Sarmatian-Saka-Scythian nomads who had traded with the Greeks in Herodotus’ time. Similar fieldwork continued in the 1990s in Kazakhstan by Jeannine Davis-Kimball; she was the first to use DNA analysis to determine that some of the armed skeletons were females. Since then, other archaeologists have identified about 300 graves of female warriors on the steppes. Of tombs containing warriors’ weapons, armor, and horse trappings, nearly a quarter belonged to women,some showing evidence of battle wounds, skull injuries, and arrowheads embedded in bone. These archaeological finds and grave goods that match Amazons’ clothing and equipment depicted in Greek vase paintings, suggest that there may have been some historical basis to the Greek stories of Amazons.

For a deeper dive on the subject, might I recommend Martine Diepenbroek’s Searching for Amazons? And if you want to learn about the affair Alexander the Great had with an Amazon, check out Elizabeth Baynham’s Alexander and the Amazons

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