In Greek legend the amazon was a female hunter, unusual for occupying a male role and the Amazon river was named after this legendary hunter when early European explorers encountered women who were hunters and in many ways acted like men. The counterpart of this role among men is called berdache or two spirits. Amazons are members of a legendary nation of female warriors in Greek mythology. Many cultures have acknowledged a masculine role for women. The Kaska Indians of the Subarctic may select a daughter when it appeared the family was going to have no sons and perform a transformation ceremony to symbolically turn the daughter into a son. The dried ovaries of a bear were tied to her belt which she always wore, she dressed like males and engaged in hunting.
How did the ancient Greeks
see the Amazons?
There is a lot of literature concerning the Amazons and there are numerous pictures of Amazons in Greek art, mostly vase-painting and sculpture.
Amazons at the river
Thermodon in northern Turkey
It has always been very clear to the ancient Greeks, where these famous Amazons once really had lived. Their home had been at the mouth of the river Thermodon in Northern Turkey.
This localization is so
definite that even now the river bears a Turkish name which leaves no doubt
about its identity.
Amazons from Libya
There had been a second localization of the Amazons in ancient times. Long before the Amazons lived at the river Thermodon, there had been Amazons in Libya.