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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Women Warriors: How Females Have Fought in Combat Since History's Beginning

00:00 50:18
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From Vikings and African queens to cross-dressing military doctors and WWII Russian fighter pilots, battle was not a metaphor for women across history.

But for the most part, women warriors have been pushed into the historical shadows, hidden in the footnotes, or half-erased. Yet women have always gone to war—or fought back when war came to them.  They fought to avenge their families, defend their homes (or cities or nations), win independence from a foreign power, expand their kingdom's boundaries, or satisfy their ambition. They battled disguised as men.  They fought, undisguised, on the ramparts of besieged cities. Some were skilled swordsmen or trained snipers, others fought with improvised weapons. They were hailed as heroines and cursed as witches, sluts, or harridans.

In todays episode I'm speaking with Pamela Toler, author of the book Women Warriors. She uses both well known and obscure examples, drawn from the ancient world through the twentieth century and from Asia and Africa as well as from the West.  Looking at specific examples of historical women warriors, she considers why they went to war, how those reasons related to their roles as mothers, daughters, wives, or widows, peacemakers, poets or queens—and what happened when women stepped outside their accepted roles to take on other identities.
September 03, 2019
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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