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Greek mythology describes the Amazons as a tribe of female warriors descendants of the god of war, Ares, and the sea nymph, Harmonia. The Amazons were said to be the first humans to tame and ride horses. They were fearless and expert warriors, on horseback or as foot soldiers, and the Greeks fiercest enemies. They dedicated themselves to endless hours of training in the art of combat, their favored weapons, bows, spears and doubled-sided battle axes.

The name ?????? is probably derived from an Iranian ethnonym, *ha-mazan-, originally meaning "warriors". A connected word is probably the Hesychius gloss ??????????? ???????? ("to make war", containing the Indo-Iranian root kar- "make" also in kar-ma).

The Greek variant of the name was connected by popular etymology to privative a + mazos, "without breast", connected with an aetiological tradition that Amazons had their right breast cut off or burnt out, in order that they might be able to use the bow more freely. Other suggested derivations were: a- (intensive) + mazos, breast, "full-breasted"; a (privative) and masso, touch, "not touching" (men); maza, a Circassian word said to signify "moon", has suggested their connection with the worship of a moon-goddess, perhaps the Asiatic representative of Artemis.

In the Iliad, the Amazons were referred to as Antianeira ("those who fight like men"). Herodotus called them Androktones ("killers of men").

The exact location of the Amazons territory has always been disputed. Herodotus believed they may have occupied the sweeping steppes of Southern Russia. Other stories claim they lived in Thrace or along the lower Caucasus Mountains in northern Albania. The Thermodon River, in Asia Minor, known today as the coast of Turkey, seems to be the most frequently mentioned territory of the Amazons.

 

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