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Powerful Women Warriors (1500 BCE - 1500 CE)

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  • Jeanne de Nevers (1298 - 1374)
    Joanna of Flanders (c. 1295 – September 1374), also known as Jehanne de Montfort and Jeanne la Flamme, was consort Duchess of Brittany by her marriage to John IV, Duke of Brittany. She wa...
  • Albia Dominica (337 - 378)
    Domnica Empress of the East Father Petronius of Rome Mother Marriage - Valens Emperor of the East Children - Forrás / Source: ----------------------------------------...
  • Iulia Aurelia Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra (c.240 - 274)
    Zenobia (240 – c. 274) was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Roman Syria. She led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire. The second wife of King Septimius Odaenathus, Zenobia bec...
  • Julia Agrippina Minor (15 - 59)
    Claudius was her uncle, being this her third marriage. The wife of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, by whom she had a son, who was later to become Nero, Emperor of Rome. After the death of her first husb...
  • Vipsania Agrippina Major (c.-14 - 33)
    4217576384055059. Augusta Agrippina "The Younger" ROMAN EMPIRE,1601,1746 daughter of Ceasar Germanicus ROMAN EMPIRE and Agrippina "The Elder" ROMAN EMPIRE, was born in 15 and died in 59 at age 44. Th...

Female warrior deities, whose origins predate historical records, are present in most early cultures. However, the following list is assembled from sources emerging with the fragmentary beginning of written records until the 16th century. Japanese and and Chinese women warriors were legendary.

While the tradition of Arab Bedouin and North African Berber women warriors (p197) goes back millennia, records indicate that there were also female knights, eg. there was a military order of knighthood bestowed on women In 1261 approved by Pope Alexander IV---however, the order was later suppressed by Sixtus V in 1558.

17th century BCE

  • 1600's BCE - Ahhotep I fought the Hyskos. She was buried with military medals symbolizing her valor in battle.

16th century BCE

  • 1500's BCE - Medea, Μήδεια, მედეა, in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason.

13th century BCE

  • 1200's BCE - Lady Fu Hao consort of the Chinese emperor Wu Ding, led 3,000 men into battle during the Shang Dynasty. Fu Hao had entered the royal household by marriage and took advantage of the semi-matriarchal slave society to rise through the ranks. Fu Hao is known to modern scholars mainly from inscriptions on Shang Dynasty oracle bone artifacts unearthed at Yinxu. In these inscriptions she is shown to have led numerous military campaigns. She was the most powerful military leader of her time. This highly unusual status is confirmed by the many weapons, including great battle-axes, unearthed from her tomb.
  • 1200s BCE - Deborah, Judge of Israel, traveled with Barak, who led her army, on a military campaign in Qedesh, according to Judges 4:6‑10.
  • 1200s BCE - Jael assassinated Sisera, a retreating general who was the enemy of the Israelites, according to Judges 5:23-27.
  • 1200-1000 BCE roughly - The Rigveda (RV 1 and RV 10) mentions a female warrior named Vishpala, who lost a leg in battle, had an iron prosthesis made, and returned to warfare.

11th century BCE

  • 1000s BC - According the legendary history of Britain, Queen Gwendolen fought her husband, Locrinus, in battle for the throne of Britain. She defeated him and became the monarch.

9th century BCE

  • Late 9th century BCE-8th century BCE - Shammuramat (Semiramis) ruled the Assyrian Empire. She is believed to have been the inspiration for the legendary warrior queen Semiramis.
  • 800s BCE - According the legendary history of Britain, Queen Cordelia, on whom the character in Shakespeare's King Lear is based, battled her nephews for control of her kingdom, personally fighting in battle.

8th century BCE

  • 740 BCE - Approximate time of the reign of Zabibe, an Arabian queen who led armies.
  • 720 BCE - Approximate time of the reign of Samsi, an Arabian queen who may have been the successor of Zabibe. She revolted against Tiglath-Pileser III.

6th century BCE

  • 6th century BCE through 4th century BCE - Women are buried with weapons as well as jewelry on the Kazakhstan-Russia border at roughly this time.
  • 530 BCE - Historian Herodotus, recorded that queen Tomyris of the Massagetae fought and defeated Cyrus the Great.
  • 510 BCE - Greek poet, Telesilla, defended the city of Argos by rallying women to battle with war songs.
  • 506 BCE - Cloelia, a Roman girl who was given as a hostage to the Etruscans, escaped her captors and led several others to safety.

5th century BCE

  • 5th century BCE - The Lady of Yue trained the soldiers of the army of King Goujian of Yue.
  • 5th century BCE - Greek historian, Herodotus, described the Amazons.
  • 480 BCE - Artemisia I of Caria, Queen of Halicarnassus, participated in the Battle of Salamis.
  • 480 BCE - Greek diver, Hydna, and her father sabotaged enemy ships before a critical battle, thus causing the Greeks to win.
  • 460 BCE - 370 BCE - Approximate lifetime of Hippocrates, who wrote of the Sauromatae, Scythian women fighting battles.
  • 403 BCE - 221 BCE - During the Warring States period of China, Sun Tzu, wrote a contemporary report of how Ho Lu, King of Wu, tested his skill by ordering him to train an army of 180 women.

4th century BCE

  • 4th century BCE - Amage, a Sarmatian queen, attacked a Scythian prince who was making incursions onto her protectorates. She rode to Scythia with 120 warriors, where she killed his guards, his friends, his family, and ultimately, killed the prince in a duel.
  • 4th century BCE - Cynane, a half-sister to Alexander the Great, accompanied her father on a military campaign and killed an Illyrian leader named Caeria in hand-to-hand combat.
  • 4th century BCE - Pythagorean philosopher, Timycha, was captured by Sicilian soldiers during a battle. She and her husband were the only survivors. She is admired for her defiance after capture, because while being questioned by the Sicilian tyrant, she bit off her tongue and spat it at his feet
  • 4th century BCE - Chinese statesman Shang Yang wrote The Book of Lord Shang, in which he recommended dividing the members of an army into three categories; strong men, strong women, and the weak and old of both sexes.
  • 4th century BCE -Roxana was captured during a battle by Alexander the Great. She eventually married him.
  • 334 BCE - Ada of Caria allied with Alexander the Great and led the siege to reclaim her throne.
  • 333 BCE - In the Battle of Issus, Stateira II and her family were captured by Alexander the Great, whom she eventually married.
  • 332 BCE - The Nubian queen, Candace of Meroe, intimidated Alexander the Great with her armies and her strategy while confronting him, causing him to avoid Nubia, instead heading to Egypt., according to Pseudo-Callisthenes. More reliable historical accounts indicate that Alexander never attacked Nubia and never attempted to move farther south than the oasis of Siwa in Egypt.
  • 330 BCE - Alexander the Great burned down Persepolis, reportedly at the urging of Thaïs, a hetaera who accompanied him on campaigns.
  • 320s BCE -Cleophis surrendered to Alexander the Great after he laid siege her city.
  • 318 BCE - Eurydice III of Macedon fought Polyperchon and Olympias.
  • 315 BCE -308 BCE - Cratesipolis commanded an army of mercenaries and forced cities to submit to her.
  • Late 4th century BCE through early 3rd century BCE - Amastris, wife of Dionysius of Heraclea, conquered four settlements and united them into a new city-state, named after her.

3rd century BCE

  • Early 3rd century BCE - Legendary Empress Jingu of Japan may have led an invasion against Korea at this time.
  • Early 3rd century BCE - Huang Guigu acted as a military official under Qin Shi Huang. She led military campaigns against the people of northern China.
  • 3rd century BCE - Berenice I of Egypt fought in battle alongside Ptolemy I.
  • 3rd century BCE - Spartan princess Arachidamia acted as captain of a group of women warriors who fought Pyrrhus during his siege of Lacedaemon.
  • 3rd century BCE - Graves of women warriors buried at during this period were found near the Sea of Azov.
  • 3rd century BCE - Queen Berenice II participated in battle and killed several of her enemies.
  • 3rd century BCE - Laodice I fought Ptolemy III Euergetes.
  • 3rd century BCE - Queen Teuta of Illyria began piracy against Rome. She eventually fought against Rome when they tried to stop the piracy.
  • 296 BCE - Leontium, an Epicurean philosopher, obtained food for her fellow Epicureans during a siege of Athens by Demetrius the City-Taker, saving them from the fate of many Athenians, who starved to death.
  • 280 BCE - Chelidonis, a Spartan princess, commanded her woman warriors on the wall of Sparta during a siege. She fought with a rope tied around her neck so that she would not be taken alive.
  • 279 BCE - During the Gallic Invasion of Greece a large Gallic force entered Aetolia. Women and the elderly joined in its defense.
  • 272 BCE - When Pyrrhus attacked Sparta, the women of the city assisted in the defense.
  • 272 BCE - Pyrrhus of Epirus, the conqueror and source of the term pyrrhic victory, according to Plutarch died while fighting an urban battle in Argos when an old woman threw a roof tile at him, stunning him and allowing an Argive soldier to kill him.
  • 271 BCE - A group of Gothic women who were captured by Romans while fighting in the same garb as their male peers, were paraded through Rome wearing signs that said, "Amazons".
  • 217 BCE - Arsinoe III of Egypt accompanied Ptolemy IV at the Battle of Raphia. When the battle went poorly, she appeared before the troops and exhorted them to fight to defend their families. She also promised two minas of gold to each of them if they won the battle, which they did.
  • 205 BCE - Sophonisba, a Carthaginian, committed suicide rather than be handed over to the Romans as a prisoner of war.

2nd century BCE

  • 2nd century BCE - Queen Stratonice convinced Docimus to leave his stronghold, and her forces took him captive.
  • 186 BCE - Chiomara, a Gaul princess, was captured in a battle between Rome and Gaul and was raped by a centurion. After a reversal she ordered him killed by her companions, and she beheaded him after he was dead. She then delivered his head to her husband.
  • 170 BCE - Meroitic queen Candace Shenakdahkete ruled Nubia. A wall painting on a chapel in Meroe depicts her wearing a helmet and spearing her enemies.
  • 2nd century BCE - Hypsicratea, a concubine, fought in battles alongside of Mithridates VI of Pontus.
  • 2nd century BCE - Queen Rhodogune of Parthia was informed of a rebellion while preparing for her bath. She vowed not to brush her hair until the rebellion was ended. She waged a long war to suppress the rebellion, and won it without breaking her vow.
  • 138 BCE - The Roman, Sextus Junius Brutus found that in Lusitania the women were "fighting and perishing in company with the men with such bravery that they uttered no cry even in the midst of slaughter". He also noted that the Bracari women were "bearing arms with the men, who fought never turning, never showing their backs, or uttering a cry."
  • 102 BCE - A battle between Romans and the Teutonic Ambrones at Aquae Sextiae took place during this time. Plutarch described that "the fight had been no less fierce with the women than with the men themselves... the women charged with swords and axes and fell upon their opponents uttering a hideous outcry."
  • 101 BCE - General Marius of the Romans fought the Teutonic Cimbrians. Cimbrian women followed the men in battle, shooting arrows from mobile "wagon castles", and occasionally left the wagon castles to fight with swords. Marius reported that when the battle went poorly for the men, the women emerged from their wagon castles with swords and threatened their own men to ensure that they would continue to fight.
        

After reinforcements arrived for the Romans, the Cimbrian men all were killed, but the women continued to fight. When the Cimbrian women saw that defeat was imminent, they killed their children and committed suicide rather than be taken as captives.

1st century BCE

  • 1st century BCE - Nubian queen Amanishabheto reigned over Kush or Nubia. A depiction of her on a pylon tower of a chapel shows her striking the shoulders of prisoners with her lance.
  • 48 BCE - Arsinoe IV of Egypt fought Cleopatra VII
  • 42 BCE - Fulvia Flacca Bambula wife of Mark Antony, organized an uprising against Augustus.
  • 31 BCE - Cleopatra VII of Egypt combined her naval forces with those of Mark Antony to fight Octavian. She was defeated and retreated to Egypt.[
  • 27 BCE - 21 BCE - Amanirenas led the Kushite armies against the Romans.

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1st century CE

  • 1st century CE - A woman was entombed with a sword in Tabriz, Iran. The tomb was discovered in 2004.
  • 1st century - Agrippina the elder accompanies Germanicus to war.
  • 1st century - Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes, allied with the Roman Empire and battled other Britons.
  • 1st century - Agrippina the Younger, wife of Emperor Claudius, commanded Roman legions in Britain. The defeated Celtic captives bowed before her throne and ignored that of the emperor.
  • 1st century: The historian, Tacitus, wrote that Triaria, wife of Lucius Vitellius the younger, was accused of having armed herself with a sword and behaved with arrogance and cruelty while at Tarracina, a captured city.
  • 1st century-5th century: Four women were buried in Phum Snay, Cambodia with metal swords. The graves date approximately from this time period, and were discovered in 2007.
  • 9 AD - Thusnelda eloped with Arminius, triggering Arminius to begin an insurrection against her father when he accused him of carrying her off.
  • 14-18 - A Chinese woman Lu Mu led a rebellion against Wang Mang.
  • 21 - Debate erupted as to whether or not the wives of Roman governors should accompany their husbands in the providences. Caecina Severus said that they should not, because they "paraded among the soldiers" and that "a woman had presided at the exercises of the cohorts and the manoeuvres of the legions".
  • 40-43 - The Trung Sisters and Phung Thi Chinh fought against the Chinese in Vietnam.
  • 60-61 - Boudica, a Celtic chieftain in Britain, led a massive uprising against the occupying Roman forces. The Romans attempted to raise the morale of their troops by informing them that her army contained more women than men.
  • 63 - Tacitus wrote in his Annals that women of rank entered the gladiatorial arena.
  • 69-70 - Veleda of the Germanic Bructeri tribe wielded a great deal of influence in the Batavian rebellion. She was acknowledged as a strategic leader, a priestess, a prophet, and as a living deity.

2nd century CE

  • 100 - Juvenal recorded a gladiator named Eppia who left her husband and children to pursue an affair with a fellow gladiator.
  • 2nd century - Polyaenus described Queen Tania of Dardania, who took the throne after the death of her husband and went into battle riding in a chariot.
  • 195 - Julia Domna accompanied her husband, Emperor Septimius Severus, in his campaigns in Mesopotamia.

3rd century CE

  • 3rd century - Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra, led a revolt in the East against the Roman Empire.
  • 248 - Trieu Thi Trinh fought the Chinese in Vietnam. Her army contained several thousand men and women.
  • 3rd century: Two women warriors from the Danube region in Europe, described as Amazons, served in a Roman military unit and are buried in Britain. Their remains are discovered in 2004.

4th century CE

  • 4th century - As military commander for the Emperor of China, Li Xiu took her father's place and defeated a rebellion.
  • 375 - Queen Mavia battled the Romans.
  • 378 - Roman Empress Albia Dominica organized her people in defense against the invading Goths after her husband had died in battle.
  • 450 - A Moche woman was buried with two ceremonial war clubs and twenty-eight spear throwers. The South American grave is discovered in 2006, and is the first known grave of a Moche woman to contain weapons.

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5th Century CE

  • 5th Century CE, Princess Sela was the sister of Koller, king of Norway. She was a skilled warrior and pirate. She fought against King Horwendil, and was later killed by him c.420 CE
  • 529 CE – Princess Halima was the daughter of King al-Harit and princess of the Ghassan kingdom. In an act of revenge she led a battle against the Lakhmids who had sacrificed her brother to their goddess.
  • 530 CE – Tomyris was the leader of an Iranian nomadic tribe called the Massagetae; her exploits were recorded by historians like Herodotus and thus passed into legend. She led a successful army that slaughtered the Persians, Tomyris chopping of the head of Cyrus, which she apparently then kept and used as a wine glass.
  • 535 – 552 CE – In the Gothic war Procopius writes of an English Princess, referred to as ‘the Island Girl’. She is said to have led an invasion of part of Jutland, where she captured the young king, Radigis, who had jilted her after their betrothal.
  • 6th Century CE – An elite Saxon female burial is discovered in Lincolnshire, England. The burial goods contain a knife and a shield; showing possible signs of a female warrior.
  • 598 – 623 CE – Princess Zhao Pingyang of China, was the daughter of Emperor Gaozu of Tang (founding emperor of the Tang Dynasty). Zhao helps her father overthrow the Sui Dynasty, during his campaigns Zhao formed a women’s army, commanded by her she helped to capture the Sui capital of Chang’an.
  • 624 CE – Hind al-Hunnud was known as the ‘Battle Queen’, and a member of the Quarish tribe of the kingdom of Kindah. She helped in the battle against Muhammad. Hind al-Hunnud fought the prophet Mohammad in the Battle of Badr in 724, and accounts describe her as ‘brandishing a broadsword with great gusto’.
  • 625 – 705 CE – Wu Chao, known as ‘The Empress Wu’, is considered to have been one of the most powerful women in history. Her navy led a decisive victory at sea which ended China’s long running war with Korea, and her army won many battles over any her rivals. It is said that no other woman except for Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great, retained so much power, over such a vast Empire.
  • 625 CE – Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, was not only an early convert to Islam, but was the first female to take up arms in its defence. She took part in the Battle of Hunain, the Battle of Yamama, the Battle of Uhud, and the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. At the Battle of Uhud she shielded Muhammad from enemy arrows, and received several wounds whilst fighting.
  • c.632 – 705 CE – Apranik was the daughter of a Persian general, and herself a Persian Sassanid High Ranking Commander. When the Arabs attacked Persia, Apranik commanded a major battalion against the invaders. Her white horse remains a symbol of freedom.
  • 639 CE – Negan was a female guerrilla commander for the Sassanid Empire; she was one of the major resistance fighters against the Arab invasion. Neither born into nobility or military trained fighting only out of belief, Negan led a band of resistance fighters and died in battle a year after the invasion.
  • 682CE -- the Amazigh Dhabba, queen of Carthage, drove Islamic Arabs from her city and, in order to leave nothing to successive Arab invaders, laid waste to her own country. Even after Islam established itself, these women were still notably liberated.
  • 7th century CE –Dahia Al-kahina was a military leader of the Berbers and came to be known as leader of the African resistance. Dahia then created a united front against the Arab invaders and counter-attacking them at every turn, she even drove them at one point to be holed up in Cyrenaica (Libya) for about 4 to 5 years.
  • 7th century CE – Khawlah Bint al-Kindiyyah was a woman warrior, who with the help from her female captains led an Arab army and stopped a Greek invasion of their homeland. In true battle queen style Khawlah and the other women captains – Oserrah, Alfra’Bint Ghifar al-Humayriah and Wafeira rallied the men and led them into the centre of the battle field.
  • 722 CE – Queen Aethelburgh was the wife of King Ine of Wessex. In 722, she is said to have destroyed Taunton, (which her husband Ine had built earlier in his reign), in an attempt to find the rebel Ealdbert
  • c.730s CE (active in) – Parsbit (also as Prisbit) was a Khazar noblewoman called ‘the mother of the Khagan’. What is known about her life is that she was said to have wielded enormous power, commanding armies, such as the expeditionary force that was led against Armenia by Tar’mach in 730.
  • c.750 CE – Azad Deylami / Azad-e Daylami was from the Caspian Sea shores in the north of Iran. She was a partisan leader and became one of the most famous freedom fighters of the region. She fought bravely with her band of freedom fighters for many years against the Arab invaders
  • c.783 CE – Fastrada, an East Frankish noblewoman who, along with other Saxon women entered into battle against Charlemagne’s forces bare breasted. Fastrada then went onto become Charlemagne’s third wife.
  • c.815 – 838 CE – Banu, wife of Babak Khoramdin was a legendary Persian freedom fighter, who initiated the Khorram-Dinan movement, in an attempt to overthrow the Abbasid Caliph. She was an extremely skilled archer, fighting both for freedom and the preservation of Persian culture and language.
  • 869 – 918 CE – Ethelfleda, also known as our ‘Lady of the Mercians’, was the daughter of Alfred the great. Ethelfleda was considered to be a chief military strategist and the most brilliant tactician of her time. She led armies, built castles, united Mercia – re-establishing Tamworth as it capital. She also fought back an invasion from the Vikings, forcing them to surrender their stronghold at York and even conquered Wales, and made them to pay tribute to her.
  • 890 – 969 CE – Olga of Kiev (Princess Olga), ruled Kievan Rus as regent after her husband’s death in c.945. Olga went to great depths to avenge her husband’s death at the hands of the Drevlians. She successfully slaughtered many of them, interring some in a ship burial whilst still alive. She also changed the system of tribute gathering; this act is seen as possibly the first legal reform in Eastern Europe.
  • c. 950 CE – Thyra of Denmark was the consort of King Gorm the Old of Denmark. Thyra was referred to as a woman of great prudence and she is thought to have led an army against the Germans. Thyra and Gorm were the parents of Harald Bluetooth.
  • c. 980 – 1000 CE – Queen Regnant Gudit of Bani al-Hamusa of Demot, (Ethiopia). She was a Northern Ethiopian ruler and possibly a Jewess. She became a military leader who attacked the ruling Aksumite Dynasty and is credited with its downfall.

10 Century CE

  • 10th and 11th centuries stories are told of Shieldmaidens, or Scandinavian female warriors. Few historical records mention the roles of Viking Age women and warfare. But a Byzantine historian by the name of Johannes Skylitzes, records a battle that took place in 971 in which the Scandinavian ruler of Kiev attacked the Byzantines in Bulgaria. The Norsemen suffered a crushing defeat, and the Byzantines were shocked to find amongst the fallen Norse were armed women.
  • 1015 – 1042 CE – Akkadevi, was a governor Princess of a Province of Karnataka, A resistance campaigner who fought battles and superintended sieges. Akkadevi became a heroine of west-central Indian resistance to southern Indian aggression.
  • 1040 – 1090 CE – Sikelgaita was a Lombard princess and the daughter of Guaimar IV, Prince of Salerno. She married the Duke of Apulia and accompanied him on his Byzantine conquests. At the Battle of Dyrrhachium, Sikelgaita is said to have fought in full armour, rallying her husbands despondent troops, and was compared to another ‘Pallas’ or second ‘Athena’.
  • 1046 – 1115 CE – Matilda of Tuscany was an Italian noblewoman and one of the few medieval women to be remembered for her military accomplishments. She was the principle Italian supporter of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy.
  • c.1059 – 1096 CE – Emma de Gauder, Countess of Norfolk, best remembered for defending Norwich Castle when it was under siege. Emma then negotiated safe passage for herself and her troops in return for the castle. She died around 1096 on the road to Palestine during the First Crusade with her husband.
  • 1079 – 1126 CE – Urraca of León and Castile, was Queen regnant of León, Castile and Galicia and she also claimed the imperial title of Empress of All the Spains – ‘suo jure’. She quarrelled with husband Alfonso I of Aragon, the quarrel then turned into open armed warfare between the Leonese-Castillians and Aragonese. By 1112 a truce was brokered and the nightmare marriage was annulled.
  • 1097 – 1136 CE – Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, was the princess consort of Deheubarth in Wales and a member of the princely Aberffraw family of Gwynedd. Her patriotic revolt and death in a battle against the Normans at Kidwelly Castle contributed to ‘The Great Revolt of 1136’.
  • c.1120s CE – Liang Hongyu was a female Chinese general and wife of General Han Shizhong of the song army. She fought with her husband against the invasion by the Huns, commanding in battles. Liang is said to have had an exceptional military mind. Her tactful use of drums and flags as communication signals enabled victory for the mere 8,000 Chinese, against the 100,000-strong Hun army.
  • 1122 – 1204 CE – Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitane and Countess of Poitou was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in Western Europe. She was queen consort of France 1137 – 1152, and queen consort of England 1154 – 1189. She married Louis VI and accompanied him and his army on the second crusade, the marriage however fell apart, and was annulled.

Military Order of Knighthood for Women

  • 1149 CE – The Order of the Hatchet, also called the ‘orden de la Hacha’ in Catalonia. It is a military order of knighthood for women, founded in 1149 by Raymond Berger, count of Barcelona. The honour given to the women was for the defence of the town of Tortosa against a Moor attack.
  • c.1157 – 1247 CE – Tomoe Gozen was a rare Japanese samurai warrior, know for her bravery and strength. She fought alongside men in the Genpei War of 1180 – 1185.
  • c.1160-1213 CE – Tamar, Queen Regnant of Georgia. Though she was a woman, she is always mentioned in Georgian history as King Tamar. Tamar was the first woman to rule Georgia in her own right. Under her rule Georgia achieved military superioty in the Middle East. A brilliant military tactician with a loyal army behind her, she led the men into battle and endured the hardships of an ordinary soldier. She was able to neutralise repeated invasions on her own nation, whilst conquering parts of Turkey, Persia, Russia and Armenia.

Female/Male Duels

  • The 13th Century sees trial by combat / judicial duels between men and women becoming more common place, particularly in Germany and Switzerland. It was used in Germanic Law to settle accusations, often with the absence of confession or witnesses, and was often used in rape cases. There was rules for the duelists, if either of the participants hands or weapons touched the ground, they were considered the loser and paid the penalty. For women, it was the loss of the right hand, and for men it was beheading. There were many different types of trial by combat / judicial duels, and they remained in use throughout the Middles Ages, slowly disappearing in the 16th century.
  • 1236 – 1272 CE – Eleanor of Provence was Queen consort of England and the wife of Henry III of England. Eleanor was completely devoted to Henry and when Simon de Montfort tried to rebel against him, Eleanor raised troops in France for Henry’s cause.
  • 1260 – 1306 CE – Khutulun (also as Aiyurug or Khotol Tsagaan), was the daughter of Kaidu, the most powerful ruler in Central Asia, his realms stretched from Western Mongolia to Oxus and the Central Siberian Plateau to India. Khutulun showed early promise as a child and became the favourite daughter of Kaidu, accompanying him on military campaigns. She became known as a superb warrior, with great strength and stealth.

Religious order of knighthood/rank of militissa for women

  • 1233 CE – In Italy, the ‘Order of the glorious saint Mary’, is founded by Loderigo d’Andalo, a nobleman from Bologna. In 1261 it was approved by Pope Alexander IV, this was the first religious order of knighthood to grant the rank of militissa to women. The order was later suppressed by Sixtus V in 1558.
  • 1259 – 1289 CE – Rani Rudrama Devi was one of the most prominent rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty on the Deccan Plateau. She is acknowledged as one of the few female rulers in south India during her time. She was an intelligent and dynamic ruler, suppressing uprisings from neighbouring territories, and defended the kingdom from the Cholas and the Yadavas, which earned her great respect. Rudrama remains one of India’s most important women.
  • 1295 – 1374 CE – Joanna of Flanders (also as Jehanne de Montfort and Jeanne la Flamme), was consort Duchess of Brittany and the wife of John IV, Duke of Brittany. When John died in 1345, Joanna organised resistance and used diplomatic terms to protect her son, John V, Duke of Brittany. She took up arms, and dressed in armour defended the town, urging women to ‘cut their skirts and take their safety in their own hands’. Leading a band of knights outside the town walls, she attacked an enemy’s rear camp, setting fire to it and destroying it in the process, earning her the title ‘Jeanne la Flamme’.
  • 1312 – 1369 CE – Agnes Randolph, Countess of Dunbar and March, (often referred to as Black Agnes of Dunbar, due to her olive skin complexion). She was the wife of Patrick, 9th Earl of Dunbar and March, and became renowned for her defence of Dunbar Castle against an English attack by William Montagu, 1st Earl of Salisbury in 1338.
  • c.1345 – 1409 CE – Han E, (also as Han Guanbao) or the Hua Mulan’ of Sichuan Province. Han E was orphaned and went to live with her uncle Han Li's family-- she proved an excellent scholar in both literature and sword fighting. Han E dressed as a male killed the Yuan commander and then joined the Red Scarf Army under the name of Han Guanbao. Han served for over 12 years taking part in military campaigns and was noted for her intelligence, bravery and diligence in her duties. She forbade herself to fraternise with other soldiers in banter, or drink in victory celebrations and to that end nobody ever guessed she was a woman.
  • 1347 – 1404 CE – Eleanor of Arborea was one of the last and most powerful Sardinian judges and the island’s best loved heroine. The house of Arborea had great power that extended over one third of Sardinia. During a rebel uprising in 1376, Eleanor’s brother Hugh III was killed and Eleanor led an army and defeated the rebels. She now held the title of regent to her infant son Fredrick.
  • 1350 -1400 CE – Urduja was a legendary warrior princess and heroine in Pangasinan, Philippines. She commanded a army made up of men and women, and she is said to have fought and engaged in duels with other warriors. Many avoided her for the fear of being disgraced by her abilities. The capitol building in Lingayen is named Urduja Palace.
  • 1363 – 1430 CE – Christine de Pizan was a Venetian born artist who strongly opposed stereotyping and misogyny in the male-dominated realm of the arts. She became a highly respected Poet publishing a book called ‘Livre des Faits d’Armes – on international law and military strategy.
  • 1378 – Agnes Hotot Dudley, took up arms in place of her ailing father and beat her opponent in a mounted duel. Agnes disguised her sex, put on a helmet, mounted the horse and proceeded to the tourney grounds. After what is said to a ‘stubborn encounter’ Agnes dismounted her opponent. As he lay on the ground she removed her helmet, let down her hair and disclosed her bosom to prove she was a woman and shame her foe. The coat of arms of the House of Dudley shows a woman wearing a military helmet with loosened hair, and her breasts exposed, commemorating a female champion.
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  • Scimitar the Veil by Jennifer Heath
  • Helen Diner drawing on the writers of antiquity in Mütter und Amazonen of women herders and warriors flourishing at the foot of the Atlas Mountains "clad in red leather armor, snakeskin shoes and with python-leather shields." They led camel raids on other tribes, chose their own husbands, spoke in council, and serves as heads of encampments.