Tag Archives: warriorship

List of Women Warriors

Here are the notes I had prepared for a panel on women & warriorship that I did ~not~ wind up using.


The Larinum decree under Tiberius banned senators’ daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters, and “any female whose husband or father or grandfather, whether paternal or maternal or brother had ever possessed the right of sitting in the seats reserved for the equites” from training or making paid appearances as gladiators, implying though not confirming that some females did already appear as gladiators.

Boudicca – 1st century, Norfolk – Led an uprising against occupying forces of Roman empire.

Trung Trac & Trung Nhi – 1st century, Vietnam – Commanded 80,000 to repel Chinese forces.

Trieu Thi Trinh – 2nd century, Vietnam – Succeeded in deterring 50 advances from the occupying Wu kingdom of present-day China.

Zenobia – 3rd century, Syria – Defeated Roman Legions under Emperor Claudius.

Artemisia of Caria – 5th century, Persia – Commanded five ships under King Xerxes.

Queen K’Abel “Lady Snake Lord” – 7th century, Guatemala – Mayan. Commanded expansionist military, outranked her husband king K’inich Bahlam

Judit – 10th century, Abyssinia – Conquered Axum, capital of Ethiopia.

Queen Aethelflaed – 10th century, English Midlands – Took over the army and built a chain of fortresses upon her husband’s death, including successful campaign into Wales.

Tomoe Gozen – 12th century, Japan – Samurai. Fought in the Genpei war on the Minamoto side against the Taira.

Fu Hao – 13th century, China – Commanded over 13,000 troops for King Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty. Served as priestess and General. Earliest recorded large-scale ambush in Chinese history.

Tamar of Georgia – 13th century, Georgia – During her Reign Georgia achieved political, economic and cultural might, annexing Armenian capitals and founding the Empire of Trebizond on the Black Sea.

Joanna of Flanders (“Firey Joan”) – 13th century, France – Raised army to defend her husband’s claim to a region of Brittany.

Princess Khutulun – 14th century, Mongolia – Became her father’s chief military advisor against Kublai Khan in China. Fought off suitors, literally, in hand-to-hand combat.

Joan D’Arc – 15th century, France – Commanded French Army against the English toward the end of the Hundred Years’ War, lifted the siege at Orleans in nine days.

Queen Elizabeth I – 16th century, England – needs no introduction. Defeated Spanish Armada.

Grainne O’Malley – 16th century, Ireland – Sailor, pirate, fought and eventually parlayed with Elizabeth I.

Juana Galan – 19th century, Spain – commanded the other women in her village against Napoleon’s cavalry and turned them out of La Mancha.

Ching Shih – 19th century, Canton – Commanded 300 pirate ships. Terrorized coast, could not be defeated by Portuguese or British navy. Retired at 36 after receiving amnesty from Chinese government.

Laskarina Bouboulina – 19th century, Greece – Supplied Greek Nationalists with supplies against Turks, and commanded an 8-boat fleet against the Ottomans.

Emilia Plater – 19th century, Poland – Joined November Uprising against the Tsar’s rule. Awarded a captaincy in Polish Lithuanian 25th Infantry Regiment.

Wing Chun (and Buddhist nun Ng Mui) – 20th century, China – Founder of Wing Chun style martial arts, derived from Shaolin.

Nancy Wake (“White Mouse”)- 20th century, England – British spy, freelance unit with rank of Captain. Leading figure in the maquis groups of the French Resistance. Most decorated servicewoman of the war, and by 1943, the Gestapo’s most wanted person.

Stephanie Kwolek – 21st century, USA – Chemist, invented Kevlar.

Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody – 21st century, USA – Four-star general in US Army. Deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield/Desert storm. Supported the largest deployment and redeployment of US forces since WWII. Made great efforts to reduce sexual assault in the army. Retired 2012.

Bibi Ayisha, Commander Kaftar (“Commander Dove”) – 21st c. Afghanistan – one of Amad Shah Massoud’s top commanders during the soviet and Taliban wars within Afghanistan. Led a 600-man force as a mujahedeen commander.


The Unbreakable Strength of Humility

What would you like to do?

There are a million bazillion writers out there, it’s true. It’s an intimidating thought, but it doesn’t have to be. The reason for this fear is a sense that we won’t be able to distinguish ourselves. Fact is, there’s something you have to say, in a particular way, that no one else can. Your writing (like all your other life choices) are influenced by your experiences and perception. That’s entirely yours. One way to mitigate this fear is to think of your end game. What would you like to do?

In your wildest most whimsical fantasies, what would you like to do? What kind of stories do you want to tell, and what kind of reader would you like to reach?

This is a marketing question also, but that aspect is for another day over another beverage.

This is the time to consider what you’re immersing yourself in. What are you reading? What kind of feedback are you getting? Are you enjoying yourself? Most importantly, are you challenging yourself, learning and growing?

Echo-chambers, whether they’re full of encouragement or full of disdain, don’t really serve you. The truth and reality of your skill is as valuable as the “you are here” sticker on a map. It sucks at first, but the value is immeasurable. Look at yourself and your abilities. Look how far you’ve come. Now look where you want to go. The only way to get there is to keep an eye on the goal. To use the parlance of the earthy, holistic practitioners I’ve been hanging out with lately: The quality of what you consume affects the quality of crap you produce.

You consume your environment. Not just the location; but the weather, the people and the energy there.

The right environment and access to the tools you need are smack-dab at the intersection of luck and boldness. Sending out query letters isn’t the only brave thing you have to do. You have to seek out new stories, and other writers. Listen to short-story podcasts in your genre. Sign up for Duotrope and see what else is out there. Blog. Get on Google+. Look for those you want to emulate. You’ll find a lot of material that’s much better than yours.

That’s what you want. Seek it out with sincerity.

Read. Study. Ask. When you encounter something you like, find out how it was made. Ask to see more. Acknowledging the gulf between your talent and theirs is only the beginning. It doesn’t end there. Lift your eyes. It’s much easier to build a bridge across that span if you can see the other side – and even easier if you have a buddy over there to catch the first rope.


It is much more valuable to look for the strength in others. You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections.”

― Daisaku Ikeda


In the land where excellence is commended, not envied, where weakness is aided, not mocked, there is no question as to how its inhabitants are all superhuman.”

― Criss Jami