Adrienne Mayor wins award for book on the Amazons

ADRIENNE MAYOR, a research scholar in Stanford’s Classics department, is known for her archaeological and scientific approach to topics in classical antiquity.

Her most recent book, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World, has just won the 2016 Sarasvati Award for Nonfiction from the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.

Cover of The AmazonsThe ASWM recognized Mayor’s book for its “breathtaking achievement of research and methodical exploration of archaeological, literary and artistic sources.”

The organization also praised the book for being the first to draw on a diverse set of data to better understand who the Amazons actually were and how they achieved what they did.

Mayor said she had always wondered if there was any truth behind the Greek myths of these fierce warrior women because the depictions of Amazons in ancient art were so realistically detailed.

“I was intrigued that Herodotus, Plato and other Greek authors identified the Amazons of their ancient myths with nomadic horsewomen-warriors of Eurasia,” Mayor  said.

“Then I read reports of recent, spectacular archaeological excavations of flesh-and-blood warrior women across the steppes from the Black Sea to Mongolia—and I was hooked! It was amazing to discover that the ancient Greeks were not the only ones to thrill to tales of Amazons. I found a treasure trove of little-known myths and legends of warrior women in Egypt, Persia, the Caucasus, India, Central Asia and China,” she said.

The Sarasvati award, presented biennially, honors creative work in the fields of goddess and mythology studies.

Mayor said she was honored to win an award named after the Hindu goddess of knowledge.

“What a wonderful way to recognize scholars who are forging paths in interdisciplinary fields to uncover new links between the worlds of mythology and women,” she said.