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Saurmation scene on steepe

I'm working on a novel about the Amazons. They have always fasinated me. This is the research I have found.

Kazakhs or Qazaqs (the word means: free and Independent nomad)


On the steppes around the black sea beneath Russia in one of the harshest weather places known to man, lived a ferocious tribe of nomad warrior women and their warrior men. The weather got as cold as -65 degrees F or as hot as 120 degrees F with intense winds. They herded their cattle of goats, horses, sheep and camels as they traveled from pasture to pasture. They wore soft leather boots made from horse hide and wore ushanka or Phrygian hats with flaps to cover their ears. They used wool, silk and leather for clothing. They lived in Yurts, which is a round tent that was aerodynamic made out of wool felt and decorated with patterns and geometric shapes. The colors of the dyes in the felt meant different things like life, death, and fertility.

Their bodies were covered with tattoos of totems of defensive or predatory animals. They used a crescent shaped shield and invented a double headed ax in the shape of a butterfly. If they were attacked it was with their husbands away in battle and the women had to protect their homelands. They didn't seem to ride horses and didn't have any helmets or much armor. They would use some chain mail and horse hooves for armor and it would give a reptile appearance. The women’s ferocity was so great they were used by the Romans to help lead in their battles.

In ceremonies the priestess wore a pointy hat and carried a mirror. They had female deities mostly like Artemis. They also had Ares. According to Jeannine Davis-Kimball, an archaeologist, this was where the fear of the pointy hat started. From then on anyone wearing a pointy hat was considered a witch. The steppes were grassy and barren, and mountainous, and the lakes and glaciers were beautiful. Snow leopards, wolves and bears plus the harsh climate and the fact that they were vulnerable to attack coming from any direction made living in the steeps very hard to do. This society was considered a matriarchal society. The Greeks made up stories about these women warriors of the steppes and named them the Amazons.

These stories have long thought to be myth. Now thanks to Jeannine Davis-Kimball from America and other Russian archaeologists, fifty ancient burial mounds called kurgans near Pokrovka, Russia near the Kazakhstan border were unearthed, suggesting the Greek tales may have some basis in fact. These warrior women found are not the Amazons but are a similar matriarchal tribe in that area. Since we don't have a time machine that can go back and get the accurate information we have to go on the scant information that is out there.

The Sauromation nomad buried their dead here beginning ca.600 B.C.. Herodotus, the Greek historian, believed the Sauromations were descendents of the Amazons and the Scythians, who invented pants. This was the first place man got up on a horse's back. Horses were worshiped. Mare's milk was used for yogurt, cheese, and cookies. Fermented mare's milk called kumis was their alcohol. Horses were even eaten. They became proficient horseback riders and stunned many armies with their skills. They may have lived north of the sea of Azov. The Pokrovka mounds were reused by the Sarmations another nomadic tribe maybe related to the Sauromations. The females of the burials were put to rest with a larger assortment of artifacts than the males like iron daggers, swords, whetstones and bronze arrowheads. The bowed legs on the warrior's body say she rode every day and the bent arrowhead suggests she was killed in battle. The men were buried with the children and the women were not. They believed in griffins because they found triceratops bones near-by. Their jewelry might have looked like triceratops with wings. Many totem animals and the tree of life were also depicted on their jewelry and plaques.

The warrior women called Amazons intermarried with the Scythians who were Iranian nomads. They moved northeast and settled in under Russia on the steppes and changed their name to Sauromations. Some how the information is scant. The Sauromation culture changed its name to the Sarmations. It could just be Sauromations corrupted into a easier sounding name. Now they became traders and raiders and made a trip to the west coming in contact with the Romans. They become less war-like and more wealthy in material goods according to the gold found in the burials.

2nd century B.C. to 2nd to 3rd century A.D. They traveled to the west and north of the Black sea and conquered what is now Romania and then it was called Darcia. 3rd century A.D. The Goths attack them and in 370 A.D. They are overtaken by the Huns and either killed or assimilated. Jeannine Davis-Kimball DNA tested the mongols that live in Kazakhstan and believes that remnants of the Sarmation population can still be found. These people call themselves Kazakhs.

The Kazakhs are a patriarchal society. They are Orthodox Christian, Muslim and Protestant and others. They have many of the “Amazon” traits. They hunt with eagles and the tradition has been going on for a thousand years. They are great on horseback and are sometimes used in circuses. They have arranged marriages and the tribe is of family members and family elders. Inter tribal marriages brought security and peace. They banded together in extended family groups to battle the hardships of the environment and to protect their cattle and families. The elderly are seen as wise and granted respect. One of their delicacies is boiled sheep's head and they eat the whole thing. One of their favorite instruments is the dombra.

They are very superstitious. They also believe they can't drink anything cold because it will make them sick. So they drink cool, warm, and hot things. The apple tree originated there. Did you know horses love apples?

In conclusion, the echo of history remains with the people of the steppes, whether nomad or city dweller. Many of the Kazakh people are proud of their heritage and try to incorporate it into their lives even now. They will continue to ride horses, shoot arrows, put pictures of horses on their walls. They will use pictures or knick knacks of yurts for celebrations. They will continue to make the infamous rugs and clothing from history for exporting. They will tell old fables and play the dombra in celebrations while drinking plenty of kumis.


Bibliography


Ancient History. Amazons warrior clothing weapons and ancient dress of the women warriors.

Http://www.suite101.com/content/amazons-warrior-clothing-a165583


Archaeological finds pertaining to the Amazons. Amazon graves found in Kazakhstan. Schetnikov, Alexey, Almaty, (April 27, 2001) Times of Central Asia.

Http://www.amazonation.com/archaeology.html


Bennet, Chris. Lost Civilizations. The Scythians. Scythians. (May 20, 2011) http://www.lost-civilizations.net/scthians.html


Countries and their Cultures. Kazakhstan (2011)

http://www.everyculture.com/ja-ma/kazakhstan.html


Davis-Kimball, Jeannine (January/Feburary 1997) Warrior Women of Eurasia. Archaeology. A publication of the archaeological Institute of America. Volume 50 Number 1

http://www.archaeology.org19701/abstracts/sarmations.html


European and Asian History 2000B.C.-999 B.C> (5/18/2008)

http://www.telusplanet.net/public/dgarneau/euro-g.html


History of Kazakhstan. Important milestones in the history of Kazakhstan (2003-2011)

http://www.kazakhstan.orexca.com/kazakhstan-history.shtml


I love India.com. Facts about Kazakhstan.

Http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-kazakhstan-2411.html


Kurgans, ritual sites and settlements:Eurasian bronze and iron age.

Edited by Davis-Kimball, Jeannine, Murphy, Eileen M. Koryakova, Ludmila and Yablonksy, Leonid T. Bar International series 890 Oxford Archeopress 2000

http://www.csen.org/BAR%20Book/BAR.%20Part%2001.TofC.html


Museum of Ancient and Modern Art. The Great Goddess, through The Goddess in Every Form

http:www.mama.org/exhibits/ancient/goddess/


Secrets of the dead. Case file: Amazon Warrior Women video

http:www.pbs.org/wnet/secretsprevious_seasons/case_amazon/index.html


The Times. The Suday Times. December 22, 2004 woman Warriors from Amazon fought for Britain'sRoman Army. Smith, Lewis

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article404942.ece


The women Warriors-the Sarmations (1997-2000)

http://www.silk-road.com/art/sarmation.shtml


Wikipedia, Amazons.

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/amazons

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