Zarina Low Relief
You've found an archeological treasure!
Amazon, Archer, Horsewoman, Warrior! In this bas relief this Scythian nomad warrior queen was stringing her bow and distracted by her dreams of the clan prince in the next mountain over. She knew she would not be able to marry him until she shot and killed an enemy! Then in an instant came her chance and she was called into action. No time to waste, no time to dress! Don't forget the bow, arrows and gotyris (quiver)!
Scythian (Siberia 350 BC) horses were dressed for battle with masks, striking gold tack and furnishings which contrasted with red felted blankets. Their manes & tails were braided & decorated.
This mounted archer is executing the Parthian shot which the Scythians were infamous for. As horse & rider pretend to be escaping from the enemy, the archer turns to engage in rapid fire shooting at the enemy. The horse responds to her subtle knee pressure without control of the rein. Mares were preferred to stallions for attacks because they could urinate while running.
The horse breeds in the southern regions of Siberia (versus the northern long-haired pony of the colder north) were the precursor to the current day Akhal Teke breed - the fastest, most beautiful because they sported a stunning metallic coat - and had the most endurance. The breed is still prized for these characteristics today.
Scythians and nomads in the colder north invented the trousers that the Greeks were hostile to. In colder climates they also wore boots for riding, a vest & baldric to keep clothes tight to their body. they also sported a tall pointed hat with ear flaps (called a pyrric hat) over their braid.
Scythian women tattooed their skin which resembled their embroidered garments. Greeks observing them often mistook them for being nude. Sometimes a sleeve would slip off the shoulder in battle thereby revealing a breast. These half topless riders were sometimes mistaken for missing a breast.
The myth of the Amazon who cut off one breast to shoot the bow & arrow properly is exactly that - a myth! The Greeks - famous for their own myths - were awed by the women who were equals to men in bravery & competence. They feared the respect & power the women earned would spread to their Greek women and threaten their existing privilege and power.
There is no physical evidence of one-breasted Amazons in Greek depictions of Scythian nomads. Yet despite their fears, several Greek artists faithfully depicted Scythian boldness, wildness, bravery, sexuality, and camaraderie.
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