Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey

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9781849041089: Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey

History is rife with tales of fighting women. More often than not, these stories prove more legend than history. Dating back to the Amazons of ancient Asia Minor, myths of fierce, autonomous women of martial excellence abound. And yet, the only thoroughly documented Amazons in world history are the women warriors of Dahomey, an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Western African kingdom. Once dubbed a "small black Sparta," residents of Dahomey shared with the Spartans an intense militarism and sense of collectivism. Moreover, the women of both kingdoms prided themselves on bodies hardened from childhood by rigorous physical exercise. But Spartan women kept in shape to breed male warriors, Dahomean Amazons to kill them. Originally palace guards, the Amazons had evolved by the 1760s into professional troops armed mainly with muskets, machetes and clubs. Theoretically wives of the king and quartered in his palaces, they were sworn to celibacy on pain of death. In compensation they enjoyed a semi-sacred status and numerous privileges, including the right to own slaves. By the 1840s their numbers had grown to 6,000. The Amazons served under female officers and had their own bands, flags and insignia: they outdrilled, outshot and outfought men, became frontline troops and fought tenaciously and with great valour till the kingdom's defeat by France in 1892. The product of meticulous archival research, Amazons of Black Sparta is defined by Alpern's gift for narrative and will stand as the most comprehensive and accessible account of the woman warriors of Dahomey.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

Stanley B. Alpern worked as a sub-editor for the New York Herald Tribune and then as a foreign service officer of the United States Information Agency for twenty-two years. He lives on the French Riviera.

Review :

Alpern draws together the available material on this peculiar institution into an interesting and readable book. The author's meticulous literary and archival research indicates that these females were indeed formidable warriors in the turbulent nineteenth-century era of the slave trade and subsequent European colonial conquest ... Alpern's work is an informative study. -- W. Arens, Choice Alpern does very well in assembling most of the evidence about these intimidating women whose courage impressed even the Foreign Legion. He produces a very detailed picture from a wide variety of European and African sources. He provides a readable narrative of Dahomean military history from the state's origins to its defeat by France in 1892, ... [and] a mass of information on what these women wore, ate and sang, how they were recruited, trained and mobilised. -- Richard Rathbone, The Times Alpern has written an impressively comprehensive study covering all aspects of this extraordinary military force - he describes them in fascinating detail - Altogether he has made an important scholarly contribution to the history of nineteenth-century West Africa in which the Amazon achievement has until now been scarcely mentioned. -- Christopher Fyfe, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History ... and today they [the Amazons] exist as no more than footnotes to history. Only one scholarly work has been written about these women, Amazons of Black Sparta by Stanley B. Alpern. -- Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest A succint, yet comprehensive, survey of the history of Dahomey. ... Alpern is by no means the first writer to give an account of the Amazons of Dahomey. Yet, his is by far the most detailed and most convincing. ... Truly, Alpern's portrait of the Amazons is a well deserved encomium to the courage and dedication of these intrepid women warriors. ... [and] the feather in the cap of this extremely well-written book is [its] remarkable empathy. -- Africa Review of Books

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Stanley B. Alpern
Edité par C Hurst Co Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom (2011)
ISBN 10 : 1849041083 ISBN 13 : 9781849041089
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : 10
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Description du livre C Hurst Co Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. État : New. 2nd Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. History is rife with tales of fighting women. More often than not, these stories prove more legend than history. Dating back to the Amazons of ancient Asia Minor, myths of fierce, autonomous women of martial excellence abound. And yet, the only thoroughly documented Amazons in world history are the women warriors of Dahomey, an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Western African kingdom. Once dubbed a small black Sparta, residents of Dahomey shared with the Spartans an intense militarism and sense of collectivism. Moreover, the women of both kingdoms prided themselves on bodies hardened from childhood by rigorous physical exercise. But Spartan women kept in shape to breed male warriors, Dahomean Amazons to kill them. Originally palace guards, the Amazons had evolved by the 1760s into professional troops armed mainly with muskets, machetes and clubs. Theoretically wives of the king and quartered in his palaces, they were sworn to celibacy on pain of death. In compensation they enjoyed a semi-sacred status and numerous privileges, including the right to own slaves. By the 1840s their numbers had grown to 6,000. The Amazons served under female officers and had their own bands, flags and insignia: they outdrilled, outshot and outfought men, became frontline troops and fought tenaciously and with great valour till the kingdom s defeat by France in 1892. The product of meticulous archival research, Amazons of Black Sparta is defined by Alpern s gift for narrative and will stand as the most comprehensive and accessible account of the woman warriors of Dahomey. N° de réf. du libraire AA79781849041089

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Stanley B. Alpern
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Description du livre C Hurst Co Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. État : New. 2nd Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. History is rife with tales of fighting women. More often than not, these stories prove more legend than history. Dating back to the Amazons of ancient Asia Minor, myths of fierce, autonomous women of martial excellence abound. And yet, the only thoroughly documented Amazons in world history are the women warriors of Dahomey, an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Western African kingdom. Once dubbed a small black Sparta, residents of Dahomey shared with the Spartans an intense militarism and sense of collectivism. Moreover, the women of both kingdoms prided themselves on bodies hardened from childhood by rigorous physical exercise. But Spartan women kept in shape to breed male warriors, Dahomean Amazons to kill them. Originally palace guards, the Amazons had evolved by the 1760s into professional troops armed mainly with muskets, machetes and clubs. Theoretically wives of the king and quartered in his palaces, they were sworn to celibacy on pain of death. In compensation they enjoyed a semi-sacred status and numerous privileges, including the right to own slaves. By the 1840s their numbers had grown to 6,000. The Amazons served under female officers and had their own bands, flags and insignia: they outdrilled, outshot and outfought men, became frontline troops and fought tenaciously and with great valour till the kingdom s defeat by France in 1892. The product of meticulous archival research, Amazons of Black Sparta is defined by Alpern s gift for narrative and will stand as the most comprehensive and accessible account of the woman warriors of Dahomey. N° de réf. du libraire AA79781849041089

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Description du livre C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. Paperback. État : new. BRAND NEW, Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey (2nd), Stanley B. Alpern, History is rife with tales of fighting women. More often than not, these stories prove more legend than history. Dating back to the Amazons of ancient Asia Minor, myths of fierce, autonomous women of martial excellence abound. And yet, the only thoroughly documented Amazons in world history are the women warriors of Dahomey, an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Western African kingdom. Once dubbed a "small black Sparta," residents of Dahomey shared with the Spartans an intense militarism and sense of collectivism. Moreover, the women of both kingdoms prided themselves on bodies hardened from childhood by rigorous physical exercise. But Spartan women kept in shape to breed male warriors, Dahomean Amazons to kill them. Originally palace guards, the Amazons had evolved by the 1760s into professional troops armed mainly with muskets, machetes and clubs. Theoretically wives of the king and quartered in his palaces, they were sworn to celibacy on pain of death. In compensation they enjoyed a semi-sacred status and numerous privileges, including the right to own slaves. By the 1840s their numbers had grown to 6,000. The Amazons served under female officers and had their own bands, flags and insignia: they outdrilled, outshot and outfought men, became frontline troops and fought tenaciously and with great valour till the kingdom's defeat by France in 1892. The product of meticulous archival research, Amazons of Black Sparta is defined by Alpern's gift for narrative and will stand as the most comprehensive and accessible account of the woman warriors of Dahomey. N° de réf. du libraire B9781849041089

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