Who needs fiction when history offers such incredible women! Okay, that's a lie, we'll always still need fiction, but Asa Maria Bradley (Viking Warrior Rebel) is here today to talk about some real-life women that made history a little more kickass! Thanks, Asa!
Although the books in my contemporary paranormal series Viking Warriors is filled with super-sexy, smoking-hot alpha warriors, the women kick as much butt as the boys do. And when the first three books were taking shape in my head, it was the female main characters that first spoke to me. They were all loners who found love in the stories, but they also found each other and formed a strong, binding friendship. You meet three of these women in the first book, and discover they come with their own abilities that make them uniquely qualified to help their heroes: a genetically modified super soldier and a genius hacker, an immortal Valkyrie and shieldmaiden, and a healer with powers are tested to the limit.
One thing I loved to do while I wrote about these kickass women was to research actual female warriors and how they shaped history. Here are five of my favorites, in historical order.
1) Boudica (25 – 60 or 61 A.D.)
Also known as Boudicca, Boudicea, Boadicea.
As the queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe, she led an uprising against the Roman Empire occupying forces. She was the wife of Prasutagus and took over the reign when he died, which the Romans had a slight problem with. Boudica and her warriors successfully defeated the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed the Roman capital of Britan at Colchester and continued on to tear down London and Verulamium (St. Albans). She was eventually defeated and is thought to have poisoned herself to avoid capture. There’s something fierce about wanting to die rather than being captured.
2) Trieu Thi Trinh (225 – 248 A.D.)
Also known as Lady Trieu
This Vietnamese warrior successfully resisted the occupying forces of the Wu Kingdom. She was orphaned young and raised by her brother’s family as a slave. At the age of twenty, she escaped and fled to the jungle where she built an army of more than one thousand men and women. She liberated a part of Vietnam that she then claimed as her own. She is quoted as saying, “I'd like to ride storms, kill sharks in the open sea, drive out the aggressors, reconquer the country, undo the ties of serfdom, and never bend my back to be the concubine of whatever man.” Lady Trieu rode into battle on the back of an elephant while wearing golden armor and carrying two swords. I love this image!
3) Princess Sela of Norway (370 – 420 A.D.)
Sela is often listed as a very skilled pirate, but in Norway she’s also considered one of their most famous female warriors. She was the sister of Koller, the king of Norway and participated in the battles against Jutland (part of today’s Denmark). She also fought to keep her brother Thrond from gaining the throne. Eventually she was killed by Horwendil, who would have been king of Jutland had he not given it up to become a pirate himself. Sounds like pirating was a lot more exciting than ruling back then.
4) Lozen (1840 – 1889)
This Apache warrior was said to also be a prophet and used her powers in battle to learn the movements of the enemy. She joined her brother Victorio when he, around 1877, led a band of warriors out of the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Together they raided the settlers of New Mexico’s Black Mountains. After her brother’s death, Lozen fought beside Geronimo and used her powers to aid his warriors. She was captured after Geronimo surrendered and eventually died of tuberculosis. Her body was returned to the tribe to be buried in a place of honor according to Apache tradition. One of the things I love about Lozen is that she was said to lead women and children to safety when the settlers were raided.
5) Nakano Takeko (1847 – 1868)
One of the few known female samurais, Takeko fought in the Bshin War. She
was adopted by her teacher in martial and literary arts. Her weapon of choice was a naginata, a Japanese polearm, and she was the leader of a group of female combatants who fought in the battle independently since the army leaders wouldn’t let them fight as an official military unit. She died from a gunshot wound to her chest. Her final wish was for her sister to cut off her head and have it buried so that the enemy couldn’t use it as a trophy. I’m considering making this my own final wish. ;-)
Who is your favorite female warrior?
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