because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Saturday, October 20, 2012


In the year 530 BCE, the Massagetae, a nomadic people, lived east of the Caspian Sea on the steppes in modern day Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. They were ferocious warriors who sacrificed and ate their elderly. And eventually, they were called upon to face the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great in battle. Cyrus had already beaten the Babylonians and was riding high on his power and might, but he didn't take into consideration an important fact: that the leader of the Massagetae was an in-your-face woman, Tomyris, who did not intend to lose.

Initially, it looked as if Cyrus had outsmarted Tomyris' soldiers when they were lured into what appeared to be an abandoned camp full of rich food and lots of wine (which the Massagetae weren't used to drinking). When the troops were sufficiently drunk that they were vulnerable, Cyrus attacked and captured them, including Tomyris' son, who promptly killed himself.

Tomyris, in a rage, donned a golden helmet, picked up her favorite brass battle-axe and rode out at the front of a new group of warriors. The fight -- at close quarters -- lasted a long time, but the Massagetae ultimately won, after which Tomyris crucified and then beheaded Cyrus the No-Longer-So-Great, plunging his head into a wineskin filled with human blood. "I warned you I would quench your thirst for blood," she is quoted as saying, "and so I shall." An angry in-your-face woman is nothing to play with.

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