Welcome to Myths With Marrill no.1
I know a lot about Greek myths. I’ve been reading and studying the stories for almost six years now and needless to say: I want to spread some knowledge of the things I love.
I’m going to start with the story of the most badass feminist in ancient Greece: Otrera. I don’t want to include all of her adventures, that would take a little bit, but let’s go over some of the key information.
Otrera was your typical Bronze Age housewife, way back when.
In Greece, being a housewife – or a woman in general – wasn’t a great position. Unless you were in Sparta because they at least trained their woman and mildly valued them. But if you weren’t, your job was to cook, clean and have kids. Sometimes they weren’t even allowed to leave the house.
Which totally explains why and how Otrera snapped.
One day, probably a day she was particularly tired of doing laundry, she decided she would teach herself to fight with a sword and spear. And she got pretty freaking good at it.
And once she was confident in her skills, she reached out to the other oppressed women in her village and offered to train them as well. She taught them to hunt like Artemis and worship Ares.
This whole time they were pretending everything was normal, secretly training with swords, bows, spears…until the day Otrera decided she couldn’t take it anymore and killed her husband.
…and then lead the other women in killing all the men in the village.
Brutal, but effective
(that could totally be Otrera’s motto TBH).
They didn’t stay where they were – they took all the nearby villages and towns by surprise. Raiding, killing and freeing the women. And not all of them decided to join her – and she didn’t force them to.
She merely gave them the choice to do what they pleased.
By the time the other towns figured out what was going on and banded together, Otrera had already decided that she didn’t want to lead her women into war and took them waaaaay up north (which was a bit of a no-mans land…haha, get it?) and founded a city called Sinope. She gradually expanded her territory until she had a larger kingdom than most others.
At this point, they’re known as the Amazons. Everyone knows who they are. So Otrera literally invented and ruled the Amazons.
They led a lot of raids (back then there was only, like, Greece – now we have other countries like Turkey and whatever – check the reference map). They went to Asia Minor and fought with the Greeks SO MANY TIMES. Basically, they had no problem with picking a fight.
Otrera herself met a lot of the Greek heroes from the popular stories. Typically she worked alongside the hero, though not always. And I would say her name is one of the most well-known, both in mythology and in general reference to Greece.
And you might be thinking the Amazon’s hated men – they didn’t! They loved men…as long as they knew their place. In fact, their besties were a men-only tribe called the Gargareans.
And when the Amazons had kids? They kept the girls and sent the strongest boys to the Gargareans. The weakest boys Otrera left in the wilderness. Very harsh, but this is ancient Greece. And Otrera grew up in one of the most brutal parts of it.
Another thing that helped Otrera’s reputation was that she was known as the bride of Ares. Which, to the men of ancient Greece, induced the same amount of fear as seeing a velociraptor coming straight for you while you are unable to move. Pretty damn terrifying.
She had two kids with Ares: Hippolyta (who eventually became the next queen of the Amazons) and Penthesileia.
The thing about Otrera’s story: a lot of the details are missing. For example: just HOW big the empire got and a lot of the smaller adventures she had. Why? Because the ancient storytellers were guys who didn’t like a woman who fought better than they did. 🤷
What was your favorite part about Otrera’s story? Any questions? Comments are below!
(and let me know if you like the idea of me telling stories like this! I have a lot to tell 😂)