Women Warriors from 3500BC to the 20th Century

Throughout history war and fighting have been seen as men's activities, however women have always been involved in battles and seiges, not to mention duels, prizefights and so on.

The most common occasion on which women would take part in battles was when their home, castle or town was attacked. They could be part of a town's militia on the same basis as their male counterparts. A medieval lady would have expected to take charge of defence of the family lands in her husband's absence. This housewifely duty is described by Christine de Pizan and Margery Paxton, among others.

Noble ladies could also lead armies in the field, both in local conflicts and in expeditions such as the crusades.
There were also a few women who were ordinary soldiers or sailors in armies through the ages. Some of them disguised themselves as men, but not all.

Historical examples:

Prehistory and the Ancient World, Celtic and Roman, Vikings and Saxons, 11th Century, 12th Century , 13th Century, 14th Century, 15th Century, 16th Century, 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century.

Women Warriors in Scotland



Women as Warriors Home Page


These pages are provided by Nicky Saunders of Lothene Experimental Archaeology