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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", the kingdom of Dahomey shared with Sparta an intense ...
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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", the kingdom of Dahomey shared with Sparta 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 a praetorian guard, the Dahomeans developed into a force 6,000 strong and were granted semi-sacred status. They lusted for battle, fighting with fury and valor until the kingdom's final defeat by France in 1892.
Stanley B. Alpern has chronicled this remarkable history in depth for the first time. 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.
"Alpern, a former Agency for International Development official long-stationed in Africa and now an independent scholar, draws together the available material on this peculiar institution into an interesting and readable book."
|The Kings of Dahomey|
|1||A Mock Battle||13|
|2||Origins of Dahomey||16|
|3||Origins of the Amazons||20|
|7||A Privileged Life||48|
|8||What They Wore||52|
|10||How Many Amazons?||72|
|11||Where They Lived||76|
|13||Building Esprit de Corps||106|
|14||Earning a Living||132|
|16||Early Amazon Battles||165|
|19||Years of Success||186|
|20||France vs. Dahomey, 1890||191|
|21||France vs. Dahomey, 1892||198|