In Chapter Three of the History of Goddesses it was seen that Indo-Europeans, like all herder peoples, were both warriors and patriarchal, thanks to the fact that herdsmen tribes are used to fight among themselves for stealing their cattle, and to the consequent lack of weight of women in war. Thus, being the link between the herder, warrior, and patriarchal element so strong, women seem to have no space in herder societies. However, such apparently indissoluble chain seems to have a weak link: herder warriors are used to move, drive cattle and fight, riding horses. For such a reason it can be said that herdsmen are also horsemen. It is just in the horsemen element that the weak link of the chain lies, owing to a deep and frightening contradiction that threatens all herder societies. Here is the contradiction:
young girls are able to ride horses much better than boys
Why is it? Miracles of the Divine Female Power? An especially close link between female spirituality and horses' sensitivity? Nothing of all this. The reason can be defined as follows:
the female body is much more suitable for horse-riding than male
Let us summarize it in three main points:
1) The first time a boy sits on the back of a horse will feel himself in trouble, not finding where to lean his genital parts, a problem of course unknown to girls. After a bit of times he will feel more confortable, but only because, becoming aware of his limits, he will avoid every dangerous movement.
2) For horse-riding it is not necessary a strong musculature, but a quite elastic and flexible one, as girls have.
3) If any muscular power is needed, this is only on the legs, while an upper developed musculature is totally useless: thus, female musculature, with the lower part more developed than the upper one, is more suitable than male.
And now, before analyzing the consequences of all this in Indo-European culture, let me introduce a brief autobiographical account. In summer 2006 I spent two months riding horses in the Argentinian region of Corrientes, close to the Uruguayan limit (where, of course, it was winter): a wealthy Italian family from Milan contacted me for teaching Latin and Greek one hour daily to their fourteen years old daughter in their luxury 3300 hectares estancia (= a huge Argentinian ranch. 1 hectare is 2471 acres), where 3000 oxen, 4000 sheep, and 800 horses were raised, and spending all the free time riding horses and driving cattle. Together with us were also two other young girls, one Italian and the other Californian, friends of my pupil. There, I had the opportunity to see how naturally girls can ride horses.
Thanks to my feminist education, I had no problems admitting that a thirty six years old male, even if athletically trained, as I was, cannot face in horse-riding three teen witches, capable of jumping from one running horse to another as naturally as eating an ice-cream. Furthermore, the Divine Female Power allowed them to ride for several hours without getting tired, while I needed three resting hours for every riding one: I don't want to think how bad should feel an anti-feminist, patriarchal man in my place...
Last, as a heterosexual man, I can also assure you that a girl riding a horse is the most elegant and sexy image a male can have in front of his eyes: the female figure becomes so harmonic that it can be said that horses should be ridden only by girls, not by boys.
At the light of all this, it was impossible for a herder people as Indo-Europeans to ignore such natural talent of maidens for horse-riding: this fact is very likely to have created frightening nightmares to them.
In my opinion, the Greek myth of the Amazons, the warrior horsewomen who lived without men, is nothing more than the outcome of such contradiction. Perhaps, the Valkyries too, the warrior maidens of Scandinavian mythology (another Indo-European tribe), lie on the same root.
Ancient and modern scholars always tried to find historical ground to the existence of Amazons, placing them among herder peoples dwelling either in Asia Minor, Scythia, or Caucasus, i.e. all regions beyond the limits of the civilized world. For Greeks, such regions symbolized only the sphere of the untamed wilderness, in opposition to Greek civilization: untamed wilderness was just the symbolism of Amazons, in opposition, as usual, to Greek patriarchal and misogynous society.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the secret sexual dream of every man is to be submitted to an attractive she-warrior, preferentially virgin (patriarchal and misogynous men always fear sexual-experienced women). Thus, for Greek culture Amazons represented both their (official) nightmare and their (secret) dream, never forgetting that the idea itself of a she-warrior is always the product of a male mind.
That's why the greatest Greek heroes, Heracles, Theseus, and Achilles, were imagined to have fought against Amazons, often falling in love with their queens (Hippolyte, Antiope, and Penthesilea). Hence, my analysis of such a myth as a product of the male mind denies any "feminist" feature within Amazons: the male sexual dream of being submitted to a (virgin) she-warrior is connected with sadomasochism -a typical feature of male sexuality-, and sadomasochism has nothing to do with feminism.