We all have our favorite warrior goddess, but there are many lady fighters in mythology that slip through the cracks of pop culture. There are so many I hope come into the mainstream and these are just a few.
A lot of early Slavic folktales actually depicted women rescuing men and Marya was one of those. A warlike queen who goes on a quest to save her abducted husband from an ogre, Marya deserves a Disney movie.
Some traditions say that after the death of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere became a nun. Others (which I like better) say she became the great warrior Britomart, the mythological lady knight included Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.
Atalanta was a servant of Artemis, known for slaying centaurs and monster bears. She was also the only female fighter on the quest for the Golden Fleece and there seems to be a shortage of myth retellings about her.
An Amazonian ruler who fights Britomart in The Faerie Queene. She has made me seriously question why people don’t talk about this book more.
Also from Arthurian tradition, Melora is the only female Knight of the Round Table. When her beloved Orlando is abducted, Melora leaves England and ventures into foreign lands to save him, rescuing kings along the way.
From the Ugarit religion, Anat embodied love, fertility, and war. She was often unstable, but loyal to the sun god, Baal. There are stories about her beheading hundreds of men single-handedly because they wronged Baal. She was terrifying.
A half-lioness, bloodthirsty deity from Egyptian lore, Sekhmet became so powerful that she had to be tricked into drinking spiked pomegranate juice. She was so dangerous, even Osiris couldn’t stop her otherwise.
From the Germanic and Old Norse traditions, her name means “armored fighting woman.” Possibly based off a real person, Brynhilde swore to never marry a man unless he could surpass her in strength. She was much more fearsome before Wagner’s opera made her into a lovesick waif.
A violent aspect of the Hindu goddess Shatki, Durga is the demon slayer who rides a tiger, carrying a different weapon in each of her eight arms. Associated with primordial power and unlimited strength, Durga is be-all, end-all of warrior woman mythology.
Although more a tactician than an actual warrior, Medb had her origins as a sovereignty deity who later became villainized in modern retellings. Powerful, shrewd, and feared, it’s easy to see how she became an “evil queen,” but she was originally a neutral figure.
As I said, there are so many out there! I have to wonder why writers and other artists keep going to Kali and Athena every time they need a warrior goddess. There are so many options!
Did I forget your favorite legendary warrior woman? Did this give you any story ideas? Let me know in the comments!