historical warrior

Historically Accurate Xena- now in full colour!

Hiccups and delays aside, here it is. Xena is equipped as an early hoplite; (my headcanon is that, owing to her immense, perhaps semi-divine strength, the bronze is between 4 and 8mm thick- too much for any muscle powered weapon to handle from any angle) packing an early Doru, a Boeotian shield, and a Makhaira sword.
Gabrielle’s Amazonian outfit is a composite of Scythian grave finds; she wields a composite bow and Akinakes sword, wears an elaborate phrygian cap, and the trousers and moccasins of a culture seriously weird to Greeks.
Other avenues are still waiting to be explored! Don’t forget to reblog, and tell me what you think.
I’m absolutely willing to defend my questionable use of snarling Gorgoneiona. Fight me.

This armor is attributed  to Ohori Tsuruhime (1526 (?)-1543 (?)) a miko (priestess) of the Oyamazumi shrine on  Omishima island. As the daughter of the head-priest, she took command when he died of illness. In 1541 she led troops during two naval battles in order to repel invaders. 

And it is nice to see some realistic female-armor. Of course, no boob-plate. 

“Tomoe Gozen” (1879), Yamazaki Toshinobu (1857-1886)

“ That circle of men fell like autmun leaves, like a rain of petals torn loose by storm winds. Such was my fight, and all the warriors, sorely wounded

fell far back

till I saw them no more

fell far back

till I saw them no more »

From the 14th century Noh play “Tomoe”, anonymous author, translation by Royall Tyler

6

For funsies: historically accurate Xena. I heard that there’s a remake of Xena: Warrior Princess in the wind, and thought that it’s a shame that the show never really dug into the aesthetics of the ancient world, because Antiquity looked dope as hell. I’m pretty sure we’ll get standard Hollywood fantasy aesthetics again, which bums me out, but at least I can draw Xena however I want.

Her fictional biography gives me several possible directions (I will not go into the show’s extended bizarro chronology, you can’t make me); she’s a contemporary of Herakles, placing her at around 1100 BC, in the Mycenaean era. This gave me a style of hair and makeup I frankly couldn’t let go of; it makes her look like a terrifying Onna-Bugeisha. It’s just too good!
However, she’s also meant to be a citizen of Amphipolis, an Athenian colony in Thracia from around the 500′s BC, placing her in early Classical Antiquity. In the first couple of pictures, Xena is either a Thracian barbarian exposed to Greek culture, or a Greek frontierswoman familiar with the ways of the Thracians. This does give her a distinctive throwing weapon to be good with, and some unique sword forms. She could be a higher class Thracian with access to bronze armour, or have simply “acquired” some over time.

Perhaps, instead, I could commit hard to early Classical Antiquity; here, I’ve made her an angry wall of bronze decked out with gorgon heads to symbolise her role as a terrifying, living Fury. Alternatively, a Linothorax (layered linen armour) with pteruges, gives nods to her costume in the show, and looks surprisingly good with the right patterning and notional colours.

Exploring the Mycenaean era of Troy and Heracles gives extensive, if cruder, bronze armour, and some very barbarian-y helmets and flourishes. The Type ci swords are gorgeous, duckbill axes are a lot of fun, but we do have immense shields that heavily obscure our showpiece character. On the other hand, perhaps Xena is especially qualified to actually wield the huge, double-bitted Labrys axe of ancient Minos in battle *unsubtle wink/nudge combo*.

In the show, Gabrielle takes a level of badass with the Amazons; real amazons were likely Scythians, and Scythian culture has given us a magnificent wealth of highly distinctive grave goods, textiles, jewellery, and so on. She’s using a Scythian composite bow (although probably at a lower poundage than an Amazon born to saddle and bow), a lasso, a short Akinakes sword, and a Sagaris axe. (As a former farm girl, she should at least have had good muscle memory with wood axes for her Amazonian trainers to work from.) Next to the hulking, ferocious, armoured tank of Xena, this trickier and more evasive warrior makes for a fun contrast in appearance and style.

Tell me which design/elements you want to see as a part of the final full piece!

“Tomita Nobutaka and his wife” (1885), Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Tomita Nobutaka’s wife, Yuki no kata, is known for defending successfully Anotsu castle during the 1600 Sekigahara campaign. She and her husband were on the side of Tokugawa Ieyasu. It was common for women of the samurai class to be left in charge of the defending the castle if the lord was away.

Boudica
Warlord and queen of the British Iceni, an ancient Celtic tribe, Boudica led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Boudica’s husband Prasutagus was ruler of the Iceni tribe, and enjoyed autonomy under a treaty with the Romans. However, when he died, the kingdom was annexed as if conquered. Boudica was flogged, her daughters were raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans. In AD 60 or 61, Boudica waited until the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey off the northwest coast of Wales. She then launched a massive assault leading the Iceni, Trinovantes and other Britons in revolt against Roman population centers. She destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), and while the out-manned Roman garrisons attempted to flee, Boudica’s army of 100,000 engaged the Legio IX Hispana, decimating them, then burned and destroyed Londinium, and Verulamium (modern-day St. Albans). An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were killed in the three cities by Boudica’s armies. Despite these early gains, Suetonius regrouped his forces in the West Midlands, and though heavily outnumbered, defeated Boudica’s advancing Britons in the Battle of Watling Street. The crisis caused the Emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius’s eventual victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province. Boudica then killed herself so she would not be captured. She has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom, and is renown for her tactical use of the chariot on the battlefield by employing shock-combat to break enemy formations.

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