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7 Legendary Archers: Female Gods and Heroes

December 30, 2020

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7 Legendary Archers: Female Gods and Heroes

 Artemis with a bow and quiver

Artemis with a bow and quiver

Image by Jo-B from Pixabay

The image of the lady huntress has been a popular archetype in all forms of literature from ancient times to modern film. Even from old patriarchal societies, there exist tales of rebellious women who ignored their supposed places and took up their bows to fight. These goddesses and heroines are the stories of the 7 legendary archer womest, whose skill with a bow and arrow have earned them a place among the most epic warriors in both modern and historical folklore:

  1. No list of female archers would be complete without Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.  In Greek Mythology, Artemis and her brother Apollo are the gods who introduced archery to the world. She was perhaps the most revered of the Greek gods outside of Zeus, evidenced by numerous places of worship that survived ancient Greece. Most of these places, including her once-glorious temple at Ephesus, had statues of the goddess with her silver Cyclops-made bow in hand, usually with one of Pan’s hunting dogs in tow. Her roman counterpart is Diana.
  2. Skaði, or Skadi, is a goddess from Norse myths.  Among other attributes related to snow like skiing and winter, Skadi is closely associated with bowhunting, essentially making her the Norse equivalent of Artemis or Diana, except her hunting grounds are the frozen mountains instead of the more temperate forests of the latter.
  3. The Amazons were an entire tribe of warrior women, many of whom were gifted huntresses and archers. Stories claim they are the daughters of the Greek war god Ares and various mothers, though many archeological discoveries clarify that these were actual women who fought alongside Greeks in a less-romanticised version of the Trojan War.
  4. Atalanta is a Greek heroine, the daughter of a prince, who was left in the wilderness by her father because she wasn’t born a boy. As the legend goes, she was found by a mother bear - suspected to be Artemis herself in animal form - and subsequently raised by hunters who taught her the way of the bow and arrow. It was Atalanta who first struck Artemis’s wrathful Calydonian Boar with an arrow, despite being only female on a team of legendary male heroes that included Jason and several Argonauts.
  5. Durga, a revered Hindu warrior-goddess, was given a bow and arrow by the Hindu god of wind, Vayu. She is known for being a fierce protector of humankind, battling demons with a face of calm in most archeological depictions. Her bow represents independence and self-reliance; her arrows represent being direct and unwavering on our goals.
  6. Lara Croft is a contemporary heroine invented for video games, who has become a modern version of female archers like Atalanta. Lara is a Tomb Raider archeologist who employs various weaponry and tools, but she is best known for surviving her first adventure with a bow and arrow she made with materials found in the forest. She would become an expert of the composite bow in later games.
  7. Katniss Everdeen is probably the most famous female archer in stories today, epitomizing the archetype. In the Hunger Games books, and subsequent movies, she wields a basic longbow during the initial adventures, and switches from one recurve bow to a more advanced model in the next two. The recurve bow is also used by male Greece God Apollo.

These female archers, whether fact or fiction, were known as the most legendary. Keep your compound bow safe from the elements with our Legend Apollo Compound Bow Case, which these archers definitely lacked, or visit our homepage for our extensive selection of archery accessories.

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