Did you miss us? We surely did!

The first article after our short summer break is, you guessed it, dedicated to our Women's Wednesday: our guest this time is Tomyris, queen of the Massagetae, an Iranian people living the steppe east of the Caspian Sea.

Loved by her people, Tomyris is most famous for the battle with Cyrus the Great, whose empire was constantly expanding across Asia. Wanting to conquer the lands of the Massagetae, Cyrus devised a plan: he first moved into battle against the queen's army then feigned his retreat, leaving behind a camp rich of provisions and wine. The Massagetae raided the abandoned camp and, not being used to alcohol and wine, soon fell asleep on the spot; that's when Cyrus moved back into the camp, easily decimating Tomyris' forces and taking the rest, among which stood the queen's son, as prisoners.

Tomyris, enraged, decided to go into battle herself. She officially challenged Cyrus to a second battle, in which she managed to get the upper hand: the Persians were utterly defeated and Cyrus himself perished. Upon finding his corpse, Tomyris beheaded and crucified the late Cyrus - then shoved his head into a vase filled with human blood, reportedly declaring: "Glut yourself with the blood after which you had thirsted".

“Tomiri”, illumination from the manuscript “Des cleres et nobles femmes”, ms. Royal 20 C V, f. 78v, 1st quarter of the 15th century, British Library, London.

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