Armenia’s Warrior Queen

Why are medieval women largely absent from current discussions of Armenia’s past?

Mausoleum, Aghdzk, Aragatsotn Province of Armenia. The mausoleum, constructed in the mid-late 4th century, once contained the remains of both Christian and pagan kings of the Arshakid dynasty of Armenia. Wiki Commons/Vacio.

During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, the Republic of Armenia established its first all-women military detachment. This was the latest in a series of developments that won women the right to serve in the Armenian armed forces since military academies first opened their doors to them in 2013. The unit was named the Erato Detachment, after a first-century Armenian queen. The inclusion of historical women in modern Armenian discourse is a relatively new and rare phenomenon and it is in large part the product of work within the field of Armenian studies over the past few years. The absence of historical female figures can ultimately be traced to the ways in which they were represented in the earliest Armenian historical narratives, which continue to play an important role in the collective Armenian memory. 

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