Logo_smallThe best introduction is the historical overview by Linda De Pauw, Battle Cries and Lullabies, which is based on academic research and avoids the uncritical rumor-mongering of some other popular works.

Web Resources

The Female Soldier (Tumblr gallery of fighting women)

‘We Have Always Fought’: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative (Hugo Award-winning essay by Kameron Hurley)

Amazons Ancient and Modern (Facebook group)

Medieval Women in War (annotated bibliography by Valerie Eads)


Some of these book lack references and a critical discussion of sources, so caution is advised. They do, however, provide a first introduction and overview.

Addis, E., Russo, V.E., Sebesta, L. (eds.): Women soldiers: images and realities, Basingstoke: Macmillan 1994.

Cook, Bernard A. (ed.): Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia from Antiquity to the Present, Santa Barbara, Ca.: ABC-Clio 2006.

De Pauw, Linda G.: Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the Present, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 1998.

Forty, George and Anne: Women War Heroines, London: Arms and Armour 1997.

Fraser, Antonia: Boadicea’s Chariot. The Warrior Queens, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1988.

Hacker, Barton C. (ed.): A Companion to Women’s Military History, Leiden: Brill 2012.

Jones, David E.: Women Warriors: A History, Washington, D. C.: Brassey’s 1997.

Miles, Rosalind and Cross, Robin: Warrior Women, London: Quercus 2011.

Newark, Tim: Women Warlords. An Illustrated Military History of Female Warriors, London: Blenford 1988.

Pennington, Reina (ed.): Amazons to Fighter Pilots: A Biographical Dictionary of Military Women, Westport CT: Greenwood 2003.

Porath, Jason: Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics, New York, NY: Dey Street 2016.

Salmonson, Jessica A. (ed.): The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era, St. Paul, Mn.: Paragon House 1991.

Samuel, Pierre: Amazones, guerrières et gaillardes, Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble 1975.

Toler, Pamela D.: Women Warriors. An Unexpected History. Beacon Press 2020.

Trévisi, Marion (ed.): Les femmes et la guerre de l’Antiquité à 1918, Paris: Economica 2010.

Wheelwright, Julie: Amazons and Military Maids: Women Who Dressed as Men in Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness, London: Pandora 1989.


Chrystal, Paul: Women at War in the Classical World, Barnsley: Pen & Sword 2017.

Clarke, John H.: “African Warrior Queens,” Journal of African Civilizations 6 (1984), 123-34.

Davis-Kimball, Jeannine: “Warrior Women of the Eurasian Steppes,” Archaeology 50 (1997), 44-48.

Hingley, Richard and Unwin, Christina: Boudica. Iron Age warrior queen, London: Hambledon and London 2005.

Jordan, A.: “I Am No Man: A Study of Warrior Women in the Archaeological Record,” Field Notes: A Journal of Collegiate Anthropology, 1 (2009), p. 94-111 (available online).

Lebedynsky, Iaroslav: Les Amazones. Mythe et réalité des femmes guerrières chez les anciens nomades de la steppe, Paris: Éditions Errance 2009.

Linduff, Katheryn M. (ed.): Are all warriors male? Gender roles on the ancient Eurasian Steppe, Lanham, MD: Altamira Press 2008.

Loman, Pasi: “No Woman No War: Women’s Participation in Ancient Greek Warfare,” Greece & Rome 51 (2004), 34-54.

Mayor, Adrienne: The Amazons. Lives and legends of warrior women across the ancient world, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 2014.

McCullough, Anna: “Female Gladiators in Imperial Rome: Literary Context and Historical Fact,” Classical World 101 (2008), 197-209.

Pringle, H.: “Gladiatrix,” Discover Magazine 22 (2001), pp. 48-55 (available online)

Sebillotte Cuchet, Violaine: “The Warrior Queens of Caria (Fifth to Fourth Centuries BCE): Archaeology, History and Historyography”, in: Women and War in Antiquity, ed. Jacqueline Fabre-Serris and Alison Keith, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press 2015, pp. 228-246.

Dark Ages

Brown, Nancy Marie: The Real Valkyrie. The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women. St. Martin’s Press 2021.

Jansone, Santa: “Ladies with axes and spears. Female Viking warriors around the Baltic Sea,” Medieval Warfare IV.2 (2014), 9-12.

Jesch, Judith: Women in the Viking Age, Woodbridge: Boydell Press 1994.

Jochens, Jenny: Old Norse Images of Women, Philadelphia: Penn. University of Pennsylvania Press 1996.

Gardela, Leszek: “Amazons of the Viking World. Between Myth and Reality,” Medieval Warfare VII (1) (2017), 8-13.

Gardela, Leszek: “‘Warrior-women’ in Viking Age Scandinavia? A preliminary archaeological study,” Analecta Archaeologica Ressoviensia 8 (2013), 273-309 (available online)

General Medieval

For a quick introduction into the topic, have a look at issue IV.2 of Medieval Warfare Magazine – Medieval women as warriors.

Blythe, James. M.: “Women in the Military: Scholastic Arguments and Medieval Images of Female Warriors,” History of Political Thought 22 (2001), 242-269.

Bossy, Michel-André: “Arms and the Bride: Christine de Pizan’s Military Treatise as a Wedding Gift for Margaret of Anjou,” in Christine de Pizan and the Categories of Difference, ed. Marilyn Desmond, Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press 1998.

Cassagnes-Brouquet, Sophie: Chevaleresses. Une chevalerie au féminin, Paris: Perrin 2013.

Chibnall, Marjorie: “Women in Orderic Vitalis,” The Haskins Society Journal 2 (1990), 106-121.

DeVries, Kelly: Joan of Arc: A Military Leader, Phoenix Mill: Sutton 1999.

Dunn, Diana: “The Queen at War: The Role of Margaret of Anjou in the Wars of the Roses,” in War and Society in Medieval and Early Modern Britain, ed. Diana Dunn, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2000.

Eads, Valerie: “Means, Motive and Opportunity: Medieval Women and the Recourse to Arms,” paper Presented at The Twentieth Barnard Medieval & Renaissance Conference ‘War and Peace in the Middle Ages and Renaissance’, December 2, 2006 (available online)

Hay, David: The Military Leadership of Matilda of Canossa, 1046-1115, Manchester: Manchester University Press 2008.

Illston, James M.: ‘An Entirely Masculine Activity’? Women and War in the High and Late Middle Ages Reconsidered, MA thesis, University of Canterbury 2009 (available online)

Lourie, Elena: “Black Women Warriors in the Muslim Army Besieging Valencia and the Cid’s Victory: A Problem of Interpretation,” Traditio 55 (2000), 181-209.

McLaughlin, Megan: “The Woman Warrior: Gender, Warfare and Society in Medieval Europe,” Women’s Studies 17 (1990), 193-209.

McMillin, Linda A: “Women on the Walls: Women and Warfare in the Catalan Grand Chronicles,” Catalan Review 3:1 (1989), 123-136.

Nicholson, Helen: “‘La Damoisele del chastel’: women’s role in the defence and functioning of castles in medieval writing from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries,” paper presented at the University of Extremadura, 14 November 2010 (available online)

Nicola, Bruno de: “Women’s Role and Participation in Warfare in the Mongol Empire,” in Soldatinnen. Gewalt und Geschlecht im Krieg vom Mittelalter bis heute, ed. K. Latzel, Paderborn: Schöningh 2010, 95-112.

Solterer, Helen: “Figures of Female Militancy in Medieval France,” Signs 16 (1991), 522-49.

Truax, Jean A.: “Anglo-Norman Women at War: Valiant Soldiers, Prudent Strategists or Charismatic Leaders,” in The Circle of War in the Middle Ages: Essays on Medieval Military and Naval History, ed. Donald J. Kagay and L.J. Andrew Villalon, Woodbridge: Boydell 1999, 111-125.

Verbruggen, J.F.: “Women in Medieval Armies,” Journal of Medieval Military History 4 (2006), 119–36.

Weatherford, Jack: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire, New York: Crown Publishers 2010.


Caspi-Reisfeld, Keren: “Women Warriors during the Crusades, 1095-1254,” in Gendering the Crusades, ed. Susan Edgington and Sarah Lambert, Cadriff: University of Wales Press 2001, 94-107.

Evans, Michael R.: “‘Unfit to Bear Arms’. The Gendering of Arms and Armour in Accounts of Women on Crusade”, in Gendering the Crusades, ed. Susan Edgington and Sarah Lambert, Cadriff: University of Wales Press 2001, 45-58.

Firth-Godbehere, Richard: “Women and Crusading. A Brief Examination,” (available online)

Geldsetzer, Sabine: Frauen auf Kreuzzügen 1096-1291, Darmstadt: WBG 2003.

LoPrete, Kimberley A.: “Gendering Viragos. Medieval Perceptions of Powerful Women,” in Studies on Medieval and Early Modern Women, vol. 4: Victims or Viragos, ed. Christine Meek and Chatherine Lawless, Dublin/Portland: Four Courts Press 2005, 17-38.

Mazeika, Rasa: “’Nowhere Was the Fragility of Their Sex Apparent’: Women Warriors in the Baltic Crusade Chronicles,” in From Clermont to Jerusalem: The Crusades and Crusader Societies, 1095-1500, ed. Alan V. Murray, Turnhout: Brepols 1998.

Nicholson, Helen: “Women and the Crusades,” paper presented at the Hereford Historical Association, Friday 22 Feb. 2008 (available online)

Nicholson, Helen: “Women on the Third Crusade,” Journal of Medieval History 23:4 (1997), 335-349.

Early Modern

Hacker, Barton C.: “Women and Military Institutions in Early Modern Europe: A Reconnaissance,” Signs 6 (1981), 643–671.

Lynn, John A.: Women, armies, and warfare in early modern Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Sandberg, Brian: “‘Generous Amazons Came to the Breach’: Besieged Women, Agency and Subjectivity during the French Wars of Religion,” Gender & History 16 (2004), 654–688.

Watanabe-O’Kelly, Helen: “‘Damals wünschte ich ein Mann zu sein, umb dem Krieg meine Tage nachzuhängen.’ Frauen als Kriegerinnen im Europa der Frühen Neuzeit,” in Erfahrung und Deutung von Krieg und Frieden, ed. Klaus Garber, München: Fink 2001, 357-368.

Wilson, P.H.: “German Women and War 1500-1800,” War in History 3 (1996), 127-160.

17th/18th Centuries

Martino-Trutor, Gina M.: ‘Her Extraordinary Sufferings and Services’: Women and War in New England and New France, 1630-1763, PhD Dissertation, University of Minnesota 2012 (available online)

May, Louise-Anne: Sino-western historical accounts and imaginative images of women in battle, PhD Dissertation, University of British Columbia 1985 (available online)

Pilkington, Colin: To play the man. The story of Lady Derby and the siege of Lathom House, 1643-1645, Preston: Carnegie Publishing 1991.

Steinberg, Sylvie: “Un brave cavalier dans la guerre de sept ans, Marguerite dite Jean Goubler,” Clio 10 (1999), 145-154 (available online)

Young, Alfred F: Masquerade. The life and times of Deborah Sampson, Continental soldier, New York: Alfred A. Knopf 2004.

French Revolution/Napoleonic

Boisvert, Jayne :”Colonial Hell and Female Slave Resistance in Saint-Domingue,” Journal of Haitian Studies 7 (2001), 61-76.

Bouhet, Patrick: “La Femme et les Armées de la Révolution et de l’Empire: un aperçu,” Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains 198 (2000), Dossier: Les femmes et la guerre, pp. 11-29.

Brice, Raoul: La Femme et les Armées de la Révolution et de l’Empire, Paris: L’Édition moderne 1913.

Cardoza, Thomas: Intrepid Women: Cantinieres and Vivandieres of the French Army, Bloomington: Indiana University Press 2010.

Cère, Emile: Madame Sans-Gêne et les femmes soldats, 1792-1815, Paris: Plon/Nourrit 1894.

Cyrus, Hannelore: “Von erlaubter und unerlaubter Frauenart, um Freiheit zu kämpfen. Freiheitskämpferinnen im 19. Jahrhundert und die Freie Hansestadt Bremen,” in: Grenzgängerinnen. Revolutionäre Frauen im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert, ed. H. Grubitzsch, Düsseldorf: Schwann-Bagel 1985, 19-69.

Durova, Naděžda A.: The cavalry maiden. Journals of a Russian officer in the Napoleonic wars, Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1988.

Esdaile, Charles: Women in the Peninsular War, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 2014

Hagemann, Karen: “`Heroic virgins’ and `bellicose amazons’: armed women, the gender order and the German public during and after the anti-Napoleonic wars,” European History Quarterly 37 (2007), 507-527.

Hopkin, David: “The World Turned-Upside-Down: Female Soldiers in the French Armies of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars”, in Soldiers, Citizens and Civilians: Experiences and Perceptions of the French Wars, 1790-1820, ed. A. Forrest, K. Hagemann and J. Rendall, Palgrave: Basingstoke 2008, 77-98.

Girard, Philippe: “Rebelles with a Cause: Women in the Haitian War of Independence, 1802–04,” Gender & History 21 (2009), S. 60–85.

Godineau, Dominique: “De la guerrière à la citoyenne. Porter les armes pendant l’Ancien Régime et la Révolution française,” Clio 20 (2004), 43-69 (available online).

Hennet, Léon: “Femmes Soldats dans les armees de la révolution”, La Nouvelle Revue Francais 40 (1919), 341-353.

Martin Jean-Clément: “Travestissements, impostures et la communauté historienne. À propos des femmes soldats de la Révolution et de l’Empire,” Politix 2 (2006), n° 74, 31-48.

Sutter, Marie Thérèse: La vraie Madame Sans-Gêne. Les campagnes de Thérèse Figueur, dragon aux 15e et 9e régiments 1793-1815, Paris: Guillaumin 1894.

Tone, John L.: “A Dangerous Amazon: Agustina Zaragoza and the Spanish Revolutionary War, 1808-1814,” European History Quarterly 37 (2007), 548-561.

van der Pol, L.C.: “Republican Heroines: Cross-Dressing Women in the French Revolutionary Armies,” History of European Ideas 10 (1989), 353-363.

General 19th century

Alpern, Stanley P.: Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey, London: Hurst & Company 2011.

d’Eaubonne, Françoise: L’Amazone sombre. Vie d’Antoinette Lix, 1837-1909, Paris: Ed. Encre 1983.

Graves, Dianne: In the Midst of Alarms: The Untold Story of Women and the War of 1812, Montreal, Canada: Robin Brass 2007.

Jerosch, Rainer: The Rani of Jhansi, rebel against will. A biography of the legendary Indian freedom fighter in the mutiny of 1857-1858, Delhi : Aakar Books, 2007.

Larraín Mira, Paz: La presencia de la mujer chilena en la Guerra del Pacífico, Santiago de Chile: Centro de Estudios Bicentenario 2006 (available online).

Valentino, Romano: Brigantesse. Donne guerrigliere contro la conquista del Sud, 1860-1870, Napoli: Controcorrente 2007.

Williams, Cathy: From Slave to Female Buffalo Soldier, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books 2002.

American Civil War

Blanton, DeAnne: “Women Soldiers of the Civil War,” Prologue 25 (1993) (available online)

Blanton, DeAnne, Cook, Lauren M.: They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press 2002.

Edmonds, Sara E.: Memoirs of a soldier, nurse, and spy. A woman’s adventures in the Union Army, Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press 1999.

Eggleston, Larry G.: Women in the Civil War. Extraordinary Stories of Soldiers, Spies, Nurses, Doctors, Crusaders, and Others, Jefferson, N.C./London: McFarland 2003.

Hall, Richard: Women on the Civil War Battlefront, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas 2006.

Leonard, Elizabeth D.: All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies, New York: Penguin 2001.

Silvay, Anita: I’ll pass for your comrade. Women soldiers in the Civil War, New York: Clarion Books 2008 (written for kids & young adults).

Tsui, Bonnie: She went to the field: Women soldiers of the Civil War, Guilford, Connecticut: TwoDot 2006.

Velazquez, Loreta J.: The woman in battle. The Civil War narrative of Loreta Janeta Velazques, Cuban woman and Confederate soldier, Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press 2003.

Wakeman, Sarah R. (ed.): An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862-1864, Pasadena, MD: Minerva Center 1994.

General 20th century

Anagnostopoulou, Margaret Poulos: “From Heroines to Hyenas: Women Partisans during the Greek Civil War,” Contemporary European History 10 (2001), 481-501.

Bochkareva, Maria: Yashka. My Life as Peasant, Officer and Exile, New York: F.A. Stokes 1919.

Cobbs, Elizabeth: The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers, Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2017.

Dombrowski, Nicole A. (ed.): Women and War in the Twentieth Century: Enlisted with or without Consent, New York: Garland Publishing 1999.

Fuentes, Andrés Reséndez: “Battleground Women: Soldaderas and Female Soldiers in the Mexican Revolution,” The Americas 51 (1995), 525-553.

Gerbert, Frank: Die Kriege der Viktoria Savs: Von der Frontsoldatin 1917 zu Hitlers Gehilfin, Wien: Kremayr & Scheriau 2015.

Guillemot, François: Des Vietnamiennes dans la guerre civile. L’autre moitié de la guerre, 1945-1975, Paris: Les Indes savantes 2014.

Leszczawski-Schwerk, Angelique: “‘Töchter des Volkes’ und ‘stille Heldinnen’. Polnische und ukrainische Legionärinnen im Ersten Weltkrieg,” in Soldatinnen. Gewalt und Geschlecht im Krieg vom Mittelalter bis heute, ed. K. Latzes, Paderborn: Schöningh 2010, 179-205.

Noakes, Lucy: Women in the British Army. War and the Gentle Sex, 1907-1948, New York, NY: Routledge 2006.

Poniatowska, Elena: Las soldaderas. Women of the Mexican Revolution, El Paso, Texas: Cinco Puntos Press 2006.

Salas, Elizabeth: Soldaderas in the Mexican Military: Myth and History, Austin, Tx.: University of Texas Press 1990.

Stoff, Laurie S.: They Fought for the Motherland: Russia’s Women Soldiers in World War I and the Revolution, Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas 2006.

Taylor, Sandra C.: Vietnamese Women at War. Fighting for Ho Chi Minh and the Revolution, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas 1999.

Spanish Civil War

Auroy, Vanessa: Mémoires d’une femme dans la tourmente de la révolution espagnole. L’exemple de Mika Etchebéhère, Ma guerre d’Espagne à moi, M.A. thesis, Université d’Anvers 2013 (available online)

Etchebère, Mika: Ma guerre d’Espagne à moi. Une femme à la tête d’une colonne au combat, Paris: Milena/Libertalia 2015.

Lines, Lisa: “Female Combatants in the Spanish Civil War: Milicianas on the Front Lines and in the Rearguard,” Journal of International Women’s Studies 10 (2009), 168-187.

Lines, Lisa: Milicianas. Women in combat in the Spanish Civil War, Lanham: Lexington Books 2012.

Linhard, Tabea A.: Fearless Women in the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Civil War, Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press 2005.

Lugschitz, Renée: Spanienkämpferinnen. Ausländische Frauen im spanischen Bürgerkrieg 1936-1939, Berlin: LIT Verlag 2012.

Schiborowski, Ingrid, Kochnowski, AnitaFrauen und der spanische Krieg 1936-1939: Eine biografische Dokumentation, Berlin: verlag am park 2016.

World War 2

Alexievich, Svetlana: The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II, New York: Random House 2017.

Batinić, Jelena: Women and Yugoslav Partisans. A history of World War II Resistance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015.

Campbell, D’Ann: “Women in Combat: The World War Two Experience in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and the Soviet Union”, Journal of Military History 57 (1993), 301-323 (available online)

Escott, Beryl E.: Heroines of SOE, New York: The History Press 2010.

Hildebrand, Vera: Women at War: Subhas Chandra Bose and the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press 2018.

Krylova, Anna: Soviet women in combat. A history of violence on the Eastern Front, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010.

Markwick, Roger D., Cardona, Euridice Ch.: Soviet women on the frontline in the Second World War, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2012.

Pavlichenko, Lyudmila: Lady Death. The Memoirs of Stalin’s Sniper, Barnsley: Pen & Sword 2018.

Sakaida, Henry: Heroines of the Soviet Union 1941-45 (= Osprey Elite 090)

Taylor, Eric: Women Who Went to War 1938–1946, London: Grafton 1989.

Travers, Susan: Tomorrow to be BraveNew YorkFree Press 2000.

Vinogradova, Lyuba: Avenging Angels: Young Women of the Soviet Union’s WWII Sniper Corps, New York: MacLehose Press 2017.

Wiesinger, Barbara: Partisaninnen. Widerstand in Jugoslawien, 1941-1945, Wien: Böhlau Verlag 2008.

21st Century

Lemmon, Gayle Tzemach: Ashley’s war. The untold story of a team of women soldiers on the Special Ops battlefield, New York: Harper Perennial 2016.

Last update 4/6/2021

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