“According to the ancient Greeks, warrior women invented trousers and trousered Amazons were frequently portrayed in classical art. Amazons, the women warriors who fought Hercules and other mythic Greek heroes, were long assumed to be imaginary, but archaeological discoveries in the 1980s of female skeletons buried with weapons helped to prove that warlike women really did exist among nomads of the Scythian steppes of Eurasia.
The Greeks understood this long before modern archaeology, and more than a thousand warrior women are depicted on Greek vase paintings. Notably, most of the women are clad in tunics and trousers, or leggings, like those worn by male Scythians. Standard male Greek attire at the time was a rectangle of cloth draped and fastened with pins and a belt, a chiton, similar to that of many other ancient cultures—such as the Roman toga, Egyptian shenti or wrap-around skirt, and Asian sarong. Trousers were more complex.
Trousers and tunics required piecing together wool, leather, or cloth, and sewing strong seams— frequently decorated with contrasting thread—to construct well-shaped garments. The earliest preserved trousers have been excavated in burials of horse-riding men and women in the Tarim Basin, dating to 1200 to 900 bc. Snug or loose trousers and long sleeves were the mode of dress favored by people ranging from the Black Sea to the territories of the Xiongnu nomads on the western border of China.” -Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University
In this class, we will learn about the people that invented trousers and explore the influence of their nomadic steppe culture on Western fashion.
OUR APPROACH TO HISTORY
Polyhistoria classes emphasize critical thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. We believe that students learn history best by doing what professional historians do.
(Read more about our approach to history.)
-Students’ cameras and microphones must be in working order and turned on during the class.
This class is designed to include lots of interaction and discussion.
[A lot of interaction in classes with more than 6 students can cause students’ computers to freeze and the video call to be dropped. Therefore, the class interaction level will be modified in classes with 6+ students because of the Zoom limitations. Larger classes will be taught in the format of an engaging lecture with moderate interaction.]
Meets once for 60 minutes
4 – 9 learners, ages 12-17