– Megan Dwyer, Amazon Heart Co-Founder
The Amazon warriors of Greek legend were renowned as strong and independent fighters, famed for removing one breast to improve the accuracy of their archers. Our name, Amazon Heart, reflected the challenge women face in incorporating the emotional vulnerability and fragility brought by a diagnosis of cancer, with a strong and independent outlook on life.
Little Art, as our Amazon Heart logo is affectionately known, was named for Queen Artemisia of Persia. The following excerpt is from “Uppity Women of Ancient Times” by Vicki Leon:
In the 480 BC war fought near Athens between the Greeks and the Persians, few on the losing Persian side came out looking good. The exception was one heroic woman, Artemisia by name, the queen of Caria. Daughter of a Cretan woman and a Carian king, Artemisia had capably run the country from her capital city of Halicarnassus ever since her father died. Caria (in southern Turkey) being at that time in the Persian political sphere, Artemisia was asked to cough up for the war effort that King Xerxes was mounting against the Greeks. Artemisia did him one better: She showed up in full battle armour with five of her own triple-decked war-ships and a land army to boot. She had a grown son of her own she could have sent, but evidently adventurous Art wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the world.
Round one was a naval battle off the Greek island of Euboea. Artemisia fought bravely, but the Persians took a licking. Xerxes asked her for a little Monday-morning quarterbacking, and she told him frankly that the Greeks had superiority on the sea. The king, however, chose to believe that the Persians lost because he hadn’t been there to see the troops. For the second big dustup, to take place in the narrow channel between Salamis and the island of Aegina, Xerxes had confidently set up a sand chair on a cliff overlooking the water.
From her bold actions in the earlier battle, Artemisia already had a bounty price on her head from the Greeks: 10,000 drachmas for anyone who could take her alive. Right away, the Persian side had problems. Their huge fleet, too much of a good thing, couldn’t maneuver or fight. Chaos reigned. The queen, chased by a greek ship, coolly rammed and sank an ally’s vessel, confusing both sides enough to let her get away. Persian losses mounted. With a sigh, Xerxes folded up his sand chair.
Postbattle, Xerxes awarded Artemisia with a suit of Greek armor (“It’s perfect – I don’t have anything like this in my closet”), and our assertive woman reawarded him with another bit of tactical advice for the rest of the war. It happened to coincide with Xerxes’ ideas so he thought her cleverer than ever. These days, attorneys for NOW would have Xerxes in a headlock for his comments about Artemisia, but his fond remarks passed for compliments back thn and were quoted for centuries: “My men fight like women, my women fight like men!”