A woman is an encapsulation of strength, tolerance, calmness, divinity and many more qualities that lie deep inside. The women in mythology can characterize positive or negative roles specifying their role and displaying the strength, power and fascinating qualities a woman can carry.
These women were not only part of our mythological stories but also played a vital role in establishing a righteous world. They are the example of determined, brave and graceful beauty with brains.
These women in mythology had a mind of their own, they trusted their sensibilities and were blessed with sharp acumen. Read on to know more about these fascinating women from mythology.
1.Draupadi (Indian Mythology)
THE FEARLESS FEMINIST
Draupadi was a heroic princess of the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. Firm one and a woman with an unbending will. Born from the fire, she is fiery and strong-willed. Draupadi is no ordinary woman in mythology.
Nothing from her birth, to marriage, to her death is ordinary. She is a woman way ahead of her times – a free-spirited, focused and well-managed whom probably no one can dare to emulate even today.
She was never ready to compromise on either her rights as a daughter-in-law or even on the rights of the Pandavas and remained ever ready to fight back or avenge with high handedness any injustices meted out to her.
It just did not happen right with her that she was used as a stake for gambling. She exactly knew how to plan and take revenge against the enemies and rightly never failed.
Her burning passion for revenge against the Kauravas, who tried to disrobe her in a full assembly, cannot be forgotten as this became one of the main causes for the epic war of Kurukshetra in The Mahabharata.
2. Anath (Ugaritic/Ancient Semitic Mythology)
GODDESS OF LOVE AND WAR
The goddess of love and war, the sister and helpmate of the god Baal, she was famous for her youthful vigour and ferocity in battle.
Considered a beautiful young girl, she was often designated “the Virgin” in ancient texts she was primarily known for her role in the myth of Baal’s death and resurrection, in which she mourned and searched for him and finally helped to retrieve him from the netherworld.
Egyptian representations of Anath show a nude goddess, often standing on a lion and holding flowers.
3. Sita (Indian Mythology)
THE SILENT PILLAR OF STRENGTH IN RAMAYANA
Devi Sita, the divine heavenly goddess. One of the most popular goddesses of the Hindu religion. She is the incarnation of Lakshmi, the wife of the supreme god Vishnu.
Devi Sita had to undergo a lot of trials and tribulations in her marital life and it was her courage, chastity and adherence to Dharma (righteousness) that finally made her emerge the ultimate winner. She was a woman who never let go of her principles in life.
She never resisted speaking up whenever the need arose. Woman of strong self-respect, Sita raised Luv and Kush as a single mother and finally took refuge in her mother – Goddess Earth.
During her exile with Lord Ram or when Ravana abducted her, the strength of character and mind that she essays are incomprehensible.
4. Hel (Norse mythology)
GODDESS OF THE DEAD
Hel rules the realm of the dead in Norse mythology. She is alive from the waist up and dead from the waist down. Not only did she have the crucial job of judging the dead, but she also had an important and terrifying role to play in Norse eschatology.
Hel’s role was to lead an army of the dead in a ship made from the fingernails of corpses. She brings the end of the world with her. She simply personifies a strong personality woman in mythology.
5. Tefnut (Ancient Egyptian Mythology)
A DEITY OF MOISTURE
In ancient Egypt, few deities were as revered as Tefnut, goddess of rain and moisture. Tefnut was a member of the Ennead, the nine most important deities in the religion, and one of the original children of the creator-god Atum-Ra.
She was represented with the head of a lioness, wearing a solar disk set with cobras and holding a staff and Ankh, the symbol of life. The Egyptians were very careful in maintaining her cult and feared offending her.
As they'd seen in their history, entire dynasties could fall when the waters dried up. Nobody beside Tefnut could provide all the rains the Egyptians needed to survive, not even the pharaoh.
6. Louhi (Finnish Mythology),
GODDESS OF DESOLATION, DEATH AND DECAY.
Lovatar is a goddess who takes many forms and has many names. She is the blind daughter of the god of death. Lovatar gave birth to nine deadly diseases including plague, sterility, and cancer.
In The Kalevala, Lovatar takes the form of a powerful, shape-shifting witch named Louhi who fiercely battles the epic's protagonists. Later on in the epic, Louhi attempts to steal the sun, moon, and stars.
In the contemporary world, she is beloved by many of the contemporary Finnish black metal musicians.
wicked queen of the land known as Pohjola in Finnish and Karelian mythology and a villain of the Kalevala.
She is described as a mean, gap-toothed and strong nosed woman. Louhi has strong magical powers, and she can shapeshift, change the weather and the movements of the sun and the moon, heal and give birth to weird creatures and monsters. She was feared and respected for her skills.
7. Kundalakesi (Buddhist Mythology)
WOMAN WHO CHEATED DEATH
One of the five great Tamil epics, the Kundalakesi is supposedly about this strong-minded beautiful woman. The Kundalakesa of Therigatha has purported a treasurer’s daughter. Kundalakesi who falls in love with Kalan – a Buddhist criminal on a death sentence.
The girl's rich merchant father gets the criminal pardoned and freed, the girl marries him. Over time, their love fades and during an argument, Kundalakesi reminds him of his criminal past which angers Kalan. A few days later, he invites her to a hike up a hill.
When they reach the top, he tells her that he will now kill her. The wife requests that he let circumambulate him – her husband – three times like a god, before her death. He agrees. When she is behind him, she pushes her husband over into the valley below and kills him.
She feels remorse for killing the boy she once fell in love with and someone she had married. She meets teachers of various religious traditions, adopts Buddhism, renounces and becomes a nun, then achieves Nirvana.
8. Hidimba (Indian Mythology)
THE FANATIC LOVER
She is the modern-day version of a single mother who raises a son with all the right values and qualities, with no help from anyone. Bheem's wife Hidimba was a rakshasi or demon. She fell in love with Bheem and after marriage, they lived together only for a limited period of time.
Then Bheem left and Hidimba gave birth to Ghatotkach, his son, and took care of him alone without any help. Like a strong woman in an epic, she hasn't been mentioned much, but the fact that a single mother can survive and do a lot, without a man by her side is enforced by this character.
9. Itzpapalotl (Aztec Mythology)
THE OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY
In Aztec mythology, the warrior goddess, Itzpapalotl is associated with the Black Butterfly and referred to by name as 'the Obsidian Butterfly'. Itzpapalotl rules over Tamoachan, the heaven where the gods created the human race. Tamoachan is the home for the victims of infant mortality
10. Antigone (Greek Mythology)
THE FAITHFUL DAUGHTER AND SISTER
Antigone, in Greek legend, the daughter born of the unwittingly incestuous union of Oedipus and his mother, Jocasta. After her father blinded himself upon discovering that Jocasta was his mother and that, also unwittingly, he had slain his father, Antigone and her sister Ismene served as Oedipus’ guides, following him from Thebes into exile until his death near Athens.
Returning to Thebes, they attempted to reconcile their quarrelling brothers—Eteocles, who was defending the city and his crown, and Polyneices, who was attacking Thebes. Both brothers, however, were killed, and their uncle Creon became king.
After performing an elaborate funeral service for Eteocles, he forbade the removal of the corpse of Polyneices, condemning it to lie unburied, declaring him to have been a traitor. Antigone, moved by love for her brother and convinced of the injustice of the command, buried Polyneices secretly.
For that, she was ordered by Creon to be executed and was immured in a cave, where she hanged herself. Her beloved, Haemon, son of Creon, committed suicide. According to another version of the story, Creon gave Antigone to Haemon to kill, but he secretly married her and they had a son.
When this son went to Thebes to compete in athletic contests, Creon recognized him and put him to death, whereupon his parents committed suicide
11. Artemis (Greek Mythology)
VIRGIN GODDESS OF THE SUN AND MOON.
Artemis, the Defender of Purity. She didn’t only take care of her purity; she also defended the innocence of her worshippers. And was merciless if any one of her priestesses ever lost it.
Artemis is the Olympian goddess of the hunt, the moon, and chastity. In time, she also became associated with childbirth and nature.
12. Morrigan (Celtic Mythology)
THE PHANTOM QUEEN WHO COULD SHAPE-SHIFT
The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and fertility. Her name translates as 'Phantom Queen,' which is entirely appropriate for Her. The Morrígan appears as both a single goddess and a trio of goddesses, which includes the Badb 'Vulture' and Nemain 'Frenzy'.
She is one of the Tuatha De Danann (People of the Goddess Danu) and She helped defeat the Firbolgs at the First Battle of Magh Tuireadh and the Fomori at the Second Battle of Mag Tured.
13. Surpnakha (Indian Mythology)
THE EVIL GENIUS
Without Surpanakha, there would have been no Ramayana! The damsel is mostly read in a negative light but she was a character ahead of her times. This woman had strong emotions and did not fray away from accepting her attraction towards men, something that was a taboo.
She was ridiculed and Lakshman insulted her by chopping off her nose, but Surpnakha played the evil genius behind the epic Ram-versus-Ravana war.
14. Mandodari (Indian Mythology)
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE SPIRIT
Even though simplifications of the Ramayana often ignore Raavan’s family, Mandodari is an important figure in the best-known version by Valmiki.
Mandodari was a Panchakanya, idealized women who are valued for their chastity and virtue. Their names are also believed to chase away sin. Mandodari was the daughter of Mayasura, the King of the Asuras.
When Ravana visited his home, he fell in love with her and they were married. A woman of immense wisdom, she was known for trying to lead her husband on a righteous path. Tellings of the Ramayan talks about how she interceded often on Sita’s behalf. Going so far to save her life when Ravana was angered by her refusal to marry him.
She is a woman of virtue and relentless faith; she tried to mend the ways of her husband, Ravana and also tried convincing him to release Sita from the capture as she could sense the future. Mandodari is associated with water; she is turbulent from the surface, yet calm and deep in the inside.
15. Atlanta (Greek Mythology)
THE RACE AGAINST DESTINY
Atalanta was a proficient human huntress in Greek mythology. A devoted follower of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, to whom she swore an oath of virginity. She was left in the forest to die by her father, but Atalanta was suckled by a she-bear and raised by the hunters.
Her first major heroic feat was participating in the Calydonian Boar hunt, a fight against a monstrous boar. Despite being anti-love, Atalanta married Hippomenes after he beat her in a footrace.
Atalanta was one of the fastest mortals in Greece, but Hippomenes used golden apples from Aphrodite to distract her, thus winning the race and her hand. Unfortunately, he forgot to properly thank Aphrodite, and the goddess filled them with lust while in the temple of another god.
This god became angry and turned them into lions. Not the happiest of endings, but Atalanta was one of the most hard-core women of Greek mythology.
An exceptional example of strength, wisdom, chastity, and compassion. These women believed in themselves and made the world believe in them too. These women in mythology are the inspiration for all the women in the current era. Each of these women is great in every sense and there is so much to learn from their stories.
These are women who always listen to what they're told, never protest and their only recourse to expressing anger is a renunciation of everything, even asceticism. Most of all they represent the strength of character — to never give up and sticking to one’s ideals even in the face of odds.
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