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The 2017 movie "Wonder Woman" (in theaters June 2) is a long-awaited feature film about the mythical Amazon princess who made her first appearance in the DC Comics title "Sensation Comics," in 1942.
Since then, Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, has long reigned as a rare figure in the world of comics superheroes — a woman who is preternaturally strong and skilled in battle.
But while Wonder Woman is fictional, she has no shortage of real-world precedents. Throughout history and across cultures, women have outlined military strategies and stormed battlefields, leading armies of both men and women, proving themselves to be fierce fighters and highly skilled leaders.
Here are just a few examples of these exceptional women warriors.
Fu Hao (died 1200 B.C.)Slide 2 of 25
Fu Hao (died 1200 B.C.)
The earliest known female general of the Shang Dynasty, Fu Hao, lived about 3,000 years ago during China's Bronze Age, according to a biography published in 2002 in Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia (Yorkin Publications).
Her exploits were preserved in fragments of text scratched into bone and tortoiseshell; one account, in the collection of the Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art and Archaeology in England, describes her leading 3,000 soldiers in a regional campaign.
Archaeologists learned even more about Fu Hao's military rank and prowess when they unearthed her tomb near Anyang, China, in 1976. More than 100 weapons were found buried in her tomb, confirming her status as a high-ranking military leader, according to the British Museum. Her tomb also included thousands of ornamental objects and vessels in bronze, jade, bone, opal and ivory, as well as the remains of 16 slaves who were buried alive to serve her in the afterlife.Slide 3 of 25
Boudicca (circa first century A.D.)Slide 4 of 25
Boudicca (circa first century A.D.)
During the Roman invasion and occupation of southern England in the first century A.D., a woman named Boudicca led the Iceni people, a tribe of eastern Britain, in an uprising against interlopers.
Accounts recorded by the Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 – 117 A.D.) describe Boudicca's emergence as a rebel and leader when the Romans confiscated her lands and revoked the tribe's status as Roman allies, following the death of her husband, Iceni king Prasutagus, the Ancient History Encyclopedia recounted.
Boudicca's military campaigns razed the Roman settlements of Verulamium, Londinium and Camulodunum, brutally massacring the inhabitants. But her army was decimated at the Battle of Watling Street near Shropshire, in 61 A.D., ending the rebellion against Rome, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica.Slide 5 of 25
Gudit (circa 10th century A.D.)Slide 6 of 25
Gudit (circa 10th century A.D.)
"It is well known from relatively recent Ethiopic tradition that Ethiopia was once ruled by a queen called Gudit, Yodit, Isat or Ga'wa," according to a study published in 2000 in the journal Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies.
However, it is unclear where this warrior queen came from, and some scholarly accounts claim that she was Jewish by descent or marriage, the study suggested.
The historian Ibn Haukal wrote of a queen who ruled Abyssinia — now Ethiopia — during the 10th century, the study author wrote, and a letter penned in 980 A.D. mentions an Ethiopian queen who rose to power by murdering the current king and who went on to reign for decades. She campaigned against Christians and "imprisoned many Ethiopians, burned towns, [and] destroyed churches," according to the study.Slide 7 of 25
Tomoe Gozen (circa 1157 – 1247)Slide 8 of 25