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Khawlah bint al-Azwar al-Kindiyyah

7th Century A.D.-7th Century A.D.
From: Iraq, Syria
Fields: Military and Warfare
Key Words/Phrases: warrior
 
Following his succession as the fourth calif of Islam, Calif Ali married a woman warrior Khawlah Bint al-Kindiyyah. Khawlah and her female captains led an Arab army against a Greek invasion of their homeland.

The two armies met at Yermonks. At first, the Arab troops appeared no match against the well-organized Greek army and the Arabs retreated in panic. Khawlah and the women captains, Alfra'Bint Ghifar al-Humayriah, Oserrah, and Wafeira, managed to get their army under control and faced the pursuing Greeks. In a battle-queen fashion, they urged the men to follow them into the center of the battlefield. After a Greek soldier knocked Khawlah to the ground and was about to kill her, Wafeira intervened by severing the soldier's head with her sword. Wafeira then displayed the head to the Arab soldiers in order to inspire them. Thus motivated, the Arabs troops drove the Greeks from the battlefield.

Khawlah and her captains were later captured in a battle near Damascus. They were arrested and their weapons were confiscated. Khawlah was angered by the treatment they received and convinced her captains to attempt an escape from captivity. The women warriors attacked their Greek guards using tent poles as weapons and were successful in chasing their captors away.

Contributed by Danuta Bois, 1997.

Bibliography:
1. Women Warriors: A History by David E. Jones, Brassey's, 1997

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