Helen Diner

Austrian writer and historian

Bertha Eckstein-Diener (March 18, 1874, ViennaFebruary 20, 1948, Geneva), also known by her American pseudonym Helen Diner, was an Austrian writer, travel journalist, feminist historian, and intellectual.

Helen Diner in 1902


  • In time and reality the Amazon kingdoms not only comprise an extremist end of matriarchy but also are a beginning and a purpose in themselves. Roaming daughter realms, excluding everything male except some enslaved boy cripples, they markedly differ from the serenely tolerant mother clan as old as mankind, which pacifically exiled a young upstart manhood by exogamy.
  • [Amazons] They were conquerors, horse tamers, and huntresses who gave birth to children but did not nurse or rear them. They were an extreme, feminist wing of a young human race, whose other extreme wing consisted of the stringent patriarchies.
  • Strabo, traveling in North Africa … [did not find] its women in the army but found that they ruled the country politically, while the men were still without significance in the state, occupying themselves largely with body care and hair-do, greedy for golden jewelry with which to bedeck themselves. The Berbers of our times ....[,] [n]ear the Atlas Mountains, … have preserved a strong gynocracy. In some Tuareg tribes, the women perpetuate the old culture and know Old Libyan writing and literature. Their men wear veils and remain illiterates.
    • Mothers and Amazons (trans. 1965 (original 1930s)), p. 137.
  • Of all the African Amazons, only the Gorgons seem to have maintained a pure Amazon state; the others, though keeping the army purely feminine, maintained some men in their camps. [Among] [t]he Libyan Amazons ....[,] [t]he women monopolized government and other influential positions. In contrast to the later Thermodontines, however, they lived in a permanent relationship with their sex partners, even though the men led a retiring life, could not hold public office, and had no right to interfere in the government of the state or society. Children, who were brought up on mare's milk, were given to the men to rear[.]
    • Mothers and Amazons (trans. 1965 (original 1930s)), p. 136.
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