Lecture to explore Greek 'Amazon Company' role in Russian ruler's 18th century tour
Dr. Nicholas Pappas, Macricostas Visiting Endowed Chair in Hellenic and Modern Greek Studies at Western Connecticut State University, will discuss the 18th century Greek women's military honor guard known as "The Amazon Company" in a Macricostas Hellenic and Modern Greek Studies Lecture to be presented on Tuesday, April 2, at WCSU.
The lecture, "The Amazon Company: A Greek Women's Military Honor Guard for Catherine II during Her Tour of the Crimea in 1787," will be at 7 p.m. in Room 102 of Warner Hall on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited. The talk will be presented by the School of Arts and Sciences as part of the lecture series sponsored by the foundation of Brookfield industrialist and philanthropist Constantine "Deno" Macricostas and his wife Marie.
Pappas, a specialist in Greek, Southeast European and Russian history who has conducted research on Greco-Russian relations during the 18th and 19th centuries, said his lecture will recount "the brief but fascinating history of the Amazon Company of the Russian empire," which served Russian ruler Catherine the Great during the Crimean tour.
"One of the enduring legends of the ancient world, especially among the Greeks, was the existence of the Amazons, a race of female warriors reputed to have come from the Black Sea region," he observed. "So it is fitting that one of the first all-women's military units in modern times, known as the Amazon Company, was organized in the Crimea among Greek women who had settled there in the wake of the Russo-Turkish War."
Pappas's lecture will discuss how the Amazon Company was recruited, trained and organized, and provide an overview of its duties and the circumstances of its service to the Russian empire. He also will describe how the unit's history recently has become part of women's history and military history in Russia, Greece and beyond.
Pappas currently serves as the Macricostas Visiting Endowed Chair at WCSU while on leave from his position as professor of history at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Recipient of a Ph.D. from Stanford University, he has been a member of the Sam Houston history department faculty for more than 20 years, after serving previously in faculty positions at Menlo College, University of Nevada at Reno, New Mexico State University, Norwich University and Middle East Technical University.
Pappas has drawn upon his research specialization in the military and diplomatic history of the Southeast European and Middle Eastern regions to write and edit numerous books and essays, including the monograph, "Greeks in Russian Military Service in the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries." He serves as vice president for academic affairs and head of the History Research Unit of the Athens Institute for Education and Research, and participates in coordinating many international academic conferences held in Athens.
For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.