It is estimated that some six hundred women served during the American Civil War. They had signed up disguised as men. Hollywood has missed a significant chapter of cultural history here – or is this history ideologically too difficult to deal with? Historians have often found it hard to deal with women who do not respect gender distinctions, and nowhere is gender distinction more strongly affected than in the question of armed female fighters.
But from antiquity to modern times, there are many stories of female warriors. The best known find their way into the history books as warrior queens, rulers and leaders. They have been forced to act as any Churchill or Roosevelt: Semiramis, queen of Assyria, and Boadicea, to mention just two. Semiramis is said to have conquered Ethiopia, Egypt and much of Asia. Among her many great achievements, some also mention the building of Babylon and of its legendary Hanging Gardens, although other authors claim that the gardens had not been built in her time but long after her reign.
Boadicea was a Celtic queen who revolted against the Roman invaders of her territory after they had robbed, beaten and sold into slavery many of her people. Her story, narrated by Roman historiographer Tacitus, was nearly forgotten for many centuries and became popular during the reign of another English queen who headed an army against foreign invasion, Queen Elizabeth I. Boadicea is honoured with a statue on the Thames at Westminster Bridge, right opposite Big Ben.
Although history is quite reticent about women having significant roles in battle either as warriors or leaders, hardly a war has been fought without women soldiers in the ranks.
I * READING COMPREHENSION
CHOOSE AND WRITE THE CORRECT OPTION (A, B, C or D).
1. During the American Civil War…
- (a) women were easily accepted as soldiers.
- (b) men and women did not fight together.
- (c) women fought dressed up wearing men’s clothes. X
- (d) women and men had different positions in war.
2. Historians find the subject of women warriors to be a difficult topic because ...
- (a) gender distinctions do not exist today.
- (b) women warriors show no respect.
- (c) women who fight go beyond the traditional female role. X
- (d) women warriors are stronger than male warriors.
- (a) invaded Roman land and turned Romans into slaves.
- (b) reacted against Roman abuse on her people. X
- (c) led an army against the invasion of Queen Elizabeth I.
- (d) had a statue made by Tacitus.
ARE THESE STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWERS WITH THE PRECISE WORDS OR PHRASES FROM THE TEXT
4. Hollywood movies have been often inspired by historical women warriors.
5. There is disagreement over queen Semiramis‟s role in the building of Babylon‟s Hanging Gardens.
- TRUE: “(some also mention the building of Babylon and of its legendary Hanging Gardens), although other authors claim that the gardens had not been built in her time but long after her reign.” (lines 9-11).
6. Many wars have been fought with no women soldiers in their armies.
II * USE OF ENGLISH
7. FIND IN THE TEXT ONE WORD THAT HAS THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION: “to be in charge of, to lead others”
8. FILL IN THE GAP WITH A CORRECT FORM OF THE VERB IN BRACKETS:
“She let them …… (win) the war.”
- She let them win the war.
9. GIVE A NOUN WITH THE SAME ROOT AS “lose” (verb).
10. WHICH WORD IS NOT AN ADJECTIVE?
- happy/ trendy/ hardly / lucky
11. FIND IN THE TEXT ONE SYNONYM FOR “relevant” (adjective).
12. FILL IN THE GAP WITH THE CORRECT OPTION:
- “I never go to the gym .... the week” at / during / in / on
13. USE THE WORDS IN THE BOXES TO MAKE A MEANINGFUL SENTENCE. USE ALL AND ONLY THE WORDS IN THE BOXES WITHOUT CHANGING THEIR FORM:
better men considered than always women have been
14. TURN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE INTO THE PASSIVE VOICE:
“Two builders are repairing the broken wall.”
15. GIVE A QUESTION FOR THE UNDERLINED WORDS:
Six hundred women served during the American Civil War.
16. JOIN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES USING A RELATIVE. MAKE CHANGES IF NECESSARY.
“That‟s the travel agent‟s. I booked my holiday tickets there.”
17. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONAL SENTENCE:
- “If women had ruled the world, …” would have + p.p.
III * PRODUCTION
18. WRITE A COMPOSITION OF APPROXIMATELY 120 WORDS ABOUT THE TOPIC PROPOSED. YOU MUST FOCUS STRICTLY ON IT:
- Do you think women and men have the same opportunities in life?