A woman's grave (circa 300BC) containing a chariot suitable for use in warfare was discovered in Yorkshire in March 2001
In 21 AD there was some debate as to whether Roman governors' wives should accompany their husbands to the provinces.
Petronius' Satyricon mentions a Roman circus which featured a female chariot fighter competing against men.
Women were members of the venatores, (gladiators who fought wild animals in the Roman arena), according to the writings of Martial and Cassius Dio.
An excavation by the Museum of London found the remains of a woman who is believed to have been a gladiator in a Roman cemetary South of the Thames.
The British Museum has a second-century relief carving of two women fighting. Each has a short sword and a shield.
Emperor Alexander Severus (or Septimius Severus) issued an edict prohibiting women combatants in the arena in 200 AD
"At that time a gymnastic contest took place.... Also women competed in this contest" - Dio Cassius, early 3rd Century (source "Women's Life in Greece and Rome" - M.R.Lefkowitz & M.B.Fant)
Among the ancient Celts women rulers and warriors were so common that when a group of Brigantian captives was brought to Rome in the reign of Claudius they automatically assumed his wife, Agrippina the Younger, was the ruler and ignored the Emperor while making their obeisance to her.
Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes was a Client Queen of Rome, that is an ally of the Romans occupying Britain, possibly from 43AD. When her consort Venutius rebelled against her the Romans sent troops to help her keep her throne. Although Roman law was generally very much against the idea of women as rulers the Romans in Britain obviously took a more pragmatic approach and accepted established British Matriarchies.
Bouddicca (or Bodiecia, Bouddica, Voadica, Voada) was the widow of King Prasutagus of the Iceni (a Client King of Rome). She was regent for her two daughters who inherited half of the kingdom, while the other half was given to Rome. The Romans objected to being given only half of the kingdom and provoked a revolt in 61AD.
According to Tacitus, Suetonius, the general who finally defeated Bouddicca, told his troops that "in their ranks there are more women than fighting men."
Boudicca was eventually defeated and according to the Roman chronicler, Dio Cassius, the Britons gave her "a costly burial".
The mythical Queen Scathach of Skye trained the hero CúChulainn.
Diodorus Siculus wrote "Among the Gauls the women are nearly as tall as the men, whom they rival in courage."
The Roman historian Plutarch described a battle in 102 B.C. between Romans and Celts: "the fight had been no less fierce with the women than with the men themselves... the women charged with swords and axes and fell upon their opponents uttering a hideous outcry."
A Roman author, Ammianus Marcellinus, describes Gaullish wives as being even stronger than their husbands and fighting with their fists and kicks at the same time "like missiles from a catapult".
A Triumph (display of captured enemies and plunder) held by the Emperor Aurelian in the 3rd Century included a group of Gothic women who had been found fighting while dressed in men's clothing,
Queen Septima Zenobia of Palmyra governed Syria from about 250 to 275 AD. She led her armies against the Roman armies of Emperors Claudius and Aurelian.
Mavia, was Queen of the Bedouin Saracens from 370 to 380 AD. She led her troops in defeating a Roman army then made a favorable peace and married her daughter to the Roman commander in chief of the eastern Emperor Valens.
"The daughter of Gregory (the Roman praefect), a maid of incomparable beauty and spirit, is said to have fought by his side: from her earliest youth she was trained to mount on horseback, to draw the bow, and to wield the cimeter; and the richness of her arms and apparel were conspicuous in the foremost ranks of the battle" in Tripoli in 647 A.D