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Women in the Ancient World (J199/12)


The Battle of the Sexes in Ancient Athens

Talk by Alistair Blanchard

Rethinking Women and Work

[Source: Romans in Focus - University of Cambridge School Classics Project]


The above video also links to pdf resources: Domestic work; Domitia Lucilla; Epitaphs; Interpreting images; Interpreting inscriptions; Wool-working; and a transcript of the video.

Millennial Classicist Videos

Our WCN and Classics for All colleague, Dr Maria Haley, the co-ordinator of Classics For All's combined Northern hub, has created a whole host of amazing videos on the subject of Greek Theatre. Though aimed primarily at undergrads, these videos will be helpful from GCSE up. The videos in this section are of interest to the module on Women in the Ancient World.

If you like these, check out her Youtube site for even more, and subscribe while you're there.

Stupid Ancient History - Cleopatra

Dave Midgley and Helen Taylor are Director of Humanities and Head of History respectively at Parrs Wood High School and have been teaching Ancient History at GCSE and A Level for longer than either of them would probably like to admit. James Hill is the Science technician Manager at Parrs Wood, long-suffering accomplice to their various shenanigans and resident non-expert in all things Ancient History.

AIE resources illustrate the relevance of ancient Athenian inscriptions, especially those of the classical period (the fifth and fourth centuries BC, c. 500-300 BC), to pre-18 education in the UK and beyond. They aim to support teachers who wish to introduce inscriptions into their teaching as a way of captivating their students’ imagination and fostering enthusiasm for the ancient Greek world.

These resources, consisting of teachers’ notes and slides for classes, underline the textual and visual potential of inscriptions for those engaged with learning about ancient Greek history and civilisation. The idea of an inscription being carved and read “in real life” is a way of fostering the curiosity of students about the past. Accordingly, through inscriptions, learners benefit from the bringing to life of the ancient world, perhaps in a way that helps it seem less abstract and initially less complicated. At the same time, they hope that introducing students at pre-18 level to inscriptions will encourage them to explore ancient source material of their own accord, and will help them to ‘bridge the gap’ into University study if they chose to pursue it. In their Introduction to AIE for Teachers resource you will find more ideas about using inscriptions in the classroom. They also offer a set of slides which introduce learners of all ages to Greek inscriptions: see Introduction to ancient Athenian inscriptions.

Helen of Troy

[Source: BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour]


Immortalised on vases and in plays and poems, Helen of Troy has excited man's imagination for thousands of years. Woman's Hour tries to uncover the real Helen with Bettany Hughes and Edith Hall. (From 35:22-end).

The Amazons

[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]


Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Amazons, a tribe of formidable female warriors first described in Greek literature. They appear in the Homeric epics and were described by Herodotus, and featured prominently in the decoration of Greek vases and public buildings. In later centuries, particularly in the Renaissance, the Amazons became a popular theme of literature and art. After the discovery of the New World, the largest river in South America was named the Amazon, since the warlike tribes inhabiting the river's margins reminded Spanish pioneers of the warriors of classical myth.

With Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University; Chiara Franceschini, Teaching Fellow at University College London and an Academic Assistant at the Warburg Institute; and Caroline Vout, University Senior Lecturer in Classics and Fellow and Director of Studies at Christ's College, Cambridge.

The Amazons

[Source: BBC Radio 4 - Start the Week]


On Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe talks to Adrienne Mayor about the Amazons, the legendary warrior women who glorified in fighting, hunting and sexual freedom. The Greeks described these wild barbarian archers, and Mayor reveals new archaeological discoveries which prove these women were not merely figments of their imagination.

The Real Amazons

[Source: BBC World Service - Everywoman]


Legends abound about warrior queens and 'Amazons' - a new book suggests they originate from Benin, West Africa. Also on the programme: The women who dressed as men and became pirates. A play about Grenada calls for the release of a Marxist woman prisoner. This week's topical diary comes from an advisor on women's employment rights in Bolivia.

Thigh flashing Spartan girls

[Source: The British Museum - Visitors' Voices, Published on 16 Apr 2015]

Historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes ignores famous classical male bodies to find a small but perfectly formed female counterpart – the Spartan ‘thigh flasher’ – in the exhibition Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art (26 March – 5 July 2015).


[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]


Melvyn Bragg and guests Paul Cartledge, Edith Hall and Angie Hobbs discuss Sparta, the militaristic Ancient Greek city-state, and the political ideas it spawned.The isolated Ancient Greek city-state of Sparta was a ferocious opposite to the cosmopolitan port of Athens. Spartans were hostile to outsiders and rhetoric, to philosophy and change. Two and a half thousand years on, Sparta remains famous for its brutally rigorous culture of military discipline, as inculcated in its young men through communal living, and terrifying, licensed violence towards the Helots, the city-state's subjugated majority. Sparta and its cruelty was used as an argument against slavery by British Abolitionists in the early 1800s, before inspiring the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.Yet Sparta also produced poets of great skill: Tyrteaus wrote marching songs for the young men; Alcman wrote choral lyrics for the young women. Moreover, the city-state's rulers pioneered a radically egalitarian political system, and its ideals were invoked by Plato. Its inhabitants also prided themselves on their wit: we don't only derive the word 'spartan' from their culture, but the word 'laconic'. Paul Cartledge is AG Leventis Professor of Greek Culture and a Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge; Edith Hall is Professor of Classics and Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London; Angie Hobbs is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Warwick.


[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]


Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Greek poet Sappho. Born in the late seventh century BC, Sappho spent much of her life on the island of Lesbos. In antiquity she was famed as one of the greatest lyric poets, but owing to a series of accidents the bulk of her work was lost to posterity. The fragments that do survive, however, give a tantalising glimpse of a unique voice of Greek literature. Her work has lived on in other languages, too, translated by such major poets as Ovid, Christina Rossetti and Baudelaire.

With Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at King's College, London; Margaret Reynolds, Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London; and Dirk Obbink, Professor of Papyrology and Greek Literature at the University of Oxford, Fellow and tutor at Christ Church, Oxford.

Adea Euridice

Video created by Hannah Thorpe for the undergraduate module 'Hellenistic World"


Videos created by Warwick Undergraduate students for the module 'Hellenistic World'

Video uploaded by TED Ed


[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Cleopatra. The last pharaoh to rule Egypt, Cleopatra was a woman of intelligence and charisma, later celebrated as a great beauty. During an eventful life she was ousted from her throne and later restored to it with the help of her lover Julius Caesar. A later relationship with another Roman statesman, Mark Antony - and Cleopatra's subsequent death at her own hands - provided Shakespeare with the raw material for one of his greatest plays. Today Cleopatra is still an object of fascination, her story revealing as much about the Roman world as it does about the end of the age of the Pharaohs.With:Catharine EdwardsProfessor of Classics and Ancient History at Birkbeck, University of LondonMaria WykeProfessor of Latin at University College LondonSusan WalkerKeeper of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum at the University of OxfordProducer: Thomas Morris.