video record
Media not available in the Digital Archive
In this provocative new series, Bettany Hughes tells the stories of the extraordinary women whose legends and lives cast new light on some of the hottest arguments about the role of women in religi...on today. And drawing on cutting edge scholarship and archaeological evidence, she reveals what her favourite women in religion tell us about the lives of the real flesh and blood women of their day. In this episiode, Bettany travels to the island of Lesbos to discover the truth behind the much sensationalized poet Sappho. Best known today for giving us the words sapphic and lesbian, in her own time Sappho fulfilled the important role of a priestess, channeling the power of Aphrodite the goddess of sex. Then in Athens, the heart of Ancient Greece, Bettany Hughes reveals how religion gave women a vital role in a society which otherwise regarded them as worthless. She then heads to Ancient Rome where the fate of the civilisation lay in the hands of six sacred women - the vestal virgins. She discovers how religion gave this select group of women a life of privilege and luxury, but how their status came at a terrifying price. Finally, Hughes returns to those crucial early years of Christianity where she finds evidence about the role of women that contradicts centuries of Christian teaching and challenges the belief that women should not be priests.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Series: Divine women
First transmission date: 12-04-2012
Published: 2012
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:58:58
+ Show more...
Producer: Leonie Jameson
Screenwriter: Bettany Hughes
Presenter: Bettany Hughes
Contributor: Bettany Hughes
Publisher: BBC Open University
Link to related site: Website:
Subject terms: Women in Christianity; Women--Greece--History
Production number: FKAO972J
Videofinder number: 82569
Available to public: no