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Not only was abortion broadly legal in ancient Greece and Rome, but some of the methods used were surprisingly similar to today. And the Bible doesn’t mention it at all—except in one obscure passage, where it tells you how to administer one. In this episode, we’re joined by feminist Biblical scholar and author Princess O’Nika Auguste to discuss the…
 
This episode is part of our abortion rights takeover series. It was originally dropped on our Patreon. It deals with the miracle plant of ancient Greece and Rome: Silphium. The people of Cyrene printed it on their money. It was considered a delicacy throughout the Greek and Roman world, as well as a powerful medicine that could be used to cure ever…
 
This episode is part of our abortion rights takeover. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled series on gender rebels on June 2. In this re-release, Kate from the Exploress podcast joined us to discuss the intimate lives of sex workers in ancient Greece and Rome--including methods of contraception and abortion. Pliny the Elder interviewed sex work…
 
What happened to people in ancient Rome who were freed from slavery? Turns out there were still invisible threads--economic pressures, imbalances of status, and debts owed to wealthy patrons--that kept many of them in bondage. On the streets of Pompeii, freedom came at a steep price--especially for women. Today, we talk to Elodie Harper--bestsellin…
 
As most of you probably already know, abortion rights in the US are under attack. Somebody leaked a Supreme Court initial majority draft that was a full throated, loud and proud revocation of pregnant-capable people’s right to choose who gets to use our bodies. Abortion is a totally normal procedure that people have been doing for millennia--probab…
 
This week, we're taking a break from the story of Achilles to discuss the Illiad from an angle that's not as often covered: the story of the women of the House of Atreus, the family of Agamemnon. In this episode, bestselling author Jennifer Saint introduces us to Clytemnestra and Elektra--Agamemnon's wife and daughter--as well as the priestess and …
 
In this episode, we explore what happened to gender in the pressure-cooker of ancient war. To do that, we skip ahead ten years to a different beach: the war-blasted, corpse-strewn sands below the walls of Troy. As the Trojan War dragged on, the most respect went to those who were able to slaughter and pillage and plunder: gender for men devolved in…
 
In our last episode we looked at Achilles’ early life and his relationships with the women who crossed his path. In this episode, we follow him to the beach at Aulis—where all the Greek kings and heroes, anyone who was anyone, had gathered at the start of the Trojan War. Achilles left Pyrrha behind, but his time as a dancing girl followed him to th…
 
Achilles is so often portrayed as the most masculine of heroes, but those portrayals generally leave out that he spent a few years of his life passing as a girl. Today, we’re going to explore that time in Achilles’ life, and what it tells us about his gender. We’ll also delve into his relationships with the women in his early life: his mom, Thetis,…
 
In the first part of our Gender Rebels series, we talked about queer history—queer women, Intersex people, transgender people, and eunuchs. Now, we’re going to begin another series that takes that lens to Greek mythology. There are plenty of queer myths that break the binary as the ancient Greeks saw it—and heroes and gods who were gender rebels. S…
 
We love the mini-series we’ve done on the Sacred Band of Thebes. And we wanted to give you a chance to binge the entire thing. So, for the first time ever we’re dropping a really really long episode. Like road trip long! If you were planning a trip through the Peloponnese (swoon) – then this is the episode for you. Next week we’re going to follow o…
 
Last week, we told you about the Sacred Band’s first important military victories—victories that depended on the intense trust and love the Sacred Band members had for each other. Victories that showed that the Spartans weren’t so tough after all. But as Spartan control in Greece receded, opportunistic warlords and upstart city-states rose up to ta…
 
In our last episode, we told you the story of how the Spartans took over the city of Thebes and how an intrepid and very queer group of Theban rebels, led by a firebrand named Pelopidas, took it back while dressed as women. The Thebans had their city back. Now they had to figure out how to hold it against the Spartans, because the Spartans would st…
 
The time was the 300s BC. The place was Thebes. And in this place, in this time, there was an elite military force—the best of the best special ops shock troops—made up of 150 male lovers. Their love for each other was the key to their strength. It made them better fighters. More effective. It made them strong enough to break the iron-fisted contro…
 
Last week, we focused on people who chose to undergo castration for religious reasons. But this probably wasn’t the most common experience most people had who were castrated. Enslaved people were castrated as well--often in childhood. Today, we're going to take a deep dive into their lives and circumstances. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit …
 
In ancient Rome, there were a lot of eunuchs. Some were enslaved, some were free; some were members of religious cults, some were not. No study of queer history in ancient Greece and Rome would be complete without them. Today, we’re going to take a look at the history of people who underwent castration in the Roman Empire—why they did it, when they…
 
Intersex people are sometimes featured in Greek mythology in a positive way—for instance, the beautiful child of Aphrodite who became an important part of her entourage. But the ancient Romans saw Intersex people as imbued with a specific kind of magic associated with frightening signs and portents—and that made it dangerous to be Intersex in the a…
 
We are SO excited that we have a book coming out in August 2022! Our book, Women of Myth, will be available worldwide from Simon and Schuster. Listen in as we talk about our favorite Women of Myth from around the world with Liv Albert from Let's Talk About Myths, Baby! Our book is about epic women in mythology from around the world. We cover a dive…
 
Join us for a deep dive into queer history in ancient Greece and Rome. This week, we focus on transgender men and women. It's a common belief that being trans is somehow a "modern" invention and there were no trans people in the ancient world. But nothing could be further from the truth. From the trans women who led the worship of an influential st…
 
This mini-series-within-a-series will be a deep dive into queer history in ancient Greece and Rome--starting with queer women. Because how could we do a season about sex and sex magic without talking about the magical provenance of those who fell outside the accepted binary? Women who loved other women were gender rebels in the ancient world. They …
 
She's the Tenth Muse, Western literature's first lyric poet, and a woman who openly, unabashedly loved women and wrote about it--in an extremely patriarchal society where queer women's experiences were almost universally erased. But what has come down to us about the life and times of Sappho? Like her poetry, our picture of Sappho's life is very fr…
 
In this episode, it's Roman Emperors behaving badly--and Praetorian Prefects behaving even worse. Beginning with Caligula, Emperors were assaulted in their homes, killed with their families, dragged through the streets, and mutilated by angry mobs. At one point, the Praetorians even assassinated an Emperor, then auctioned off the Empire to the high…
 
In ancient Rome, being made Emperor could be a death sentence. Experienced generals and statesmen lasted weeks or months sometimes. In some cases, children were raised to the role. What became of them? Part 1 of our series looks at two very different kinds of child tyrant: Elagabalus and Caracalla. Get ad-free episodes here: https://www.patreon.com…
 
In this episode, we talk to Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne, to discuss myth, storytelling, the lives of women in Minoan Crete--and the process of recreating mysterious, ancient religious rites based on the clues left in mythology. Get ad-free episodes here: https://www.patreon.com/ancienthistoryfangirl Learn more about your ad choice…
 
Janus is the two-faced god of the Roman pantheon. He was the god of beginnings and endings, of dual natures, of passageways and passage through time. He’s the god of thresholds and doorways and gates, and the god of change, both concrete and abstract. He’s constantly in motion; he’s the god who’s always just passing through. Janus may not be very w…
 
This year, we decided that the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a mythological foray into one of the most famous characters of the season: The Krampus. And some of you might be saying: wait a minute, Krampus isn’t ancient; he’s modern. Also, everyone knows about Krampus, the festive demon of Christmas. Why are you covering this well-trod…
 
Wish you had a holiday all about feasting, drinking, the upending of the social order, blood sacrifices, the harvest, pranks, novelty gifts, honouring a god who devoured his kids, and the returning sun? Don’t we all??? Welcome to Saturnalia. Get ad-free episodes here: https://www.patreon.com/ancienthistoryfangirl Learn more about your ad choices. V…
 
What do you know about Yule? Maybe a lot. The holiday is widely celebrated in Scandinavian countries, and it's an important part of Wiccan and Pagan tradition. But for many of us, the version that's come down through history is strongly associated with Christmas--and heavily sanitized. When we scratched the surface, however, we found that the origi…
 
How did sex workers in ancient Greece and Rome manage their periods? What were the most popular fashions for pubic hair? What underwear was everyone wearing? And how did sex workers handle contraception and unwanted pregnancies? In this episode, we team up with Kate the Exploress to delve into the most intimate aspects of daily life for sex workers…
 
Despite inspiring desire of all kinds in people of all genders, Aphrodite herself is often depicted as a cisgender woman. But not always. Ancient writers tell us of mystery cults that worshipped Aphrodite as a transgender woman--or perhaps as nonbinary or intersex. And when you delve into her most ancient roots, there’s an even older tradition of w…
 
Goddess of sex workers, Our Lady of the Castration Foam, the walking embodiment of orgasm herself—Aphrodite was one of the most powerful goddesses in the Olympian pantheon. And as a free, unattached woman with lots of sexual agency, she directly threatened the patriarchy. In this episode, we’ll examine the stories told about Aphrodite--and what the…
 
If you know anything about Aphrodite, then you know she is the ancient Greek goddess primarily associated with love, beauty, sex, reproduction, and passion. She was also the patron goddess of sex workers in the ancient Classical world. Join us as we explore how Aphrodite was worshipped in ancient Greece, the goddess's history and ancient roots, and…
 
Liv Albert from Let's Talk About Myths Baby! has an obsession, and the name of that obsession is Assassin's Creed Odyssey. This game immerses you immediately in Ancient Greece--and provides loads of historically accurate settings from the world we've been exploring this season: the symposia of Athens, the pleasures of Corinth, the Peloponnesian War…
 
The werewolf myth as we know it today generally involves getting bitten by a werewolf, transforming during the full moon, and being very susceptible to silver bullets. But werewolves in ancient Greece and Rome were a little different. Join us for a spooky-season deep dive into ancient werewolf mythology from thousands of years ago. We'll take a loo…
 
What tales kept people from thousands of years ago up at night? This Halloween, Ancient History Fangirl teams up with Liv Albert from Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby! to delve into spooky stories from the ancient world that will send a shiver up your spine—tales of shrieking Banshees, deathly Furies, and the terrors of Samhain. So spread some salt ove…
 
Dads who devour their children. Disembodied baby heads. Corpses that stand up on the battlefield to prophesy doom. Women who return from the grave to carry on steamy affairs. The Ancient Greeks did ghost stories...a little differently. This week, we team up with Liv Albert from Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby! to bring you three ghostly tales from anc…
 
Communities all over the ancient world had a problem: their dead wouldn't stay in the ground. They rose up as shambolic corpses, gusts of wind and evil spirits, draining human life force and devouring flesh and blood. The vampire myth is an ancient one, found on every continent. Join us as we explore the oldest vampire myths we could find from Sume…
 
The Lupanar, or “Wolf Den,” is the infamous brothel of Pompeii. Elodie Harper’s bestselling novel follows the lives of the sex workers who lived and worked there—their passions, their heartbreaks, and the tightly-knit community they built for themselves. Today, we’ve invited Elodie on the show to talk about the realities of sex workers’ lives in th…
 
Last week, we told you about the lives of five courtesans in Classical Athens. But we left someone out--perhaps the most elite hetaera of them all. Long-term partner of a leading Athenian statesman, darling of the philosophical set, survivor of the plague of Athens—she threw her own parties, and they were the best parties ever thrown within a hundr…
 
In our last few episodes on sex workers in ancient Greece, we tried to paint a picture of a group of women, in some cases, with more freedom and independence than most in the ancient Greek world could dream of. But that freedom came at a price. Now, we’re going to tell you about the lives of some of ancient Greece’s most famous Hetaerae. Get ad-fre…
 
The symposia--all-male drinking parties--were the playground and hunting ground of Athens' elite courtesans. But they had their dangers, too. Join us as we attend a symposium with the fast set of Ancient Athens. We’re going to hang out with the hetaerae, drink our faces off, flirt outrageously with everyone in range, and debate with the philosopher…
 
The conventional wisdom is that sex workers in ancient Greece were divided into two main categories: pornai who were enslaved in brothels, and hetaerae, who were elite courtesans. That’s actually a drastic oversimplification. This is the beginning of a journey into the world of sex workers in ancient Greece. Join us as we explore what life was like…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog. Close your eyes and imagine a loving family. Devoted parents and six children: three happy brothers and three happy sisters. The father, Germanicus, is a war hero—beloved by the people, and next in line for the throne. Life is good. Life…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog. Our only explanation for this episode is that it was Jenny's birthday and she wanted to have some friends over. So we invited Katy and Nathan from Queens Podcast to come on our podcast and drink us under the table. Join us on a drunken r…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog. Hippolyte and her golden belt. Penthesilea and the fall of Troy. The Daughters of Ares. Atalanta and the golden apples. They're everywhere in Greek mythology: fierce, deadly women warriors. But in a society as male-dominated as ancient G…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog. In this episode, the epic story of the elephant of war continues. Join noted elephant adventurers King Pyrrhus of Epirus (he of the Pyrrhic victory), Julius Caesar, Hannibal Barca, and Lady Trieu of Vietnam as they stomp their enemies in…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog. Forget what you thought you knew about Dionysus and his cozy wine-drinking image. This is the Dionysus of Thrace. The Dionysus of Mithradates. Of Spartacus. Of revolutionaries across the classical world. This is the story of how one wand…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog. Think the Amazons of Greek myth were mythical? Think again. The Greeks based their Amazons on the real-life warrior women next door. Centuries ago, ancient writers claimed that Scythian women of the Eurasian Steppe fought in battle along…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog. Ancient Rome was full of rich, ambitious social climbers in a cutthroat political environment—people who had enemies to get rid of, and deep pockets to pay for the service. Poison assassins were in high demand—and one of the most notorio…
 
We're on hiatus until September 2. Until then, please enjoy some of our favorite issues from the back catalog. On August 24, 410 AD, Alaric and the Visigoths sacked the city of Rome. Before he sacked it, he starved it. Before that, he went toe to toe with the Roman Empire for fifteen years—uniting disparate tribes, holding a people together, and ac…
 
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