gender, religion

Pandora: the Greek Eve?

(John William Waterhouse, Pandora, 1896) In the beginning, there was – a man. Later, there was also a woman. That’s the basic plot of both the Judaeo-Christian and the ancient Greek creation stories, with woman as a late arrival on the scene. In the first of these Mediterranean traditions, woman is made from man – specifically,… Continue reading Pandora: the Greek Eve?

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diseases, gender

Being a historian: when the personal is historical

On the theme of my favourite history blogs, as introduced here: another blog I enjoy very much is Nursing Clio. It took me a while to 'get' the title; I used to think it was a nursing history blog, but it's far more than that. The USP, among medical history blogs, is the point that… Continue reading Being a historian: when the personal is historical

gender, pregnancy

Women and humour in history

Do men always get the best punch-lines? I was once at a conference where one of the speakers illustrated his points about gender in ancient Rome by referring to a story about Winston Churchill and Nancy Astor. Quick-witted, the first woman Member of Parliament, Nancy Astor’s reputation has been tarnished by her support of Chamberlain’s policy… Continue reading Women and humour in history

gender, menstruation, pregnancy, sex, virginity

Diana, Callisto and Philip II

Between 1553 and 1562, Titian painted a number of mythological scenes for Philip II. Among these was a painting of Diana and Callisto. In the story, told most famously by the Roman poet Ovid, Callisto is one of the unmarried girls forming the virgin goddess’s entourage. Jupiter catches sight of her, and disguises himself as… Continue reading Diana, Callisto and Philip II