Divine Women

Clips and Episode Availability at BBC.co.uk:  Part 1  |  Part 2   |  Part 3

The Telegraph
"Brilliant, cool and likeable - that's a rarity for television"
Katy Guest - The Independent on Sunday
"Fascinating, documentary as epic"
The Guardian

Historian Bettany Hughes reveals the hidden history of women in religion, from dominatrix goddesses to feisty political operators and warrior empresses.
In this provocative upcoming series, Bettany 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 religion today.
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.
The series tells the story of the relationship between women and religion from 9000 BC onwards. The female of the species has always formed 50% of the population but has never occupied 50% of human history.
Yet the connection between women and the divine has been so strong in all societies that when we follow the stories of 'divine women' we uncover new evidence for the character of humanity and a fuller, truer history of the world.

Media Reaction

There was widespread media interest and worldwide discussion in the run-up to the broadcast of Divine Women, including news stories and lead comment features in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Independent on Sunday, The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, The Times of India, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Brisbane Times, The Bengali Times, The Evening Standard, The Age, and Fox News.
Divine Women was the top UK media story for the Huffington Post, and was featured on the US political/talk show The Big Idea, the UK's Woman's Hour the World Service Weekend World, and BBC One's The Big Questions.
Letters were also published in The Times, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Radio Times.
Send us your thoughts:

1. When God Was A Girl 
Programme One looks at the evolution of the goddess in Turkey, Greece, Rome and India. 

2. The Handmaids of God
Programme Two investigates the story of the priestess; from the poet Sappho on the island of Lesbos to Vestal Virgins in Rome and the elevated role of women in the early Christian church.

3. The War of the Word
Programme Three explores a missed 'golden age' for women, when historical characters such as the Empress Theodora in Byzantium, Wu Zetien in China (the Empress who called herself Emperor), the early women of Islam and Anglo-Saxon Hilda of Whitby, used the power of ancient traditions and new ideas about religion and philosophy to wield influence in a man's world - notably through the power of reform, education and the word. We look at evidence through the Byzantine Empire, early Islam, in China, Northumbria and Oxford.
Related Media

Video of Bettany talking about Divine Women

Interview with Bettany in the Huffington Post

Bettany's article in The Guardian

Article about Divine Women from Europe.org.uk
The Telegraph

Weekend World Today Interview
BBC World Service

Broadcaster: BBC - 2012