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The Exploress Podcast

Author: Kate J. Armstrong

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Join us as we time travel back through women's history, exploring the lives and stories of ladies of the past, from the everyday to the extraordinary, imagining what it might have been like to be them.
25 Episodes
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Ancient Greek queen Olympias went to epic lengths to ensure her son Alex ended up on the throne. In doing so, she helped make him worthy of his title: Alexander the Great. Alexander accomplished a lot all on his own, but there’s no doubt he got a lot of help from his momma. Despite what some people believed about women being meek and quiet, Olympias was one of the most influential people in his life. She was the ultimate momager, shaping his view of himself and the world, maneuvering through the complexities of the cutthroat Macedonian court to ensure her son became a conqueror, becoming one of the most powerful women in the ancient Greek world. But she wasn’t the only strong-willed woman in Alex’s orbit. There were others: a sister who broke hearts and helped ruled a kingdom; a half-sister and her daughter, who led armies and killed queens; even an Amazon who traveled quite a long way to demand some connubial communion with him in his tent. Get ready to enter Macedonia. We’ll face assassinations, intrigue, a little snake worship, warrior women, and an epic battle for an empire that would put Game of Thrones to shame. Check out the show notes for a transcript, images, and more. To support the show, become a patron or go and nab something from my brand-new Exploress Etsy shop.
The ancient Greeks told lots of stories about the Amazons: the mythic bands of warrior women that Hellanikos of Lesbos described as "golden-shielded, silver-axed, man-loving, boy-killing females.” They made up fantastic stories about both loving and subduing these women who were bold, violent, promiscuous, and independent: everything a good Greek wife wasn’t supposed to be. To many they were a fantasy, equal parts exciting and terrifying. And for a long time, scholars thought that was all they were: a figment of the Greek imagination. But now we understand that the ancient world saw its fair share of warrior women, living on the move, hunting and fighting, living and dying on their own terms. Who were these women the Greeks saw in their pleasant dreams and worst nightmares? Let’s join up with them in this second installment as we ride off into battle, have some sexual communion, enjoy ourselves around the fire, and meet up with some of the individual warrior women who terrified Greece: Fu Hao, Tomyris, and Artemisia I and II. Check out the show notes for a transcript, images, and more. To support the show, become a patron or go and nab something from my brand-new Exploress Etsy shop. To hear the amazing music featured in this episode (The Sack of Troy, Ancient Lyre Strings, and Procession of the Olympians), all composed on recreated lyres of antiquity, check out Michael Levy.
The ancient Greeks told lots of stories about the Amazons: the mythic bands of warrior women that Hellanikos of Lesbos described as “a host of golden-shielded, silver-axed, man-loving, boy-killing females.” They made up fantastic stories about both loving and subduing these women who were bold, violent, promiscuous, and independent: everything a good Greek wife wasn’t supposed to be. To many they were a fantasy, equal parts exciting and terrifying. And for a long time, scholars thought that was all they were: a figment of the Greek imagination. But the ancient world saw its fair share of warrior women, living on the move, hunting and fighting, living and dying on their own terms. It turns out the Amazons were very real. Who were these women the Greeks saw in their pleasant dreams and worst nightmares? Let’s go hunting beyond the myths and legends to try and find them. Check out the show notes for a transcript, images, and more. To support the show, become a patron or go and nab something from my brand-new Exploress Etsy shop. To hear the amazing music featured in this episode (The Sack of Troy, Ancient Lyre Strings, and Procession of the Olympians), all composed on recreated lyres of antiquity, check out Michael Levy.
When it comes to the words that made it through time to us, ancient Greece is particularly loud with men’s voices. But if you listen, you can hear one woman through the crowd—we still hear her today. Heralded as a genius in her time, Sappho was called “The Poetess” and “The Tenth Muse.” People made coins with her face on them and created honorary statues of her all over Greece. In our century, she’s heralded as one of the earliest same-sex love advocates, boldly writing about lesbian desire. Who was this mysterious woman poet? What did it mean, in her time, to write about same-sex relationships? What did it mean to be in one? Check out the show notes for a transcript, images, and more. To support the show, become a patron or go and nab something from my brand-new Exploress Etsy shop. To hear the amazing music featured on this episode, all make on recreated lyres of antiquity, check out Michael Levy.
Ancient Greece is notorious for keeping women silent, veiled, and firmly fixed at the loom. But was life for women in places like Athens really so restrictive? What did they get up to behind those veils and shaded screens? After exploring their houses, rights and duties in Part 1, we're going to talk about life as a matron: childbirth, Athenian nightlife (including the famous escorts who rule it), ritual and festivals. We'll even hop over to ancient Sparta to see what those hardcore ladies get up to. To check out the show notes, go here. If you'd like to give a one-off donation or become a patron of the show, check out my Patreon page. Music composed on replicated lyres of antiquity (cool!) by Michael Levy, licensed through AKM Productions. Show theme song by Paul Gablonski. Featuring the voiceover stylings of Katy and Nathan at Queens Podcast, Genn and Jenny from Ancient History Fangirl, and Shawn at Stories of Yore and Yours.
Ancient Greece is notorious for keeping women silent, veiled, and firmly fixed beside the loom. But was life for the ladies in places like Athens really so restrictive? What did they get up to behind those veils and shaded screens? Let's time travel back to the Classical period to find out what it was like to be them. To check out the show notes, go here. If you'd like to give a one-off donation or become a patron of the show, check out my Patreon page. Music composed on replicated lyres of antiquity (cool!) by Michael Levy, licensed through AKM Productions. Show theme song by Paul Gablonski. Featuring the voiceover stylings of Katy and Nathan at Queens Podcast, Genn and Jenny from Ancient History Fangirl, and Shawn at Stories of Yore and Yours.
For millennia, brewing was overwhelmingly a woman’s game. You can’t research beer’s history without stumbling across female brewers. So why, when we conjure up an image of a brewer, is it a dude we always picture? How did beer, both the brewing and the drinking, become overwhelmingly a “man’s drink”? To find out, we’ll explore how beer was made in the ancient world, then hop forward through time up to the present, following a particular story through history: the relationship between women and beer. Their connection to one of the world’s oldest beverages will probably surprise you; it may even change your relationship with that IPA currently sitting in your fridge. Episode includes an interview with modern-day lady brewer Flora Ghisoni of Colonial Brewing Co. Selected music by Kevin Macleod and Keith Zizza. To become a patron of the show, check this out.
Let's continue exploring the lives of ancient Egypt's female pharaohs. We'll start by talking about Hatshepsut's rise to fame and glory: how she stayed on top and what she did while she was there. Then we'll dive into the stories of Nefertiti, a savvy beauty queen with a fanatical boyfriend, and Tawosret, who wasn't afraid to get blood on her hands on her path to power. We'll travel through several eras, looking at the Egyptian language of power and what these women had to do to prove they were more than capable of ruling their world.  For show notes, head over to my website. While you're there, become a patron of the show and receive bonus goodies by clicking on Become a Patron. (Most) music by Keith Zizza and Derek & Brandon Fiechter.  
In ancient Egyptian, the word "pharaoh" doesn’t mean king; it means “great house”. They had no word for queen at all. All royal women were defined by their relationship to that house: with titles like Great Royal Wife, Great Royal Daughter, Great Royal Mother. They were there to support, not to rule. And yet, in an ancient world where men ruled the day, Egypt saw a slew of influential females stalking the gilded royal halls. Some were royal wives and mothers, whispering in their pharaoh brother-husband’s ear, and some stepped in to rule for him when he was too young to do it himself. But then, others were pharaohs in their own right, beating the odds to rule alone. Who were these women? How and why did they get to be pharaohs, when so many of the ancient world’s major empires never suffered a woman to rule? What was life for a woman on top? And what did they have to do to stay there? Let's start with three amazing ladies: Merneith, Neferusobek (Sobekneferu), and Hatshepsut. For show notes, head over to my website. While you're there, become a patron of the show and receive bonus goodies by clicking on Become a Patron. (Most) music by Keith Zizza and Derek & Brandon Fiechter.
Let's continue our day as an everyday lady in ancient Egypt's New Kingdom during the 18th Dynasty. We'll talk about what we're doing for both work and pleasure, go to a feast, and explore medicine, contraception, mummification and the afterlife. Put on your best jewels and let's go traveling. For show notes, head over to my website. While you're there, become a patron of the show and receive bonus goodies by clicking on Become a Patron. (Most) music by Keith Zizza and Derek & Brandon Fiechter.  
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Comments (2)

Amanda Hughes

Loving this new podcast, its a great addition to my lineup. When can we expect a new episode?

Oct 10th
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The Exploress

Amanda Hughes I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I try to publish every two weeks while a season’s running. I’ll be publishing the next episode later this week!

Oct 22nd
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