11 episodes

Women Who Went Before is on a gynocentric quest into the ancient world. Join hosts Rebekah Haigh and Emily Chesley as they interview the world’s top scholars and unearth the lives of women from the past. It’s a history podcast and detective journey in one, sifting through texts and tropes to find the women who lived beneath. | Season 2 is in pre-production

Women Who Went Before Rebekah Haigh & Emily Chesley

    • History
    • 5.0 • 24 Ratings

Women Who Went Before is on a gynocentric quest into the ancient world. Join hosts Rebekah Haigh and Emily Chesley as they interview the world’s top scholars and unearth the lives of women from the past. It’s a history podcast and detective journey in one, sifting through texts and tropes to find the women who lived beneath. | Season 2 is in pre-production

    Out of Pandora’s Box, Recovering Hope

    Out of Pandora’s Box, Recovering Hope

    On the Season 1 finale we talk with Dr. Deborah Lyons about ancient Greek myths, breaking cultural boxes, and why we should all strive to be killjoys.

    Pandora's box, Penelope's gifts, Helen's beauty in Sappho's poetry, and more. Why does it matter that Pandora didn't actually have a box in the earliest versions of the myth? How were objects and the practice of gift-giving gendered in Classical Greece? What rituals did ancient Greek women participate in, and what did they produce? As we study ancient women, what strategies can we turn to for unearthing hope?

    Shownotes: https://www.womenwhowentbefore.com/out-of-pandoras-box-recovering-hope/

    Women Who Went Before is written, produced, and edited by Emily Chesley and Rebekah Haigh.

    The music is composed and produced by Moses Sun.

    Sponsored by the Center for Culture, Society, and Religion, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Stanley J. Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University

    Views expressed on the podcast are solely those of the individuals, and do not represent Princeton University.

    • 58 min
    In Her Own Words: Ancient Women Authors

    In Her Own Words: Ancient Women Authors

    In the penultimate episode of season 1, “In Her Own Words: Ancient Women Authors,” we talk with historian and classicist Dr. Kate Cooper about gatekeeping, the privilege of individualism, and those rare surviving moments when women wrote for themselves.

    The famous Greek poet Sappho, who wrote of love and loss.
    Faltonia Betitia Proba, the elite Roman woman who adapted Virgil to tell Christian history.
    The pilgrim Egeria who described her tour of the Holy Lands to her circle of female friends back home.
    And of course we revisit Perpetua, the martyr from Carthage we first met in Episode 0.

    Shownotes: https://womenwhowentbefore.com/in-her-own-words/


    Women Who Went Before is written, produced, and edited by Emily Chesley and Rebekah Haigh.

    The music is composed and produced by Moses Sun.

    Sponsored by the Center for Culture, Society, and Religion, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Stanley J. Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University

    Views expressed on the podcast are solely those of the individuals, and do not represent Princeton University.

    • 59 min
    Suffering Witches to Live: Jewish Women and the Legacies of Religious Law

    Suffering Witches to Live: Jewish Women and the Legacies of Religious Law

    In Episode 8 our hosts talk with Dr. Elizabeth Shanks Alexander about whether women can keep track of their own periods, religious law as a boys’ club, and why ancient rabbis cared about witchery.  

    Episode show notes: https://womenwhowentbefore.com/suffering-witches-to-live.

    Women Who Went Before is written, produced, and edited by Emily Chesley and Rebekah Haigh.

    The music is composed and produced by Moses Sun.

    Sponsored by the Center for Culture, Society, and Religion, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Stanley J. Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University

    Views expressed on the podcast are solely those of the individuals, and do not represent Princeton University.

    • 59 min
    Women Get a Head: Gender and Other Weapons

    Women Get a Head: Gender and Other Weapons

    Dr. Caryn Tamber-Rosenau explains how two lethal women perform gender in the Hebrew Bible. Judith and Jael were talented Jewish heroines who skillfully played their hands (and bodies) to save their people from invading armies.
    How might the stories about Clytemnestra and the Ugaritic goddess Anat have shaped these biblical narratives? How does the book of Judith intersect with Judas Maccabee and the Maccabean Revolt? How is virginity a sexual orientation?

    Gender performance, queer theory, and femmes fatales join with Agatha Christie's murder mysteries and the Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi to understand how gender is play acted and subverted in ancient texts.

    CW: This episode also discusses themes of sexual assault.

    Women Who Went Before is written, produced, and edited by Emily Chesley and Rebekah Haigh. The music is composed and produced by Moses Sun.

    Episode show notes: https://womenwhowentbefore.com/women-get-a-head/

    Sponsored by the Center for Culture, Society, and Religion, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Stanley J. Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University

    Views expressed on the podcast are solely those of the individuals, and do not represent Princeton University.

    • 47 min
    Scepter and Sword: African Warrior Queens

    Scepter and Sword: African Warrior Queens

    Dr. Solange Ashby teaches us about Nubian warrior queens, Hollywood stereotypes about Egyptian women, and why you shouldn’t trust Wikipedia.
    Meet the powerful, voluptuous queens of Meroe—Amanirenas, Amanitore, Amanishakheto. While Roman noblewomen were supposed to stay hidden at home, these queens were ruling and leading their troops into battle. 
    Hear how Nubian families tracked filiation through their mothers. Learn about color consciousness in the biblical story of Moses' Kushite wife. And along the way, discover what Cleopatra and Wonder Woman have in common.

    Show notes and sources: womenwhowentbefore.com/african-warrior-queens

    Women Who Went Before is written, produced, and edited by Rebekah Haigh and Emily Chesley.
    The theme music was composed and produced by Moses Sun.

    The podcast is sponsored by the Center for Culture, Society, and Religion, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Stanley J. Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University.

    Views expressed on the podcast are solely those of the individuals, and do not represent Princeton University.

    • 56 min
    Was the Oldest Profession a Profession?

    Was the Oldest Profession a Profession?

    We interview  Dr. Thomas A. J. McGinn about Roman prostitution, marriage laws, and a strange Cinderella story.

    What was a paterfamilias and how did they determine a woman’s life? Were prostitutes merely doing their civic duty? Why did early Christians call the Roman government the pimp-in-chief?

    Autonomy and agency are the overarching themes of this episode. We explore them in laws governing Roman women, how prostitution was legislated and profited from in Ancient Rome, why sex work isn’t the right term for the Roman world, and why even empresses weren’t immune from slander. Imperial Japan's “comfort women,” Marie Antoinette, and Iran’s headscarf laws are part of this story too. But we start with an actress named Theodora.

    CW: This episode discusses themes of rape and sexual exploitation.

    Women Who Went Before is written, produced, and edited by Emily Chesley and Rebekah Haigh.

    The music is composed and produced by Moses Sun.

    Episode show notes: womenwhowentbefore.com/the-oldest-profession/.

    Sponsored by the Center for Culture, Society, and Religion, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Stanley J. Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University.

    Views expressed on the podcast are solely those of the individuals, and do not represent Princeton University.

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

les000 ,

The best!

Emily and Rebekah make thoughtful, historical scholarship is fun and easy to understand!

Anonymous937940 ,

Great listen!

There is nothing more fun than listening to people who have spent their whole lives researching a topic talk about the research they love. Listening to “Women Who Went Before” is like taking a behind the scenes tour into the classrooms and lives of leading classics scholars from around the world. As a ministry professional who is currently serving in the local church, “Women Who Went Before” feeds my inner scholar and introduces me to new topics and perspectives. I have recommended it to multiple family members and friends from different walks of life. I look forward to listening every week and I cannot wait for the next season to release.

sporter67 ,

Smart and well-paced

I love this podcast!! I will try to explain why even though my interest in podcasts tends to be vibe-based. 1. The hosts cover ancient people, texts, and phenomena that are just…fascinating. Some of them I’ve heard before, some I haven’t, but always with a new twist. 2. Then they introduce pretty nuanced complicated questions about those topics where you realize they’re even richer than you thought. 3. They interview fascinating, brilliant scholars on each topic - AND the hosts are fascinating, brilliant scholars in their own right. 4. Discussions are smart but not unnecessarily weighty or slow. They stay conversational and lively without wasting the listener’s time (a key component of a good podcast!). Thanks for this podcast!!

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