Powerful Women Who Ruled the Ancient World
by Kara Cooney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This short (12 lectures) Audible Great Courses offering was actually even more interesting -- & less conventionally feminist -- than I'd expected. Cooney, an Egyptologist, devotes two lectures each to Hatshepsut & Cleopatra VII, plus two each to Greece & Rome. This still allows a little scope for ancient China (one lecture, featuring a dowager empress I do not recommend learning about while eating . . . she made Game of Thrones
look like kindergarten), Biblical women, Boudica, & ancient Mesopotamia.
Rather than simply narrating the fascinating lives of these women, Cooney does an excellent job of explaining how they achieved power, what limits were placed upon this (none of them ruled or otherwise held power without a man somewhere in the picture), & what those around them gained from their elevated status. This makes the course nearly as much ancient political science as women's studies -- and, possibly, of interest to a wider audience.
This course is being offered as an "Audible Plus" selection, free with membership. As such, it's well worth the time investment for anyone looking to wind up Women's History Month with some solid academic information. View all my reviews