The Fisher King

He is the last of the distinguished family line of guardians of the Holy Grail. But he was wounded. He was not only unable to fulfill his duties, he was also unable to father a next generation to carry on after his death. His impotence affected the fertility of his land, reducing it to a barren wasteland. All he could do was fish in the river near his castle and wait for the elusive “chosen one” who could heal him.

Vilifying the Ancient Goddess

These female demons have much in common. They are all physically hideous, anti-mothers in one way or another, and they are all childless or give birth in abnormal ways. They are dangerous and threaten humans with both diseases and death. But they were not always demons.

Ancient Mothers of Drummers and the Art of Dance

The art of dance was incorporated in many religious rituals and festivals of ancient civilizations. From the third millennium BC, ancient Egyptians started to use dance as an integral part of their religious ceremonies, using dancers to perform important events such as divine tales and celestial patterns of shifting sun and stars. In ancient Greece, dance was very freely used for public purposes until it eventually brought about the birth of the popular Greek theatre in the 6th century BC. The first person in history to be called drummer was a woman – a Mesopotamian priestess, in fact.

Healers

Throughout history, women were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging the secrets of their uses. They were also nurses, counselors and midwives who traveled from home to home and village to village. They have always been healers. In around 3500 BCE, Queen Puabi of Ur was buried with surgical instruments so that she might practice surgery in the afterlife. Later in history, though, spoil-sport King Henry VIII of England proclaimed that “No carpenter, smith, weaver or women shall practice surgery.”

The Passion of Independent Women in Early Christianity

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. —  Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970 Passionate women … Continue reading The Passion of Independent Women in Early Christianity

“The Oldest Profession in the World”: Prostitution or Gardening?

Former president of the United States Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) allegedly once said, “Someone once said that politics is the second-oldest profession. I’m beginning to think it bears resemblance to the first”, unfavorably comparing politicians to prostitutes. But despite the old adage, prostitution is not “the oldest profession in the world”. It’s gardening.

Very Short Story about Voting in Ancient Greek and Rome

Sortition by lot was a form of selecting public officials in some ancient Greek city-states. It has been used particularly in the democracy of ancient Athens from which most information … Continue reading Very Short Story about Voting in Ancient Greek and Rome

Scar Removals and Breast Reductions: Graeco-Roman Practices of Plastic Surgery

In the 6th Century BCE, an Indian physician named Sushruta, who was widely regarded in India as the “father of surgery”, wrote one of the world’s earliest works on medicine … Continue reading Scar Removals and Breast Reductions: Graeco-Roman Practices of Plastic Surgery