women

‘A maid bringing medicine and soup to her master who has a cold.’ (1857)

Medicine Maidens: Why Did Women Become the Primary Medical Providers in Early Modern Households?

A primary female occupation in the early modern period (AD 1500-1800) was that of medicine. Though there were formal doctors—known by various titles and with various tasks detailed by their...
The 3,000-year-old female statue uncovered at the archaeological site of Tayinat in Turkey.

Female Statue in Turkey Challenges Common Perceptions of Women in the Ancient World

The remains of a majestic female statue uncovered at the archaeological site of Tayinat in Turkey may challenge our understanding of the public role of women in the ancient world. Excavations led by...
It’s Driving Them Out of Their Minds: The First Big Poisoning in Ancient Rome

It’s Driving Them Out of Their Minds: The First Big Poisoning in Ancient Rome

There were quite a few methods of offing rivals available to criminals in ancient Rome, but poisoning became a popular one by the early imperial period. Perhaps the first widespread ring wreaking...
Rhineland Master. Love Magic, 1470s. Museum für bildende Künste, Leipzig.

A Patriarchal Portrait of a Witch: Warning of Witchcraft in the Female Wiles

Early modern Europe was a period of patriarchy, in which men were in control and women only truly had a say in the household affairs. Power and regulation lay in the hands of men, while the care of...
eft: Old Moon Goddess Destructive, Chak Chel. Dresden Codex, Forstemann version, with permission of FAMSI. Right: Old Moon Goddess, Beneficent Chak Chel. Dresden Codex, Forstemann version, with permission of FAMSI

Mayan Women and the Coiled Snake Headdress

The coiled snake headdress is a significant artifact connected with Mayan women, both ancient and modern. Images of ancient Mayan women wearing this distinctive headdress have been found carved on...
The eembuvi-plaits of Mbalantu women. Photo: CHL Hahn, Collection Antje Otto

The Braided Rapunzels of Namibia: Every Stage of Life is Reflected in Their Hair

Not everyone desires floor-length hair, but if you do, you can take some lessons from the Mbalantu women of Namibia in Africa, who are renowned for their incredibly long, braided hair. Throughout the...
Left: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Right: Warrior heroine Saikal

Selling Sex: Wonder Woman and the Ancient Fantasy of Lady Warriors That Goes Back Millennia

When the film Wonder Woman is released in early June, it will surely join the blockbuster ranks of other recent comic book-inspired film franchises. Wonder Woman has long been a bestselling creation...
‘Die Amazonenschlacht’ by Anselm Feuerbach, 1873.

Who was the Powerful Amazon Queen Orithyia and What Drove Her to Launch a Fated Attack on Athens?

Orithyia was one of those dangerous women whose beauty was so often described by terrified and excited men that it became legendary. For centuries, the Amazons were believed to be nothing more than a...

Woman, Healer, Goddess? Famous (and Forbidden) Female Physicians in the Ancient World

Throughout history, women have always been healers. They were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging the secrets of their uses. They were also nurses, counselors, midwives who traveled...
Elizabeth Taylor, ‘Cleopatra’ (1963).

A Brief History of the Enduring Iconic Female Phenomenon of Red Lipstick

Red lipstick is a modern-day symbol of sex appeal and an attribute of femininity. Many modern women may be surprised by the fact that our recent generations are not the ones which invented this...
The Harem Dance, Giulio Rosati

The Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire: More than Just Beautiful Women

The term “harem” brings to mind an image of a room full of beautiful women whose sole purpose in life was to please their captor sexually. This image may have been inspired by the 16 th and 17 th...
Dream Idyll (A Valkyrie) by Edward Robert Hughes

The Slain Will Rise Again: Lost Valkyries Remembered

“Brothers shall fight | and fell each other, And sisters' sons | shall kinship stain; Hard is it on earth, | with mighty whoredom; Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered, Wind-time, wolf-time...
Chinese concubines in a harem

20,000 Women and 100,000 Castrated Men to Serve the Emperor: The Imperial Harem of China

In Imperial China, one of the important tasks that the emperor needed to do was to ensure the continuation of the dynasty, which was achieved by the production of a male heir. For this purpose, the...
The Revelation (the Valkyrie Brünnhilde discovering Sieglinde and Siegmund).

The Bold and Beautiful Valkyries and Their Mortal Lovers

In Norse mythology, Valkyries were originally sinister spirits that would fly above the battlefield in search of the dead, deciding the fate of the fallen for Odin. The word “Valkyrie” means “chooser...
Chaco Canyon Pueblo Bonito Ruin.

Was a Key Ancient Puebloan Society Ruled by Women?

Discovering who was a leader, or even if leaders existed, from the ruins of archaeological sites is difficult, but now a team of archaeologists and biological anthropologists, using a powerful...
‘Blenda’ by August Malmstrom.

Blenda: The Cunning and Courageous Swedish Woman Who Defeated the Danish Army

Blenda is a heroine found in Swedish myths and legends. It is unclear as to exactly when she lived, but according to the legends, her heroic deeds took place during the time when Alle was the King of...

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At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

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View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)