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Episode Seven and Eight: Witch, Please!

This episode we try and take down the patriarchy. Okay - so maybe that’s a bit ambitious for the two of us. But we’ll at least be giving you some juicy facts about some bad-ass women from ancient myth who subvert all the tradition expectations of the patriarchy. And we’ll be celebrating them for all their sorcery. Yep, this week Myth Dynamite takes on Witches and we couldn’t be happier about it. 


So happy, in fact, that we recorded another two-parter for you. 


In Part 1 you’ll hear all about the SUPREME witch-goddess, Hecate, the pack of dogs that herald her every movement, the weird death of the red mullet, and her dalliances with Hermes at the gate of the Underworld (or so we like to imagine...). We also delve into the dark and sordid stories that surround Medea, probably one of our favourite women from ancient myth. She’s witchy, she’s brave, she’s strong, and she’s SCARY AF. Oh also ... nobody, that’s NOBODY, tries to replace her with a younger model. 


But wait, there’s so much more enchantment, gore, and weeping (on Odysseus’ part) to come. Part 2 kicks off with Circe, the divine, sexy, powerful witch and eponymous heroine of the recent and brilliant novel by Madeline Miller. I mean come on, who HASN’T thought about turning men into pigs at least once in your life? But alas not all witches are sexy (sorry Erichtho), as sass turns to savagery in the Roman period and things get hardcore for the witch who thinks that even Thessalian witches are TOO SOFT (you’ll have to listen to find out what that means...).


But we don’t stop there. Oh no. Stay tuned for a run down of what’s happened to the witch since, why we want to reclaim the witch and why, you know what, “witch” shouldn’t be an insult. We’re looking at you Tony Abbott...


The passages you hear at the beginning and end come from the aforementioned ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller. Read it. That’s an order. 


Artworks discussed:

The Hekataion, the triple-formed Hecate image, Roman 2nd-century CE copy based on a (now lost) original by Alcamenes.

Dorothy, Duchess of Wellington as Hecate, from Goddesses by Madame Yevonde, 1935. 

Lady Alexandra Henrietta Louisa Haig as Circe, from Goddesses by Madame Yevonde, 1935. 


References:

Hornblower, S. (first published 1949) (ed.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford. 

Rabinowitz, J. (1998), The Rotting Goddess: The Origin of the Witch in Classical Antiquity, New York. 

Franklin, A.M. (1921), The Lupercalia, New York.

Euripides, Medea, first produced 431 BCE

Lycophron of Chalchis, Alexandra, 3rd Century BCE

Lucan, Pharsalia (De Bello Civile), 61-65 CE. 


https://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Hekate.html



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