War of the Words

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Episode 3 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

Award-winning historian Bettany Hughes discovers how the period known as the Dark Ages was in fact a golden age for a few remarkable women. She finds that education and the written word became vital tools for these women.

First, she looks at Theodora, a prostitute turned empress, who allied herself with Mary the Mother of God to rule over a great Christian empire. Then she looks at the legacy of the wives of the prophet Muhammad, including Khadija, the first convert to Islam and Aisha, whose words are still read by over two billion men and women today. Bettany also discovers the story of Wu Zetien - a courtesan who harnessed the power of a philosophy, Buddhism, to become the only woman to rule China as emperor.

Finally, Bettany explores the history of St. Hilda, a great educator and wise woman, who presided over the crucial conference, the Synod of Whitby, which decided when Christians in Britain celebrated Easter, and cemented the islands' links with Rome and Europe.

Bettany Hughes concludes that these extraordinary women across the globe used their courage, charisma and sheer brainpower to put the female of the species back in the heart of religion. Their incredible achievements still shape our lives today.

Last on

Tue 12 Jun 2012 01:25 BBC One except Scotland, Wales

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Credits

Presenter
Bettany Hughes
Presenter
Bettany Hughes
Producer
Emily Davis
Producer
Emily Davis
Director
Ruairi Fallon
Director
Ruairi Fallon
Executive Producer
Leonie Jameson
Executive Producer
Leonie Jameson

Broadcasts

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