Talk: Goddesses of Sex and Violence


This talk considers a chain of well-known goddesses, all associated with love and most with war as well, who between them cover the territory from Britain to the Persian Gulf: Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Aphrodite and Venus. It not only looks at their individual development, but proposes that they are actually all linked together as a single family, each one either shaping or begetting the next in turn. In doing so it provides biographies of a set of powerful and colourful deities, and also puts them into a family relationship.

Ronald Hutton is Professor of History and Associate Dean of Arts in the University of Bristol, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Learned Society of Wales, and the British Academy. He represents both history and archaeology on the Board of Trustees which runs English Heritage, and chair of the Blue Plaques Panel which awards commemorative plaques to historic buildings. He has published fifteen books on aspects of political, social, cultural and religious history, including a monograph on the English Civil War, a narrative history of the Stuart Restoration, a biography of Charles II, two surveys of what is thought about the pagan religions of ancient Britain, two large-scale studies of the history of the ritual year in Britain, an analysis of Siberian shamanism, the first history of modern paganism in Britain, and two surveys of the treatment of Druids in British culture over the centuries. He was formerly a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and has been at Bristol since 1981.

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