Bettany Hughes bigraphy, stories - Historians

Bettany Hughes : biography

1968 -

Bettany Hughes (born ) is an English popular historian, author, and broadcaster. Her speciality is classical history.



  • Breaking the Seal (2000). BBC/OU
  • Mysteries of the Ancients (2002).
  • The Spartans (2002) - produced by Lion TV, three 60-minute episodes.
  • Seven Ages of Britain (2003) — a social history from the Ice Age to the Industrial Revolution.
  • The Minotaur's Island (2003) - produced by Lion TV.
  • The Minoans (2004) - produced by Lion TV.
  • Helen of Troy (2005) — produced by Lion TV.
  • When The Moors Ruled In Europe (2005).
  • Athens: the Dawn of Democracy (2007). Former title Athens: the Truth about Democracy.
  • Engineering Ancient Egypt (2008).
  • The Roman Invasion of Britain (2009).
  • The Bible: A History - (2010) Channel 4: one episode (4 of 7) titled Daughters of Eve.
  • Time Team (2010) Channel 4: season 17, episode 1
  • Atlantis: the Evidence (2010): A Timewatch special about the lost continent being the volcanic island of Santorini
  • Alexandria, City of Dreams, More 4, 2010
  • The Day Jesus Died, BBC One, 2010
  • Countrywise, ITV, 2009–
  • Forgiveness, BBC One, 2011
  • The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World, BBC Two, 2011
  • The Story of the East, Channel 4, 2011
  • Nefertiti - The True Face, Discovery Channel, forthcoming
  • Divine Women, BBC, 2012
  • Britain's Secret Treasures, ITV, July 2012.


  • There's Something About Eleanor of Aquitaine - BBC Radio 3, 2004
  • Amongst the Medici - 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, February–March 2006.
  • The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships - BBC Radio 3, 2006
  • Sisters of Aphrodite - BBC Radio 3, 2007
  • Byzantium Unearthed - 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, October 2008
  • Call Yourself a Feminist - 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, 2009
  • Great Lives - Sappho episode 2 of series 22, BBC Radio 4, 10 August 2010
  • In Search of the Aryans Sunday Special - BBC Radio 3, 2010
  • Banishing Eve - 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, 2010


  • Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07177-7.
  • The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, 2010. ISBN 0-224-07178-5

Academic Publications

  • "Terrible, Excruciating, Wrong-Headed And Ineffectual": The Perils and Pleasures of Presenting Antiquity to a Television Audience - Dunstan Lowe, Kim Shahabudin (ed.), Classics for All: Reworking Antiquity in Mass Culture. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • "Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore - European Cultural Centre of Delphi, XIII International Meeting On Ancient Drama 2007, The Women in Ancient Drama, Symposium Proceedings


Bettany Hughes is the daughter of actor Peter Hughes and the sister of cricketer and journalist Simon Hughes. Bettany Hughes was educated at the private Notting Hill & Ealing High School in Ealing. She won a scholarship to study ancient and modern history at St Hilda's College, Oxford where she received a second-class degree.

Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore, The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, The Hemlock Cup Britain's Secret Treasures

Hughes has been invited to universities in the US, Australia, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands to speak on subjects such as Helen of Troy, the origins of female 'Sophia' and concepts of Time in the Islamic world. In 2010 she gave the Hellenic Institute's Tenth Annual lecture 'Ta Erotika: The Things of Love', and in 2011 was invited to give the BBC Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, which she used to argue that history on television is thriving and enjoying a new golden age. She was also asked to chair the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction, the UK's only annual book award for fiction written by a woman.

Hughes has been a long-standing patron and supporter of educational and campaigning charity The Iris Project, which has been promoting and teaching Latin and Greek in state schools since 2006. She is an honorary patron of Classics For All, a national campaign to get classical languages and the study of classical civilisations back into state schools in the UK launched in 2010. She is also an advisor to the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation which fosters large-scale collaborative projects between East and West.

Hughes is married to Adrian Evans, who is the Pageant Master for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, the producer of Archaos in the UK, and the director of the South Bank Thames Festival. The couple have two children.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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