Numismatic and History Discussions > History and Archeology

Great Women in History

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Who do you think are the great women of history? 

Here is one of my candidates: Flavia Iulia Helena! 

Any discussion of this remarkable woman, mother of Constantine the Great, must begin with her humble origins.  As John Julius Norwich notes about the Emperor's mater, ". . . his mother Helena was a humble innkeeper's daughter from Bithynia . . . Only later in her life, when her son had acceded to the supreme power, did she become the most venerated woman in the Empire; only in 327, when she was already over seventy, did this passionately enthusiastic Christian convert make her celebrated pilgrimage to the Holy Land, there miraculously to unearth the True Cross and so to achieve sainthood" (Norwich, John Julius. A Short History of Byzantium. London: Viking, 1997. 3-4). 

While much of what we know about Helena seems spun with saintly proportions (handy attributes for the service of a new, unifying state religion), there is no denying her religious fervor nor her temporal power.

My adoration is for Hypatia, the great philosopher and scientist of Alexandria. She was massacred AD 415 by a Christian mob so 'eliminating the last relicts of paganism' as written by Johannes of Nikiu.

Best regarsds

I second Jochens choice, always felt sorry for Hypatia, a genius. Getting stripped by a mob and dismbembered by ceramic tiles cant be fun.
I'd also add Livia and Julia Domna to the list, immensely powerful women. As for Helena, she didnt do too badly for a tavern wh**e, which is what barmaids were back then, and still were up until the early 20th century. Even till the present day in some cases, theres this little pub near...oh, never mind... ;)
                                                               LordBest. 8)

Jochen & Lord Best,

Are there any coins that depict Hypatia?


No, there are no coins, no sculptures or ancient paintings of Hypatia. But she is depicted by Raphael on his famous 'School of Athens' (AD 1509-1510).

Best regards


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