Thanks for posting Sakura. I had no idea of the witches stuff until a talk a couple of years ago at uni. Remember it being fascinating then. And afterward being really conscious of how prevalent all the witch stuff is and its links to women.
Sorry, I would love this to be a good documentary but it is just not. I really want to know about women's power before Christianity, and about women and non-Christian European religion, both sound fascinating. But this is not a documentary, it's someone making unsubstantiated and occasionally simply wrong claims. It's either dishonest or crashingly ignorant. I've got to the bit about Christianity being 'new' in Europe in 1132 and had to stop there - utter rubbish.
It would have been really interesting to hear about women and witchcraft, too.
My mind's pretty open on this stuff, but I don't buy the idea of having some factual version of the history of religion and belief. It's belief. It's all tied up in the social structures that surround it.
Yeah, I agree. I think it would have been better if they'd either done a sort of imaginative recreation of what modern pagans think the beliefs might have been (which could have been great with all that beautiful camera work), or if they'd made it obvious they were speculating and not being factual - trying to make it as a documentary was maybe the problem.
I really wish they'd talked more about pre-Christian stuff and the evidence there is instead of moving on so quickly - I liked the look of that three-women image of Sulis and wish they'd said more about that, but I assume because there's so little written evidence they didn't feel able to.
Btw, that site does have dodgy (!) credentials, but I think they're not wrong about the statistics - someone on here was talking about witch trials a few days ago, in the context of feminism, and saying the popular perception isn't very accurate. I wish I could remember better what she said!
I totally agree that you get some really, really shoddy documentaries on the dominant view of history too. But it doesn't stop me feeling cross that someone has, basically, been dishonest and hoped that lots of fancy camera work would make them seem believable. It just makes anyone else who is interested in saying that women have/have had any kind of power look like a liar by association.
Anyway, off to cheer myself up with a look at your link!
Firstly, it's factually inaccurate to a fairly stunning degree. Eg., it claims Christianity was 'new' in Europe in 1132, which is out by nearly a millenium. If the wiki link posted above is correct, it also places Trier in the wrong country and mis-dates the cross it's talking about by a couple of centuries (looking at the cross, I think wiki must be right). It claims that pointed hats were once a symbol of some kind of power (authority, it might have been?).
Secondly, it presents lots of authoritative-sounding opinions as if they were facts, but doesn't back them up at all, mainly about women's powers and religion pre-dating Christianity. As far as I know, there is no way they can bee this authoritative, because there's little written evidence. If they have evidence, they should give it; if they have a basis for interpretations, they should give it. I felt it was dishonest.
I find the picture of a 'strong woman' existing in some not-very-well-defined historical past quite insulting. There's no need to create fairytales about women having had some kind of awesome power that's been stolen from them: why not just admit we're equal to men and deserve to be treated the same?