The Missing Thread: A Women’s History of the Ancient World

This book shall be published in the UK on 23 May 2024 and in the US in the summer. Pre-order:

Blackwells   Waterstones-Logo

Spanning 3,000 years, from the birth of Minoan Crete to the death of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome, a magisterial new history of the ancient world told, for the very first time, through women.

For centuries, men have been writing histories of antiquity filled with warlords, emperors and kings. But when it comes to incorporating women aside from Cleopatra and Boudica, writers have been more comfortable describing mythical heroines than real ones.

While Penelope and Helen of Troy live on in the imagination, their real-life counterparts have been relegated to the margins. In The Missing Thread, Daisy Dunn inverts this tradition and puts the women of history at the centre of the narrative.

These pages present Enheduanna, the earliest named author, the poet Sappho and Telesilla, who defended her city from attack. Here is Artemisia, sole female commander in the Graeco-Persian Wars, and Cynisca, the first female victor at the Olympic Games. Cleopatra may be the more famous, but Fulvia, Mark Antony’s wife, fought a war on his behalf. Many other women remain nameless but integral.

Through new examination of the sources combined with vivid storytelling Daisy Dunn shows us the ancient world through fresh eyes, and introduces us to an incredible cast of ancient women, weavers of an entire world.