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What Really Matters To You? Connecting Women From The Ancient To The Modern World
Greg Kwasnik

Dr. Jennifer Martinez has devoted her life to studying the role of women in the ancient world. This spring, the Holderness School history teacher will bring that scholarly perspective to a speaker series held in conjunction with the internationally-acclaimed “200 Women” photography exhibition showing in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.
The “200 Women” photography exhibition is a traveling exhibit that features photographic portraits of 200 women of diverse backgrounds from across the world. The photographs, taken by photographer Kieran E. Scot, are accompanied by original interviews in which each subject answers five questions: What really matters to you? What brings you happiness? What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? What would you change if you could? Which single word do you most identify with?
Dr. Martinez, who teaches AP European History and Senior Thesis at Holderness, will participate in the “Our Shared Humanity” virtual speaker series that will run in conjunction with the exhibition. Her April 26 talk, “What Matters Through the Ages,” will respond to the exhibition question “What really matters to you?” The talk, covering three parallel lives of women in the ancient world and those in the exhibition, will draw connections between what mattered to women from the ancient world and their modern counterparts.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Dr. Martinez is a cultural Greek historian with a PhD in Classics and Ancient History from the University of Liverpool. Using modern comparative material, ancient texts, and archeology, her research focuses on the pre- and post-war lived experiences of women in the ancient world, philosophical wartime boundaries, and the social and economic impacts of war on women. In 2020, Dr. Martinez published the scholarly article “Women on the Walls? The Role and Impact of Women in Classical Greek Sieges” in the book “Brill’s Companion to Sieges in the Ancient Mediterranean.” The article focused on the role and impact of women in ancient sieges in Classical Greece, such as the Carthaginian siege of Gela in 405 BC and the Peloponnesian War.

Dr. Martinez first became interested in the role of women in ancient warfare while pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of Liverpool.

“What drew me to the subject was basically reading scholarship during my MA that mostly focused on the experiences of male soldiers in ancient warfare. It always seemed like there was a paragraph or two on women but nothing more,” Dr. Martinzez says. “I believe that women's experiences of war are an integral part of ancient warfare studies and their stories were not being told (except for the odd article or two). It is also a topic that affects women today and I think that looking at past periods in history allows us to understand our present better.”

The “200 Women” exhibition will run Tuesdays through Thursdays through the month of May at the Wolfeboro Public Library, Wolfeboro Town Hall, and Brewster Academy. The exhibition is presented with support from New Hampshire Humanities.

To watch Dr. Martinez’s talk on April 26, register here.

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