I've been interested in the ancient world for as long as I can remember; I devoured classical myths as a child, especially the stories of the Trojan War and my namesake Helen! I wasn't sure that I wanted to go to university, but during my gap year working in a bookshop I decided that I needed to know more about mythology... Trained at University College London in Ancient History and Social Anthropology, my PhD was on ancient Greek concepts of menstruation, and I realized just how interesting the history of medicine and the body could be. Since then, I have gradually moved forwards chronologically, from the ancient Greeks to the nineteenth century, always focusing on women, gynecology, virginity and obstetrics, with a dash of dissection and a large helping of book history. I am currently Professor of Classical Studies at the Open University, where I am thrilled to be part of a pioneering institution making access to education open to all, regardless of prior qualifications.
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