Bettany Hughes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bettany Hughes

Bettany Hughes.BH.jpg
Born (1967-05-14) 14 May 1967 (age 52)
West London, England
EducationNotting Hill and Ealing High School
Alma materSt Hilda's College, Oxford
OccupationBroadcaster and writer
Known forTelevision history; radio broadcasting; author
Spouse(s)Adrian Evans
Parent(s)Peter Hughes, Erica Hughes
RelativesSimon Hughes (brother)

Bettany Hughes OBE (born 14 May 1967)[1] is an English historian, author and broadcaster, specialising in classical history.

Early life and family[edit]

Hughes was born and brought up in west London.[2] She is the daughter of actor Peter Hughes and the sister of cricketer and journalist Simon Hughes. Hughes is married to Adrian Evans who, in 2012, was the Pageant Master for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The couple has two children.[3]

Education and career[edit]

Hughes won a bursary to attend Notting Hill and Ealing High School in Ealing. She was awarded an entrance scholarship to St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she earned a degree with second-class honours in ancient and modern history.[4]

She is currently a visiting research fellow at King's College London, a tutor for Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education,[5] an honorary fellow at Cardiff University, and the holder of an honorary doctorate from the University of York.[6]

Hughes has written two books on Ancient Greek subjects. Her first, Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore, has been translated into ten languages. Her second, The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, was Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4[7] and was especially well received.[clarification needed] Hughes was nominated as a finalist for the Writer's Guild Award[8] and made The New York Times Bestseller List for The Hemlock Cup. It was also chosen as Book of the Year in several publications.[9][10]

Hughes has written and presented documentary films and series on both ancient and modern subjects for National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, PBS, The History Channel, Channel 4 and Channel 5.[citation needed]

Hughes has received numerous accolades for her broadcasting work. In 2009, she was awarded the Naomi Sargant Special Award for excellence in educational broadcasting,[11] and in 2010 was specially awarded for services to Hellenic culture and heritage by the Greek Department of Culture. She has also been awarded the 2012 Norton Medlicott Award for services to history by the Historical Association, of which she is an honorary fellow.[12]

Hughes has been invited to universities in the US, Australia, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands to speak on subjects such as Helen of Troy, the origins of female "Sophia" and concepts of time in the Islamic world. In 2010 she gave the Hellenic Institute's Tenth Annual lecture "Ta Erotika: The Things of Love",[13] and in 2011 was invited to give the Royal Television Society's Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, in which she argued that history on television is thriving and enjoying a new golden age.[14] She was also asked to chair the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction,[15] the UK's only annual book award for fiction written by women.[16]

Hughes is a long-standing patron and supporter of educational and campaigning charity the Iris Project, which has been promoting and teaching Latin and Greek in state schools since 2006.[17] She is an honorary patron of Classics For All, a national campaign to get classical languages and the study of ancient civilisations back into state schools in the UK launched in 2010.[18] She is also an advisor to the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation which aims to foster large-scale collaborative projects between East and West.[19]

Hughes sits on the tutor panel of Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education. In 2014, she was made a Distinguished Friend of the University of Oxford.[20] In 2016, Hughes delivered the British Humanist Association's annual Voltaire Lecture,[21] which took place in London.[citation needed] She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to history.[22]


  • Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07177-7.
  • "Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore" – European Cultural Centre of Delphi, XIII International Meeting On Ancient Drama 2007, The Women in Ancient Drama, Symposium Proceedings
  • "'Terrible, Excruciating, Wrong-Headed And Ineffectual': The Perils and Pleasures of Presenting Antiquity to a Television Audience" – Dunstan Lowe, Kim Shahabudin (ed.), Classics for All: Reworking Antiquity in Mass Culture. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009, ISBN 978-1443801201
  • The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, 2011. ISBN 0-224-07178-5
  • Hughes, Bettany (2017). Istanbul : a tale of three cities. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
  • Hughes, Bettany (2019). Venus and Aphrodite. [Place of publication not identified]: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-1-4746-1037-7. OCLC 1055454409.

Critical studies and reviews of Hughes' work[edit]

Bettany Hughes speaking with Ralph Jackson (Curator of Romano-British Collections at the British Museum) during filming of Britain's Secret Treasures at the British Museum
  • Hansen, Suzy (22 February 2018). "Istanbul blues". The New York Review of Books. 65 (3): 34, 36–37. Review of Istanbul : a tale of three cities


  1. ^ "About Bettany". Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  2. ^ "About Bettany". Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  3. ^ "My perfect weekend: Bettany Hughes, historian". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Bettany Hughes". Archived from the original on 18 August 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "University awards five honorary degrees". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Book of the Week: The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life". Book of the Week. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Writer's Guild Awards 2011". Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Books of the Year for Christmas: History". The Daily Telegraph. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  10. ^ Lo Dico, Joy (5 December 2010). "Books of the Year: Biography and Memoir". The Independent. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  11. ^ "VLV Awards 2009". Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  12. ^ "The HA honours Bettany Hughes for services to History: Medlicott Medal 2012". HA News. The Historical Association. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  13. ^ "7 February 2011: Tenth Annual Hellenic Institute Lecture". News and Events. Royal Holloway, University of London: The Hellenic Institute. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Huw Wheldon Lecture 2011 with Bettany Hughes: TV – Modern Father of History". Royal Television Society Lecture. BBC. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  15. ^ "ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2011 JUDGES ANNOUNCED". Orange Prize. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  16. ^ "History of the prize". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Supporters". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Aims & Mission". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Dr Bettany Hughes becomes a Distinguished Friend of Oxford". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
  21. ^ British Humanist Association (25 May 2016), The Voltaire Lecture 2016, with Bettany Hughes | Socrates, Confucius, and the Buddha, retrieved 8 June 2016
  22. ^ "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B12.

External links[edit]