Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Uppity Women of Ancient Times” as Want to Read:
Uppity Women of Ancient Times
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Uppity Women of Ancient Times

(Uppity Women)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  64 reviews
In a witty and informative way, Vicki Leon profiles 150 women who made their mark around the Mediterranean between 2800 B.C. and 450 A.D.--3,200 years of history from a female vantage point. Among those featured are the Assyrian queen of Babylon who is credited with inventing trousers and the Queen of Kish who began her career as a bar owner. Photos & illustrations.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 12th 1941 by MJF Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  476 ratings  ·  64 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Uppity Women of Ancient Times
UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

I loved this book, full of short but fun and interesting biographies of the women who did sit idly by while history was being made around them. They all, in some "uppity" way, were part of the making of that history.

Edited to add: If you're looking for some fun historical stories, check out the Uppity Women books. Having spent so much time reading historical romance novels over the past couple of years, I've come to appreciate these books even more. Each story is short so it's a great book to

I have mixed feelings about Vicki Leon’s books. On the one hand, her cutesy writing style is far too juvenile to my tastes, and she often writes about her subjects with a plethora of inaccuracies cropping up. On the other hand, she usually manages to highlight some obscure snippets of information that have passed me by. For that reason, I decided to read Uppity Women, taking the information contained within with a huge pinch of salt, mainly as a prompt that I could then find out further and more
Come one, come all, and read this is little book. In the pages you will hear stories concerning -

women posioning husbands

women being torn to death by monks

women avenging their daughters who were raped (by cutting off people's hands and then building statues that are missing hands as warnings)

women as lawyers, poets, and the first 0b-gyn

Thrill to the story of the man who tried to hide in a pile of dog poo and then got ate by dogs!

Read about saints and Paul's sidekick!

Scream at the girl who
Vicki Cline
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ancient-history
This is a fun read about people usually ignored, i.e. women in ancient times. It covers Egypt, Greece, Rome and Near and Middle East. The entries are short and humorous, but maybe a bit too snarky with the humor. She's written several other collections about women in different time periods.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
These are short and interesting biographies of women in history who did a little more beyond being a wife and/or mother. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but in ancient history it was definitely unusual!

My favorites included:
Queen Aahotep of Egypt, so renowned for her battle skills she was buried with a ceremonial battle ax!
Queen Tomyris of Massagete. She laid the smack down on King Cyrus of Persia in battle in a big way and basically told his corpse...'how do you like me now?'.

Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this very much. As the title implies, it is a fun and lighthearted read, not necessarily a scholarly work. It felt more like a fascinating conversation with a friend than a lesson plan. You get to know the author through her writing style, and I, for one, liked her.
Jul 09, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, lady-made
I think this book would be way more awesome if it were written with more detail and with a more mature style. I do think that it is very valuable, and realized that not a whole lot more detail could be added for many of these women. Props to her for doing all the research though!
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is light reading with a purpose: to highlight the most fascinating women, both famous and obscure, or the first three millennia of world history. Author Vicki Leon has compiled quite a list, and rather than simply listing the obvious choices: Cleopatra, Helena, and Boudicca, she has scoured historical sources, gleaning whatever she could from women-hostile ancient sources and presented a wealth of information despite her book's size and format.

While her research is thorough and her accounts
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was a fun read & a great look at the many roles women had in the ancient world that we never hear about. Lawyers, philanthropists, sculptors, novelists... lots of variety here! Some features are very brief, but I'm assuming that it's because the information available about many of these women is very fragmented.

I can only give this book 3 stars however. Partly because many of the features are so sparse, but mostly because this book was written in 1994 and it SOUNDS like it. The
Mari Butler
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Through researching inscriptions, court cases, letters and artifacts Leon presents mini-biographies of 200 women didn’t let being the “fairer sex” stop them from ruling over their lives. These are not literary figures but real women who lived between 2500 B.C. and 450 A.D. Besides well known Cleopatra and Jezebel, there is the poet Korinna who beat a man five times in a poetry competition in the fifth century B.C. Semiraris a Chaldean princess is credited with inventing trousers so that she ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
Oh look at me, with my new-found freedom to *not* finish books. This is fun to flip through, but I didn't feel like I was getting much out of the brief bios, and I don't have much motivation to read every single one. It might make good bathroom reading though.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Joan and all my old college girlfriends. My dad - hah!
Shelves: ancient-studies
A nice little resource book, offering about a two-page summary of the doings of extravagant and famous women from Mesopotamia to the fall of the ancient world. A bibliography of suggested reading is offered at the end. A lovely volume to add to my shelf, and I'm glad I picked it up.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Gossipy anecdotal history turns out to be not my cup of tea at all, but then I find People magazine boring. YMMV
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist-power
I first read this book in 8th grade or so, when one of our progressive media center ladies handed it to me because "you will be in a book like this one day."

On a reread, I have to say she was oddly spot-on. While the super-90s, gossipy style (add deeply uninclusive and somewhat bigoted in there too but...) is off-putting to my more modern sensibilities, I did find it easy to read and enjoyed the catalog of interesting historical figures. Thank Goddess we have google now so we can get the
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: bio, history
I picked this up at a library book sale, curious from the title. There are definitely a lot of women in here that I had never heard of before along with a few who are pretty well known (Boudicca, for example, and Cleopatra). The problem is, some of them aren't all that intriguing for much of any real reason. Others are "uppity" for being prostitutes or marrying family members (there is A Lot of incest in this). Others I would have like more info on, but everyone was either one or two pages. ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, nonfic
maybe this is because i'm biased against (most) ancient history because it isn't my specialty and also i had to read this in a day for my class (worst circumstances to read a book) but i was not the biggest fan! the writing style and tone annoyed me a lot and it is very very a glossy cursory view, plus i disagree with some inclusions and exclusions from the list of women featured
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Writing so vague as to be essentially meaningless. I appreciate the effort to bring attention to women often overlooked by the historical record, but this serves as nothing but a jumping off point to further reading - at *best.*
Kris Dersch
Meh. Better as a concept than in reality. I liked the idea of learning about women who don't often get discussed, but it had this tongue in cheek voice that would have been better in smaller doses and I couldn't finish.
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a fun book to read, but not for research work (which was why I was reading it).
Mar 08, 2018 marked it as to-read
I enjoy history, especially when it explores material that has traditionally been left out of mainstream studies. Uppity women of any time in history deserve to be noted.
Toni Kief
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
And I'll read it again.
Overall, it's okay, but the "girlfriend!" tone/voice that the author uses gets really annoying, so it took me a long time to read this book because I could only take so much at a time! It sparked my interest in learning more about some of these women, but the accounts of the ones I already knew a lot about were especially annoying. The tone is really off-putting, but I love that there are so many ancient women in this book that I had never heard of. Another potential drawback is the shortness of ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty excited for this book and was somewhat disappointed. I understand that women living in ancient times is not necessarily a mainstream topic. While I applaud Ms. Leon for trying to bring these women and their lives to modern day readers her simplistic and often juvenile (by this I mean silly and childish, not merely written for children) manner of writing is annoying and grated on my nerves. I do not know if this was the author's attempt at updating the material and making it more ...more
Apr 19, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is laid out as a series of one-page articles highlighting different "uppity women" from the past. It begins in pre-Biblical times and mentions some women you may have heard of in your history class, but a good number of the subjects in the book were new to me. It's interesting to read about how some women managed to make a name for themselves in patriarchal societies that viewed them as inferior creatures, and surprisingly their memories survive until this day.

Very interesting read, of
Oct 17, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2010, history
Not sure what her criteria was for choosing some of these women but I had a hard time trying to appreciate Shibtu for "inventing" interoffice memos. It felt like the author was grasping for names to fill out the sections which is broken down geographically and then chronically. Without proper footnotes and a style that tries to be more down-to-earth than academic, this book fails to deliver and I found myself skimming ahead to see if it would get better. To be my bitter disappointment, it only ...more
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was quite excited to receive this book but was slightly disappointed. it is written in a really informal style which does not serve the content well. If it's purpose is to take women's role in history more seriously, it has failed. If it aims to be 'Horrible Histories' for adults then I suppose it's successful.

The majority of the content is really interesting, although could have done with more in depth information (& proper referencing). Some stories did not fulfil the brief of Uppity
Rebecca Jessup
Oct 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm reading one portrait a day out loud to my partner, and they're really fun and fascinating. Many of the women featured are from Assyria, Babylon, ancient Persia -- so far most are outside the ancient Greco-Roman world, most predate that world. Leon's breezy, tongue-in-cheek style sometimes goes over the top into cutesy, and sometimes her portraits themselves are so breezy that much is left out (e.g., the "wife" of Mithradates the great), and no specific sources are cited so I can't do any ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Along with many of my reviews from Examiner, this review has been plagiarized at a place called atom basher. I've contacted the web master and have heard only silence in return.
Maureen Barnes
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic short stories about real women who might have been forgotten about if it wasn't for this book. Her writing style is a little cheeky and slightly juvenile but I like the concept of short stories that touch upon history. I feel like this book series opens the door for women's history that could be forgotten and dismissed over time. If you find a story you like you can always research it more.
Sandra Strange
I really like this series--collections of small biographical sketches of women through history, some famous, some infamous, some obscure, but all spirited women who made their mark. The very short sketches are told playfully, which makes them fun to read. This volume, however, contains some (very little) PG 13 details (about sexual/homosexual practices and materials) that may make it inappropriate for younger and sensitive readers.
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
BYU-Adolescent Li...: Outrageous Women of Ancient Times 1 1 Jun 12, 2013 09:40PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Necklace
  • The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder
  • The Interlopers (Tale Blazers)
  • Born Confused (Born Confused #1)
  • Lili
  • The Far Side Gallery
  • The Dog Is Not a Toy
  • America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
  • The Complete Fairy Tales
  • The Gladiator (Crosstime Traffic, #5)
  • The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
  • Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen
  • The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary, and Especially of the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyat
  • What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist—the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century England
  • Lady Jane Grey
  • In the Blink of an Eye
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fiction and Illusions
  • How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents
See similar books…
A prolific author of non-fiction, author of numerous books for young and old, Vicki León delights in unearthing unusual facts, fresh anecdotes, and uncommon statistics to create her books on the natural world and the flip side of history. Her book have won rave reviews from a long list of media that includes People magazine. Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Voice of America, and numerous ...more

Other books in the series

Uppity Women (8 books)
  • Uppity Women of Ancient Greece
  • Uppity Women of Medieval Times
  • Uppity Women of the Renaissance
  • Uppity Women of Shakespearean Times
  • Uppity Women of the New World
  • 4,000 Years of Uppity Women: Rebellious Belles, Daring Dames, and Headstrong Heroines Through the Ages
  • Uppity Women Speak Their Minds