Ellie Brigida: Welcome to Sweetbitter, where we explore the untold history of women and queer pirates. We’re your hosts, Ellie Brigida…
Leesa Charlotte: …and Leesa Charlotte.
EB: This episode, we’re focusing on a specific lady pirate from ancient times.
LC: Ooh, ancient! It feels like a throwback.
EB: Ooh, lady.
LC: Ooh, lady. But before we get into that, let’s welcome our resident pirate expert, Alyse, for a game of Fact or Fiction. And we knocked it out of the park last week, so no pressure, Ellie, no pressure.
EB: Let’s do it again.
AK: Can you recreate your success?
EB: Go on a winning streak. Hi, Alyse.
Alyse Knorr: Hi, how’s it going?
EB: Good. So happy to have you here, as always.
AK: I love playing Fact or Fiction.
LC: Let’s go.
EB: What are we in for? Let’s do it.
AK: Okay, Fact or Fiction: did pirates really have parrots on their shoulders?
LC: All I can think of is Iago, and Jafar is not a pirate.
EB: No. Yeah, who are the famous parrots in pop culture? Is there a parrot? There’s no parrot in Peter Pan.
LC: Isn’t there? You watched it more recently than me.
EB: No, pretty sure there’s not.
LC: I feel like Muppet Treasure Island, there’s something that’s not a parrot. Like, it’s a muppet.
EB: Yeah, I feel like I’m gonna have to go with: this is fiction, just because I don’t know how many animals they would really have on board a pirate ship, because that’s also, like, another thing to feed and take care of. And I don’t necessarily know if they would want that.
LC: I mean, I like to think that they would have a parrot, like I want it in my heart. But I also think it’s not true. But I feel like we continue to agree, Ellie.
EB: So you want to just go with this is fact?
LC: I think it’s fiction.
EB: So, argue that it’s a fact, just for fun.
LC: I’m gonna argue that it’s a fact because I want this segment to be interesting. Yeah, I feel like pirates are very flamboyant, and parrots add to the flamboyance of pirates. They mimic whatever you say. So I’m going to say–I’m going to say fact just to contradict you, Ellie. Also to raise the stakes.
EB: Yeah, let’s raise the stakes and say, like, they use the parrots to send messages to other pirate ships.
LC: Hey, so now you’re on my point, Ellie, we’re supposed to be–
EB: Yeah, now you’ve convinced me. Yeah, they’re like a carrier parrot.
LC: So should I switch back to fiction?
EB: No, we’re just gonna confuse Alyse.
AK: I think we should make it a rule that someone has to say fact, someone has to say fiction.
LC: It’s so much fun.
EB: True, true, true. Okay, so I am still on fiction, but I like the idea of a pirate–a parrot-carrier.
LC: And I am on fact, but I think it’s probably fiction. Alyse, let us know what the answer is. Take us out of our misery.
AK: Okay, drumroll, please. Fact!
AK: Yes, I know. It doesn’t–I would have guessed fiction, 1,000%.
LC: Oh, my goodness.
AK: Yeah. So they were so bored on these pirate ships. There was nothing to do when you’re at sea for a really long time. And they had access to these exotic birds because they were traveling around the Caribbean and to South America. And so the thought is that they would have bought them and had them on their ship, just to have something to do, to train a parrot to talk.
LC: Oh my gosh.
AK: They didn’t eat very much. Alright, so they would have had cats to mouse the, you know, the ship. They would not have had dogs, because dogs eat a lot and–
LC: They need a lot of attention.
AK: –it was a kind of aristocratic thing, to have a dog at that time. But they were really flamboyant. And they wanted something that, when they docked in England where there are no parrots, would get them a lot of attention. They could maybe even sell them in England. And they just–yeah, so they were, like, pretty common amongst sailors, and all pirates had previously been sailors. Blackbeard even had a parrot named Pepe, who was really famous. He had like four parrots, but his favorite was Pepe.
LC: Wow. Oh my goodness.
AK: Yeah, they had these exotics. I think they also even had monkeys, is another thought. They may have had monkeys on the ship.
EB: Wow. My mind is blown. Pepe the parrot?
LC: That’s our new mascot.
EB: And that’s real? Like, that’s not pop culture, that is a real parrot.
AK: It’s in the Legends of Blackbeard. So, it’s as real as any of this pirate history, quote unquote, is.
LC: Oh my goodness, I am shook.
EB: My mind has been blown.
AK: I know, right?
EB: My mind is blown. Wow, like so many parrots. Well, I’m glad it’s a fact, because it’s an awesome fact.
EB: Super fun. I’m glad you took the position of fact, Leesa, because then, you know, you were correct.
LC: I mean, me with my–yeah, forced to take the fact position. I mean, it’s why we should step out of our assumptions, I guess. It’s a lesson for everybody in that.
EB: True. If you had a pirate parrot, what would the pirate parrot’s name be, Alyse?
AK: Ooh, oh my gosh. If I was a pirate during that period…. So I name all my plants, like, really disarmingly boring names. So I have plants–my succulents are named, like, and I don’t mean to knock these names as being boring, but it’s just like, they’re not exciting as plant names because they’re so common as people names. So I have plants named, like, Lindsay and Rob, and, like, Nick. And so like, I think I would name my parrot Stephanie.
EB: Ooh, I like that it was pretty easy for you to decide.
AK: Yeah. What about you?
EB: I think I would be more along the lines of the–I love Pepe the parrot, so I’d like–
LC: The alliteration?
EB: Yeah, like Penelope–
LC: Penelope the parrot is a good name.
EB: –the parrot.
LC: I was going for like a pirate pun. So like, “arrr,” or something.
EB: Oh, nice.
LC: With a hard “arrr.”
EB: I love all these parrots. So whenever we start our pirate ship, we have to get three parrots: Stephanie, Arthur (Arrrthur), and Penelope. And they’ll be friends.
LC: Great. And they’ll be best friends.
EB: Or lovers, I don’t know.
LC: I mean, we can only dream. Then we’ll have little parrot families. Parrot-pirate families.
EB: That is the dream.
LC: Oh my goodness.
EB: Thank you so much, Alyse, for giving us this wonderful visual of all pirates with parrots. And it’s so good seeing you.
AK: Good to see you, too.
LC: And please, somebody should draw us some pirate parrots, if you’re feeling inspired. We would love that. We love it when people send us artwork, please send us some parrot art.
AK: Yeah, the thing about podcasting is like, how do you know, listening right now, that we don’t have pirates on our shoulders? All three of us.
LC: Oh my goodness!
AK: Like, how do you know?
EB: I love how you keep saying pirates not parrots.
AK: Oh, sorry!
EB: So, like, literal.
LC: Just let it slide.
EB: They’re so close, they’re so close.
AK: Again, we might have pirates on our shoulders. We might have pirates.
LC: We could have pirates on our shoulders, you don’t know. This is an audio medium.
AK: This reminds me of that, like, you know when you’re trying to put your arm around someone and you do the, like–if you were a pirate, would you keep your parrot on this shoulder or this shoulder? That’s how you get your arm around them. Like the stretch move at the theater, which we just enacted out? Yeah, yeah. No, the pirate one. I feel like my first boyfriend used that on me.
EB: Great, great.
LC: What? I never heard of that before, that seems like an American thing.
EB: It worked.
AK: Yeah. You do you like–the shoulder that’s next to you is the first shoulder, and then you’re like, or would you keep your parrot on this shoulder, and put your arm around them.
LC: Your first boyfriend sounds like a smoothie.
AK: I don’t know. I mean, our first kiss was after I, like, brutally beat him in Mortal Kombat. And I was kind of, like, disgusted with him, his lack of skills, but then we had our first kiss. I was 15.
EB: Wow, that’s beautiful. I think one of my first kisses was after playing DDR. So, I understand, you know.
AK: Video games, man.
EB: It’s the same. Yeah, yeah. They’re real aphrodisiacs. Well, thank you, Alyse, for this stimulating conversation. I know everyone’s gonna love it.
AK: Good to see y’all.
EB: Thank you so much, Alyse. We’ll be back after a quick break.
LC: And, we are back. So, as we said at the top of the episode, this week we’re kicking it season one and covering an ancient woman. A pirate named, Teuta, T-E-U-T-A. Te-you-tuh.
EB: So exciting.
EB: No, have as much fun as you want.
LC: It feels like a cheer.
EB: We love her. Yeah, we love her. You may remember lawyer and pirate expert, Laura Duncombe, from last week. She’s going to give us a quick introduction.
Laura Duncombe: So the first female pirates that we know of were of sort of the Ancient Greek, you know, the Classical Hellenistic period. And they were, broadly speaking, pirates. They were more like warlords, or, you know, generals of their fleets. But they were seaborne women who stole things from other people, so we like to lump them into the pirates. They were sort of the ancestor of the, you know, swashbuckling pirate that we think of when we think about, you know, the Golden Age of Pirates, Long John Silver pirates. They sort of–these were their ancestors. So we have, you know, Teuta of Illyria, we have Queen Artemisia, and both of those women were, you know, high-ranking officials in their country who led ships and expeditions out to fight other navies. So they were very, very cool women, and sort of set the bar for what female piracy looked like. So Queen Teuta has this fascinating life. She’s a really cool woman. She was, we think, Greek. It’s kind of hard to pin down things about her. We get most of our stories from her from a couple of different Greek sources and some of them contradict each other, but she ends up as an advisor to Xerxes, the Persian king, and she’s like right up in his inner circle. And she knew the Greeks very intimately. And she knew that if they took the Greeks on the water that they would lose. You know, the Persian navy was fairly new in this war and had, you know, just a couple of boats and, you know, the Greeks had been sailing their whole lives. So she urged caution, said, “Look, you know, we’re already being them on land, let’s keep doing what we’re doing. It’s working.” And the rest of the war council, staffed by men, so like, “No, let’s do it, we can totally do it.” Xerxes should have listened to her, because they were routed on sea, and she was at the helm of her own ship and realized that things were going south in a hurry. So legend has it that she changed her flag that she was flying, so she had a Greek flag and then beat a hasty retreat. Xerxes saw her in battle and said, “Oh, look, you know, my men have become like women and my women have become like men,” because she was doing so well. And then apparently got distracted when she was swapping her flags out and beating a hasty retreat. She came out of it alive. She was a survivor of the big battle.
EB: So here for Teuta being such a great soldier that she became like a man. But also I’m like, was she fighting like a man or was she fighting like a woman?
LC: She’s fighting like a fucking woman! She was fighting like a woman.
EB: She was fighting like a woman.
LC: My friend, Fabio–shout out to Fabio–who got me a shirt for my birthday one year that said, “Fight like a girl.” And I feel like–yeah, like actually got printed for me. What a great gift. Thanks, Fabio.
EB: There should be a shirt that says, like, “Fight like Teuta.”
LC: Yeah, fight like Teuta. Great, we’ll put it in the merchandise store.
EB: Yes. I love it.
LC: So, we spoke to classicist Brandon Jones, who will be our source for the rest of the episode. And he had more to say about her.
Brandon Jones: The entire ancient literature on Teuta amounts to about maybe five pages of writing. There’s just not very much. We know very little about Teuta. Our ancient sources on Teuta are primarily Polybius, who’s a Greek historiographer writing in the second century BCE, and then two Greek historiographers writing in the second, maybe third century CE, for Roman audiences. That would be Cassius Dio, and Oppian. Both Dio and Oppian are most certainly using earlier sources and people seem to suspect Polybius would be doing the same. And so we’re at anywhere from a 100-year to a 500-year remove from Teuta, and whichever of those three sources we’re reading are writing from a Greek or a Roman or a Greco-Roman perspective. And so it’s tricky getting to the bottom of Teuta. The simplest answer is that she was an Ardiaein queen, the Ardiaei were a tribe in the central Balkans around what would now be modern Albania, maybe stretching up as far as Montenegro. And when Teuta’s husband passes away around 230 or so BCE, she’s left his region and her son Pinnes is too young to rule at the time, and so she’s taken over, more or less, as queen. And in fact, the name Teuta in Indo-European seems to mean “queen,” and so it’s possible that Teuta really isn’t even her actual name, that it’s more of a Greek or Roman misunderstanding of queen. There are lots of good stories with this, especially where you have Greek and Roman historiographers dealing cross-culturally and cross-linguistically. So, one of my favorite ones is a town in central Italy named Caere, which is modern-day Cerveteri. And the Greek word “caere,” it just simply means, “hello,” and so that when the Romans or Italians showed up and people at the wall said, “Caere,” they thought that that was the name of the town. That similar thing might have happened with Teuta, right? If you’re a Roman general or ambassador, more likely one of these ambassadors that goes and meets with Teuta, and everybody’s referring to her as Teuta, you assume that that is her name. But in fact, it may have just been her title.
LC: Ellie, I think we need a time machine, and we need to go back in time, and we need to go and get Sappho papers, we need to get Teuta papers. Like, I am done with not having enough. I’m just done.
EB: I agree.
LC: Why do we not have more information on these people?
EB: It reminds me of, like, Xena. Like Xena would have this episode with Teuta, or like how Xena had an episode about Sappho. It’s like–yeah, I agree. Build a hot tub time machine and we go back to learn more about Sappho and Teuta. I’m in on the time travel.
LC: Okay, cool.
EB: But we do know some things about Teuta, which Brandon told us about. So what do we know about what Teuta did and what kind of time period she lived in?
BJ: These Illyrian wars, in which Teuta’s involved, take place at about 229 BCE. And this is when Rome is just beginning to have a naval presence in the Adriatic, and in the Mediterranean. So most people will place the end of the First Punic War in 241 BCE, as the beginning of the Romans kind of looking beyond the Italian peninsula, putting this pretty newly-built navy to use. At about the same time, they’re starting to look out to Greece as well. And so–yeah, she kind of rests right at the beginning of Roman naval power. And with the Roman naval power eventually comes the overall empire. Many people think that when it comes to Rome. 146 BCE, at least according to the historian Sallust, Rome had done away with any foreign threats, and they could get rid of the “metus hostilis,” the fear of an enemy. And so, if we place 241 as the start of Rome trying to use their navy to succeed, and 146 as the point of them having succeeded, Teuta falls in the middle, on the earlier end than in the middle of that. She probably would have had her work cut out for her fighting a Roman navy, but it was still early enough in their empire-building that she would have had at least some chance of standing up to them. It seems that she ruled, or at least she was ruling, with some interaction with the Romans and the Greeks, just for a few years, from maybe 231, 230 BCE, just down to 228 BCE. It seems like she did make some military excursions into Greek territory, which would have begun to get Roman attention at the time. Roman military was starting to make more contacts in the Greek world at this time, as they’re just starting to try to build a Mediterranean empire. The other thing that would have gotten the Romans’ attention is that she seemed to be building a small naval empire along the Adriatic coast. She’s often famously referred to as a pirate, which is a bit of a tricky term in her case, because it’s much more likely that she’s the head of a government that’s putting together some sort of naval power that the Romans don’t like. And so they claim that she’s a pirate when, in fact, she sort of has a paramilitary navy that’s disrupting their trade routes.
LC: I mean, I’m going to make a reference that’s going to go, like, over your head, Ellie, about Monty Python, because every time I think about the Romans and hating the Romans I’m like, “People’s Front of Judea, where the people’s–or we’re the Judean People’s Front,” or like, whichever order it is in, I never remember. I hate the Romans already. Anyway, that’s all I have to say.
EB: That’s all–but, I mean, and yes, you’re correct, over my head. But I’m sure plenty of people in our audience will understand that reference.
LC: For the Monty Python fans out there!
EB: Yes, I mean, two, in like a historical context, right–there is a connection between pirates and imperialism. Even from the beginning of time, right? Rome is trying to build its empire and Teuta is just fighting back against that empire, and is called a pirate.
LC: Yeah, back to the way that people were living before. Yeah, it’s the same thing with, like, groups that exist outside the government today. It’s like, well, you don’t agree with us. So you’re a terrorist, you’re pirates, etc. So I’m wondering how common pirates like Teuta were in the ancient world.
BJ: Yeah, there were lots of them. I guess the most famous ones are a group that were working on the southern Anatolian Peninsula in modern-day Turkey. Pompey the Great, in 67 very famously was said to have rid the seas of these pirates. These pirates would have been, I think, very similar to the Illyrian ones, which Teuta is connected. Again, we’re probably not dealing with individual acts of piracy, but who’s controlling some of the naval passages. Ironically, Pompey’s son ends up being labeled as a pirate, a generation later. He later ends up taking control of Sicily and is able to control some of the grain trade around there, and he comes into conflict with Octavian Augustus. And you know, the political propaganda and mudslinging turns him into a pirate as well. So this type of piracy existed at least until 67 BCE, perhaps beyond then. Other types of piracy and banditry continued to flourish beyond Pompey, but again a lot of it is the stuff of legend and the stuff of propaganda. So oftentimes a military leader who isn’t ready to cooperate with Rome will be called a bandit or will be called a pirate. And we see some really interesting ones that have a sort of Robin Hood, legendary feel to them. So one of my favorites is this fellow Bulla Felix, who also appears in Cassius Dio’s Roman history, and Bulla Felix is said to have got together a group of men and was going up and down the Italian peninsula and stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, as all of the emperor’s men are unable to catch him and he’s tricking them through different types of disguises and what have you. Yeah, that form of banditry was certainly of interest to a Greek and Roman audience. So we see these types of legends. We see them in Roman comedy. We see them in Roman declamation, through the educational speech and rhetoric exercises. It’s one of their favorite themes, is that somebody has been captured by a pirate, you know, eventually returned and you have your recognition scenes or, in the case of declamation, you have interesting legal cases that come up because of that. You know, I think they’re maybe not that different from how we view pirates in culture today, at the center of the kind of entertainment industry and everybody likes a good pirate film, or in antiquity, likes a good pirate declamation.
EB: This reminds me actually a lot of season one when we talked about Sappho and her interpretation in comedy, or her interpretation in like–
LC: The blowjob queen.
EB: –Ovid and all. Yeah, all the ways that history, and especially satire and comedy, turns people into something maybe that they weren’t.
LC: Yes. Absolutely.
EB: Right? So it’s an interesting parallel to see, okay, well, what were these pirates? We still don’t even know if these people were pirates, or if they just were pirates in the comedy. I just love history. It’s so cool! That’s all, that’s all. It’s so cool.
LC: Ellie, you’re telling me, you, the history podcaster, loves history? I am shook, wow.
EB: Yeah, surprise! Surprise, surprise. Brandon has even more to say about this. He’s also written about how Teuta was represented in ancient histories.
BJ: My discussion of feminine exemplarity takes this character of Teuta who I think is a victim of misogynistic historiography, and then to place her with a few of the positive exemplars in early Roman history. And then to look at the ways, once we move into a period that’s a little easier for a historian to record, we start to see the character development become more complex and more dynamic. And so if you have, let’s say, a queen like Sophonisba, who gets a positive Roman characterization at the beginning of Cassius Dio’s Roman history, then you have a negative depiction of someone like Teuta. By the time we get to the dowager empresses under whom Cassius Dio would have lived and worked as a politician, we start to see a bit of a mixture between the Teutas and the Sophonisbas, the positive and the negative feminine exemplars. And so somebody like Julia Domna, who was the empress when Dio was beginning to write, is sometimes characterized with these somewhat fickle tendencies that Teuta was described as having, and then at other times is described as very powerful, intellectually astute, sometimes preferable to male ruling powers that were around her.
LC: I mean, I want to say something about this, but like, honestly, all I have to say is I’m very tired of hearing this at this point. Like, you know? We’re halfway through a second season and I’m like, man, I’m so sick of hearing about how misogyny and patriarchy has taken these stories away from us.
EB: Agreed, but that’s why we’re here, right? To give a less misogynistic view on all of these.
LC: But Ellie, I’m so tired.
EB: I get it. I get it, for sure. We’re here to be a little less tired and hopefully have you listeners feel a little less tired because you can hear about these.
LC: I mean, hopefully we’re making it a little bit more fun.
EB: Yeah, right? But I agree. I understand what you’re saying.
LC: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so what happened to her? I’ll bite.
BJ: Again, it’s very difficult to say because we have these Greeks and Romans as sources. So the characterization of her as a ruler from Polybius, and then from Cassius Dio, is pretty heavily misogynistic, and she’s characterized as being very fickle, and at one moment is attacking ships and then at another moment is saying that she’s going to do whatever the Romans say. At one moment is engaging in battle with the Romans, at the next moment is fleeing battle. At one moment is ready for peace, and others not. And so if you were to read Polybius, or Cassius Dio, you would probably say that her success as a military strategist was limited. And if we look at the larger view of history, in fact, Illyria, not just her tribe, the Ardiaein tribe, but all of Illyria eventually succumbs to Rome. So in that sense, not terribly successful. In another sense, if we’re talking about a small Albanian tribe that has the attention of Greek and Roman military powers, and is powerful enough that they’re disrupting trade routes, it’s–to me, it’s a pretty impressive story, at the very least. You don’t know precisely what her position with respect to this Pinnes, this child king, would have been–whether she’s a stepmother, whether she’s a biological mother. That would be an important one because, you know, that is, in fact, the main route to her political power. One of the areas of discrepancy across the three historiographers that have extensive accounts of her is what happens to her afterwards. They all seem to be in agreement that when she loses in battle to the Romans, she more or less backs down and agrees to keep her navy out of their way. In one version, Oppian has her apologizing to Rome and saying that she won’t do it again. In another, she just kind of disappears. We don’t hear anything more of her, in Dio’s history, which is fragmentary at this point. In Polybius’s case, it seems that she just goes on to rule quietly and no longer has any interest in the Romans or vice versa. So we don’t really know precisely how she comes into power or what happens after her conflict with Rome.
EB: So, as we were talking to Brandon, we wanted to know: how did he get interested in Teuta?
BJ: She is such an early feminine political power. We don’t have, especially in Cassius Dio, his early books are heavily fragmented now. A lot of what we have of Cassius Dio comes in the form of summaries, excerpts, fragments from elsewhere. And so all of your Sappho scholars could be equally helpful when it comes to Dio studies as well. And so these early books just don’t have that much information about a lot of the women involved with the beginnings of Roman Empire in the Medieval period and then in the Republic. Anytime they appear, to me, it seems significant. And then when we find Teuta, who is just a striking failure, right, in a Greek and Roman world where the idea of a female power would be preposterous, is not only gaining power, but is coming into conflict with them. It is, you know, in my particular field, it’s only become a relatively recent point of study, to look at women, not as like, you know, a special interest unit, you spend a day on women in Rome, or you have a particular one class that does that. But to understand that women were equal parts of the ancient world, of the society and the culture there, even if the roles were different, and even if the roles were, by most accounts, more oppressive, that they’re still there. And that obviously trickles into political history. And it’s, you know, it’s a legacy that we still are dealing with.
LC: Like Brandon alluded to earlier, Teuta brings up a lot of questions about how we define pirates.
BJ: We talk about gender and sex dynamics in antiquity, and I think in modernity, it’s important also to think of colonial dynamics, economic dynamics as well. And so Teuta, for example, who’s labeled as a pirate, draws that into focus for us. If she were not from Illyria, she might not be a pirate, she might be a queen. You know, the fact that Illyria is looked down upon by some of these Greek and Roman military powers affects the way she’s viewed. In terms of piracy in the ancient world, oftentimes a pirate or a bandit is really just somebody who’s living outside the accepted norms. The roots of the word that are usually used for pirates and bandits in Latin, they like to use the word “latro,” in Greek “lestes,” then the word from which we get pirate, “peirates,” and “peiratai” exists in both Greek and Latin as well. And all of these terms are associated with making money for your work. And so this can trickle into mercenary work, and then there’s, you know, a small bridge from there into piracy. But it really can just be somebody who is not as economically well-off as a Greek or Roman elite would be, who can kind of sit back and watch the silver come in from the mines or watch the crops grow and depend on a slave society to build that economy. And so this is another element that works into Teuta’s characterization, right, as maybe not a pirate as we picture, you know, the pirates of the Caribbean going and sailing and sacking one boat here or there, but somebody who has put together a naval power and is available for hire by other presumably Illyrian tribes. So, you know, if she’s got a tribe south of her that wants clear passage into the northern Adriatic, they might hire Teuta’s ships to make that passage available. And as soon as she’s accepting money to help clear that passage, in the Roman or the Greek view, she’s a pirate. If the Romans did the same exact thing, they would just say that they’re a powerful navy. And when it comes to the classics and classical studies, that’s one of the challenges we’re up against, is that the stories are almost always told by the victors. And it’s the job of the social historian to try to dig through material culture, dig through language, anthropology, to try to get something a little closer to the truth.
EB: Brandon also had some recommendations of badass women to read up about: ancient women who fought against Roman imperialism.
BJ: If you’re interested in the sort of female political power system that stands up against Rome, Boudicca, who was a Roman queen, might be another good one to look at down the road. And she–there’s actually a little more ancient literature on Boudicca, from several different authors. But she stood up against British invaders in the first century CE, and had a little more success, we think, anyway, than Teuta would have. So Teuta’s not alone. There are other female representatives of resistance against Roman imperialism. Perhaps the most famous one would be Cleopatra, who, you know, she was in charge of a huge, huge Navy with Antony, fought against Octavian Augustus. So depending on the perspective, you know, they were probably–Augustus and some of his propaganda machine probably were referring to her as a pirate as well, which, again, puts that–you know, puts that character type that Teuta is lumped into into perspective.
LC: So, that’s all from Brandon today, but I have a fun fact courtesy of a friend of the pod, Judy Grahn. Well, rather like an argument that she makes, which is pretty cool. So Brandon mentioned Boudicca, who was like a badass Celtic woman who was a well-known lover of women and Judy Grahn, she argues that that is where the word “dyke” comes from.
EB: I love that. Judy Grahn, so cool. And also just, like, ancient Celtic warrior lesbians.
LC: I mean, if you’re here for that, we love to see it, and I just feel like full circle. We’re back to talking about people that lesbians are named after.
EB: Yeah, we’re back to the root of all sapphic words. I love it.
LC: It’s great.
EB: And on that note, here’s a taste of what’s to come on Sweetbitter.
Laura Duncombe: I love Grace O’Malley because she was a working mom pirate, you know. She had a bunch of boys, and I have two boys, so I sort of empathize with–you know, it’s tough to, you know, run a hustle when you have little kids running around. I have this sort of mental image of her, you know, on a ship with a baby on her hip, and then like sword-fighting with her other hand. And that’s just kind of, you know, mom goals for me. So, big fan of Grace.
Anne Chambers: Grace O’Mally, of course, also was a year in Dublin Castle. She was incarcerated in Dublin Castle, she was found plundering on a very famous man’s land down in Munster, and she was in Dublin Castle. Now, only the most powerful and important political prisoners were ever put into Dublin Castle.
LC: Thanks for listening to Sweetbitter.
EB: Our next episode will be out on December 6th. We’re gonna be taking an extended holiday break as we migrate over to Red Circle with Three Springs Media. If you enjoyed the podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review us. It really helps, especially written reviews on Apple Podcast. You can also support us on Patreon, at patreon.com/sweetbitter.
LC: Thank you to our new Patreon supporters this week: Amanda and Leanne. We also have a new subscriber on Apple Podcast, Paul. Thank you for letting us know who you are, so we can shout you out.
EB: Sweetbitter is an independent production by me, Ellie Brigida, Alyse Knorr, and Leesa Charlotte, in partnership with Three Springs Media. Our production assistant is Thea Smith, and our artwork is by Istela Illustrated. Thank you to our guests this week, Laura Duncombe and Brandon Jones. You can read more about our guests and where to find them on our website.
LC: You can find us on Twitter and Instagram at @sweetbitterpod, or contact us on our website, sweetbitterpodcast.com.
EB: Now we are very excited to introduce our sea shanty for this week, written by Alyse, with sound by Joshua. You’re going to love it.