Thesis ID: CBB992842853

Classical Gynecology: A History of Unrealistic Expectations Defined by Realistic Sexism (2023)


Ancient gynecology is a field with a large number of contradictions. Women were expected to have full awareness of their bodily functions but were not trusted as authoritative experts on the subject. In Rome, the majority of midwives were uneducated slave women, yet the expectations held for a proper midwife required formal education. The ability to give birth made women powerful in the eyes of the Greeks but was also used by Greek men (chiefly Athenians) as an excuse to oppress women. Studying ancient gynecology is a necessity for truly understanding the day-to-day lives of ancient women. In works such as the Odyssey or The Iliad, the women featured are typically upper-class nobles who are in unrealistic settings and have similar abilities, expectations, and lives. By reading through medical texts written by respected physicians such as Soranus and Hippocrates, scholars are provided an in-depth look at how ancient doctors truly saw the female body.

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Authors & Contributors
King, Helen
Totelin, Laurence M. V.
Aquilia, A.
Barbera, G.
Barone, G.
Barras, Vincent
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Classical Antiquity
Geographia antiqua
Journal of Medical Biography
Cambridge University Press
Artemis & Winkler
Les Belles Lettres
Human body
Disease and diseases
Medicine and gender
Hippocrates of Cos
Ephesos, Soranos of
Eratosthenes of Cyrene
Time Periods
17th century
Rome (Italy)
Hellenistic world
Alexandria (Egypt)

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