Class Notes (807,201)
Canada (492,666)
Classics (1,680)
CLA219H1 (91)
Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - The Female Body; Ancient Gynecology

4 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Regina Höschele

CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Oct 30, 2012 Lecture 7 - The Female Body: Ancient Gynecology • Ancient medicine is an established science, and there are a lot of theoretical writers that are preserved • Many of the theories and observation may seem absurd from a modern perspective • However it is intriguing to study medicine in its own right • Hippocratic oath: sworn by modern doctors to adhere to certain principles • This is based off the man Hippocrates from Kos • We have a lot of his writings ascribed to him, but probably not all authentic • Corpus (body) Hippocraticum: term for these transmitted writings • Born around 460 BC • His text on the sacred disease (epilepsy) is the most widely read • Epilepsy was sent by the gods where some god or demon takes hold of you causing your fit The oath is millenia old • • Aklepios is son of apollo and is got of medicine • In this corpus we have a lot of gynecological treatises • Mostly focus on pathologies (when someone is sick or something goes wrong; disease and complications) • This obviously influences the treatises in that they focus on what goes wrong rather than ex- ploring the female body • Practicing doctors all male • Access to female patients not easy as they may refuse to be treated by a male The first female doctor -hadnodika(?) • • She wanted to study medicine • Learn how to cure women • She wasn’t allowed to because only males could become doctors Disguised herself as a man • • Went to alexandrian in 4-3rd c BC to study • If a woman didn’t want to be treated by her she’d show that she was a woman • The jealous doctors accused her of sleeping with her female patients She then reveals herself as a woman (ahem shows boobs) • • They then say that her impersonating is a crime • The women rebel • And apparently freeborn females could become doctors afterwards • 2 concepts of female body: • School of hippocrates: woman is completely different from man • Aristotle (4th century BC): an infertile man • Menstruation plays a very important part in all these assumptions about females • Various theories as to why they bleed • Menstruation is responsible for all sorts of illnesses • Excess of moisture that has to come out every month and this is what makes them unstable • Body temperature is essential to ancient medicine • Humor: body, fluid relates to mood • 4 combinations • Dry and hot = yellow bile CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Oct 30, 2012 Lecture 7 - The Female Body: Ancient Gynecology • Dry and cold = black bile • Wet and hot = blood Wet and cold = phlegm • • These elements in every person • Depending on what prevails that is what constitutes our mood of behavior • 4 character types • Wetness and hotness = sanguine (optimistic) • Dry and hot = choleric (hot-tempered) • Dry and cold = melancholy • Wet and cold = phlegmatic (lethargic) • Persisted until 19th century • Women’s flesh is loose and spongy, meaning that the body soaks up excess blood from the stomach and that is why she has an irrational behavior • In some texts compared to wool that soaks up moisture • Breasts of women show how much looser female body is and what make as person crazy is when blood is near the chest (which is why we have boobs! duuuuuh) • Aristotle draws a parallel between menstrual blood and semen (the male menstruation) • Males are active and use their blood, excess blood is concocted into semen by the heat of the man due to his active lifestyle • Females are cold as they live a sedentary life and can’t make semen Boys can’t concoct semen which is why they aren’t a man - makes them closer to woman • • Greeks and Romans did not consider menstruation pollution (apparently) • She was not banned from temples, and could participate in rituals • Physicians even recommend sex during menstruation Aristotle: menstruating women looking into mirror • • The surface becomes bloody dark like a cloud • Eyes affected by period • Difference in eyes because of the inflammation of the blood The air
More Less

Related notes for CLA219H1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.