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    Women’s medical knowledge in Antiquity: beyond midwifery

    Connell, Sophia (2023) Women’s medical knowledge in Antiquity: beyond midwifery. In: Pello, C. and O'Reilly, K. (eds.) Ancient Women Philosophers: Recovered Ideas and New Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 57-76. ISBN 9781316516188.

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    This chapter argues that women doctors participated in a philosophical tradition of thought in classical antiquity. The widely recognised overlap between medicine and philosophy in ancient Greece means that women with medical expertise were very likely involved in the philosophical aspects of the domain. While no extant writings from women doctors survive, the chapter provides evidence of ancient Greek women’s claims to knowledge as found in the writings of male philosophers and doctors. A picture is reconstructed of expertise not only about the female body and its functions and cycles but also a broader understanding of health, disease, fertility, and their relationship to the natural world. The areas of women’s knowledge covered are: experience of the body, theories of the body, pharmacology and theories of reproduction. It is explained how these count as philosophical and why we must consider these women’s ideas to be a significant part of our intellectual heritage.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Sophia Connell
    Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2024 10:24
    Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 10:07


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