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Bodily Fluids in Antiquity



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ISBN 9781138343726
April 26, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
464 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

 
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Book Description

From ancient Egypt to Imperial Rome, from Greek medicine to early Christianity, this volume examines how human bodily fluids influenced ideas about gender, sexuality, politics, emotions, and morality, and how those ideas shaped later European thought.

Comprising 25 chapters across seven key themes – language, gender, eroticism, nutrition, dissolution, death, and afterlife – this volume investigates bodily fluids in the context of the current sensory turn. It asks fundamental questions about physicality and fluidity: how were bodily fluids categorised and differentiated? How were fluids trapped inside the body perceived, and how did this perception alter when those fluids were externalised? Do ancient approaches complement or challenge our modern sensibilities about bodily fluids? How were religious practices influenced by attitudes towards bodily fluids, and how did religious authorities attempt to regulate or restrict their appearance? Why were some fluids taboo, and others cherished? In what ways were bodily fluids gendered? Offering a range of scholarly approaches and voices, this volume explores how ideas about the body and the fluids it contained and externalised are culturally conditioned and ideologically determined. The analysis encompasses the key geographic centres of the ancient Mediterranean basin, including Greece, Rome, Byzantium, and Egypt. By taking a longue durée perspective across a richly intertwined set of territories, this collection is the first to provide a comprehensive, wide-ranging study of bodily fluids in the ancient world.

Bodily Fluids in Antiquity will be of particular interest to academic readers working in the fields of classics and its reception, archaeology, anthropology, and ancient to early modern history. It will also appeal to more general readers with an interest in the history of the body and history of medicine.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Acknowledgments

Contributors

 

Introduction

Mark Bradley, Victoria Leonard, and Laurence Totelin

 

Part I

The Language of Fluidity

1. Fluid vocabulary: flux in the lexicon of bodily emissions

Amy Coker 

 

Part II

A Woman in Flux

2. A valid excuse for a day off work: menstruation in an ancient Egyptian village

Rosalind Janssen

3. Uterine bleeding, knowledge and emotion in ancient Greek medical and magical representations

Irene Salvo

4. Puellae gently glow: scent, sweat and the real in Latin love elegy and Ovid’s didactic works

Jane Burkowski

5. Overflowing bodies and a Pandora of Ivory – The pure humours of an erotic surrogate

Catalina Popescu

 

Part III

Erotic and Generative Fluids

6. The eyes have it: from generative fluids to vision rays

Julie Laskaris

7. ‘Infertile’ and ‘sub-fertile’ semen in the Hippocratic Corpus and the biological works of Aristotle

Rebecca Fallas

8. Say it with fluids: what the body exudes and retains when Juvenal’s couple relationships go awry

Claude-Emmanuelle Centlivres Challet

9. Flabby flesh and foetal formation: body fluidity and foetal sex differentiation in Ancient Greek medicine

Tara Mulder

10. One-seed, two-seed, three-seed? Reassessing ancient theories of generation

Rebecca Flemming

11. Phalli fighting with fluids: approaching images of ejaculating phalli in the Roman world

Adam Parker

 

Part IV

Nutritive and Healthy Fluids

12. A natural symbol? The (un)importance of blood in early Greek literature and religion

Emily Kearns

13. Taste and the senses in Galen’s humours

John Wilkins

14. Breastmilk, breastfeeding and the female body in early Imperial Rome

Thea Lawrence

15. Breastmilk in the cave and on the arena: early Christian stories of lactation in context

Laurence Totelin

 

Part V

Dissolving and Liquefying Bodies

16. Tears and the leaky vessel: permeable and fluid bodies in Ovid and Lucretius

Peter Kelly

17. Seneca’s Corpus: a sympathy of fluids and fluctuations

Michael Goyette

18. Bodily fluids, grotesque imagery, and poetics in Persius’ Satires

Andreas Gavrielatos

 

Part VI

Wounded and Putrefying Bodies

19. ‘Efflux is my manifestation’: positive conceptions of putrefactive fluids in the ancient Egyptian coffin texts

Tasha Dobbin-Bennett

20. Physiology of matricide: revenge and metabolism imagery in Aeschylus’ Oresteia

Goran Vidović

21. Open wounds, liquid bodies, and melting selves in Early Imperial Latin literature

Assaf Krebs

 

Part VII

Ancient Fluids: Afterlife and Reception

22. The reception of classical constructions of blood in Medieval and Early Modern martyrologies

Anastasia Stylianou

23. ‘Expelling the purple tyrant from the citadel’: The menstruation debate in Book 2 of Abraham Cowley’s Plantarum Libri Sex (1662)

Caroline Spearing

24. Opening the body of fluids: taking in and pouring out in Renaissance readings of classical women

Helen King

25. Envoi

Mark Bradley and Victoria Leonard

  

Index

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Editor(s)

Biography

Mark Bradley is Professor of Classics and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Nottingham, UK. Together with Shane Butler (Johns Hopkins University, USA), he is editor of a series of volumes on ‘The Senses in Antiquity’ for Routledge, for which he has contributed a volume on Smell and the Ancient Senses (2015).

Victoria Leonard is a postdoctoral researcher for the project ‘Connected Clerics. Building a Universal Church in the Late Antique West (380-604 CE)’, funded by the European Research Council. The project is based at Royal Holloway, University London, UK, and the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities, Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Laurence Totelin is Reader in Ancient History at Cardiff University, UK. She has published widely on Greek and Roman botany, pharmacology, and gynaecology.