1st Edition

Hippocrates' Woman Reading the Female Body in Ancient Greece

By Helen King Copyright 1998
    344 Pages
    by Routledge

    344 Pages
    by Routledge

    Hippocrates' Woman demonstrates the role of Hippocratic ideas about the female body in the subsequent history of western gynaecology. It examines these ideas not only in the social and cultural context in which they were first produced, but also the ways in which writers up to the Victorian period have appealed to the material in support of their own theories.
    Among the conflicting tange of images of women given in the Hippocratic corpus existed one tradition of the female body which says it is radically unlike the male body, behaving in different ways and requiring a different set of therapies. This book sets this model within the context of Greek mythology, especially the myth of Pandora and her difference from men, to explore the image of the body as something to be read.
    Hippocrates' Woman presents an arresting study of the origins of gynaecology, an exploration of how the interior workings of the female body were understood and the influence of Hippocrates' theories on the gynaecology of subsequent ages.

    Introduction; Chapter 1 Constructing the Body; Chapter 2 Deceitful Bodies, Speaking Bodies; Chapter 3 The Daughter of Leonidas; Chapter 4 Blood and the Goddesses; Chapter 5 Asklepios and Women’s Healing; Chapter 6 What Does Medicine Mean?; Chapter 7 Reading the Past Through the Present; Chapter 8 Gender and the Healing Role; Chapter 9 Imaginary Midwives; Chapter 10 Green Sickness; Chapter 11 Once Upon a Text; concl Conclusion;


    Helen King is a Wellcome Trust Research fellow and Lecturer in the Departments of Classics and History at the University of Reading. Her wide range of publications on women and medicine includes Hysteria Beyond Freud (1993).

    'King's eye for detail turns an intellectual feast into scintillating entertainment.' - Times Literary Supplement

    'This is a fine contribution which is interesting whether approached from a localised interest in the history of science or from a broader concern with gender and social change.' - London Review of Books

    'King provides a scholarly elucidation of the central importance of social and cultural factors in shaping medical practice and, conversely of medical practice in shaping the very definition - and experience - of what it is to be human.' - Sibyl

    'It will nevertheless appeal to...medical historians and in particular to those wiith an interest in Women's Studies.' - C F Salazar, University of Cambridge