> >Methods of treating women in ancient Greece
Although the Greeks were odnozhёntsami, the life of Greek women was similar to the one that traditionally led in Muslim countries. Greek women lived in the female half of the house and went out into the city only as a last resort, hiding the face with a veil. It was believed that it was better not to do this until old age. But not only life was difficult. Ideas about the anatomy of women and their treatment were, on a modern view, completely savage.
In general, many diseases for women were treated the same way as for men. But there was a nuance. If men were advised to necessarily add to the course of treatment classes gymnastics, or jogging, or music, or singing, for a woman it was all considered not only unnecessary, but even reprehensible. The main “gymnastics” for a woman was housework, and even simple entertainment, such as swings or dances with daughters and slaves outside the walls of the gynekei — the female half.
Image of Demeter, the goddess of fertility, brushes Evelyn de Morgan.
Of course, the exception was Spartan. Their women, like men, were prescribed a lot of sports. Both in Sparta and in the rest of Greece, a woman with a physical defect, an imperfect figure, a spoiled person was considered guilty of her condition - allegedly it reflects, first of all, a state of mind.
The ideas of the doctors of ancient Greece about female anatomy seem very strange. So, Aristotle believed that the girl is a boy underdeveloped in the womb, whose genitals simply did not come out normally. It would seem that if a girl is the same as a boy, then you could give them equal rights, but, as we remember, the Greeks considered deviations from the norm a sign of the gods that a person is something bad by nature. Aristotle also believed that the woman had fewer teeth by nature, and did not know that the vagina and the urethra were not one.
The goddess Athena patronized the healers too. Painting by Rebecca Gueye.
The popular teaching that four liquids interact in a person gave unexpected moves in the treatment of patients. So, women with hypermenorrhea — dangerously heavy menstruation — were bleeding. The logic was this: once there is so much blood, it means that there is too much of it in the body, and it is necessary to set off the excess.Needless to say, only the strongest survived as a result of such treatment?
As a reason for one or another illness in a woman, a doctor could consider the lack of sex life. It was believed that women are much more temperamental than men and just obsessed with sex. So, the doctor could prescribe the patient's husband to visit her more often (although it wasn’t even meant that the wife needed an orgasm - the main thing is the fact). And if he likes boys or a society of heteries much more, it was always possible to buy a high-quality leather substitute. They were very popular with the Greek ladies.
Patroness of animals Artemis was not interested in human affairs. Painting by Guillaume Senyak.
It was believed that if the exorbitant female sexual instinct does not satisfy, then her uterus will literally wander around the body. By wandering the uterus, premature labor was explained. Treated in this case is simple: put a little manure on the woman's stomach. The Greeks believed that the female body is very fond of impurities, and the uterus itself will rush to the right place, so to speak, to smell. After a miscarriage in the early stages, he was treated a little better: he was given to drink fried mule's excrement, stirred in wine.
To wander the uterus was not difficult, because, according to the ideas of the Greeks, the woman had a lot of space in her stomach. Therefore, there was such a way to determine pregnancy as laying a onion wrapped in a rag into a vagina. If in the morning the woman pulls onions from her mouth, it means that the place inside is not yet closed by the uterus swollen from pregnancy. Accurate data on the effectiveness of the method, unfortunately, the Greeks did not leave us.
Another strange way to determine pregnancy, which was practiced at that time, was rubbing a red stone before a woman’s eyes, and if dust settled on the whites of the eyes, the woman was considered pregnant.
The goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite before Paris. Each of them in their own way patronized a Greek woman. Franz von Stuck's painting.
Although some heirs were expected from a woman, the Greeks were constantly looking for effective ways to protect themselves. There, where it was possible to get the acting herbs, they made drugs from them, in other places they got out. To prevent conception, the man was recommended to use a large amount of lubricant from olive and cedar oil (and Aristotle believed that it was necessary to add more lead).The woman was advised, after coition, to squat and sneak. And for the very intercourse - if the goal of pregnancy was not - was considered a good posture of the rider.
If a husband with symposiums (drunk in a circle of comrades and musicians of easy virtue) brought herpes home, the woman had a hard time. On the recommendation of Greek doctors, herpes blisters should be burned with a hot iron!
In Sparta it was believed that the girl before the first wedding night could be very shackled. That she was excited, she was given quince. It is not known whether the quince gave instructions to the bride and groom on the correct behavior in bed.
The lady of Themis was also the deity of justice, and her daughter, the goddess of truth, Dike, helped her. Portrait of Themis by Anton Losenko.
Most of the Greek history of the doctors avoided conducting childbirth and participation in them. The woman gave birth either independently or with the help of a midwife who came to the rescue. The doctors, however, the midwives consulted and wrote manuals for them. They also applied to doctors if the birth was so difficult that the woman is about to die. Usually she died anyway, but the doctor could make a cesarean section on a cooling body and save the baby.According to legend, this is how a person was born who learned healing from Athena and then became the god of medicine - Asclepius.
Hippocrates was very interested in the female body, so much so that he could find a clitoris in a woman (he called it a “little column”). The famous doctor believed that boys and girls develop in women in different halves of the uterus, and by looking at the nipples down or up, you can determine the sex of the unborn baby. In addition, if the child went forward with a pelvis or legs during labor, Hippocrates believed that help was impossible in principle and the child had to be cut and pulled out in pieces. It is rather shocking against the background of how many ancient cultures knew how to take a child with the wrong presentation (even if it wasn’t always successful). Perhaps midwives of ancient Greece also knew what to do, but Hippocrates considered it beneath his dignity to consult with them.
Alas, the goddesses who defended women could not even protect themselves. Hera raped her brother Zeus, after which she had to become his wife. Portrait of Hera from Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Male doctors had no right to examine their patients and only interviewed them, but there were no female doctors. Known brave girl who tried to reverse this situation.A resident of Athens named Agnodika decided to study medicine in Alexandria. To do this, she had to not only wear men's clothes, but also cut her hair - for the Greek women there is almost unthinkable action, because this hairstyle was worn by prostitutes.
Once Agnodika came to treat a certain sick woman. She, of course, flatly refused to admit to her the doctor. Then Agnodika showed her breast little by little. The woman calmed down, and Agnodika was able to examine her and prescribe treatment - by the way, such as prescribed to men, because medicine in those times had already advanced and moved away from excrement. The patient recovered, but was unable to keep secrets to herself, and soon the secret of Agnodiki became known to all of Alexandria. Doctors of the city filed a complaint against her. However, during the trial, a crowd of townspeople attacked the judges, calling them the enemies of women, and the judges allowed not only Agnodike, but also any woman from now on to study medicine and practice healing. However, it is not known whether someone after the brave Athenian used this permission. Yet for the training would have to go to a place full of men - it was very immodest.