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Soranus and the Pompeii Speculum: The Sociology of Gynaecology and Roman Perceptions of the Female Body

Baker, Patricia A (1999) Soranus and the Pompeii Speculum: The Sociology of Gynaecology and Roman Perceptions of the Female Body. In: Baker, Patricia A and Forcey, C. and Jundi, S. and Witcher, R., eds. TRAC 98: The Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference Proceedings 1998. Oxbow Press, Oxford, pp. 141-150. ISBN 978-1-900188-86-9. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
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Abstract

The speculum is a fascinating Roman surgical artefact because its precision design shows an

specula is rounded, not pointed, so as not to rub or cut the cervix. Archigenes of Apamea, as

placed in the vagina, the woman was measured to ensure the priapiscus was not too long, if it

cervix from injury. The design of the instrument, and the proposed care taken in its use, is an

possibility that the Roman female was more highly regarded than often represented both in

described as subordinate (e.g. Allason-Jones 1989). Here a focus on the philosophy and practice

as unproblematic as often portrayed. The speculum only provides one indication of how Roman

thinking it is necessary to examine other aspects of Roman medicine such as medical literature,

the medical perspective influenced wider perceptions of the female body, and conversely how

be seen that the social constructs of the body for both men and woman are never clearly defined

Anthropological studies of many different cultures - Native American Indians, South Pacific

natural functions of the female, such as menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, often reflect

their societies (Moore 1988:16-7). This also applies to Greek and Roman women. Although this

for it creates a context, illustrating how medical ideas developed. Furthermore, the differences in

attitudes towards the female body in a single area of thought.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Fiona Symes (previously Godfrey)
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2015 14:01 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:21 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/47737 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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