Anomalous Pregnancies in Ancient Medicine

Valentina Gazzaniga


In ancient Greek medicine female physiology is determined by a particular state of non-steady equilibrium, largely based on pregnancy and lactation, presented as the only balanced and healthy periods in womens life.
Nonetheless, pregnancy can be also a pathological moment, in particular referring to specific alterations of its normal time (seven-months, eightmonths and ten-months children). The article analyzes the well-known case of myle, an abnormal pregnancy developing in three and sometimes four years, non resolving in a normal delivery, but often in a dramatic haemorrhagic flux. The author compares Hippocratic and Aristotelic testimonies about myle and abnormal pregnancies with the evidence fournished by the historical-religious recent studies about Hera and her parthenogenetic, monstrous children.

Key words: Ancient Gynaecology - Greek and Roman Medicine - Pregnancy -

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