Hints of Controversy in Hippocratic Gynecological Treatises (Diseases of Women 34, 63, 65, and 114)

Florence Bourbon


Four brief passages from Diseases of Women (= DW)  criticize treatments practiced by some physicians. They deal with the use of remedies (astringent drugs, milk, and water) and with the confusion between two affections (ulcer and dropsy, which are kinds of bleeding). This paper tries to find out where the criticized practices come from. Some of them are described in a few other Hippocratic treatises or even in DW  itself. Moreover, in order to try to find out who wrote each of the four passages, this paper highlights that many chapters have been composed by different authors at different times, and that DW  has links with Places in man  and with Regimen in acute diseases. Therefore, it appears that there was a controversy about the way to treat female patients: was it possible to take into account gynaecological symptoms without excluding the general ones? 


Key words: Hippocrates - Gynecological Treatises - Polemics - Authorship

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