Anomalous Pregnancies in Ancient Medicine
Keywords:Ancient Gynaecology, Greek and Roman Medicine, Pregnancy , Parthenogenesis
AbstractIn 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 women’s 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.