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Woman as an object of medical knowledge in the Roman Empire, from Celsus to Galen

Flemming, Rebecca Elizabeth; (1997) Woman as an object of medical knowledge in the Roman Empire, from Celsus to Galen. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the constructions of woman as an object of medical knowledge in the Roman imperial world over a period of some two centuries, extending from Celsus, writing during the reign of Tiberius, to Galen, whose career ended under the Severans, and including all the medical texts which survive from the intervening years. It is an investigation into the processes and matrices of that construction, as well as the substance of the medical woman thus constituted; an investigation of the form and modality of Roman medical thinking about woman as much as its contents. The first part is an introduction to the historically specific social, cultural and discursive formation of Roman imperial medicine, thus providing the framework within which the position and positivity of the medical woman as she emerges from the range of individual medical works that are then analysed in detail must be understood. The second part deals with that section of the extant medical literature of this period which precedes Galen; a literature which can be divided according to whether it stands inside or outside the sectarian traditions of the logikoi, empirikoi and methodikoi. Inside are the more theoretically elaborated treatises of physicians such as Aretaeus the Cappadocian and Soranus of Ephesus, as well as various anonymous and pseudonymous tracts; and outside, but in dialogue with both these currents and the more implicit knowledge of folk traditions, lie works such as those of Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides. The third part examines the patterns of Galen's thinking about woman within the broader fabric of his overall medical and cosmological system, the fullest and most influential such system passed down from antiquity. This fullness allows issues of the processes and modality of the construction of woman as an object of medical knowledge to be explored particularly deeply in this case.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Woman as an object of medical knowledge in the Roman Empire, from Celsus to Galen
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098681
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