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Fertility And Sex: The Symbolism Attached To Some Ingredients Of The Hippocratic Gynaecological Recipes

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Chapter Summary

This chapter turns to the more readily available ingredients of the remedies, concentrating almost exclusively on the Hippocratic gynaecological recipes, which constitute, more than 80% of the recipes recorded in the Corpus. It examines the connotations attached to these ingredients in order to understand how the Hippocratic gynaecological treatments were meant to restore women to health. The Hippocratic gynaecological compilers believed that women absorbed more fluid from their diet than men because of their spongy flesh. The chapter starts with the simple observation that fertility was an important concern for the Hippocratic gynaecological writers. In addition to using sexual intercourse to cure female diseases, the compilers of Hippocratic recipes used a series of vegetable ingredients that were sexually connoted in antiquity. The chapter concludes with a few remarks on the question of the efficacy of ancient remedies.

Keywords: female diseases; fertility connotation; hippocratic gynaecological recipes



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