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The Educated Midwife In The Roman Empire. An Example Of Differential Equations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with both the reality and idealization of training of midwives in the Roman Empire. It aims at a full survey of the existing source material (mainly literary and epigraphical sources, though iconographical and papyrological evidence has been included in the discussion). A complete collection of epigraphically attested Latin cases is given. Moreover, the chapter deals with the apparent contradiction between the image of educated midwife as it is exhibited mainly by Soranus, and the picture of midwives as low class women as it is revealed in other sources. In doing so, it makes use of the concept of differential equations, as applied by Joshel and Murnaghan concerning women and slaves in ancient society. As such, the chapter takes issue with the Cilliers and Retief thesis about the social role of women in ancient medicine.

Keywords: ancient medicine; educated midwife; Joshel; Murnaghan; physicians; Roman Empire



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