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Teaching The Hippocratic Gynaecological Recipes?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates whether the recipes preserved in the main gynaecological treatises: Diseases of Women 1 and 2, Barrenness and Nature of Women, may have been used as a teaching device. It asks two questions: first whether the recipes could have been included in oral lectures before being written; and second whether the written recipes could have served as a basis for teaching. The written recipes of the Hippocratic gynaecological treatises are short 'aide-memoire'; they do not include all the information necessary for the preparation of drugs. Prerequisite knowledge in the art of pharmacology and familiarity with the practice of drug-preparation were necessary to approach these recipes. The compilers of the gynaecological treatises do not specify the audience for whom they were writing. These compilers probably composed their treatises with an audience of iatroi in mind, but they knew that other people might have shown interest in their treatises.

Keywords: Barrenness and Nature of Women; Diseases of Women; drug-preparation; gynaecological treatises; Hippocratic; lectures; pharmacology; recipes; teaching



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