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Birth, Death, and Motherhood in Classical Greece (Ancient Society & History)by Nancy Demand
Synopses & Reviews
Why did Greek society foster social conditions, especially early marriage with its attendant early childbearing, that were known to be dangerous for both mother and child? What were the actual causes of death among women described as dying of childbirth in the Hippocratic Epidemics? Why did families choose to portray labor scenes on tombstones when the Greek commemorative tradition otherwise avoided reference to suffering and illness? In Birth, Death, and Motherhood in Classical Greece, Nancy Demand offers the first comprehensive exploration of the social and cultural construction of childbirth in ancient Greece.
Reading the ancient evidence in light of feminist theory, the Foucauldian notion of discursively constituted objects, medical anthropology, and anthropological studies of the modern Greek village, Demand discusses topics that include midwifery, abortion, attitudes of doctors toward women patients, and the treatment of women generally. For evidence, she relies primarily on the case histories in the Epidemics concerning women with complications in pregnancy, abortion, and childbirth. She also draws relevant details from cure records and dedications from healing sanctuaries, labor scenes depicted on tombstones, Aristophanic comedy, andPlatonic philosophy.
Book News Annotation:
Bringing feminist theory and medical anthropology to bear on ancient evidence, Demand (history, Indiana U.) uses case histories in the Hippocratic Epidemics to explore the social and cultural construction of childbirth in ancient Greece. Other sources include cure records and dedications from healing sanctuaries. Includes 12 b&w plates of ancient sculptures depicting childbirth scenes.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 239-267) and indexes.
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