diseases, gender

Being a historian: when the personal is historical

On the theme of my favourite history blogs, as introduced here: another blog I enjoy very much is Nursing Clio. It took me a while to 'get' the title; I used to think it was a nursing history blog, but it's far more than that. The USP, among medical history blogs, is the point that… Continue reading Being a historian: when the personal is historical

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Bad History, birth, doctors, gender, language, midwives, novels, sex

Agnodice: reading the story

Agnodice, 'the first midwife'? Why this is a myth, and a powerful one at that.

gender, pregnancy

Women and humour in history

Do men always get the best punch-lines? I was once at a conference where one of the speakers illustrated his points about gender in ancient Rome by referring to a story about Winston Churchill and Nancy Astor. Quick-witted, the first woman Member of Parliament, Nancy Astor’s reputation has been tarnished by her support of Chamberlain’s policy… Continue reading Women and humour in history

gender, menstruation, pregnancy, sex, virginity

Diana, Callisto and Philip II

Between 1553 and 1562, Titian painted a number of mythological scenes for Philip II. Among these was a painting of Diana and Callisto. In the story, told most famously by the Roman poet Ovid, Callisto is one of the unmarried girls forming the virgin goddess’s entourage. Jupiter catches sight of her, and disguises himself as… Continue reading Diana, Callisto and Philip II

diseases, gender, Hippocrates, love

What is this thing called lovesickness?

A very nasty condition in earlier medicine was something called lovesickness. Check yourself out: are you looking pale? Sleeping badly? Finding it difficult to concentrate? Sighing a lot? Are you off your food? These symptoms, history tells us, may point to lovesickness as your problem. When is love a disease?  The first stages of being in… Continue reading What is this thing called lovesickness?