There's been a lot of interest online in a temporary exhibition which has recently opened at the Royal College of Physicians in London: "This Vexed Question: 500 years of women in medicine". I was disturbed by some of the media reports, in particular one in Culture Trip which started with the comment that the RCP was 'dissecting… Continue reading Exhibiting our past: “This Vexed Question”
"Around 400 B.C., writers from the Hippocrates school discussed a contraceptive similar to the intrauterine device (IUD) of today. This particular apparatus was a hollow tube filled with mutton-fat..." Really??
Here’s a particularly fine case of Bad History, showing that while it’s bad enough to modify an ancient text to make it into a precursor of a modern condition, it’s even worse to misread a remedy as a symptom in order to make a historical text do what you want it to do! Trotula… Continue reading Making a disease from a remedy: Trotula and vaginismus
Julia Margaret Cameron’s Hypatia Everything has a history: even menstruation. I managed to write an 80,000 word doctoral thesis on menstruation in classical Greece, which just goes to show that there's a story to be told there! I've shared a few of the weirder beliefs here. One of the questions I couldn’t answer in… Continue reading The history of menstruation