In this book, Dean-Jones gives a close analysis of theories concerning women's bodies in such authors as the Hippocratics and Aristotle. She demonstrates the centrality of menstruation in classical theories of female physiology, pathology, and reproduction, and suggests that this had both negative and positive repercussions in attitudes towards women's bodies in that society. In particular, she argues that many of the medical principles governing clinical practice on male patients derived from the observation that healthy women menstruate and women who are seriously ill tend not to. She also uses modern anthropological theories to explain the contrast between the abundant menstrual references in the medical literature and the dearth of references to menstruation in more canonical Greek literature. Many of the primary sources dealt with are not yet accessible in English, and to date research done on this material has appeared only in discrete articles, in several languages, and scattered in various publications. In addition to presenting many original theories, the book is important in assembling and presenting both original texts and the results of scholarly research on these texts in a way that is fully accessible to the non-specialist.
Introduction; Female anatomy and physiology; Female pathology; The female's role in reproduction; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.