The Secrets of Women offers several strange ways to determine the gender of an unborn child.
Scientists have used emerging proteomic techniques to find traces of ancient vaginal fluid, honey and milk on a rare manuscript from the late 15th century.
As any parent who’s ever tried to travel with a baby will know, babies require a fair bit of stuff to keep them safe, happy, and comfortable.
The skeletal samples examined in this study are from medieval English populations with long-established agricultural diets. Bony pelvic metrics analyzed are from the St. Mary Spital assemblage, and demographic and pathological data from St. Mary Spital were compared to the East Smithfield Black Death cemetery assemblage.
This article examines the visual culture of the late medieval great residence from the perspective of the female gaze.
After two failed marriages, one of which had ended in the murder of Alfonso Duke of Bisceglie, Lucrezia Borgia was once more on the marriage market in the year 1500. She was a pawn, a chess piece for her father and brother’s political plans. This time, the Borgia family were looking to tie their family to the Estes of Ferrara – a proud and ancient House.
This doctoral dissertation examines medicinal-magical amulets pertaining to the uterus and the protection of women and children, the accompanying tradition of magical texts, and the mythology and folktales of demons believed to kill children and parturient women.
In our latest issue: Celebrating Mother’s Day. Mothers Who Weren’t: Wet Nurses in the Late Medieval Mediterranean
Motherly advice from the ninth century, Sex in the Roman Empire: In Bed with the Romans! Feast, Famine, and Food in Medieval Russia, Books: A trip through Welsh past in Mysterious Wales and much, much more!
Susan Signe Morrison’s book, “A Medieval Woman’s Companion” brings the contributions of medieval women, famous and obscure, to the forefront in this fantastic introductory text.
Our review of Toni Mount’s fascinating look at medicine in the Middle Ages in – Medieval Medicine: Its Mysteries and Science by Toni Mount.
This paper explores how tales of difficult births found in medieval miracle narratives can contribute to our understanding of the experience of pregnancy and childbirth in twelfth-century England.
This study proposes that performative rituals—that is, verbal and physical acts that reiterate prior uses—enabled medieval women and men to negotiate the dangers and difficulties of conception and childbirth.
Through an investigation of staple diets, religious dietary views, medical literature, and wives’ tales of medieval Christian women, aversions to animal flesh and animal products among pregnant women do not appear to be supported
The article presents a unique historical document, a notarized act of 1473 drawn up for a Provençal barber surgeon commissioned to extract a fetus from a corpse
In this piece, I suggest that such books were also constructed with the intention of instilling certain virtues within the young and newly-married woman—namely, submission and a humble desire for motherhood.
The chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth was very real for medieval women, and still is in many Third World countries. In Medieval Catholic Western Europe, including Scandinavia, these risks, and the absence of medically schooled persons who could give efficient help, led many women to turn to the saints for intercession.
The Knowing of Woman’s Kind in Childing is an important and significant medieval medical text because it has a self-identified female audience and a female-orientated medical focus.
Like most things in the Middle Ages, the process of giving birth was mired in both superstition and religion.
But supposing you are lucky, having run the gauntlet of twin birth, its association with sickness and the unnatural, and we see mother and children survive. What then, what status was given to twins?
Behind the purported facts of Theodora’s career as a common prostitute and later as empress are the hidden details of what we might call feminine pharmacology: what were the drugs used by prostitutes and call-girls in sixth-century Byzan- tium? Were there ordinary pharmaceuticals employed by such professionals to stay in business?
The medieval period might be unique in that it is perhaps the only time when you can read the same author in one work condemning the use of birth control and in another giving directions on how to use it.
Rather than the oft-claimed argument that midwifery regulation occurred as a result of midwives’ ignorance and lack of skill, both ecclesiastical and secular authorities in fact used midwives to their advantage to harness the ‘tremendous social power of medicine’.
All legislation of Byzantium from the earliest times also condemned abortions. Consequently, foeticide was considered equal to murder and infanticide and the result was severe punishments for all persons who participated in an abortive technique reliant on drugs or other methods. The punishments could extend to exile, confiscation of property and death.
Little has been written about female fertility and maternal mortality from an archaeological perspective. Typically debates focus on the physical aspects of childbirth, ignoring an obvious truth: the biggest single cause of death for women was childbirth.