9780674168763-0674168763-Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance

Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance

ISBN-13: 9780674168763
ISBN-10: 0674168763
Edition: Revised ed.
Author: Riddle, John M.
Publication date: 1994
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Format: Paperback 256 pages
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Book details

ISBN-13: 9780674168763
ISBN-10: 0674168763
Edition: Revised ed.
Author: Riddle, John M.
Publication date: 1994
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Format: Paperback 256 pages

Summary

Acknowledged authors Riddle, John M. wrote Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance comprising 256 pages back in 1994. Textbook and eTextbook are published under ISBN 0674168763 and 9780674168763. Since then Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance textbook was available to sell back to BooksRun online for the top buyback price of $ 2.00 or rent at the marketplace.

Description

John Riddle uncovers the obscure history of contraception and abortifacients from ancient Egypt to the seventeenth century with forays into Victorian England―a topic that until now has evaded the pens of able historians.

Riddle’s thesis is, quite simply, that the ancient world did indeed possess effective (and safe) contraceptives and abortifacients. The author maintains that this rich body of knowledge about fertility control―widely held in the ancient world―was gradually lost over the course of the Middle Ages, becoming nearly extinct by the early modern period. The reasons for this he suggests, stemmed from changes in the organization of medicine. As university medical training became increasingly important, physicians’ ties with folk traditions were broken. The study of birth control methods was just not part of the curriculum.

In an especially telling passage, Riddle reveals how Renaissance humanists were ill equipped to provide accurate translations of ancient texts concerning abortifacients due to their limited experience with women’s ailments. Much of the knowledge about contraception belonged to an oral culture―a distinctively female-centered culture. From ancient times until the seventeenth century, women held a monopoly on birthing and the treatment of related matters; information passed from midwife to mother, from mother to daughter. Riddle reflects on the difficulty of finding traces of oral culture and the fact that the little existing evidence is drawn from male writers who knew that culture only from a distance. Nevertheless, through extraordinary scholarly sleuthing, the author pieces together the clues and evaluates the scientific merit of these ancient remedies in language that is easily understood by the general reader. His findings will be useful to anyone interested in learning whether it was possible for premodern people to regulate their reproduction without resorting to the extremities of dangerous surgical abortions, the killing of infants, or the denial of biological urges.

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