Hippocrates: Unmarried Women are Sad Because of Periods

Hippocrates of Cos, On Girls [Peri Parthenôn] 1

“Let’s talk first concerning the disease which is called sacred and paralyzed people and the many anxieties which frighten people seriously enough that they lose their minds and believe that they see evil spirits by night or even at times by die or sometimes on all hours. Many have hanged themselves before because of this kind of vision, more often women than men.

For a woman’s nature is more depressed and sorrowful. And young women, when they are at the age of marriage and without a husband, suffer terribly at the time of their menstruation, which they did not suffer earlier in life. For blood collects later in their uterus so that it may flow out. When, then, the mouth of the exit does not create an opening, the blood pools up more because of food and the body’s growth. When the blood has nowhere to flow, it rises up toward the heart and the diaphragm. When these organs are filled, the heart is desensitized and from this transformation it becomes numb. Madness overtakes women because of this numbness.”

Πρῶτον περὶ τῆς ἱερῆς νούσου καλεομένης, καὶ περὶ τῶν ἀποπληκτικῶν, καὶ περὶ τῶν δειμάτων, ὁκόσα φοβεῦνται ἰσχυρῶς ἄνθρωποι, ὥστε παραφρονέειν καὶ ὁρῆν δοκέειν δαίμονάς τινας ἐφ᾿ ἑωυτῶν δυσμενέας, ὁκότε μὲν νυκτός, ὁκότε δὲ ἡμέρης, ὁκότε δὲ ἀμφοτέρῃσι τῇσιν ὥρῃσιν. ἔπειτα ἀπὸ τῆς τοιαύτης ὄψιος πολλοὶ ἤδη ἀπηγχονίσθησαν, πλέονες δὲ γυναῖκες ἢ ἄνδρες· ἀθυμοτέρη γὰρ καὶ λυπηροτέρη ἡ φύσις ἡ γυναικείη. αἱ δὲ παρθένοι, ὁκόσῃσιν ὥρη γάμου, παρανδρούμεναι, τοῦτο μᾶλλον πάσχουσιν ἅμα τῇ καθόδῳ τῶν ἐπιμηνίων, πρότερον οὐ μάλα ταῦτα κακοπαθέουσαι. ὕστερον γὰρ τὸ αἷμα ξυλλείβεται ἐς τὰς μήτρας, ὡς ἀπορρευσόμενον· ὁκόταν οὖν τὸ στόμα τῆς ἐξόδου μὴ ᾖ ἀνεστομωμένον, τὸ δὲ αἷμα πλέον ἐπιρρέῃ διά τε σιτία καὶ τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος, τηνικαῦτα οὐκ ἔχον τὸ αἷμα ἔκρουν ἀναΐσσει ὑπὸ πλήθους ἐς τὴν καρδίην καὶ ἐς τὴν διάφραξιν. ὁκόταν οὖν ταῦτα πληρωθέωσιν, ἐμωρώθη ἡ καρδίη, εἶτ᾿ ἐκ τῆς μωρώσιος νάρκη, εἶτ᾿ ἐκ τῆς νάρκης παράνοια ἔλαβεν.

Hippocrates should have consulted a woman physician like Trotula

Gendered Knowledge and the Impossibility of Love?

Plato, Alcibiades 127a-c

Socrates: Hey, Alcibiades, do you think that a man can agree with a woman about wool-working when he doesn’t know anything about it and she does?

Alcibiades: Not. At. All.

Soc. Yeah, that’s not right at all. For that’s a woman’s kind of learning.

Alc. Yup.

Soc. What about this: Can a woman agree with a man about being a soldier when she hasn’t learned anything about it?

Alc. Not. At. All.

Soc. So, perhaps you would say that that is a masculine kind a knowledge.

Alc. Yes I would.

Soc. So according to your argument there are women’s types of knowledge and men’s kinds of knowledge?

Alc. How wouldn’t there be?

Soc. So in these matters, then, there’s no agreement between women and men?

Alc. Nope.

Soc. And there’s no love, if love is truly agreement?

Alc. It does not seem so.

Soc. So, because they do their own thing, women are not loved by men?

Alk. I guess not.

Soc. And men aren’t loved by women, because they do their own thing?

Alk. Nope.


ΣΩ. Οἴει ἂν οὖν, ὦ Ἀλκιβιάδη, ἄνδρα γυναικὶ περὶ ταλασιουργίας δύνασθαι ὁμονοεῖν, τὸν μὴ ἐπιστάμενον τῇ ἐπισταμένῃ;

ΑΛΚ. Οὐ δῆτα.

ΣΩ. Οὐδέ γε δεῖ οὐδέν· γυναικεῖον γὰρ τοῦτό γε μάθημα.

ΑΛΚ. Ναί.

ΣΩ. Τί δέ; γυνὴ ἀνδρὶ περὶ ὁπλιτικῆς δύναιτ᾿ ἂν ὁμονοεῖν μὴ μαθοῦσα;

ΑΛΚ. Οὐ δῆτα.

ΣΩ. Ἀνδρεῖον γὰρ τοῦτο γε ἴσως αὖ φαίης ἂν εἶναι.

ΑΛΚ. Ἔγωγε.

ΣΩ. Ἔστιν ἄρα τὰ μὲν γυναικεῖα, τὰ δὲ ἀνδρεῖα μαθήματα κατὰ τὸν σὸν λόγον.

ΑΛΚ. Πῶς δ᾿ οὔ;

ΣΩ. Οὐκ ἄρα ἔν γε τούτοις ἐστὶν ὁμόνοια γυναιξὶ πρὸς ἄνδρας.

ΑΛΚ. Οὔ.

ΣΩ. Οὐδ᾿ ἄρα φιλία, εἴπερ ἡ φιλία ὁμόνοια ἦν.

ΑΛΚ. Οὐ φαίνεται.

ΣΩ. Ἧι ἄρα αἱ γυναῖκες τὰ αὑτῶν πράττουσιν, οὐ φιλοῦνται ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνδρῶν.

ΑΛΚ. Οὐκ ἔοικεν.

ΣΩ. Οὐδ᾿ ἄρα οἱ ἄνδρες ὑπὸ τῶν γυναικῶν, ᾗ τὰ αὑτῶν.

ΑΛΚ. Οὔ.

Women working with wool, scenes on an Attic black-figure lekythos of the third quarter of the VI century B.C. in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Right, spinning; left, folding woven cloth. F. Chamoux, La civilisation grecque, Paris, 1963, fig. 143.
Black figure Lekythos, MET