Chapter

The Plague of Infertility

SUSAN GUETTEL COLE

in Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520235441
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929326 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520235441.003.0006
The Plague of Infertility

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This chapter provides a discussion on the plague of infertility. It starts by introducing male reproductive anxiety. Reproductive anxiety is a frequent theme in the questions men put to the oracles. Descriptions of the mechanics of reproduction assumed a sympathy between the human body and the natural world, and theorists argued that the health of a population was influenced by the local landscape. Hippocratic therapies emphasize a close relationship between body and landscape, and water was an important element of irrigation in both realms. The males in the myths who visited oracles to find out how to sow a child are not represented in the testimonials at Epidauros. Moreover, the sterility and the crisis of paternity are described. Euripides emphasizes the crisis of sterility as a crisis of paternity by repeating traditional agricultural metaphors.

Keywords: infertility; male reproductive anxiety; reproduction; Hippocratic therapies; body; landscape; water; Euripides; paternity

Chapter.  14229 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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