On the body and sexuality

Pierre Brulé and Antonia Nevill

in Women of Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748616435
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651023 | DOI:
On the body and sexuality

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If the quest for the rational defines Greek biology and medicine as ventures in the ‘scientification’ of knowledge, what we read remains most often ‘unscientific’. We see in operation less a reflection delving deeply into observations in vivo, with a gradual adaptation of thought to reality, than just one more product of the imagination; in this instance, the masculine working from an a priori conception of the feminine. Reading Hippocrates or Aristotle, we realise the extraordinary distance that separates them from the customary picture of Greece, homeland of reason and the devastating effects of their ideological interpretation of the body. In the classical era, commonsense, well represented by Xenophon in his Oeconomicus, contrasts men and women in their social functions, in absolute terms. This chapter discusses the female body and sexuality in ancient Greece, focusing on female physiology, reproduction, the embryo, the relative speeds of development of male and female, polysexuality, misogyny, feminisation and feminine ways of making love.

Keywords: Hippocrates; Aristotle; ancient Greece; women; female body; sexuality; physiology; reproduction; polysexuality; misogyny

Chapter.  17067 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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