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date: 21 March 2023

motherhood, Greeklocked

motherhood, Greeklocked

  • Marilyn B. Skinner


Women were deemed to have a natural right to *marriage and *children. Physicians maintained that intercourse and *childbirth were necessary to female health and prescribed pregnancy to cure pathological conditions; records of miraculous cures at the sanctuary of *Asclepius in *Epidaurus reflect a high level of sterility anxiety. Views of the maternal contribution to genetic inheritance differ: *Apollo's denial of female parentage at Aesch. Eum.658–61 and Aristotle's restriction of procreative agency to male spermatic fluid (Gen. an. 721b7–724a12) are countered by the Hippocratic belief (see Hippocrates (2)) that the embryo results from the union of male and female seed, its sex determined by the stronger of the two (see embryology). From a judicial standpoint, *Pericles(1)'s law of 451/0 bce restricting citizenship to children of two Athenian parents had the practical effect of making the mother's civic status fundamental to *inheritance questions.


  • Gender Studies

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