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Lesley A Dean-Jones

Associate FacultyPh.D., Stanford

Associate Professor in the Department of Classics, College of Liberal Arts
Lesley A Dean-Jones



ancient medicine, philosophy, and gynecology; women in antiquity



ancient medicine, philosophy, and gynecology; women in antiquity

Research Subject Headings: Gender, Health

Affiliated Research/Academic Unit

Fields: Ancient Philosophy, Ancient Medicine, Women in Antiquity


WGS 345 • Women In Classical Antiquity

47410 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 201
(also listed as C C 348)

This class will address the question of the nature and the origin of the western attitude toward women from readings in a wide variety of material from the Greco-Roman period of antiquity.  Specific issues include 1) myths of matriarchy (did women rule in an earlier stage of human history?); 2) the relation between the images of women, marriage, sex and women's role in politics and religion in the literary texts and the actual experience of real women (why is there a disparity between image and reality?); 3) philosophical and medical views on the physical and mental nature of women (how do folklore and ideology affect "scientific" writers?); 4) the extent to which we can glimpse female consciousness in these (mostly) male-authored texts.

The study of this period of human history has constituted the core of a liberal education in the West for several centuries, but this education was, until comparatively recently, concerned almost solely with the lives and thoughts of only half the people alive at that time—the men.  Approaching the texts primarily through the female characters sheds a new perspective on the value of the works and raises the question of their relevance to contemporary society.  We shall see that whatever view we take on the position of women in society, the formulations and solutions of problems in male/female relationships in the Greek and Roman texts are thought-provoking and important.  We will examine the texts in a basically chronological order so that we can trace the development of themes and motifs and consider them in relation to women's changing role in society.


Book: Women's Bodies in Classical Greek Science  pp.293, (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1994).  Reprinted in paperback 1996.  Put on-line by OUP with Questia in 2001.  Conclusion translated into Spanish and used as Introduction to separate fascicle on ancient gynecology in Arenal 7 (2000), 267-300.

Article: "Too much of a good thing: the health of Olympic athletes in ancient Greece," in East meets West at the Olympic Games, Volume I, ed. Susan E. Brownell (New York: Greekworks 2013), 49-65.

Article: "The Child Patient of the Hippocratics: Early Pediatrics?" in The Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World, edd. Tim Perkins & Judith Evans Grubbs (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013), 180-99..

Article: "Clinical gynecology and Aristotle's biology," Apeiron 45 (2012), 180-99.

Article: “De medico: a metapaedogogical text,” in Ancient Medical Education: Proceedings of the XIIth Colloque Hippocratique, ed. H.F.J. Horstmannshoff (Leiden: Brill 2010), 1-15.

Article: “Prostitution as a Smoke-screen in a 4th c. B.C.E. Law Case,” Zmanin (Israeli equivalent of History Magazine) 90 (2005), 40-9.

Article: “Written Texts and the Rise of the Charlatan in Ancient Greek Medicine,” Writing into Culture: Written Text and Cultural Practice in Ancient Greece, ed. Harvey Yunis, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2003), 97-121.

Article: “Aristotle’s understanding of Plato’s Receptacle and its significance for Aristotle’s theory of familial resemblance,” Reason and Necessity: Essays on Plato’s Timaeus, ed. M.R. Wright (London: Duckworth 2000), 101-12.

Article: "Philosophy and Science," Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece, ed. Paul Cartledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 288-319.

Article: "Teaching Medical Terminology as a Classics Course," Classical Journal 93 (1998), pp.290-6.

Article: “Autopsia, Historia and What Women Know:  The Authority of Women in Hippocratic Gynaecology,” Knowledge and the Scholarly Medical Traditions:  A Comparative Study, ed. Don Bates (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press 1995), 41-58.

Article: “Menexenus—Son of Socrates,” Classical Quarterly  45 (1995), 51-57.

Article: “The ‘Proof’ of Anatomy,” Women in the Classical World:  Image and Text, edd. Elaine Fantham et al. (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1994), 183-205.

Article: “The Politics of Pleasure:  Female Sexual Appetite in the Hippocratic Corpus,” Helios 19 (1992), 72-91. (Reprinted in Discourses of Sexuality:  From Aristotle to Aids, ed. Domna Stanton (Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press, 1992), 48-77.)

Article: “The Cultural Construct of the Female Body in Classical Greek Science,” Women's History and Ancient History, ed. Sarah B. Pomeroy (Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 111-137. (Reprinted in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, edd. Mark Golden & Peter Toohey (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), 183-201.)

Article: “Menstrual Bleeding According to the Hippocratics and Aristotle,” Transactions of the American Philological Association 119 (1989), 179-194.

Article: “The Role of Ephialtes in the Development of Athenian Democracy,” Classical Antiquity 6 (1987), 53-76.

Encyclopedia article: “Hair and Hairiness,” in 100,000 Years of Beauty, vol.2, Ancient Civilizations, ed.Claude Calamé (Paris: Les Éditions Babylone 2009), 88-91.

Encyclopedia article: "Hippocratic Corpus, Gynecological Works," Encyclopedia of Ancient Natural Scientists: The Greek Tradition and its Many Heirs, edd. Paul T. Keyser & Georgia L. Irby-Massie (New York: Routledge 2008), 401-3.

Encyclopedia article: Translations with commentary of Pseudo-Aristotelian Problems 4.26& Caelius Aurelianus’ On Chronic Disorders 4.9 for Sourcebook for Homosexuality in the Ancient World, ed. T.K. Hubbard (Berkeley: University of California Press 2003), 262-4 & 463-5.

Review: Hippocrates' Woman: Reading the Female Body in Ancient Greece by Helen King (London: Routledge, 1998) for Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 74 (2000), 812-3.

Review: Hippocrates: Places in Man, trans., ed. & comm. by Elizabeth M. Craik (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998) for Classical World 94 (2000), 100-1.

Review: Hippocrates by Jacques Jouanna, trans. M.B. DeBevoise (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999) for Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 56 (2001), 81-3.

Review: Abortion in the Ancient World, Konstantinos Kapparis (London: Duckworth, 2002) for American Journal of Philology 124 (2003), 613-6.

Review: The Staff of Oedipus: Transforming Disability in Ancient Greece, Martha L. Rose (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 2003) for The American Historical Review, 110 (2005), 531-2.

Review: Galen on the Brain, Julius Rocca (Leiden: Brill 2004) for Apeiron, 39 (2006), 221-4.

Review: In the Grip of Disease, G.E.R. Lloyd (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2003) for Ancient Philosophy 27 (2007), 205-8.

Review: Compendium of Greek Thought, edd. Jacques Brunschwig et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) for The Washington Times (2/17/01).

Work in Progress

Historia Animalium.  Consisting of Pseudo-Aristotle: De Non Generando & Aristotle: Dialectic on De Non Generando.  Translation with Introduction and Commentary.  (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

"Gynaecology," forthcoming in The Cambridge Companion to Hippocrates, edd. Steven Spiegl & Peter Pormann (Cambridge University Press).

What is natural about the Aristotelian oikos?

Polybus' Heartless Man.

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