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Title: Gender, sex and status : the politics of divine healing among the Ancient Greeks
Author: Senkova, Michaela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 5834
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis addresses healing opportunities beyond ‘professional’ doctors or the big Asclepius cults in ancient Greece from the viewpoint of individuals as ‘consumers’ of healing. It builds upon the scholarship written' on Asclepius and examines the evidence for treatment in sanctuaries, not normally considered to be ‘healing cults’ despite clear clues to healing as part of their remit. It analyses archaeological material from these venues, literature and epigraphy to explore in depth cases of healing experience among the ancients. The main focus is on the individual worshipper, seeking answers to how people from different social strata manifested anxieties about their bodies through ritual practice and beyond. Were some cults believed to be specially helpful for particular ‘medical’ problems? Were healing rituals at some shrines ordered by gender, age or social status? The thesis concentrates on two major case studies. One looks at reproductive processes, both for men and for women, with different cultural ideologies about gender as the main driver. The second is driven by social status and considers how being a slave or a child, i.e. a dependent member of the society, could restrict or otherwise dictate one’s access to medical care. The thesis covers the archaic and classical periods (c. 800-400 BC) because at this time neither scientific medicine nor the healing sanctuaries of Asclepius were established as in later eras. Geographically, the thesis encompasses the known Greek world, including colonies in Asia Minor and the Mediterranean, to allow a better comparison of customs. The thesis demonstrates that healing in ancient Greece involved a wider range of activities than previously accepted and that this variety can tell us about how the Greeks viewed health and illness, reforming our attitudes towards ancient medicine, gender, economy and socio-religious history.
Supervisor: Foxhall, Lin ; Stewart, Daniel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available