Pregnancy and Childbirth in the Premodern World: European and Middle Eastern Cultures, from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance

Pregnancy and Childbirth in the Premodern World: European and Middle Eastern Cultures, from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance


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This volume of contributions from international scholars offers a cross-cultural and multi-period analysis of pregnancy and childbirth traditions in Western and Middle Eastern cultures. The studies focus on the ideas, practices, and visual representations surrounding pregnancy and birth-giving from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance and offer the reader the possibility of observing the perception, representation, and theoretic paradigm of these events in a wide range of cultural contexts. The collection fits within multiple traditions of specialized scholarship, yet its scope suggests a geographically global approach and a new, multicultural methodology that encompasses a wide range of practices, historical periods, and topics. On one hand, it participates in the well-established medical, historical, and iconographic discourse on childbirth and family that has enticed much interest over the last two decades; on the other, its unique thematic structure includes cultures and periods previously ignored in similar collections of essays. The articles span from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India, and connect the experience of childbirth to the exchanges of knowledge, religious beliefs, and social practices. With its variety of topics and specializations, the volume encourages a global comparative approach to the cultural narrative surrounding the activities and attitudes connected to conception and birth, paying particular attention to material culture, religion, history, and iconography, as well as to the exchange and dispersion of medical knowledge.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9782503580555
Publisher: Brepols Publishers
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Series: Cursor Mundi Series , #36
Pages: 381
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Preface Charles Burnett xi

Introduction Costanza Gislon Dopfel Alessandra Foscati xiii

Part 1 Cultural Exchanges and Transmission of Knowledge

Educating the Midwife: The Role of Illustrations in Late Antique and Medieval Obstetrical Texts Francesca Marchetti 3

Pregnancy in Middle-Persian Zoroastrian Literature: The Exchange of Knowledge between India, Iran, and Greece in Late Antiquity Paolo Delaini 29

Tracing the Maternal Body in Medieval Muslim Gynaecological Texts Kathryn Kueny 53

Calculating Birth: Abraham Ibn Ezra's Role in the Creation and Diffusion of the Trutina Hermetis Shlomo Sela 79

Part 2 Birth, Death, and Magic

Mother and Child: Archaeological Evidence of Childbirth Complications in Medieval Normandy Cécile Chapelain De Seréville-Niel Raphaëlle Lefebvre Armelle Alduc-Le Bagousse 109

'Girde hyr wythe thys mesure': Birth Girdles, the Church, and Lollards Mary Morse 135

Prayer as Obstetric Practice at Thirteenth-Century La Cambre Sara Ritchey 171

Retracing Childbirth through Hagiographical Texts and Canonization Processes in Italy and France, between the Thirteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Alessandra Foscati 195

Part 3 Lying-in and Holy Birth: Tradition, Iconography, and Political Statement

Lying-in in High Medieval England and France Fiona Harris-Stoertz 227

Mary and Eve: The Permanence of the First Mother in Armenian Apocryphal Infancy Gospels Valentina Calzolari 249

Byzantine Frescoes in Mystras: The Political Message in the Iconography of the Birth of Mary Antonella Parmeggiani 285

Holy Mothers and Vanished Nativities: Maternal Art as Female Visual Epic in Quattrocento Florence Costanza Gislon Dopfel 309

Index 347

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