Lecture to explore early recorded medical observations of the female body

The fascinating subject of how ancient medical practitioners first began to understand female anatomy is being explored at Leicester's 15th annual Dorothy Buchan Lecture.

Cambridge academic Dr Rebecca Flemming (pictured), Senior Lecturer in Classics (Ancient History) at Fellow of Jesus College, will visit the University on Tuesday 10 November to deliver her talk ‘Women's Bodies in Ancient Medicine’.

Dr Flemming said: “The medical remains of the ancient world are rich and varied: extensive medical writings survive from classical Greece right through to the Later Roman Empire, accompanied by a diverse set of archaeological materials relating to medical practitioners and their activities.

“This lecture plots a particular path through this rich and influential territory, exploring the understanding of female bodies that emerge from these writings. The key question that will be addressed is whether ancient medical authors considered female and male bodies to be essentially the same, or different, and in what did they think that difference might consist? What kind of diseases might women therefore be subject to? And how did these ideas shape therapies and treatments?”

The annual event is held in honour of Dorothy Buchan, the former head of Leicester High School for Girls and student of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

Each year, the talks focus on the ancient world – with a strong focus on the female influence on classical civilisations.

This year's free lecture takes place at 5.30pm in the Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 3, with a drinks reception, held in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History Building foyer, afterwards.

Organiser Dr Jan Haywood, of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said the public lecture is open to everyone and a specialist knowledge of the subject is not needed.

Anyone wishing to attend the event can contact the School Office, on: 0116 252 2720 or arch-anchist@le.ac.uk