the most hilarious part of studying ancient medicine is how totally baffled all these male physicians are by the female reproductive system
I mean, the medical establishment spend over a thousand years thinking that if a woman smelled something bad, or wasn’t the right temperature, her womb would just wander around her midsection like a fricken lost puppy
#that’s what hysteria was btw#it was your womb wandering around your abdomen#causing all sorts of problems to your delicate ladybrain#but seriously these guys didn’t know SHIT#they didn’t really know what menstruation was#they knew that babies grew in the womb but that was about it#it wasn’t until around the 17th-18th century when they started doing dissections that everyone was like#oh#so that’s what that looks like#…weird#history#girls go to college to get more knowledge
I’m just wondering if this was only in European countries or if MoC were this ignorant back in the day too…
From what I’ve read (and bearing in mind that I specialise only in Arab medicine of the early Middle Ages, which is to say a very narrow segment of world medicine) they were still ignorant and confused by female anatomy BUT less so than in Europe, because in the 12-13th centuries in Baghdad, anatomical dissections were legal and relatively common. So it was more a matter of not understanding living women than of not understanding general female anatomy.
Also, the obstetrics of medieval Arabia was better than their contemporaries in Europe, but only because they’d figured out that washing your hands was a good idea. On the whole, they still thought women should lie or sit, which is a terrible idea (because, hello, gravity). The lack of women in medicine was still felt, basically, and even anatomy understanding was curtailed in the Muslim world by a greater reluctance to dissect and examine women than men. Some references to hysteria are found, but they’re given a more scientific bent - in a way, they’re closer to reality, in that at least a couple of Baghdadi scientists theorised that what was happening was chemical imbalances (so basically PMS). On the other hand, there were ‘Ummyad doctors who had some really weird ideas about the fallopian tubes and what they were for, and I can’t remember the details but there was something about vaginas being tied to dirt and the spread of disease (probably to do with the associations of periods with ritual uncleanliness crossing over into the realisation that actual uncleanliness spread disease)
So tl;dr yes MoC (at least those in the medieval Arabic caliphates) were still pretty ignorant about women and female anatomy, but slightly less so and in a different way.
n.b. it’s 2am and I’m not at my best, plus all my books are at home, so some details here may be a bit out. Point stands, though.