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Sex and gender: the Hippocratic case of Phaethousa and her beard

King, Helen (2013). Sex and gender: the Hippocratic case of Phaethousa and her beard. EuGeStA: Journal on Gender Studies in Antiquity, 3 pp. 124–142.

URL: http://eugesta.recherche.univ-lille3.fr/revue/pdf/...
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Abstract

The paper investigates the implications, for a ‘one-sex’ model of the body, of the Hippocratic case history in which a woman ceases to menstruate and then grows a beard after her husband leaves. This story challenges a model of sexual difference based solely on the gonads, drawing attention to other visible or audible markers, and to the hierarchical relationships between them. The long history of reception of this story, telling it in a variety of contexts ranging from ‘sex change’ stories to lovesickness to accounts of prolapse, and setting it beside other stories from outside the ancient medical tradition, shows both its flexibility and the importance of having a Hippocratic seal of authority. Two gendered Greek terms in the story, oikouros and epitokos, emphasise Phaethousa’s femininity and demonstrate that, far from being intermediate between two sexes, she remains female throughout her illness.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 Helen King
ISSN: 2156-2253
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Following Agnodike and Phaethousa: gender and transformation in the reception of ancient medicineAH/I001506/1AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council)
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > Classical Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 39172
Depositing User: Helen King
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2013 17:00
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:45
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/39172
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