Macquarie University
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The Greek epigraphic evidence for healer women in the Greek world

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posted on 2022-03-28, 12:23 authored by Jennifer C. Irving
The ancient healer woman is not a well-documented phenomenon. She is seen as a silent figure who challenged the boundaries of society, based on the assumption that women were seen negatively in skilled occupations. This thesis challenges such assumptions, then demonstrates how healer women were valued in their communities and in a comprehensive catalogue of epigraphic evidence. Individual case studies create a more nuanced understanding of the Greek healer woman. The thesis explores the healer woman in her own context and in doing so, answers questions concerning her education, status, and reputation. The evidence set forth in this thesis has shown that not all healer women were challenging the boundaries of their societies, but rather that they could be respected as professional and skilled authorities. The arguments of this thesis are supported by discussion of associated Greek terms, and show that literary evidence was not always a direct reflection of reality. This thesis also leads the way for future research on Roman evidence from later periods, and gives recognition of a public acknowledgement of the contribution of healer women.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. Evidence for Greek and Greek influenced healer women in the epigraphic, papyrological and archaeological record -- Chapter 2. Acquiring knowledge : the education of Greek healer women -- Chapter 3. Portraying knowledge -- Chapter 4. Attitudes towards healer women in Ancient Greece and Rome -- Conclusions.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 280-307

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

I. M. (Ian Michael) Plant

Additional Supervisor 1

Paul McKechnie


Copyright Jennifer C. Irving 2015. Copyright disclaimer:






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