Over the centuries female physicians have taken on different identities and aspects: witch, priestess/healer, midwife, herbalist, nun, alchemist, recipe writer.
Women’s practices long juxtaposed the science of men, the repositories of the culture of books and academies, and were characterized by an empirical approach and the expression of ancient wisdom handed down from generation to generation. The application of legitimate medicine was paralleled by more mysterious knowledge: that of the forbidden customs of contraception and abortion, tied to the magic of love potions and fertility spells.
In the pages of this book, readers will be surprised to discover that the science of medicine was above all a stronghold of women’s freedom of expression. In a certain sense, it represents an anomaly of history.
The book targets enthusiasts of women’s history and those who want to learn more about it, as well as anyone interested in taking a closer look at the relationship between women and healing, and this particular aspect of the history of medicine and natural treatments. Thanks to its simple and easy-to-understand writing style, the book appeals to a broad readership.
Special jury mention at the 2013 edition of "Grosseto Scrive" (Grosseto writes), literary award sponsored by the cultural foundation “Fondazione Grosseto Cultura”.
Erika Maderna is a graduate from Università di Pavia in Classical Literature. She lives in Grosseto. In 2005, she published Antichi segreti di bellezza, Aldo Sara Editore; in 2007, the first Italian translation of the treatise Sui segni celesti, by the learned Byzantine, Giovanni Lido, a curious mix of astrological and oracular literature. With Aboca Edizioni, she has published Aromi sacri, fragranze profane - Simboli, mitologie e passioni profumatorie nel mondo antico (2009) and Le mani degli dèi - Mitologie e simboli delle piante officinali nel mito greco (2016).