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Contraception & Abortion in Ancient Rome

Global Sexuality

Erin Mahar

on 24 September 2012

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Transcript of Contraception & Abortion in Ancient Rome

By Erin Mahar and Carl Patrick Grogan Contraception & Abortion in Ancient Rome HIS 214-401 September 24th, 2012 Why get an abortion? 1. Expensive
2. Limit family size
3. Extremely dangerous
4. Cover up affair Coitus Interrutus Virtually non-existant Potions Magical Prescriptions Suppositories Abortion Infanticide and Greece Public View Completely accepted in Greece. Barrenwort Leaves of this plant were taken in wine
after menstruation prevented conception
for the duration of five days Cyreanic Sap Put a pea size amount in wine. Drink every month. Helped the onset of menstruation as well. Even the most prominent and educated people still trusted magic Pennyroyal Made tea to induce menstruation and abortion Done mainly by midwives and herbalists Siliphium Abortive when ingested, but went extinct Pushed down stairs Queen Anne's Lace Similar effects as the "morning after" pill "The menstrual blood of women seems to prevent conception when they spread themselves with it, or when they step over it" "Wear a cat liver in a tube on the left foot, or wear the testicles of a cat in a tube around the umbilicus" Olive oil was valued as a contraceptive, (and as a lubricant) Honey or cedar resin or juice of the balsam tree Put a lock of fine wool into the opening of the uterus The Romans appear to have employed douches Vinegar or lemon-juice solutions before and after sex Limited itself to the practical solutions of killing, sale or exposure of excess surviving children. Ingested lead and iron slag A mass burial of 97 infants at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley
cast into a sewer that ran beneath a brothel. Was sometimes "safer" than abortion Records of Abortion/Contraception Pliney the Elder



Paulus Aeginta Questions? More female than male babies were exposed. Accepted in Rome, unless husband said no Soranus mentioned that a woman could hold her breath, pull away slightly, immediately get up and squat in hopes she could sneeze.
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