Aspasia the Physician – 1st Century – Greece

Ancient Greece


Not to be confused by the earlier scholar and hetaera of the same name, Aspasia was a physician who worked in obstetrics and gynaecology.

There is nothing recorded about Aspasia’s life outside of a fragment cited by the physician to a Byzantium Emperor. This mentions her contribution to midwifery as she apparently developed a technique for rotating a foetus in a breech presentation.

It is also mentioned that Aspasia promoted preventive medicine for pregnant women, though there is no specific detail.


These two bare facts about Aspasia portray a very practical woman who sought common sense solutions to common problems faced by women. This differs from many celebrated male physicians of the time who often took a theoretical approach to healthcare.


Women in science: antiquity through the nineteenth century: a biographical dictionary with annotated bibliography – Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie

Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present – Sue Vilhauer Rosser

On Wikipedia:

Image credits:

Ancient Roman relief carving of a midwife Wellcome M0003964” by

Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Commons




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