|Ever wondered how Ancient Greeks saw periods?|
Did you know that the moment you step in front of your mirror when on your period, it turns red! That does not quite add up, does it? Well, tell that to Aristotle! If you think pineapple on pizza is strange, wait till you hear what Ancient Greeks had to say about menstruation.
I have had Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation my TBR list for way to long, and boy was I not disappointed when I finally picked it up. Let me sum up the chapter with some of the oddest Greek ideas about menstruation:
The philosopher Plato wrote that “the uterus wandered in every direction”; he basically saw it as a little thing that freely roamed around the female body constantly searching for children (sometimes even going into a woman’s throat) and got lonely and very angry if it did not find any.
Hippocrates – yes, the one who is known as the father of medicine – theorized that the uterus was in fact the source of female emotions. If one were unfortunate enough to possess a temperamental uterus that decided to go rampaging through one’s body willy-nilly, this manifested itself as a condition called hysteria.
And what about Ptolemy the inventor of the map? Well, let us just say that he believed humans’ deepest desire is immortality and supreme enlightenment through the consumption of ambrosia. And what is ambrosia? You guessed it – menstrual blood!
To be fair, we cannot hold anything against Aristotle and the ancient Greeks, as their scientific and medical conclusions were seriously hampered not only by laws and religious strictures but also by prevailing sexism and unchallenged assumptions. But if you ever see a mirror turning red, I think it would be safe to blame it on sleep deprivation rather than your period!