Birth Control Practices in the Ancient World Annotated Bibliography

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Birth Control Practices in the Ancient World Annotated Bib

Bujalkova, M. "Birth Control in Antiquity." Bratisl Lek Listy. (108:3), 2007. 163-66. The research conducted by ancient medical scholars led to some of the most extensive of early medical inquiries. Bujalkova explores what he feels is a fairly serious problem in examining ancient texts and the forms of birth control and contraception that they employed. This problem is that many of the writers of ancient times did not clearly identify the difference between contraceptives and abortive agents. Part of the reason for this, the author asserts, is the ancient perception that humans were not people until birth and thus there was no difference between preventing a pregnancy and termination of one already progressing.

Bujalkova's article is useful as it mainly discusses the psychological, philosophical, and sociological perspectives of the ancients. It is necessary to understand as much about the culture of the ancients as possible in order to understand the methods they used and to what degree these methods had to be silenced because of morality or lack thereof regarding contraception. The legal ramifications of contraception have been an issue for people studying this matter and be able to have quantitative data regarding ancient birth control can only be helpful in trying to disseminate the information that is currently available.

Culbertson, Alaina, "Abortion and Contraception in the Ancient World." Springfield: Drury

University, 2011. Culbertson's article discusses abortion and contraception and how these were used in the time period which is discussed in the Christian Bible. Modern Christians in positions of biblical authority claim that contraception is an immoral thing and that birth and conceptions are pre-ordained by God. Alaina Culbertson traces the various birth control methods available to women, particularly focusing on natural methods such as plants and also physical measures which could be undertaken to prevent conception. In addition, she traces the connection between the ancient methodologies and the religious beliefs which women of the concurrent era had to deal with in reasoning against its practice.

This article not only provides information about various birth control methodologies but also explains how women learned to reevaluate the rightness of taking such precautions. With the burgeoning identification of immorality with birth control, there came also a change in the ways women went about such procedures. Understanding this is necessary to make connections with how birth control methods continued to change through the subsequent historical periods.

Davidson, Emily R.W. "Historical Contraception: Birth Control before 'The Pill.'" Hektoen

International Journal. (4:3), October 11, 2012. The earliest recorded document regarding birth control and contraception, according to Davidson's research, is the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus. This is an Egyptian scroll which has been dated to be approximately 4,000 years old. She categorizes ancient birth control methodologies into three distinct forms: technique-based birth control, herbo-pharmacology, and human-made devices. The author clearly explains the difference between the three types of contraception and explores the history behind each form as well as its prevalence.

In the article, Davidson makes some very interesting points such as the fact that cultures which were divided by thousands of miles and whom had never interacted were able to come up with similar methodologies for contraception. For example, a Persian physician and a Chinese religious leader both described what would come to be known as the withdrawal method despite the fact that the two cultures had not been known to one another at this time. Such information indicates the universality of human interaction and the desire of women to control their bodies and their destinies.

Evans, Megan L. "A Desire to Control: Contraception throughout the Ages." Washington D.C.:

George Washington University School of Medicine, 2009. In this article, author Megan Evans discusses various contraceptive methods that have been used throughout history. Some specific methods with are considered modern inventions are actually ancient creations, such as condoms in particular which are dated back to around 3000 BCE. Further inventions such as methods requiring the implementation of artificial barriers and intrauterine devices are also historical creations which date back further than first supposed. Even the birth control pill has historic precedents in the flower silphium which many ancient women used as an oral contraceptive. The flower was used so prolifically that it was declared instinct by the year 300 AD. Author Megan Evans provides a complete chronology of these inventions as well as progressions that led to their…

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