Back to women doctors of yore whom we left at the end of the previous page. 

Greeks had gods AND goddesses for various aspects of health and disease. 

Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek religion had five daughters, all worshipped  as goddesses in their own right, for various aspects  of health and disease:1. Hygieia (“Hygiene”, the goddess / personification of health, cleanliness, and sanitation); 2. Laso (the goddess of recuperation from illness); 3. Aceso (the goddess of the healing process); 4. Aglæa / Ægle (the goddess of beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment) and 5.Panacea (the goddess of universal remedy) – what some people have been seeking from time immemorial even these days even risking their lives!

The ancient Scholarly Greek writer Homer {heard of the Proverb “Sometimes / Even Homer Nods!” [as in Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 BC), Roman lyric poet during the time of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, aka Horace’s verse: “quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus” (Ars Poetica. v. 359)]]. meaning the same as “To Err is human”)} [who lived in the 7th / 8th Century – close on the heels of the historic / mythological Trojan war – fought in Troy – between Trojans (not to be confused with the present day Computer menaces called Trojans) of Troy and Acheans / Greeks triggered by the Trojan King Paris abducting Helen, the beatiful queen of Greek Spartan King Menelaus – (the story of which has been  literally flogged to death by Hollywood movies even as late as 2011!) just like the Hindu Epic Ramayana war was  triggered by the Lankan scholarly, 10-headed, Rakshash King Raavan abducting Sita, the beatiful queen of Ayodhya King-in-exile Sri Rama], and authored the two ancient Greek epics, Iliad and Odyssey,]} mentions Mythological Agamede (c. twelfth century BC), also called Perimede, as a great Greek woman physician of yore – a Princess by birth in Elis to Epeans’ King Augeas, Queen by marriage to the warrior king Mulius and Queen-mother by bearing the heroic trio Belus, Actor, and Dictys. She was acquainted with the healing powers of all the plants that grow upon the earth.

All good things come to an end – often a gory end, you know! By the Hellenistic period (c. 4th to 1st centuries BC), Agamede had become a sorceress(Satanic Witch)-figure,  much like Titan minor goddesses of magic Hecate,Circe, Medea and the like!

After all in ancient medicine (and even today in African Voodoo medicine,  some types of Alternative medicine etc., all over the world) the dividing line between medicine and mysticism was very very thin and tenuous and faith-healing played a major role!

Among ancient Greek women physicians, after Mythological Agamede and apocryphal Agnodike, came Phaenarete from Acharnai in Attica who was the mother of the Greek philosopher Socrates (469–399 B.C.).The name Phaenarete means “She who brings virtue to light”. She was both a midwife (maia) and a doctor (iatros).

Socrates compared his own work as a philosopher [helping his own budding philosopher-students (like Plato, who was later the teacher of Aristotle who, much later, was the teacher of Alexander the Great of Macedonia) to deliver great philosophical  concepts] with his mother’s work as a midwife [helping women to deliver children]! .

Ancient Egypt had prominent woman doctors like Peseshet  (approximately 3100 – 2100 B.C.) who was not only a physician in her own right, but was also the supervisor and administrator of an entire body of female physicians; Merit Ptah (2700 BC), described in an inscription as “chief physician” and another notable Egyptian woman who made her mark on the field of obstetrics and gynecology in the second century A.D., named Cleopatra (not the long-dead former Queen) who wrote extensively about pregnancy, childbirth, and women’s health. The last-mentioned Egyptian woman physician Cleopatra’s writings were consulted and studied for over 1000 years. 

Over to ancient woman physicians of the Roman Empire – in the next page, of course!

So long!


About Loga muthu krishnan

I am a 70 year old Neurosurgeon just started Non-Profit blogs under WordPress, Google Bloggerspot,, Facebook,, entitled "Positive Health For All" disseminating useful health information free of cost over the internet(Absolutely NO promotions of persons (including me), brands, hospitals, books etc.,). My blogs are:,,

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