Albert the Great was a German scholastic theologian whose books on theology and science during his lifetime were as influential as the work of Artistotle. A Dominican friar, Albert was among those in religious orders who were forbidden to write about medicine, not because of any ecclesiastical prejudice against medical knowledge, but because of efforts to curb avarice and absenteeism. Perhaps his only intellectual rivals of the period were St. Thomas Aquinas , who studied under Albert, and Roger Bacon. This volume contains two works purported to be a magical book: On the Secrets of Women , which is a treatise on diseases of female genitalia, and On the Virtues of Herbs, Stones meaning gemstones and Animals.

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Beware the female. Women's Secrets provides the first modern translation of the notorious treatise De secretis mulierum, popular throughout the late middle ages and into modern times. The Secrets deals with human reproduction and was written to instruct celibate medieval monks on the facts of life and some of the ways of the universe. However, the book had a much more far-reaching influence.

Lemay shows how its message that women were evil, lascivious creatures built on the misogyny of the work's Aristotelian sources and laid the groundwork for serious persecution of women.

Both the content of the treatise and the reputation of its author erroneously believed to be Albertus Magnus inspired a few medieval scholars to compose lengthy commentaries on the text, substantial selections from which are included, providing further evidence of how medieval men interpreted science and viewed the female body. Human Generation. The Secrets of Women. On the Generation of the Embryo.

On the Formation of the Fetus. On the Signs of Conception. On the Signs of Corruption of Virginity. On the Signs of Chastity. Concerning a Defect of the Womb. Concerning Impediments to Conception. On the Generation of the Sperm. Concerning the Influence of the Planets. On the Generation of Imperfect Animals. On the Exit of the Fetus from the Uterus. Concerning Monsters in Nature. Introduction Authors Dates of Composition and the Text.

Helen Rodnite Lemay , Albertus.


study of De Secretis Mulierum enlightens mystified men

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Albertus Magnus (1193?-1280)

Written in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth centuries, De Secretis Mulierum On the Secrets of Women became a highly popular text. De Secretis Mulierum is primarily a work of popularized natural philosophy. When a woman is having sexual intercourse with a man she releases her menses at the same time that the man releases sperm, and both seeds enter the vulva simultaneously and are mixed together, and then the woman conceives. Conception is said to take place, therefore, when the two seeds are received in the womb in a place that nature has chosen. And after these seeds are received, the womb closes up like a purse on every side, so that nothing can fall out of it.


Women's Secrets: A Translation of Pseudo-Albertus Magnus' de Secretis Mulierum with Commentaries

Secreta Mulierum is a manuscript from the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century frequently attributed to Albertus Magnus , although it is often thought to be more likely written by one of his followers. Drawing on Hippocratic, Galenic, and Aristotelian theories on sex and reproduction, this narrative discusses the male scientific views of female nature in the Middle Ages and early modern period from both a medical and philosophical perspective. Over eighty manuscript copies of the treatise have been identified, and it has been translated into multiple different languages over the centuries. Owing to both the medical and philosophical nature of the text, a variety of topics are discussed by pseudo-Albert. While some of the thirteen chapters are strictly medical such as signs of conception, period of gestation, and the nature of the menses, others are largely theoretical.


Women's Secrets: A Translation of Pseudo-Albertus Magnus' De Secretis ...


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