Until recently, it has generally been assumed that ancient Roman women did not figure prominently as medical doctors. Much of the reason for this view derives from the extreme obstacles and difficulties women experienced in becoming qualified as physicians in the West during the Victorian Era and the twentieth century. It is now becoming apparent among scholars that women in ancient Rome did not encounter impediments to their medical practice to the same degree as pre-modern and early modern women. Although there are few references to women doctors in Rome, those mentions treat these physicians with the same respect and honour as that accorded to their similarly deserving male colleagues (Retief, 2006).



(Freepik, 2023)


Some of the information which we are able to glean on Roman woman physicians is briefly discussed below. This essay will first outline the nature of the sources detailing woman physicians and their practices in ancient Rome. One of these sources is that written by an outstanding woman physician herself. It will then go on to discuss the two types of healing professions Roman women could practice with a focus on the medical profession. It will continue by mentioning Roman physicians’ training, and the status and privilege of respected and recognized physicians, including woman physicians, in Roman society.



(Cover adapted and personalized from Canva, 2023)