Be a member
Send article with e-mail
Your e-mail *
Friend e-mail *
CAPTCHA *
CAPTCHA Code *
Refresh CAPTCHA
Comment
* required fields
Send
More
- +
by Archaeology Newsroom

“Sleep, my child, fathered by an eagle and given birth to by a young woman ”. Birth in Greek-speaking areas in the 19th and first half of the 20th century

The basis for this article is my unpublished Master’s thesis and ethnographic material. This latter, published or otherwise,comes from various parts of the Greek speaking world, namely Greece itself, Pontus, Cyprus and the Greek diaspora in general and dates from the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Although in existential terms, birth is an individual event par excellence, it was dealt with as a happening of collective importance in Greek communities of the past. If one studies the beliefs, practices, rituals and discourse regarding birth, the varied spectrum of popular concepts concerning various issues becomes apparent. These include fertility and conception, mother and child, birth and death, sickness and health, the body, gender and class, kinship and the cosmology of a community. This study presents these concepts and practices via the mother, pregnant, giving birth and as a new mother, and via the child, as embryo and new-born child. We also analyse the role of the characters who actively participate in the process of birth. These are chiefly female, namely, the midwife, who is the primary factor involved in the passage of young human from non-existence to social being, and in the passage of the mother towards the assumption of her role.