Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Noel E. Lenski


The purpose of this essay is to discuss the role of a midwife during pregnancy and delivery in the Roman Empire. I approach this topic uniquely because I chose to write a first-person narrative by creating a character for myself. I will take on the identity of a midwife named Coelia Hagne, who lived during the second century AD in a small coastal town on the Italian peninsula. I created a personality for my character as she practices gynecological medicine as a midwife. I follow the cases of four women in particular to highlight all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. Through the observations of my character, I will discuss the recommended treatments by the leading physicians for various diseases of pregnancy and insert my own opinions of their efficacy. I will discuss the standard procedural techniques in a normal delivery, the implication of unwanted children, the treatment and prevention of miscarriage, and the surgical methods of abortion. I chose to pursue a topic relating to gynecology and childbirth because it is a topic of special interest to me. I am pursuing a degree in medicine beginning in the fall of 2013. I hope to become an obstetrician after completing medical school. I wanted to unite my interest in medicine and classical studies, and therefore, chose to work on a project relating to ancient midwifery and childbirth.