Tag Archives: europe

Family Limitation in the Pre-Modern World

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In the wake of the Global Gag Rule that the U.S. President just issued in his first week in office, there is really no better time to start talking about the history of family limitation in all of its iterations across time and space – from various contraceptives invented by the ancient Egyptians to the many herbal remedies employed by midwives and women generally to “restore the menses” to a broader discussion of when and where states have attempted to control the reproductive feature of women’s bodies. This episode is just the first of many more to come addressing these very issues of women’s reproductive health and rights. Join Marissa and Averill as they dive into the wild, weird, and sometimes dangerous methods of family limitation in the pre-modern world.

Show Notes & Further Reading

Edwards,Stassa. “The History of Abortifacients.” Jezebel. 18 Nov 2014.

Biddlecom, Ann E. “Family Planning, Abortion, and Reproductive Health.” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Ritzer, George (ed). Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Brick, P. 2003. “The Encyclopedia of Birth Control, Edited by Vern L. Bullough”. JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH. 40: 315.

Hardacre, Helen. Marketing the Menacing Fetus in Japan. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 1999.

Hoffer, Peter Charles, and N. E. H. Hull. Murdering Mothers: Infanticide in England and New England, 1558-1803. New York: New York University Press, 1984.

James, Peter, and I. J. Thorpe. Ancient Inventions. 1994.

Poston, Dudley L. Fertility, Family Planning, and Population Policy in China. London: Routledge, 2006.

Riddle, John M. Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance. 1992.

Unschuld, Paul, and Jinsheng Zheng. Chinese Traditional Healing (3 Vols.) The Berlin Collections of Manuscript Volumes from the 16th Through the Early 20th Century. Leiden: BRILL, 2012

Wiesner, Merry E. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Zheng, Tiantian. Ethnographies of Prostitution in Contemporary China: Gender Relations, HIV/AIDS, and Nationalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Charlemagne’s Christmas Coronation: A Very Merry HistoryBuffs Holiday Special

Join Marissa and Katie as they journey back to Rome on Christmas Day in the year 800 for one of the most famous coronations in European history. It’s a Christmas special, HistoryBuffs style!


The life of Charlemagne in stained glass in the cathedral at Chartres. “Chartres – Vie de Charlemagne” |CC BY-SA 3.0 /Wikimedia Commons


Show Notes and Further Reading

Bones of an Emperor,” Medieval Histories, January 30, 2014.

Robert W. Dyson, “Medieval Rulers and Political Ideology” in Lansing, Carol, and Edward D. English. A Companion to the Medieval World. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Einhard’s “The Life of Charlemagne.”

Monica Fleener, “The Significance of the Coronation of Charlemagne“, December 22, 2010.

Richard E. Sullivan, ed. The Coronation of Charlemagne: What Did It Signify? Part of the Problems in European Civilization series. Boston: D.C. Heath and Co, 1959.

The Coronation of Charlemagne,” accessed via Seton Hall University.


Charlemagne’s throne in the Cathedral at Aachen. |CC BY-SA 3.0 /Wikimedia Commons.

Choir music: Public domain choir recording Unus Ex Discipulis Meis found at the Free Music Archive.

Feature image: Claudius Jaquand, “Lors de l’ exposition Sacres Royaux, de Louis XIII à Charles”  |CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons.