Cesarean Section History
From Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, 1506 woodcut Have you ever wonder where does the Cesarean Section originated? Well, man...
|From Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, 1506 woodcut|
Caesar could not be born this way because at the time the procedure was performed only on dead women, and his mother died ten years before Caesar's murder in the Senate.
(Photo above: One of the earliest printed illustrations of Cesarean section. Purportedly the birth of Julius Caesar. A live infant being surgically removed from a dead woman.)
According to historians, this procedure was first performed long before Rome emerged on the map of the world. There is evidence that Cesarean Sections were performed in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and ancient Greece. According to ancient Greek myths, this was the way some of the heroes and even gods, such as Dionysus, were born. However, in those days, this procedure was not performed to save the lives of mothers and children, and only dying pregnant women were operated on.
The surgery was performed not for medical but religious purposes. In those days it was believed that a child that died in the womb and was buried alongside with it would become an evil spirit, preventing normal delivery of other women. The Greeks also believed that such children were later taken by Lamia - the inhabitants of Hades who would get to the surface at night to steal babies.
The extraction of Asclepius from the abdomen of his mother Coronis by his father Apollo. Woodcut from the 1549 edition of Alessandro Beneditti's De Re Medica.