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Marcus Agrippa – example of breech birth

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Marcus Agrippa
Marcus Agrippa

Breech birth (a child is born with legs and buttocks facing the birth canal) has been considered dangerous since ancient times. Pliny the Elder defines those born in this way as agrippae, meaning “born with difficulty”.

Due to the many risks associated with such delivery, it is now recommended to use a “caesarean section”. In ancient Rome, such an operation was decided only in the event of the mother’s death, or probably as a last resort, when the woman’s life could no longer be saved. Due to the lack of proper sanitary conditions, the woman was dying at that time.

Interestingly, Pliny reports that the famous Roman commander and friend of Octavian AugustusMarcus Agrippa – was born in the buttock manner – who was one of the few who managed to spend his life favourably. As Pliny points out, however, something else can be said about his descendants, since both the grandson Caligula and the great-grandson Nero turned out to be unbalanced.

  • Pliny the Elder Natural history, VII.6

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