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Where did the name “cesarean section” come from?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Map of the Roman Empire from CE 117
Map of the Roman Empire from CE 117

The name of the operation – Caesarean section – is connected with Rome, where the law prohibited the burial of a pregnant woman without taking her fetus out of her womb.

The name derives from the word caedere, which means “cut/prune”. Pliny the Elder tells us that Julius Caesar was born this way. However, it is not true as Caesar’s mother died in 54 BC, what is 10 years before her son’s death.

In ancient Rome, caesarean section was performed only on pregnant women who died and was sanctioned by law (lex regia of Numa Pompilius). In the result of Caesarean section came to the world: Publius Cornelius Scipio (African) – the famous winner from Zama or Manius Manilius – Roman commander in the Third Punic War.

Sources
  • Krawczuk Aleksander, Poczet cesarzy rzymskich, Warszawa 2004

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