TROTULA OF SALERNO
In histories of women as in histories of medicine, readers often find a passing reference to a mysterious person called Trotula of Salerno.
‘‘Trotula,’’ for whom no substantive historical evidence has ever been brought forth, is said by some to have lived in the eleventh or twelfth century and is alleged to have written the most important book on women’s medicine in medieval Europe, On the Diseases of Women (De passionibus mulierum).
She is also alleged to have been the first female professor of medicine, teaching in the southern Italian town of Salerno, which was at that time the most important center of medical learning in Europe. Other sources, however, assert that ‘‘Trotula’’ did not exist and that the work attributed to her was written by a man.