This introductory chapter presents a new concept: that of the lactating woman, which constitutes the central theoretical framework underpinning the contents of the present volume. The chapter focusses on the ancient and early Byzantine lactating woman (1st–7th c. AD), addressing issues such as (a) types of the lactating woman, their terminology, roles, and various treatments; (b) the processes of giving birth and breastfeeding, and the medical practices and doctrines influencing and being influenced by the lactating woman’s socio-ideology; and (c) the aesthetic and other functions of literary representations of the lactating woman, which are informed by socio-ideological approaches and medical doctrines and discourses. These issues are examined within the framework of three interrelated thematic strands, delineating the structure and interdisciplinary approach of the chapter and of the volume as a whole: (a) society and ideology, (b) medicine and practice, and (c) art and literature. For discussion of each strand, the Passion of Perpetua and Felicity, in which the lactating woman takes centre stage, is used as a case study, with other sources employed for comparison and context. At the same time, connections with the volume’s other chapters are established.