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Cuvier’s History of the Natural Sciences

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Georges Cuvier

1. Early Sixteenth-century Anatomists and Zoologists

1. The Early Anatomists, Successors to Galen

Texte intégral

Dissection of human cadaver
Frontispice from Vesalius’ Humani corporis fabrica libri septem... (1543). Cliché Bibliothèque centrale, MNHN.

1Messieurs,

2In the first part of this course, we studied the history of the natural sciences in Antiquity and the Middle Ages; we looked at its different phases and its progress throughout the political movements that occurred during the initial periods of its existence.

  • 1 [See Volume 1, Lessons 7 and 8.]
  • 2 [See Volume 1, Lesson 9.]

3Initially, the natural sciences were kept secret by priests within the walls of temples, or presented with symbols that only priests could decipher. Later developed in Greece by philosophers who had studied them in India and then in Egypt, the natural sciences reached their highest level of study by Aristotle1 and Theophrastus.2 The events that ruined Greece and made Egypt a Roman province permanently brought the natural sciences to Rome. Once there, however, they did not progress very much. Not long after they began to flourish, the despotism of emperors, and civil wars that erupted in relation to the succession to the empire, put a halt to their development. Thus, both the sciences and humanities fell into great decadence, even before the invasion of the barbarians put the final blow to their progress.

  • 3 [Charlemagne, also called Carolus Magnus or Charles the Great (born 2 April, probably in 742; died (...)
  • 4 [Saint Photius (born c. 820, Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey; died probably 6 February 891, B (...)

4After this major event, the natural sciences had to be born again, to develop and expand again, with almost as much difficulty as during Antiquity. Little by little, however, they regained power —first, thanks to Charlemagne’s3 efforts, then thanks to more frequent communication with the Moors from Spain, the only ones in the West who kept alive the tradition of studying the natural sciences. Later on, during the Crusades, the natural sciences continued to benefit from more communication with the Arabs from the East, and with the Greeks from Byzantium, with whom all contacts had stopped long ago as a result of the schism of Photius.4 In addition to these events that helped the natural sciences develop again, the establishment of universities, of mendicant orders mostly dedicated to education, and several inventions that changed the face of the world, such as gunpowder, the compass, alcohol, and a few other chemical discoveries, all contributed to their expansion. The fifteenth century is when the greatest progress began, thanks to significant discoveries that occurred at that time. The first one was printing, which occurred at the same time as the discovery of engraving. Printing was as important to the humanities as engraving was to the natural sciences.

5The takeover of Constantinople, which brought back to Western civilizations what was left from Antiquity in Byzantium —an event even more beneficial to progress, since the invention of printing allowed for the dissemination of these treasures; the discovery of a new route to India; the discovery of America; and the freedom of thought and writing, which was the result of religious battles, are the main events from the sixteenth century that led the way to the movements that took place in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Indeed, during these centuries, the natural sciences never stopped expanding to reach the point they have attained today and toward higher destinies that are soon to come, without a doubt. Our study will focus on the latter period, the one that covers the past three centuries.

6As it was easy to predict, the number of authors is much greater than in the past. Before the invention of printing, it was very difficult to produce books in large quantities; those that were written were smaller than the ones we have today because it would have been impossible at that time to copy voluminous books as we do now. It was also difficult to preserve them; today, books are imperishable.

7Thus, I will not be able to prepare my syllabus as I did for the study of past centuries. For the study of the centuries to come, I will have to choose among the countless number of books that were preserved during the past three centuries that we are going to study. I will only take into consideration those that included discoveries, and those that are worth mentioning in the history of the sciences; I will not refer to those that do nothing but repeat already known facts. Editors, who were so critical when original authors did not exist, do not deserve the same interest, now that we have access to original authors. I will also follow a more defined organization in my presentation of the different sciences. In the beginning of philosophy, a single person could know everything about all sciences. Indeed, because not much detail was known about each, they were not divided as they are today and a scholar with a well-rounded intellect could embrace the whole.

8Today, such universal science is absolutely impossible. There is no man on earth who could embrace with detail and precision the whole spectrum of the natural sciences. I would even add that we are reaching a time when each of these sciences will have to be subdivided; some of which already have: zoology, for example, whose subdivisions are so numerous and cover so many different topics that it is impossible for one person to know everything about it. It is possible to know the main principles, the general rules, but as far as details are concerned, it requires experts, men specialized in only one branch of this vast science, to help expand it, make discoveries, or present it under a new point of view. Thus, I now have to divide the sciences. The division that seems to be the simplest and the most practical is the following: Anatomy, Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, and Chemistry. Some of these sciences will also need further subdivisions.

  • 5 [See Volume 1, Lesson 16.]

9Among these five branches, Anatomy is the one that has always remained actively studied because of its direct usefulness. We saw in the Roman Empire that when there were no more good orators, when poets were mediocre, and when there was no longer a naturalist worth being called a naturalist, there were still anatomists, including one of the most famous and renowned from Antiquity, the immortal Galen.5 The same is happening in modern times; anatomy is the first science that was studied with success after the rebirth of the humanities. Its relationship to medicine makes it a more useful science than the other sciences —somewhat considered like luxury sciences— which justifies its success.

10Zoology is a mere product of anatomy since the study of animals is but the repetition of the physical study of man. It involves the same mechanisms, of course with some modifications and reductions, but the history of animals is still a development of the physical history of the human species. Thus, zoology and anatomy are intimately related. Botany also has strong links with anatomy: we find in it several laws related to life and organization. Botany has always been studied by more people than zoology because it was considered more useful than zoology.

  • 6 [Rosicrucianism, the theological doctrine that venerates the rose and the cross as symbols of Chri (...)

11Mineralogy, also very useful, reappeared as a scientific subject after the Renaissance. During the Middle Ages, mineralogy was only found in mining operations. Chemistry, another science useful to the study of minerals, was always kept secret, as were the sciences at their beginning when they were only known by priests from Egypt and India. Alchemists and members of Rosicrucianism6 kept their knowledge secret or used codes that were very difficult to decipher, and symbols to disseminate their knowledge. This is, messieurs, the organization that I will follow in the presentation of my course. I will go this year as far as time will allow.

  • 7 [Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Cres (...)

12I will now start with the history of anatomy. You saw that during the Middle Ages, anatomy was only studied by Galen. The Arabs who studied different branches related to medicine such as botany —with regards to its relationship with the science of medicine— did not progress much in medicine itself because their religion forbade them to touch cadavers, probably even more drastically than the religion of the Greeks and the Romans forbade them to. Thus, what they did was only translate Galen into Syriac7 and then into Arabic. What they transmitted to Europeans was Galen’s anatomy in its Arabic translation since they failed to keep a Greek copy of Galen’s book.

  • 8 [Frederick II (born 26 December 1194, Jesi, Ancona, Papal States; died 13 December 1250, Castel Fi (...)
  • 9 [Mondino del Luzzi, also called Raimondino dei Liucci, or Mundinus (born c. 1270, Bologna, Italy; (...)
  • 10 Until now, we thought that he had only dissected two female bodies [M. de St.-Agy].
  • 11 [The first printed edition of Mondino’s handbook or manual was the Anathomia, Padua: Petrus Maufer (...)
  • 12 [Latin for “wonderful net,” plural retia mirabilia, a term coined by Galen (see Volume 1, Lesson 1 (...)

13Emperor Frederick II8 was the first to request that dissections be performed. He ordered several schools of his kingdom and of his different states, in particular in Salerno, to conduct at least one dissection of a cadaver a year. It was the only anatomical exercise performed at that time; in fact, it required a papal bull to authorize the dissection of human bodies. Indeed, the pope was the only one who could authorize a school of medicine to study anatomy. We know that in 1482, almost at the end of the fifteenth century, Tubingen University had to request and be granted such a papal bull. Such requirements guaranteed that progress in medicine would be slow. Thus, at that time, only one individual was authorized by law. Professors in medicine were obligated to read the treatise of Mundinus9 who lived in Bologna in the fourteenth century. Mundinus became professor at the University of Bologna in 1315 and died in 1326. During these eleven years, he dissected only three bodies,10 two females and one male. This is the extent of his anatomical studies. His treatise is also based largely on Arab authors; he even uses their terminology to name some parts of the human body. All the Barbarian names that he uses in his handbook11 are proof that the little he knew about anatomy did not come from the Greeks or the Romans, but from the Arabs, the only ones who professed medicine, either in their own schools or in the Christian states —you will notice that the Christian princes had Jewish doctors who had studied in the Arab schools of Spain. However, Mundinus’s work is not entirely copied from previous studies; this anatomist made some observations that were not in Galen’s work, or that were better presented. For example, he does not agree with the rete mirabile12 as it was presented by ancient authors. He also gives some corrections on the muscles of the eye and on other points that, while not very important, prove that he had made such observations by himself. However, his physiology is still very archaic. He states that the heart is of a pyramidal shape because it is the shape of fire, thus this shape should belong to the organ that contains the most heat, acting as the central part of the body that spreads heat all over the body. His myology is pitiful, which is no surprise considering that he used one of the bodies to create a skeleton while the other two were dried out in an oven, these being the only bodies he used to make his observations. Nevertheless, Mundinus’s book was considered the standard reference in anatomy, and used for more than a century.

  • 13 [Zerbis, better known as Gabriello Falloppio, Fallopia, or Fallopius, one of the most illustrious (...)
  • 14 [Zerbis, Liber anatomiae corporis humani et singulorum membrorum illius, Venice: [s. n.], 1502, th (...)
  • 15 Haller [see note 16, below] also says that Zerbis [i.e., Gabriello Falloppio or Fallopius] was a m (...)
  • 16 [Albrecht von Haller (born 16 October 1708, Bern; died 12 December 1777, Bern), Swiss biologist, t (...)
  • 17 [The olfactory nerve, or cranial nerve I, which mediates the sense of smell, is the first of twelv (...)

14In the beginning of the century that we are now studying, critics of Mundinus published a few works. Gabriel of Zerbis,13 professor in Padua and Rome, wrote, in 1502, Liber anatomiae corporis humani et singulorum membrorum illius.14 Zerbis had a violent personality and behaved badly during his life. First a monk,15 he left his convent, became a thief, and was then sent to Turkey by the Republic of Venice to heal a Pasha who had asked for him; but in spite of Zerbis’s efforts to save the Pasha’s life, the Pasha died and Zerbis was then executed. His book is written in such bad Latin that Haller16 could not stand its reading. He uses the same Arabic terminology as Mundinus. However, he describes several new observations: his descriptions of the Fallopian tubes and the uterus are somewhat better than what had been done before. He also was the first to mention the first pair of nerves that the ancients believed was a conduit from the brain to the nose.17

  • 18 [Alessandro Achillini (born 29 October 1463, Bologna, Papal States; died 2 August 1512, Bologna) w (...)
  • 19 [Expliciunt anatomicae annotationes Magni Alex. Achillini Boron. Editae per euius fratrem Philoteu (...)
  • 20 [De humani corporis anatomia, published by Antonium & de Sabio in 1521.]
  • 21 [The pathetic or trochlear nerve, cranial nerve IV, innervates the superior oblique or pathetic mu (...)
  • 22 [The fornix, ventricles, and infundibulum, in this case, all parts of the human brain.]
  • 23 [Wharton’s duct, or submandibular duct, one of the salivary ducts that drains the submandibular gl (...)
  • 24 [Carpus, a series of seven, sometimes eight, bones that connect the hand to the forearm in human a (...)

15More progress is noticeable in the works of Alessandro Achillini,18 a professor from Bologna who taught at the University of Bologna from 1500 to 1512. His work is a translation of Mundinus called Annotationes anatomicae in Mundinum.19 He wrote another book, De humani corporis anatomia.20 He was more fortunate than his predecessors because he had access to several human bodies for dissection; thus, we find noticeable improvements in his descriptions of the human body. He discovered the pathetic nerve of the fourth pair;21 he also described with accuracy the fornix, the true shape of the ventricles, and the infundibulum.22 Several of these elements have since been considered as new discoveries for lack of studies of such old works. Achillini also described the anvil and the hammer, two small bones of the middle ear; the heart valves; and the excretory duct of the sub-maxillary gland, named after Wharton for his very accurate description in his unique work Adenographia, sive glandularum totius corporis descriptio,23 though it was already described in Achillini’s book. At that time, bones of the human body were not well known; Achillini, for example, sometimes says that the carpus24 has five bones and sometimes that it has seven. Nevertheless, Achillini is a remarkable author for his never-before published observations, which are better presented than most of those who followed him.

  • 25 [Jacopo Berenger is Jacopo Berengario da Carpi, also known as Jacobus Berengarius Carpensis, Jacop (...)
  • 26 [Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum.(...)
  • 27 Two Spanish men affected by syphilis made this accusation. [Apparently for this reason] Berenger [ (...)
  • 28 [Herophilus (born c. 335 B.C., Chalcedon, Bithynia; died c. 280), Alexandrian physician who was an (...)

16The most famous author of this time is Jacopo Berenger25 from Capri in the Province of Modena. He was a professor in Bologna from 1502 to 1527. He is famous, especially in medicine, for being one of the first to use mercury to heal a contagious disease that first appeared at that time on the old continent.26 He lived a rather adventurous life, like all scholars, artists, and men of the humanities of that time, when life in Italy was terribly corrupt in every way. He was exiled and fled to Ferrara, where he died in 1530. He dissected more than a hundred bodies. This is quite a remarkable number because of how rare it was at that time. People came to Bologna from all over Europe to observe such a large number of cadavers. What is common almost everywhere today, except in England, was possible at that time in only very few places. Berenger was accused of dissecting people alive,27 like Herophilus,28 who was also accused in Antiquity of the same crime, with the same lack of evidence; but these are fables that popular superstition loves to spread.

  • 29 This network seems aimed at minimizing the effect of blood on the brain [M. de St.-Agy]. [See Bere (...)
  • 30 [Tarsus, a cluster of seven articulating bones in the foot of tetrapod animals, situated between t (...)
  • 31 One of the great French painters, [Anne-Louis] Girodet-Trioson [also Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-T (...)

17Jacopo Berenger from Capri wrote a book called Carpi commentarius cum amplissimis additionibus super Anatomia Mundini, Bologne, 1521, in-quarto. This work is also a commentary on Mundinus whose work was still the standard reference textbook on anatomy. He also wrote in 1524 a small book called Isagoge breves in anatomia corporis humani cum aliquot figures anatomicos. In both books, he presents real discoveries. He describes very well the thymus, the caecum appendix, the arytenoid cartilages of the larynx, the papillae of the kidneys, and the spinal cord. We also owe him the observation that the rete mirabile formed by the network of blood vessels when they reach the brain of mammals, among others, does not exist in humans,29 which is a very important point since this characteristic only proves that man is meant to walk standing. He was also the first one to prove that the human uterus has only one cavity. He also complemented his work with some basic engravings on wood that did not exist in his predecessors’s work. The one of the tarsus30 is acceptable, but those of the skinned body parts are so basic that we would barely look at them today. However, they were the first examples of anatomical art. This science then became excited about the progress in painting and sculpture, which both needed knowledge of anatomy. Thus, from then on, painters who later became masters to Michelangelo, Raphael, and several others started to study anatomy. Of all the artists of the sixteenth century, Michelangelo was the one to take it the most seriously, to study it in more depth, and to use it the most in his work. Perhaps he went a little bit too far in his desire to show off his knowledge in this regard;31 some of his drawings show him while dissecting with his students.

  • 32 [Marcus Antonius Turrianus or Marcantonio della Torre (born 1481, Verona; died of the plague, 1511 (...)
  • 33 [Albrecht Durer (born 21 May 1471, Nuremberg; died 6 April 1528, Nuremberg), celebrated German pai (...)
  • 34 [De symmetria partium corporis humani, Nuremberg: [s. n.], 1532, 122 fol.]

18Leonardo da Vinci studied anatomy with a professor of Padua named Antonio Turrianus32 who hired him to make drawings that he used in his classes. The first person to draw human figures was a German from Magdeburg. Art at that time flourished almost as much in Germany as in Italy until wars in Germany put an end to it. Albrecht Dürer from Nuremberg,33 great engraver and painter from the time of Michelangelo and Raphael, was one of the major artists of that time; he zealously worked on anatomy and authored De symmetria partium corporis humani.34 This book, the first picturesque book on anatomy to be done with talent, has been reprinted many times.

  • 35 We wonder about this passion for anatomy and its development in a country in which the heat causes (...)

19Thus, you can appreciate the first efforts of Italian artists in anatomy. This science was studied more in this country than in the others.35 Italy benefited from the same efforts, both in the arts and humanities, and was ahead of all western countries.

  • 36 [Guy de Chauliac or Guigonis de Caulhaco (born about 1300, Chaulhac, Lozere, France; died 25 July (...)
  • 37 [The Avignon Papacy was a period from 1309 to 1378, during which seven successive popes resided in (...)

20Anatomy, which is such a useful science, was also one of the first of the sciences to spread to other nations. Guy de Chauliac,36 surgeon to the Popes of Avignon37 in the fourteenth century and author of a work on surgery, produced in 1363, based his book only on Mundinus.

  • 38 [Guinther, Guinter, or Guinterius is Johann Winter (Johannes Winther) von Andernach (born 1505, An (...)
  • 39 [Francis I (born 12 September 1494, Château de Cognac, France; died 31 March 1547, Château de Ramb (...)
  • 40 [Ferdinand I (born 10 March 1503, Alcalá de Henares, Spain; died 25 July 1564, Vienna), Holy Roman (...)
  • 41 [Jacobus Sylvius (born 1478, Loeuilly, near Amiens; died 14 January 1555, Paris), also known as Ja (...)
  • 42 [Guillaume Rondelet, also known as Rondeletus or Rondeletius (born 27 September 1507, Montpellier; (...)
  • 43 [Falloppio, see note 13, above; and Lesson 2, below.]
  • 44 [Michael Servetus, also known as Miguel Servet, Miguel Serveto, Revés, or Michel de Villeneuve (bo (...)
  • 45 [Andreas Vesalius (born 31 December 1514, Brussels; died 15 October 1564, Zakynthos, Venetian Ioni (...)
  • 46 [Servetus participated in the Protestant Reformation, and later developed a non-trinitarian Christ (...)
  • 47 [Anatomicarum institutionum secundum Galeni sententiam, libri quator, published in Basel in 1536 b (...)

21One of the first scholars to come to Paris to teach anatomy was a German, born in Andernach on the Rhine in 1487, named Guinther.38 He studied in different German universities, was professor of Greek in Louvain, and became Doctor of Medicine in Paris in 1530. He was principal physician to King Francis I39 in 1535 and was ennobled under Emperor Ferdinand I.40 He was the master of all the great anatomists who helped develop this science much further than those we just briefly mentioned, because the first endeavors in terms of anatomical art were not significant. Guinther’s students in Paris included Sylvius,41 Rondelet,42 Falloppio,43 Servetus,44 and almost all of the other major anatomists of the sixteenth century. He dissected more animals than humans because, at that time, it was rather difficult to obtain human bodies. It is said that he did not dissect with his own hands but that he had prosectors working for him. Two of them became famous, Vesalius45 and Servetus. Vesalius acquired a solid reputation; Servetus could have attained the same level of fame if his theological disagreements had not led him to a tragic end, thus cutting short his contributions to science.46 Guinther wrote a book called Anatomicarum institutionum secundum Galeni sententiam, libri quator.47 Until then, anatomists had only commented on Mundinus who himself had not done anything more than transmit Arab knowledge. Guinther, who started his career by studying Greek, investigated anatomy directly from the texts of the Ancients. He studied Galen’s anatomy in Galen’s texts. Since at that time, the authority of the Ancients won over empirical observation—and we will see later that this bias lasted over the whole period of the sixteenth century—Guinther annotated Galen rather than Mundinus. A first edition was published in Basel in 1536 followed by a second edition in 1558 in Padua, edited with Vesalius’s additions and corrections.

  • 48 [Gaspar Azelius, professor of anatomy at Pavia, who in 1622 was the first to describe lacteals, th (...)
  • 49 [Bartolomeo Eustachi, see Lesson 2, below.]

22This book is a concise handbook of Galen, explained after nature, if I may say so. The book even features new discoveries that were later credited to some of his successors. For example, the coagulation of the organs of the mesentery in carnivorous animals, for example in dogs, was called Azelius pancreas because of Azelius’s description,48 while it was actually already known by Guinther. This anatomist died in 1574 at the age of 87. As I mentioned earlier, his main students included Miguel Servetus, Charles Estienne, Jacobus Sylvius, Andreas Vesalius, Eustachius49 and Falloppio. All these men contributed to progress in anatomy and are some of the most significant authors in this science. Yet the first three are probably not as significant as the last three who were the real founding fathers of this science and who can even be called the great triumvirs of human anatomy of the sixteenth century. They made many observations of human body parts that do not require too much refined procedures. Before we talk about them, let us talk about the history of their colleagues.

  • 50 [Christoph Wertwein, Archbishop of Vienna from 1552 to 1553.]
  • 51 [John Calvin, originally Jehan Cauvin (born 10 July 1509, Noyon in the Picardy region of France; d (...)
  • 52 [Christianismi restitution, Vienna: printed by Baltasar Arnoullet, 1553, in-8°, in which Servetus (...)
  • 53 [William Harvey, see Lesson 2, below.]
  • 54 [Nemesius of Emesa (fl. 4th century A.D.), Christian philosopher, apologist, and bishop of Emesa ( (...)
  • 55 [The Duke of Vallière is Louis César de La Baume Le Blanc, Duc de Vaujours, Duc de La Vallière (bo (...)

23Miguel Servetus was a Spaniard from Villa-Nueva in the Kingdom of Aragon. He was born in 1509. From a young age, he showed interest in theology, which was at that time a very dangerous topic to talk about. He claimed he was a non-trinitarian. Persecuted by the Inquisition, he left Spain and went to Paris to study medicine. He taught mathematics to make a living. Then he traveled to southern France without any specific goal in mind. He worked in diverse occupations such as physician, and proofreader for a printer in Lyon. In 1553, he became personal physician to the Archbishop of Vienna50 in the Dauphine province of France. As an ardent dogmatizer of his anti-trinitarian theory, he was attracted to Geneva by Calvin.51 Later, Calvin denounced him to the Inquisition and poor Servetus was burned at the stake in 1553. Calvin’s act is a dark episode in the life of this reformer that cannot be erased. A book written by Servetus that was in print at the time of his execution called Christianismi restitutio was also burned.52 Two copies survived; they include a very important observation in physiology related to pulmonary circulation. This physiological phenomenon is described in a very detailed way. It does not talk about blood circulation as a whole, which was discovered one hundred years later by Harvey53 and which will conclude the period of our study, but it asserts that blood goes through the lungs, that during its passage through the lungs, blood is cleaned of its gross impurities, modified by air, then attracted by the heart. In this description, we can recognize rather well the pulmonary circulation; we could even find in this description the process of respiration, such as it is known today. It is believed that this description was borrowed from a book called Physiologia, written by Nemesius, a Greek bishop,54 and included in Servetus’s book, Christianismi restitutio. One of the two copies that survived the stake was auctioned to the Duke of Vallière55 for seven or eight thousand francs. The idea that Servetus based his theory on Nemesius is even more plausible since Physiologia was printed while Servetus was proofreader at the printing company in Lyon. However, if this description is indeed in Physiologia, it is very obscure since I have not been able to find it. Servetus deserves our attention only because of his description of the pulmonary circulation. His life belongs indeed to ecclesiastical history.

  • 56 [Estienne or Étienne, a family of Parisian and Genevan publishers and printers of the sixteenth an (...)
  • 57 [De dissectione partium corporis humani libri tres, un cum figuris, & incisionum declarationibus, (...)
  • 58 The excess care and attention they brought to their art was to the detriment of their business [M. (...)

24Charles Estienne is another student of Guinther. He belonged to the famous family of printers that bear the same family name, and who have produced four or five very famous printers as well as scholars.56 Let us not talk about Robert or Henry Estienne who were both printers and who printed precious books. We will only talk today about the one who was a physician, Charles Estienne. He wrote a book called De dissectione partium corporis humani57 that was printed by one of his family members. The same book also exists in French under the title La dissection des parties du corps humain (Dissection of human body parts). The book was printed in 1536 but its publication was delayed until 1546 because of several unfortunate events that hit the Estienne family, either due to religious persecutions that hit almost all of the Christian world, or due to their business that was never very prosperous,58 which sent them to either exile or to jail.

  • 59 [The meibomian glands (or tarsal glands) are a special kind of sebaceous gland located at the rim (...)
  • 60 [The panicle, a fleshy subcutaneous muscle of the eye of some quadrupeds, which serves to contract (...)

25By then Vesalius had already published his work, which is superior to Estienne’s book. The fact that Estienne’s book does not include many new observations not already in Vesalius might be surprising, but the above explanation about the reasons for the delay in Estienne’s publication explains why. Charles did a better job than his predecessors at illustrating muscles, eyes, arteries, organs, etc., but his figures are whole representations, thus details are almost impossible to identify. The eye is presented separately. However, this book is based on natural observations and very respectable for its time. It includes new elements such as the description of inter-articular cartilages, synovial and pineal glands, as well as the Meibomian glands, named after Meibomius because of his very detailed description.59 Charles corrected Galen on the seventh muscle of the eye, which exists in animals but not in humans; on the fleshy panicle,60 and other elements of anatomy. As I said, this book is worth our respect, though today it only belongs to the history of science.

  • 61 [Sylvius, see note 41, above.]
  • 62 [Hippocrates, see Volume 1, Lesson 5, note 36.]
  • 63 [Jean François Fernel (Latin, Fernelius) (born 1497, Montdidier, northern France; died 26 April 15 (...)
  • 64 [See Lesson 2, below.]
  • 65 [In Hippocratis et Galieni physiologiae partem anatomicam isagoge, Basel: Iacobi Derbilley, 1556.]

26A more famous professor was Jacques Dubois, native of Amiens, also known as Sylvius;61 he was one of Guinther’s first students and thus became master to several of those who also had Guinther for a teacher. He became very famous in Paris starting in 1531. He was the first to interpret the original works of Hippocrates62 and Galen, not only in anatomy but also in medicine. It is said that four hundred students listened to his lectures, while Fernel63 who was more famous than he had only between fifteen and twenty. Sylvius only became professor in 1550, after Vidius’s death, another scholar who we will soon discuss.64 Until then, he was only a private tutor. His book, called Isagoge in libros Hippocratis et Galieni,65 is a commentary on the Ancients. He was the first one to give names to muscles. Galen described human muscles but he designated them as number one, two, and three of the leg and of the arm, which was rather impractical to memorize.

  • 66 [Hieronymus Fabricius or Girolamo Fabrizio or by his Latin name Fabricius ab Aquapendente, also Gi (...)

27Dubois (also known as Sylvius) gave actual names to muscles; he also made many discoveries. He was the first one to notice that the scrotum is an extension of the perineum. He also found that the vena cava originated in the heart. For a long time, even after his discovery, it was believed that the vena cava was in the liver. He also described the valves of the blood vessels, which were later described with more precision by Fabricius d’Aquapendente,66 and led to the discovery of blood circulation by Harvey. The valves of the blood vessels had already been observed by Sylvius but remained an isolated discovery because his successors did not further investigate it with the attention it deserved. It often happens in science when a first discovery is not immediately followed by a second discovery because links and relations between elements are not noticed initially, yet seem so obvious and simple once known.

  • 67 [Adriaan van den Spiegel, Latin Adrianus Spigelius (born 1578, Brussels; died 7 April 1625, Padua) (...)
  • 68 [Commentarius in Claudii Galieni de ossibus ad Tyrones labellum, erroribus quamplurimis tam Graeci (...)
  • 69 [George Buchanan (born February 1506, Killearn, Scotland; died 28 September 1582, Edinburgh), a Sc (...)

28Sylvius also described the vermiform appendix of the caecum and the small lobe of the liver, named the Spiegel lobe, although Spiegel came to science sixty years after Sylvius.67 These isagoges were only printed after his death in 1555. He wrote another book titled Librorum Galieni de ossibus commentarium,68 also published posthumously, in 1561. There was a question at that time whether Galen had described the human body or that of animals. Galen does not mention anywhere that he studied the human body. Because he was respected by all physicians, nobody wanted to admit that he had studied only animals. Vesalius was the only one to assert the truth, against what all doctors from Europe had said. When Sylvius, who was Vesalius’s former teacher, heard this accusation, he defended Galen with harshness and an extraordinary violence. Everybody knows the rude environment of literary debates of that time; the rudeness of debates among anatomists was no better. Sylvius’s harshness was absolutely terrible. He is said to have had a very somber and sour personality. He is also said to have been very selfish; his selfishness was the origin of Buchanan’s couplet, which caused him to be thrown out of the church the day of Sylvius’s burial:69

  • 70 [Buchanan’s epigram describing Sylvius (i.e., Dubois) translates as follows: “Here lies Dubois, wh (...)

Sylvius hic situs est gratis qui nil dedit unquam,
Mortuus et gratis quod legis ista dolet.
70

  • 71 [Fernel, see note 63, above.]
  • 72 [Maximilian I (born 22 March 1459, Wiener Neustadt, Austria; died 12 January 1519, Wels, Austria), (...)
  • 73 He spent many days and nights among cadavers, either at the Cemetery of the Innocents, which has s (...)
  • 74 [Charles V (born 24 February 1500, Ghent, Flanders; died 21 September 1558, Yuste, Spain) ruler of (...)
  • 75 [Francis I, see note 39, above.]

29Among all the anatomists of that time, the most important was Andreas Vesalius, born in Brussels on 31 December 1514. Vesalius was a student of Guinther, Sylvius, and Fernel.71 His father was apothecary to Emperor Maximilian;72 his ancestors and several of his relatives were doctors; their name came from the town of Wesel, in the Duchy of Clèves where they were from. Vesalius studied humanities and Greek philosophy in the town of Louvain. Then he went to Montpellier where he studied medicine. Montpellier at that time was famous for its knowledge of medicine brought by the Arabs and developed by the Ancients. Then he went to Paris to study further with Guinther who was a compatriot and for whom he worked as prosector. At the age of twenty-two, he discovered the spermatic cord. He ran huge risks by going to cemeteries and other sinister places73 to get cadavers. He was called to Louvain in 1536 where Emperor Charles V74 made him first physician to his army during the wars he led in Picardie and Provence against Francis I.75 Shortly afterwards, he retired in Venice where he published in 1539 a few plates on anatomy. The Republic of Venice named him Professor in Padua. In the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century, the University of Padua was the main school of medicine that hosted very important masters; Vesalius was one of the most famous. He taught there from 1540 to 1549.

  • 76 The Grand Anatomy is Vesalius’s seven-volume textbook of human anatomy “On the fabric of the human (...)
  • 77 [In 1543, Vesalius conducted a public dissection of the body of Jakob Karrer von Gebweiler, a noto (...)
  • 78 Both of his famous editors, [Herman] Boerhaave [born 31 December 1668, died 23 September 1738; a w (...)

30Then Vesalius went first to Bologna and then to Pisa. He wrote the first edition of his book Grand Anatomy in 1543 and published it in Basel,76 which was at that time the most successful town for printing. His foreword, written in 1542, remained original when he published his first edition. A second edition in 1555 is almost a repetition of the first. This masterpiece is the work of a twenty-eight year old man. The plates were engraved in wood in Italy after remarkable drawings. The sixteenth century remains the century with the largest number of artists. In Italy, it is the era of Titian, Raphael, and all the great masters. It is said that Vesalius’s plates were designed by Titian. If this is not the case, these plates are definitely the work of one of the most distinguished students of Titian. I doubt that even today there might exist any plate more beautiful than these, artistically speaking; there might be some better represented in terms of details or better completed; but more artistic, as I said earlier, I doubt there are any. They were sent to him in Basel as soon as they were finished in Italy. He went to Basel to take care of the second edition of his book. While he stayed there, he made a skeleton that he gave to the University of Basel that was kept there for a long time. I do not know if they still have it as testimony of the course that this great anatomist gave at this school.77 His 1555, second edition was not much different from the first edition. Maybe it is because during that time he was first physician to Emperor Charles V and he did not have much time left to study anatomy. He followed the emperor to Spain where he was residing when Falloppio’s books, who criticized him, were published. The study of anatomy was so underdeveloped in Spain that he did not even find a human skull in the whole town of Madrid. He gave his lectures from memory.78

  • 79 We can imagine that one of the spectators, bent over and taking support on the cadaver, caused blo (...)

31He experienced at that time a very unfortunate accident: he was opening up the body of a gentleman who was one of his patients in order to find out the cause of his death, when, while opening the chest, he saw that the man’s heart was still beating.79 It was such a horrifying event that Vesalius was then prosecuted for dissecting a living man. The Inquisition investigated the event; he was saved from a death sentence, but he was condemned to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Thus, he went to Jerusalem but was soon called back by the Republic of Venice to replace Falloppio in Padua who had died in 1562. On his way back from the Holy Land, his ship capsized near the Island of Zante, where he starved to death at the age of fifty.

  • 80 [“On the fabric of the human body,” see note 76, above.]

32This is how the famous Vesalius’s life ended. The years he spent studying did not last as long as his life; his scholarship ended at the age of twenty-eight. By then he had written De humani corporis fabrica, divided into seven books.80 The first book describes bones —its illustrations are excellent. Vesalius refutes Galen all along; since his study was based on his actual observations, it was easy while comparing his observations to the treatise written by the famous physician of Pergamum to notice that Galen had not described human bones. Thus, he proves that when Galen described the incisive bone in the jaw as a distinct bone, he was describing features of animals since in humans the roots of the canine and of the second incisive are not fused, not even in the fetus; maybe in the embryonic state, but it is not even sure. Galen is also obviously wrong in his descriptions of the bones of the sacrum and of the sternum.

  • 81 Winslow, is a reference to Jacob B. Winsløw, also known as Jacques-Bénigne Winslow (born 1669, Ode (...)

33Vesalius’s descriptions of the palatine and ethmoid bones are not as good as the ones we just talked about. These two bones are indeed the most difficult ones to describe. However, Vesalius rejected the error that the Ancients made when they thought that the phlegm was coming from the brain through the nose; he proved that there was no possible connection between the brain and the inside of the nose; however, this mistake was still believed long after his death. The second book of his publication is about muscles, which are better illustrated than what anatomists who preceded Winslow were able to do.81 The illustrations are very well done, but the small muscles of the larynx and of the face are not well described, because, although Vesalius harshly criticized Galen’s use of animals instead of humans, he did the same thing for small elements of the body. It is obvious for example that for the placenta he took the placenta of a dog, and he should indeed be criticized for that.

34Vesalius was the first one to mention the spinal ligaments, which can be found in book two of his work. Books three and four deal with blood vessels and nerves; he is not as good in these books as in the other ones and he would have needed more substance; however, his descriptions were very useful for that time. In book five he describes the inside of the abdomen and he talks about a few organs that he examined in animals, like the uterus and the liver; he does a better job at describing their functions than most of his predecessors. Book six is about the description of the chest and the valves of the heart. He describes their use, which should have led him to the discovery of the blood circulation. He proves that he only dissected animals because the bone he says exists in the human heart is only found in mammals and a few other quadrupeds. However, he gives the heart its actual location, which is slightly on the left and not in the middle of the thorax as it was believed. His illustrations, however, were not based on the human body.

35Book seven describes the head and the brain; he distinguishes the cortical and the medullary substances, and the posterior horn of the ventricle; he rejects the rete mirabile, and the extension of the anterior ventricle into the olfactory nerve. He shows that he knows how to restart the heartbeat by sending air in the lungs, as well as a few other physiological experiments, although his book is not specifically designed for physiology. The beauty of his illustrations made his book a work of reference as soon as it was published. The elegance of the Latin language matches the purity of the illustrations.

  • 82 [See note 86, below.]

36Vesalius’s fervent attacks against Galen, god of medicine since the Arabs, for his errors, led all physicians and anatomists of that time to hate him. We saw how his former master was publicly in disagreement with him; to prove his point, Vesalius published a book called De radice Chinae, printed in Venice in 1546.82 His defense was simple; he took all body parts that are different in humans and animals and showed that Galen’s descriptions applied only to animals. Each time the same body parts are found in both animals and humans, we cannot know what Galen used to base his descriptions since they can be described similarly, but when there are some differences between human and animal body parts, it is impossible not to see Galen’s mistake. I only gave you the example of the intermaxillary bone, but I could have given you many more. In his book, Vesalius corrected the few mistakes he had made personally. The violence he suffered from all his critics discouraged him from further arguments and discussions; he threw away and burned the notes he had prepared.

  • 83 [Falloppio (Gabriele), Observationes anatomicae. Ad Petrum Mannam medicum Cremonensem..., Venice: (...)
  • 84 [Vesalius (Andreas), Anatomicarum observationum Falopii examen, Venetiis: apud Franciscum de Franc (...)
  • 85 [Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia or Ioannis Philippi Ingrassiae (born 1510, Regalbuto, Sicily; died 158 (...)
  • 86 [Vesalis’s title, De radice Chinae (“The China root”), is a reference to] Chinchona [a genus of ab (...)

37Falloppio who succeeded Vesalius in Padua wrote a book called Observationes anatomicae in which he attacked Vesalius on a few points,83 yet in different ways than the other physicians had done in the past. He also took the defense of the Ancients in several respects. Vesalius, who was then in Spain at the court of Charles V, responded to him with a book called Anatomicarum observationum Falopii examen.84 He wrote it by memory because, as I said earlier, he could not find a human skull in the whole town. In his book he further compared Galen’s descriptions with the real objects of these descriptions and tried to prove as much as possible that Galen had only described animals. In his book he revealed several discoveries made by contemporaneous anatomists, such as the discovery of the stapes, the stirrup-shaped bone in the ear, attributed to Ingrassias, one of the most famous anatomists of that time.85 De radice Chinae86 and the examination of Falloppio’s anatomical observations are the two books Vesalius wrote to try and defend himself against the attacks of those who wanted to protect Galen. We can ascertain, however, that Vesalius’s Anatomia was the starting point of modern anatomy. Falloppio’s books and all those that followed were based on Vesalius’s work. Thus, we can say that the real human anatomy that we have been developing since then dates from Vesalius. Whatever precedes Vesalius can be considered as an object of curiosity, or an episode in the history of science, but starting with Vesalius’s work, we can date each specific discovery, expand on how every subsequent anatomist added to the discovery, and follow chronologically the different progress that science has made until now.

38In our next session, I will examine the work of Vesalius’s contemporaries, and I will follow the history of anatomy up to the discovery of the blood circulation, which puts an end to the history of Italian scholarship. Harvey, while an English native, studied mostly in Padua and his great discoveries are only the development of his master Fabricius d’Aquapendente’s discoveries.

Notes

1 [See Volume 1, Lessons 7 and 8.]

2 [See Volume 1, Lesson 9.]

3 [Charlemagne, also called Carolus Magnus or Charles the Great (born 2 April, probably in 742; died 28 January 814, Aachen, northwestern Germany), as king of the Franks (768- 814) he conquered the Lombard kingdom in Italy, subdued the Saxons, annexed Bavaria to his kingdom, fought campaigns in Spain and Hungary, and, with the exception of the Kingdom of Asturias in Spain, southern Italy, and the British Isles, united in one super-state practically all the Christian lands of western Europe. In 800, he assumed the title of emperor. (He is recognized as Charles I of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as Charles I of France.) Besides expanding its political power, he also brought about a cultural renaissance in his empire. Although this imperium survived its founder by only one generation, the medieval kingdoms of France and Germany derived all their constitutional traditions from Charles’s monarchy. Throughout medieval Europe, the person of Charles was considered the prototype of a Christian king and emperor.]

4 [Saint Photius (born c. 820, Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey; died probably 6 February 891, Bordi, Armenia; canonized in the tenth century; feast day 6 February), patriarch of Constantinople (858-867 and 877-886), defender of the autonomous traditions of his church against Rome and leading figure of the ninth-century Byzantine Renaissance. The Photian Schism was a four-year (863-867) split between the episcopal sees of Rome and Constantinople. At issue was the papal claim to jurisdiction in the East, not accusations of heresy. The schism arose largely as a struggle for ecclesiastical control of the southern Balkans and because of a personality clash between the heads of the two sees, both of whom were elected in the same year (858) and both of whose reigns ended in 867, by death in the case of the Pope, by the first of two depositions for the Patriarch. The Photian Schism thus differed from what occurred in the 11th century, when the pope’s authority as a first among equals was challenged on the grounds of having lost that authority through heresy.]

5 [See Volume 1, Lesson 16.]

6 [Rosicrucianism, the theological doctrine that venerates the rose and the cross as symbols of Christ’s Resurrection and redemption, members of which form a worldwide brotherhood claiming to possess esoteric wisdom handed down from ancient times. The name derives from the order’s symbol, a combination of a rose and a cross. The teachings of Rosicrucianism combine elements of occultism reminiscent of a variety of religious beliefs and practices. The origins of Rosicrucianism are obscure. The earliest extant document that mentions the order is the Fama Fraternitatis (“Account of the Brotherhood”), first published in 1614, which may have given the movement its initial impetus. The Fama recounts the journeys of Christian Rosenkreuz, the reputed founder of Rosicrucianism, who was allegedly born in 1378 and lived for 106 years (see Andrea (Johann Valentin), Allgemeine und General Reformation, der gantzen weiten Welt: Beneben der Fama Fraternitatis, dess Löblichen Ordens des Rosenkreutzes, an alle Gelehrte und Häupter Europae geschrieben: auch einer kurtzen Responsion, von dem Herrn Haselmeyer gestellet, welcher desswegen von den Jesuitern ist gefänglich eingezogen, und auff eine Galleren geschmiedet: itzo öffentlich in Druck verfertiget, vnd allen trewen Hertzen communiciret worden, Cassel: Wessel, 1614, 147 fol., in-8°). He is now generally regarded to have been a symbolic rather than a real character, whose story provided a legendary explanation of the order’s origin. According to the Fama, Rosenkreuz acquired secret wisdom on trips to Egypt, Damascus, Damcar in Arabia, and Fes in Morocco, which he subsequently imparted to three others after his return to Germany. The number of his disciples was later increased to eight, all of whom went to different countries.]

7 [Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. It first appeared as script in the first century AD after being spoken as an unwritten language for five centuries.]

8 [Frederick II (born 26 December 1194, Jesi, Ancona, Papal States; died 13 December 1250, Castel Fiorentino, Apulia, Kingdom of Sicily), king of Sicily (11971250,)-duke of Swabia (as Frederick VI, 12281235),-German king (1212-1250), and Holy Roman emperor (1220-1250). A member of the House of Hohenstaufen and grandson of Frederick I Barbarossa (born about 1123, died 1190,) he pursued his dynasty’s imperial policies against the papacy and the Italian city states; and he also joined in the Sixth Crusade (1228-1229), conquering several areas of the Holy Land and crowning himself king of Jerusalem (reigning 1229-1243).]

9 [Mondino del Luzzi, also called Raimondino dei Liucci, or Mundinus (born c. 1270, Bologna, Italy; died c. 1326, Bologna), Italian physician and anatomist whose Anathomia Mundini (written in 1316; first printed in 1478) was the first European book written since classical antiquity that was devoted entirely to anatomy and was based on the dissection of human cadavers (see Mondinus, Anatomies de Mondino dei Luzzi et de Guido de Vigevano [edited by Wickersheimer Ernst], Paris: Droz, 1926, 91 p. + 16 pls, illus., in-4 (Documents scientifiques du xve siècle; 3)). It remained a standard text until the time of the Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius (born 1514, died 1564.])

10 Until now, we thought that he had only dissected two female bodies [M. de St.-Agy].

11 [The first printed edition of Mondino’s handbook or manual was the Anathomia, Padua: Petrus Maufer, c. 1474; numerous editions followed.]

12 [Latin for “wonderful net,” plural retia mirabilia, a term coined by Galen (see Volume 1, Lesson 16): a complex of arteries and veins lying very close to each other, found in many vertebrate animals, which utilizes countercurrent blood flow within the net (blood flowing in opposite directions). It exchanges heat, ions, or gases between vessel walls so that the two bloodstreams within the rete maintain a gradient with respect to temperature, or concentration of gases or solutes.]

13 [Zerbis, better known as Gabriello Falloppio, Fallopia, or Fallopius, one of the most illustrious of sixteenth-century Italian anatomists; see Lesson 2, below.]

14 [Zerbis, Liber anatomiae corporis humani et singulorum membrorum illius, Venice: [s. n.], 1502, the first book on anatomy since that of Mondino (see note 9, above). It follows the general plan of Mondino but the language is obscure and the text full of difficult and inconvenient abbreviations, yet it does contain some elements of initial discovery.]

15 Haller [see note 16, below] also says that Zerbis [i.e., Gabriello Falloppio or Fallopius] was a monk, but M. [Léopold Joseph] Renauldin [born 1775, died 1859 does not agree with this opinion, for which he believes there is no evidence. [See] Biblioth[eca] Anatomica [vol. 3, p. 223, 1824] [M. de St.-Agy].

16 [Albrecht von Haller (born 16 October 1708, Bern; died 12 December 1777, Bern), Swiss biologist, the father of experimental physiology, who made many contributions to physiology, anatomy, botany, embryology, poetry, and scientific bibliography (see Siegrist (Christoph), Albrecht von Haller, Stuttgart: Metzler, 1967, 70 p.)]

17 [The olfactory nerve, or cranial nerve I, which mediates the sense of smell, is the first of twelve cranial nerves in human anatomy.]

18 [Alessandro Achillini (born 29 October 1463, Bologna, Papal States; died 2 August 1512, Bologna) was educated at the University of Bologna, where he taught philosophy and medicine from 1484 to 1512, except for two years at Padua. Although sometimes classed as a strict Averroist, an adherent of the Arabic philosophy of Averroës (born 1126, died 1198) asserting the supremacy of reason over faith, Achillini reflected other influences. Achillini’s complete works were published in 1508, see Achillini Bononiensis opera lima ejusce actoris repollita et extersa ac denuo maxima cura ac diligentia impressa, Venice: mandato & impensis heredum nobilis viri olim domini Octauiani Scoti, 1508, 119 fol., illus., in-4°.]

19 [Expliciunt anatomicae annotationes Magni Alex. Achillini Boron. Editae per euius fratrem Philoteum, published by Hieronymus de Benedictis in 1520].

20 [De humani corporis anatomia, published by Antonium & de Sabio in 1521.]

21 [The pathetic or trochlear nerve, cranial nerve IV, innervates the superior oblique or pathetic muscle of the eye.]

22 [The fornix, ventricles, and infundibulum, in this case, all parts of the human brain.]

23 [Wharton’s duct, or submandibular duct, one of the salivary ducts that drains the submandibular gland, named for Thomas Wharton (born 1614, died 1673), an English physician and anatomist who described this structure in his Adenographia: sive glandularum totius corporis descriptio, Londini: typis J.G. impensis authoris, 1656 [first ed.], 287 p.; numerous editions followed.]

24 [Carpus, a series of seven, sometimes eight, bones that connect the hand to the forearm in human anatomy, the primary function of which is to facilitate the positioning of the hand.]

25 [Jacopo Berenger is Jacopo Berengario da Carpi, also known as Jacobus Berengarius Carpensis, Jacopo Barigazzi, Giacomo Berengario da Carpi, or simply Carpus (born 1460, Capri; died 24 November 1530, Ferrara), was an Italian physician. His book Anatomia Carpi [Isagoge breves Perlucide ac uberime, in Anatomiam humani corporis, a, co[m] muni medicorum academia, usitatam, a, Carpo in Almo Bononiensi Gymnasio ordinariam chirurgiae publicae docente, ad suorum scholasticorum preces in luce[m] date, Venice: per Bernardinum De Vitalibus, 1535, 61 [63] fol., illus., in-8°] made him the most important anatomist before Andreas Vesalius.]

26 [Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum. The exact origin of syphilis is unknown, but it was probably brought to Europe by crew members returning from Columbus’s voyages to the Americas.]

27 Two Spanish men affected by syphilis made this accusation. [Apparently for this reason] Berenger [see note 25, above] is said to have hated this nation [M. de St.-Agy].

28 [Herophilus (born c. 335 B.C., Chalcedon, Bithynia; died c. 280), Alexandrian physician who was an early performer of public dissections on human cadavers; often called the father of anatomy.]

29 This network seems aimed at minimizing the effect of blood on the brain [M. de St.-Agy]. [See Berengario da Carpi (Jacopo), A short introduction to anatomy (Isagogae brevis) [translated with an introduction and historical notes by Lind Levi R. and with anatomical notes by Roofe Paul G.], Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959, xi + 227 p., in-8°; for more on the rete mirabile in early modern anatomy, see Pranghofer (Sebastian), “‘It could be Seen more Clearly in Unreasonable Animals than in Humans’: The Representation of the Rete Mirabile in Early Modern,” Anatomy Medical History, 2009, vol. 53, no4, pp. 561-586.]

30 [Tarsus, a cluster of seven articulating bones in the foot of tetrapod animals, situated between the lower end of the tibia and fibula of the lower leg and the metatarsus, which in turn articulates with the bones of the individual toes.]

31 One of the great French painters, [Anne-Louis] Girodet-Trioson [also Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Triosson; born 5 January 1767, Montargis, north-central France; died 9 December 1824, Paris; a pupil of Jacques-Louis David, who, by adding elements of eroticism through his paintings, participated in the beginning of the Romantic movement], made the same comment. The painting that was at the origin of this remark is the admirable painting of the Deluge [first exhibited at the Louvre in 1806] [M. de St.-Agy].

32 [Marcus Antonius Turrianus or Marcantonio della Torre (born 1481, Verona; died of the plague, 1511, Riva del Garda, northern Italy), an anatomist from a distinguished Lombardian family alleged to have been of princely descent, whose father, Girolano, taught medicine at Padua. Turrianus took his doctorate degree in medicine and liberal arts at Padua and later, in 1501, lectured there on theoretical medicine (for more on Turrianus and his relationship with Leonardo da Vinci, see Choulant (Ludwig), History and bibliography of anatomic illustration in its relation to anatomic science and the graphic arts [translated and edited with notes and a biography by Frank Mortimer], Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1852, pp. 97-105).]

33 [Albrecht Durer (born 21 May 1471, Nuremberg; died 6 April 1528, Nuremberg), celebrated German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist whose high-quality woodcuts established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties. He has been generally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since (for definitive modern works on Durer, see Campbell Hutchison (Jane), Albrecht Dürer: A Biography, Princeton: rinceton University Press, 1990, 247 p.; and Price (David Hotchkiss), Albrecht Dürer’s Renaissance: Humanism, Reformation and the Art of Faith, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003, 337 p.]

34 [De symmetria partium corporis humani, Nuremberg: [s. n.], 1532, 122 fol.]

35 We wonder about this passion for anatomy and its development in a country in which the heat causes dead bodies to decay so quickly [M. de St.-Agy].

36 [Guy de Chauliac or Guigonis de Caulhaco (born about 1300, Chaulhac, Lozere, France; died 25 July 1368, Avignon), French physician and surgeon who wrote a lengthy and influential treatise on surgery in Latin, titled Chirurgia Magna (manuscript in seven volumes, completed in 1363 in Avignon, covering anatomy, bloodletting, cauterization, drugs, anesthetics, wounds, fractures, ulcers, special diseases, and antidotes; see Cauliaco (Guido de), Inventarium sive Chirurgia Magna [edited by McVaugh Michael R.], Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997, xviii + 486 p. (Studies in Ancient Medicine; vol. 14, n° 1)). It was translated into many other languages and widely read by physicians in late medieval Europe.]

37 [The Avignon Papacy was a period from 1309 to 1378, during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon, in modernday France, rather than in Rome, a situation that arose from the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown (see Zutshi (P. N. R.), “The Avignon Papacy”, in Jones (Michael) (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1300-c. 1415, vol. VI, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, 653 p.)]

38 [Guinther, Guinter, or Guinterius is Johann Winter (Johannes Winther) von Andernach (born 1505, Andernach; died 4 October 1574, Strasburg), a German physician educated at Utrecht and Marburg, who, subsequent to his appointment as professor of Greek at Louvain, took his doctorate in medicine at Paris. Later, obliged, as a Protestant, to flee the city, he established himself at Strasburg, where he achieved distinction as a physician and anatomist.]

39 [Francis I (born 12 September 1494, Château de Cognac, France; died 31 March 1547, Château de Rambouillet, France), monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1515 until his death. He was the son of Charles, Count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy. He succeeded his cousin Louis XII, who died without a male heir.]

40 [Ferdinand I (born 10 March 1503, Alcalá de Henares, Spain; died 25 July 1564, Vienna), Holy Roman Emperor from 1558, king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526, and king of Croatia from 1527 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (see note 74, below.]

41 [Jacobus Sylvius (born 1478, Loeuilly, near Amiens; died 14 January 1555, Paris), also known as Jacques Dubois, a French anatomist and an admirer of Galen who became a leading figure in the humanist movement in Paris.]

42 [Guillaume Rondelet, also known as Rondeletus or Rondeletius (born 27 September 1507, Montpellier; 30 July 1566, Montpellier), was Regus Professor of medicine at the University of Montpellier in southern France and Chancellor of the University between 1556 and his death in 1566. He wrote, among other things, a two-part book on fishes, assisted by Guillaume Pellicier (born 1490, died about 1568), bishop of Montpellier. The first part, Libri de piscibus marinis, appeared in Lyon in 1554, in folio. It is divided into eighteen books: the first four treat of generalities; the fifth through the fifteenth describe the different fishes; the sixteenth, cetaceans, turtles, and seals; the seventeenth, mollusks; the eighteenth, crustaceans. The second part, Universae aquatilium historiae, is dated 1555 and comprises two books on testaceous species, one book on worms (vers) and zoophytes, three books on freshwater fishes, and one on amphibians, There is an abridged French translation of this work titled L’Histoire entière des poissons composées premièrement en latin par maistre Guilaume Rondelet... Maintenant traduites en françois sans auoir rien omis estant necessaire à l’intelligence d’icelle. Auec leurs pourtraits au naïf [translated by Joubert Laurent], Lyon: M. Bonhomme, 1558, 2 vols in 1, in-4° (for more on Rondelet, see Oppenheimer (Jane M.), “Guillaume Rondelet”, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 4, pp. 817-834.]

43 [Falloppio, see note 13, above; and Lesson 2, below.]

44 [Michael Servetus, also known as Miguel Servet, Miguel Serveto, Revés, or Michel de Villeneuve (born 29 September 1509 or 1511, Villanueva de Sijena in Aragon, Spain; died 27 October 1553, Geneva), a Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and Renaissance humanist. He was the first European to correctly describe the function of pulmonary circulation. He was a polymath, well versed in mathematics, astronomy and meteorology, geography, human anatomy, medicine, and pharmacology, as well as jurisprudence, translation, poetry, and the scholarly study of the Bible in its original languages.]

45 [Andreas Vesalius (born 31 December 1514, Brussels; died 15 October 1564, Zakynthos, Venetian Ionian Islands), anatomist, physician, and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, Andreae Vesalii Bruxellensis, Scholae medicorum Patavinae Professoris De humani corporis fabrica libri septem Basileae: [ex officina Johann Oporinus], 1543, [663] p. + [37] p., illus., in-folio; often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy.]

46 [Servetus participated in the Protestant Reformation, and later developed a non-trinitarian Christology. Condemned by Catholics and Protestants alike, he was arrested in Geneva in 1553 and burned at the stake as a heretic by order of the Protestant Geneva governing council.]

47 [Anatomicarum institutionum secundum Galeni sententiam, libri quator, published in Basel in 1536 by Balthasarem Lasium and Thomam Platterum, but also in Paris in that same year by Simone de Colines, 1536; other editions include Venice in 1538 and 1540, Padua in 1550 and 1558, and Wittenberg in 1585 and 1613.]

48 [Gaspar Azelius, professor of anatomy at Pavia, who in 1622 was the first to describe lacteals, the lymphatic capillaries that absorb dietary fats in the villi of the small intestine.]

49 [Bartolomeo Eustachi, see Lesson 2, below.]

50 [Christoph Wertwein, Archbishop of Vienna from 1552 to 1553.]

51 [John Calvin, originally Jehan Cauvin (born 10 July 1509, Noyon in the Picardy region of France; died 27 May 1564, Geneva), an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions provoked a violent uprising against Protestants in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where he published the first edition of his seminal work Institutio Christianae religionis (see Christianae religionis institutio totam fere pietatis summam et quicquid est in doctrina salutis cognitu necessarium complectens... praefatio ad christianissimum regem Franciae... Joanne Calvino... autore, Basel: [per Th. Platterum & B. Lasium], 1536, 514 p. + index, in-8°]).

52 [Christianismi restitution, Vienna: printed by Baltasar Arnoullet, 1553, in-8°, in which Servetus rejected the classical concept of the Trinity, stating that it was not based on the Bible. He argued that it arose from teachings of Greek philosophers, and he advocated a return to the simplicity of the Gospels and the teachings of the early Church Fathers that he believed predated the development of Nicene trinitarianism (see Servetus (Michael), The Restoration of Christianity [translated in english by Hoffman Christopher A. and Hillar Marian], New York; Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2007, 440 p.]

53 [William Harvey, see Lesson 2, below.]

54 [Nemesius of Emesa (fl. 4th century A.D.), Christian philosopher, apologist, and bishop of Emesa (now Homs, Syria), best known for De Natura Hominis (On Human Nature), the first known compendium of theological anthropology with a Christian orientation, which contains many passages concerning Galenic anatomy and physiology, establishing, among other things, that mental faculties were localized in the ventricles of the brain. The treatise considerably influenced later Byzantine and Medieval Latin philosophical theology.]

55 [The Duke of Vallière is Louis César de La Baume Le Blanc, Duc de Vaujours, Duc de La Vallière (born 9 October 1708, 16 November 1780), a French nobleman, bibliophile, and military man.]

56 [Estienne or Étienne, a family of Parisian and Genevan publishers and printers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who, through five generations of scholarship, created one of the most famous publishing firms of Renaissance Europe, noted for its publication of classical, biblical, and humanistic texts.]

57 [De dissectione partium corporis humani libri tres, un cum figuris, & incisionum declarationibus, stephano riverio chirurgo compositis, Paris: Simon de Colines, 1545, [23] + 375 p., illus., in-folio.]

58 The excess care and attention they brought to their art was to the detriment of their business [M. de St.-Agy].

59 [The meibomian glands (or tarsal glands) are a special kind of sebaceous gland located at the rim of the eyelids inside the tarsal plate, responsible for the supply of meibum, an oily substance that prevents evaporation of the eye’s tear film. Meibum prevents tear spillage onto the cheek, trapping tears between the oiled edge and the eyeball, and makes the closed lids airtight. There are approximately 50 glands on the upper eyelids and 25 glands on the lower eyelids. The glands are named after German physician Heinrich Meibom (born 29 June 1638, Lübeck, Germany; died 26 March 1700, Helmstedt, Germany).]

60 [The panicle, a fleshy subcutaneous muscle of the eye of some quadrupeds, which serves to contract or twitch the skin to shake off flies and other insects.]

61 [Sylvius, see note 41, above.]

62 [Hippocrates, see Volume 1, Lesson 5, note 36.]

63 [Jean François Fernel (Latin, Fernelius) (born 1497, Montdidier, northern France; died 26 April 1558, Fontainbleau), a French physician who coined the term “physiology” to describe the study of the body’s function. He was the first person to describe the spinal canal. He suggested that taste buds are sensitive to fat, an idea that only recently has been shown to be correct.]

64 [See Lesson 2, below.]

65 [In Hippocratis et Galieni physiologiae partem anatomicam isagoge, Basel: Iacobi Derbilley, 1556.]

66 [Hieronymus Fabricius or Girolamo Fabrizio or by his Latin name Fabricius ab Aquapendente, also Girolamo Fabrizi d’Acquapendente (born 20 May 1537, Aquapendente; died 21 May 1619, Padua), a pioneering anatomist and surgeon known in medical science as “The Father of Embryology” (see Volume 1, Lesson 9, note 38).]

67 [Adriaan van den Spiegel, Latin Adrianus Spigelius (born 1578, Brussels; died 7 April 1625, Padua), a Flemish anatomist who practiced medicine in Padua, considered one of the great physicians associated with that city.].

68 [Commentarius in Claudii Galieni de ossibus ad Tyrones labellum, erroribus quamplurimis tam Graecis quàm Latinis ab eodem purgatum, Paris: Aegidium Gorbinum, 1561, 37+ [3] fol., in-8°.]

69 [George Buchanan (born February 1506, Killearn, Scotland; died 28 September 1582, Edinburgh), a Scottish historian, poet, and humanist scholar.]

70 [Buchanan’s epigram describing Sylvius (i.e., Dubois) translates as follows: “Here lies Dubois, who never gave anything for nothing; even now he is dead, you read this for nothing—to his grief.”]

71 [Fernel, see note 63, above.]

72 [Maximilian I (born 22 March 1459, Wiener Neustadt, Austria; died 12 January 1519, Wels, Austria), son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal; he was King of the Romans (also known as King of the Germans) from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death.]

73 He spent many days and nights among cadavers, either at the Cemetery of the Innocents, which has since become a market, or at the Butte of Montfaucont; he was the Bichat [François Marie Xavier Bichat (born 14 November 1771, Thoirette; died 22 July 1802, Paris), French biologist, physician, and physiologist, after whom the Bichat hospital was named] of that time [M. de St.-Agy].

74 [Charles V (born 24 February 1500, Ghent, Flanders; died 21 September 1558, Yuste, Spain) ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I as Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip II as King of Spain in 1556.]

75 [Francis I, see note 39, above.]

76 The Grand Anatomy is Vesalius’s seven-volume textbook of human anatomy “On the fabric of the human body” a groundbreaking work printed by Johannes Oporinus, see Andreae Vesalii Bruxellensis, Scholae medicorum Patavinae Professoris De humani corporis fabrica libri septem, Basileae: [ex officina Johann Oporinus], 1543, [663] p. + [37] p., illus., in-folio.]

77 [In 1543, Vesalius conducted a public dissection of the body of Jakob Karrer von Gebweiler, a notorious felon from the city of Basel. With the cooperation of the surgeon Franz Jeckelmann, Vesalius assembled the bones and eventually donated the skeleton to the University of Basel. This preparation (“The Basel Skeleton”) is Vesalius’s only surviving, well-preserved skeletal preparation, and is also the world’s oldest anatomical preparation. It is still displayed at the Anatomical Museum of the University of Basel.]

78 Both of his famous editors, [Herman] Boerhaave [born 31 December 1668, died 23 September 1738; a well-known Dutch botanist, humanist, and physician] and [Bernhard Siegfried] Albinus [born 24 February 1697, died 9 September 1770; a German-born Dutch anatomist.] acknowledge that his defense is of poor standard. They said about him: Aulicis obnoxious, totus obsequiis, haeret cerebro, vera negat, saepe minus proba asserit, etc. [“Servile to the courtiers, wholly into indulgence, clings to his anger, denies truths, often defends less honorable things.”] [M. de St.-Agy].

79 We can imagine that one of the spectators, bent over and taking support on the cadaver, caused blood to flow back in the auricle, which would have caused a light shivering, an undulating movement. Such mechanical effect would have been seen as a sign of life, which would have brought screams of terror, followed by Vesalius’s enemies who would have been too happy about the opportunity to bring him to his downfall. The inquisitors and the Spanish monks took advantage of this opportunity to get rid of a scholar who had joked about their ignorance, their customs and habits. Like Socrates, he died victim of the war that the apostles of error and lies have led at all times against the inquirers of nature and truth [M. de St.-Agy].

80 [“On the fabric of the human body,” see note 76, above.]

81 Winslow, is a reference to Jacob B. Winsløw, also known as Jacques-Bénigne Winslow (born 1669, Odense; Denmark; died 1760, Paris), a Danish-born French anatomist whose most important work, with many translations, is Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, published in 1732. His exposition of the structure of the human body is distinguished for being not only the first treatise of descriptive anatomy, divested of physiological details and hypothetical explanations foreign to the subject, but for being a close description derived from actual objects, without reference to the writings of previous anatomists. See Winslow (Jakob Benignus), Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, par Jacques-Bénigne Winslow, de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, Docteur Régent de la Faculté de Médecine en l’Université de Paris, ancien Professeur en Anatomie & en Chirurgie dans la même Faculté, Interprète du Roy en Langue Teutonique, & de la Société Royale de Berlin, Paris: Guillaume Desprez & Jean Desessartz, [1732], XXX + 742 p. + 4 pls, in-4°.]

82 [See note 86, below.]

83 [Falloppio (Gabriele), Observationes anatomicae. Ad Petrum Mannam medicum Cremonensem..., Venice: Apud Marcum Antonium Ulmum, 1561, [8] + 222 p.]

84 [Vesalius (Andreas), Anatomicarum observationum Falopii examen, Venetiis: apud Franciscum de Franciscis, 1564, [4] + 171 p., in-4°.]

85 [Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia or Ioannis Philippi Ingrassiae (born 1510, Regalbuto, Sicily; died 1580, Palermo), a Sicilian physician, student of Vesalius, professor at the University of Naples, and a major figure in the history of medicine and human anatomy. In 1578, he wrote Methodus dandi relationes pro mutilatis torquendis aut a tortura exusandi, an evaluation, from an anatomical standpoint, of the contemporary methods of torture employed by the Roman Inquisition; but the work remained unpublished until 1914, by S. Di Mattei, Catania, Italy. See Ingrassia (Johanne Philippo), Methodus dandi relationes pro mutilatis, torquendis, aut a tortura excusandis: pro deformibus, venenatisque iudicandis…, Catania: R. Prampolini, 1938, viii + 509 p., ills (Biblioteca siciliana di scienze, lettere ed arti).]

86 [Vesalis’s title, De radice Chinae (“The China root”), is a reference to] Chinchona [a genus of about 38 species of the family Rubiaceae, native to tropical forests of western South America —medicinal plants known as sources of quinine and other compounds], which had brought health back to Charles V and which was thought to be a root [see Andreae Vesalii Bruxellensis, medici caesarei Epistola, rationem modumque propinandi radicis Chynae decocti, quo nuper invictissimus Carolus V. imperator usus est, pertractans…, Basel: Cum gratia et privilegio Imperiali ad quinquennium, 1546, 204 p. + [6] p., in-4°.][M. de St.-Agy].

Table des illustrations

Légende Dissection of human cadaverFrontispice from Vesalius’ Humani corporis fabrica libri septem... (1543). Cliché Bibliothèque centrale, MNHN.
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