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Cuvier’s History of the Natural Sciences

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Georges Cuvier

5. Seventeenth-century Advances in Chemistry, Physiology, and Anatomy

14. Seventeenth-century Anatomy and Experimental Physiology

Texte intégral

Boyle’s experiment
“An experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump”. Oil on canvas by Joseph Wright (1768) Trustees of the British Museum.

  • 1 [Descartes, see Volume 1, Lesson 6, note 7.]
  • 2 [Sylvius, see Lesson 13, note 90.]

1Messieurs,
We saw that it is around the middle of the seventeenth century that the method of observation and experiment was introduced. Then we saw, thanks to this method, that chemistry gradually took a different turn and benefited from a large number of experiments and new results. We also talked about all the efforts that were made to apply either general physics, chemistry, or physiology to animated bodies, in particular the unfortunate mechanical attempts by Descartes;1 and also the attempts by Sylvius (also called Franz de le Boe),2 which, although confined to chemistry, were still unsuccessful.

2Now we are going to talk about anatomy itself, as well as physiology, but purely experimental physiology, not hypothetical.

  • 3 [Harvey, see Lesson 2.]

3You remember that Harvey3 started to teach about blood circulation as early as 1619 or 1620; that he publicly presented his doctrine in 1633, but it remained for quite a long time a topic of discussion among anatomists. We will briefly mention the primary authors who wrote in favor or against this doctrine.

  • 4 [Primrose, see Lesson 2, note 94.]
  • 5 [Charles I, see Lesson 2, note 101].
  • 6 [Riolan, see Lesson 2, note 95.]
  • 7 [Exercitationes et Animadversiones in Librum Gulielmi Harvaei de Motu Cordis et Circulatione Sangu (...)

4Harvey’s first antagonist was James Primrose,4 who was born in Bordeaux of a Scottish minister, and who was physician to Charles I.5 He was a student of Riolan6 in Paris and as soon as Harvey’s opinions were made public, he immediately attacked them in his book entitled Exercitationes et animadversiones de motu cordis et circulatione sanguinis.7 This book is filled with scholastic subtleties and does not include any experiment. Even Riolan, for the defense of whom Primrose had written this book, did not approve of it.

  • 8 [For George Ent and his Apologia pro circulatione sanguinis, qua respondetur Aemilio Parisano... ( (...)
  • 9 [Johannes Walaeus, Jan van de Wale or Waal (born 27 December 1604, Koudekerke, Zeeland; died 1649, (...)
  • 10 [Thomas Bartholin, see Lesson 12, note 82.]

5Harvey’s first supporter was George Ent, an English doctor who wrote a book called Apologia pro circulatione sanguinis, published in 1641.8 The year before, a thesis in favor of the idea of blood circulation had already been presented in Leiden by Johannes Walaeus,9 a professor in this town, who also wrote in 1641 a letter about the same topic to Thomas Bartholin,10 whom I will talk about later.

6Willis was one of the best supporters of the concept of blood circulation. He carried out experiments similar to those done by Harvey, yet more improved and accurate. He tied veins in all parts of the body; he even tied the veins of the lung, a very difficult thing to do, on a live animal. He gave an excellent explanation of the movement of the ventricle and of the auricles in their natural state; he measured the speed of the blood. Basically, he was one of those who contributed the most to help Harvey’s opinion on the blood circulation become accepted.

  • 11 [For Descartes’s Treatise on Man, see Lesson 2, note 103.]

7We saw that Descartes adopted it as well in his treatise on man,11 and since his philosophy had won the opinion, and was almost universally accepted, the theory on circulation became generally accepted. It was under his authority that most of the discoveries occurred during the first half of the seventeenth century; the second half can be considered to be the time when anatomy made the most progress.

  • 12 [Nicolaus Petreus Tulpius or Nicolaes Tulp (born 9 October 1593, Amsterdam; died 12 September 1674 (...)

8A few years before, books had already been published that we need to add to those we talked about in the history of anatomy during the prior period. One of them is Tulpius’s Medical Observations that was published in 1641.12

  • 13 He [Tulpius] was the one who founded the college of medicine where for a long time he gave lessons (...)
  • 14 [Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, often called simply Turenne (born 11 September 1 (...)
  • 15 [Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (born 8 September 1621, Paris; died 11 December 1686, Palace of (...)

9Tulpius13 was a doctor in Amsterdam and a magistrate when Louis XIV’s armies, led by Turenne14 and Condé,15 came very close to Amsterdam, in Naarden. He was the one who, thanks to his eloquence and bravery, convinced the people of Amsterdam to fight back. This determination achieved the highest level of success. The locks of Muyden located about two miles from Amsterdam were opened, and the hostile army was forced to stop; then several different events forced it to retreat.

  • 16 [An ape of some kind was described briefly by Tulpius (in his Observationes medicae of 1641; see n (...)

10Tulpius was the first to make some observations in comparative anatomy. He described the feet of the mole, as well as the orangutan, not the chimpanzee or the orangutan from the East Indies, but the one from Congo;16 he saw it alive and described its habits.

  • 17 [Bacon, see Lesson 11, notes 19 and 30.]

11He was also one of the first in 1639 to see the lacteal ducts in the human body. The pancreatic duct, which is used to carry the fluid of the pancreas to the intestines, was not known at that time. This discovery occurred in 1642, just a little before the time that I stopped the older period; but all these discoveries were made according to the new method indicated by Bacon,17 which is based on experiments.

  • 18 [Johann Georg Wirsung (born 3 July 1589, Augsburg; died 22 August 1643, Padua), a German anatomist (...)
  • 19 [Vesling, see Lesson 12, note 43.]
  • 20 It is said that he [Wirsung] was killed from a gunshot wound, in his office, by a Dalmatian doctor (...)

12The pancreatic duct that I just mentioned was discovered by a man from Bavaria named Wirsung18 who was prosector to Vesling,19 a professor in Padua. He described his discovery to a few people; but he was murdered the same year20 and it is said, but without any supporting evidence, that it was because of the jealousy of the fame that he had acquired from this discovery.

  • 21 [Moritz Hoffmann (born 1622, died 1698), a German anatomist who claimed the discovery of the pancr (...)

13His discovery, however, was contested: a professor from Altorf named Moritz Hoffmann21 who lived in Padua at the house of Wirsung and died only in 1698 pretended that he had discovered this duct in birds, which is possible, and that he had showed it to Wirsung, who would have then discovered it in man. Yet, it is still Wirsung who was the first to make this discovery in the human species. But Moritz Hoffmann claimed it so proudly that this discovery was celebrated every year in Altorf, as a breakthrough made by a professor of this university. This anatomical discovery was regarded as such an important event that a celebration and a luncheon were organized in honor of the discovery of the pancreatic duct in man.

  • 22 [Erasistratus of Ceos, see Volume 1, Lesson 7, note 38.]
  • 23 [Gaspare Aselli or Asellio, see Lesson 2, note 82.]

14The main discovery of the time of our study, which occurred between 1650 and 1652, is the one of the lymphatic vessels. As I told you when I presented the history of Erasistratus,22 only the lacteal vessels were known in Antiquity, these lymph-carrying vessels that carry chyle to the bloodstream and are filled with a white and milky substance that is formed immediately after a meal. They had been observed in herbivores in which the chyle has a white color and can be seen very well immediately after the animal is done eating, but these lacteal vessels had been forgotten or neglected by the moderns for a while. Aselius23 had re-discovered them—he had introduced the glands of the mesentery through which the vessels pass, but he only indicated them going to the liver; it was still believed that the vessels that carried chyle passed to the liver where blood was made. We find the same opinion in every book from the ancients, and from the moderns all the way to the period of our study.

  • 24 [Pecquet, see Lesson 13, note 92.]
  • 25 [Olaus or Olof Rudbeck the Elder (born 13 September 1630, Västerås, Sweden; died 17 September 1702 (...)
  • 26 [Bartholin, see Lesson 12, note 82.]

15A contradictory discovery was made by a doctor from Dieppe named Pecquet.24 Then the discovery of the lymphatic vessels, which carry the lymph all over the body and not only to the intestines (like the vessels that carry chyle), was made by a Swedish chemist named Olaus Rudbeck25 and a Danish chemist named Thomas Bartholin,26 who both fought over it, as I will tell you later.

  • 27 [Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle-Île, Vicomte de Melun et Vaux (born 27 January 1615, Paris; die (...)
  • 28 [Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné (born 5 February 1626, Paris; died 17 April 1696, G (...)

16Pecquet was born in Dieppe around 1620; he became a doctor in Montpellier and settled in Paris where he was quite famous. He was doctor to Fouquet,27 minister of finances, and he is mentioned a lot in the letters of Madame de Sévigné.28 During the creation of the French Academy of the Sciences in 1666, he was named as one of its first members, but he retired in Dieppe where he died in 1674.

  • 29 [Receptaculum chyli, see Lesson 13, note 92.]

17He was still a student in 1647 when, as he was dissecting a dog, he noticed the receptaculum chyli,29 formed by the dilatation of the lacteal vessels that is very noticeable in animals, but not as much in the human species.

18Then he noticed a duct that carries the chyle and the lymph through the chest to the blood, in the subclavian vein.

  • 30 [Experimenta nova anatomica, quibus incognitum hactenus chyli receptaculum, et ab eo per thoracem (...)

19He published his discoveries in 1651 under the title Experimenta nova anatomica, etc., or New anatomical experiments,30 in which we find the description of the receptaculum chyli, unknown until then, and a vessel that brings it all the way to the subclavian vein. He even thought there were two thoracic canals, one for each subvlavian vein, following the same symmetry seen in other vessels. Apparently, it is a structure that exists sometimes, but very rarely.

  • 31 [Dissertatio de circulatione sanguinis et chyli moti, Paris: Sebastianum & Gabrielem Cramoisy, 165 (...)

20The following year, in 1652, Pecquet published a book called Dissertatio de circulatione sanguinis et chyli moti or Dissertation on the blood circulation and the movement of chyle.31 In this book, he focuses on the theory of blood circulation; he shows that all the ideas people had on the formation of blood in the liver are erroneous; that the chyle does not go to the liver, but to the heart through the subclavian vein, and that it is carried further in the blood to the lungs.

  • 32 [De thoracicis lacteis dissertatio, Paris: Cramosiana, 1654, [14] + 252 + [2] p., in-4°.]
  • 33 [Riolan, see Lesson 2, note 95.]

21In 1654, Pecquet wrote another dissertation, called De thoracicis lacteis,32 directed against Riolan.33 We saw that Riolan, an old professor of anatomy, had argued against the theory of blood circulation; he also fought the discovery of the thoracic canal, still entrenched in his old Galenic ideas. Pecquet fought back with success, but he had a very peculiar idea, which was that part of the chyle was going directly to the kidneys. This opinion came from the fact that he had observed part of the lymphatic vessels going to or coming from the kidneys. This is how he explained the immediate transit of liquid foods and their effects on urine, a mistake that can be excused in a man who had just made a great discovery that he had not been able to complete.

  • 34 [Johannes van Horne (born 2 September 1621, Amsterdam; died 5 January 1670, Leiden), a Flemish ana (...)
  • 35 [Vesalius, see Lesson 1, notes 45 and 76.]

22A professor from Amsterdam named Johannes van Horne published immediately after Pecquet a treatise on the same topic called Novus ductus chyliferus.34 This book was printed in Leiden in 1652. Van Horne had immediately made some observations on Pecquet’s chyle cistern; he had it drawn and engraved better than it had ever been done, if, however, Pecquet had ever given an illustration of it before. With the help of a ligature, he proved the direction of the chyle and of the lymph, and contributed to support Pecquet’s discovery. We will come back to Van Horne for other anatomical works, when we reach that point. Now we are going to talk about the discovery of the lymphatic vessels, which are vessels similar to those of the chyle, organized in the same way, also formed of thin walls with many valved structures, also going through lymphatic glands. These vessels are basically similar in all ways to those of the chyle, except that they do not originate from the intestines; thus, they do not carry the first extract from food, and on the contrary, they bring the lymph, or residue of food, from all parts of the body. These vessels are the ones that complete the lymphatic system, a system unknown to the ancients and even to the moderns, from Vesalius35 to Riolan.

  • 36 [Rudbeck, see note 25, above.]
  • 37 [Thomas Bartholin, see Lesson 12, note 82.]
  • 38 [Gaspard Bartholin the Elder (born 12 February 1585, Malmø; died 13 July 1629, Sorø, Zealand), a D (...)
  • 39 [Fabricius d’Aquapendente, see Lesson 1, note 66; and Volume 1, Lesson 9, note 38.]

23This discovery, as I told you, was fought over between Olaus Rudbeck,36 a Swede, and Thomas Bartholin,37 a Dane. The Bartholin family was a family of anatomists who included several members whose main works I will talk about before I talk about this one in particular. It starts with Gaspard Bartholin,38 born in 1585 in Malmø in Scania. At that time, Scania, which is now a province of Sweden, belonged to Denmark. Gaspard studied in Padua under Fabricius,39 since all the discoveries from the seventeenth century are to be credited to students from that school. Fabricius himself contributed greatly to science during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and if some students did more than him, it was always by following his method. The discovery of the blood circulation comes as a step that followed Fabricius’s first observations on the valves of the veins.

  • 40 [Jasolinus, see Lesson 2, note 88.]
  • 41 [Plater, see Lesson 2, notes 61 and 65.]
  • 42 [Anatomica Institutiones, see note 38, above.]

24Then Gaspard Bartholin studied in Naples under Jasolinus,40 and in Basel under Felix Plater.41 He became a professor of medicine in Copenhagen and later a professor of theology, and died in 1630. His book is called Anatomica Institutiones; it was printed in Wittenberge in 1611.42 Obviously it does not mention blood circulation since it had not yet been discovered.

25We also have from him a few observations on the brain, and a few writings in which he focuses on various animals such as the unicorn, and the pygmies that are mentioned by the Ancients. His book has been for quite a long time a classic work of reference; his son, Thomas Bartholin, published several later editions of it, in which he successively inserted new discoveries. This is why it is now considered of scientific value, although it was not so when it was first published.

26Thomas Bartholin, third son of Gaspard, was born in Copenhagen in 1619. He was one of the most active and famous men of his time, based on the large number of his works and of his students, the extensive correspondence he maintained with all the scholars, and the travel he undertook in all parts of Europe. He knew about all discoveries, which he studied with eagerness to accept them; he was exactly the opposite of Riolan and a few others who rejected almost all of them. Thus, he is one of the strongest supporters of the concept of blood circulation.

  • 43 [De lacteis thoracicis in homine brutisque nuperrime observatis, historia anatomica, London: Johan (...)

27He wrote books on topics that had already been treated by his father; for example, on the unicorn. But the main work that we will talk about, in which he described his discovery—if, in fact, it really is his own discovery—is called De lacteis thoracicis in homine, brutisque nuperrimè inventis historia anatomica.43 We see in this book, published in 1652, that he discovered the lacteal vessels in the chest, and that he followed them into the thoracic canal. At that time, the existence of lacteal vessels that did not originate from the intestines was known; thus, these vessels were not real lacteal vessels, but lymphatic vessels.

  • 44 [Vasa lymphatica, nuper Hafniae in animantibus inventa et in homine, et hepatis exsequiae, Copenha (...)
  • 45 [Defensio vasorum lacteorum et lymphaticorum adversus Joannem Riolanum... Accedit... Guilielmi Har (...)
  • 46 [De bibliothecae incendio, dissertatio ad filios, Copenhagen: Petri Haubold, 1670, 114 p.]

28The following year, Bartholin revealed all the discoveries related to the thoracic canal, the path taken by the chyle. He described it in a book whose title is quite unique: Vasa lymphatica nuper Hafniae in animantibus inventa et in homine, et hepatis exequiae.44 In this book, the liver was completely stripped of its function of making blood, since the chyle was shown to not go there any longer. The chyle was now shown to go directly to the heart, and from the heart, through the process of circulation, through the lungs. This opinion was strongly attacked by Riolan who still supported Galen’s system; thus, Thomas Bartholin in 1655 had to defend his theory, the lacteal vessels, the thoracic canal, and the route of the lymph and the chyle, against Riolan, in a book called Defensio vasorum lacteorum et lymphaticorum, etc. that was published in 1655.45 Bartholin’s dissertations and a few of his other writings were published together in Copenhagen in 1670.46

  • 47 [De pulmonum substantia et motu diatribe, Copenhagen: Henrici Gödiani, 1663, [8] + 107 + [9] p., 2 (...)
  • 48 [Historiarum anatomicarum et medicarum sex centuriae; case histories of unusual anatomical and cli (...)

29Thomas Bartholin published several other remarkable works; one of them is about the substance of the lungs and their movement, published in Copenhagen in 1663.47 Then a large compendium called Historiarum anatomicarum et medicarum sex centuriae,48 which contains a wealth of information, much of it very interesting, related to comparative anatomy and including descriptions of several rare animals. We can see for the first time the anatomy of the hand of the manatee, and several other similar things. His works are still fruitful resources for several medical and surgical observations; they were published in Copenhagen from 1654 to 1661.

  • 49 [Acta medica et philosophica Hafniensa, Copenhagen: Georgii Gödiani, 5 vols, in-4°; the first volu (...)
  • 50 [Simon Paulli (born 6 April 1603, Rostock; died 25 April 1680, Copenhagen), a Danish physician and (...)
  • 51 [Steno, see Lesson 12, note 81.]
  • 52 [Michael Leyser (born 14 April 1626, Leipzig; died 20 December 1660, Nykøbing Falster), a German p (...)
  • 53 [Culter anatomicus, see note 52, above.]

30Thomas Bartholin then became the promoter of a company that published in Copenhagen, five volumes in quarto, a series of memoirs called Acta medica et philosophica Hafniensa (Medical and philosophical memoirs of Copenhagen); they were published from 1671 to 1673.49 This collection is also very valuable to comparative anatomy. It mainly includes a large number of observations on the anatomy of animals, credited to Bartholin and his colleagues, including Simon Paulli,50 professor of anatomy at Finck College in Copenhagen, and to Steno,51 who I will talk about soon. Thomas Bartholin worked with his prosector, Michael Leyser52 from Leipzig, for his observations. Leyser is the author of a small book called Culter anatomicus, printed in Copenhagen in 1653.53 It is the first book in which the processes, and instruments of anatomy and their uses, are described; yet, it is very imperfect and faulty. There is nothing in it related to injections and all the processes that were discovered at the end of the period of our study.

  • 54 [Gaspard or Caspar Bartholin the Younger (born 10 September 1655, Copenhagen; died 11 June 1738, C (...)
  • 55 [Diaphragmatis structura nova, accessit methodus praeparandi viscera per injectiones liquorum, et (...)
  • 56 [De nervorum usu in motu musculorum epistola, Paris: Ludovicum Billaine, 1676, [16] + 108 + [4] p. (...)

31A third Bartholin named Gaspard,54 second of his name, and physician to the king of Denmark, wrote several small dissertations, including a treatise on the structure of the diaphragm, printed in Paris in 1676,55 and another treatise on the use of muscles.56 He shows that muscles function independently from the brain and from their link to the spinal cord; that in frogs for example, when the brain, the heart, and all of the spinal cord have been destroyed, the muscles are still able to move when triggered.

  • 57 [Thomas Bartholin (see Lesson 12, note 82), author of De vermibus in aceto et semine, Copenhagen: (...)
  • 58 [Steno, see Lesson 12, note 81].
  • 59 During his stay in this town, [Jacques-Bénigne] Bossuet [a French bishop and theologian renowned f (...)
  • 60 [Cuvier implicates Leiden, but it was while Steno was living in Amsterdam, under the mentorship of (...)
  • 61 [Gérard (Gerhard or Gerrit) Leendertsz Blasius (born 3 October 1627, Amsterdam; died 26 September (...)
  • 62 [For Thévenot, see Lesson 12, note 104.]
  • 63 [Redi, see Lesson 12, note 80].
  • 64 [Academy of Experiment, see Lesson 12, note 77].
  • 65 [Val d’Arno, a region rich in Pliocene fossils located in the Province of Florence in the Italian (...)
  • 66 [Grand Duke Cosimo III, see Lesson 12, note 84.]
  • 67 [Johann Friedrich (born 25 April 1625, Herzberg am Harz; died 18 December 1679, Augsburg), Duke of (...)
  • 68 He [Steno] was buried in the grave of the reigning family [M. de St.-Agy].

32There was yet another Bartholin, named Thomas, second of his name, who wrote a book called De vermibus in aceto et semine.57 I gave you the history of these various authors so that you can make a distinction between them. I will add to it Nicolas Steno,58 the son of a goldsmith, and with a similar philosophy as the above mentioned authors. He was a student of Thomas Bartholin, first of his name and the most famous one; he lived in Paris,59 Padua, and Leiden. While he was in this town,60 he discovered the parotid duct, which is now named after him, a priority contested by Blasius.61 He did a lot of research on the brain— in 1664, he read a memoir about the structure of this organ and the direction of its interior filaments during an assembly held in the house of Thévenot,62 a meeting that I told you about as one of those that preceded the founding of the French Academy of Sciences. Then he went to Florence where several great men lived at that time, including Redi63 who became one of his followers. The Academy of Experiment64 accepted him as one of its members and he worked with zeal on his experiments. He was one of the first to introduce fossil bones that are so numerous in the Val d’Arno in Tuscany.65 He converted to Catholicism, and after a long time in Florence, he went back to Copenhagen in 1672 where he was appointed professor of anatomy. But his conversion brought him some disagreements and he left for Tuscany again where he became professor to the children of the Grand Duke Cosimo III.66 He even became a priest, then bishop in partibus, and apostolic curate in the northern regions, where he fulfilled the functions of a true missionary. He went to Hanover and stayed with a Duke of Hanover67 of that time who converted to Catholicism. But in 1679, this prince died and since his successor was not of the same religion, he left this country, went to Mecklenburg, then to Schwerin, where he died on 25 November 1686. It is quite difficult to live such an adventurous life, especially for an anatomist. The Grand Duke of Cosimo, his pupil, had his body repatriated and properly buried in the church of Saint Laurent in Florence.68

  • 69 [Elementorum myologiae specimen, seu Musculi descriptio geometrica, cui accedunt canis carchariae (...)
  • 70 [Alphonse Borelli (see Lesson 12, note 79, founder of a school of physicians (the iatro-mathematic (...)

33Steno wrote about anatomical observations on the iris of the eye, on the vessels in the nostrils, on the glands, and on muscles and elements of myology in which he explains how fibers are distributed in muscles. He tried, in his Elementorum myologiae specimen,69 to calculate the mechanical forces of muscles. It is a first essay on a physiological system that, as we will soon see, was improved by Alphonse Borelli, the author of the medical system that was called Iatro-mathematicians,70 named after their activity that was to try and apply the laws of mathematics and mechanics to anatomy. Steno spent the last years of his life writing many theological works that are not of our interest.

  • 71 [Rudbeck, see note 25, above.]

34Regarding the discovery of the lymphatic vessels, I must add Olaus Rudbeck71 because it is truly his discovery, though he was not the first to publish it.

  • 72 [Johannes Rudbeck or Rudbeckius (born 1581, died 1646), bishop at Västerås, Sweden, from 1619 unti (...)
  • 73 [Gustav II Adolph or Gustavus Adolphus, see Lesson 11, note 78]
  • 74 [Queen Christina of Sweden, see Lesson 11, note 77.]
  • 75 [Cuvier refers here to Rudbeck’s Nova exercitatio anatomica, exhibens ductus hepaticos aquoso, et (...)
  • 76 [De lacteis thoracicis in homine, see note 43, above.]
  • 77 [Obsèques du foie or “funeral of the liver,” is contained within Thomas Bartholin’s Vasa lymphatic (...)
  • 78 [Kurt Polykarp Joachim] Sprengel [a German botanist, physician, and celebrated historian of medici (...)

35Rudbeck was born in 1630 in Västerås, an episcopal town of Sweden. His father was bishop of that town.72 Gustav Adolph73 was his godfather. He traveled for his education, financially supported by Queen Christina.74 He claimed that he discovered the lymphatic vessels of the liver in 1649. While continuing his research, he discovered the lymphatic vessels of the thorax and of the loins in 1651, and found the chyle cistern around 1652. As early as 1651, he demonstrated it to Queen Christina. At the beginning of 1652, his discoveries of the lymphatic vessels were published in a dissertation on the concept of blood circulation,75 in which he disputed the liver’s part in the production of blood, as Bartholin did the same year. As you noticed, it is the same year that Bartholin’s book on the lymphatic vessels of the thorax was published.76 Bartholin’s book entitled Obsèques du foie appeared in 1653.77 Thus, both of these authors wrote approximately at the same time. They could have made their discoveries separately, but what explains the accusations against Thomas Bartholin is that Rudbeck claimed that he had communicated his discovery to young people who might have told Bartholin about it. However, even if we removed from Rudbeck the glory of having discovered the lymphatic vessels,78 he would still be deserving of much glory, since he is one of the most productive authors of that time.

  • 79 [During the course of a fire that destroyed most of Uppsala in 1702, a large portion of Rudbeck’s (...)
  • 80 [Carolus Linnaeus, see Lesson 2, note 112; see also Volume 1, Lesson 7, note 34.]

36He was the founder of Uppsala’s botanical garden and the first professor of botany of that town. He established the garden in 1659 and taught there from that time until 1702 when he died. He died of sorrow from the fact that a fire had destroyed a large manuscript on his work on plants.79 His son succeeded him in his chair, and then followed by Linnaeus,80 the greatest botanist of his century and maybe of all centuries.

  • 81 [Atlantica sive Manheim (Atland eller Manheim in Swedish), Uppsala: Henricus Curio, 1675, 4 vols, (...)
  • 82 [Plato, see Volume 1, Lesson 5.]
  • 83 He [Rudbeck] also claimed that he could find in the Swedish language all the names of the ancient (...)
  • 84 [Buffon, see Lesson 4, note 57; see also Volume 1, Lesson 7, note 39.]
  • 85 [Jean-Sylvain Bailly (born 15 September 1736, Paris; died 12 November 1793, Paris), a French astro (...)

37Rudbeck is famous for a work on the origin and species of men and societies, that is, his Atlantica, composed in four folio volumes that were published in Uppsala in 1675.81 This work is not completely out of the scope of our research. The author claims that the origin of the human species is to be found in the north and that the real Atlantis of Plato82was in Sweden. He claims that all nations stem from there, and supports this hypothesis on a wealth of research based on scholarship, though at the end, it was completely destroyed by critics. He also claims that all the languages on earth83derive from the Swedish language. It is probably on this system of the Atlantis that other similar systems are based, such as those by Buffon84 and Bailly,85 according to which all beings ever created, all men and animals, started to appear in the north and moved southward as the earth was getting colder.

  • 86 [Asellius or Aselli, see Lesson 2, note 82.]
  • 87 [Pecquet, see Lesson 13, note 92.]
  • 88 [Louis or Lodewijk de Bils, also Ludovicus Bilsius (born 1624, died 1669), a Flemish nobleman and (...)
  • 89 He [Bils, see note 88, above] also claimed [in a small anatomical treatise entitled De anatomia in (...)

38The ancients did not know the lymphatic system; the lacteal vessels were the only ones they knew. Asellius86 had only reproduced the lacteal vessels and the glands they go through; he had demonstrated that in the carnivores, these glands are combined in a single structure to form the pancreas, called since then “Pancreas of Asellius.” Pecquet87 discovered the thoracic duct in 1647 and showed that the lacteal vessels carry the chyle, not to the liver, but in the system of the blood circulation. Apparently, in 1649, Rudbeck discovered lymphatic vessels that did not originate from the intestinal duct; thus, they did not belong to the lacteal vessels. This discovery was also made at the same time by Thomas Bartholin, and adopted by Steno and other anatomists who immediately became interested in this branch of the science for which people felt a great attraction and keen interest. People thought it impossible that such a system as widely spread in all parts of the body as the lymphatic system—composed of such delicate organs in which nature seemed to have tried to produce the most refined and subtle elements—would not have an effect on economy. Several endeavors were initiated in this regard, such as the one by Louis de Bils88 who was not a doctor but a mere amateur of anatomy as well as lord and magistrate of a small town in Holland. Wealthy, he collected anatomical parts; he even had discovered curious ways of embalming cadavers. With the help of a liquor, he was able to keep cadavers flexible without decaying so that they could be used for dissection at a later time.89 He kept this discovery very secret and wanted to sell it for 120,000 florins. Just to show the bodies he had embalmed, he charged 20 florins. Those who saw them assert that they had a great flexibility and that all their shapes remained. He sold his collection to the University of Leuven for 22,000 florins.

39The fervor that Bils put into his work on cadavers seems to have harmed his health; he died quite young without revealing his secret. His embalming liquor did not prove to have a perpetual property as he had claimed, since putrefaction showed up in his cadavers not long after his death, and it was not possible to preserve these kinds of mummies that had been so famous during his lifetime.

  • 90 [Epistolica dissertatio qua verus hepatis circa chylum et pariter ductus chiliferi hactenus dicti (...)
  • 91 [François Magendie (born 6 October 1783, Bordeaux; died 7 October 1855, Sannois), a French physiol (...)

40I tell you about these facts just randomly. What is of interest to us about Bils is his small book called Epistolica dissertatio qua verus hepatis, etc.90 He had imagined various systems to assert, up to a certain point, the ideas of the Ancients on the functions of the liver. He claimed, for example, that the veins of the mesentery absorbed chyle. This opinion was rejected later, but what proves that it is not to be completely rejected is that we see it reproduced today. Several authors, including Mr. Magendie,91 claim that the absorption of liquids and food occurs as much through veins as through the lymphatic vessels. If this opinion were true, you can imagine that, as a result, the action of the liver would be more important, since the veins of the mesentery reach the liver through the portal vein.

41Bils also claimed that there was at the bottom of the neck some kind of a ring from which vessels originated and were spread everywhere in order to carry the lymph to the conglomerate glands and produce the secretion of all fluids that these glands separate. This doctrine was completely wrong, and we cannot understand how Bils reached it. Thus, he was soon discredited by all the anatomists who had looked for this kind of ring and had not discovered it. It was acknowledged that the lymph, which was coming from all the parts of the body, and the chyle, coming from the intestines, were completely carried through the thoracic canal in the venous system, that is, in the subclavian vein. The belief that veins contribute to the absorption, and carry out some kind of absorption, is quite modern; for almost a century, it had not prevailed among anatomists.

42Around the middle of the seventeenth century, anatomists spent a lot of time researching the nervous system as well. So far it had only been roughly observed. It made sense that anatomists would first spend more time on the large parts of the body, the skeletal system and organs. What was known about the brain had been observed through a few crosssections that did not show the direction of its interior fibers nor all the links to the nerves. As the observers started to look at the more delicate parts of anatomy, they spent more time on the nervous system, which was the most interesting of all since it establishes the liaison between the soul and the body and has a direct influence on the movement of the organs and muscles.

  • 92 [For Galen, see Volume 1, Lesson 16.]
  • 93 [Catarrh, excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat, associated with inflammat (...)
  • 94 [Brain freeze, a cold-stimulus headache known by its scientific name sphenopalatine ganglioneurali (...)

43It was believed that the ventricles of the brain communicated directly with the nostrils through the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone; it was Galen’s idea,92 which had been maintained by all his successors. You can remember, as comedies of that time showed, that it was believed that tobacco smoke that was inhaled went directly to the brain, and flushed out the catarrh,93 and that basically all the substances that came out of the nose were coming from the brain. Fluxion of the nostrils was called, as it is still commonly called “brain freeze.”94 This wrong belief was overthrown during the time that we are studying, a time that was so beneficial to the anatomical and physiological sciences. These works were done by a few German physicians.

  • 95 [Johann Jakob Wepfer (born 23 December 1620, Schaffhausen; died 26 January 1695), a Swiss anatomis (...)
  • 96 [Observationes anatomicae, ex cadaveribus eorum, quos sustulit apoplexia. Cum exercitatione de eiu (...)
  • 97 [Riolan, see Lesson 2, note 95.]
  • 98 [Samuel Thomas von Sommerring (born 28 January 1755, Torun, Poland; died 2 March 1830, Frankfurt), (...)

44One of them was Johann Jakob Wepfer,95 from Schaffhausen in Switzerland, who was born in 1621 and died in 1695. He was one of the great practitioners of his time; we have from him a book called Observationes anatomicae ex cadaveribus eorum quos sustulit apoplexia that was published in 1658. 96. [Observationes anatomicae, ex cadaveribus eorum, quos sustulit apoplexia. Cum exercitatione de eius loco affecto, Schaf-fhausen: Johann Kaspar Suter, 1658, [16] + 304 p., in-8°.] 98. [Samuel Thomas von Sömmerring (born 28 January 1755, 96 It is a treatise on the seat of apoplexy in which the author gives many details of the anatomy of the brain. He established, among other truths, that the cranium is enclosed all around, and that there is no duct that links the ventricles of the brain to the nostrils. He rejects all opinions expressed by Riolan97 regarding the animal spirits that, according to him, were located in the ventricles. This opinion can certainly not be supported; however, it was introduced again recently by Mr. Sömmerring.98 This anatomist claims that the nervous fluid reaches the ventricles of the brain, that all nerves have their roots there, and that the fluid that fills these ventricles is the true location of the soul; and finally, that it is where the sensations go and where the power that directs the action of the muscles resides. However, I must say that this opinion by Mr. Sömmerring is presented with a new angle and is different from what the Ancients thought and what had been rejected by Wepfer.

  • 99 [Cicutae aquaticae historia et noxae. Commentario illustrata, a Joh. Jacobo Wepfero…, Basel: J. R. (...)

45This latter author wrote in Basel in 1679 a book on hemlock called Cicutae aquaticae historia et noxae99 that contains many anatomical observations that do not belong especially to the history of the nervous system, but that are important for the history of the intestines. The peristaltic movement of the intestines, their glands, the pyloric valve, the possibility of restoring the heart motion by insufflation of the lungs, and many other facts that are of the utmost importance in anatomy and physiology are reported in this work.

  • 100 [Archeus or archaeus, see Lesson 10, note 74.]
  • 101 [Paul Joseph Barthez (born 11 December 1734, Montpellier; and encyclopedist who developed a versio (...)
  • 102 [Stahl, see Lesson 9, note 90.]

46Wepfer established as well a kind of dominating element of the nervous system, quite similar to Van Helmont’s belief in the principle of the archeus.100 The difficulty of applying physiological phenomena to the laws of physics led authors who wanted to go deeper into the fundamental forces of living things to look for an immaterial principle. Van Helmont’s archeus is a kind of soul, different from the reasoning soul that was reproduced in different forms, since the vital principle of Barthez from Montpellier,101and Stahl’s soul,102 are found, up to a certain point, in Wepfer’s works.

  • 103 [Conrad Victor Schneider (born 1614, Bitterfeld, Saxony; died 1680, Wittenberg), a German physicia (...)
  • 104 [Liber de osse cribiforme, et sensu ac organo odoratus, et morbis ad utrumque spectantibus, de cor (...)
  • 105 Gall [see Lesson 2, note 46] does not question the fact that the olfactory nerve is also hollow in (...)

47Another German doctor who worked with the same ideas and who is similar to Wepfer, is Conrad Victor Schneider, 103a professor in Wittenberg. The first seeds of his ideas are recorded in a small treatise that he published in Wittenberg under the title Osse cribiformi et sensu ac organo adoratus, etc. or “about the ethmoid bone, the sense of smell and its organ.”104 The multitude of tiny holes that exist in the part of the ethmoid bone that forms the roof of the nose, and which is located under the anterior part of the brain, was considered by the Ancients, as I already told you, as a true path of communication from the brain to the nostrils. Schneider started to prove that there was no communication through the ethmoid bone; that the dura matter, with the exception of the openings through which the threads of the olfactory nerves pass, completely wrapped the brain. He also proved that the olfactory nerve was not hollow in man as the Ancients believed. This error on their part came from the fact that they only dissected animals, and that in herbivorous and even in carnivorous animals, there is no olfactory nerve similar to the human one, but a large protuberance from which the olfactory nerves originate. This protuberance is hollow and communicates with the superior ventricle of the brain.105

  • 106 [De catarrhis, quo agitur de speciebus catarrharum, et de osse cuneiformi, per quod catarrhi decur (...)

48Schneider developed his ideas, his discoveries, and his new theories in a work in four volumes in quarto called De catarrhis, etc.106 In this book, he examined everything that is related to the pituitary membrane; he was the one who actually gave it its name. He shows how it is linked to the intestinal canal and the trachea, and shows that the pituitary gland does not have any communication with the throat. You know that under the brain, behind the commissure of the optic nerve, there is a small hollow protrusion that communicates with the ventricles, which all anatomists know as the infundibulum. It is a small stalk of the pituitary that ends with gray matter called the pituitary gland, located in an enclosure of the sphenoid bone, called the sella turcica (Turk’s saddle). The Ancients believed, as I said, that the fluid that came out of the ventricles, was coming out, according to them, in part, from the ethmoid bone and the nostrils, after going through the infundibulum, and through the pituitary gland, though it does not have any cavity that would allow the pituitary fluid to go to the throat.

  • 107 [De catarrhis, see note 106, above.]
  • 108 [Tonsils, when used unqualified, a term most commonly referring specifically to the palatine tonsi (...)
  • 109 [Liber de catarrhis specialissimus…, Wittenberg: Tobiae Mevii, 1664, [28] + 948 p., see note 106, (...)

49In his Treatise on catarrhis,107 Schneider talks a lot about other anatomical topics, especially about all the glands that exist in the throat. He was one of the first to describe the tonsils.108 The first and second volumes of his book were published in 1660; the third and the fourth are from 1661. He produced a summary of this work in 1664, called De catarrhis liber specialissimus.109The anatomical discoveries that are described in this book could have been presented in a very small volume, but he deploys a prodigious erudition and is dispersed in his description. This book is very tiring to read because of its magnitude; however, despite its flaws, it deserves an important place among the works we are going to talk about now, since it contains a complete refutation of the errors that had dominated for so long and that changed the real function of the brain.

  • 110 [Thomas Willis, see Lesson 12, note 60.]
  • 111 [Boyle, see Lesson 12, note 32.]
  • 112 [Mayow, see Lesson 12, note 68.]
  • 113 [Cerebri anatome, cui accessit nervorum descriptio et usus, London: John Martyn & James Allestry, (...)
  • 114 [Gall, see lesson 2, note 46.]
  • 115 [Giovanni Domenico Santorini (born 6 June 1681, Venice; died 7 May 1737, Venice), an Italian anato (...)
  • 116 [Rete mirabile, see Lesson 1, note 29.]
  • 117 [Vesalius, see Lesson 1, note 45.]

50An author from the same time, who did not only research the brain, but who also researched the nervous system, is Thomas Willis,110 the same person I mentioned when I talked about the application of chemistry to physiology. You saw that he was one of those who adopted pneumatic chemistry, that is, Boyle111 and Mayow’s112 system on the influence of air on breathing—on the atmospheric principle that they called the nitro-aerial principle, which is, as I told you, the oxygen in chemistry as conceived today. Willis must be mentioned in anatomy for his book called Cerebri anatome, cui accessit nervorum descriptio et usus, that was published in London in 1664.113 He places the animal faculties in the brain according to the system that people felt obligated to use at that time in the presentation of their research. He places the imagination in the corpus callosum (or colossal commissure), and memory in the ridges of the cerebral hemispheres. As you see, it is the first seed of Gall’s system.114 Gall first represented the hemispheres as being the ridges of a large membrane that can be spread out, and seated the various faculties of man in the various areas of this membrane, but he did not explain rationally the localization of these faculties. He explains it only by assuming that memory has different senses and produces different effects that come from the blood, which, itself, is located in the brain. This proposition by Willis, that memory is located in the ridges of the brain, is, as I said, an original idea that we got from Gall’s system. Willis places perception in the striatum but, even better than all of that, are his discoveries on the structure of the parts I just talked about. Thus, he was the first one to describe clearly what we call the central nervous system, the pyramidal eminences that are, according to Gall’s system, the communication of the brain with the spinal cord and the crossing described by Santorini,115115 which provides the explanation for the action of part of the brain on the nerves of the opposite side. Willis proved that the rete mirabile,116 observed by the ancients in ruminant animals, does not exist in man. He describes the different pairs of nerves with more care than his predecessors; his way of counting them is still in use today. He names the olfactory nerves the first pair; they were not considered as a pair in his time. He puts the optic nerves, which were considered until then as the first pair, as the second pair. He added the sixth and the ninth pairs that the prior anatomists did not count. Willis did a lot of research on the different ganglions. He followed them everywhere they could be found; he gave a general picture of the nervous skeleton, so to speak, that is much better than the one provided by Vesalius,117 as Vesalius’s illustration was somewhat rough and the nerves were not represented with accuracy. Later, other illustrations were done that also showed where the nerves go.

  • 118 [Félix Vicq d’Azyr (born 23 April 1746, Valognes, Normandy; died 20 June 1794, Paris), a French ph (...)
  • 119 [Varolius, see Lesson 2, note 44.]

51With regard to methods of dissecting the brain, Willis developed principles that were different from what were known, which were later used by Gall. The earlier anatomists, such as Vicq-d’Azir118 and Vesalius, made cross-sections of the brain. Varolius119 had sectioned the brain from its base upward and had tried to remove the parts that wrapped the fascicles, the productions that go from the medulla oblongata to the brain and the cerebellum. He had cleaned the parts that were covered, thus showing much better than Vesalius the continuation of the fascicles of the medulla oblongata through the bulge that is now called the pons (varolii pons), and to the ridged elements and other parts of the brain where these fascicles terminate. Willis handled the brain differently: he lifted the hemispheres, separated them from above the cerebellum and detached all of the upper part of the brain from its lower part, which includes the visual pathway, the cerebellum, and everything located under the spinal cord. Thus, he showed the bottom of the corpus callosum, the pallium, or vault of each hemisphere, and the way all these parts are connected. His demonstration methods are good to consider, because in an organ as complicated as the brain, composed of parts that are so much folded and coiled, connected together by so many tiny links, each method of development is useful to reach a better knowledge of its structure.

52We can praise Willis for the various efforts he made to show the connection between the various parts of the brain, though they cannot be compared with the efforts that have been done since then. Vicq d’Azir went farther in the method of examining the brain by successive sections; Gall went even farther, with Willis and Varolius’s methods.

53Despite these works on the brain, we are far from having a perfect knowledge of this admirable organ.

  • 120 [De anima brutorum quae hominis vitalis ac sentitiva est exercitationes duæ: prior physiologica ej (...)
  • 121 [Marcello Malpighi (born 10 March 1628, Crevalcore, near Bologna; died 29 November 1694, Rome), an (...)

54Willis wrote a treatise called De anima brutorum,120 in which he applied Mayow’s chemical theory. You saw that the soul of animals, the principle of sensory faculty and of locomotion, as well as the principle of autonomic movements that contribute to nutrition are connected to this part of air that we call the nitro-aerial principle, which is oxygen. His book is still to be regarded as useful to anatomy since he describes the different methods that were used to examine the brain, and for the anatomy that he provides of several white-blooded animals. He was the first to mention the anatomy of these animals since, up until this time, Malpighi’s121 book on silkworms was the only one that treated the anatomy of an invertebrate animal. Willis’s book is from 1672 and Malpighi’s appeared in 1669. Willis describes the anatomy of an oyster, of a crawfish, and of an earthworm. His book is much more significant than Malpighi’s, because Malpighi had only talked about a single animal. As we continue, we will soon talk about the various works of Malpighi, including the one I just mentioned. The anatomies presented by Willis are not complete; for example, for the oyster, he only shows the heart; he does not show the brain. For the crawfish, he does show its heart, its nervous system, and its circulation system. He gives a lot of information on the muscular and nervous systems of the earthworm.

55It was necessary to take note of these first treatises; we will see that during this century, they were followed by many more observations that are much more valuable. But I see that our class is over and we will talk about the next anatomical discoveries during our next session. We will see again several other observations that are as important as the ones I talked about today and that will prove what I said before, that it is during the second half of the seventeenth century that anatomy benefited from the most fruitful expansion.

Notes

1 [Descartes, see Volume 1, Lesson 6, note 7.]

2 [Sylvius, see Lesson 13, note 90.]

3 [Harvey, see Lesson 2.]

4 [Primrose, see Lesson 2, note 94.]

5 [Charles I, see Lesson 2, note 101].

6 [Riolan, see Lesson 2, note 95.]

7 [Exercitationes et Animadversiones in Librum Gulielmi Harvaei de Motu Cordis et Circulatione Sanguinis (London: Excudebat Gulielmus Iones, pro Nicolao Bourne, 1630, 6 + 108 p.), see Lesson 2, note 94.]

8 [For George Ent and his Apologia pro circulatione sanguinis, qua respondetur Aemilio Parisano... (London: Guillaume Hope, 1641, 284 p., in-8°), see Lesson 2, note 99].

9 [Johannes Walaeus, Jan van de Wale or Waal (born 27 December 1604, Koudekerke, Zeeland; died 1649, Leiden), a Dutch physician and professor at the faculty of medicine at the University of Leiden who made some discoveries on the circulation of the blood, and taught Harvey’s system, although not without some attempt to deprive him of the honor of being the original inventor; his principal publication is Epistolae duae, de motu chyli et sanguinis, ad Thomas Bartholinum, Leiden: Gasyaris Jilium, 1641].

10 [Thomas Bartholin, see Lesson 12, note 82.]

11 [For Descartes’s Treatise on Man, see Lesson 2, note 103.]

12 [Nicolaus Petreus Tulpius or Nicolaes Tulp (born 9 October 1593, Amsterdam; died 12 September 1674, The Hague), a Dutch anatomist, pathologist, physician, and mayor of Amsterdam, author of Observationes medicae, Amsterdam: Elzevier, 1641, 279 p., 14 pls, in-8°; he is best known today for his central role in the 1632 group portrait by Rembrandt of the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons, which commemorates his appointment as Praelector Anatomiae in 1628.]

13 He [Tulpius] was the one who founded the college of medicine where for a long time he gave lessons on anatomy [M. de St.-Agy].

14 [Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, often called simply Turenne (born 11 September 1611, Sedan, Ardennes; died 27 July 1675, Salzbach), the most illustrious member of the La Tour d’Auvergne family, who achieved military fame and became a Marshal of France; he was one of only six marshals who have been made Marshal General of France.]

15 [Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (born 8 September 1621, Paris; died 11 December 1686, Palace of Fontainebleau), a French general and the most famous representative of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon. Prior to his father’s death in 1646, he was styled the Duc d’Enghien; for his military prowess he was renowned as le Grand Condé.]

16 [An ape of some kind was described briefly by Tulpius (in his Observationes medicae of 1641; see note 12, above) but his description is so confusing that it is difficult to know whether it is based on a chimpanzee or an orangutan; an accompanying illustration looks more like an orangutan than anything else but he says the specimen came not from the East Indies but from Angola.]

17 [Bacon, see Lesson 11, notes 19 and 30.]

18 [Johann Georg Wirsung (born 3 July 1589, Augsburg; died 22 August 1643, Padua), a German anatomist, long-time prosector in Padua, best remembered for his discovery of the pancreatic duct (“duct of Wirsung”) during the dissection of a man who had been recently hanged for murder. Instead of publishing the results of his discovery, he engraved a sketch of the duct on a copper plate, from which he made several imprints, and subsequently had them delivered to leading anatomists throughout Europe. Wirsung was murdered in 1643 by a student named Giacomo Cambier, reportedly the result of an argument over who discovered the pancreatic duct. Five years after Wirsung’s death, a former student of his, Moritz Hoffmann (see note 21 below), claimed that he, not Wirsung, was the actual discoverer of the duct.]

19 [Vesling, see Lesson 12, note 43.]

20 It is said that he [Wirsung] was killed from a gunshot wound, in his office, by a Dalmatian doctor [but see note 18, above] who he had reduced to silence during a public discussion [M. de St.-Agy].

21 [Moritz Hoffmann (born 1622, died 1698), a German anatomist who claimed the discovery of the pancreatic duct (see note 18, above).]

22 [Erasistratus of Ceos, see Volume 1, Lesson 7, note 38.]

23 [Gaspare Aselli or Asellio, see Lesson 2, note 82.]

24 [Pecquet, see Lesson 13, note 92.]

25 [Olaus or Olof Rudbeck the Elder (born 13 September 1630, Västerås, Sweden; died 17 September 1702, Uppsala), a Swedish physician, anatomist, historian, and linguist, professor of medicine at Uppsala University and for several years rector magnificus of the same university; he distinguished himself as one of the discoverers of the human lymphatic system.]

26 [Bartholin, see Lesson 12, note 82.]

27 [Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle-Île, Vicomte de Melun et Vaux (born 27 January 1615, Paris; died 23 March 1680, Pignerol), the superintendent of finances in France from 1653 until 1661 under King Louis XIV (see Lesson 8, note 86); he fell out of favor with the young king, probably because of his extravagant displays of wealth, and the king had him imprisoned from 1661 until his death in 1680.]

28 [Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné (born 5 February 1626, Paris; died 17 April 1696, Grignan), a French aristocrat, remembered for her letter-writing. Most of her letters, celebrated for their wit and vividness, were addressed to her daughter, Françoise-Marguerite de Sévigné, Comtesse de Grignan (born 10 October 1646, Paris; died 13 August 1705, Marseille). She is revered in France as one of the great icons of French literature.]

29 [Receptaculum chyli, see Lesson 13, note 92.]

30 [Experimenta nova anatomica, quibus incognitum hactenus chyli receptaculum, et ab eo per thoracem in ramos usque subclavios vasa lactea deteguntur. Ejusdem Dissertatio anatomica de circulatione sanguinis et chyli motu. Accedunt clarissimorum virorum perelegantes ad authorem epistolae, Paris: Sebastianum et Gabrielem Cramoisy, 1651, 108 p., in-4°.]

31 [Dissertatio de circulatione sanguinis et chyli moti, Paris: Sebastianum & Gabrielem Cramoisy, 1652, xii + 108 p., in-4°.]

32 [De thoracicis lacteis dissertatio, Paris: Cramosiana, 1654, [14] + 252 + [2] p., in-4°.]

33 [Riolan, see Lesson 2, note 95.]

34 [Johannes van Horne (born 2 September 1621, Amsterdam; died 5 January 1670, Leiden), a Flemish anatomist and surgeon, author of Novus ductus chyliferus, nunc primum delineatus, descriptus et eruditorum examini expositus, Leiden: Francisci Hackii, 1652, [38] p., illus., in-4°.]

35 [Vesalius, see Lesson 1, notes 45 and 76.]

36 [Rudbeck, see note 25, above.]

37 [Thomas Bartholin, see Lesson 12, note 82.]

38 [Gaspard Bartholin the Elder (born 12 February 1585, Malmø; died 13 July 1629, Sorø, Zealand), a Danish polymath, professor of medicine, and later theology, at the University of Copenhagen, best known for his Anatomicae institutiones corporis humani utriusque sexus historiam & declarationem exhibentes cum plurimis novis observationibus & opinionibus nec non illustriorum quae in anthropologia occurrunt, controversiarum decisionibus (Wittenberge: Berhtoldus Raab, 1611, 603 + [68] p., in-8°), which was for many years a standard textbook of anatomy; he was the first to describe the workings of the olfactory nerve.]

39 [Fabricius d’Aquapendente, see Lesson 1, note 66; and Volume 1, Lesson 9, note 38.]

40 [Jasolinus, see Lesson 2, note 88.]

41 [Plater, see Lesson 2, notes 61 and 65.]

42 [Anatomica Institutiones, see note 38, above.]

43 [De lacteis thoracicis in homine brutisque nuperrime observatis, historia anatomica, London: Johannis Grismond, 1652, 103 p., fold. pls, in-12.]

44 [Vasa lymphatica, nuper Hafniae in animantibus inventa et in homine, et hepatis exsequiae, Copenhagen: Petrus Hakius, 1653, [6] + 58 + [2] p., 2 engrav. fold. pls, in-4°.]

45 [Defensio vasorum lacteorum et lymphaticorum adversus Joannem Riolanum... Accedit... Guilielmi Harvei de venis lacteis sententia expensa..., Copenhagen: Melchioris Martzanis et Georgii Holst, 1655, [VI] + 195 p., in-4°.]

46 [De bibliothecae incendio, dissertatio ad filios, Copenhagen: Petri Haubold, 1670, 114 p.]

47 [De pulmonum substantia et motu diatribe, Copenhagen: Henrici Gödiani, 1663, [8] + 107 + [9] p., 2 fold. pls, illus., in-12.]

48 [Historiarum anatomicarum et medicarum sex centuriae; case histories of unusual anatomical and clinical structures, including descriptions and illustrations of anomalies and normal structures: Centuria I et II, Amsterdam: Joannem Henrici, 1654, [16] + 326 + [10] p. + [9] pls, ill., in-8°; Centuria III et IV, The Hague: Adriani Vlacq, 1657, [8] + 430 + [8] p., 45 + [3] p. + [5] fold pls, illus., in-8°; Centuria V et VI, Copenhagen: Petrus Hauboldt, 1661, 2 parts ([16] + 386 + [14] p. + [8] fold. pls, 32 p.), figs, in-8°.]

49 [Acta medica et philosophica Hafniensa, Copenhagen: Georgii Gödiani, 5 vols, in-4°; the first volume of this series describes experiments performed during the years 1671 and 1672, but it was not actually published until 1673; the final volume appeared in 1680.]

50 [Simon Paulli (born 6 April 1603, Rostock; died 25 April 1680, Copenhagen), a Danish physician and naturalist, professor of anatomy, surgery, and botany at the University of Copenhagen; he published several treatises on medicine and botany, most notably Quadripartitum botanicum, de simplicium medicamentorum facultatibus, Rostock: [s. n.], 1639, in-4°.]

51 [Steno, see Lesson 12, note 81.]

52 [Michael Leyser (born 14 April 1626, Leipzig; died 20 December 1660, Nykøbing Falster), a German physician and anatomist, author of Culter anatomicus. Hoc est: methodus brecis, facilis ac perspicua artificose et compendiose humana incidendi cadavera, cum nonnullorum instrumentorum iconibus (“The medical rules and regulations, which are recognized as a proven teacher of anatomy”), Copenhagen: Georg Lamprecht, 1653, 217 p., figs, in-8°.]

53 [Culter anatomicus, see note 52, above.]

54 [Gaspard or Caspar Bartholin the Younger (born 10 September 1655, Copenhagen; died 11 June 1738, Copenhagen), a Danish anatomist, grandson of anatomist Caspar Bartholin the Elder (see note 38, above) and son of Thomas Bartholin (see Lesson 12, note 82,) best remembered for his discovery of “Bartholin’s glands.”]

55 [Diaphragmatis structura nova, accessit methodus praeparandi viscera per injectiones liquorum, et descriptio instrumenti, quo mediante peraguntur, Paris: Ludovicum Billaine, 1676, [16] p. + 1 copper pl. engr. + 138 + [2] p. + [5] copper pls engr., in-8°.]

56 [De nervorum usu in motu musculorum epistola, Paris: Ludovicum Billaine, 1676, [16] + 108 + [4] p. + 3 copper pls engr., in-8°.]

57 [Thomas Bartholin (see Lesson 12, note 82), author of De vermibus in aceto et semine, Copenhagen: [s. n.], 1671, in-12.]

58 [Steno, see Lesson 12, note 81].

59 During his stay in this town, [Jacques-Bénigne] Bossuet [a French bishop and theologian renowned for his brilliant oration; born 27 September 1627, Dijon; died 12 April 1704, Paris] tried to convert him [Steno] to the catholic religion. Steno resisted, yet with still some thoughts of uncertainty that grew in his mind, because in 1669, he abjured the religion of his ancestors [M. de St.-Agy].

60 [Cuvier implicates Leiden, but it was while Steno was living in Amsterdam, under the mentorship of Gerard Blasius (see note 61, below), that he discovered the previously undescribed duct of the parotid salivary gland, which now bears his name: Stensen’s duct or ductus stenonianus.]

61 [Gérard (Gerhard or Gerrit) Leendertsz Blasius (born 3 October 1627, Amsterdam; died 26 September 1682, Amsterdam), a Dutch physician and anatomist who, as first Amsterdam professor in medicine, is credited with introducing clinical medicine in that city.]

62 [For Thévenot, see Lesson 12, note 104.]

63 [Redi, see Lesson 12, note 80].

64 [Academy of Experiment, see Lesson 12, note 77].

65 [Val d’Arno, a region rich in Pliocene fossils located in the Province of Florence in the Italian region of Tuscany, about 20 kilometers southeast of Florence.]

66 [Grand Duke Cosimo III, see Lesson 12, note 84.]

67 [Johann Friedrich (born 25 April 1625, Herzberg am Harz; died 18 December 1679, Augsburg), Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg who ruled over the Principality of Calenberg, a subdivision of the duchy, from 1665 until his death.]

68 He [Steno] was buried in the grave of the reigning family [M. de St.-Agy].

69 [Elementorum myologiae specimen, seu Musculi descriptio geometrica, cui accedunt canis carchariae dissectum caput et dissectus piscis ex canum genere, Florence: Giuseppe Cocchini all’Insegna della Stella, 1667, [8] + 123 p., illus., 7 pls.]

70 [Alphonse Borelli (see Lesson 12, note 79, founder of a school of physicians (the iatro-mathematicians) who tried to apply the laws of mathematics and mechanics to understand the functioning of the human body; that the functioning of the body could be measured by quantifiable numbers, weights, and measures.]

71 [Rudbeck, see note 25, above.]

72 [Johannes Rudbeck or Rudbeckius (born 1581, died 1646), bishop at Västerås, Sweden, from 1619 until his death, and personal chaplain to King Gustavus II Adolphus.]

73 [Gustav II Adolph or Gustavus Adolphus, see Lesson 11, note 78]

74 [Queen Christina of Sweden, see Lesson 11, note 77.]

75 [Cuvier refers here to Rudbeck’s Nova exercitatio anatomica, exhibens ductus hepaticos aquoso, et vasa glandularum serosa. Cui accessere aliæ ejusdem observationes anatomicæ, etc.; however, this book was published (in Västerås by Eucharius Lauringerus, [24] p. + 2 tab., illus., in-4°), not in early 1652, but in 1653, some months after Bartholin’s publication (see note 43, above).]

76 [De lacteis thoracicis in homine, see note 43, above.]

77 [Obsèques du foie or “funeral of the liver,” is contained within Thomas Bartholin’s Vasa lymphatica; see note 44, above.]

78 [Kurt Polykarp Joachim] Sprengel [a German botanist, physician, and celebrated historian of medicine, professor at the University of Halle; born 3 August 1766, Boldekow, Pomerania; died 15 March 1833, Halle] clarified this question very well: the discovery of the lymphatic vessels is, without a doubt, to be credited to Rudbeck [M. de St.-Agy].

79 [During the course of a fire that destroyed most of Uppsala in 1702, a large portion of Rudbeck’s writings was lost, including the manuscript for an illustrated book that attempted to describe all known plants, entitled Campus Elysius, work that he had initiated in 1670. With the help of his children and students he had made 3,200 woodcuts, many of which were also destroyed.]

80 [Carolus Linnaeus, see Lesson 2, note 112; see also Volume 1, Lesson 7, note 34.]

81 [Atlantica sive Manheim (Atland eller Manheim in Swedish), Uppsala: Henricus Curio, 1675, 4 vols, illus. + 1 atlas ([1] + 43 + [2] leaves of pls); a 3,000-page treatise that attempts to prove that Sweden was Atlantis, the cradle of civilization, and Swedish the original language of Adam from which Latin and Hebrew evolved.]

82 [Plato, see Volume 1, Lesson 5.]

83 He [Rudbeck] also claimed that he could find in the Swedish language all the names of the ancient gods of Greece and Rome, hence he drew the conclusion that mythology and theology had been brought there from his home country. Rudbeck’s Atlantica [see note 81, above] is an amazing work of erudition; however, it would be difficult to find a book that would contain more strange contradictions than this work [M. de St.-Agy].

84 [Buffon, see Lesson 4, note 57; see also Volume 1, Lesson 7, note 39.]

85 [Jean-Sylvain Bailly (born 15 September 1736, Paris; died 12 November 1793, Paris), a French astronomer, mathematician, freemason, and political leader of the early part of the French Revolution.]

86 [Asellius or Aselli, see Lesson 2, note 82.]

87 [Pecquet, see Lesson 13, note 92.]

88 [Louis or Lodewijk de Bils, also Ludovicus Bilsius (born 1624, died 1669), a Flemish nobleman and self-taught (but unqualified) anatomist who stirred considerable controversy by claiming to have discovered methods for preserving corpses for years and dissecting living animals without spilling blood. He also published fantastic theories on the lymph vessels and the chylus that aroused strong opposition.]

89 He [Bils, see note 88, above] also claimed [in a small anatomical treatise entitled De anatomia incruenta or Bloodless anatomy] that he had discovered a way to dissect live animals without a great effusion of blood [M. de St.-Agy].

90 [Epistolica dissertatio qua verus hepatis circa chylum et pariter ductus chiliferi hactenus dicti usus docetur, Rotterdam: Joannes Naerani, 1659, 6 + [2] p., illus., in-4°.]

91 [François Magendie (born 6 October 1783, Bordeaux; died 7 October 1855, Sannois), a French physiologist, considered a pioneer of experimental physiology.]

92 [For Galen, see Volume 1, Lesson 16.]

93 [Catarrh, excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat, associated with inflammation of the mucous membrane.]

94 [Brain freeze, a cold-stimulus headache known by its scientific name sphenopalatine ganglioneuralia (meaning “nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion”), which results from eating something cold too quickly; the brain does not actually freeze, but the temperature change stimulates nerves to cause a stabbing headache.]

95 [Johann Jakob Wepfer (born 23 December 1620, Schaffhausen; died 26 January 1695), a Swiss anatomist, pathologist, and pharmacologist, remembered for his work on the vascular anatomy of the brain, and the study of cerebrovascular disease. He was the first physician to hypothesize that the effects of a stroke were caused by bleeding in the brain. He also mentioned that these symptoms could be caused by a blockage of one of the main arteries that supply blood to the brain.]

96 [Observationes anatomicae, ex cadaveribus eorum, quos sustulit apoplexia. Cum exercitatione de eius loco affecto, Schaf-fhausen: Johann Kaspar Suter, 1658, [16] + 304 p., in-8.]

97 [Riolan, see Lesson 2, note 95.]

98 [Samuel Thomas von Sommerring (born 28 January 1755, Torun, Poland; died 2 March 1830, Frankfurt), a German physician, anatomist, anthropologist, paleontologist, and inventor who discovered the macula in the retina of the human eye. His investigations on the brain and the nervous system, on the sensory organs, on the embryo and its malformations, and on the structure of the lungs, etc., made him one of the most important German anatomists of his time.]

99 [Cicutae aquaticae historia et noxae. Commentario illustrata, a Joh. Jacobo Wepfero…, Basel: J. R. König, 1679, [16] + 336 + [6] p. + 4 leaves of pls, in-4°.]

100 [Archeus or archaeus, see Lesson 10, note 74.]

101 [Paul Joseph Barthez (born 11 December 1734, Montpellier; and encyclopedist who developed a version of the biological died 15 October 1806, Paris), a French physician, physiologist, theory known as vitalism; he employed the expression “vital principle” as a convenient term for the cause of the phenomena of life, without committing himself to either a spiritualistic or a materialistic view of its nature.]

102 [Stahl, see Lesson 9, note 90.]

103 [Conrad Victor Schneider (born 1614, Bitterfeld, Saxony; died 1680, Wittenberg), a German physician and anatomist who described the Schneiderian membranes or sinonasal mucosa, the lining of the cavities of the nose.]

104 [Liber de osse cribiforme, et sensu ac organo odoratus, et morbis ad utrumque spectantibus, de coryza, hemmorrhagia narium, polypo, sternutatione, admissione odoratus, Wittenberg: D. Tobia Mevij & Elardi Schumacheri, 1655, [18] + 531 + [4] p., in-12.]

105 Gall [see Lesson 2, note 46] does not question the fact that the olfactory nerve is also hollow in men. Sommerring [see note 98, above] says that in three-month old fetuses, the olfactory nerve is hollow, and that air blown through this cavity goes to the brain. According to Gall, this experiment in adult subjects was also successful, but only rarely so (see Anatomie et Physiologie du système nerveux en général, et du cerveau en particulier, by Gall, volume 1, page 86) [M. de St.-Agy].

106 [De catarrhis, quo agitur de speciebus catarrharum, et de osse cuneiformi, per quod catarrhi decurrere finguntur / Quo gelenici catarrhorum meatus, perspicue falsi revincuntur / Quo novi catarrhorum meatus demonstrantur / Quo generalis atarrhorum curatio ad novitia dogmata et inventa paratur / Liber quintus et ultimus de catarrhosorum diaeta, et de speciebus catarrhorum… / Liber de catarrhis specialissimus, quo juxta Hippocratem libro “de Gland.” et “de Locisin homine”..., Wittenberg: Tobiae Mevii & Elerdi Schumacheri, 1660-1661, 6 parts in 5 vols ([32] + 257 + [7] p.; [20] +64 + [12] p.; [24] + 600 + [16] p.; [34] + 723 + [13] p.; [22] + 323 + 346 + [14] p.; [28] + 948 p.), portr., in-4°.]

107 [De catarrhis, see note 106, above.]

108 [Tonsils, when used unqualified, a term most commonly referring specifically to the palatine tonsils, which are masses of lymphatic material situated at either side at the back of the human throat. They tend to reach their largest size near puberty, and they gradually undergo atrophy thereafter; however, they are largest relative to the diameter of the throat in young children. They function as the immune system’s first line of defense against ingested or inhaled foreign pathogens, but the fundamental immunological roles of tonsils have yet to be fully understood.]

109 [Liber de catarrhis specialissimus…, Wittenberg: Tobiae Mevii, 1664, [28] + 948 p., see note 106, above.]

110 [Thomas Willis, see Lesson 12, note 60.]

111 [Boyle, see Lesson 12, note 32.]

112 [Mayow, see Lesson 12, note 68.]

113 [Cerebri anatome, cui accessit nervorum descriptio et usus, London: John Martyn & James Allestry, 1664, [28] + 56 + [2] p.+ pp. 57-240 + 13 leaves of pls + [2] copper pls engr., illus., in-8°.]

114 [Gall, see lesson 2, note 46.]

115 [Giovanni Domenico Santorini (born 6 June 1681, Venice; died 7 May 1737, Venice), an Italian anatomist, best known for his Observationes anatomicae (Venice: Giovanni Battista Recurti, 1724, [12] + 250 p. + 3 leaves of pls, in-4°), a detailed work on anatomical aspects of the human body; he is credited for providing descriptions of numerous anatomical structures.]

116 [Rete mirabile, see Lesson 1, note 29.]

117 [Vesalius, see Lesson 1, note 45.]

118 [Félix Vicq d’Azyr (born 23 April 1746, Valognes, Normandy; died 20 June 1794, Paris), a French physician and anatomist, discoverer of the theory of homology in biology and considered by some to be the originator of comparative anatomy.]

119 [Varolius, see Lesson 2, note 44.]

120 [De anima brutorum quae hominis vitalis ac sentitiva est exercitationes duæ: prior physiologica ejussdem naturam, partes, potentias, & affectiones tradit…, London: Richard Davis, 1672, [48] + 400 + [16] p., illus., in-8°.]

121 [Marcello Malpighi (born 10 March 1628, Crevalcore, near Bologna; died 29 November 1694, Rome), an Italian physician and biologist regarded as the father of microscopical anatomy and histology. Although he conducted some of his studies using vivisection, and others through the dissection of corpses, his most important efforts appear to have been based on the use of the microscope. His Dissertatio epistolica de bombyce (London: Joannem Martyn & Jacobum Allestry, 1669, 1 vol. ([10] + 100 p. + [12] copper pls engr.), illus., in-4°), on the silkworm moth, is the first detailed account of the structure of an invertebrate animal.]

Table des illustrations

Légende Boyle’s experiment“An experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump”. Oil on canvas by Joseph Wright (1768) Trustees of the British Museum.
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