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ORIGINS OF MODERNITY

physiology & medicine

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Vesalius, Andreas (1514-1564)
Opera omnia anatomica and chirurgica.
Verbeek : Lugduni Batavorum, apud Joennem du Vivie et Joan. & Herm., 1725.

Image from Vesalius' Opera

Along with Copernicus' book of 1543 Vesalius' On the Fabric of the Human Body marked a turning point which many historians call the beginning of the Scientific Revolution. This book, which makes up the bulk of Vesalius' Works, changed the study and teaching of human and animal anatomy. Vesalius, who taught at the famous medical school at Padua, challenged the traditional method of teaching by performing dissections himself rather than simply reading from the great Galen's (130-201AD) works and having attendants open up the cadaver. This is graphically represented on the title page displayed here. The second 1555 edition of this work was even more radical because it challenged Galen's claim that there were minute holes in the dividing wall of the heart. This helped to open the way for William Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood. Above all however the De fabrica is known and loved for its wonderful anatomical drawings.

Another image from Vesalius' Opera

Another image from Vesalius' Opera
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