Monday, February 20, 2017

Mondino de Luzzi

The dissection of human corpses had only taken place in Alexandria, and even then its practice was brief, perhaps lasting no more than a hundred years.

Mondino de Luzzi (1275-1326), usually known by his Latin name of Mundinus, must be given the credit of reviving the study of the anatomy of the human body by systematic dissection, which had remained dormant for some 1500 years since the days of the great Alexandrian anatomists, Erasistratus and Herophilus.

Born and educated in the northern Italian city of Bologna, famous for its university, Mundinus receiving his medical degree in 1290 and becoming Professor of both Anatomy and Surgery at the university, joint chair which became traditional and which persisted for the next two centuries at this and other Italian university. He lived at a time when the taboos surrounding human dissection were beginning to weaken.

Mundinus distinguished himself by his systematic work in anatomy and by the fact that he carried out the dissection himself rather than allowing someone else to do them for him as was to become the usual practice.

His anatomical Anathomia, written in 1326, is a landmark on the history of anatomy. In content it is akin to modern manuals of dissection, and it became the most popular anatomical treatise of the fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries; it passed through about thirty printed editions and was still in use even after the works of the Renaissance anatomist began to appear.
Mondino de Luzzi

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