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17th Century

Works displayed represent a wide range of topics from herbs and plants to dragons. They also include fine examples of woodblock printing.

FABRICIUS, Hieronymus

Anatomices et Chriugiae in Floentissimo Gymnasio Tractatus Quatuor. Frankfurt: Johann Sumptibus, 1648.

Hieronymus Fabricius (1533-1619) succeeded Vesalius as chair of Surgery and Anatomy at the University of Padua and was known for his accuracy and thoroughness. Fabricius, however, felt that Vesalius emphasized structure excessively and his [Fabricius'] approach to anatomy intended to balance considerations of structure with function, making physiology teleological rather than experimental.

Fabricius was well known as a surgeon as well as an anatomist. Galileo was one of his patients.

PARE, Ambroise. de.

Les Oeuvres d'Ambroise Pare' ... Lyon: C. Prost, 1641.

The existence of dragons is documented in this text by the well- known surgeon Ambroise Pare (1510-1590). The caption on page 48 reads:

"Here are represented two types of dragons that kill elephants. The dragons are quite glorious, because by their finesse and malice they defeat elephants which are the strongest animals on earth . . . They lay in wait for the elephants, and suddenly attack them, wrapping themselves around the elephants, tying the elephants' legs with their tails so they can not walk. Then the dragons stuff their heads in the elephants' trunks, impeding their breathing. They bite the skin of the elephants which they find most tender, scratch their eyes and suck their blood, so that the elephants die.

Pliny says that there are dragons in Ethiopia that are 10 coudees long [the distance from the elbow to finger tip]. In India some have been found that are 100 coudees long, and some fly so high in the air that they capture flying birds."

GERARD, John de.

The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes. London: Adam Islip, Joice Norton and Richard Whitakers, 1633.

John Gerard's (1545-1612) text includes excellent examples of woodblock engravings. This volume includes over 2,700 illustrations. Because of his extensive work in this field, the genus Gerardia was named in his honor.

In addition to his work as a surgeon and author, Gerard maintained a medicinal garden with over 1,000 species of plants.


Bartholinus Anatomy: Made From the Precepts of His Father, and From the Observations of All Modern Anatomists, Together With His Own. London: John Streater, 1668.

Thomas Bartholin (1616-1680) was the first to describe the entire lymph system, and he confirmed the existence of the thoracic duct.

GENGA, Bernardino.

Anatomia per Uso del Disegno. Rome: Jacomo de Rossi, 1691.

Bernardino Genga (1620-1690) is known for anatomical as well as artistic excellence in his works. This illustration exemplifies how art and science coalesce in anatomy.

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