Ancients and Moderns in the Medical Sciences
From Hippocrates to Harvey
The theme of this book is the growth of the European tradition of medical theory, from the early Middle Ages until its collapse in the seventeenth century. Central to this tradition were ancient texts and the respect accorded to the ancients themselves by the moderns, the teachers and practitioners of medicine of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The chapters examine how the ancient texts formed a resource for later medical men and how as a consequence they were sought out, translated and used. Three matters receive particular attention: the classroom culture by which the teachers perpetuated their pupil’s faith in the ancient texts; the use of learning and argumentation by which the university doctors secured their reputation; and medical astrology as a prognostic technique. The story ends when the faith that had been given to Aristotle and Galen, and which held the medical tradition together, was broken, partly by the new natural philosophy and partly by the discovery of the circulation of the blood.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Acknowledgements; Greek fragments of the lost books of Galen’s Anatomical Procedures; De Juvamentis Membrorum and the reception of Galenic physiological anatomy; An origin for the bone text of the ’five-figure series’; A note on the anatomical accessus of the Middle Ages; Fortelling the future: Arabic astrology and English medicine in the late twelfth century; Astrology in medical practice; The use of Alfred of Shareshill’s commentary on De Plantis in university teaching in the thirteenth century; Gentile da Foligno and the via medicorum; The medical ethics of Gabriel de Zerbi; Berengario da Carpi and the use of commentary in anatomical teaching; Pliny and Renaissance medicine; The languages of William Harvey’s natural philosophy; Index.
'...anyone interested in the development of medicine and medical ideas down to Harvey will benefit greatly from reading them... a fine attention to detail. The strength of Roger French...lay always in his very careful reading and exposition of texts, exemplified here by his work on Gentile, Zerbi, Alfred of Shareshill, and Berengario.' Medical History