Principles of Anatomy according to the Opinion of Galen by Johann Guinter and Andreas Vesalius: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Principles of Anatomy according to the Opinion of Galen by Johann Guinter and Andreas Vesalius

1st Edition

Edited by Vivian Nutton


190 pages

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pub: 2017-03-23
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Principles of Anatomy according to the Opinion of Galen is a translation of Johann Guinter’s textbook as revised and annotated by Guinter’s student, Andreas Vesalius, in 1538. Despite Vesalius’ fame as an anatomist, his 1538 revision has attracted almost no attention. However, this new translation shows the significant rewrites and additional information added to the original based on his own dissections. 250 newly discovered annotations by Vesalius himself, published here in full for the first time, also show his working methods and ideas.

Together they offer remarkable insights into Vesalius’ intellectual biography and the development of his most famous work: De humani corporis fabrica, 1543. An extensive introduction by Vivian Nutton also provides new information on Johann Guinter, and his substantial use of Vesalius’ work for his own revised version of the text in 1539. Their joint production, a student textbook, is set against a background of the development of Renaissance anatomy, and of attitudes to their ancient Greek predecessor, Galen of Pergamum.

This text will be of great interest to historians of science and medicine, as well as to Renaissance scholars.


"Vivian Nutton's command of Renaissance Galenism is superb, and his intimacy with things Vesalian deep and long-standing. This translation and commentary provides a finely-detailed window into an early and critical period of Vesalius's development. It also brings to life the revisable and pedagogically-oriented anatomy of his predecessor, Guinter. Bringing Guinter and Vesalius into scholarly conversation through their alternating editions and revisions, this book sheds new light on a crucial period in the history of anatomy and medicine. It should be a learned introduction for new students of Renaissance anatomy and medicine, and an indispensable resource for specialists."

Evan Ragland, University of Notre Dame, USA

"This little book will be an essential reference for historians of early modern anatomy."

Anita Guerrini, Oregon State University, USA, Isis Review

"Taken as a whole then, Nutton’s translation of Principles of Anatomy is an important work, one that adds as much or more to Vesalian scholarship as any of the English translations of the great anatomist’s works that have appeared in the last few years. Rather than simply offering an English version of a Latin text, Nutton’s book provides a new and detailed insight into how Vesalius worked, both textually and in dissecting bodies, and ties that insight to a largely understudied text written by a largely understudied fi gure who played an important role in Vesalius’s career and in the development of anatomy in the 16th century."

Allen Shotwell, Ivy Tech Community College, USA

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction


Andreas Vesalius, from Brussels to Padua

Anatomy before Vesalius

Johann Guinter and the Institutiones anatomicae

Vesalius’ Revision of the Institutiones, 1538

Vesalius’ Annotations

Towards the De humani corporis fabrica

The Dog that did not bark

Part II: Translation:The Principles of Anatomy according to the Opinion of Galen

Vesalius’ Preface

Guinter’s Preface

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Appendix: Vesalius’ Annotations transcribed


Index to the 1538 edition

Index to the Introduction and Notes

About the Editor

Vivian Nutton is Professor of the History of Medicine, A.M. Sechenov First Moscow Medical University, and Emeritus Professor of the History of Medicine, University College London. Among his recent books are a translation of Galen, On Distress (2013) and Ancient Medicine, 2ed (2013).

About the Series

Routledge Early Modern Translations

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 16th Century