Tuesday, September 23, 2014

1316: Mundinus publishes book of anatomy

So we know that the School of Salerno was a great medical institution from the 10th to 13th centuries, and physicians from all over the world flocked there to get the best medical instruction.  Yet most historians will acknowledge that while it was a great learning place, there were few medical advancements made here. 
One of the great exceptions occured in 1316 when Mundinus of Bologna (1270-1326) wrote a book called "Anathomia."  Although while he wrote it while teaching at Salerno, it was first published at Padua in 1487, and later at Leipzig in 1493 by Martin Pollich-von Mellerstadt. (see figure 1) (1, page 150-151)

Figure 1 --The title page of Mundinus
 "Anathomia," Leipzig, 1493 (1, page 151)
According to Fielding Hudson Garrison in his 1921 book, "An introduction to the history of medicine," "In intention, this book was really a little horn-book of dissecting, rather than a formal treaties on gross anatomy.  (1)

Garrison explains the book was full of "Galanic errors in regard to the structure of the human frame, preserving the old fictive anatomy of the Arabists, with the Arabic terms, this book was yet the sole textbook on anatomy for over a hundred years in all the Medieval schools." (1)

It was people like Mundinus who helped advance medicine through an otherwise dark ages of medicine in the western world.  Surely this was a small achievement, and there may have been no major advancements in asthma and respiratory therapy wisdom as a direct result of this.  Yet had it not been for such small achievements, asthma wisdom would still be in the dark ages, and chronic lungers would continue to be forced to suffer as a result.  

  1. Garrison, Fielding Hudson, "An introduction to the history of medicine," 1922, Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders Company
  2. The John Hopkins Hospital bulleton," (volume XV 1904), "from the epoch of the Alexandria School (300 B.C.)"
  3. "The Ancient Medical School of Salerno," associazioneermes.it, http://www.associazioneermes.it/MedicalSchoolSalerno.htm, accessed 12/4/12

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